Your search for the perfect super-moist banana bread recipe is over. Our readers say “Absolutely the greatest banana bread ever! No need to ever try another!”.
Classic flavors, heavenly aromas, and well-tested tips for a very delicious treat.
This is a great recipe for a basic classic banana bread. I have only two criteria for what I would consider the best banana bread recipe: super moist and big banana flavor.
If you google ‘banana bread recipes’, you will get about 278 million results. They are all fairly similar (ok, I didn’t read 278 million). Some have more sugar, some add an extra moisture ingredient, some add nuts, and so on. But the basics are the same.
I’ve made this recipe a LOT. The first time with an electric mixer, the next time (and from then on) without. It really made no difference. However, you do need to pay attention to a few tips that will get you to REALLY great banana bread.
Why choose THIS banana bread recipe
Do we need yet another banana bread recipe? Not really. But…
If you obsess like me and need to review 10 recipes before you settle on one, you’ll be happy you landed on this one – the best banana bread recipe in my humble opinion. Our readers seem to think so too.
That’s because I’ve done a ton of research and testing for you so you don’t have to. You’ll find tips, substitutions, variations, freezing instructions, and more.
There’s no need for a stand mixer. You can mix the batter with a spoon or fork. The instructions are simple. Just be sure to pay attention to the tips which are all included in the recipe.
Bottom line: This is an incredibly soft, moist banana bread recipe. Amazing flavor. A great way to use up those brown bananas. Our #1 most popular recipe. And simply delicious.
Ingredients – tailored to your taste
Bananas: Use overripe bananas that are turning brown and very soft – almost squishy. The riper, the sweeter (although not black to the point they are fermenting). One banana in the picture above is black because it was frozen – that’s ok.
Sour cream – light or full fat is fine. Or use plain or vanilla yogurt instead. This adds moisture to the banana bread.
Flour: Use all-purpose flour (or see variations below). Don’t use bread flour as it will make the banana loaf dense.
- The brown sugar adds great flavor but it can be replaced with white sugar if needed.
- Replace the yogurt (or sour cream) with 1/2 cup extra mashed bananas or unsweetened applesauce for a lower-calorie option.
- Apparently, the butter can be replaced with 1/2 cup mayonnaise. I never tried this, but I read it in a recipe and the author swears by it. Update: a reader tried it and it worked! You can also substitute the butter with coconut oil in the same amount if you like. The loaf may have a slight coconut taste though.
- Flavor options: try adding a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg. A hint is plenty or you’ll disguise the banana flavor.
- For extra nutrition:
- Use half all-purpose flour and half whole wheat flour. Don’t use all whole wheat flour because the banana bread will be too dense and the taste will be altered.
- Replace 1 tablespoon of flour with 1 tablespoon of flaxseed for added fiber, protein, vitamin B1 and Omega-3 fatty acids.
- Gluten-free version: Use a 1:1 gluten-free flour. Check labels.
- Sweetness: Some recipes use more sugar than is called for in this recipe, but I find that too sweet when using very ripe bananas. This is all personal preference of course. If your bananas aren’t super sweet or you prefer sweeter, use more sugar.
- Add-in options: chocolate chips for chocolate banana bread, chopped toasted walnuts or pecans for banana nut bread, or toffee/skor pieces
- Fruit additions: raisins or cranberries, blueberries dusted in flour (so they don’t sink).
- Toppings: Cream cheese frosting, orange glaze, Nutella.
There are a few tricks for making a perfect banana bread.
- Overripe bananas are key for sweetness. If they are not ripe, we show you two ways to ripen them in the recipe notes.
- Measure your flour properly! This is very important. Too much flour will make the banana bread dry. Too little will make it too wet. See recipe.
- Don’t over-mix the batter. Lightly incorporate the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients. Don’t over mix or the banana bread will become dense.
- Don’t overbake. Overbaked banana bread will be dry. I tend to underbake it a bit because I like it super moist.
- Easy clean up: Line your loaf pan with parchment paper before adding the batter. I find the best way is to crush parchment into a ball, then smooth it into the pan. This will make it stay in the pan instead of popping out.
- How to freeze bananas: Don’t throw out your browning overripe bananas. Throw them into a ziploc bag (remove as much air as possible), then into the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost them in the fridge or microwave them for 1 minute or so when you’re ready to bake a super moist banana bread.
How to serve banana bread
My sister loves banana bread toasted with butter. I have to admit it’s pretty good. Plain – or plain with butter – is great too. And a bit of peach marmalade! For a healthy ending to a meal, serve banana bread with this easy 4-ingredient tropical fruit salad.
Serve it for breakfast, brunch, snack, tea time, or dessert.
Yes, banana bread is considered a quick bread because it uses baking soda and powder to rise instead of yeast.
For baking, the best way to measure flour is to weigh it on a kitchen scale. If you don’t have a scale, use the scoop and swipe method with measuring cups. Scoop the flour with a spoon into a measuring cup, then level it off with a knife. The right amount of flour is important for the texture of the banana bread.
Sometimes the batter will curdle when you add a cold egg. If you forget to take the egg out of the fridge ahead of time, run it under warm water for a minute. (Even if the batter curdles a bit, it still should be fine).
Yes, you can make muffins instead of a loaf. Increase the oven temperature to 375F/191C and bake muffins for 20-25 minutes or until the tester comes out clean.
Yes, bananas can turn dark brown or even black in the freezer – and even mushy or liquidy – but they are safe and perfect for making banana bread. To prevent the skin from turning black, you can flash-freeze the bananas first before putting them in a ziploc bag in the freezer.
Experts at Cooks Illustrated found that oven temperature can vary by as much as 90 degrees F (32 degrees C), especially over time. This will impact baking results. CNET explains the best way to test your oven temperature for accuracy so you can adjust accordingly.
Make Ahead and Storage
- Store on the counter for 3 days in a sealed freezer bag or airtight container.
- To freeze for up to 3 months, wrap it well in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, then place it in an airtight container or sealed bag. Defrost in the fridge or in the microwave for 20 seconds. Tip: I slice my banana bread into individual slices first before freezing, allowing me to grab one piece at a time.
More banana recipes
- ricotta pancake recipes with caramelized bananas
- simple banana French toast
- banana muffins with blueberries (moist and fluffy)
- banana cake with chocolate icing – one of my faves.
- homemade creamy banana pudding cups.
If you like this recipe, please leave a 5 star rating 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟in the recipe card below. And if you REALLY like it, consider a review in the comments. Thanks very much!
Super Moist Banana Bread Recipe (no mixer needed)
- 1 cup mashed VERY RIPE bananas, Note 1 about 2 large bananas
- 1/2 cup plain or Greek yogurt, low fat is fine (buttermilk or sour cream is fine too)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup butter (one stick) – very soft, Note 2 salted or unsalted
- 3/4 cup brown sugar, Note 3
- 1 egg, room temperature (run under warm water for a minute if needed)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, Note 4 subtitutes measure properly! (Note 5)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (omit if using salted butter)
- Optional add-ins: 1/2 cup (87 g) chocolate chips, toffee bits, pecans, walnuts or raisins.
- HEAT OVEN TO 350F/176.7C: Crumple a parchment paper into a ball. Smooth it out and line a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan (23×13 cm) or 4 x 8 inch loaf pan (20×10 cm).
- BOWL #1 (small bowl): Mix together mashed bananas, yogurt and baking soda with a fork or spoon.
- BOWL #2 (medium bowl or 2 cup measuring cup): Stir together flour, baking powder and salt (if using).
- BOWL #3 (large bowl): Use a spoon or whisk to mix butter and brown sugar together until well combined. Add egg and vanilla and whisk until smooth and creamy. Add banana-yogurt mixture and mix well. Add flour mix in 3 parts, mixing lightly between each addition. DO NOT over mix. Just mix until flour is incorporated. Batter will be thick. Stir in optional add-in if using.
- BAKE: Spoon batter into parchment-lined loaf pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until cake tester or toothpick comes out clean. Using the smaller loaf pan size may take a bit longer. Note 6 on oven accuracy. Start checking after 50-55 minutes. The middle may still be wet. Bake another 3-5 minutes and check again. When done, remove pan from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Lift banana bread out by holding onto sides of parchment, then cool further. Eat it while still a bit warm!
- How to ripen bananas: If your bananas are not ripe enough (turning brown and very soft – almost squishy), here are two ways to ripen them (ripe bananas are sweeter):
- place them in a paper bag with another fruit like an apple and let them sit a day or two. or
- bake them in a 350F/177C oven for 15-20 minutes. Cool before using.
- How to soften butter quickly: Put it in the microwave for a few seconds to soften (if some melts, it’s fine). Or, place in a sealed bag and run warm water over it until softened.
- Adjust sweetness if you like: Use up to 1 cup/230g brown sugar if you prefer a sweeter banana bread (I find 1 cup too sweet if my bananas are very ripe).
- Flour substitutes: You can use up to half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose flour for more nutrition. Don’t use all whole wheat or the loaf may be too dense. Or replace four with 1:1 gluten-free flour (read the label to make sure no other ingredients are needed).
- How to measure flour (important!): The best way to measure flour is to weigh it on a kitchen scale in grams. If you don’t have a scale, scoop the flour with a spoon into a measuring cup, then level it off with a knife.
- Most ovens are not accurate: Some vary by as much as 90 degrees f (32 degrees c), so watch carefully as results can be impacted. CNET explains the best way to test your oven temperature for accuracy so you can adjust accordingly.
- Other substitutes
- Instead of brown sugar (more flavor), use white sugar.
- Instead of yogurt or sour cream, use 1/2 cup (125 g) extra mashed bananas or unsweetened applesauce for a lower-calorie option.
- Instead of butter, use 1/2 cup (115 g) mayonnaise. One reader tried it and it worked! You can also use coconut oil.
- Replace 1 tablespoon of flour with 1 tablespoon (7 g) flaxseed for extra nutrition (fiber, protein, vitamin B1 and Omega-3 fatty acids)
- Spices: try adding a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg. A hint is plenty or you’ll disguise the banana flavor.
- Add-ins: 1/2 cup/87 grams chocolate chips, chopped walnuts or pecans, toffee/skor pieces, raisins or cranberries, fresh blueberries dusted in flour.
- Toppings: Cream cheese frosting, orange glaze, Nutella.
- To store/make ahead:
- Store on the counter for 3 days in a sealed zipper bag or container.
- To freeze for up to 3 months, wrap well in plastic or foil, then place in a sealed container or zipper bag. Defrost in the fridge or in microwave for a 20 seconds. Tip: I slice my banana bread first, then wrap the slices before freezing to allow me to grab one piece at a time.
- Reader questions – and responses
- Batter curdled when I added the egg. This is most likely due to a cold egg. If you forget to take it out ahead of time, run it under warm water for a minute. (Even if the batter curdles a bit, it still should be fine).
- Can I substitute coconut oil for the butter? Yes, the same amount. You may have a slight coconut taste though.
- Can I make cupcakes instead of a loaf? Yes. Increase oven temperature to 375F/191C and bake for 20-25 minutes or until tester comes out clean.
- What if I don’t have parchment paper? No problem. Just spray the pan with oil or lightly coat with butter or use aluminum foil.