September 4, 2021
Thanks to baking soda and baking powder becoming a popular kitchen staple in the 1930s, homemade banana bread recipes go back decades. This classic American dish is a clever way to reduce food waste, turning “bad” bananas into a highly sought-after loaf, and its versatility means you and those you cook for are less likely to get bored of it.
If one thing is true about the best banana bread recipe, this cake is at its finest when the base ingredients are kept simple. While you can change the taste by making additions or substituting ingredients, getting too off-kilter could result in a bread that’s too wet or dry, or the signature banana flavor is too hidden to enjoy.
This recipe calls for ingredients that may already be in your pantry and fridge. You can dress it up, make it into muffins with the included variations, or make it as listed. The result will be a fresh and moist banana bread with a classic taste that’s been around for years.
- Ripe, overripe, or frozen bananas
- Vanilla extract
- All-purpose flour
- Granulated sugar
- Baking soda
Adding the secret touch to keep it moist
The secret to moist banana bread is using frozen bananas. Once your bananas are too ripe to enjoy, toss them in the freezer, peels and all. As they freeze, they’ll start to look somewhat unappetizing, as the peels turn a deep shade of brown or black. But they make delicious bread.
The inside texture also becomes less appetizing once the bananas thaw, but it will pay off. To defrost them, let them sit at room temperature for two hours on your kitchen counter before preparing your recipe. Be sure to place them on a rimmed plate or in a large bowl because they will be incredibly soft and somewhat juicy. You can also run them under warm water until they’re ready if you forgot to take them out ahead of time. The latter is a less tidy option, but it does the trick.
Once they’ve thawed, cut the tip of the peel off and slide the banana into your bowl by giving it a gentle squeeze. The color will remind you it’s most definitely a banana, which is a bit of a relief if you find the frozen peel and mushy consistency unpleasant. The liquid texture is beneficial, as it makes stirring the ingredients together more effortless. If you want to make moist bread and no frozen bananas are available, overripe ones will still do the trick. The more browning on the banana, the more suited it is.
Another note for ensuring your bread stays moist is ensuring that your flour measurements are correct. Give your flour a gentle shake before filling your measuring cup until it’s heaping, and then slide the extra off the top to make it even.
How to make banana bread
This recipe will take approximately 15 minutes to prepare and 50-60 minutes to bake, with a total estimated time of 75 minutes.
- 1 tablespoon butter, softened
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 3 large ripe banana
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat your oven to 350℉.
- Grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with softened butter and set it aside.
- Melt the 1/2 cup of butter in the microwave, 30 seconds at a time, until fully melted. Set it aside to let it cool slightly to avoid cooking your eggs in the bowl.
- In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a fork.
- Add remaining wet ingredients to the bananas: butter, eggs, and vanilla.
- Stir with your fork until the mixture is somewhat creamy and you no longer see yellow streaks of the egg. You can use a stand mixer for the wet ingredients if you prefer, but you may as well keep it clean.
- In another large bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
- Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and mix them until just combined. Avoid overmixing.
- Add the mixture to the loaf pan and place in the oven for 50-60 minutes.
- At the 50-minute mark, carefully stick a toothpick in the top, and if it comes out clean, the bread is ready. If not, place it back in the oven and check again after another 10 minutes.
- Let it sit for a half hour before removing it from your baking pan and slicing.
You can store this banana bread in an airtight container on your counter for up to three days and in the fridge for up to six days. However, allow it to cool completely before placing the lid on the container.
If you want to bake this recipe in bulk, you can place your loaves in the freezer for up to two months once cooled.
Serving size, one slice:
Carbohydrates 40 grams
Protein 4 grams
Fat 9 grams
Saturated fat 5 grams
Cholesterol 55 milligrams
Sodium 270 milligrams
Potassium 157 milligrams
Fiber 2 grams
Sugar 21 grams
Vitamin A 300 international units
Vitamin C 3.3 milligrams
Calcium 10 milligrams
Iron 1.3 milligrams
Additions or variations to play with your banana bread
A dash of nutmeg
When combining your dry ingredients to this recipe, add a quarter teaspoon of nutmeg to give your bread an extra bit of warmth and spice. It also adds to the already fantastic aroma that will fill your kitchen.
Banana bread with walnuts recipe
When mixing the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients in this recipe, you can add one cup of walnuts to the batter to add a tasty crunch to your bread. Follow the same baking directions.
Chocolate chip banana bread recipe
Add one cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips to your mixture when adding the dry ingredients to the wet. Once you’ve poured the batter into the pan, sprinkle some extra chips on top and bake for the same time listed in the recipe. Alternatively, dark chocolate chips could work well with the banana flavor.
Chocolate banana bread recipe
Swap out a quarter cup of flour with four tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa when mixing the dry ingredients. Add one cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips when adding the dry ingredients to the wet. Continue to follow the same directions as the original recipe.
Blueberry banana bread recipe
Add a bit of tartness and moisture to your bread by including one cup of blueberries. Stir them into the mixture when adding the dry ingredients to the wet. They may get a little squished, and your bread is likely to turn a slight tint of lavender, but it will taste delightful. Frozen blueberries will do the trick in place of fresh ones.
Dried fruit banana bread recipe
A cup of dried cranberries or raisins is a great addition to banana bread. Additionally, you can use larger fruits diced into quarter-inch pieces. Add them once you’re combining the dry and wet ingredients. Follow the stirring and baking directions as listed.
Coconut banana bread
To give your banana bread a tropical twist, add one cup of shredded coconut when combining the wet and dry ingredients. Continue following the directions for the original recipe. Once the bread is ready, mix a half-cup of confectioner’s sugar with one tablespoon of lime juice or coconut milk in a small bowl. Pour the optional glaze over top of cooled bread.
Banana muffins recipe
Follow the directions of the original recipe or one of the variations listed. Instead of adding the batter to a loaf pan, evenly distribute it into the cavities of a muffin tin. Reduce the baking time to 25-30 minutes and check with a toothpick at 25 minutes. Allow the muffins to cool completely for clean removal from the tin.
Your bread will be appealing
Add a touch of butter, or leave it plain, and put this bread out with breakfast, brunch, or serve it as a snack with coffee, tea, or a glass of milk. With this easy and moist banana bread recipe, your family, friends, or guests will want a second helping and quite possibly a second loaf.
Recipe adapted from The Salty Marshmallow