Oil-Free Banana Muffins

BY : PUBLISHED : September 8th, 2021 UPDATED: October 25th, 2021

This healthy banana muffin recipe is 100% oil-free, using unsweetened applesauce in its place. The result? Fluffy, moist banana applesauce muffins that are egg-free, dairy-free, and with reduced sugar! Once baked, enjoy these healthy vegan banana muffins for breakfast, a snack, or even dessert!

several Oil-Free Banana Muffins on cooling rack against white background

Healthy, Oil-Free Banana Applesauce Muffins

Even as vegans, we weren’t immune to the banana bread craze that swept the globe last year. Luckily, not only are banana baked goods incredibly easy to make, but they’re also primarily made up of pantry staples, making them wonderfully budget-friendly, too! In fact, alongside moist vegan banana bread, we also whipped up banana pancakes, vegan banana muffins, and then these healthy banana applesauce muffins, too!

This healthy banana muffin recipe omits all oil, replacing it with unsweetened applesauce. Since applesauce is also naturally sweet, this recipe uses a reduced amount of granulated sugar, yielding wonderfully moist (yes, even oil-free!), hearty, healthy vegan banana muffins that are low in fat and high in fiber! In fact, not only does applesauce make for a great oil alternative, but it’s also an excellent vegan egg replacer. In fact, we’ve also used it within this lemon poppy seed snack cake, triple ginger cookies, vegan peach bread, and salted caramel brownies!

Even better, this oil-free banana muffins recipe uses just 9 ingredients and allows for several optional add-ins and flavor variations. Plus, you can even adapt it to using just one bowl. Serve alone, slathered with a bit of jam, alongside a bowl of fruit, topped with a scoop of ice cream, or with a steaming mug of coffee. You can even freeze them for up to 3 months. In fact, I recommend whipping up a double batch to meal prep for later!

Luckily, these healthy vegan banana muffins are light enough that you can enjoy them as a snack guilt-free! And feel free to save some freezer space for other delicious vegan muffins, too, like peach blueberry muffins, carrot cake muffins, pumpkin muffins, and/or pineapple walnut muffins!

The Ingredients and Substitutes

As with all banana bread/cake goodies, this healthy banana muffin recipe requires just a few simple and pantry staples, including:

  • Bananas: Use overripe bananas with lots of brown spots for sweeter flavor. 
  • Flax seeds: You can use ground flaxseed or chia seeds. These will combine with warm water to prepare an egg substitute. 
  • Applesauce: Applesauce is used in place of oil in this healthy banana muffin recipe. Plus, it’s naturally sweet, meaning you can reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe too!
  • Sugar: Use any granulated sugar; regular granulated, cane sugar, or brown sugar (make sure that the sugar is vegan). You can even use an unrefined option like coconut sugar. 
  • Milk: Any dairy-free milk will work; almond, coconut, cashew, oat, etc. 
  • Flour: Regular all-purpose flour works best. You may be able to use a gluten-free AP flour blend too, but we haven’t tried, so we can’t guarantee results.
  • Leavening agents: These healthy banana muffins with applesauce take advantage of both baking powder and baking soda for lift and a fluffy texture. Make sure they’re both in date first, too!
  • Cinnamon: Technically optional, but we love the added flavor of cinnamon. A little nutmeg would also make for a delicious addition. 
  • Salt: Just a little salt helps to enhance the flavor in this sweet treat. 

Oil-Free Banana Muffins ingredients in white bowls on white surface

Optional Add-ins and Variations:

  • Chocolate: Use your favorite dairy-free dark chocolate, sugar-free if possible if you want these healthy banana muffins with applesauce to remain healthier/low-sugar. 
  • Vanilla: You can never go wrong with a bit of natural vanilla extract in muffins.
  • Citrus zest: Another way to lightly ‘fragrance’ the banana applesauce muffins is to add around 1 tsp lemon/orange zest. 
  • Nuts: Add a handful of chopped nuts like walnuts, almonds, or pecans. For a nut-free version, use pepitas or sunflower seeds instead. 
  • Berries: Blueberries (like these blueberry banana muffins) or raspberries work particularly well. I recommend adding around ¼- 1/3 cup – you can use fresh or frozen (unthawed). 
  • Dried fruit: Alternatively, add dried fruit in the form of raisins, cranberries, blueberries, etc. Around ¼-1/3 cup.
  • Whole wheat vegan banana muffins: You can substitute up to half the regular AP flour for whole wheat (swap more, and the muffins will become dense, so it’s not recommended). 

How to Make Healthy Vegan Banana Muffins?

Keep scrolling to the recipe card for the complete list of ingredients and recipe instructions!

  1. First, preheat the oven to 350F/175C. Then, combine the ground flaxseed/chia seeds and warm water, whisk, and allow to sit and thicken for 10 minutes. 
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, use a fork to mash the bananas until fairly smooth. Then add the remaining wet ingredients (applesauce, milk, and flax eggs), and mix. 
  3. In a separate bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and whisk. Then slowly add the wet mixture, mixing in-between. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as you go and try not to overmix the batter. When ready, the batter should still be thick. You can also mix the batter in a food processor/blender if preferred until just combined. OR transform this recipe into a one-bowl version by mixing it all in a large bowl, adding the dry ingredients to the wet without pre-mixing.
  4. Transfer the vegan banana muffin batter to a lined and/or greased cupcake tin and bake for 17-20 minutes, or until the muffins are lightly browned and cooked through. To test, use a toothpick to insert into the center of a cupcake. When ready, it should come out dry. 
  5. Then, remove the banana applesauce muffins from the oven and allow them to cool for 10-15 minutes before removing them from the cupcake tin and enjoying immediately or saving for later!

several Oil-Free Banana Muffins on cooling rack against white background

How to Make-Ahead and Store?

It’s possible to prepare the muffin batter up to a day in advance. Omit the leavening agents from the batter (until right before baking) and keep covered in the refrigerator. 

Once baked, store the healthy banana muffins loosely at room temperature for 2-3 days or in the refrigerator for up to a week. 

Alternatively, freeze the banana applesauce muffins on a tray until solid, then transfer them to a freezer-safe container/bag for up to 3 months. When you want one, either allow it to thaw in the fridge overnight or thaw/reheat in the microwave. 

Top Recipe Tips and FAQs

  • Adjust the sweetness: You can reduce the sugar further (or entirely!) – especially if your bananas are particularly overripe. If omitting altogether, you may need an extra couple spoonfuls of flour, though the muffins will be slightly denser.
  • Use the spoon and level method: When measuring flour, it’s best to spoon it into your measuring cup before using a knife to level the top. If you scoop the cup directly into your flour, you’ll end up with too much and dense muffins. 
  • For mini healthy banana muffins with applesauce: Simply use two mini muffin tins and reduce the baking time slightly. 
  • If your bananas aren’t ripe enough: Speed up the process by baking the bananas (in their skin) for 15-20 minutes at 350F. Allow to cool, then remove the blackened skin, and mash. 
  • Don’t overmix the batter: If you do, you’ll overdevelop the gluten in the flour and end up with dense muffins. 
  • Can I use frozen bananas? Yes, just make sure they’re fully thawed and drained of any excess liquid first. Read here for how to freeze bananas (perfect for Banana ice-cream (nice cream), cherry banana smoothie, or banana kale smoothie)
  • Can I make this into a loaf? You sure can – the only change is the baking time – possibly between 30-40 minutes but check with a toothpick/skewer. 

close up of banana muffin split with banana muffins in the background

More Vegan Banana Recipes

Photos by Alfonso Revilla

several Oil-Free Banana Muffins on cooling rack against white background

Oil-Free Banana Muffins

Shannon
This healthy banana muffin recipe is 100% oil-free, using unsweetened applesauce in its place. The result? Fluffy, moist banana applesauce muffins that are egg-free, dairy-free, and with reduced sugar!
4.88 from 16 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 muffins
Calories 135 kcal
METHOD Baking
DIET Vegan

Ingredients
  

  • 2 very ripe bananas, peeled
  • cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2/3 cup unbleached sugar
  • 2 vegan egg substitutes or 2 Tbs ground flax seeds
  • if using flax seeds: 6 Tbs warm water
  • ¼ cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon optional

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Meanwhile, make your 'eggs' using either your vegan egg-replacer of choice or flax seeds. Mix the flax seeds with the warm water and let sit. If using other egg replacers, make them according to the directions on the package. You want to make enough for two 'eggs'.
  • Mash the bananas in a medium bowl with a fork until you get a mushy consistency. Add the wet ingredients to the bananas and mix.
  • Mix dry ingredients together in a separate bowl and slowly add it to the wet mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl while mixing, noting that the batter will be somewhat thick.
  • Pour batter into lined cupcake pan, or you could also go without liners as long as you grease the pan or use a non-stick option.
  • Bake for 17-20 minutes or until muffins are cooked throughout. Enjoy these warm or cooled, just make sure they cool down a little after taking them out of the oven.

Nutrition

Calories: 135kcalCarbohydrates: 30gProtein: 2gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 201mgPotassium: 111mgFiber: 1gSugar: 14gVitamin A: 34IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 20mgIron: 1mg
Keyword banana, breakfast, healthy, healthy breakfast, muffins, oil free, vegan, vegetarian
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