This banana bread recipe has the best texture and flavor, from all the different versions I’ve tried over the years. A classic banana bread is the easiest and most popular way to use up those overripe bananas. You’ll be waiting for those bananas to become overripe just to make this easy recipe!
Easy classic banana bread that has the best texture and flavor!
Here’s the deal. Banana bread is delicious no matter what. It’s pretty hard to mess up in terms of flavor.
This recipe has been years in the making. I’ve tried countless different versions over the years, always tweaking my recipe, combining different things until I arrived at the PERFECT banana bread recipe for me! And here it is.
Unlike actual bread, banana bread is leavened with chemical leaveners. So it’s known as a quick bread, the same as muffins. Chemical leaveners work faster than yeast, making quick breads like banana bread even easier and quicker to make.
Ingredients needed to make banana bread
- Overripe bananas
- Brown sugar
- Sour cream
- Spices and flavoring
- AP flour
- Baking soda and powder
How to make the perfect banana bread
As always, I’m a firm advocate for weighing ingredients. The reason is simple, it guarantees consistent results.
Bananas come in different sizes. So, while I provide an estimated number of bananas to use in the recipe, this will of course vary depending on the size of bananas. So better to go by weight (grams) for consistent results.
First step is to mash up the overripe bananas. Then set aside. I like my mashed bananas to be on the chunky side, but smooth mashed bananas are OK as well.
Make sure that all the other ingredients are at room temperature (except for the butter, which can be a little warmer if melted).
Whisk the softened or melted butter and sugars and salt, in a large bowl, until you have a smooth mixture. Add the sour cream and bananas, and mix well.
Next, add the eggs and vanilla, and mix until the eggs are well combined.
Measure out all the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and spices) in a medium bowl, and whisk together until well combined.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix or fold in until just combined. Do NOT over mix the dry ingredients because you want to avoid overworking the flour. Otherwise it can result in a rubbery banana cake. Not good.
Before all the dry ingredients are mixed through, add the chopped nuts or any other additions to the batter. Fold these in along with the last of the dry ingredients.
Baking the banana bread
Scrape all the batter into a prepared loaf pan (9 x 5 inch loaf pan). I like to sprinkle more chopped nuts and a little granulated sugar on top before I bake the banana bread. The sugar creates a lovely crisp and crunchy coating on the bread that’s absolutely divine!
Another option is to decorate the top with sliced bananas or two bananas sliced lengthwise. These options will make your banana bread look even more irresistible.
Preheat the oven to 350 F / 180 C. Bake in the preheated oven for about 60 – 70 minutes. OR until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the bread comes out clean.
Once baked, remove the banana loaf from the oven. Tip it out of the pan and onto a cooling wire rack, and let it cool completely. Make sure to use oven mitts because that loaf pan will be hot! You can let the loaf pan cool slightly, but I prefer not to let the banana bread cool down inside the loaf pan.
Serve the banana bread warm or at room temperature. You can even toast or pan fry slices for a toasty, crunchy surface.
The purpose of the ingredients & substitutions
The more ripe the bananas, the sweeter your banana bread will be.
Wait for the banana peels to get those dark brown spots and even soften a little bit.
How to ripen bananas faster
You can store the bananas in a brown paper bag or a cardboard box to get them to ripen faster. But if patience is not your virtue (I hear ya!), you can place the bananas in a preheated oven so that they soften with the heat. They won’t have the same flavor profile as naturally ripened bananas, and may not have the same sweetness. But it’ll still work well!
Butter or oil
You can use either butter or oil. Butter gives the banana bread more flavor and also a slightly more dense texture. Oil keeps the banana bread light. You can change up the flavor of the banana bread by choosing olive oil over a neutral oil as well.
For another great flavor upgrade, you can brown the butter first and then weigh the amount needed for the recipe. Browned butter will act like oil in the recipe, but add a depth of flavor.
I personally love dark brown sugar for this recipe. The molassey flavor of brown sugar deepens the flavor of the banana bread, and helps keep this quick bread moist.
You can substitute some of it with white sugar or even use light brown sugar instead. If you’re looking to use honey, that is possible too. But you’d need to use less honey than sugar.
Eggs work as a binder in this recipe. Use room temperature large eggs that will mix better into the batter.
This ingredient helps keep the banana bread moist. But it also keeps the crumb really tender. If you don’t have sour cream at home, or want to have extra banana flavor and sweetness instead, replace the sour cream with more mashed bananas.
You can use full fat greek yogurt instead of sour cream, or just increase the amount of bananas (with 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar). You can also use vegan yogurt instead of sour cream.
I use all purpose flour here. It is what’s widely available in most parts of the world. Which makes this simple and classic banana bread that much more accessible.
You could also use bread flour, which will give you a chewier, slightly more dense result. But you can also use whole wheat flour. I prefer to use less flour and increase the chemical leavener a little when I use whole wheat flour. This is my absolute favorite version of banana bread – whole wheat and rye banana bread!
Baking powder and baking soda
I use a combination of both baking powder and baking soda. However, in order for the baking soda to be as active as it can be, the recipe must include something acidic. This is where the sour cream / yogurt comes into play. If you’re not using sour cream, then increase the amount of bananas, but also add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to the batter.
Spices and flavoring
Vanilla, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
A classic banana bread just wouldn’t be complete without cinnamon!
But you can add other flavors too,
- Coffee extract
- Chai spice
- Powdered tea
- Rum or bourbon
Nuts and other additions
A classic banana bread tastes better with nuts, but they are not necessary of course. The banana nut combination is just so irresistible. Walnuts are a classic option, but my favorite is pecans.
But there are other options besides nuts too.
- Chocolate chips for chocolate chip banana bread
- Toffee pieces for a toffee banana bread
- Peanut butter for a peanut butter swirled banana bread
- Nutella for a nutella swirled banana bread
- Pumpkin puree for banana pumpkin bread
Choosing the right pan for banana bread
I use a 9 x 5 inch light colored metal loaf pan for my banana bread.
If you only have a 8.5 x 4.5 inch pan, you can use that as well, but I would reduce the oven temperature to 325 F / 165 C and bake it for longer. Although that seems like a small difference, it can have an impact on the texture of the banana bread.
The best way to get the same results with a 8.5 x 4.5 inch loaf pan is to weigh the amount of batter, and then only pour 85% of the batter into the smaller loaf pan. Then it can be baked at 350 F/ 180 C for about the same time (maybe slightly less).
If you’re using a dark metal pan, the outside of the banana bread will bake faster and give you a darker crust which may seem drier. Glass pans will also give you less than stellar results.
For both of those pans, I recommend lowering the oven temperature by 25 F / 15 C and check on the cake earlier to make sure it’s not overbaked.
A perfect banana bread is (in my opinion),
- Delicious with robust banana flavor throughout
- Not too sweet
- NOT gummy, too wet, or heavy
- But not like a cake either
- Preferably has nuts
- And a nice balance of spices.
This banana bread is all of that! This banana bread is a great recipe, never gummy and has the perfect balance of texture and flavor. Tastes amazing on its own, or with butter or toasted as well. I guarantee you’re going to LOVE this classic banana bread recipe too! 🙂
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Classic Banana Bread
- 300 g overripe bananas about 3 bananas, 1 ½ cups)
- 90 g unsalted butter softened, or melted and cooled 6 tbsp
- 150 g dark brown sugar 1 ½ cups
- ½ tsp salt
- 60 g sour cream ¼ cup
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 250 g AP flour 2 cups, measured by spoon and level method
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- 115 g walnuts roughly chopped, about 1 cup
- Extra chopped nuts
- Granulated sugar or raw sugar
- 1 banana, sliced into ½ inch slices or sliced lengthwise
- Preheat oven to 350°F /180°C. Prepare a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan by buttering and flouring it, or line it with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Place the peeled bananas in a bowl and then mash the bananas using a fork. The mixture can be smooth or chunky. Set aside.
- Whisk the butter, sugar, and salt together until you have a smooth mixture.
- Add the sour cream and whisk it in until well mixed.
- Mix in the mashed bananas.
- Add the eggs and vanilla extract, and mix until combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg (these are the dry ingredients).
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in two additions, and fold them in until just combined.
- Add the walnuts before all the flour is incorporated into the batter, and fold it in until all the flour is combined. Do NOT overmix the batter as it can yield a rubbery texture to your banana bread.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan, and spread until it’s even on the surface.
- Sprinkle some (or extra) chopped nuts on top (optional).
- OR place the sliced bananas on top (optional).
- Place the loaf pan in the preheated oven and bake for 60 – 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.
- Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes. Turn the loaf out onto a cooling wire rack, and let it cool further.
- Serve warm or at room temperature. You can also toast room temperature or cold banana bread slices.