With its aromatic spices, banana bread is a favorite among children and parents.

How to Replace Vegetable Oil for Baking Banana Bread

by Catherine Misener

Freshly baked banana bread is a tantalizing treat. The aroma of spices is sure to get your kids into the kitchen, waiting for their first taste. Banana bread is also easy to freeze and thaw, making it a quick snack or lunch-box item. Most recipes call for vegetable or canola oil, but there are alternatives, including fruit purees and yogurt, that will still produce a tasty, moist banana bread. The trick is in knowing how else to modify your recipe when using specific alternatives.

Fruit and Vegetable Substitutes

Substitute equal amounts of applesauce with the oil called for in your favorite banana bread recipe. Applesauce lends moisture and will also result in a more delicate banana bread. As applesauce does have so much moisture, you can slightly reduce the liquid called for in your recipe and will still have a tender loaf.

Replace all of the vegetable oil called for in your recipe with 1/2 cup of fruit puree. Using pureed prunes will result in a darker bread. You may need to add slightly more liquid, such as additional milk or water, as prunes tend to dry out baked goods. Pureed pears are an excellent choice as they lend moisture without adding extra color to the finished product. Pears also pair well with chocolate chips, which are frequently used in banana bread recipes.

Replace vegetable oil with 3/4 cup of pureed vegetable, such as pumpkin or sweet potatoes. Pumpkin does extremely well in dense baked goods, such as banana bread, and pairs well with the other flavors of the bread. Mashed or pureed sweet potatoes are a good choice if your recipe calls for winter spices, such as nutmeg, cinnamon or cloves.

Dairy Substitutes

Use 3/4 cup of buttermilk to replace all the oil called for in your recipe. Buttermilk will add a light tang to the bread, as well as moisture.

Replace the oil with 3/4 cup of yogurt. Nonfat, reduced fat and flavored yogurts all work well. Try banana-flavored yogurt to bump up the flavor in the bread, or blueberry yogurt to provide complimentary flavors. As yogurt adds extra moisture to the finished product, slightly reduce the liquid called for in the recipe.

Substitute equal amounts of melted butter in place of vegetable oil. While it will not reduce the amount of fat in the bread, it will add a slightly richer flavor.

Items you will need

  • Applesauce, optional
  • Fruit puree, optional
  • Vegetable puree, optional
  • Yogurt, optional
  • Buttermilk, optional
  • Melted butter, optional


  • If you have extra buttermilk, use it to bake muffins or scones. Both will freeze well, which means you will always have a quick after school snack for your kids.


  • When substituting items for vegetable oil, baking times may be reduced and lower fat batters can quickly become over baked. Check the bread 10 to 15 minutes prior to the time specified in the recipe. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean, or with a few crumbs attached.

About the Author

An educator since 1998, Catherine Misener started her writing career in 2009. Her work has appeared in "NW Kids," "The Oregonian" and "Vancouver Family Magazine." She holds a Bachelor of Arts from St. Mary’s University and a Master of Arts from the University of Michigan. After working in the food industry for years, she opened a small batch bakery.

Photo Credits

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