I love baked goods made with bananas. So when I finally tried chia seeds in my Blueberry Chia Muffins with Lemon and Ginger a few years ago, I knew that something made with bananas had to be the next step in my foodie love affair with these healthy little seeds. So I turned to an old family recipe for banana muffins and got to work on some Banana and Chia Seed Muffins.
Updated January 2022 – This recipe has been on the blog for a number of years, but recently I’ve been working on this recipe to make these muffins even healthier, so please do keep reading to find out how I did it. Of course, the original recipe is still here as well.
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I’ve written before about my love (them when they are ripe) / hate (them when they are over-ripe) relationship with bananas. I’ve bemoaned the window of about two and a half hours my banana fussy family and I generally get for optimal banana enjoyment and how we often end up with quite a few past their best bananas. Having said that, “past their best for eating” bananas are no bad thing because when they reach this point they magically turn into “perfect for baking” bananas. Bananas at this stage are perfect for this easy recipe.
Tips for Making Banana and Chia Seed Muffins
My recipe for Banana and Chia Seed Muffins uses vegetable oil instead of butter. I adore the flavour of butter in baking but it needs to be softened before you bake with it, and this requires me to plan ahead. When using oil I can just decide to make muffins at the last minute.
I always use mild olive oil for baking muffins. You can’t taste it and it’s better for you than some other vegetable oils. Don’t use Extra Virgin Olive Oil though – it is more suited to salad dressing, dips and drizzling as it has a much more pronounced flavour.
Raisins or sultanas add a lovely flavour to my Banana and Chia Seed Muffins. They also make them even more nutritious. Both raisins and chia seeds contain protein, vitamins and minerals and of course, bananas are good for you too. If you are concerned about the sugar in raisins or they are not to your taste, simply use less of them or leave them out entirely.
Unlike most muffin recipes, which call for you to mix the wet and dry ingredients until “just blended”, this muffin recipe is one that you really have to stir. The mixture is very thick before you add the bananas, and still quite thick afterwards. Don’t be alarmed, this is exactly as it should be. While I don’t recommend beating the mixture, you do need to stir it enthusiastically until everything is combined.
I like to use a quick release ice cream scoop to transfer the batter to the muffin pan. This is the muffin pan that I use.
Full of Healthy Ingredients
Most people can’t taste the chia seeds in my Banana and Chia Seed Muffins. Chia seeds are really good for you and they have an incredibly mild flavour – in fact I’ve heard it said that they don’t really have a flavour of their own. In my opinion, they have a slightly sweet taste and a very appealing texture. They seem to pick up flavour from the things they are cooked with and therefore enhance everything you put them in. If you haven’t tried chia seeds, you are definitely missing out – and I say this as someone who waited for absolutely ages to try them! I recommend you use a generous tablespoon of chia seeds in this recipe. Normally you should use level tablespoons or teaspoons when they are called for in a recipe. In this case, a “generous tablespoon” means a heaped tablespoon (ie. not level). Be sure to use proper measuring spoons when baking.
Recently, I started to wonder if I could perhaps make Banana and Chia Seed Muffins even healthier. I started experimenting with using a combination of whole wheat (wholemeal) flour and all purpose (plain) flour instead of just all purpose flour. After several test batches, I found the best proportions were 1 cup of whole wheat flour to ⅔ cup of white flour. The muffins taste delicious and have a lovely texture. So if you would like to bump up the fibre and nutrients in these muffins, this is a great way to do it. Of course, you can still make the original version if you prefer. I can never decide which I like best!
Also, should you wish to reduce the sugar from a half cup (100 grams) to one-third of a cup (about 70 grams or 6 tablespoons), you can do this as well. Of course, it makes the muffins a bit less sweet, but they still taste absolutely delicious.
How To Serve and Store Banana and Chia Seed Muffins
Perfect for breakfast, in a packed lunch or for a snack, my Banana and Chia Seed Muffins will keep well covered at room temperature for about 3 days. If it is very hot where you are, you may prefer to keep them in the fridge. Just be sure to bring them back to room temperature or warm slightly before eating.
This recipe was originally published on AprilJHarris.com in 2015. Updated in January 2022.
Can I Freeze Banana and Chia Seed Muffins?
These muffins freeze well for up to 2 months. Thaw frozen muffins overnight in the refrigerator and gently reheat before serving.
Banana and Chia Seed Muffins – Printable Recipe
Banana and Chia Seed Muffins
- ½ cup mild olive oil You can use another mild vegetable oil if you prefer.
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature if possible
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1⅔ cups all purpose (plain) flour Or use 1 cup wholewheat (wholemeal) flour (approx 140 grams) and ⅔ cup all purpose (plain) flour (approx 85 grams) instead.
- 1 generous tablespoon chia seeds
- ½ cup sugar You can reduce the sugar to ⅓ cup (6 tablespoons) if you want/need to.
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 3 very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
- ¾ cup raisins or sultanas
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C or 160° for a fan oven).
- Grease and flour a 12 cup muffin pan or use paper liners.
- Beat the oil and the eggs together in a medium bowl or jug.
- Beat in the vanilla. Set aside.
- In another, larger bowl, mix together the flour, chia seeds, sugar, baking powder and baking soda.
- Add the oil and egg mixture to the flour mixture in the larger bowl and stir well until combined. The batter will be very thick at this stage.
- Stir in the bananas and the raisins until thoroughly combined.
- Divide the batter between the muffin cups. (I use an ice cream scoop for this.)
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the muffins comes out clean.
- Cool on a wire rack. Delicious served warm or at room temperature but don't eat them straight out of the oven as the raisins will be very hot!
- Muffins will keep for 3 days at room temperature or can be frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw completely and reheat gently before serving.