I've Made Dozens of Banana Bread Recipes and This Is the Best One (2024)

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Emma Christensen

Emma Christensen

Emma is a former editor for The Kitchn and a graduate of the Cambridge School for Culinary Arts. She is the author of True Brews and Brew Better Beer. Check out her website for more cooking stories

updated Nov 20, 2023

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You don't need a mixer to make this very easy and delicious recipe.

Makes1 (8-inch) loafCook47 minutes to 1 hour





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I firmly believe that banana bread is something you should be able to make anytime and anywhere, with a mixer or with a fork, in a loaf pan or in a muffin tin — whenever you have a few bananas going soft and freckly. Banana bread, I’m pretty sure, is at least 50 percent of the reason bananas exist.

Here is a very basic and very forgiving recipe that takes all of 10 minutes to whisk together. To make a banana bread, use ripe bananas so your bread comes even more strongly banana-flavored and richer. An hour of waiting while your house fills with tempting aromas and then you’ll be snacking on your very own slice of warm, fresh-baked banana bread.

Ingredients for Banana Bread

With a very few variations, the recipe I give below is universal to almost every church or community cookbook written in the last 50 years. It’s time-tested, and uses ingredients most commonly found in our pantries.

  • Ripe bananas. The more brown, the better.
  • Butter: Or you can use margarine or oil.
  • Sugar: Swap brown sugar for white (which makes a denser, moister bread) or another sugar altogether.
  • Eggs: Recipe calls for two, but it will still work with only one egg.
  • Milk:Swapalmond milk,kefir,buttermilk, or even water for the liquid.
  • All-purpose flour:Swap up to half the flour forwhole wheator another favoritewhole-grain flour.
  • Baking soda. Works as the leavener.
  • Chopped nuts or chocolate chips. Optional, and totally up to you.

My point here is that you can still make banana bread even if you find yourself short on one of the other ingredients (except the baking soda — you need that!). You can also get creative and play with these base ingredients to your heart’s content.

Two Tips for the Best Banana Bread

  • Use ripe bananas. Just about the only requirement for making banana bread is that you use ripe bananas. Once the skins start to develop freckles and the fruits are just a little too soft for pleasurable snacking, then it’s banana bread time. Letting your bananas ripen even longer — until the skins are brown and the fruit falls apart when you peel it — will make your bread even more strongly banana-flavored and richer.
  • Mashing method matters. Personally, I like to leave some banana chunks in my bread and I also like the one-bowl simplicity of mashing the bananas directly into the batter. If you are anti-chunk and like your bananas to be completely smooth, I recommend mashing them into a pulp in a separate bowl and then mixing them into the batter.

Using a Mixer vs a Fork

If it weren’t already clear by this point, the implied subtitle of this recipe is “don’t fuss; make it easy.” If you find it easier to make a recipe like this in a stand mixer or with an electric hand mixer, then that’s the method you should use. Personally, I prefer to make itby hand in a bowl the way my mother taught me — that feels somehow easier to me even though the same number of bowls get dirtied.

If you use a mixer, you have two options: you can melt the butter as directed and follow the recipe exactly, or you can leave the butter softened and cream it with the sugar. Creaming the softened butter and sugar will make your banana bread lighter and more cake-like with a finer texture; melted butter makes the bread denser and less crumbly.

What If I Don’t Have a Loaf Pan?

If you don’t have a loaf pan, you can use this same recipe to make eight to 10 banana muffins. Line a muffin tin with paper liners and fill each cup to roughly 3/4 full, and check for doneness after 20 minutes.

More Banana Bread Recipes

Once you learn the basics, there are so many fun variations on banana bread.

  • Black Sesame Banana Bread
  • The Best, Easiest Gluten-Free Banana Bread
  • Ultra-Moist Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
  • Nutella Swirl Banana Bread
  • Pumpkin Banana Bread
  • Zucchini Banana Bread
  • Blueberry Banana Bread
  • Banana Walnut Bread
  • Banana Buttermilk Bread
  • Tropical Banana Bread with Macadamia Nuts, Pineapple, and Coconut
  • Whole Wheat Banana Bread

Banana Bread Recipe

You don't need a mixer to make this very easy and delicious recipe.

Cook time 47 minutes to 1 hour

Makes 1 (8-inch) loaf


  • Cooking spray

  • 8 tablespoons

    (1 stick) unsalted butter

  • 1 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 2

    large eggs

  • 1/4 cup


  • 1 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

  • 3

    medium bananas, very ripe

  • 2 cups

    all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon

    baking soda

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 cup

    chopped nuts or chocolate chips (optional)


  • 1

    8x5-inch loaf pan

  • Parchment paper

  • Large bowl

  • Whisk or fork, if making by hand

  • Stand mixer or hand mixer, if not making by hand

  • Spatula


Show Images

  1. Heat the oven to 350°F and prep the pan. Arrange a rack in the bottom third of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8x5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper, letting the excess hang over the long sides to form a sling. Spray the inside with cooking spray. If using nuts, toast 1/2 cup chopped nuts in the oven for 10 minutes as the oven is pre-heating.

  2. Melt the butter. Melt 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter in the microwave or over low heat on the stovetop. Place the melted butter and 1 cup granulated sugar in a large bowl and whisk until well combined. (Alternatively, for a more cake-like banana bread, soften the butter (but do not melt) and cream it with the sugar in a stand mixer until light and fluffy).

  3. Add the eggs. Crack 2 large eggs into the bowl. Whisk until completely combined and the mixture is smooth.

  4. Add the milk and vanilla. Whisk 1/4 cup milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract into the batter.

  5. Mash in the bananas. Peel 3 very ripe, medium bananas and add them to the bowl. Using the end of the whisk or a dinner fork, mash them into the batter. Leave the bananas as chunky or as smooth as you prefer. If you prefer an entirely smooth banana bread, mash the bananas separately until no more lumps remain, and then whisk them into the batter.

  6. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Measure 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt into the bowl. Switch to using a spatula and gently stir until the ingredients are just barely combined and no more dry flour is visible.

  7. Fold in the nuts or chocolate, if using. Last but not least, scatter the toasted nuts or 1/2 cup chocolate chips over the batter and gently fold them in.

  8. Pour the batter into the pan. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, using the spatula to scrape all the batter from the bowl. Smooth the top of the batter.

  9. Bake for 50 to 65 minutes. Bake until the top of the cake is caramelized dark brown with some yellow interior peeking through and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean, 50 to 65 minutes. Baking time will vary slightly depending on the moisture and sugar content of your bananas — start checking around 50 minutes and then every 5 minutes after.

  10. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Set the loaf, still in the pan, on a wire cooling rack. Let it cool for 10 minutes — this helps the loaf solidify and makes it easier to remove from the pan.

  11. Remove from pan and cool another 10 minutes. Grasping the parchment paper sling, lift the loaf out of the pan and place on the cooling rack. Cool for another 10 minutes before slicing.

Recipe Notes

Banana muffins: To make muffins, line a muffin tin with paper liners and fill each cup to roughly 3/4 full, and check for doneness after 20 minutes. Makes 8 to 10 muffins.

Storage: Wrap leftovers tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for several days, or wrap the bread in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil and freeze for up to 3 months.

Filed in:

baked goods






I've Made Dozens of Banana Bread Recipes and This Is the Best One (2024)


Is it better to use bread flour or all purpose flour for banana bread? ›

I use all purpose (plain) flour for quick breads. Bread flour would be too chewy. There's no reason why you couldn't use pastry flour, cake flour, or self-rising flour to make banana bread, though cake flour may change the texture a bit. I'm not sure it would hold up to the moisture from all the fruit.

Can I bake 2 loaves of banana bread at the same time? ›

You can double a standard banana bread recipe, as long as you bake the batter in two same-size loaf pans, or one after the other.

Can you put too much banana in banana bread? ›

Banana bread recipes typically ask you to use overripe bananas so that they're easier to mush. This means it's tempting to toss all your bananas into the mix when you're ready to bake, to avoid food waste. But if you add too much of the fruit into your batter, your bread could turn out mushy, heavy, and wet.

Why are older bananas better for banana bread? ›

Ripe bananas are not only softer and easier to mash and blend into a batter, but they are also sweeter, which is why baking recipes specifically call for ripe bananas in ingredient lists. As the bananas ripen, the fruit converts starches to sugars, making them sweeter and more flavorful.

What is the healthiest flour for homemade bread? ›

The healthiest bread flour is 100% whole grain flour. Whole grain flour could be rye, barley, spelt, oat, or wheat flour - the key is that the flour is made from 100% whole grains. Whole grain breads provide essential nutrients that are lacking in bread made from white flour.

What happens if you put too much flour in banana bread? ›

If you use too much flour, you'll end up with really dry banana bread, and If you don't use enough flour, your banana bread will be way too wet. The secret lies in how you measure the flour. The scoop out of the bag method could be packing way too much flour.

How long should banana bread sit after baking? ›

Let it cool for 10 minutes — this helps the loaf solidify and makes it easier to remove from the pan. Remove from pan and cool another 10 minutes. Grasping the parchment paper sling, lift the loaf out of the pan and place on the cooling rack. Cool for another 10 minutes before slicing.

How do I get the middle of my banana bread to cook? ›

If your bread is getting overdone on the outside while still undercooked in the center, reduce the oven temperature and bake it for a longer time. The primary reason as to why banana bread may be raw in the middle is simply down to not enough cooking time.

Can I mix banana bread the night before? ›

Yes, you can keep banana bread batter in the fridge overnight. I'd recommend covering your mixing bowl in plastic wrap, or mixing in a bowl that has a lid you can attach. However, I'm not sure why you'd want to refrigerate your banana bread batter. The batter itself typically comes together in just a few minutes.

What happens if you put too many eggs in banana bread? ›

Adding more eggs makes for a spongy, less flavorful banana bread. Doubling the number of eggs I was using resulted in a spongy cake with a moist texture.

Why does my banana bread come out heavy? ›

You Use Too Much Banana

Using too much banana could make your bread heavy and damp in the center, causing it to appear undercooked and unappealing. If you have bananas leftover, you can always freeze them for later use.

Why did my banana bread come out rubbery? ›

An overmixed banana bread batter will result in a dense, rubbery loaf. As you're prepping your batter, heed the advice of "stir until just moistened" and "no more than 10 seconds."

Do oven ripened bananas taste the same? ›

The texture of a baked banana may be a bit softer than that of one naturally ripened but the taste and caramelized sweetness will be amazing. Preheat your oven to 300ºF, as a low and slow oven ensures the interior of the banana bakes before the outside gets too dark and mushy.

Can dogs eat bananas? ›

Yes, dogs can eat bananas. In moderation, bananas are a great low-calorie treat for dogs. They're high in potassium, vitamins, biotin, fiber, and copper. They are low in cholesterol and sodium, but because of their high sugar content, bananas should be given as a treat, not part of your dog's main diet.

How late is too late to use bananas for banana bread? ›

The best bananas for banana bread aren't yellow; they're black. Or they're at least streaked with black/brown, with just the barest hint of green at the stem. And again, the darker the better: there's no such thing as a too-ripe banana when you're making banana bread.

Does it matter if you use bread flour or all-purpose flour? ›

You can always substitute all-purpose flour for bread flour one for one in any recipe that calls for it. Your bread might not raise quite as high or have quite as much chew, if you are using all-purpose flour, but it will still be delicious and homemade and all the good things.

What happens when you substitute bread flour for all-purpose? ›

You can use all-purpose flour as a 1:1 substitute for bread flour and vice-versa. For example, for 1 cup of bread flour, you can use 1 cup of all-purpose flour. Bread and pizza crust made with all-purpose flour may have a little less chew than those made with bread flour, but the results will still be good.

Is it okay to use bread flour instead of all-purpose? ›

All-purpose flour is the most common flour called for in recipes, for both cooking and baking. But if you don't have any in the pantry, or can't find any in the store, there are other flours you can use in its place. Bread flour and cake flour—on their own or mixed together—can substitute for all-purpose.

When not to use bread flour? ›

You should never attempt to swap bread flour into a recipe for baked goods in which a light, tender texture is desired.


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