Sesame Banana Bread Recipe

A banana bread absolutely packed with sesame seeds, made with a blend of whole wheat and white flour, yogurt, ripe bananas, and lemon zest.

Sesame Banana Bread

I brought this twist on banana bread on our ill-fated camping trip. I imagined a slice of it would be perfect mid-hike, preferably somewhere near an alpine lake. We have an endless amount of toasted sesame seeds around the house (jars, bags, bins), because Wayne bakes the sesame version of the Tartine country loaf a couple times a week. I was set on the idea of banana bread for the hike, and it occurred to me that a sesame banana bread might be something worth trying, with a tangy lemon icing that cuts. And the way I imagined it, this loaf wouldn't have just a sprinkling of sesame seeds, it would be sesame madness.

Sesame Banana Bread RecipeSesame Banana Bread RecipeSesame Banana Bread Recipe

A couple shots for the campsite and the drive in. I think I took five frames with my camera, before getting sick. These were three of them :/

Sesame Banana Bread Recipe

If you make the bread, I'll tell you, I like the mix of black and white sesame seeds. The black ones are more visible and seem to lend a more direct sesame flavor. Also, feel free to experiment with the glaze. Initially, I thought I'd try to make a vanilla-tahini glaze, but in the mad dash to get the car packed, I went for the lemon glaze I knew set nicely, (and because the lemon offsets the denseness of the banana crumb nicely)...

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Sesame Banana Bread

As I mention up above, I use a mix of black and white sesame seeds. More than anything, it makes the seeds more visible.

1 cup / 4.5 oz / 125g all-purpose flour

1 cup / 5 oz / 140g whole wheat flour

3/4 cup / 4.5 oz / 125 g dark brown sugar (or muscovado)

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

1 1/3 cups / 7 ounces / 200 g toasted sesame seeds

1/3 cup / 80 ml extra-virgin olive oil

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/2 cups / 12 oz / 340 g mashed, VERY ripe bananas (~3 bananas)

1/4 cup / 60 ml plain, whole milk yogurt
 (or keffir)
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest


For the glaze:

1/2 cup / 3 oz / 85 g sifted dark brown sugar (muscovado)

1/2 cup / 2 oz / 55g confectioners' sugar

4-6 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350° F, and place a rack in the center. Butter and flour a 9- by 5- inch (23 x 13 cm) loaf pan, or equivalent.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add 1 cup / 5 1/2 oz / 150g + 1 tablespoon of the sesame seeds and combine well.

In a separate bowl, mix together the olive oil, eggs, mashed banana, yogurt, and zest. Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture and fold with a spatula until just combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until golden brown, about 45 minutes. You want to achieve beautiful color on the cake, but at the same time you don't want to bake all the moisture out of it. So the minute you're in that zone, pull it, erring on the side of under-baking versus over.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn the loaf out of the pan to cool completely.

While the cake is cooling, prepare the glaze. In a bowl, whisk together the sugars and the lemon juice until smooth. When the cake is completely cool, drizzle the glaze on top of the cake, spreading with a spatula to cover, and finish with the remaining sesame seeds.

Serves 10.

This is a quirky variation of Melissa Clark's beautiful banana bread (which I wrote up last year).

Prep time: 10 minutes - Cook time: 45 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!
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Hello Heidi: from Trinidad, W.I. Firstly I do enjoy your blogs. I made this bread recently and it was very delicious. I never used olive oil or sesame seeds whenever I made banana bread. I loved its texture. Also my family enjoyed it.


I love how the sesame seeds speckled in the glaze looks like a sort of inverse of the brown and dark brown in the grain of the bread. Beautiful!


This looks amazing! I love the abundance of sesame seeds in there. This is going on my "must try" list asap.


I made this bread last week and it was delicious! I've never used toasted sesame seed before in banana bread, but I prefer this recipe over others I have tried. Do you think if I used a small amount of roasted sesame oil, would that mask the banana flavour? Have you tried this option before?

HS: Hi! You know, I considered this addition as well - but held back at the last minute. If you try, report back!


Dear Heidi: hello from Portugal! I had to come and comment on this recipe because, after years of checking your blog I finally tried one of your recipes. And it was an instant hit! So much that I am seriously tempted of putting this banana bread to the test and making it into a layered cake - complete with cream cheese filling (I served the cake with a mascarpone and greek yogurt mixture and people loved it, so I am tweeking a little bit further). Hope this is the first of many recipes I'll try.


I made a high-energy runner version of this loaf with chia seeds instead of sesame. didn't glaze it but I love how the bread came out.


I made this bread two days ago and am loving my recurring breakfast. It is unlike any banana bread I've made--so hearty. Thank you!

Betsy Miller

It took my bananas a good week to get to the VERY ripe stage, and I'm SO glad I resisted the urge to slice them up and layer them on peanut butter toasts each morning! I'm a big fan of yours Heidi and this recipe is just another WOW! I used whole spelt flour instead of the whole wheat flour and cold pressed macadamia oil instead of the olive oil. I was a short 50g of banana so used extra yoghurt instead. I'm a VERY hard critic when it comes to baked goods and I have to say this sesame banana bread is pure perfection. Absolutely love the lemon glaze too.


I made this bread early this morning ! I used 4 bananas and 1/3 cup plain yogurt. It was very early and I forgot the oil. As far as I can tell it made no difference. DELICIOUS MOIST and GORGEOUS!! What purpose does the oil serve?


Saw a recent tip for increasing banana-iness by adding an extra, then microwaving bananas until juices run out. Reduce the juice on stove top until syrupy then add back to the batter.What a combo with your fabulous looking recipe!


Heidi, can I put the batter into a muffin try i.e. make the "bread" into muffins? Also, can I use 2 cups of All Purpose instead of 1+1 of APF and whole wheat flour?

HS: Apologies for the delayed response Tricia (family vacation!)...yes, and your baking time if you make muffins, it will be shorter. And you should be fine with apf.

Tricia Kat

Just made this, with a few modifications- all whole wheat pastry flour, bunt pan instead of loaf, half poppy/half sesame seeds- all to great success. Thank you for years of great recipes and natural kitchen advise!


Thanks for sharing this recipe. I just made the bread and it is fantastic! I didn't have black sesame seeds so I used poppy seeds and they added a great flavor and texture. I also didn't have any confectioner's sugar, which totally bummed me out because your glaze looks amazing... I'll have to make it again just for the glaze.


This sounds scrumptious. I haven't had bananas all summer because of a terrible fruit fly problem, but I've been craving them. This will be the first thing I make once I attempt to bring the bananas back:)


I might have thought banana and poppy seeds, but would not have imagined sesame - might have to try!

Jayne Rogers

Beautiful. I just made it and the smell in my apartment, that comes from the fresh banana bread mixed with toasted seeds...HEAVEN. What do you/all of you, suggest that goes well with banana bread? I was thinking to have it for breakfast with big bowl of cocoa and cottage cheese, or maybe with jam? How do you prefer it?


This looks wonderful! With fall FINALLY around the corner, I have banana bread on the mind. I'll definitely have to try this!

julie @ the semi-reformed nerd

Love banana bread!! I wonder would it work if I substituted soya yogurt for the whole milk yogurt as my daughter can't have dairy. Perfect snack for her to take to school :)

Jessica Bourke

If you do come up with a vanilla-tahini glaze, please share, that sounds like a wonderful idea!


Well, it looks just delicious. The last time I took banana bread on a camping trip it was in the form of muffins and the rich moist flavor was perfect then too. :) Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

What makes the sesame banana bread look even more enticing is the sexy man in plaid holding it. Very cool recipe!

Julia {The Roasted Root}

I'm so sorry you got sick on your trip! Ugh. This banana bread looks fantastic; I'm a huge sesame fan, too. : )


Wow! The views are stunning and the bread looks delicious. I would have never thought to combine bananas and sesame seeds :)

Christina @ The Beautiful Balance

Oh my, this is good. I had only one cup of sesame seeds, so I put in some toasted coconut too - and only two bananas, so I mashed up some red raspberries. Sesame/banana/coconut/raspberry bread - amazing!


For any vegans wondering, I have veganised this recipe successfully using 2tbs flax + 6tbs water for the egg and using homemade soy yoghurt for the yoghurt, though applesauce works okay too (I prefer it with the yoghurt). Thank you for a lovely recipe!!


For a yogurt substitution - maybe canned coconut milk? Without shaking the can - use only the thickest part, off the top. I have not tried it yet, but I sometimes cook dairy free and that would probably be my first and easiest non-dairy go to, apart from making a nut milk yogurt of some sort.


I read the post yesterday morning, I baked it in the afternoon, it was really good, even without the glaze ( we couldn't wait till it cooled down ). I used a little rye flour. I wellcomed the recipe because it is so hot here, bananas ripe in only a couple of days!


You have such a talent for turning regular simple dishes into something extraordinary, just by making small twists - like adding sesame seeds to a banana bread! Looks really good (like everything else you make!)


It looks delicious, can't wait to try it!


We used to have banana bread for breakfasts and snacks when I was a kid, but I've never had it with sesame seeds before and I have plenty at home too.... love the idea !

Taste it if you can

Coincidently, I have three super ripe bananas just crying out to be whipped into something delicious! happiness... dannelle@nestenterprises


How would you make the vanilla-tahini glaze? It sounds intriguing.


This may just break me out of my chocolate-chip banana bread rut... though the gentleman may rant and rail about the removal of chocolate.

Diane, A Broad

Your lemony olive oil banana bread has become a staple in my kitchen. I make it every other week. Can't wait to try this one as well although I'm sure that I will miss the chocolate chunks and the sesame seeds will not be enough to replace them. I know my taste buds just too well, I know it's going to happen!


a steven alan shirt?

HS: Let me ask! Answer: J.Crew.


This bread looks both delicious and intriguing! I can only imagine what kind of exciting flavour a combination of sesame, banana, and lemon might produce! As soon as I hop on down to the grocer's, I'll have to pick up a whole bunch of sesame seeds to bring this bread into fruition here at my house. Cheers and happy baking!

Sophie @ happyspinach

Bummer that you got sick!! Well, the banana bread looks delicious.


The glace with muscovado sugar & lemon together with sesam seeds and banana bread - mmm! This bread might be our new favorite snack on the weekend trips to swimming - I look forward of baking this!


Oh my gosh, this sounds unbelievably great. I'm in love with anything sesame, and I especially love using the look and flavor of black sesame seeds.

Tea Foodie [by Zanitea]

This looks like such a lovely take on banana bread! Reuben would love the lemon glaze. :) So sorry your camping trip didn't go well - hope you're feeling better!

Erica Lea

yum, heidi! i have four really really ripe bananas in my freezer right now... i was going to make this one ingredient ice cream, but i just can't bring myself to make it. i do not know why. however, when i saw this bread i got so excited! i have lots of muscovado sugar calling out to me too that i have been wanting to use. thanks for yet another yummy treat!


This sounds delicious! I'm trying it as soon as it's cool enough to turn on the oven (here in Phoenix, I stop baking during the summer.) ;) A bit off subject, but I have to ask - what brand of camera bag is Wayne carrying in the fourth photo? I love it!

HS: Hi Allie - search for Domke waxwear F-6 / Domke Little Bit Smaller bag - great bag.


What a bummer, sorry that you fell ill on your camping trip! i was out very sick in Oahu! I understand. Thanks for the brilliant banana bread recipe.


Beautiful idea ! Thank you.

Kelly Turnbull

We just had a somewhat ill-fated camping trip recently too. Planned all of the snacks, the perfect breakfasts, the charged up camera batteries, the whole thing. And then there was non-stop rain, unseasonable cold, and the scariest thunderstorm ever. You kind of have to laugh I guess. Your banana bread sounds like a lovely consolation though. Hope you're feeling better :)

HS: We must have been at the same campsite. Seriously, a lightening strike IN the campground. Scary. But only a couple hours of rain ;)


Looks good. But, I'm still trying to figure out if this is supposed to be a sort of bread or more like a cake. Please let me know.

Janet Paula

Hi Hiedi, I made banana nut bread on Saturday! Wished I had this one; but no avail, will try next time around. The only difference will be my substitution of the sugars with non-sweetener products. Having diabetetes, I have to watch the carb intake. Thanks again! You're the best.


hi heidi! i made this icing a few weeks ago when i tried your lemony olive oil banana bread. the bread was delicious, but the icing not so much. what's your secret to not having it turn out grainy....did i not wisk it long enough?? love your recipes. they're such a joy to make. HS: Hi Mary - I definitely sift my sugars and then whisk, whisk, whisk....any lumps/grain usually work themselves out.

mary frances

Hello! I received the e-mail about this post at 5:30pm(Paris time) and at 6:30pm these little banana cakes were on their way to the oven! How perfect, I was already planning to make banana bread for staff meal because we had some overripe bananas hanging around, and then suddenly, like magic, your recipe arrived in my inbox! I didn't have yogurt so I used faisselle and for the glaze I used yuzu juice in place of the lemon. It really gave it a nice tang! Merci for this lovely recipe (and delicious too). X


I seriously would have never imagined putting sesame with banana've intrigued me greatly!


For my lactose intolerant friends, can you recommend a substitute for the plain, whole milk yogurt, for the Sesame Banana Bread recipe? HS: Hi Kathleen, let me know if you experiment with a solution, I can add a note to the recipe if you find an adaptation that is great.


So sorry about you getting ill. Not fun! This banana bread really makes me wanna try it. Banana and sesame seed are a great combo :)


Such an excellent idea, incorporating lots and lots of sesame seeds (rather than a sprinkle). I am impressed that you got it together pre-camping trip (the planning and prep is so hard!) and sad that you weren't able to properly enjoy on the trail. Feel better.


Heidi, where do you find black sesame seeds? I too am in the Bay Area and haven't had any luck finding black sesame seeds. Thanks.

HS: Hi Melissa - Wayne buys them in bulk at Rainbow in SF.


simply delicious! do you think this could work as a zucchini rather than a banana bread? our garden is currently insisting that i find more & more & more (& more...) zucchini recipes...& i am a fan of your brand of sesame madness!

elana @ spoon&sailor letterpress

simply delicious! do you think this could work as a zucchini rather than a banana bread? our garden is currently insisting that i find more & more & more (& more...) zucchini recipes...& i am a fan of your brand of sesame madness!

elana @ spoon&sailor letterpress

This looks amazing! Any suggestions for replacing the yogurt? Would a cultured almond milk or other non-dairy alternative work?


O! These pictures make me so homesick for California. Excited to try this...the lemony olive oil banana bread is a favorite around here.


I never thought of putting sesame seeds in banana bread, but now that I think of it, it seems like a great idea! Get well soon!


How disappointing that your trip was cut short! I have to say though, I was tickled to hear that you deliberate over what treats to make for a trip. I do the same thing. I hope you're well on your way to feeling better.


What a fabulous idea! I love the lemon drizzle with the sesame seeds!! A perfectly timed recipe as I was just looking for a bread to make to celebrate the unofficial arrival of fall in NYC...why does summer always go so quickly.

Noelle @ GreenLemonade

What a brilliant thing to bring on a hike!

Belinda @zomppa

I've been living in Korea and have come to love black sesame seeds. They do have a stronger sesame flavor, and the color contrast is nice. Adding the sesame seeds and glaze puts a great twist on banana bread!


This is such an interesting idea! So creative :)

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

I love banana bread but I also need to be gluten-free. It took me about 10 tries to get a banana bread recipe that I loved (gluten-free). But I finally did it! Now I am thinking... why not add a glaze and some seeds? I think I just might try that. At least the lemon part- yum...

Dawn @cuter than gluten

Heidi, I was just thinking that I need a new banana bread. This looks perfect. A question about the salt: When you say "fine grain sea salt," do you mean the sea salt that most resemble table salt? Thanks! HS: Hi Jess. Yes, mostly I just mean, not the flaky kind (which measures differently).


I'm getting a lovely east-meets-west feel here with the combination of sesame seeds and banana bread. Very warm and serene.

leaf (the indolent cook)

What great flavors - banana, sesame seeds and lemon! I can just imagine the trio that they make together.


Here's the thing....I have a craving for bananas at the moment, so will definitely have a go at this. No, I'm not pregnant btw! But I can't stop eating them...I made banana, chocolate and walnut bread last week, and it was so so moreish... Look forward to trying this banana bread with a twist...

thinking of the days

Sesame and banana sounds like an intriguing combination and this bread looks so right for the changing seasons. Such a shame your holiday was cut short. Hope you are on the mend now.


I've always found it funny when sesame seeds are used as a decoration; their flavor is so wonderful, but you need more than a sprinkling to appreciate it. This bread sounds delicious and with its 200g of sesame seeds promises to be chock full of sesame flavor. I also love the mix of black and white because beyond taste it lends beauty to the bread.


What a beautiful rustic banana bread, It is perfect to bring as a snack during a long hike. I think I'll try to add some tahini to the glaze, it will be an interesting and hopefully delicious experiment.


Who wouldn't want some of this sesame madness? Hope you're feeling better!


I love the idea of sesame seeds with banana! I've pinned this to try - I have a feeling i'll be making this a lot. Totally agree on the mix of sesame seeds. I do the same thing when I use them on baked tofu dishes.

Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table

Your bread is gorgeous and so creative! I've been on SUCH a banana bread kick the past few weeks, making all kinds of different versions and flavors. Need to try yours next!

Averie @ Averie Cooks

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