Looking for some ripe banana recipes? Look no further than this easy banana bread. Baked in a 9 x 5 in. loaf pan and packed with the flavors of brown sugar and cinnamon, this easy banana bread recipe can also be customized with your favorite add-ins, including chocolate, nuts or coconut.
Bananas can be a fickle fruit. They’re perfectly golden yellow one minute, then brown and mushy the next. Well, you know what they say – “when life gives you brown bananas, make banana bread!”
If you ever find yourself wondering what to do with ripe bananas, you’re not alone. Thankfully, ripe bananas are great for baking and this easy banana bread recipe is a quick and simple way to put those bananas to use.
The Basics of Banana Bread
Banana bread is what we call a quick bread, meaning it’s quick to make! It requires no yeast, no proofing, no rising and no kneading. Instead, quick breads use chemical leavening agents, like baking powder, to give a more delectable texture and crumb. They’re also more cake-like than yeast breads and less airy.
The Best Bananas for Homemade Banana Bread
When it comes to baking with bananas, brown and slightly over-ripe bananas are perfect. Brown bananas are sweeter and have a more pronounced flavor than they do when they’re golden yellow. They’re also easier to mash and better incorporate into your batter.
If your bananas aren’t quite ripe enough yet, don’t despair! Place them in a brown paper bag and put them somewhere warm (like the top of your fridge) for a couple days. The paper bag will help trap the ethylene gas that the fruit gives off, converting the starch in the banana into sugar.
If the urge to bake is too strong and you can’t wait a couple days, place your unpeeled bananas on a baking sheet, then place in a 300 F degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes. The bananas will turn dark brown on the outside, but the inside will be nice and soft, perfect for working into your batter. Keep in mind that this method is indeed quicker, but the banana flavor may not be as strong as it would if the fruit were allowed to ripen naturally.
How to Make Banana Bread
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
- 2/3 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups peeled, mashed ripe bananas (about 4 to 5 bananas)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup mix-ins (chocolate chunks, chocolate chips, chopped nuts) (optional)
Preparing the Dry and Wet Ingredients
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F and spray a 9 x 5 in. loaf pan with vegetable pan spray or grease lightly with oil. Set it aside for later.
In a small bowl, combine your dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Adding cinnamon to your banana bread helps elevate the banana flavor and gives it that warm and cozy scent as it bakes; however, if you’re not a cinnamon fan or you don’t have it on hand, your bread will still be delicious without it!
Next, let’s mash those bananas! This can be done with a fork, an electric mixer, a potato masher or you can just do what I do and get in there with your hands! Once your bananas are good to go, set them aside and continue preparing the remaining wet ingredients.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. This should take about 2 to 3 minutes. Creaming your butter and sugar is an important step in the baking process, as the sugar helps introduce tiny air pockets into the fat, which catch the gas being released by the leavening agent (baking powder) and result in a lighter, finer crumb texture.
As the butter and sugar incorporate, you’ll notice the mixture start to lighten in color, which is exactly what we want! At this point, add the eggs, the mashed bananas and the vanilla extract. Continue mixing until everything is well combined.
How to Make Quick Bread Batter
The next step is an important one in quick bread baking – combining the wet and dry ingredients. Just like muffins, quick bread batter does not like to be overmixed. If you overmix the wet and dry ingredients, the gluten in the flour will begin to over-develop, producing a tough and rubbery banana bread.
For that perfectly moist and tender crumb, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix just until the flour is incorporated. Your batter won’t be perfectly smooth, but that’s okay.
You just want to mix until you no longer see big pockets of flour. You can also do this part by hand – it gives you better control and prevents overmixing.
Now comes the fun part – adding in your mix-ins! You really can’t go wrong here. Nuts, chocolate chips, raisins, coconut or a mixture of those all taste great with this recipe. Personally, I lean towards chopped walnuts and big chocolate chunks for that burst of rich chocolatey flavor. If you’re more of a banana bread purest, you can omit this step entirely!
Add 2/3 cup of your mix-ins into the batter, then fold it in until everything is incorporated. Reserve the remaining 1/3 cup to sprinkle on top.
When your batter is ready, pour it into your prepared loaf pan and sprinkle with your reserved toppings.
Bake it in your preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean (I usually do this in a few spots since the bread is pretty thick).
You can also lightly press the bread to test for doneness. If your finger leaves a slight indentation in the bread, let it bake a few more minutes. The bread will be done when it springs back when lightly pressed.
Easy Banana Bread Toppings
When your bread is done, remove it from the oven and let it cool on a cooling grid for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, remove it from the pan and let it cool completely before cutting.
As tempting as it may be to start cutting into your warm banana bread, keep in mind that it will be much easier to slice if it’s cooled off a bit.
When it comes to toppings, your only limit is your imagination! Of course it’s delicious on its own, but you can also add butter, cream cheese and honey, fresh fruit and a dollop of whipped cream or even some simple jam. P.S. banana bread slices also make a delectable French toast!
So don’t judge a banana by its peel, because hidden in that over-ripe banana is a quick bread just waiting to be baked! What are a few of your favorite ways to use up ripe bananas? Let us know in the comments below!
Did you try making these banana bread? If so, I’d love to see them! Post a pic on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook and be sure to tag us @wiltoncakes.
Looking for more delicious banana recipes? Check these out:
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