The Best Way to Make Banana Bread, According to Our Test Kitchen
This easy banana bread recipe is great for an on-the-go breakfast or an afternoon snack. We'll fill you in on how to make it using our Better Homes & Gardens Test Kitchen must-know tips. Even if you don't have a bunch of ripe bananas on your counter, you can still make banana bread by giving them a quick roast in the oven. After you've baked your mouthwatering loaf, we've got some tips on the best ways to store banana bread to keep it fresh as long as possible.
How to Make Banana Bread
If you're a beginner, our tried-and-true banana bread recipe is a great place to start. Follow our step-by-step instructions to make banana bread whenever a craving strikes. It's also a banana nut bread recipe, but if you're allergic to nuts or don't like them, leave the walnuts out of the batter and skip the streusel-nut topping.
Step 1: Roast Bananas and Prepare Pan
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 15x10-inch baking pan with foil. Arrange five bananas (peels left on) in the pan. Prick banana skins with the tines of a fork at 1-inch intervals. Bake 15 minutes. Cool bananas on the baking pan. After roasting, the bananas become dark and ugly, but no need to panic. They're oh, so sweet! Roasting them caramelizes their natural sugars, giving them a rich sweetness and making them soft enough to stir into the batter without mashing. Prepare loaf pan(s) by greasing the bottom(s) and ½ inch up the sides of one 9x5-inch loaf pan ($15, Crate & Barrel) or two 7½x3½-inch loaf pans; set aside.
Test Kitchen Tip: Ripe bananas (those soft to the touch with brown spots on the peel) are usually called for with banana bread. When you roast bananas first, it doesn't matter how ripe they are before baking.
Step 2: Combine Dry Ingredients
In a large bowl combine 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1½ tsp. baking powder, ½ tsp. baking soda, ½ tsp. ground cinnamon, ¼ tsp. salt, ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg, and ⅛ tsp. ground ginger. Using the back of a spoon, make a well in the center of the flour mixture; set aside.
Step 3: Stir Batter Together
In a medium bowl combine 2 eggs (lightly beaten), 1 cup sugar, and ½ cup vegetable oil (or melted butter); set aside. Using a small sharp knife, split the roasted banana peels. Measure 1½ cups roasted bananas (gently press the roasted bananas into measuring cup); stir into egg mixture. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir until just moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in ¼ cup walnuts. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle Streusel-Nut Topping over batter.
In a small bowl combine 3 Tbsp. packed brown sugar and 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in 4 tsp. butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in ¼ cup chopped walnuts.
Step 4: Bake and Enjoy!
Bake at 350°F for 55 to 60 minutes for one pan or 45 to 55 minutes for two pans. The bread is done when a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. To prevent overbrowning, cover bread loosely with foil the last 15 minutes of baking. Cool in pan(s) on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove bread from pan(s). Cool completely on rack. Wrap and store at room temperature overnight before slicing. (We know it's hard to wait, but your bread will be more evenly moist and less crumbly if you let it sit overnight.)
Banana Bread Baking Tips
These pointers will help you take your loaf of banana bread from good to great. Check out our tips for ripening bananas quickly, greasing your pan, and preventing your loaf from coming out uneven. No matter what recipe you're using, these tips will help you make the best banana bread.
1. Try It Roasted
Like we mentioned in our steps above, roasting those not-quite-ripe yellow bananas will prep your fruit for any banana bread recipe without waiting for them to ripen up on the counter. Place the bananas on a baking pan lined with foil and use a fork to prick the skins at 1-inch intervals. Roast 15 minutes at 350°F.
2. Grease Your Pan
For a picture-worthy loaf of banana bread, don't go overboard with greasing your loaf pan. Grease the bottom of the pan just ½ inch up the sides for a uniform loaf with a slightly rounded top. If you grease all the way up the sides of the pan, the loaf can sink, resulting in a flat top.
3. Mix It Right
Make sure to mix your dry ingredients in one bowl and wet ingredients in another. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients. Using a wooden spoon, gently stir until the flour is moistened. The batter should be thick and lumpy (don't stir until it's smooth). Mixing bread just right is important so you end up with a bread that has a delicate texture and consistent crumb. Overmixing causes gluten in the flour to develop, trapping the leavening in pockets. The result is a heavy, uneven loaf.
How to Store Banana Bread
When storing quick breads such as banana bread, there are a few things to remember in order to keep it tasting fresh.
- Make sure your loaf is cooled completely on a wire rack ($9, Target). Wrapping it while it's still warm will cause the moisture to rise to the surface, making it soggy. And no one wants soggy banana bread.
- Wrap it tightly with plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to three days. You can alternatively place it in a paper-towel-lined (to absorb excess moisture) airtight container. If you don't think you'll be able to finish your bread within three days, use our tips for freezing quick breads to save it for up to three months.
Banana Bread Variations
Once you get the hang of the traditional recipe, it's easy to change up banana bread flavors with different fruit and mix-ins. In recipes like our dark chocolate-raspberry version (above), all you do is prepare your banana bread mixture and stir in some dark chocolate pieces before swirling in some sweet-tart raspberry preserves. Or you can try making other quick breads such as pumpkin bread or cinnamon-swirl bread.