While I’ll never get tired of classic banana bread, sometimes when overripe bananas are staring at me from my kitchen counter, I yearn for something with a little more pizzaz.
This cream cheese banana bread is the answer.
Quick and easy to make, it’s the perfect on-the-fly way to use up browning bananas lingering around in your kitchen.
Like these Banana Bread Brownies, this recipe combines the ease of basic banana bread with a little extra decadence and flair.
I used my favorite healthy banana bread recipe as the base—the batter needs only one bowl and 10 minutes to prep—then jazzed it up with a Greek yogurt cream cheese layer that adds moisture, tang, and artisan bakery-level beauty.
5 Star Review
“I made this bread tonight and it is delicious!”
— Jennifer —
Healthy Cream Cheese Banana Bread
Every slice of this cream cheese banana bread is guaranteed to be moist and tender.
Plus it offers higher nutritional value than most anything you’ll find in a traditional pastry case.
The key ingredients to making this cream cheese banana bread more wholesome are:
Greek Yogurt. Instead of making this banana bread with buttermilk and sour cream, I use nonfat plain Greek yogurt. I promise you can’t taste the difference.
Maple Syrup. It sweetens the bread more naturally, and the maple flavor is lovely with the banana.
Whole Wheat Pastry Flour. You can make this banana bread with either 100% whole wheat or a 50% blend thanks to this light-tasting, ultra-fine flour, no one will suspect!
How to Make Cream Cheese Banana Bread
This banana bread with cream cheese swirl has all the banana flavor you love with the luscious addition of a decadent cream cheese swirl. You deserve it!
Ripe Bananas. Perfect for those brown bespeckled bananas that are too mushy to eat otherwise. (This Zucchini Banana Bread is another way I love to use up ripe bananas.)
Flour. For this recipe, I use a blend of 50/50 all purpose flour and whole wheat pastry flour to inject a little whole grain goodness into this banana loaf.
Whole wheat flour contains more of the original wheat kernel than white flour and thus is higher in protein, fiber, and other nutrients, which is why I prefer it in my recipes.
Most of the time, you can replace half of the all-purpose flour in a recipe (as in this Apple Bread) with either white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour without a soul noticing.
Of course, if you don’t have whole wheat flour on hand, you may also use 100 percent all purpose flour too.
Greek Yogurt. Used to add moisture, tenderness, and tang instead of buttermilk or sour cream. Plus Greek yogurt adds extra protein!
Egg. Contributes richness and softness while also providing structure to the loaf.
Maple Syrup. Naturally sweetens—allowing for a reduction of brown sugar—and flavors the banana bread.
If you don’t have maple syrup, you may swap for an equal amount of honey.
Brown Sugar. Sweetens the bread while also adding a touch of robust molasses flavor.
Oil. Choose from either canola oil or coconut oil—even avocado oil would work.
If you’re using coconut oil, make sure the rest of your ingredients are at room temperature so it does not resolidify while mixing.
Vanilla Extract. Enhances the flavor of the banana bread batter.
Spices. This cream cheese banana bread is spiced with a blend of nutmeg and cinnamon.
Reduced-Fat Cream Cheese. The base of a lightened-up cream cheese filling that’s still rich, decadent, and satisfying.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
Make the cream cheese filling.
Mash the banana with the wet ingredients.
Combine the dry ingredients, then add to the wet ingredients. Gently stir until the flour disappears. Don’t overmix!
Dollop the cream cheese mixture and banana bread batter into the pan in layers.
Swirl with a knife.
Bake the cream cheese banana bread at 350 degrees for 55 to 75 minutes. Let cool and ENJOY!
For best results:
Check the cream cheese banana bread after about 40 minutes.
If the bread starts to brown too much at the corners before it’s baked through, tent it with foil.
The most foolproof way to know if banana bread is done is to use an instant-read thermometer. When it reaches 200 degrees F at the center, the banana bread is fully cooked.
Here are a few of my favorite tested methods for adapting this cream cheese banana bread recipe:
For Cream Cheese Banana Nut Bread: Fold chopped toasted pecans or walnuts into the banana layer prior to baking.
To Make Cream Cheese Banana Bread with Sweet Cinnamon Topping: Add 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon to the cream cheese layer.
Try as Cream Cheese Banana Muffins: Grease a standard muffin tin. Prepare the batter as directed. Fill the muffin cups three-quarters of the way to the top, then bake at 350 degrees F for 18 to 22 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean (you’ll have 10 to 12 muffins).
To Store. You may store cream cheese banana bread for several hours, covered, at room temperature. Otherwise, due to the cream cheese, I recommend storing cream cheese banana bread in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
To Freeze. Tightly wrap the banana bread in plastic, then store it in a freezer bag for up to three months. Let thaw overnight in the fridge before serving.
No, both coconut flour and almond flour react very differently in baking than wheat flour. You can rarely make this swap easily without modifying the other ingredients. If you’re looking for gluten free banana bread, try this Almond Flour Banana Bread.
Is Banana Bread Bad for You?
I think we can all agree that banana bread isn’t kale. Standard banana bread recipes are certainly not healthy—loaded with sugar, fat, and carbohydrates. This cream cheese banana bread is healthier than other options (as is this Oatmeal Banana Bread), thanks to whole wheat flour, reduced-fat cream cheese, Greek yogurt, and a reduction of processed sugar.
Why is my Banana Bread Gooey?
Gooey banana bread is often underbaked. Always test your bread with a toothpick or an instant-read thermometer for best results. It’s important to remember that banana bread will often look done on the outside long before it is fully set on the inside. If your banana bread is getting too brown, you can always tent it with foil to shield the top from direct heat while the inside finishes baking.
1 1/2cupsoverripe bananas mashedabout 11 ounces or 3 large
1large egg at room temperature
1/3cupnonfat plain Greek yogurt at room temperature
1/3cuppure maple syrup or honey
2tablespoonsmelted cooled coconut oil* or canola oil
2tablespoonsbrown sugarlight or dark
1 1/2teaspoonspure vanilla extract
3/4cupwhite whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
FOR THE CREAM CHEESE FILLING:
4ouncesreduced fat cream cheeseat room temperature
2tablespoonsnonfat plain Greek yogurtat room temperature
1large eggat room temperature
Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8×4-inch loaf pan with parchment paper so that the paper overhangs the two longer sides like handles. Coat the parchment paper with nonstick spray.
To prepare the cream cheese filling, beat or whisk together the cream cheese, sugar, Greek yogurt, flour, and egg in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside.
Prepare the banana bread batter, mash the bananas until mostly smooth in a large mixing bowl (double-check that you have the right amount or your banana bread may be too moist or too dry).
Whisk in the egg, yogurt, maple syrup, and oil. (If you're using coconut oil and it resolidifies, microwave the bowl for a few seconds to melt it). Then, stir in the brown sugar and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, and gently stir until the flour disappears. Don't overmix!
Pour 1/3 of the banana bread batter into the pan. With two spoons, dollop the cream cheese filling and the remaining banana bread batter alternately over the top to create a batter “mosaic” (you may have more than one layer of the batters; just keep varying it up).
To swirl, insert a butter knife halfway into the batter. Drag it through the batter first vertically a few times (spacing apart each “drag”), then horizontally. Don’t stress over this part: no two swirls are alike, and that’s the beauty of this bread!
Bake the cream cheese banana bread for 55 to 70 minutes, until a thin knife inserted in the center comes out without any banana bread batter sticking to it. Check at the 40-minute mark, then periodically after. If the bread starts to brown too much at the corners before it’s baked through, tent it with foil. The most foolproof way to know if banana bread is done is to use an instant read thermometer. When it reaches 200 to 205 degrees F at the center, it is cooked through.
Place the pan on a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan using the “handles” and set it on the rack to finish cooling completely. Slice and enjoy!
*If using coconut oil, be sure all of the ingredients are at room temperature and the coconut oil has cooled completed to room temperature, or it will resolidify when it touches the cold ingredients.
To bake as muffins (you’ll have around 12): Place paper liners in muffins wells and coat with nonstick spray and dollop the batter as directed. Bake at 350 degrees F for 18 to 22 minutes.
TO STORE: Cream cheese banana bread may be stored for several hours, covered, at room temperature. Otherwise, due to the cream cheese, I recommend storing cream cheese banana bread in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
TO FREEZE: Tightly wrap the banana bread in plastic, then store it in a freezer bag for up to three months. Let thaw overnight in the fridge before serving.