Overripe bananas on the kitchen counter are an excellent excuse to make banana bread. However, many banana breads are flat, gritty, or heavy. Worse, some loaves taste only remotely of bananas. A good banana bread recipe turns out a soft and tender loaf with plenty of banana flavor and crunchy toasted walnuts. It should be moist and light, something so delicious that you look forward to the bananas on the counter turning soft and mushy.
For best results, be sure to use a loaf pan that measures 9 inches long, 5 inches across, and 3 inches deep.–Editors of Cook’s Illustrated
LC Bananas for Banana Bread Note
We realize you probably already possess a batter-splattered banana bread recipe, one that was carefully written on a recipe card or the back of an envelope in wobbly longhand by your mom or grandmom. While you could argue that the best banana bread recipe is the one you grew up with, we suggest you refrain from passing judgement until you try this version of the classic. And should an unfortunate gluten situation find you sighing and feeling sad because you can no longer make this loaf for yourself or a loved one, you may seek relief in a batch of our gluten-free banana bread.
Banana Bread Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 20 M
- 1 H, 30 M
- Makes a 9-inch loaf
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
- 1 1/4 cups walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 very ripe, soft, darkly speckled large bananas, mashed well (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt
- 2 large eggs, beaten lightly
- 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for the pan
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 350°F (175°C) degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan. Dust the pan with flour, tapping out the excess.
- 2. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast until fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool.
- 3. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and walnuts together in a large bowl.
- 4. Mix the mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter, and vanilla with a wooden spoon in a medium bowl. Lightly fold the banana mixture into the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula until just combined and the batter looks thick and chunky. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
- 5. Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. (The bread can be wrapped with plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.)
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Testers ChoiceTesters Choice
Oct 22, 2004
This is my new Banana Bread recipe. I had tried to make changes to my old recipe but never with these results. Like most quick breads, this recipe is easy to put together. Folding in the wet ingredients results in a really tender crumb, the kind you can pick up with the back of your fork. Using melted butter (instead of vegetable oil like my old recipe) gives the bread a dense texture and rich flavor. The toasted walnuts add a nice contrasting crunch to the full flavor of banana. It’s also nice to know that this bread can be kept for three days, but I doubt it will ever last that long at our house.
Oct 22, 2004
A very simple, easy to prepare recipe that turned out very well. The bread was moist and tasty, and quite enjoyable. It disappeared quickly.
Oct 22, 2004
I love this banana bread recipe, and I will make it again. I enjoyed the ease of preparation and the aroma when I was mixing the batter. My family really loved it, too. I will have to try it without the nuts for my grandchildren, and I also want to see how it works in muffins. The loaf was so tender, very good to have on hand for tea. I was happy to have it on hand to serve to friends who were visiting from England.
Oct 22, 2004
This recipe was fantastic. I took some to a friend that just had a baby and it was great to have a tasty homemade treat in the house. This banana bread is super easy and is just as simple as if you made it from a box of cake mix. It was a great way to use up the old bananas that I throw in my freezer for occasions like this. To give the bread a little extra sweetness, I greased and sugared my pans instead of flouring them. I think the yogurt was a great addition to the bread and made it very moist. It would also be interesting to try different flavors of yogurt–like vanilla, etc.–to give the bread a hint of other flavors. Keep an eye on the loaves, as the baking time was off a little bit, for me. It definitely took a full hour. I used two different loaf pans–one was taller and the other was flatter and wider. Both required extra time (the recipe calls for 50 minutes).
Banana Bread Recipe © 2004 Editors of Cook's Illustrated. Photo © 2004 Carl Tremblay. All rights reserved.