These Banana Cupcakes boast seriously sweet banana flavor and a deliciously creamy frosting. And they are so easy to bake up (even a day ahead!). They’re perfect for a first birthday—or any special occasion.
When we celebrated my middle kiddo’s first birthday, I wanted to make her cupcakes that included some of her favorite foods. She loved banana and she loved dairy, so Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese frosting it was!
I also wanted to make them with less sugar than a standard cupcake, so I worked on this recipe for the occasion—and still make them many years later.
The cupcake recipe is packed with real bananas for flavor and moisture. The bananas also provide the majority of the sweetness. You can use either honey or maple syrup for the rest of the sweetness in this banana cupcakes recipe.
You also have the choice of using all purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour.
Easy Banana Cupcakes Recipe
I’m pretty committed to the idea of simple when it comes to entertaining so I did my best to make her first birthday party special—but also easy. I was extra emotional about the milestone so the last thing I wanted was to be stressed out about the food at her party, particularly the cake.
TIP: You can bake these banana cupcakes the day before the party and they’ll stay moist and won’t dry out.
Ingredients You Need
To make this recipe, you’ll need:
- all-purpose flour or whole-wheat pastry flour
- baking powder
- baking soda
- unsalted butter
- maple syrup OR honey
- very ripe bananas
- vanilla extract
- cream cheese
TIP: These will taste best if the bananas are super ripe with brown spots.
How to Make Banana Cupcakes from Scratch
Here’s a look at how to bake up a batch of these banana cupcakes at home. Scroll down to the bottom of this post for the full recipe.
- Stir together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. (photo 1)
- Measure out your banana slices. (photo 2)
- Add the wet ingredients to a blender. Blend smooth. (photo 3)
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir together gently. (photo 4)
- Evenly divide the batter among the prepared cupcake liners. (photo 5)
- Bake! (photo 6)
TIP: Once the cupcakes are totally cooled, you can pipe or spread on Cream Cheese Frosting and finish with a blueberry, if desired.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here’s the full scoop on adjusting this recipe for food allergies. Make these adjustments and otherwise follow the recipe as written.
To make these gluten-free: Use cup for cup gluten free flour blend in place of the wheat flour.
To make these egg-free: Omit the egg and add ½ cup milk. (Please note that the egg-free version of this is still delicious, but they are denser than when you use eggs.)
To make these dairy-free: Use melted and slightly cooled coconut oil instead of the butter.
Yes, though you’ll want to mash the bananas very, very well with a fork so they are totally smooth and not at all lumpy.
Adding them to a blender with the eggs ensures that they are blended super smooth, it adds air to the batter (which helps them to be light and fluffy), and it avoids any lumps of banana in the final cupcakes—which, in my opinion, makes them taste more like a real cupcake!
Easy Cream Cheese Frosting
To make the cream cheese frosting, you just need a few ingredients. I love the combination of cream cheese and banana cupcakes, and also that the frosting isn’t loaded with powdered sugar.
TIP: If you have a dairy-intolerance, you can substitute plain Greek nondairy yogurt for the cream cheese in the frosting. Simply let it sit in a mesh colander lined with cheesecloth for about an hour in the fridge to drain off any excess liquid.
Tips for Making the Best Banana Cupcakes
- Use very ripe bananas with brown spots for the best flavor.
- Use a blender to combine the wet ingredients to ensure that there are no banana lumps in the batter. Or, mash the banana totally smooth with a fork.
- Stir the batter together gently until just combined to avoid overworking it.
- Remove the cupcakes from the pan as soon as you take them out of the oven. Let cool fully on a wire rack before adding icing.
- You can make these up to a day ahead. Let cool fully, then store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 24 hours.
- You can freeze unfrosted cupcakes in a zip top freezer bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature or overnight in the fridge.
- If you have a dairy-intolerance, you can substitute plain Greek nondairy yogurt for the cream cheese in the frosting. Simply let it sit in a mesh colander lined with cheesecloth for about an hour in the fridge to drain off any excess liquid.
I’d love to hear your feedback if you make this recipe so please comment below to share!
Best Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour or whole-wheat pastry flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter melted and cooled slightly
- 1/3 cup maple syrup or honey
- 2 cups sliced very ripe with brown spots banana
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Cream Cheese Frosting
- Stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl.
- Add the butter, maple syrup (or honey) banana, eggs, and vanilla to a blender. Blend on high for about 30 seconds or until completely smooth.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir together gently with a spatula until just combined.
- Evenly divide the batter among the prepared cupcake liners with batter. Each will take about ¼ cup of the batter. The cupcake liner will be just over half full.
- Bake 20-22 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out cleanly. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack and cool fully.
- Pipe or spread on Cream Cheese Frosting and finish with a blueberry, if desired.