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.
Best Bananas for Homemade Banana Bread
When it comes to baking the best banana bread, 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 for a couple days. The paper bag will help trap the ethylene gas that the fruit gives off, converting the banana’s starch into sugar.
How Ripe Should Bananas Be for Banana Bread?
For ultra-delicious, sweet banana flavor, the darker the banana, the better. Ideally you want your banana to be mostly brown before using it for banana bread.
How to Ripen Bananas Quickly
If the urge to bake is too strong and you can’t wait a couple days, you can use unripe bananas. Place your unpeeled bananas on a baking sheet, then place in a 300℉ oven for 10 to 15 minutes. The bananas will turn dark brown on the outside, but the inside will be perfectly soft for working into your batter. This method is quicker, but the banana flavor may not be as strong as it would with naturally ripened fruit.
1 cup mix-ins (chocolate chunks, chocolate chips, chopped nuts) (optional)
Step 1:Preheat the oven
Preheat your oven to 325℉. Spray a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with vegetable pan spray or grease lightly with oil. Set it aside for later.
Step 2:Combine dry ingredients
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 scent as it bakes. If you’re not a cinnamon fan, your bread will still be delicious without it!
Step 3: Mash bananas
Next, let’s mash those bananas! This can be done with a fork, electric mixer, potato masher or you can do what I do and get in there with your hands! Once your bananas are good to go, set them aside.
Step 4: Beat butter and sugar
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. The sugar helps introduce tiny air pockets into the fat, which catch the gas being released by the baking powder. This results in a lighter, finer crumb texture.
Step 5: Add eggs, mashed bananas, and vanilla extract
As the butter and sugar incorporate, you’ll notice the mixture start to lighten in color. This 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.
Step 6:Add flour
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. Over-developed gluten will produce a tough, dry, and rubbery banana bread.
For that perfectly moist and tender crumb, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix just until 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.
Step 7:Add mix-ins
Now comes the fun part – adding in your mix-ins! 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.
Step 8:Pour batter into the loaf pan
When your batter is ready, pour it into your prepared loaf pan and sprinkle with your reserved toppings.
Step 9: Bake for 60-65 minutes
Bake it for 60 to 65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center 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.
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 to room temperature before cutting.
As tempting as it may be to start cutting into your warm banana bread, wait until it’s cooled off. It will be much easier to slice once it’s cooled off.
When it comes to toppings, your only limit is your imagination! You can add butter, cream cheese, 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!
How to Store Banana Bread
To keep your banana bread fresh and moist, keep it wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, aluminum foil or store in an airtight container at room temperature. If you’re planning to have your banana bread for longer than a week, you can keep it tightly wrapped in the refrigerator to help maintain its freshness.
How to Freeze Banana Bread
Not digging in right away? Banana bread is perfect for freezing. Double wrap the loaf or individual slices in a layer of plastic wrap and then a layer of aluminum foil. Banana bread can be stored in the freezer for up to a month.
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:
Preheat oven to 325℉. Prepare 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with vegetable spray or grease lightly with oil.
Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon (optional but recommended), and salt in a small bowl.
Mash bananas with a fork, electric mixer, potato masher, or your hands. Set aside.
In a separate large bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy for about 2 to 3 minutes.
Add eggs, mashed bananas, and vanilla extract to the butter and sugar mixture. Mix until well combined.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Mix until incorporated, but avoid overmixing the batter. Your batter should not be smooth.
(optional) Add ⅔ cup of your mix-ins to the batter. Reserve the remaining ⅓ cup.
Pour batter into loaf pan. Sprinkle remaining ⅓ cup of mix-ins on top of batter.
Bake at 325℉ for 60-65 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Let bread cool in the pan for 15 minutes then remove it from the pan. Place on a wire rack and let cool completely.
Using unripe bananas: bake unpeeled bananas on a baking sheet at 300℉ oven for 10 to 15 minutes.To freeze: cool bread completely then double wrap in a layer of plastic wrap and then a layer of aluminum foil. Banana bread will last in the freezer for up to 1 month.For super moist banana bread: In step 6, make sure to mix the flour and butter mixtures just until incorporated. Too much mixing and gluten will develop, which results in a tough bread. Also make sure your bananas are ripe before using. They should be more brown than they are yellow. The soft over-ripe banana adds much-needed moisture to your bread. Finally, make sure all your ingredients, especially your butter, are at room temperature before incorporating. This will help ensure everything is incorporated evenly and your bread comes out moist and fluffy!Cream cheese frosting: banana bread goes wonderfully with cream cheese frosting! Find the recipe easy here.
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Sarah is the Assistant Culinary Specialist in the Wilton Test Kitchen. The Test Kitchen Team is responsible for recipe development and product testing. In her free time she enjoys thrifting, DIY, and crafts, especially painting and sewing. And of course, trying out lots of new recipes on her family and friends!