Sometimes it’s the simplest things you crave most. Like banana bread.
I remember the first time I had a good loaf as a kid. A neighbor gave us a loaf and I was skeptical. It had nuts and fruit… two things most kids are not looking for in a treat.
But I took a bite anyway … and I absolutely loved that bread!
So I made it my mission to create my own BEST banana bread recipe. I find this recipe to be sweet without being cloying, and perfectly moist.
This recipe is so easy, and it doesn’t even require a stand mixer or hand mixer. It’s the perfect quick bread.
Bonus points: it smells heavenly while it’s baking in the oven! This bread would be the perfect homemade gift for a neighbor, teacher, coworker, or friend – and it’s also the perfect snack, breakfast, or dessert to enjoy yourself.
How to Make the BEST Homemade Banana Bread
How to Tell if Bananas Are Ripe for Baking Banana Bread
For this recipe, you’ll want to use very overripe bananas. They should be very soft and covered with dark brown speckles. This will provide both the best sweet flavor and the best texture.
- To speed up the ripening process: Place them in a paper bag in a warm area for a day or two. The peels create ethylene gas, which fills up the bag and helps them ripen faster.
- To ripen bananas today: Place whole unpeeled bananas on a baking sheet in a 300°F oven for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until the skins are darkened and the fruit is soft.
- Freeze extras: If you have more overripe bananas than you need for this recipe, you can always peel and freeze them for later.
How to Mash Bananas for Baking
Mash the ripe bananas very well by hand with a fork or potato masher. I find mashing with an electric mixer makes the batter too thin to rise well, often leading to bread that’s slightly mushy in the center or even slightly sunken in the center.
How to Make Banana Bread MOIST
- Butter and oil: I experimented with using melted butter vs. oil in banana bread and found an even mixture of both led to the best results. You get the rich flavor from the butter, but the sensation of moistness from the vegetable oil.
- Why use oil: Oil is a liquid at room temperature, so it feels moist on the palate even though it has no water.
- Brown sugar and plain yogurt: The other key ingredients that help make the banana bread moist, tender, and flavorful.
How to Add Nuts or Chocolate Chips to Banana Bread
- I made this recipe plain, but you can add 1 cup of coarsely chopped nuts or chips.
- I prefer lightly toasted chopped walnuts or semisweet chocolate chips, but feel free to get creative here.
- If you prefer pecans, I have a recipe for Butter Pecan Banana Bread you’ll love.
The CORRECT Pan to use for Banana Bread
- The pan I recommend: A light-colored METAL 9 by 5-inch loaf pan. Anything too dark in color will risk scorching the edges.
- Glass and ceramic loaf pans: Take MUCH longer to bake – upwards of 15 to 20 minutes. You also risk the banana bread collapsing in the center and being underbaked in the middle. Learn more about this here.
- Use the correct size loaf pan: 9 by 5-inches.
- I know that an 8 ½ by 4 ½-inch pan seems basically identical, but the difference in volume capacity is 15% and that has a surprisingly large impact on the final loaf.
- If you use the smaller pan size, your loaf may spill over the edges and remains underbaked in the center.
- Using a smaller pan: If that’s all you have, you can withhold about 15% of the batter from the pan.
How to Bake Banana Bread WITHOUT COLLAPSING!
- Follow my notes above for using the correct baking pan – both size and material matter!
- Make sure your oven is completely preheated. Wait at least 10 additional minutes after your oven emits that preheat beep before placing your loaf in, to ensure it’s hot enough.
- Invest in an oven thermometer to see just how accurate your oven actually is. Read more about oven temperatures in my article here.
- Be sure not to overmix the banana bread batter.
- Don’t underbake. More on this just below.
How to Tell When Banana Bread is Done Baking?
- Bake your banana bread until it registers an internal temperature of 200 to 205°F.
- Use an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center.
- This is the best and easiest way to ensure your bread is perfectly cooked through but not overdone.
Can You Save Underbaked Banana Bread?
We’ve all been there. You go to slice your cooled loaf, only to discover it’s gummy and underdone in the center. Putting it back in the oven will only scorch the exterior before the interior can heat through.
Instead, you can place those slices on a buttered griddle and fry them up kind of like French toast. You can also do this with stale banana bread (if it lasts that long!). Add a little peanut butter at the end for the ultimate indulgence!
Can I Add Frosting to Banana Bread?
If you’d like, you can add Cream Cheese Frosting or my Best Buttercream to take this recipe to a whole new level!
How to Turn Banana Bread into Muffins
- You can turn this banana bread recipe into about two dozen banana bread muffins.
- Fill the batter about 3/4 full into the cavities of two standard muffin tins.
- Bake at 350°F for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- I also have a fabulous recipe for Banana Espresso Chocolate Chip Muffins here!
How to Store Banana Bread
Cover and store cooled banana bread at room temperature for 2 days. The flavors will actually intensify as the bread sits!
How to Freeze Banana Bread
To freeze, tightly wrap the completely cooled loaf or slices in plastic wrap, then place in a ziptop bag. Store in the freezer for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature. If thawing an entire loaf, you can also refresh the loaf by popping it into a 325°F oven for about 10 minutes.
More Banana Recipes
I hope you adore this recipe!
(254 grams) all-purpose flour
(100 grams) granulated sugar
(100 grams) light brown sugar
(340 grams) mashed banana
(from about 3 very overripe bananas)*
(60 grams) plain yogurt or sour cream
(113 grams) coarsely chopped toasted walnuts or chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously grease a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugars, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
In a medium bowl, stir together the bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter, oil, and vanilla. Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just barely combined. Gently fold in the walnuts or chocolate chips (if using), being very careful not to overmix. Spread batter into the prepared pan.
Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 15 minutes before removing the loaf from the pan to finish cooling completely.
Use very overripe bananas. They should be very soft and covered with dark brown speckles. Mash the bananas very well by hand with a fork or potato masher.
To ensure your banana bread is baked, use an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center. Banana bread is baked when the internal temperature reaches 200 to 205°F.
This post was originally published in 2012 and recently updated with recipe improvements and new photos. Photos by Ashley McLaughlin.