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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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

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