Vegan Banana Walnut Muffins

Vegan Banana Walnut Muffins

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These vegan banana walnut muffins are the perfect breakfast treat! They’re sweetened with ripe bananas and have a little crunch from chopped walnuts. They’re so easy to make, and you can freeze them for future morning meals or snacks.

Three vegan banana walnut muffins are arranged on a white ceramic plate. The plate rests on a white surface.

With Mother’s Day approaching, I’ve had big plans to make my mom some sort of vegan cake.

Last year, at the height of lockdown, I carried my homemade carrot cake 15 blocks to my mother’s apartment, trying not to stumble or fall as I did. I handed the cake to my mom outside of her building, and we gave each other an air hug. Later that day, we went on Zoom and ate slices of the cake together.

Thankfully, this is a very different Mother’s Day and a different kind of birthday for my mom. (Her birthday and Mother’s Day often coincide.) We’re both fully vaccinated, and New York City is reopening in hopeful, exciting ways.

With all of these lovely, springtime developments afoot, I’m still having a hard time with cooking and my recipe writer’s block. As great as baking a layer cake sounds, I think that a simple breakfast muffin is a better edible gift for my mom this year.

And what could be better than moist, sweet, fragrant vegan banana walnut muffins?

An angled, overhead image of vegan banana walnut muffins. They're lined with white paper liners and resting on a white dessert plate with a tan rim.

My favorite low-key baking project

I love baking anything and everything. I’ve had fun making vegan pastries, galettes and pies, buckles and cobbler, cookies and crisp, and lots and lots of cake.

When I’m in a hurry, though—or if I’m stressed out, tired, or feeling a little discombobulated in the kitchen—my go-to is always muffins and quick breads. These banana walnut muffins are my latest favorite!

Quick breads are usually easy to make. One or two bowls, baking powder or soda for leavening, simple formulas that can be adapted with seasonal flavors. I make banana bread year round, zucchini bread in summer, pumpkin bread in the fall. I love how quickly and easily these breads come together, and I enjoy eating and freezing the leftovers for days after I prepare them.

Muffins offer all the goodness of quick bread. However, they’re even faster and easier! It takes no time at all to make muffins—20-25 minutes of baking time. If you have a good scoop and some muffin tin liners at home, they’re fuss free and offer minimal cleanup.

Muffins are also versatile. Once made, they can be breakfast, snack, or dessert. I eat them with nut butter, yogurt, fruit, or some combination of all of those things for breakfast. I also love having them as portable afternoon sweet snacks.

Banana walnut muffin ingredients

The ingredients here are really straightforward, and they mirror those in my other muffin recipes. Main ingredients are:

Unbleached, all-purpose flour

My go-to for baking. You can use part whole wheat flour in this recipe: I’d suggest 1 cup of the 2 1/2 cups of flour that are called for could be whole wheat. If you do 100% whole wheat, the muffins may be a little dense.

Overripe bananas

…and when I say overripe, I mean really overripe! Blackening is good. Riper bananas will mean more flavor, moisture, and sweetness.

Cane sugar

I like to bake with simple cane sugar, but coconut sugar is a fine substitute if you prefer it.

Plant milk

I bake with oat and soy milks primarily, but I also sometimes use almond or cashew milk. You can use any of these in the muffins. I’d recommend against hemp milk, which can be somewhat bitter, and full fat coconut milk, which is more like cream than milk (it’s great in scones!).

Chopped walnuts

I love using chopped walnuts in the banana walnut muffins—and I’m a big fan of the healthful fatty acids that walnuts add to recipes! If you don’t have walnuts, though, you can use chopped pecans, slivered almonds, or shelled hemp seeds.

Can the muffins be made gluten-free?

Definitely! You can use a gluten-free, all-purpose flour blend of choice. My favorite is King Arthur’s Measure for Measure.

A close up image of a rounded, freshly baked muffin in its liner, resting on a plate.

Freezing and storing banana walnut muffins

I store the vegan banana walnut muffins at room temperature for up to two days or in the fridge for up to five days. If you need to store them for longer, I recommend freezing them for up to six weeks. I usually freeze half of a batch of muffins right after I make it, and I eat or share the rest within four days.

More vegan muffin inspiration

Muffins are near and dear to my heart. They’re a homemade snack that makes commercial snack bars pale. And I’m always really excited to remember that I’ve got leftovers in the freezer for breakfast.

Here are some of my other favorite vegan muffins for all seasons!

  • Apple bran muffins
  • Corn & jam muffins
  • Banana chocolate chip muffins
  • Berry hemp spelt muffins
  • Blueberry corn muffins
  • Pumpkin cranberry walnut muffins
  • Carrot raisin bran muffins
  • Zucchini date muffins
  • Chai spiced carrot almond muffins
  • Double chocolate muffins
  • Sour cream and cherry muffins
A small, white ceramic plate with a tan rim holds three freshly baked muffins in their muffin liners.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (300 g)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 overripe bananas, mashed (1 cup)
  • 3/4 cup cane sugar (144 g)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup oat, soy, cashew or almond milk
  • 2/3 cups chopped walnuts

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350F. Oil or line a muffin baking sheet with liners. 
  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, mash up the 3 overripe bananas. Add the sugar, vanilla extract, vegetable oil, and non-dairy milk. Add the wet ingredients to dry and mix until everything is evenly distributed and no streaks of flour remain. (A few small lumps are fine.) Fold in the 2/3 cups chopped walnuts.
  • Use a muffin scoop or 1/3 cup measuring cup to transfer the muffin batter to your prepared baking pan. Bake the muffins for 22-25 minutes, or until they’re domed and golden. 
  • Let the muffins cool for at least 20 minutes before enjoying!
A small dessert plate holds vegan banana walnut muffins. Two are intact, in their liners, while a third has been broken in half.

Just look at that perfect crumb.

These banana walnut muffins are a cozy, comforting delight. They channel all of the nostalgia of banana bread, but in a sweet, neatly portioned little parcel. A perfect thing to make for mothers or mother figures this weekend, if Mother’s Day is a ritual for you. Or a vegan baking treat that’s easy and rewarding for any time at all.

Enjoy!

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