We went on the hunt for the perfect banana bread. Here was our criteria: we wanted a quick bread using oil and the-wet-and-dry method for ease of preparation. We also wanted maximum banana flavor but found many banana bread recipes were dense and gummy when loaded with fruit, something we wanted to avoid. Certainly the ripeness of the fruit affects the outcome as well. You want bananas freckled with black spots with a very strong aroma and that have absolutely no green left on them at all. Also, we began testing using just granulated sugar thinking that brown sugar would detract from the true banana flavor we sought. We tasted many banana bread recipes that feature only white sugar and found they tasted a little flat. The addition of some light brown sugar, with its slightly caramel-like flavors, actually enhanced the banana taste. Feel free to use the walnuts of you like – or go for straight banana bread flavor and texture and leave them out.
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup flavorless oil, such as canola, sunflower or safflower
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 ½ cups fork-mashed banana (about 3 medium very ripe bananas.)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup toasted walnut halves, finely chopped (optional)
- Position rack in the center of your oven. Preheat to 325° F. Coat an 8 ½ -inch by 4 ¼ -inch loaf pan with nonstick spray (see Tips below).
- Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl and set aside.
- Whisk the oil, sugar and brown sugar in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined. Whisk in eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Whisk in banana and vanilla.
- Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and whisk gently just until combined, finishing off with a rubber spatula. (Gently fold in walnuts at this time, if using).
- Scrape batter into loaf pan and bake for about 1 hour and 5 minutes to 1 hour and 10 minutes. A toothpick should test clean when inserted in center of bread, the top will be golden and risen and the edges will just be pulling away from the sides of the pan.
- Cool pan on rack for 10 minutes, then turn bread out and cool completely on rack. Wrap in plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature at least overnight before slicing. Bread will keep for about 4 days (but you can never keep it around that long).
- You have to have ripe – even over-ripe – bananas or the flavor just won’t be prominent enough.
- Mash the bananas by hand with a fork until fairly smooth but still a little textured. You don’t want the mash to be baby-food smooth.
- You can make this banana bread recipe in a standard 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pan or the size indicated. The smaller pan gives the bread a more domed appearance, which we like, but if you only have the larger size pan around you can certainly use it. Check doneness about 5 minutes earlier than suggested.
- Do not try to slice right away. The texture will improve if allowed to sit overnight.
- This bread doubles easily and it really doesn’t take more time to make a double batch. If you have two pans, we highly recommend making two and freezing one loaf. Once cooled, double wrap in plastic wrap, wrap in foil and slip into a heavy zip top freezer bag, air removed. Freeze up to 1 month. Defrost in fridge overnight.
This is so very good. First I tried it as is, then I tinkered with it by adding 1 cup chopped cranberries and replacing the vanilla extract with lemon.
Love that you tried it first to test the recipe – and then made it yours! Sounds like really interesting additions. I have never made a banana bread with lemon extract. Thanks for the tips!
First time I used your website and this recipe. I have made a many of banana breads but none ever turned out like this one. Lite texture and little crusty on top. IT WAS DELICIOUS!!!! I WILL FREQUENTING BAKEPEDIA MORE OFTEN. Good Job!