This easy recipe for peanut butter gluten free banana bread is moist, tender, and packed with banana and peanut butter flavor. Don’t forget the chocolate chips!
Baking with peanut butter
Do you bake with peanut butter often? All of my children love peanut butter, and it’s saved us many times when we were low on other sandwich fillings. Peanut butter and honey sandwiches are a favorite.
Making no-bake bites with peanut butter is a snap, as there’s no chemical reaction. The stickiness and flavor of the peanut butter work just as you might expect. That is to say, perfectly! But baking with peanut butter is a whole different story.
Peanut butter, unlike actual dairy butter (or even nondairy kinds of butter), has a tendency to make baked goods dry. Even though I do sometimes toy with the idea of going back to school yet again (after a law degree and a master’s in social work, I think I’m done!), I’m not a food scientist so I don’t really know exactly why that is.
But there’s something about adding peanut butter to a recipe with flour, especially, that can be tricky. So you just need the right balance of ingredients in the recipe.
Powdered peanut butter
Years ago, we stumbled upon powdered peanut butter, which is made from peanuts that have been pressed to remove most of their oil. The peanuts are then ground into a fine powder. At the time, the only brand we knew of was PB2 and we had to order it online.
These days, powdered peanut butter is made by lots of companies, and is available in most larger grocery stores. We still generally buy PB2 brand, and I love using it in Weight Watchers-friendly recipes since it’s much lower in fat but still has lots of protein and fiber. But using PB2 brand is mostly a matter of habit.
In this peanut butter banana bread recipe, the powdered peanut butter is a great way to add more peanut flavor without adding more peanut butter, since baking with peanut butter is so tricky. I’m afraid I really don’t know if powdered peanut butter is readily available outside the U.S. If you know of a non-U.S. source, would you let everyone know in the comments?
Baking with bananas
Most people love bananas, but I do know that some of you just hate them. If you hate bananas, then I’d really recommend skipping this recipe rather than trying to substitute them for something like applesauce!
I love just-ripe-almost-green bananas for eating, but the moment they get spotted I’ll pass. But the brown ones are the ones you want for baking, and having a favorite banana bread recipe is essential for such an occasion.
Since you can’t stop a banana on your kitchen counter from ripening, though, those ripening bananas should be frozen. Just peel and chip them into large chunks, place them on a baking sheet and put them in the freezer. Once they’re frozen solid, pile them into a zip-top bag and store them in the freezer.
If you’re looking to make a smoothie, you’ll use the bananas frozen. If you’re baking with them, just allow them to thaw on the countertop or pop them in the microwave for a few seconds to thaw out. Once they’re frozen, you really can’t divide them so it’s best to chop them before freezing.
Ingredients and substitutions
Dairy-free: As one of my children is dairy-free, whenever possible I test new dairy-containing recipes with dairy-free replacements. In place of the butter, I used melted and cooled virgin coconut oil.
In place of the sour cream or plain yogurt, I used plain nondairy yogurt. It wasn’t Greek-style, so I strained it to remove some of the moisture. Just be sure you’re using dairy-free chocolate chips, though. I like Enjoy Life brand.
Egg-free: Since there is only one egg in this recipe, I think you could probably replace it with one “chia egg” (1 tablespoon ground chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel). I haven’t tried that, though, so you’ll have to experiment.
If you wanted to make a peanut-free version of this recipe, the peanut butter itself should be relatively easy to replace with almond or cashew butter. But the powdered peanut butter is another story entirely. I’m afraid I don’t know of a peanut-free version of it.
Chocolate chips: If you don’t want to use chocolate chips, you could replace them with any other sort of chip you like. I think that peanut butter chips would be overkill (personal preference!), but white chocolate or butterscotch chips would be amazing.
Just check labels to make sure they’re gluten free, as not all fancy chips like that are GF. You could also use chopped walnuts or roasted peanuts, or a mixture of whatever you like. Don’t use too many, though, or they can overpower the other flavors in the bread.
Peanut Butter Gluten Free Banana Bread
1 3/4 cups (245 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon (30 g) peanut butter powder (I used PB2 brand)
6 tablespoons (84 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
1 egg (50 g, weighed out of shell), at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup (64 g) smooth natural peanut butter, warmed slightly
1/3 cup (85 g) sour cream or Greek-style plain yogurt, at room temperature
1/2 cup (4 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 ripe bananas (200 g), peeled and mashed very well (from about 2 medium bananas)
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease and line a standard 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and set it aside.
In a small bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt and peanut butter powder, and whisk to combine. Set the dry ingredients aside. In a large bowl, place the butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, peanut butter, and sour cream, and beat with a handheld mixer (or a large fork and some elbow grease) until smooth and well-combined. Add half of the dry ingredients to the bowl, and mix by hand until just combined. Toss about 3 ounces of the chocolate chips in the remaining dry ingredients. To the large bowl, add all of the mashed bananas, and mix, then the remaining dry ingredients and chocolate chips, and mix until just combined. The batter will be thick.
Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan and smooth into an even layer with a moistened spatula. Add the reserved chocolate chips to the top of the loaf and press gently to help them adhere to the batter. Place the pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes, rotate the loaf pan in the oven, and continue to bake until a toothpick comes out mostly clean and the loaf is relatively firm to the touch (another 20 to 25 minutes). Allow the bread to rest in the loaf pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing thickly and serving.
Any leftover slices can be wrapped tightly and stored at room temperature for 2 days or in the freezer for longer storage. Defrost at room temperature or in the microwave on 50% power.