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Recipes / Banana Bread

Banana Bread

By Mark Bittman

Published March 15, 2024

The best banana bread is a balancing act: It requires a fair amount of fat to keep it moist and lighten the crumb, and a little whole wheat flour to give it depth of flavor and more interesting texture. The final product should be sweet, but not overly so, crumbly, and tender, with an irresistible crust.

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images
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Though coconut is my favorite secret ingredient, feel free to omit it, or the nuts. Or add more nuts, raisins, or other dried fruit instead. This bread keeps better than most quick breads, though it probably won’t be around too long, especially since it makes the best toast in the world.

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Banana Bread

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Makes 1 loaf 1x

Time about 1 hour, largely unattended

Units Scale

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted, plus softened butter for greasing
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed with a fork until smooth
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.
  2. Mix the melted butter and bananas together in a medium bowl. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until well combined. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just enough to combine everything. Gently fold in the nuts and coconut if you’re using them.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until the bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out almost entirely clean. Cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes, then carefully turn it upside down to release the loaf. Serve warm or at room temperature. Or wrap and keep at room temperature for up to a couple of days.

— Recipe from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Completely Revised Tenth Anniversary Edition 

Recipe variations

Plantain Bread
A great use for overly ripe (read black) plantains: Substitute 1 cup mashed very ripe plantains for the bananas.

Banana Bread with Candied Ginger
The ginger adds heat and sweetness: Omit the nuts and coconut. Add 3/4 cup chopped candied ginger.

Banana Bread with Chocolate and Orange
Omit the nuts and coconut. Add 2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped, and the grated zest of 1 navel orange.

Peanut Butter Banana Bread
Reduce the butter to 5 tablespoons. Add 1/3 cup peanut butter to the bananas.

Pumpkin Bread
Substitute 1 cup pumpkin purée for the bananas. Whisk 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon each freshly grated nutmeg and ground ginger, and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves into the dry ingredients.