Banana Bread Recipe

This banana bread recipe from Cook’s Illustrated turns out a moist loaf of quick bread that is easy to make and turns out terrific banana muffins, too.

Banana Bread Recipe

For the best banana bread recipe, overripe bananas–you know, the ones with the black splotches and mushy texture–are just perfect. Alas, lots of banana bread recipes can turn out gritty, flat, dense, or otherwise lackluster. The biggest sin of all? A banana bread that doesn’t taste of bananas. That’s not the case with this recipe from Cook’s Illustrated. For best results, be sure to use a loaf pan that measures 9 inches long, 5 inches across, and 3 inches deep. Updated from the recipe archive, first posted October 22, 2004.David Leite

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 granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 very ripe, soft bananas with big black splotches, 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. Position an oven rack in the lower-middle position and crank the heat to 350°F (175°C) degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan and then toss a little flour in the pan, turn it to coat all the butter-slicked sides with flour, and dump out the flour, tapping the pan to remove any the excess.
  • 2. Toss the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes. Immediately transfer the walnuts to a plate to prevent and let cool.
  • 3. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and walnuts in a large bowl.
  • 4. Stir the mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter, and vanilla with a wooden spoon in a medium bowl. (Yes, with a spoon. The exercise is good for you.) Lightly fold the banana mixture into the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula just until combined. The batter should be thick and sorta chunky. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
  • 5. Bake the banana bread until the surface appears golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Cool the loaf in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then carefully tip the pan over so the banana bread falls onto the wire rack. Here’s the best part. Slice and serve the banana bread warm (our vote) or at room temperature (suit yourself). (The banana bread can be wrapped with plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.)
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Recipe Testers Reviews

Recipe Testers Reviews
Testers Choice
Bonnie Depew

Dec 10, 2015

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 3 days, but I doubt it will ever last that long at our house.

Testers Choice
Duane DeMello

Dec 10, 2015

A very simple, easy to prepare banana bread recipe that turned out very well. The bread was moist, tasty, and quite enjoyable. It disappeared quickly.

Testers Choice
Raye Tiedmann

Dec 10, 2015

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 and very good to have on hand for tea. I was happy to serve it to friends who were visiting from England.

Testers Choice
Annie Leslie

Dec 10, 2015

This best banana bread 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 buttered 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 2 different loaf pans—one was taller and the other was flatter and wider.

  1. mini-cake says:

    This cake was fantastic, really moist with a tender crumb. Great flavour. I used half whole-wheat flour and half all-purpose. I also added some Callebaut chocolate wafer disks to the batter. The cake was awesome!!

  2. Anne says:

    This is a great recipe! I altered it slightly, and it was the best banana bread I have ever had! I made a double recipe to yield 2 loaves. I used 3 cups white flour, 1 cup whole-wheat flour. I also substituted part of the white sugar with brown sugar (1 cup white, 1/2 cup brown), which added a nice richness. The last ingredient change I made was to add 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice. I also creamed the butter and sugar together first, then added the rest of the wet ingredients. I would make this again any day! Simple and delicious!

  3. Marit Saltrones says:

    Try freezing the bananas as they get too ripe, then defrosting in a bowl or measuring cup. They get soooo sweet this way and are totally mushy and easy to mix into the batter.

  4. Susan says:

    This is almost the banana bread I make, the only difference is mine calls for buttermilk instead of yogurt and 1/4 cup less nuts, which I chop really fine. It is a delicious, moist, and tender bread!

  5. Ashley Adams says:

    I’m going to have to try this, although I’m skeptical. I do, in fact, have a beloved spattered recipe card from my husband’s grandma, who never baked anything decent, except, it seems, this banana “cake.” I’ve tried all the recipes I can get my hands on, and hers tops the cake (*snicker*). I’m intrigued here because the quantities are very similar, though hers lacks yogurt, has less butter and more sugar. Will report back soon!

  6. Ashley Adams says:

    In reply to Raye’s Testers Choice comment: This is very similar to a recipe I have, and for mine, at least, muffins turn out very well as do any other shape–loaves, 9-by-13, etc. (My favorite is a bundt!) The baking time will be different, but don’t worry too much about it, as your nose will alert you when it’s coming along. As with the loaves, test with a toothpick.

  7. Leanne says:

    This IS a good banana bread recipe! Pretty easy to make and I can see learning to make it from memory since the measurements are pretty straightforward. I have to admit, I used chopped hazelnuts instead of walnuts (don’t know where my walnuts went!) and it still came out great. I also ran out of AP flour, so the majority was white whole-wheat flour – I have to say I can’t tell the difference.

    As I was eating it, I was thinking it wasn’t better than the banana bread recipe with candied ginger on your site, except that’s not a banana bread recipe! It’s Carrot Zucchini bread!

    So, now I want to make this with some candied ginger. And then maybe I’ll declare it the best. =)

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Leanne, thanks for letting us know your thoughts on both recipes! And I can’t wait until late summer season, I think I’m going to have to make that carrot zucchini bread very soon…

  8. Tonie says:

    My recipe, that I have made for years, has toasted pecans.

  9. Ellen Romanow says:

    I, too, have a favorite recipe that I’ve made for years. I typically don’t bother to make other recipes because I think mine is so delicious, but the note about reserving judgment convinced me to make this one. I was disappointed with this recipe; the flavor was a bit shallow. My recipe has a lower proportion of flour to bananas, a bit more sugar and butter, but no yogurt. It comes out much darker, moister and a richer banana flavor. Interestingly, my recipe calls for a confectioner’s sugar icing that I never add because the bread is already so moist.

    • David Leite says:

      Ellen, I’m so sorry that you didn’t enjoy the recipe as much as you thought you may. That sometimes happens with recipes we’ve made again and again and that are so ingrained in our repertoire. (No one can make stuffed quahogs like my mom!)

      Here’s the big question? Would you be willing to share your recipe with our readers? You’ve got me all kinds of curious.

  10. Nicholle C. says:

    Tried this banana bread recipe yesterday and it came out FABULOUS…moist and delicious, it came together easily and baked beautifully, I couldn’t help but admire it as it was cooling on the rack. Thanks for sharing another great recipe, LC!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Thanks for letting us know how niftily the recipe came together for you, Nicholle C.! As for the sharing, that’s just what we do…

  11. Jamie says:

    Ok, yes, I admit it, I am the skeptical one since I love the recipe I’ve been using for 30 odd years–it’s super fast (one bowl), super moist, and delicious. But I will definitely try this recipe next time my family begs for a chocolate chip banana bread…and then maybe I’ll have two favorite recipes.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Love the way you’re thinking, Jamie. Love it…let us know how it goes! And stay tuned, we have yet another banana bread recipe that we’re testing right now and hope to share with you soon…

  12. Isabel Fonte says:

    I have settled on a great banana bread recipe that I and all my co-workers love, but after all the rave reviews, I thought I would give it a try. I looked at the ingredients–they looked very familiar. Then I saw that it is from Cook’s Illustrated. Turns out this IS my go-to recipe! It is great. I love that it uses melted butter. I always use frozen overripe bananas and they work great.

    • Lindsay Myers says:

      Sounds like you have fabulous taste then, Isabel! I happen to looove the melted butter, too!

  13. Marguerite says:

    I must echo the general agreement. This is an excellent banana bread. It has a fine moist crumb with an unmistakable banana flavor. I think the flavor is improved because of a lesser amount of sugar than generally found in such recipes. I did make a few adjustments: I used bleached flour; I increased the vanilla to 1 tablespoon and added 1 tablespoon of cinnamon (with all the health benefits of the spice being touted); I used sour cream rather than yogurt (as I don’t use it so I didn’t have any); and I put everything but the nuts, flour, and soda into a bowl and gave it a good 2 minute beating then folded in the flour and soda next, folding in the nuts last. It’s very important to nicely toast the walnuts. I keep the loaf in the refrigerator, and several nice thick slices of it went into the freezer to be toasted at a later time (and to be further embellished with a little cream cheese and perhaps some of my gingered white peach jam). A keeper.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Lovely to hear how much you like this, Marguerite, and to learn of your tricks. Many thanks.

  14. Cara says:

    I never use unsalted butter, I love the richness a good salted butter brings such as the Darigold product here in the Northwest. I just eliminate the separate addition of salt. I have never had a recipe come out odd because of it. I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

    • David Leite says:

      Hello, Cara, many people do exactly as you do. I prefer unsalted butter, that way I can control the amount of salt that goes in a dish. Also, different manufacturers use different amounts of salt. But if you stay with the same butter, and know its properties, you’re fine.

      We’re very ecumenical here!

  15. Elizabeth Maxim says:

    Excellent, just made it, great recipe as it does not require an electric mixer, will make again, did not toast nuts as that was too much work for a breakfast bread

    • Julie Dreyfoos says:

      Hi Elizabeth, so glad to hear that you enjoyed this banana bread, this truly is a great versatile recipe to come back to time and time again.

  16. bianca says:

    This is also on Cooks Illustrated under the title The Best Banana Bread :) I made this last night and it was absolutely wonderful! So banana-y. And no oil. I subbed toasted pepitas for the walnuts and ’twas divine. My new go-to!

    • David Leite says:

      Hello, Bianca. Yes, the recipe is straight from Cook’s Illustrated, as the post states. And it is indeed a winner. I love the idea of substituting pepitas for walnuts. I’m not a fan of walnuts, so I might try that out.

  17. Natalie says:

    Hi! I’m FINALLY making this tomorrow after hearing so much about it! Really excited! Just one question though, if I freeze the banana bread after baking it, how do I thaw it? :) Thanks!

    • Beth Price says:

      Hi Natalie, you can leave it wrapped and let it come to room temperature. If you like, gently warm the loaf in the oven. One of my favorite things to do is to toast a slice in the oven with a pat of butter on top. Wow…

  18. Amy says:

    I make this banana bread almost every other week adding Ghiradelli chocolate chips to it. Yesterday I wanted to try making muffins from the same batter and they turned out 12 beautiful muffins. I baked in paper-lined muffin tins for about 25 minutes, the tops were beautifully browned and they were perfect! Thank you, David!

    • David Leite says:

      Amy, I’m so glad they turned out well! And thank you for leaving a comment for other readers who are so muffin-inclined.

  19. Marta says:

    I don’t wanna seem over-excited but it’s sill in the oven and it smells c-r-a-z-y. I’ll keep you posted.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Dying of curiosity over here, my dear Marta…!

      • Marta says:

        Ok. It took me a while, but I wanted to make sure my thoughts and feelings here are correctly transmitted (and I apologize in advance for such a long post).

        As a rookie in baking (it’s been barely a year since I baked my first cake ever), and not a big expert in cooking, I must say it has always been difficult to find THE recipe. And by THE recipe I mean the cake, the cookie, the frosting, that leaves the one who tastes it open-eyed. And smiling. And asking for more.

        It’s difficult because, as a “non-expert” there are lots of properties and characteristics of the ingredients that I don’t know. I learned the meaning of using baking soda, baking powder. I learned you don’t want your kitchen to be hot and humid when making a meringue. I learned the eggs cannot be cold or no, it’s not gonna work (even if you try hard!). I learned quite a lot of stuff but, at the same time, there’s still a lot that I miss.

        So, yes, when you find a “simple” recipe, you expect the most of it. “It has to be awesome, it’s not that complicated”. Right? Well, you can still be disappointed, but you don’t get to understand why. And the feeling is awful. You feel so disappointed that you wouldn’t turn on the oven never ever again. And that’s sad.

        But this didn’t happen with this one. This one turned GREAT. The bread was moist, tasty, the toasted nuts gave it the crunch (and the smoky taste fits perfectly). It was dense but just enough to have the perfect thickness that you expect of a banana bread slice. And it’s really not that bad when you don’t even need a whole cup of sugar and only 6 tbsp of butter.

        Honestly, I think it’s even a greater success when such a common and uber-known recipe turns out that good. Because “everybody has its own best-in-the-world grandma’s recipe and nothing compares to it and it’s unbeatable.” Well. Here I was, with no grandma who baked banana bread. And now, maybe my future granchildren will be able to say: “My granny’s bread is the best!” Thank you again guys!

        • David Leite says:

          Marta, welcome to the wonderful, crazy, delicious world of baking. Personally, it’s what I love to do the most. I really like cooking, but I love baking.

          And your response is what makes me so proud to do what we do. For years we–especially Renee Schettler Rossi, our editor-in-chief–have been searching and scouting for superb-quality quintessential recipes so that you don’t have to. If you only know the number of banana bread recipes we considered and tossed out–and then the countless number of recipes we tested and trashed–you’d be mortified. But my overriding goal since I started Leite’s Culinaria in 1999 has been to offer cooks and bakers a trustworthy place where they can get the best of the best, whether it be a slice of pizza or a standing rib roast.

          Welcome to LC. We hope you’ll stay awhile.

        • Beth Price says:

          Marta, to echo David, we are so glad that you’ve embarked into the world of baking. And doubly glad that you found a recipe to put in your future granny repertoire!

        • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

          Lucky future grandchildren, I’d say, Marta. Memories of my grandma baking a recipe she’d long sought the perfect version of are among the loveliest memories I have. We’re so happy you found us.

        • Frances Kim says:

          Welcome to LC, Marta! As a baking rookie myself, I still get super excited when a recipe turns out well. It means that the huge mess I’ve made in the kitchen is worth it (maybe not to my roommates, but they usually see it my way after the first bite). So glad you’ve found a keeper, and looking forward to hearing more about your baking adventures!

        • Marta says:

          Thank you everybody, that’s a warm welcome! I’ll definitely stick around, I really do appreciate your work and enjoy your posts. You guys are out of the ordinary, it can be told at a glance. Once more, thank you!

  20. Helen says:

    Asked for and received a recipe for banana bread, which I tasted and totally enjoyed at brunch while on vacation at a beautiful Jamaican resort. The banana recipe called for 3 cups bananas, 1 1/4 cup corn oil, and 1 1/4 cup milk along with the other basic ingredients; sugar, eggs, flour, vanilla extract, baking soda, cinnamon…….Delicious!! It became my all-time favorite but I will try this as the comments temp me to once again to see if I again top my favorite recipe thus far.

  21. S says:

    Hi, I just made this in a pyrex lasagna dish (est 13×9) at 45 minutes. My fiance was the one who pulled it out of the oven and I came back to a cooled-down pale-looking cake that tasted a little overcooked (because the bottom was in transition from golden-brown to too brown). I’m wondering if i should have left it in there longer because of the top (it looks like it was dusted in flour)?

    • Beth Price says:

      Hi S, the pan size does make a difference. The recipe calls for a loaf pan so using a lasagna pan would cause the bread to cook more quickly. Next time use a loaf pan, you’ll get much better results.

  22. Jean Marotta says:


    My Sao Miguel Cousin!!!!! Another awesome recipe! Toasted walnut halves bring this recipe over the top!

    I recently sent my mom a copy of the New Portuguese Table–she LOVES it and just keeps talking about life in East Cambridge and meals her mother once made.

    Thanks for your genius!

  23. Jess says:

    Making this tomorrow and I cannot wait, just wondering if you can tell me the nutrition info e.g – calories etc.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Jess, I’d love to hear what you think of this recipe. Everyone we know is quite enamored with it! As for the nutritional information, I’m afraid we don’t run numbers on our recipes. We realize that some people would like this information, and we don’t like to deprive people of that. That said, we’re sorta proponents of moderation in all things and eating an array of things, sometimes broccoli, sometimes banana bread. I hope you can understand and that you’ll try this banana bread anyways—preferably warm from the oven!

  24. Amanda Worth says:

    My experience was similar to Ellen Romanow’s. While this bread was good, it just didn’t have the depth of flavour or moistness my regular recipe has, which has a lower flour to bananas ratio. We did enjoy the addition of chopped, toasted walnuts and I’ll try adding them to my recipe next time. In case you are still trying out different banana bread recipes, “my” recipe is the one from The Best of The Best of Bridge. I’ve made it exactly as written, and I’ve experimented- some loaves with half white-half whole wheat flour, some with up to a 1/3 of the sugar replaced with Splenda, some with chocolate chips, and even some in muffin form… they’ve all turned out beautifully.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Thanks, Amanda. We find banana bread to be one of those things people tend to be incredibly passionate and opinionated about and so it makes sense not one recipe is going to keep everyone happy. Glad to hear you’ve found yours. Thanks for sharing.

  25. Stu B. says:

    I made this recipe to the letter. It turned out exactly like your photo. My family compared it to the recipe I have been making for 12 years. The differences are minor but my recipe results in, our opinions, a better end result.

    1 cup chocolate chips wetted with a few drops vanilla to wet the chips by tossing well with your fingers in a soup bowl then take a generous pinch of flour and mix that with the chips. This keeps the chips from settling into the bottom of the batter.
    3 over ripe soft bananas
    1 1/2 cup APF
    1 C sugar
    1 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/4 cup whole milk + 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar to make a substitute for buttermilk
    1 extra large egg
    1/2 cup very soft butter, salted or non-salted does not matter
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    I make mine in a Nordic Ware Banana Cake Pan
    The cake rises beautifully, splits the top along it’s length and tastes of banana and chocolate.
    Put the ingredients together just as in your recipe.

  26. Christeen Hansen says:

    This is the first banana bread I have made homemade. I bake a lot and like to try new things and I have found some recipes on here that I really like so when I found this recipe I thought I would give it a try and my whole family loved it. I have found my new banana bread recipe :)

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Christeen, that’s so incredibly lovely to hear! We’re so pleased to hear that you’re getting into baking—what a joy, right?!—and that our recipes are facilitating that. Many kind thanks for taking the time to let us know! Would love to hear which recipes you conquer next…!

  27. Cynthia Sheehan says:

    This is a great recipe. Came out really moist. I used fat free greek yogurt and chocolate chips instead of walnuts because that’s what I had on hand. Next time I will use full fat yogurt and see if there is a difference, but the fat free yogurt worked great if you want to cut back on some fat/calories.

  28. Dani says:

    R IS DOING THE CONVERSIONS AND WILL GET BACK TO THE READER TODAY-R Thanks for this great recipe, the banana bread turned out really tasty. Because I am not used to having recipes in cups, tablespoons and sticks, I made the transformation to grams and I am still not sure if the proportions I end up with were quite right, since I felt that it could have been a bit more moist. Here are the qualities I used :

    flour – 250 g
    sugar – 150 g
    nuts – 100 g
    yougurt -120 g
    butter – 100 g

    Would you consider these as the right proportions?

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Dani, you’re very welcome, we’re so glad to hear that you love this banana bread as much as we do! I find that each batch of banana bread is slightly different in terms of moistness and I’m wondering if it has to do with the exact size and ripeness of the bananas? At any rate, your conversions are very similar to what we would use based on our bible, the King Arthur ingredient equivalent chart that you can find here: I’ve noted our weights below and we’re testing it this weekend and if all goes as well as expected we’ll add the metric to the recipe.

      Flour 240 grams
      Sugar 150 grams
      Nuts Up to 140 grams
      Yogurt 57 grams (although I think it will make a difference if you use a thicker, denser Greek yogurt as opposed to a more liquidy regular plain yogurt)
      Butter 85 grams

  29. Julie Figueroa says:

    This was AMAZING. I doubled the recipe and sent one (nut-free) loaf to school for my grandson’s first grade class treat and we ate the other loaf (with pecans) here at home. He finished it last night and I’m making two MORE loaves right now. (My husband finally stopped complaining about the 2 gallon bags of frozen banana mush in our freezer.) I used greased and floured silicone loaf pans. The only other change I made (besides no nuts/pecans) was substituting half the flour with whole wheat and using Greek yogurt. I’ve been baking for many years and had a few other favorite banana bread recipes, but I threw them ALL OUT. I see no need to mess with absolutely delicious perfection. Try it—you won’t be disappointed!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Julie, this is magnificent to hear! Thank you so much for taking the time to let us know. So glad you feel the same about this banana bread as we do!

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