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I think you’re going to adore this Butter Pecan Banana Bread recipe.
I cannot type the word banana without think of Gwen Stefani’s Hollaback song. B-A-N-A-N-A-S. I remember listening to that song far too many times in junior high school with my neon blue first-generation iPod mini.
If I got that song stuck in your head for the rest of the day, my apology is this super moist Butter Pecan Banana Bread recipe.
Yes, I did just use the word moist so maybe I should apologize again. But it’s only because this is my favorite banana bread recipe.
This loaf is ultra-rich and buttery, without being too dense. It’s super soft and moist with perfect crunchy bites of pecans throughout. It’s weird because I’m usually not a huge fan of nuts in baked goods, but for some reason, I adore them in banana bread recipes.
Grab a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy a slice of this Butter Pecan Banana Bread with some fresh butter slathered on top.
How to Make Butter Pecan Banana Bread
Ingredients for Butter Pecan Banana Bread:
- Butter – You’ll need butter for both the loaf and the buttered pecans. Use unsalted butter in baking so you control the amount of salt used.
- Pecans – Chopped pecans are one of the star ingredients of this recipe! You’ll love the crunchy pecans studded throughout this moist banana bread.
- Salt – Also used in the buttered pecans, fine salt balances out the sweetness of the loaf.
- All-purpose flour – Make sure your dry ingredients are measured correctly, so you don’t end up with dry or dense banana bread.
- Baking soda – Learn more about the differences between baking soda and baking powder here.
- Cinnamon – Pairs perfectly with the nutty flavors in this loaf.
- Granulated sugar – Sweetens as well as moistens this banana pecan bread recipe.
- Eggs – Helps bind everything together and provide structure.
- Bananas – It’s not banana bread without mashed bananas. Use very overripe bananas for the best texture and sweetness.
- Sour cream or plain full-fat yogurt – Helps achieve a tender, moist texture.
- Vanilla extract – Stir in a splash of vanilla to help make this the most flavorful banana bread recipe.
Can I Add Chocolate Chips to This Recipe?
Yes! Add a scant cup of semisweet chocolate chips, folding in with the flour and pecans as written in the recipe.
How Ripe Should Bananas Be for Banana Bread?
- Be sure to use very overripe bananas.
- Overripe bananas should be very soft and covered with dark brown speckles.
- Appropriately overripe bananas not only provide a sweet flavor but also help to add more moisture to banana bread.
- If you have more overripe bananas than you need for this recipe, you can always peel them, mash them, then freeze them for baking later. Or use them in smoothies!
How to Ripen Bananas Quickly:
- To speed up ripening, place bananas in a paper bag and store 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. This doesn’t quite yield the same effect as allowing the bananas to ripen naturally, but it’ll work in a pinch.
How to Mash Bananas for Banana Bread
Place overripe bananas on a cutting board and mash very well by hand with a fork or potato masher. I find mashing with an electric mixer or hand 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
Besides using overripe bananas, also be sure to measure your flour correctly. This makes a world of difference between moist banana bread and dry banana bread. Lastly, avoid overmixing the batter once the wet and dry ingredients have been combined, otherwise you’ll end up with dry and rubbery banana bread.
The Best Banana Bread Pan
The pan I recommend using is a METAL 9 by 5-inch loaf pan.
- Glass and ceramic pans can take MUCH longer to bake.
- Not just banana bread, but brownies and sheet cakes too – see my experiments on this here!
- You also risk the banana bread collapsing in the center and being underbaked in the middle.
- If you only have a glass or ceramic pan, add anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes to the baking time and use my tips below for judging when banana bread is done cooking.
Additionally, use the correct size loaf pan for best results: 9 by 5-inches.
- I know that an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch pan seems practically 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, you may end up with a loaf that spills over the edges and sinks into an underbaked sad crevice in the center.
- If that’s all you have, remove about 15% of the banana bread batter from your bowl before pouring into the pan (feel free to bake the excess in a muffin tin instead, following the baking temperature and time from my Bakery Style Banana Muffins recipe).
How Long to Bake Banana Bread
- Bake your butter pecan 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.
- You could also insert a toothpick; the loaf should be done baking when there are a few moist crumbs still attached.
Why is my Banana Bread Gummy?
Banana bread can get gummy if the batter was overmixed or the loaf was underbaked.
How to Store Butter Pecan Banana Bread
Cover and store cooled banana nut bread at room temperature for 2 days. The flavors will actually intensify as the bread sits! If your bread has started to stale, brush both sides with butter and toast in a skillet until slightly caramelized before serving.
How to Freeze Butter Pecan Banana Bread
Tightly wrap the completely cooled loaf or slices in aluminum foil and place in a resealable freezer bag. Butter Pecan Banana Bread can be frozen for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for a few hours. If thawing an entire loaf, you can also refresh the loaf by popping into a 325°F oven for about 10 minutes.
More Banana Recipes You’ll Love:
For the butter pecans:
(28 grams) unsalted butter
(113 grams) pecan halves,
For the banana bread:
(191 grams) all-purpose flour
plus 2 tablespoons (225 grams) granulated sugar
at room temperature
stick (113 grams) unsalted butter,
melted and cooled
(354 grams) mashed very ripe bananas
(about 3 large bananas)*
(28 grams) sour cream
or plain full-fat yogurt
For the butter pecans:
In a small skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the pecans and salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is lightly browned, 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
For the banana bread:
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter a 9-by-5-inch metal loaf pan (don’t use an 8 ½ by 4 1/2-inch pan, the batter will overflow).
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar and eggs on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reducing to low speed, gradually add in the melted and cooled butter. Add the bananas, sour cream, and vanilla, beating until just combined.
Using a rubber spatula, fold in the dry ingredients and pecans. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for about 1 hour, or until golden brown on top and the center springs back when gently pressed. Bake time for glass or ceramic pans may be longer.
Let cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes before removing from loaf pan to cool completely.
Banana bread can be stored tightly wrapped in plastic for up to 3 days at room temperature or 2 weeks frozen (thaw overnight at room temperature before serving).
*If you'd like to make your loaf with a banana on top as shown in the photos, you will need an additional banana, sliced horizontally. Add half of the banana to top of loaf prior to placing in oven.
This recipe was originally published in 2014 and updated in 2022 with new photos and recipe improvements. Photos by Joanie Simon.