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The Perfect Banana Bread

This is THE BEST banana bread – easy to make, moist, perfect banana bread that is crisp on the outside and loaded with flavor. One bowl, no mixer required! Next time, try out my triple chocolate banana bread, cranberry pumpkin banana bread, or homemade white bread.

A loaf of golden banana bread, sliced on a white plate

I’m not a fan of bananas in general, but good lord do I love banana bread. There’s something about the aroma that is so calming and comforting. Somehow, over the years, banana bread became my go-to comfort food.

Side note: Does Yankee Candle make a banana bread scent? I’m going to look into that, ASAP. (Okay, I looked, and they don’t – but this company does!)

I’ve spent an embarrassing amount of time in the kitchen desperately trying to come up with the perfect banana bread recipe. After many, many iterations of this recipe, I finally found the perfect combination.

It’s moist, but not heavy. It’s flavorful, but not loaded with sugar. The top has just the right amount of crunch and the whole thing smells amazing. 

Bananas ripe for banana bread

The best kind of bananas for banana bread

You’re making banana bread, so guess what the most critical ingredient is? The bananas! Having the most ripe bananas possible is going to be the key to your success.

The darker the peel is, the more ripe and sweet it is. You want the bananas to be practically black for optimal flavor. They’re going to be falling apart when you peel them – and that’s perfect! You’ve probably heard them referred to as overripe bananas.

I find that I can tell when they’re almost ready to go because my whole pantry smells like bananas. And while it’s not my favorite scent, it sure does make it easy to know when to use them.

Oh, no – my bananas aren’t ripe!

You have a couple options:

  • Offset the flavor by tweaking the other ingredients. Because the bananas won’t be as flavorful or sweet, you can add another few tablespoons of brown sugar and another pinch of salt to help with the overall flavor profile.
  • You can quickly ripen the bananas by placing them on a foil-lined baking sheet and baking them at 300°F for 15 minutes, or until the peels are black. Let them cool, then add them to the bowl and start mashing!
Four photo collage showing the process of making banana bread batter

How to make the perfect banana bread

  • Make sure your bananas are ripe. Like I mentioned above, I’m talking the darkest bananas possible – or at the very least, yellow with streaks of brown on the peel. The more ripe they are, the more flavor and sweetness they’re going to add.
  • If you’re not a fan of small banana chunks in your bread, you can blend the bananas instead of just mashing them. But for banana-lovers, a good, old fashioned mashing is all it takes.
  • When I say that you need to coat the pan with nonstick spray, I mean it. Make sure you cover every inch to ensure your loaf comes out easily when it’s done.
  • Don’t have buttermilk handy? You can substitute 1/3 scant cup whole milk mixed with 1 teaspoon of white vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice. Just stir the two to mix, and let sit on the counter for 5-10 minutes before using.
A closeup shot of slices of golden brown banana bread

Flavor variations

  • Add some crunch! I don’t add nuts to mine when I make it, but I know lots of people love the added crunch of walnuts. If you’re into that sort of thing, toss 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts into the batter, and maybe sprinkle some on top, too – you know, for good measure. 
  • Want to add fresh blueberries? Toss 1 1/2-2 cups fresh blueberries in 1 Tablespoon all purpose flour to coat, then gently fold into the batter at the end of step 5.
  • Try adding cranberries and lemon. Add 1 1/2 cups cranberries and 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon zest.
  • You can’t go wrong with chocolate chips, either. Add 1/2 cup milk, semisweet, or dark chocolate chips.
  • Drizzle the top with peanut butter! Warm a couple tablespoons peanut butter in the microwave and then drizzle it on top of the baked loaf.

How do you keep banana bread moist?

To make sure your banana bread doesn’t dry out, you should always wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, tin foil, or store it in an airtight container. Even better? Wrap it and stick it in a covered container.

That crack down the middle of freshly baked bread is what I live for. It’s imperfectly perfect, and that’s exactly the way I like it. I know lots of people like to lie a thin slice of banana down the top, but I’m not about that life.

A front shot of a sliced loaf of golden brown banana bread

Can you freeze banana bread?

Yes! Make sure your loaf has cooled completely, and then wrap each the loaf tightly in a couple layers of plastic wrap and then put it in a large resealable bag and seal tightly. Place in your freezer for up to 2 months.

To defrost, remove the loaf from the plastic bag, unwrap, and let set on a wire rack (aff link) until it comes to room temperature (about 3 hours). 

A closeup shot of slices of golden brown banana bread on a white plate

After you’ve made this recipe, please leave a comment below with a rating – and if you came from Pinterest, add a photo to the Pin of what you make to the pin to share your experience!

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A loaf of golden banana bread, sliced on a white plate

The Perfect Banana Bread


  • Author: Leslie Kiszka
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 loaf (8-10 slices) 1x

Description

This is THE BEST banana bread – easy to make, moist, perfect banana bread that is crisp on the outside and loaded with flavor. One bowl, no mixer required! Next time, try out my triple chocolate banana bread, cranberry pumpkin banana bread, paleo banana berry breakfast cookies.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 cup mashed very ripe banana (about 3 medium bananas)
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter, canola oil, or greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of ground cinnamon (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F and spray a 9×5 loaf pan (aff link) with non-stick spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mash banana to remove as many of the lumps as possible. If desired, run through a food processor or blender (aff link) for a couple seconds.
  3. Add eggs, buttermilk, butter or oil, vanilla and whisk until well combined.
  4. Add brown sugar and whisk again until well combined.
  5. Add flour, baking soda and salt and whisk until just combined.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake on rack in the lower third of the oven for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  7. Leaving loaf in the pan, place on wire rack (aff link) to cool for 15-20 minutes. Invert and carefully remove loaf and place back on wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Slice into 8 pieces and enjoy!

Notes

  • Don’t have buttermilk handy?  You can substitute 1/3 scant cup whole milk mixed with 1 teaspoon of white vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice. Just stir the two to mix, and let sit on the counter for 5-10 minutes before using.
  • If you’re not a fan of small banana chunks in your bread, you can blend the bananas instead of just mashing them.
  • For a crunch, add 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts into the batter, and maybe sprinkle some on top, too.
  • Want to add fresh berries? Toss 2 cups fresh blueberries in 1 Tablespoon all purpose flour to coat, then gently fold into the batter at the end of step 5.
  • Make sure you cover every inch of your loaf pan with nonstick spray (aff link) to ensure your loaf comes out easily when it’s done.
  • To make sure your banana bread doesn’t dry out, you should always wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, tin foil, or store it in an airtight container. Even better? Wrap it and stick it in a covered container.
  • To freeze, wrap each completely cooled loaf tightly in a couple layers of plastic wrap and then put it in a large resealable bag and seal tightly. To defrost, remove the loaf from the plastic bag, unwrap, and let set on a wire rack (aff link) until it comes to room temperature (about 3 hours).
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: banana bread, perfect banana bread, how to make banana bread, easy banana bread

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Recipe rating

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Claudia Blair

Friday 9th of April 2021

This is officially my go-to banana bread recipe. The first time I made it, i made 4 mini loaves. They disappeared quickly! My family loved it. Thank you for this incredible recipe!

Leslie Kiszka

Saturday 10th of April 2021

I'm so happy to hear it - thanks so much for coming back to leave a comment and rating!

Lesley Stewart

Wednesday 10th of March 2021

Used buttermilk was wonderful!

Michele

Tuesday 9th of March 2021

This is my most favorite banana bread recipe! I love it so much. It came out perfectly in a bundt pan. We added walnuts and extra dark chocolate... YUM! Also, your trick to ripen bananas worked perfectly. <3 Thanks, Leslie!

Leslie Kiszka

Tuesday 9th of March 2021

I'm so glad you liked it and that the ripening trick worked for you - double win!

Kim

Friday 12th of February 2021

So glad I found this recipe. This makes the best banana bread I've ever eaten. My husband doesn't even like bananas and he loves this.

Leslie Kiszka

Saturday 13th of February 2021

I'm so happy to hear that!

Diane

Thursday 4th of February 2021

I make banana bread almost weekly. This recipe was awesome, moist, and easy to make. I added milk that I added vinegar to. This made butter milk. Then, I added chocolate chips to one batch, and nuts to another batch. Some I made into muffins. Baked them for 28 minutes. The loaf does best in a glass bread pan. My new favorite.

Leslie Kiszka

Sunday 7th of February 2021

So glad it's a favorite of yours!

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