banana bread | the vanilla bean blog
I know there are a million recipes for banana bread out there, all of them claiming to be the best. Is there a bad recipe for banana bread? I don’t think there is. I’ve tried many different variations over the years, from healthy versions made with whole wheat flours and flaxseed to loaves that were basically cake, crammed with chocolate chips and peanut butter. They were all delicious. But there is one recipe that has traveled with me from coffeehouse to coffeehouse, and now is a staple in our home. It has won our simple hearts.

I’m not going to lie. It’s not on the healthy end of the spectrum. There is butter, and sugar, and sour cream. Pecans, white flour, and eggs. It is rich and delicious, always moist, full of banana flavor. And it’s the best.
banana bread | the vanilla bean blog

Banana Bread
adapted from Martha Stewart

I make these loaves in an 8 x 4 bread pan – I’ve found it to bake up prettiest in these. This will work in a 9 x 5, but it will be flatter. I like to use super ripe [almost black] bananas that have been frozen and then thawed for this bread, as they have the best flavor [a little trick I learned from Cooks Illustrated]. When the frozen banana thaws, it gives off lots of juice that has SO MUCH FLAVOR. You want to put this juice in with the bananas, when you mash them. If you do not have frozen bananas available, use really ripe, almost black bananas for good flavor. You can substitute walnuts or chocolate chips for the pecans, and yogurt for the sour cream. This bread keeps well for days wrapped in plastic, and I like it’s flavor on the second and third days best.

1 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup pecans, toasted
2 cups mashed bananas (or 5 bananas, see note above)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease two 8 x 4 bread pans (see note).
Whisk flour, baking soda, salt and pecans together. In a separate bowl, mash bananas. Add vanilla and sour cream and mix until combined.

In a standing mixer, cream butter and sugar together until fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, scraping down bowl after each addition. Add dry ingredients, and combine slightly. While mixer is running, add banana mixture [and juices, if using, see note] and mix until just combined. Finish stirring batter by hand, making sure any batter on the the bottom of the bowl is well incorporated. Pour batter into pans and bake until bread is no longer doughy and golden brown, 45 minutes – 1 hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in bread pans for 20 minutes, then turn out on to wire racks to finish cooling.
banana bread | the vanilla bean blog

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39 Responses to banana bread

  1. Beautiful! I love a simple quick bread with a cup of tea. You may try using creme fraiche instead of sour cream to make it even richer. It’s one of the secrets to my favorite banana bread recipe.

  2. you’ve totally convinced me to try your version. i’ve heard of freezing the bananas before – but do you peel them before or after?

  3. Christy says:

    Sigh, I am in love with your food photos! Will give this recipe a try too.

  4. lieslmade says:

    I’m thinking I need to try this.

  5. Susan says:

    Just made this banana bread – it is delicious!!

  6. Lindsay says:

    I just wanted to let you know that I have this link in my favorites… it is THE go-to banana bread recipe. Aum nom nom.

  7. Molly says:

    Made it yesterday and it is delicious! Thanks so much!

  8. Frozen bananas! – what a great tip. Thanks for the great post.

  9. Batya says:

    I’ve never had a bad banana bread, but this recipe (+ that awesome tip for using frozen bananas) has got me thinking that this one might be the best yet! I can’t wait to make it (and I conveniently have some almost-black bananas at the ready…)

  10. Rose Allen says:

    I’m making this as of now.Will see how it goes.

  11. Lianne says:

    I’ve tested out a banana recipe or two and have been a regular user of frozen bananas for quite some time. But you weren’t kidding when you said this was THE BEST! I made this today (added blueberries to one loaf) and have promptly deleted all references to any other banana bread recipe I had. Thank you!

  12. Lisa says:

    I made this banana bread over the weekend, it is delish! In the place of the sour cream, I used greek yogurt. But everything else stayed the same. My daughter took containers to work with her. Co workers were begging.
    Thanks for the recipe. It will now travel with me too.

  13. […] I’ve always wondered what to do with overly ripe bananas and it finally clicked in my head that instead of throwing them away, make banana bread. And thats exactly what i did Saturday morning. I headed straight to pintrest and found this recipe below from The Vanilla Bean Blog: […]

  14. Tara says:

    I keep my over ripe bananas in the freezer!!
    I made this Bread tonight ..We Really liked it!!
    I added twice the amount of Vanilla Bean paste.
    Next time I will add more pecans! YUM!!

  15. Tuesday says:

    Once again I turned to your blog for a new twist on an old recipe, and I was not in the least bit disappointed. Although I used walnuts, and duck eggs and yogurt and 1 cup of cake flour. It was a labor of love, as all baking should be, and caused my husband to cradle the warm loaves and inhale all of their steamy goodness.

  16. Beth says:

    I’m not seeing vanilla listed in the ingredients but it is mentioned in the directions. How much do you use? I’m hoping to make this tomorrow, my friends have raved about it! Thanks!

  17. Patricia says:

    Do you use salted or unsalted butter?

  18. Salvegging says:

    Hey Sarah,
    Oh my these are good. I used plain whole yogurt, and divided your recipe by 4 to get two mini 5x3s. I’ve never heard to add the dry ingred before the banana mixture so I was a little nervous to “not overmix” in the stand mixer but there’s something about this recipe that is finally getting toward that elusive crumb I’m after in banana bread, not gummy and overly wet but not too dry. I used a thawed frozen banana, even heating the juice a touch to cook down and add as “extract” and as you emphasized it does indeed ADD SO MUCH FLAVOR????. On the keeper list.

  19. Jenn Lee says:

    Hi Sarah, I have been on the hunt for a go-to banana bread recipe and can’t wait to try making this! I’m just wondering – could I take out the nuts? I know you mentioned substituting in walnuts or chocolate chips, but I love just plain banana bread and wanted to know if I could skip these all together or if I need to add more dry ingredients (such as flour) to balance it out? Thank you!!!

  20. Eliza says:

    I usually make this recipe (without nuts) and it turns out perfectly. Yesterday, I halved it to make one loaf, and it sunk in the middle and didn’t cook right. I don’t know if it was my error, but something went wrong 🙁

  21. Christina says:

    What type of sugar would you recommend using in this recipe?

  22. Ronit says:

    Did you meant cup of melted butter
    And about the oven you meant Fahrenheit?
    Thanks a lot

  23. Jacqueline says:

    Made this! Love it. I used full fat Greek yogurt instead of sour cream and added candied walnuts. I also had some cinnamon topping in the fridge so I threw that on the top. I made these into mini loaves for gifts and the banana bread ? is so delish. I tend to not make banana bread anymore because a lot of recipes say they are “the best” but this one really is?? I enjoy reading your blog and look forward to getting your book ? ?????????

  24. Susan whiteley says:

    I have been search for the
    “Best Banana Bread” recipie
    and so happy to have found it

  25. pjacob says:

    Can i cut out the sugar completely here? I usually do not like too much sugar and since the bananas we use are overly ripe giving enough sugar i might need. What are your thoughts?

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