Best Ever Banana Bread Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 15 min. Bake: 1-1/4 hours + cooling
Our best ever banana bread is soft, moist and filled with a caramelized banana flavor. It’s easy to see why bakers love this recipe!

Updated: Jul. 17, 2024

Every home cook needs a go-to banana bread recipe in their back pocket. Our most popular banana bread recipe is ideal for those who take a liking to a moist, tender loaf that’s loaded with banana flavor and has a little bit of a crust. Personally, this one is our favorite.

If the banana bread craving hits out of nowhere, or you accidentally forgot about your bananas and now they’re a little too ripe to enjoy on their own, pull out this best ever banana bread recipe and get mashing!

Ingredients for Banana Bread

  • All-purpose flour: For the moistest banana bread, use all-purpose flour. This type of flour has a mix of hard and soft wheat that gives the banana bread structure without taking away tenderness.
  • Eggs: Bring the eggs to room temperature before mixing them into the batter. If cold eggs hit the wet ingredients, they’ll seize up and poorly affect the banana bread’s texture.
  • Bananas: Use nicely ripened bananas for this recipe. You’ll need about two medium-sized bananas to make 1 cup, but make sure to have an extra banana just in case your measurement comes up short.
  • Canola oil: Using oil in a quick bread maintains moisture for a longer time and creates a more tender bread crumb than melted butter.
  • Buttermilk: No buttermilk on hand? No problem! Learn how to make buttermilk with milk and lemon juice, vinegar or cream of tartar, or try a buttermilk substitute like sour cream or yogurt.
  • Walnuts: We highly recommend toasting the nuts and cooling them before using them in this recipe. Toasting takes away a walnut’s raw edge and brings out its naturally rich and nutty flavor.

Directions

Step 1: Whisk together the flour mixture

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.

Step 2: Create the batter

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, bananas, oil, buttermilk and vanilla until well combined. Add the banana mixture to the flour mixture, stirring just until combined. If desired, fold in the walnuts.

Step 3: Bake the banana bread

Pour the batter into a greased or parchment-lined 9×5-inch loaf pan. Bake the banana bread until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours.

Cool the bread in the pan at room temperature for 15 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan and place it on a wire rack to cool completely to room temperature before slicing.

Editor’s Tip: Use a mini offset spatula or butter knife to spread the batter evenly to all four corners of the pan. While baking, if the bread is browning too quickly and the center isn’t fully cooked, cover the top of the pan with aluminum foil.

Banana Bread Variations

  • Use a different extract: We love the floral vanilla in this banana bread recipe, but you could also use nutty almond, bold rum or any of your favorite flavors. Just 1 teaspoon extract is all this banana bread needs.
  • Add warm spices: A dash each of sweet cinnamon and spicy nutmeg would warm up this banana bread recipe beautifully.
  • Make it chocolaty: Once your batter is all mixed up, fold in a few handfuls of chocolate chips to make this bread even more indulgent. Grab a bag of our recommended chocolate chip brands from the store!
  • Swap in a different nut: We get it, not everyone is a fan of walnuts. You can really use any type of nut here. Pecans, almonds, hazelnuts and macadamia nuts would be delicious.
  • Bake mini loaves: If you want to bake the batter into a few mini loaves to pass out to friends and family, our baking pan conversions chart tells us that this banana bread recipe can be baked in three 5-3/4 x 3-inch mini loaf pans. Keep in mind, the mini loaf sizes may not need as long to bake as the regular loaf size.
  • Decorate with extras: The easiest way to dress up a loaf of banana bread is by splitting an extra banana in half lengthwise and positioning the halves seed side-up on top of the banana bread batter in the pan before baking. Or, sprinkle turbinado sugar on top for an added crunch of sparkly sugar crystals. It’s absolutely gorgeous!

How to Make Banana Bread Moist

You can make banana bread moist in a few ways. First, start by not overmixing the batter once the wet and dry ingredients are combined. Overmixing can cause an overdevelopment of the gluten, resulting in a tough, dense bread.

Second, don’t overbake the bread! Overbaking causes moisture loss. Also, avoid baking your banana bread in a glass or ceramic pan. These types of pans take a long time to heat up, and you’ll have to bake your bread longer. Use a metal pan for the most even baking.

Third, swap in brown sugar for half the granulated sugar. Brown sugar has more moisture (and flavor) than granulated sugar, which is why you’ll see a 50:50 ratio of granulated and brown sugars in very moist chocolate chip cookies—granulated sugar is for crispiness, brown sugar is for moisture!

Lastly, fully mash up your bananas. This will ensure that more liquid is spread throughout the batter so the bread doesn’t dry out. Also, if you’re short on your mashed banana measurement, make up for it with sour cream, yogurt, applesauce or even vanilla pudding.

How to Store Banana Bread

To keep banana bread moist after baking, let it cool completely to room temperature on a cooling rack. Store the loaf on the counter in an airtight container lined with paper towels. Banana bread can last at room temperature for up to four days!

Can you freeze banana bread?

Yes, you can freeze the best ever banana bread! To freeze, place the room-temperature loaf in an airtight container or wrap it tightly in two layers of storage wrap followed by a final layer of aluminum foil. You can keep banana bread in the freezer for up to three months. When you’re ready to enjoy it again, thaw the loaf in the fridge overnight or at room temperature for two hours.

Banana Bread Tips

How can you quickly ripen bananas?

There are a few options if you want to ripen bananas quickly. If you have a day or two to spare, place bananas and an apple, avocado, peach or tomato in a brown paper bag and keep it on your counter. This will trap the ethylene gas of the fruits and quicken the ripening process.

To ripen bananas even faster, place them in their peels on a baking sheet and warm them in a 250° oven until their flesh is soft and their peels are dark, 15 to 20 minutes.

How ripe should bananas be for banana bread?

When baking with bananas, use ones that are covered in brown spots. You can use bananas that are even riper than that, with their whole peel being brown or black. Ripe and overripe bananas yield the best flavor since they have released much more sugar than green or yellow bananas. Just make sure they’re not, ya know, moldy.

Do you have to use baking soda in banana bread?

Both baking soda and baking powder are chemical leaveners that provide lift to your baked goods, so if the rise is not important to you, you can leave these out completely. If you want some rise in your banana bread and don’t have baking soda handy, try substituting baking powder.

Baking powder is about four times weaker than baking soda. So, for this best ever banana bread recipe, use 4 teaspoons baking powder as a substitute for the 1 teaspoon baking soda.

Can you make banana bread vegan or gluten-free?

Absolutely! We tested four different banana bread recipes for every diet and found delicious results by simply swapping a few key ingredients. We now have a perfect gluten-free banana bread recipe and a vegan banana bread recipe that taste just like the real thing!

Watch how to Make Banana Bread

Best Ever Banana Bread

Prep Time 15 min
Yield 1 loaf (16 pieces)

Ingredients

  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 medium ripe bananas, mashed (1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, combine the eggs, bananas, oil, buttermilk and vanilla; add to flour mixture, stirring just until combined. If desired, fold in nuts.
  2. Pour into a greased or parchment-lined 9x5-in. loaf pan. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours. Cool in pan for 15 minutes before removing to a wire rack.

Nutrition Facts

1 piece: 257 calories, 13g fat (1g saturated fat), 23mg cholesterol, 171mg sodium, 34g carbohydrate (21g sugars, 1g fiber), 4g protein.