Special Banana Nut Bread Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 25 min. Bake: 1 hour + cooling
This banana nut bread recipe has everything: tangy cream cheese, crunchy pecans and sweet bananas, of course, plus a rich glaze that makes it the best banana bread you've ever eaten.

Updated: Mar. 15, 2024

Bananas with brown and spotted peels may not be the most appetizing snack, but they have just the right softness and sweetness for banana bread. This banana nut bread recipe takes the classic banana bread up a few notches by mixing cream cheese into the batter, and even more so if you opt to coat the top with an orange-infused glaze.

The resulting bread will satisfy sweet lovers as they start their day or can be enjoyed in the evening instead of dessert. If you have less of a sweet tooth, you can choose a variation that reduces the sugar in the recipe. With two loaves in each batch, you can slice and sample the bread as soon as it has cooled and still freeze a loaf to enjoy later or share with others.

Banana Nut Bread Ingredients

Ingredients for Banana Nut Bread Recipe TMB Studio

  • Ripe bananas: Bananas become less starchy, more flavorful and sweeter as they ripen, so use the ripest ones with brown skins and soft flesh. Your eyes and nose will tell you if they’re too ripe to use: Spoiled bananas will look moldy, smell fermented or have a brown, gushy inside.
  • Cream cheese: While bananas have a fairly mild flavor, cream cheese brings richness and tanginess into this quick bread—but not too much. Mixing it into the batter, instead of layering it in as filling (like this pumpkin bread with cream cheese), keeps the cream cheese from overpowering the namesake ingredient. Make sure it’s room temperature for easier mixing.
  • Flour: Because this recipe makes two full loaves, you’ll need a few cups of all-purpose flour. Being exact with the amount is important for the overall texture of the banana bread. Make sure you measure flour accurately every time.
  • Baking powder and baking soda: There is a difference between baking powder and baking soda, and using both in one recipe affects the crumb and rise of this banana bread—in a very good way.
  • Chopped pecans: You need nuts for banana nut bread! Toasted pecans will add even more flavor. If you don’t like pecans, toasted walnuts are a good substitution.


Step 1: Mix the wet ingredients

Mixing wet ingredients in a large bowlTMB Studio

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy, five to seven minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

Adding Bananas and vanilla syrup in mixture TMB Studio

Beat in the bananas and vanilla.

Step 2: Mix the dough

Mixing flour and other ingredients in a large bowl with spatulaTMB Studio

In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture.

Fold dry mixture with wet mixture in a large bowlTMB Studio

Fold in 1 cup of pecans.

Editor’s Tip: Avoid a gummy banana bread: Don’t overmix. When adding the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, mix until the flour is just incorporated. Overmixing will affect the texture of the baked bread.

Step 3: Fill the pans and garnish

filled up two baking trays with dough one with pecans toppings TMB Studio

Transfer the dough to two greased 8×4-inch loaf pans, smoothing the surface evenly. Sprinkle on the remaining cup of pecans.

Editor’s Tip: Make a sling by laying a long, thin rectangle of parchment across the pan’s narrowest sides, with the ends sticking up above the rim. After baking, you can lift the loaves straight out, without tipping the pan upside down, and avoid disturbing the nut topping.

Step 4: Bake and cool

Bake the loaves until a toothpick inserted in each center comes out clean, 1 to 1-1/4 hours. Cool for 10 minutes in the pans before removing the loaves and transferring them to wire racks to cool.

Editor’s Tip: Cover the loaves with foil after 30 minutes if they are darkening too rapidly.

Recipe Variations

Glazing orange on Baked Banana Nut Bread cooling wire rackTMB Studio

  • Add orange glaze: When the loaves are just slightly warm, in a liquid measuring cup, whisk together 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, 3 tablespoons orange juice and 1 teaspoon grated orange zest. Drizzle the glaze over the loaves until it coats the top; a baking pan or parchment paper placed under the racks will catch the excess. Cool completely before slicing.
  • Cut the fat: To cut down on the fat, use just 1/4 cup of butter and add 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce. The loaves will still end up with a tender crumb.
  • Make it multigrain: Other flours work well in this easy banana nut bread recipe and give the crumb more texture. Start with just 2 cups of all-purpose flour and add 1/2 cup of whole-wheat pastry flour and 1/2 cup of oat bran. If you like the result, you can try replacing more of the white flour the next time you bake.

How to Store Banana Nut Bread

Once it has cooled completely, banana nut bread lasts about three days at room temperature and up to a week in the refrigerator. Either way, seal it with plastic wrap or in an airtight container to keep it from drying out.

How to Freeze Banana Nut Bread

Freeze this quick bread by sealing slices in a zip-top bag or wrapping the whole loaf, then popping them in the freezer for up to three months for the best texture. Slicing any style of banana bread before freezing makes it easy to remove a couple of slices at a time and defrost them in a toaster oven. Let the whole loaf defrost on the counter before enjoying.

Banana Nut Bread Recipe Tips

Banana Nut Bread TMB Studio

How do you ripen bananas for banana bread?

Have green bananas? Here’s how to quickly ripen bananas for banana bread. You can use a microwave or oven, or seal them in a paper bag, either with ethylene-emitting fruit like an apple or pear or on their own. Bag ripening takes a few hours to a couple of days, but the fruit will still be firm enough to eat as a snack or to mash and bake into bread.

Can you use frozen bananas in this banana nut bread recipe?

You can use fresh or frozen bananas in banana bread as long as they’re fully ripe. Bananas keep well in the freezer for a couple of months, whether frozen whole, sliced or mashed. Let the bananas defrost completely before baking with them; this takes about an hour at room temperature. If there’s any separated liquid after defrosting, drain it off before lightly mashing the soft bananas.

How many bananas are in a cup?

Looking at a bunch of bananas, it feels like a guessing game to determine how many bananas are in a cup. The length matters most; we consider medium bananas to be 7 to 8 inches long. You’ll generally need about two medium bananas to get 1 cup. It’s a good idea to have on hand one more than you think you’ll need, just in case your measurements come up short.

Remember, this recipe calls for 1-1/2 cups of mashed bananas, so you’ll need to have four on hand.

Sliced Banana Nut Bread TMB Studio

Watch how to Make Special Banana Nut Bread

Special Banana Nut Bread

Prep Time 25 min
Yield 2 loaves (12 slices each).


  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1-1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 4 medium)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups chopped pecans, divided
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Cream butter, cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in bananas and vanilla. In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Fold in 1 cup pecans.
  2. Transfer to 2 greased 8x4-in. loaf pans. Sprinkle with remaining pecans. Bake loaves, covering with foil if they darken too rapidly, until a toothpick inserted in each center comes out clean, 1-1-1/4 hours. Cool 10 minutes before removing to wire racks.
  3. While loaves are still slightly warm, whisk glaze ingredients. Drizzle over loaves, using a baking pan or parchment under racks to catch excess. Cool completely.

Nutrition Facts

1 piece: 234 calories, 13g fat (5g saturated fat), 32mg cholesterol, 119mg sodium, 29g carbohydrate (18g sugars, 1g fiber), 3g protein.

This extra-special banana bread makes a wonderful gift for friends and neighbors. The recipe makes two loaves, so I can serve one and keep the other one in the freezer to use as a last-minute gift. —Beverly Sprague, Catonsville, Maryland