Best Basic Banana Bread

You know how some recipes just seem elusive? I felt that way for a long time about cookies. I could make a good cookie, but the best? That was hard to find. Now I help my kids run a cookie business and after much trial and error we’ve baked our way into some pretty amazing cookies. I feel the same way about banana bread. I’ve always had good banana bread. Even very good banana bread, but I just keep trying recipes because I couldn’t find a recipe that I really loved. After tinkering around for years, I’ve finally come up with a recipe that I will be making again and again.

Jump to Best Basic Banana Bread Recipe

My Perfect Banana Bread

My perfect recipe makes a great loaf but could also be used for 24 muffins. It tastes of banana but not overpowering. It is light, tender and can hold up to some mini chocolate chips thrown in. I like a banana bread recipe best if I can use one bowl for easier cleanup and I especially love a recipe that all of my kids like. This banana bread hits all of those notes. Even my daughter who is not typically a fan has been begging me to make this recipe again…and again! It is delicious 

Combining Butter and Oil for the Perfect Bread

A lot of quick bread recipes call for just butter or just oil. I love using a combination of the two in this recipe. Both oil and butter bring different properties to banana bread. Butter brings a rich flavor and oil helps with a tender, moist and delicious crumb. I find a combination of the two results in the best loaf of bread.

Brown, Over-Ripe Bananas for the Best Flavor

Banana bread has the most flavor when the bananas are really brown…disgustingly brown…even black. The “riper” the banana, the more flavor your bread will have. If you want a milder flavor, use a more brown/yellow banana. I often keep bananas on my counter and whenever I have one that has gotten overripe and no one in my family will eat it, I’ll let it sit a little bit longer until the peel is pretty dark. Then I’ll make a batch of banana bread if I have enough of them, or I’ll peel the banana and pop it in the freezer until I’m ready to use it. To use frozen bananas, let the bananas thaw and then drain a little bit of the excess water before using.

Brown Sugar and Yogurt Makes Moist Banana Bread

I used to always use white sugar in my banana bread. Never again! Brown sugar adds the perfect moistness, sweetness and flavor. The yogurt in this recipe also helps increase the moistness in this bread. If you want to substitute Greek yogurt, you can. The batter will be a little bit thicker than a regular plain yogurt.

Banana Bread Mix-Ins

My kids love this recipe plain, but they really love it when I add some mini chocolate chips into the batter. In my younger years I used to put almost as many chocolate chips as cups of flour into the banana bread for a resulting baked good that tasted more like chocolate bread with a bit of banana. Over the years I’ve cut back, and I love the addition of little mini chocolate chips. They give the perfect pop of chocolate with the sweetness and compliment the banana bread flavor instead of trying to hide it. You could also add some chopped nuts instead of mini chips, or leave them out all together.

A Few Tips

This recipe works perfectly in one bowl. You can mix the dry ingredients together first, but more often that not I pour the flour on top of the liquid ingredients and then the salt and baking soda on top of that. Lightly combine the dry ingredients and then mix the whole thing together carefully. This results in fewer dishes for me and seriously yummy banana bread. Another trick to get a nice high domed top is to bake the bread at a high heat for the first few minutes. The high heat reacts with the baking soda in the recipe and give the tall, domed loaf that you would find at a bakery. I’ve used this technique with great results in these amazing chocolate chip muffins, this sourdough zucchini bread and our favorite applesauce bread.

Bread, Muffins and Mini Muffins

I love this recipe so much because it makes one loaf of bread or twenty-four regular-sized muffins. These muffin tins (affiliate link), are my favorite because they don’t need to be greased. If i’m being honest, we make banana bread muffins far more often than actual banana bread because they are so helpful for a quick breakfast or to stick in school lunches. I also love that this recipe makes perfect mini muffins for when you don’t want to eat an entire muffin. It’s just an all around perfect banana bread! If you’re looking for a stellar sourdough discard banana bread, check out my other favorite banana bread recipe that uses sourdough discard. You can’t go wrong with either one of these recipes. Enjoy!

Best Basic Banana Bread

The best basic banana bread recipe. Tender, full of banana flavor and easy to whip up. This recipe makes one loaf of banana bread or two dozen muffins.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 5 mins
Course Bread, Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 1 loaf

Ingredients
  

  • 3 brown/black bananas mashed, about 1 1/2 cups
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil or other neutral flavored oil
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt see recipe notes
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips or other mix-in optional

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • To a liquid measuring cup, mash the brown bananas until you have about 1 1/2 cups of mashed banana. It's okay if you have a few little chunks of banana. Set aside.
  • To a medium-sized bowl, whip the softened butter with a hand mixer until creamy.
  • Add the brown sugar and mix again until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and mix again until completely incorporated.
  • Drizzle in the vegetable oil while mixing and add the yogurt and vanilla extract. Add the mashed banana and mix together.
  • Put the hand mixer away and pull out a wooden or large spoon. Add the flour to the bowl. Add the salt and baking soda right on top of the flour and carefully mix (not letting any of the baking soda or salt leave the bowl as you mix). Mix just until the flour is just incorporated and only a few dry streaks remain.
  • Add mini chocolate chips, chopped nuts or dried fruit and lightly mix.
  • Lightly grease or line with parchment paper a 9 by 5 pan, affiliate link (see recipe note for muffin instructions). Pour the mixture into the pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
  • Bake for 10 minutes at 425 degrees. After ten minutes, lower the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 45-55 minutes until baked all the way through. Stick a sharp knife or toothpick into the center of the banana bread. If it comes out clean (with no batter sticking to it), it is ready to pull out of the oven.

Notes

Plain Yogurt: If you don’t have plain yogurt, you can substitute sour cream. Greek yogurt will make the batter a little thicker, but you can also substitute it for the plain yogurt if you don’t have anything else on hand.
Banana Muffins: Recipe makes about 24 muffins. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bake muffins for 5 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 15-16 minutes until baked all the way through.
Mini Banana Muffins: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bake mini muffins for 4 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 350 degrees and bake another 8-10 minutes until baked through.
Keyword banana, banana bread

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Sourdough Discard: Banana Bread

This recipe is specifically made to be used with sourdough discard.

I have seen so many recipes for banana bread during this pandemic so I figured why not throw in one of my favorites too! My kids absolutely love this banana bread. It is easy to make, uses up some of the sourdough discard I have sitting in my fridge and it tastes really good. What’s not to love?!

One of the keys to a really good banana bread is in the bananas themselves. I buy a lot of bananas. It’s one of the fruits that my kids seem to love eating and we always seem to be picking up another bunch or two of bananas every time we go to the store. Luckily for me, my kids like bananas throughout their differing scales of ripeness. Some love them at the beginning stage of green/yellow. Some love them right in the middle stage of yellow with NO, absolutely NO brown spots and some don’t care that much and will eat them even with those brown spots starting to take over. But no one will eat them in their really, really brown stage where the whole banana has basically turned brown and gooey. This is when I usually peel the bananas, throw them into a ziplock bag and keep them in my freezer until I have enough bananas to make a delicious loaf of banana bread.

The sugars in the over-ripe, brown bananas break down and make for a delicious banana flavor and add sweetness to the loaf of bread. This banana bread has the added benefit of using sourdough discard, and the combination of white and brown sugar give it a deeper flavor than just plain white sugar. If you are looking for a delicious use for your sourdough discard, this is a recipe you will want to make.

Yield: 1 loaf of banana bread

Time: 15 minute mix, 1 hour bake

Ingredients:

  • 3 over-ripened bananas 
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup sourdough discard (about 200 grams)
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾-1 cup chocolate chips/chunks or nuts (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and prepare your loaf pan. This recipe works well for an 8 ½ by 4 ½ bread pan or a 9 by 5 bread pan. Any pan smaller than this will most likely overflow. You may also want to line the bottom of your pan with parchment paper to prevent sticking or spray it with cooking spray.
  2. In a bowl, mash the bananas. Add the eggs, white sugar, brown sugar, vanilla extract and vegetable oil. Stir to combine.
  3. Mix in the sourdough discard and stir until just combined.
  4. In a separate bowl (or you can mix it straight in if you don’t like to get multiple bowls dirty) mix in the flour, baking powder, salt and chocolate chips or nuts (if desired). Mix until just incorporated.
  5. Pour the batter into your loaf pan and bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for about 50 minutes. Insert a knife into the banana bread to check if it is completely baked through. 
  6. Let the banana bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes before releasing from the pan. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes: This recipe would also work well for banana muffins. Line a muffin tin. Fill your muffins a little over halfway and reduce the baking time to 6 minutes at 425 degrees then 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees.

Have you made banana bread yet during this pandemic? How do you like to eat your bananas? Green-yellow, yellow, yellow-brown or in banana bread? 🙂

Please share this recipe if you enjoyed it! Post a photo and tag me @amybakesbread so I can see your bake 🙂

Follow me on Instagram @amybakesbread or like Amy Bakes Bread on Facebook for more baking ideas.

Check out more recent sourdough posts:

Hockey-Puck Banana Bread

“Can I bake something, Mom?!” is a common phrase I hear around my house. This time it was from one of my eight-year-old sons. I had some mushy, brown bananas sitting on the counter and thought it would be a great opportunity to use up the ripe bananas and let him bake. 

My kids have always baked with me in the kitchen from a young age. They love dumping ingredients into the mixers, whipping up fresh cream for pancakes (had to put a stop to that one after they used up all my cream, which was supposed to be for a recipe I was intending to make), learning about how to turn on the oven (yes you have to press START or else it doesn’t pre-heat), making breakfast on weekend mornings…the list goes on and on. As a parent I am transitioning with my older kids (ages 10, 8, 8) into a more hands-off approach. I want to let them feel the success that comes with pulling a beautiful loaf of banana bread out of the oven and having the rest of the family ooh, ahh and compliment the chef.

On this particular day I was a little more “hands off” than I normally would be. I was outside chatting with a friend when my son begged to make something and I suggested banana bread. He found the recipe I’d left lying around and as typical eight year old boys do (and let’s face it…busy moms do too), pulled out the ingredients and started mixing them up before re-reading the ingredients and realizing a mistake had been made. Instead of melting the butter he’d put in cold butter…and kept on mixing. 

When I came inside to check on his progress I found a bowl of chunky butter, bananas, sugar, oil and flour ready to be poured into a pan and put into the oven. In an attempt to “save” the banana bread I decided to whip the mixture to get rid of all the butter chunks. As we soon found out, there is a reason you want to GENTLY FOLD the flour into banana bread (or any quickbread) as your last step in the process. Creaming the butter and sugars together as a first step is fine, but once the flour is added…gently fold. When we started whipping the flour it activated the gluten. Instead of the light and airy crumb we love from banana bread, we had inadvertently whipped the bread into a dense, hard and a hockey-puck-like loaf once baked.

Proud boy with his “whipped” batter.

My son, however, was proud as a peacock pouring his mixture into the baking pan and setting a timer to check on it. After the bread was baked we cut into it…and you know what, my three boys gobbled up pieces of that banana bread exclaiming how delicious it was! Compliments were given to the chef and I think my three year old ate 5 slices of bread over the course of a couple days. I may not have been able to stomach a piece of the bread, but I am very grateful for the learning opportunity by giving my boy free reign of the kitchen and mixer. 

Hoping next time his banana bread turns out like this!!!

Baking is a skill. It takes time, effort and desire. I want my kids in the kitchen. I want them to learn how to bake, cook and appreciate where their food comes from. Do you think that if I had made the loaf of banana bread that day we would have learned a lesson about folding in flour to bread? Probably not. Start close to your kids and help them learn how to read, measure and work your kitchen appliances. Gradually release that responsibility to them as they prove themselves capable. Will your kitchen be messy? Almost definitely. Will your kids learn important skills that will stay with them for life? Almost definitely. Teach your kids. It’s worth it!
…even when your banana bread comes out tasting like a brick.