Best Hawaiian Banana Bread Recipe (with Pineapple, Coconut and Almonds)

by Shelley · May contain affiliate links

Published Updated June 3, 2022

~ This is just the BEST Hawaiian Banana Bread recipe! Irresistibly moist and flavorful, it tastes like a summery tropical paradise. It’s scrumptiously loaded up with sweet pineapple, and finished with a decadent, toasty-crunchy topping of coconut and almonds. Even better? It’s secretly more healthy, too … but nobody will ever notice! ~

This Recipe Is:     Freezable    Make Ahead    Vegetarian  

Overhead of baked loaf of banana bread angled on cutting board with a couple slices cut off and almond crumbs.

This sure isn’t your typical, traditional banana bread.

I mean, regular banana bread usually feels like cozy food. I picture myself firing up the oven on a chilly day, so we can snuggle in with mugs of cocoa and some warm, fresh-baked banana bread.

But this banana bread’s not like that.

It’s like sunshine.

Like a warm, tropical breeze that lifts your spirits and whispers seductively of a carefree island paradise.

It’s the crossroads where a comfort food hug meets a summer piña colada. (Well … except for the rum. Since I make this for my kids, ya know. But feel free to serve yourself up a slice, alongside a little tumbler of coconut rum – may as well play the summer vibe allllll the way out while you’re at it!)

Our “Summer Sunshine” Banana Bread

No doubt, this is the banana bread to bake for summer, or any time you need to imagine what summer sunshine feels like (hello, Ohio in mid-January).

Baked banana bread still in loaf pan on mesh cooling rack.

I created it early this summer, as I was baking test batches of my Healthy Whole Wheat Banana Bread with Pecans and Dates.

I realized I had waaaay more brown-speckled bananas than I needed to test just the one recipe. So I also tossed this tropical version together, too, totally on a whim. (And by now, you know how I am about “tropical” flavors, right?!? Ahem … tropical angel food cake, tropical energy balls, grilled tropical fruit …)

Anyway. This Hawaiian Banana Bread: Instant Smash Hit.

So much more interesting that regular-old, plain-jane banana bread.

Healthy ingredients like pineapple, coconut, sliced almonds and flour in bowls and measuring cups with a couple of overripe bananas in background.

We’re talkin’ …

  • Banana (of course!)
  • Sweet, juicy pineapple
  • All that fun, tropical-ness that coconut always brings to the party
  • A little hit of almond flavor
  • And oh.my.goodness. the toasty-crunchy-to-die-for topping

It’s truly special. Banana bread reimagined, on a whole ‘nother level of greatness.

I’ve made this recipe again and again since that initial “hey, why not” time I first tossed it together earlier this summer.

In fact, this whole summer kind of turned into our family’s “banana bread summer,” with me testing banana bread recipes for you, and Amy away at pastry camp baking up banana muffins (and fresh strawberry cake … and cream puffs … and Bavarian pretzels … you HAVE drooled your way through her recap of all that, haven’t you? If not, you truly must!).

So, it turned out that we baked a lot of banana breads this summer.

And after you taste this one, I just bet I know what you’ll be baking every summer, from here on out!

Overhead of finished loaf still in pan, so you can really see the topping of toasted almonds and coconut.

Or, if you’re like us, it’s probably what you’ll be baking in mid-January, when you almost can’t remember what summer sunshine feels like and you desperately need a little tropical pick-me-up (coconut rum entirely optional).

The BEST Healthy Banana Bread (Nobody Will Know Is Healthy)

This recipe is so seriously, decadently moist and delicious. (I wouldn’t be sharing this recipe with you if it wasn’t!)

But you might also be wondering, “If it tastes this good, can it still be nutritious?”

Well, it definitely wouldn’t be the absolute BEST Hawaiian Banana Bread if you felt guilty and bogged-down afterwards.

So, of course, this tropical banana bread recipe is jam-crammed with terrific nutritional upgrades, like:

  • 100% whole wheat flour instead of all purpose flour
  • a fraction of the oils you find in classic banana bread recipes (more on that later)
  • and lots of fruit

But don’t worry … nobody will pay one bit of attention to those healthy upgrades. There’s way too much yumminess going on here for anybody to be noticing the fact that it’s also pretty healthy.

Two slices on top of double-stacked white plates on a cutting board, with sprinkled bit of almond and coconut and loaf pan with rest of loaf nearby.

I promise! It can just be our little secret. 😉

So let’s talk logistics and get this summer-y, Hawaiian vibe going!

How Ripe Should Bananas Be for Banana Bread?

As bananas ripen, their starch converts to sugar. That’s why brown-speckled, overripe bananas taste much sweeter (and, arguably, also more banana-y) than their bright yellow or their still-slightly-green counterparts.

The bananas you probably most enjoy eating straight-up, or slicing on cereal (the perfectly yellow ones) actually aren’t the best ones to use for baking banana bread.

To really capitalize on all the potential sweetness and full-on banana flavor, you want to be a little patient. Wait until those “perfect” bright yellow bananas turn overrripe and are not-so-perfect for your cereal … which is the precise moment when they actually become fantastic for banana bread!

Ideally, you want the bananas to be heavily speckled with brown spots, even mostly brown.

No, you probably don’t want to use truly black ones – there does come a point when your bananas are too far gone.

But a lot of brown spotting and blotchiness is very, very good when it comes to baking the best banana bread. You gets lots of sweetness, plus terrific banana flavor (no fake-y banana extract needed)!

Do I Have To Make This Hawaiian Banana Bread with Coconut Oil?

Nope! Here’s a great tip for ya …

Keeping with the coconut-y, Hawaiian islands vibe here, we used a tiny bit of coconut oil, but you could use canola instead, if you don’t happen to have coconut oil on hand.

If you don’t use coconut oil often, it’s worth noting that you purchase it as a shelf-stable solid (kind of like how shortening is a solid at room temperature).

Overhead of clear glass mixing bowl full of wet ingredients plus pineapple and coconut being mixed by wooden spoon, with little bowl of sliced almonds nearby.

A few seconds in the microwave are all you need to melt the coconut oil into a liquid that’ll easily mix into your batter’s other wet ingredients.

Pro Tip: Can I Completely Eliminate the Oil?

It’s true that you often can completely slash fats like vegetable oil or coconut oil from your quick bread recipes, generally subbing in something like applesauce or another fruit puree to replace the majority of the oil.

BUT, after a lot of testing and a lot of different quick breads, we’ve found that adding just a couple of tablespoons of oil to your quick bread batter often makes a slight but noticeable improvement in the final bread.

So, that’s become a typical go-to for us: using just a little bit of oil (like coconut oil or canola) … instead of the large quantities of oil or butter (sometimes 1/2 cup butter or more) that you often find in classic recipes like the iconic Kona Inn Banana Bread.

Using only a little oil still allows us to keep the total fat and the calories in check, but that little bit also helps to create an incredible recipe that nobody is going to accuse of being unhappily “too healthy.”

And, with so much moisture from the mashed bananas and the sweet, juicy pineapple, very little added fat is actually needed to make great banana bread.

You can rest assured that your bread will still come out decadently moist!

Dare I say … it just might be the very best Hawaiian Banana Bread you’ve ever tasted? So delicious, yet guilt-free, too!

How Your Pans May Affect Your Banana Bread’s Baking Temperatures and Times

Like we mentioned in our recipe for Cherry-Chocolate Zucchini Bread, it seems like everyone has slightly different bread pans in their cupboard. So even simple recipes like this one can require small adjustments, depending on the exact size and material of your pan.

Don’t worry, though – we can help!

Note that this recipe calls for a “standard” 9-inch loaf pan.

Equipment Tip

I absolutely adore my USA Pan 9×5 loaf pans – they perform like a dream, and generally don’t even require one bit of cooking spray to be wonderfully non-stick.

Banana bread still in loaf pan but with a couple sliced removed and a couple more leaning at an angle.

Pro Tip: Adjusting Recipes for Your Pan Type

If your favorite pan is a little smaller (even an 8.5 x 4.5), or if it happens to be a dark-colored metal or an oven-proof glass pan, you may need to make tiny adjustments to get the best results and achieve that perfectly baked, lusciously moist loaf you’re looking for.

That’s true for this particular banana bread recipe, but also for most any other quick bread recipe you make.

  • For smaller loaf pans, the batter will be deeper (and your loaf will be taller), so a slightly longer bake time may be needed to ensure the center is cooked.
  • However, because you don’t want the outsides of your banana bread to dry out before the center is done, you may also find it helpful to decrease the oven temperature slightly (maybe by 25 degrees) for smaller loaf pans. This strategy of lowering the oven temp also works well with glass or dark metal pans, because of the way they conduct heat.

The bottom line here is that – with this banana bread recipe, or any other quick bread you might bake – slight differences in pan size or materials can make a meaningful difference in your bake times and temperatures. But they’re easily compensated for with just a tiny bit of tweaking!

Remember: the goal is to ensure that the bread is evenly baked but still very richly moist throughout.

To be absolutely sure you bake a great loaf of bread, it’s always a good idea to check for doneness a little earlier than you might expect, and to continue checking fairly often until your bread is perfectly baked.

Yummy Serving Ideas!

This recipe doesn’t need a lot of extra bells and whistles.

You really can just slice and go. Nothing else needed. Instant tropics.

That’s definitely my favorite way to eat this banana bread!

  • My son, Ty, swears that this is even better with a schmear of pineapple cream cheese. Ok. Sure … why not?!?
Three slices laying on small cutting board, one slathered with cream cheese, with pan in background and scattered almonds and coconut.
  • You can also try toasting it, to really reinvigorate the roasty flavors and beckoning scents of the golden-brown coconut and almonds on top.
  • This sunshiney banana bread is great as part of a quick breakfast, or for an afternoon snack.

Oh – but you do know that I was mostly kidding about serving it alongside some coconut rum, right?!? (Mostly.)

More Tips for Perfect Hawaiian Banana Bread

Choose the Right Pineapple

I’ve tried making this recipe with both crushed pineapple (as directed on the recipe card), and also with pineapple tidbits.

I was surprised how much I preferred the flavor of the finished bread when I used crushed pineapple, so I definitely recommend choosing crushed instead of pineapple tidbits or even chunks.

Also, be sure to select pineapple that’s packed in 100% juice instead of syrup.

Toast the Perfect Topping

Two helpful tips to mention here:

# 1: You’ll notice on the recipe card that I recommend gently pressing the coconut and almond topping into the batter before baking. That helps those yummy, toasty bits stick to the top of your bread.

# 2: Also, note that you may want to lightly tent a piece of foil over the top of your bread at the very end of baking – maybe for just the last 5 or 10 minutes.

This can depend on how close to the top of your oven the baking rack is positioned, how long you end up baking your bread (see the section above related to Baking Pans), and how toasty you want that scrumptious topping to be.

You make the call – but if you feel like your topping is getting too brown, it’s easy to save the day with a piece of foil!

FAQs At-a-Glance

Can You Use Frozen Bananas to Make Banana Bread?

Sure! Frozen bananas can be used in the same amount as “regular” room temperature bananas. They should create an equally flavorful banana bread with the same moist texture.

The next time you have overripe bananas on your counter, don’t toss them out. Throw them in the freezer instead (either peeled and wrapped, or unpeeled). When you’re ready to bake up your delicious banana bread recipe, thaw them in the microwave or leave them on the counter for just a little while until they’re thawed and can easily be mashed.

Sidenote: Frozen bananas are also the best way to make banana “nice cream” and are wonderful for smoothies, too. More great ideas … in case you have too many spotty, brown bananas that nobody got around to eating!

Can You Freeze Banana Bread?

Most banana bread recipes freeze well, if the bread is properly wrapped to prevent freezer burn. You can freeze this recipe either as a whole loaf, or in pre-portioned, individual slices. Either way, wrap the bread tightly in one or even two layers of plastic wrap, and store it in the freezer in a freezer-safe zipper bag.

Can I Substitute Different Nuts?

I really do love the almonds in combination with the pineapple and coconut, and with the almond extract in this recipe. Sliced almonds are the perfect thin texture for a crunchy topping, too.

But, in a pinch, you could certainly play around with using other nuts. Macadamia nuts, for example, would stay true to the tropical taste of this Hawaiian banana nut bread. But, they can be hard to find and expensive, and you’ll have to take the time to chop them.

Why Does This Recipe Call for White Whole Wheat Flour?

I discuss this in much greater detail in my post for Healthy Whole Wheat Banana Bread. The short answer is that white whole wheat flour is much more nutritious than “regular” all-purpose flour … it has essentially the same nutrition profile as standard (non-white) whole wheat flour. BUT I find that it also has a more neutral flavor and is much less noticeable in recipes than standard whole wheat flour, too.

Basically, it gives you a more healthy banana bread, without tasting more healthy! Sneaky, secret win!

Ok! Off you go to the tropics, armed and ready for complete banana bread success!

Try this banana bread now, as you cling to the last days of summer.

And then, in the depths of winter, when you still want comfort food but you also need to pretend that summer is just around the corner … make it again then, too.

Side view of stack of 3 slices on cutting board, so you are looking at the tops of the banana bread and can really see the almond and coconut topping.

Soak in the sunshine, friends!

If you squint realllllll hard, you just might be able to pretend you’re in Hawaii, enjoying a sun-drenched Maui vacation!

Love the Recipe? • Were My Tips Helpful?

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Please leave a star-rating in the recipe card below – I truly appreciate all your wonderful feedback!

Side view of 3 slices stacked on cutting board

Best Hawaiian Banana Bread (with Pineapple, Coconut and Almonds)

Yield: 1 loaf
Prep Time: 8 minutes
Cook Time: 48 minutes
Total Time: 56 minutes

This is just the Best Hawaiian Banana Bread recipe! It features the flavors of a tropical paradise. BONUS: although it tastes wonderfully decadent, it's secretly healthy ... with whole grains, healthier fats, plus lots of fruits and nuts for some great nutrition, too!

  Freezable  •  Make Ahead    Vegetarian  

Ingredients

  • cooking spray and flour for preparing loaf pan (if needed)

For the Batter:

  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (fine grain, not flaked kosher salt)
  • 1 cup mashed very ripe banana (about 2-3 bananas)
  • 2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple in 100% juice, NOT drained
  • 1/2 cup shredded, sweetened coconut
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Topping:

  • 3 tablespoons shredded, sweetened coconut
  • 3 tablespoons sliced almonds

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Prepare a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan by spraying with cooking spray and/or lightly but thoroughly flouring the bottom (if needed – my pans don't need this). (See note below for more information on using a different pan size and adjusting baking for various types of pans.)
  3. In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, whisking to thoroughly combine.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine banana, brown sugar, pineapple, coconut, egg, coconut oil, almond extract, and vanilla, stirring to combine. 
  5. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the banana mixture to the flour mixture, stirring just until moist (do not over-mix).
  6. Spoon batter into prepared loaf pan and sprinkle the coconut and almond topping over the top of the batter. Press topping ingredients gently into the batter just a little (so they are a bit stuck into the batter but still laying on top – they will adhere to the loaf better after baking).
  7. Bake for 48-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted near the center of the loaf comes out clean. If you notice that the topping on your banana bread is getting more toasted than you'd like, you can tent the loaf with foil during about the last 10 minutes of baking.
  8. Cool banana bread in the pan for about 10 minutes, and then carefully remove from pan to finish cooling completely on a wire rack. You may find it helpful to run a thin paring knife around the edge of the loaf to help it release from the pan, if needed.

Notes

Make-Ahead and Freezing: This banana bread recipe freezes well. After cooling completely, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in the freezer in a freezer-safe zipper bag. You can also pre-slice the loaf and freeze individual portions.

Adjusting Bake Time and Temperature for Your Pans: Any quick bread recipe may need small adjustments in bake time and temperature, to account for different pan sizes and materials. If you're using a different pan size (other than the 9x5 we specify here), you may need to adjust the bake time a little. Also, if you're using a dark metal or a glass baking pan, you may additionally need to slightly change the oven temperature, possibly lowering it by about 25°F. You can read more about this in our post. Regardless, the key to a perfectly baked loaf is to check for doneness early and often, especially until you know how a recipe will work with your equipment and your oven.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 servings Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 155Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 217mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 3gSugar: 15gProtein: 3g

Nutrition information should be considered an estimate only, and may vary depending on your choice of ingredients or preparation. No guarantees are made regarding allergies or dietary needs. Always consult a physician or dietician for specific advice and questions.

Did You Make This Recipe?

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Side view of 3 slices stacked on cutting board
stack of three slices of bread, laying on a bamboo cutting board
Overhead of loaf on cutting board with a couple slices with pinnable text overlay "Healthy! Hawaiian Banana Bread".

51 thoughts on “Best Hawaiian Banana Bread Recipe (with Pineapple, Coconut and Almonds)”

    • Hi, Pam! I haven’t specifically tested that with this particular banana bread, although I do like using whole wheat pastry flour in certain recipes (I thought most people reading this recipe would find the white whole wheat to be more commonly available). At any rate, the only tricky thing in making that substitution is that (as explained in more detail in this great New York Times article on how to substitute flours), whole wheat pastry flour has a slightly lower protein content than the white whole wheat I call for here. This could potentially lead to the banana bread’s batter being a bit too wet/dense/moist. If you find that to be a problem, you should easily be able to correct for it by adding a little extra pastry flour the next time you bake this. I hope that helps – good luck, and let me know how it goes! ~Shelley

      Reply
  1. Been a while since anyone commented, but figure I would try to ask advice before trying this recipe tomorrow. I am trying to use “what I have” on hand and that would require three substitutions. For the White WW flour, I have AP and I have WW flour – would a sub of 2 parts AP and 1 part WW work? I tried it before on cookies and it seemed okay. For the coconut, I have unsweetened shredded coconut. How sweet is this bread? I tend to prefer less-sweet desserts, so hoping I would not need to up the sugar to accommodate the substitution. Finally, I have cubed fresh pineapple. I am thinking I can do a quick pulse of that in the food processor to mimic the crushed pineapple, but it will likely not be as juicy. I have some ginger ale or lemonade I could add-in to get the right level of liquid. But would those flavors not meld with the others? At any rate, looking forward to experimenting and using up my overripe bananas and leftover pineapple.

    Reply
    • Hi, Jennifer! Apologies on the delayed response – I spilled coffee all over my laptop, so I’m a bit behind these last couple days – hope I’m still in time to help you out with your questions! First off, I love the “use what I have” mentality – I make up recipes in exactly this way all the time. It’s thrifty, convenient, and a fun challenge, too! But, I think some of your swaps are going to work better than others. I would guess (although without having specifically tested it in this recipe, but having tested it in many other scenarios) that your flour suggestion will work just fine. I often even go 50/50 AP and WW. Regarding the unsweetened coconut: my concern is less about the sweetness and more about the fact that unsweetened generally tends to be much drier and also finer in texture. I can’t say for sure, but it may make your bread a bit drier inside … and also that it may be more likely to over-brown or even burn on top of the loaf (which you can try to fix by tenting with foil earlier in the baking process to protect the topping). Lastly, the pineapple: this gets tricky for a couple reasons. For one thing, messing with the amount of liquid could have some pretty dramatic effects on how long your bread needs to bake and whether it ever achieves the right texture. If it helps, though, I did find you this article on how to make crushed pineapple from fresh.) Also, fresh pineapple contains enzymes that canned pineapple no longer has (that’s why you can use canned pineapple in jell-o recipes but you can’t use fresh or the jell-o won’t set). As explained in this AllRecipes article on using pineapple in baking, the enzymes break down proteins and affect the texture and moistness of a baked good. Without having tested fresh pineapple, I’m really not sure what kind of impact it will have on this particular Hawaiian Banana Bread, but I’m not certain the results will be ok. I don’t want to be a party pooper, but making so many key substitutions all at once might make a pretty big change in how this recipe works out. If you try any of it, I’ll definitely be interested to hear how it goes, though – good luck with your experiments! ~Shelley

      Reply
  2. Didnt have banana . Used 3/4 cup applesauce and 1eggwhite to replace the bananas. Used the egg called for . To much applesauce makes soggy. Egg white gives moisture with some ‘sticky’. Made with all purpose flour. Fabulous. Genius tip about pressing almonds and coconut into top. I baked in an 8 slot mini loaf pan. Baking time around15-16 minutes. Great taste.

    Reply
    • I’m so happy you thought this was “fabulous”! And thank you for sharing your tips and tricks for adapting this banana bread when you didn’t actually have bananas – I’ll bet other readers will find that helpful, too, and I love swapping little tricks and adaptations with readers! Have a terrific week, Catherine! 🙂 ~Shelley

      Reply
  3. this recipe is GREAT. Okay I did have some intentional and some unintentional adjustments but that worked too!
    I had a pineapple banana bread go to recipe. But a trip to Maui made me realize what the coconut could add! thus searched and found this.
    I used regular flour, that is that is what i had on hand.
    I like pecans far more than almonds, so replaced the almond with pecans, and replaced the almond extract with more vanilla extract.
    Then, first time I made it i forgot to add the topping before baking. so I baked the topping separately briefly to toast it, and I made a glaze (powdered sugar, vanilla, milk) and added drizzels of the glaze, to the baked loaf; then added the lightly toasted topping on top of the glaze. I actually liked this better than when i followed the recipe correctly the 2nd time! BAKE THIS.

    Reply
    • Hi, Lynn! I’m so, so delighted you enjoyed this banana bread as much as we do – it’s a favorite at my house, for sure! And – oh my goodness – what a wonderful way for you to reminisce about your Maui trip! 😀 Mmmmmm … the powdered sugar glaze you added sounds like a divine way to make this a bit indulgent – thanks for your sweet comment and for sharing the ways you adapted this recipe to really make it your own. Love that – and I’m sure other readers will like reading the suggestions, too! Please let me know what other recipes you try and what you think about them. Have a fantastic week! ~Shelley

      Reply
  4. Hi Amy,

    I am doing some Quarantine 2020 baking! I enjoy baking but don’t do it much. My bread came out a little moist and a little heavy, still delicious. I know you can’t really ‘diagnose’ long distance BUT do you think it’s underdone? A few details: 1. 9 x 5 dark pan so lowered oven by 25 deg baked about 55 minutes based on moisture on knife. Reached 205 deg in center. 2. Subbed all-purpose for whole wheat. 3. Canola for coconut and 4. My bananas were just past the cereal slices point, but not nearly as ripe as I thought, still firm slices. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi, Joanne! It’s hard to say for certain, of course, but you’ve provided so much great info … based on all of that, I would say that it does sound slightly underdone. This is supposed to be a very moist loaf, but if you feel it’s just too moist, then next time I’d try baking it a bit longer. Maybe go 2-3 minutes at a time, checking for doneness often, so you don’t go too far. I hope that helps! And I hope you enjoy lots more Quarantine 2020 baking adventures – baking really is such a fun (and productive!) way to spend the time! 😀 Oh – and if you haven’t tried it yet – you might also like our vintage “Grape-Nuts Bread” recipe, too – we posted it especially for people who wanted to bake during the Quarantine but were having trouble finding yeast. Stay well! ~Amy

      Reply
    • If your bananas aren’t ripe roast them with skins on in an oven 350/375 10 to 15 minutes until they are brown And squishy. Peel and cool. I found this tip and it works like a charm. Put bananas on a sheet or pie plate with a rim.

      Reply

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