If you like to eat just the tops of your muffins, you will love these hearty, dense, and chewy banana muffin tops. They have the perfect balance of crispness from the crust and chewiness inside - like a cross between a cookie and a muffin. I usually make these muffin tops for breakfast (since they are only sweetened with bananas and dates), but they are also great as a snack.
Intense banana flavor is what I strive for when making banana bread or banana muffin tops. It's the flavor that will make or break your banana-sweetened desserts. So if you want to make out-of-this-world banana bread/banana muffin tops, it’s important that you use the right ripeness of bananas. The ideal time to use bananas is when the skin is yellow and heavily coated with brown streaks or spots. The more ripe the bananas, the more starch has been converted to sugar (fructose)*. Green bananas are so high in starch and low in sugar that they can make your muffin tops crumbly, with a mouth-drying astringency. Those that are completely black or bruised can make for very dense, somewhat gummy muffin tops.
*If the bananas are ready to use, but you’re not quite ready to bake, put them in the refrigerator. The gas production slows down ethylene production significantly, reducing the ripening. This will buy you an extra couple of days.
As bananas ripen, much of their characteristic flavor and aroma comes from the development of a compound called eugenol. Baking mutes its flavor, which is why banana bread and banana muffins rarely taste as intense as the batter. According to Stella Parks, a renown pastry chef, eugenol-rich spices, such as cloves and nutmeg, can mitigate that loss, resulting in more banana-y baked goods.
According to Cook's Illustrated a great way to intensify a banana flavor is to make banana syrup that requires microwaving bananas and reducing the resulting "banana juice".
Whatever you do, make sure you don't use green bananas. I have seen tips for roasting green under-ripe bananas in the oven in their skin for 30 minutes in a 350°F oven. This is supposed to concentrate their flavor and make them sweet. I tried it; their skin indeed darkened, but they tasted like green bananas, only mushy. So, be patient, trust the process, and use naturally over-ripe bananas. If green bananas are all you can find, just make apple cake and call it a day!
Tips for Making Banana Muffin Tops
Bananas are sweet, contain moisture, and have binding properties. That's why they make a great substitute for added sugar, butter, and eggs in baked goods. As I already mentioned, the riper the banana, the better.
Ripe bananas are naturally very sweet, but not sweet enough to be the only sweetener. Medjool dates not only increase sweetness, but they also add moisture.
As far as "flour" goes, you can use rolled oats, quinoa flakes, buckwheat flakes, a mix of all three, it's up to you ... I like rolled oats for their texture and neutral flavor, but use mainly quinoa flakes because of their nutritional value. If you are going to use oats, I would recommend rolled oats over instant oats. Rolled oats provide more of a bite whereas instant oats get kind of list in the muffin tops. As eaters, we tend to downplay the importance of texture, but it really does affect our enjoyment of things.
Baking powder provides an extra lift, inflating the muffin tops up and out, so don't leave it out.
Finally, the extracts and spices. I tend to go with vanilla extract (the classic), cinnamon, and eugenol-rich spices, namely cloves and nutmeg, to intensify the banana flavor.
I rely a lot on my high-speed blender and a food processor when I cook. Ideally, you would use one of those appliances to make these muffin tops. However, the good news is that if you buy already made date paste, you don't really need any appliance to make this recipe. Simply mash the bananas with a fork, add the date paste, mix all the other ingredients in (I would probably use instant oats instead of rolled oats in this case), and you've got the banana muffin tops mixture ready in no time.
If you are using a food processor, you'll need to make these muffin tops in two stages. First, puree the bananas and dates. I let my food processor run for a few minutes to get the dates form a nice smooth paste. Once you have the banana-date paste ready, use the pulse button to just incorporate all the other ingredients. The less you process the oats, the more texture you'll get.
It's important to note that there are many ways to increase texture. For instance, I like to use oat flour/quinoa flour in my banana bread (as opposed to rolled oats/quinoa flakes), but add chopped pecans for a little bit of crunch. Melt-y chocolate chips are a great addition too.
Bake the banana muffin tops at 350°F/175°C until firm on top and golden brown on the bottom.
Tools You'll Need
1. Food Processor (Breville Sous Chef) | 2. Griddle (12-Inch, Lodge, Cast Iron) | 3. Knife Set (6 Pieces, Utopia, Stainless Steel) | 4. Cutting Board (24″x 18″, Michigan Maple Block, Maple) | 5. Measuring Cup (1 Cup, Anchor Hocking, Glass) | | 6. Measuring Cups (Set of 6, Bellemain, Stainless Steel) | 7. Measuring Spoons (Set of 6, 1Easylife, Stainless Steel)
Nutrition Refined is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites — at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support
Banana Muffin Tops
- 2 ripe bananas
- ½ cup Medjool dates , pitted
- ¼ cup coconut oil , melted
- 2 cups quinoa flakes *
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. cinnamon , ground
- ½ tsp. cloves , ground
- ¼ tsp. nutmeg , ground
- ½ cup pecans , chopped (optional)
- pinch sea salt
- Toast the pecans (optional). Heat a dry skillet over medium-low heat. Spread the pecans in a single layer. Toast the pecans, stirring occasionally, until nutty and crunchy, 3-5 minutes. When cool enough to handle, coarsely chop the pecans. Set aside.
- Blend the dates and bananas. Add the bananas, dates,, coconut oil, and vanilla extract into a food processor and blend until completely smooth.
- Prepare the batter. Add the quinoa flakes/rolled oats, baking powder, spices, and salt, and pulse until just combined. A few pulses are all you need. (If you're using rolled oats, you might want to pulse the mixture a little bit longer, so the oats are roughly chopped). Finally, fold in the pecans (optional).
- Bake the muffin tops. Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C. Using a large ice cream scoop (or a large spoon), spoon about 3 tablespoons of the batter onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Do not press the batter down - it should resemble a muffin top. Bake for 15-20 minutes (depending on the size of the muffin tops), or until golden brown on the bottom. Let cool completely before serving.
- Store, Leftover muffin tops keep well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5-7 days. For longer term storage, freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
**Nutrition information is approximate and may contain errors. Please, feel free to make your own calculations.
**Nutrition information is calculated without optional ingredients.
This recipe has been adapted from Oh She Glows.
I skipped the oil and added 1 small teaspoon of psyllium husk and 4 tbsp water instead.
Baked for 15 at 175.
They turned out sooooooo good and soft, thank you for the recipe!!!
Hi Dia - that sounds awesome! Thank you for sharing your substitutions. I am sure it will help other people who are avoiding oils. I am so glad the muffin tops turned out great! Thank you once again for taking the time to comment.
First time on, very impressed with your techniques :))
Thank you so much for sharing!!!
Thank you so much Tami! Welcome to Nutrition Refined ❤
Hi, I have tried them today. So fast and easy, or mabey you have explained it in such a easy way. My kids are not used to such a thing, but I eat them all 🙂 I love them. I had to put a little bit of almond milk into processor as the dates we not as soft as needed. I have tried several your recipies like bounty, lime cake - beautiful.
Thank you for sharring in such a delisious way!
Thank you so much Svetlana! I really appreciate your comment. I am so happy you're enjoying the recipes. Fortunately, my 3-year old doesn't know anything else so she devours these muffin tops every time I make them 🙂
Hi, Petra, and thank you very much for this recipe. I was so excited to try this, so I decided to make the muffins this evening, but I had some problems in converting cups with grams for each of the ingredients. I made a research in internet but quantities were always different. Could you suggest me a trustworthy table in order to be the most precise possible? Thank you so much.
Hi Desiree - for sure. 1/2 cup Medjool dates = 4-5 Medjool dates, 1/4 cup coconut oil = 50 g, 2 cups rolled oats = 180 g, 1 tsp. baking powder = 4 g, 1 tsp. vanilla extract = 4 g. Hope it helps 🙂
Thank you so much!
Hi Petra, thank you for sharing this recipe. I’ve done and they are delicious. When I done it I didn’t had Coconut oil, so I used olive oil, and it’s good. I also put some flaxseeds and sunflower seeds.
Next time i’ll do them in a bar shape.
All the best
Hi Filipe - That's SO good to hear! I am so happy you liked the banana muffin tops. Thank you for letting me know and sharing your feedback. I really appreciate it.
Hi lovely web site and recipes, very organized and easy instructions, I'm happy I found you. About these banana muffins that look so delicious, could I possibly use a dehydrator instead of baking them? Let me know, and if I do bake them is it certain that it will still remain raw even at that temperature?
Hi Tyran - thank you! I am happy you're enjoying the website 🙂 You could dehydrate the muffin tops at 115 F (technically, there is no ingredient that needs to be cooked/baked). However, I would make the muffin tops a bit smaller (mini muffin tops) so they don't take forever to firm up. Please, let me know if you have any other questions 🙂
Just made these for my family; they are delicious! My son thought they were cookies and will be happy to have cookies for breakfast tomorrow:) thank you! Your directions were easy and simple to follow as usual, which I love.
Yay! So happy to hear that. Thank you so much for the feedback and rating!
My way of little adjustment here was applesauce instead of coconut oil or vegan butter.
Still soooo gooood~~~
Hi Priscilla - thank you so much for the comment. I am glad the muffin tops turned out well even without the oil. I am sure other readers will appreciate the feedback❤
HI Petra, thanks for this wonderful recipe. I made it last night and my little guy ate two and told me to put one in his lunch bag. He came back today and asked me to make more for tomorrow's snack. He said to try it with strawberries because they belongs together. Thanks again.
Aw, how cute! I am so happy your little boy enjoyed the muffin tops! I have to make some for Katie (my 3-year old) soon - she loves them too 😉
I really love your recipes. I have made this numerous times. I have passed this recipe on to a number of friends they all love it as well.
Thank you so much for the comment and for sharing the recipe with your friends! I am happy you enjoyed it so much 🙂
Hi Petra, this is like the 5th time making these for my 11 year old. He continues to ask for them for school snack. Thank you for sharing this healthy delicious recipe.
I am so happy your little is enjoying these, Iris. They are always a hit with my daughter too 🙂
May I know any substitution of banana and dates with other ingredient for diabetic people? Thanks
Hi Khim - may I ask why you need to substitute the bananas? I am asking because one of my very close family members has diabetes yet can eat bananas. A ripe yellow banana has a GI of 51, and is categorized as a low GI food. As far as dates go, a study that tested the effect of eating dates on healthy individuals and on those with diabetes found that dates do not cause significant glucose spikes in the blood. According to that study, dates - just like bananas - are also considered a low GI food, and therefore may be beneficial for diabetics as part of a healthy diet. Now, I am not saying that you should start eating bananas and/or dates if your doctor advised you not to. I just wanted to share this with you. If bananas and dates aren't ok on your diet, is there any fruit - fresh and/or dried - that you're ok with?
Ahhaa I have misconception that bananas and dates are not suitable for diabetes all these while and now I understand that, Thanks for your sharing and very sincere sharing of all the recipes in the website. Love it so much! I am planning to start exploring some of it!
I just found your wonderful recipes. The nutrition information you provide is so helpful!! I’m trying to eat low GI for mid life weight loss. These muffins will be a great treat!
Thank you so much for the comment, Sherry! Hope you enjoy the muffins. ❤️
Now it's my favorite cookie to make and eat for breakfast and between the meals!!
I can say that it's almost the best cookie I've ever tried in my life! So simple and fast to make! Simple and affordable ingredients!
So yummy, so healthy choice for breakfast! I made them as it is in the recipe, I made them with walnuts, with chocolate, with buckwheat sometimes, with coconut flakes.
I enjoy them with my tea or cacao at the morning, I take them with me for walk and for travelling by car and by airplane!
I do not exaggerate - it is a very good recipe, very tasty and of course healthy like all your recipes!
I'm so grateful to you for your help, Petra!
From the time I found your channel I changed so mane things in my cooking routine, I eat more healthy, my dishes became more various, more diverse and some of your recipes I make every,every week!!! For example, banana muffin tops, flax seed wraps, tempered chocolate, now I began to make Pan Cakes often enough, I learned from you how to make delicious broth for soups and I make it almost every week as well!!
There are so many recipes and channels on the Internet but I do not trust all of them! I'm happy that I can be sure that your ideas in cooking, your recipes and your advises will help me in my every day cooking and I definitely will have a superior, great result at the end!
Thank you again and again, Petra!
Yay! You're such a good recipe tester, Evgenia 🙂 Katie (my 4-year old) LOVES this recipe too. She usually likes variety, but consistently keeps asking for these muffin tops for breakfast. They freeze really well too (in case you wanted to make a huge batch 🙂
I have a lot of frozen bananas in my freezer. Would they work with this recipe or would they be too runny?
Hi Jolene - IF you have a lot of "banana juice", I would strain some of it (so you can actually form the muffin tops). If there's not too much, I would just leave the juice in (the juice has always been in the bananas - you're not adding any extra liquid).
My dear Petra, could you kindly let me know if I can substitute 2 bananas in this recipe for 2 or 4 flax eggs?
Sometimes I don't have ripe bananas or apple sauce but want so much to make this muffin tops, so I have been thinking for some months how I can substitute the bananas in this delicious recipe :))
Thank you so much for your reply!
To be honest, I have always replaced banana in a recipe with either apple sauce or some other fruit puree. Considering that both bananas and flaxseed meal are binding ingredient, it might be just fine. However, you might need to increase the amount of dates (since the bananas also provide sweetness). Let me know how it goes if you give it a try 🙂
And what about the taste if you do these cookies with apple sauce instead of banana?
Can you feel the taste of apples?
Also, could you please tell me the approximate amount of apple sauce that can be equal to two ripe bananas?
And another one question, how many days I can keep apple sauce in the fridge in order to use it later?
Thank you so much for your reply, Petra!!!
It really depends on whether you make your own applesauce at home or whether you buy it in the store (make sure you buy unsweetened apple sauce). Unopened (store-bought) apple sauce lasts a really long time. Opened (or homemade) apple sauce lasts 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator. One small banana is equivalent to 1/4 cup apple sauce, so I would use 1/2 cup to replace 2 bananas. The apple sauce will definitely change the flavor (just like you can taste banana in muffins, you will be able to taste apples), but the flavor is very mild. The apple sauce provides sweetness and moisture more than anything. I guess you will just have to give it a try to find out 🙂
Dear Petra, thank you so much for your detailed answer!
I really appreciate your help, your opinion and wise advice!
I made your Banana Muffin Tops five times, lol. I sincerely love them. They are a perfect breakfast snack for me.
Thank you for sharing your gift.
Thank you so much for your feedback, Marsha! ❤️ I am so happy you love the recipe.
I can't eat oats, what can I substitute it for? Maybe buckwheat or buckwheat flour?
Thanks for letting me know.
Hi Ana - I have only tried this recipe with quinoa flakes (as a substitute for the oats), and it worked just fine. I have never tried it with buckwheat flour. Please, let me know how it goes if you give it a try.
Really pleased I found your site with such heavenly recipes.
Am getting ready to make banana muffin top and would like to know the calorie value of one muffin please
So sorry for the late reply, Dorothy! I just added the nutrition label into the recipe box.
I am so happy to have discovered your website during my new journey in managing candida and inflammation. One of the hardest things is finding good gluten free products that are not filled with unwanted ingredients and which actually taste good - in addition to how expensive most of these processed products are!
I have tried 4 of your recipes and they have all been great and so easy - nut & seed bread, flax seed wrap, peanut butter cookies and these banana muffin tops. What I also love about your recipes is that they are so flexible. For example, since I am to avoid dates, I replaced them in the banana muffin top recipe with prunes and also replaced a 1/4 cup of the oat flour with flaxseed meal for some extra fiber :-).
Thanks for all your great recipes!
That's amazing! Thank you so much for your feedback, Wancy! ❤️ So happy you are enjoying the recipes.
Petra, I'm very surprised that you would use coconut oil or for that matter, any oil. Coconut is highly saturated, causing some of the same symptoms and eventual disease as saturated animal fats. These fats are not fully dissolved in the bloodstream. As they circulate, they plug up our endothelial cells, preventing those from releasing nitric oxide gas, whose sole purpose is to speed the blood flow. When we need that extra adrenaline rush, with atherosclerosis in our arteries and veins, we develop heart problems such as death and brain injuring strokes. Check out stateside docs, Esselstyn, Greger, Campbell, Brooks, McDougall and nutritionist Jeff Nelson.
Hi John - thank you for your comment and for sharing your knowledge. I am constantly learning and always open to new research. I will definitely check the studies/doctors you mentioned. Thank you!
Dear Petra, John, please watch the Dr Berg's video about the Coconut Oil.
He is an amazing and smart doctor with huge knowledge about health and nutrition.
From my own experience and according to other doctors, I totally agree with his statements.
You will find out that the coconut oil is very beneficial for our health 😉