These Spinach Banana Muffins are guaranteed to disappear in no time, they’re so moist and delicious. Plus the color is beyond vibrant, making them super fun! And, just for you, I tested multiple recipes to ensure your success, so let’s get these in your oven…
I’ve been making these Spinach Banana Muffins for years, with rave reviews. This year I decided to test it against some other internet recipes that claim to be “the best” spinach banana muffins, so I could share with you “the best I’ve tried”. One recipe I tested was fully gluten-free, using rolled oats, included eggs in the recipe and almost 2/3 less spinach than my recipe. My Spinach Banana Muffins are egg-free, my recipe uses almond and whole-wheat flours. A third recipe I tried was a lot closer to my recipe but included an egg and the sweetener was honey rather than sugar. Here are my take aways, if you care. If you just want to make my recipe (let me say thank you!), you can hit the Jump to Recipe button and skip all the dissecting details to get started.
What eggs do in baking recipes
Eggs in baking are usually such an important ingredient to ensure a cohesive texture throughout. They add structure and stability in a batter, and the yolk adds some fat to help bind the ingredients together. When eggs are combined with sugar they create a good deal of moisture and flavor.
Why eggs don’t work in every baking recipe
While all of the above information would make you think that eggs are a necessary part of every baking recipe, this is not always the case. Vegan-friendly recipes use substitutions like flax or chia seeds soaked in water with excellent results for creating a good, binding structure. But eggs and egg substitutes are not always needed to create a fabulous cake, muffin or cookie. At the end of this experiment I found that my egg-free recipe creates a super airy, almost melt-in-your-mouth finish.
Almond flour and whole-wheat flour in baking
Of the three recipes I tried (mine being one of them), mine’s the only one that uses almond flour in the recipe. Almond flour paired with whole-wheat flour creates an amazing amount of nutty flour and a fabulous texture that’s not too dense. The catalyst for using half almond flour and half whole-wheat flour was inspired by my Carrot and Quinoa Muffin recipe that is always a hit and many have claimed they’re the best muffins they’ve ever tasted.
Spinach in a muffin recipe
My recipe uses what seems to be almost too much spinach, but when blended with other wet ingredients, the spinach imparts a whole lot of moisture, magnificent emerald green natural coloring, not to mention all the fabulous health benefits of this super-food that your kids crave, said no parent ever.
Honey vs. Sugar in baking
In most muffin, yeast bread, pancake, or waffle recipes, you can use a one-to-one substitution of honey for sugar. However, you need to reduce the other liquid ingredients by about 1/4 cup for every 1 cup of honey that is substituted per 1 cup of sugar. Since, as I mentioned above, the spinach (and the banana) impart a good amount of moisture in the recipe, I only used about 1/4 cup of honey rather than the 2/3 cup of sugar in my recipe. Even though the honey was scant, it affected the overall bright flavor of the muffins that my taste-testers didn’t care for. If you’re wanting less sugar in the recipe, I actually have had a lot of success using less sugar but just know that you’ll experience a bolder spinach flavor that the younger tasters didn’t like as much.
Make your muffins special with this easy little trick
Here’s a fabulous easy trick to boost your muffins, of any kind, to the next level. Just before I put the muffins in the oven for baking, I sprinkle a little granulated sugar over the top of the batter. As the muffins bake, the tops get a very light, crisp top. Just enough added sweetness to the muffins, and the sugar makes for a glossy top, as well.
I could go on with other comparisons, but I don’t want to beat you over the head with my boasting. I am trying to inspire you to make Spinach Banana Muffins, though. Go ahead and compare them to other recipes. Or just stop here when you taste mine and your family devours them. Let me also tell you that my neighbor’s kids, all under 10, had the opportunity to compare my muffins with one of the other recipes and they didn’t want to finish the other recipe but came outside calling my name over the fence to ask for more. I think I don’t need to say more after that visual. 🙂
Spinach Banana Muffins
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1 cup whole-wheat flour
- 2/3 cup sugar plus extra for topping
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon More or less, if desired
Wet Ingredients, plus spinach and banana
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 3/4 cup milk Can use nut milk
- 5 ounces baby spinach One plastic clam shell is usually 5 ounces
- 1 medium banana Very ripe, mashed (no need to measure but approx. 1/2 cup)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees and line two 12-cup muffin pans with 18 paper liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray. If you only have one muffin tin, that's fine, you can bake one batch then the remainder of the batter afterwards (it's fine for the batter to sit while one set is baking).
- Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl: Flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a blender, place the oil, milk and spinach. Blend on high for about 30 seconds or until completely pureed. Add the banana and vanilla; blend on low just to mix.
- Pour the pureed mixture into the combined dry ingredients and fold together until completely combined.
- The batter will be thin, like pancake batter. Let it sit for about 5 minutes to thicken slightly.
- Pour batter into muffin cups, filling 2/3 to 3/4 full. Using your fingers to pinch a bit of sugar, sprinkle over the tops of the muffins lightly with the sugar to thinly but completely cover the tops. This is optional but will provide a delicate crispness to the tops of the muffins. Don't use brown sugar or anything other than regular granulated sugar for this or the tops of the mufffins could get a bit burnt and won't look shiny and appetizing.
- Bake 20 minutes on the middle rack of the oven. Once the tops of the muffins look bright and not too shiny, turn off the oven and open the oven door completely. Slide out the middle rack of the oven with the muffin pan still on the rack, so the pan is still inside the oven but barely. Let the muffins sit like this for 10-15 minutes; this prevents the muffins from sinking but also prevents them from being overcooked and dry.
- Remove the pan from the oven and cool completely on a cooling rack. Serve immediately and place any extras in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
- 5 ounce containers of spinach are easy to find, usually the smaller clear plastic containers are 5 ounces. Bags of spinach usually come in 6 ounce quantity. If you can only find the 6 ounce size, just pull out a loose handful to set aside for another use and you can consider the remainder close enough to 5 ounces.
- I don't recommend substituting the flours in this recipe as the almond flour and whole-wheat flour both contribute to the flavor and texture of these muffins.
- I've made the muffins using less sugar (1/2 cup) with pretty good success but it's worth noting that the spinach flavor is more pronounced with less sugar and that may or may not matter to you. The lower sugar makes it a little harder to keep the muffins from sinking in the middle a bit after baking. The texture is still perfect, however.