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How to Make the Best-Ever Banana Bread

We're bananas about this easy-to-make treat. Follow our helpful guide to making a rich, homemade banana bread.

By Nicole Doster, Digital Associate Editor and Peggy Woodward, Food Editor

A loaf of banana bread with three slices cut from it laying in front of it on a cutting board

Learning to make banana bread from scratch should be on every home baker's to-do list. On top of being moist, flavorful and delicious, the recipe is the best way to use up bananas that have gotten too mushy to pack for lunch. A single loaf is easy to make and even easier to plate up for breakfast or an afternoon snack.

Banana bread is a quick bread, which, simply put, means it takes little fuss to make. Unlike yeast breads, quick breads skip steps like proofing or kneading. All you have to do is make a simple batter and bake immediately. Score one for the busy baker!

Here's how to make our favorite banana bread recipe:


You'll need:

3/4 cup mashed ripe banana (about 1 large)

1/4 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt

2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Additional walnuts, semisweet chocolate chips or coarse sugar, optional


Supplies

Large mixing bowl

Handheld mixer (and/or) whisk

9x5-in loaf pan

Wire cooling rack


person using a potato masher to mash bananas in a glass bowl

Step 1: Mash the bananas

Preheat the oven to 350°. Remove the peel from your banana and mash the fruit. We like to use a potato masher for this step, but a fork works just fine. (This easy task is great for getting little ones involved.) Use a hand mixer if you prefer your banana bread to be lump-free.

Test Kitchen Tip: Bananas are ripe enough for banana bread when they have turned lightly speckled or brown. but I've used them even when the peels are dark brown or black. You can freeze overripe bananas (just chuck them unpeeled into the freezer) and save them for a later craving.


person using a hand mixer to blend together the wet ingredients

Step 2: Combine the wet ingredients

Start by beating butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until blended and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Finally, stir in the smashed bananas and sour cream.

Test Kitchen Tip: For this recipe, it's best to make sure all ingredients are at room temperature. They'll achieve better volume and texture.


Step 3: Whisk together dry ingredients

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.


person mixing together wet and dry ingredients using a spatula and pouring in walnuts

Step 4: Stir it all together

Add your dry mix into the wet mix. Stir it until the batter has just moistened. If you'd like to add a little crunch, fold in 1/2 cup of walnuts.


three loaf pans sit together filled with dough and topped with sugar, walnuts and chocolate chips respectively

Step 5: Bake

Transfer the mix into a greased 9x5-in. loaf pan. If you're feeling fancy, sprinkle the top with additional walnuts. Then bake the bread for just about an hour. Start checking after 50 minutes. The edges of the bread will pull away slightly from the sides of the pan when the bread is done. Test by piercing with a toothpick or sharp knife; it should come out clean.

Test Kitchen Tip: Top of the loaf getting dark early in the baking? Cover with a piece of foil, which will prevent the top from burning before your bread is cooked.


Step 6: Cool your jets

Right now, your kitchen smells heavenly, and you're probably ready to inhale the bread. But you should let it cool completely before digging in! Cutting into a warm loaf can make the texture soggy.

Let your loaf cool in its pan for 10 minutes before tipping it onto a wire rack to cool.


Hooked on b-bread?

This basic banana bread can be customized in several ways. Dried fruit can amp up the flavor, as in this cranberry-studded recipe. Or take a sweet route by adding chocolate chips. Swap out small amounts of oat flour in the recipe for a warmer flavor, or stir in different types of nuts or seeds for more crunch.