Banana Oat Muffins and Spring Cleaning the Pantry

These banana oat muffins are a hearty breakfast or snack. Use what you have in your pantry for perfect on the go eating and a bit of spring cleaning!

Banana oat muffins on a cooling rack.

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I’ve been obsessed with muffins since I was 14, give or take. Before there was YouTube, there was flash animation. I was the generation of Home Star Runner, Trogdor, and Teen Girl Squad (doodle-loodle-loop). And Muffin Films: strangely awesome series of talking muffins and slightly sadistic endings.

Fast forward to college, when one of my friends shared her obsession with banana chocolate chip muffins. It was copied into a recipe notebook that I’ve managed to both keep and keep track of. The original recipe source is a mystery, but Elise’s Banana Nut Muffins come pretty close.

Banana Oat Muffins

Over the years, I’ve loosely followed my friend’s recipe. Occasionally swapping applesauce for the eggs to accommodate my classmates with egg allergies. Adding nuts and seeds instead of chocolate chips. Playing with whole wheat flour, buckwheat flour, molasses, almond extract.

At some point, the recipe for these banana oat muffins because a guideline, reflecting the style of most of my cooking. The key has always been the ratio of the ingredients. Wet ingredients, dry ingredients, and mix ins. I typically end up with a 1:1:1 ratio and rely on the consistency of the batter to make sure it’s moist enough.

This flexibility allowed me to make some version of these muffins any time of year. But following ratios instead of ingredients is particularly helpful when the pantry needs some cleaning.

Using a ratio recipe

I like ratio recipes because they’re not fixed. Beginning bakers and cooks may find them a little intimidating. But using them helps hone your skills at a more rapid rate. You learn how to bake and cook instead of just learning to follow a recipe.

If you’re comfortable with your baking abilities, feel free to play with the following ratio recipe. Variations will naturally occur. I’ve included some suggestions and comments on the ingredients.

If you’re not as confident in your baking skills or going off recipe, I’ve included the exact recipe of the muffins pictured in the recipe card below. A word of caution: this is a spring cleaning recipe for your pantry. The ingredient list is long. But you don’t need everything.

Muffin batter in baking tray

Ratio Recipe for Banana Oat Muffins

Use what you have in your pantry for these oatmeal muffins. The following quantities are a guideline.

  • 4 cups liquid ingredients
    • 2 cups fruit puree: mashed bananas, finely chopped apples, applesauce, pumpkin puree
    • 1/2 cup liquid fat: olive oil, avocado oil, melted coconut oil
    • 1/4 cup sweetener: cane sugar, turbinado sugar, brown sugar, molasses, honey, maple syrup, agave syrup
    • 2 to 3 eggs
    • 1/2 cup other wet ingredient: yogurt, peanut butter, almond milk
  • 4 1/2 (ish) cups dry ingredients:
    • 2 1/2 cups flour mixture: whole wheat, spelt, einkorn, buckwheat, all purpose, oats, ground flax meal
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 2 cups dry mix-ins: finely chopped nuts or seeds, dried fruit, shredded coconut
  • 4 teaspoons flavoring:
    • 1 teaspoon extract/flavor: almond, vanilla
    • 3 teaspoons spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger

Coconut oil has a distinct flavor while olive oil lends a savory, grassy note. Honey, agave and maple syrup are all sweeter than cane sugar. Molasses add flavor and color. Buckwheat and whole wheat flour yield heftier banana oat muffins compared with using only all purpose flour. Quick oats are less noticeable in the batter than steel cut.

I prefer interesting textures in my banana oat muffins while preserving the crumb structure. Finely chopped nuts and seeds are better than whole. Shredded coconut is a must in my book. Pumpkin puree and Chinese 5-spice are an excellent muffin pairing. Really, the combinations are endless.

Did you make this recipe by ratio or did you follow my ingredients? Did you make substitutions? Let me know in the comments below!

Side view of muffin

Banana oat muffins on a cooling rack.

Banana Oat Muffins

These banana oat muffins are a hearty breakfast or snack. Use what you have in your pantry for perfect on the go eating and a bit of spring cleaning!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 18 muffins
Calories 236 kcal

Ingredients

  • 4 bananas very ripe and mashed
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 3 eggs beaten
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup ground flax meal
  • 1/4 cup protein powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup dried currants
  • 1 cup chopped pumpkin seeds

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together bananas, olive oil, sugar, molasses, eggs, almond extract, yogurt and peanut butter.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together the remaining dry ingredients.
  4. Pour dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients. Stir together until just incorporated.
  5. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.
  6. Spoon the dough mixture into the muffin tin and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Check for doneness with a toothpick or skewer. When the toothpick comes out clean, they’re done cooking.
  7. Cool on a rack and store in an airtight container up to 5 days.

Recipe Notes

Seasoned Secret

King Arthur Flour has an excellent guide for baking with alternative and ancient grains. This is a great resource for swapping different flours.

Using super ripe bananas (basically brown and no longer pleasant to eat alone) yields a better banana flavor. They also add sweetness without extra sweetener.

The protein powder has a tendency to absorb any moisture available as it thickens the batter. If you have multiple trays, I recommend filling all your tins and baking at one time instead of in batches so the batter doesn’t dry out.

Vegan

I’ve made these without eggs and they’re just fine. You’ll need extra liquid so another ripe banana or applesauce is a good swap. You could also try a flax egg but I’ve never made it that way.

Gluten-Free

Most of the flours i’ve used in this banana oat muffin (and its variations) have some kind of gluten. Cup for cup (<-affiliate) or Bob’s Red Mill (<-affiliate) have excellent gluten-free baking and all purpose options.

Check the Fridge

Seriously. Check the fridge. Check the pantry. Go to town on your swaps, additions, etc. Use whatever you have. Don’t go out to the store just to buy one ingredient. Pureed carrots, sweet potato or pumpkin are all great options.


Cross section of banana muffin

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6 Comments

  • Reply
    Mo
    March 19, 2018 at 7:59 pm

    Thanks for the ideas! I’ll be experimenting with this soon, hopefully…it looks similar to my fave (so far) muffin recipe, so that’s promising, indeed. I make banana muffins a lot and have a few other suggestions, too. For moister muffins I swap out 1/4 cup flax meal for 1/4 of the flour. I also LOVE cardamom+ginger+cinnamon with banana walnut muffins. The trick is to go light on the cinnamon 🙂

    • Reply
      Elaine
      March 20, 2018 at 4:38 pm

      I love the cardamom ginger combo, that sounds excellent. Great suggestion!

  • Reply
    Ana
    March 22, 2018 at 7:08 am

    These are amazing! And so fun to make! My family gobbled them up. I’m ready for more ripe bananas so I can make more.

    • Reply
      Elaine
      March 23, 2018 at 11:57 am

      So glad you and your family enjoyed these Ana! Great to hear that the ratio baking helped you get creative with baking. They’re great for snacking and on the go breakfasts.

  • Reply
    Shaina
    March 24, 2018 at 4:48 pm

    I made these the other day and they were fantastic. I love the versatility of this recipe and found it so fun to put together. PERFECTION!

    • Reply
      Elaine
      March 26, 2018 at 10:47 am

      Thanks for trying the recipe Shaina! I’m so glad you enjoyed the muffins.

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