Banana Bread Recipe

Banana Bread Loaf on a cutting board with bananas in the background

Banana Bread Recipe

  1. Preheat oven to 350° and grease your loaf pan.
  2. Combine your melted butter, mashed bananas, vanilla extract, egg and sour cream, and mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger baking soda, and salt.
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients, and mix.
  5. Pour mixture into greased loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes. 
Banana bread loaf on a white plate with two slices cut from the front

If you weren’t already aware, let me enlighten you...banana bread is the ultimate comfort food. Perhaps it’s the memories from childhood of that sweet aroma wafting from the kitchen as it’s baking in the oven, or of college days and the excitement of receiving a loaf of homemade banana bread in the mail from my grandmother during exams.

I’d go so far as to say that the first bite of warm slice of freshly baked banana bread is like a good hug. Am I right?! If you don’t yet have this relationship with banana bread, do yourself a favor, because can’t we all use a little more comfort food in our lives? And February 23rd is National Banana Bread Day, so get to baking! 

Content Gallery

  1. Best Banana Bread Recipe
  2. Variations To The Classic Banana Bread Recipe
  3. Healthy Banana Bread Recipe
  4. How To Store Banana Bread
  5. The History Of Banana Bread
  6. Frequently Asked Questions

1. Best Banana Bread Recipe

A banana bread loaf on a marble surface with two slices cut from the top beside two bananas

Banana bread is an easy recipe to start with if you are new to baking. There are many variations of banana bread and so many banana bread recipes out there. I’ve played around with baking them all, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the best and most moist banana bread is basically a classic recipe with the addition of sour cream and a couple of key spices.

The classic recipe my grandmother always used was her “1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Banana Bread” which is so easy to remember that you can make it from memory, which is always a good trick to have up your sleeve!

This recipe is for 2 loaves:

  • 1 cup of butter,
  • 2 cups of sugar,
  • 3 cups of self-rising flour,
  • 4 eggs and
  • 5 bananas (chopped pecans or walnuts optional);

Bake at 350° for approx. 45 minutes.

This recipe is easy once you know the steps of the process, and it’s delicious, period. I felt a pang of guilt, like I was cheating on her, the first time I altered her recipe. Nevertheless, I think she would approve. The addition of sour cream makes for the most perfectly moist banana bread recipe.

The other change I made was to jazz it up a bit with a little cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and vanilla extract. I also use all-purpose flour with baking soda and salt rather than self-rising flour, just because I use all-purpose more often for other things, and don’t typically keep self-rising flour on hand. Either is fine, but if you are using all-purpose flour, do NOT forget the baking soda. I made that mistake a time or two and ended up with a very disappointing dense, banana-flavored brick.

The key to baking perfect banana bread is overripe bananas. And by overripe, I mean the skins are turning brown. (Pro tip: Grocery stores and vegetable markets will often give you their overripe bananas at no charge!) The browner the skins, the softer the bananas and the easier they are to mash into your banana mixture. Overripe bananas also give a much more robust banana flavor.  

Yield:


2 Loaves

Prep Time:


15 minutes

Cook Time:


50-55 minutes



Ingredients

1 cup melted butter (unsalted)

1 cup sour cream

4 eggs

5 bananas (mashed)

2 teaspoons vanilla

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups brown sugar or granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon cardamom

Tools

2 loaf pans 

Bread knife

Cutting board

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°.
  2. Grease your loaf pans with butter.
  3. Combine all of your wet ingredients to make your banana mixture: melted butter, sour cream, eggs, mashed bananas, vanilla extract. Stir well, and make sure there are no large chunks of banana. If any remain, mash them with a fork.
  4. Combine all of your dry ingredients: flour, brown sugar, baking soda, kosher salt, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and cardamom. Stir well, and make sure there are no brown sugar lumps.
  5. Add your dry ingredients to your banana mixture, and mix until just combined. Your mixture will be relatively thick. Use a large spoon or spatula to spoon the batter into your loaf pan. Let rest for 5 minutes.
  6. Place in the oven on the middle rack. Bake for 45 minutes. 
  7. Place a piece of aluminum foil over the banana bread to prevent it from overbrowning, and cook for 10 more minutes. (Only 5 more minutes if you are using miniature loaf pans)
  8. Use a cake tester to make sure your bread is done. (It should have no uncooked batter on it when you pull it out. If it does, continue baking for another 5-10 minutes.)
  9. Remove loaf from the oven and allow it to cool in the loaf pan for at least 10 minutes. 
  10. Turn loaf pan upside down and gently slide the loaf out.
  11. Place loaf on your cutting board, and use your bread knife to slice.
  12.  Allow your loaf to cool completely before wrapping it in plastic wrap to store.

*You can use this same recipe to make banana muffins. Use a muffin tin or use several miniature loaf pans if you’d like to spread the banana bread love to some friends! Note: If you are baking muffins, adjust your baking time to approx. 30 minutes.

** Make sure you use a well-sharpened serrated bread knife to slice into your banana bread. You don’t want to ruin that beautiful loaf you worked so hard on by mashing it up with the wrong knife. Learn how to sharpen that serrated bread knife here

2. Variations To the Classic Banana Bread Recipe

Banana bread seasoned with nuts on a brown cutting board

There are so many fun ways to add some excitement to your banana bread recipe! Using the same recipe as above, minus the cardamom, make any of these additions: 

  • Add 1 cup of chocolate chips
  • Add 1 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans for banana nut bread
  • Add 1 cup of peanut butter and 1 cup of chocolate chips
  • Add 3 tablespoons of your favorite kind of jam (raspberry, blackberry or orange marmalade work great!)
  • Add 1 cup of frozen blueberries
  • Add 1 cup of cranberries
  • Add 1 cup of chopped frozen strawberries
  • Add 1 cup of frozen raspberries
  • Add 1 cup of raisins
  • Add 1 cup of shredded cocout
  • Add ½ cup of unsweetened cocoa powder and 1 cup of chocolate chips for a double chocolate banana bread 
  • Add 1 cup of pumpkin puree and 1 tsp of pumpkin pie spice, but make sure you reduce the amount of mashed banana by half
  • Add 1 cup of shredded carrots
  • Sweeten it up with a cream cheese frosting glaze to put on top 
  • Make a cinnamon streusel topping 

There are endless combination possibilities, so get creative!

Bonus - If you're interested in creating the ultimate home baking station check out this handy guide

3. Healthy Banana Bread Recipe

Three slices of banana bread cut from the load on a chopping board next to four bananas

The most frequently requested variation is a healthy banana bread recipe. Be aware that the healthy substitutions will change the texture and taste somewhat, so you may want to play around with some different variations to see what you like best.

Healthy Banana Bread Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup melted coconut oil  (subbed for butter)
  • 1 cup greek yogurt  (subbed for sour cream)
  • 4 eggs
  • 5 bananas
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2  cups all-purpose flour + 1 cup almond flour OR oat flour (You cannot substitute almond or oat flour for all-purpose 1:1)
  • 2 cups maple syrup or honey  (subbed for sugar; adjust amount of flour by adding 3-4 tbsp of flour for every cup of maple syrup or honey)
  • 2 tsp baking soda 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • *Add 1 tablespoon ground flax seed and 1 teaspoon of nutritional yeast.
  • *Add 1 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans.

*You can also just reduce the amount of sweeteners or sugar altogether by cutting the amount in half or by a third.

Directions:

*Use same directions and cook time as the original recipe with these ingredient substitutions.

4. How To Store Banana Bread

Make sure you allow your loaf of banana bread to cool completely before wrapping it in plastic wrap. To keep it moist, wrap it or place in an airtight plastic bag and store at room temperature for 3 days or in the fridge for 5 days. If you’d like to freeze it, wrap in plastic wrap first, then aluminum foil. You can freeze banana bread for up to 3 months. For best results, let it thaw out at room temperature for 24 hours.

When reheating a slice of banana bread, place it in the toaster oven for a few minutes and then butter it when it comes out. Pure. heaven.

5. The History Of Banana Bread

close-up of baked banana bread with walnuts and chocolate pieces in a loaf pan with kitchen towel, ripe bananas and ingredients on wooden table, authentic recipe, view from above

Since bananas aren’t native to the U.S., they did not become the ubiquitous fruit of American households until the advent of refrigeration in the early 1900s.

They were often used during that time as toppings or garnishes. And it wasn’t until the Great Depression when every bit of food was precious that people started using their overripe bananas in baking out of reluctance to throw anything away. In addition, around that time, chemical leaveners like baking soda and baking powder became more widely available as companies began producing them on a large scale.

And since this was a bread that could be made quickly, unlike yeast breads, it became a very popular way to make bread. So by the early 1930s, banana bread recipes were being used in households all across the U.S.

6. Frequently Asked Questions About Banana Bread

Can you use frozen bananas in banana bread?

Yes! In fact, I just throw the last banana of a bunch into the freezer as it’s turning brown and make a loaf of banana bread as soon as I have 5. Just take them out and let them thaw out on a plate for an hour or so. Remove them from their skins and they’ll be ready for use. 

Can you substitute maple syrup or honey for sugar when baking banana bread?

Yes, you can substitute maple syrup for sugar 1:1 when baking, but add about 3 to 4 tablespoons of additional flour for every cup of maple syrup or honey used.

Can you substitute brown sugar for white sugar when baking banana bread? 

Yes, you can also substitute brown sugar for white sugar 1:1 when baking, but as with maple syrup, the texture and color may change slightly. Brown sugar is made with molasses, so your banana bread will be darker and richer. You may want to adjust/add flour to balance out the molasses.

Can you substitute whole wheat flour for all-purpose flour?

You can use whole wheat flour for all-purpose flour, but a 1:1 ratio will give you a significantly different texture and taste. Start with subbing ¼ of your all-purpose for whole wheat flour and increase the ratio to your liking. King Arthur Baking Company has a good guide for baking with whole wheat flour. 

Can baking powder be used instead of baking soda?

There is a good bit of chemistry involved in the full answer to this question, but the short answer is, generally speaking, baking powder can be used in place of baking soda, but baking soda canNOT be used in place of baking powder.

What’s the difference in banana bread and banana cake? 

Banana cake is meant to be a desert, while banana bread contains less sugar, has more of a grain taste, and is typically eaten as breakfast or a snack. Banana bread is typically more dense, while banana cake is light and fluffy...more like a traditional cake. Banana cake recipes usually use cake flour or pastry flour. They also often have some kind of sweet frosting or topping. If you’d like to try baking banana cake, the Southern Living recipe is one of the best I’ve found.

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Written by Meredith Sims

Devoted follower of the farm-to-table scene, Meredith is most well-known for her ability to whip up a gourmet meal in the tiniest of spaces, including her camper van.