The Best Banana Bread Ever

Throw away all of your banana bread recipes, this one is a keeper.

If you’re a lover of banana bread, you are going to devour this recipe and cry tears of joy — it’s truly perfect. Banana bread is my boo. I love it and it loves me. We vibe so harmoniously when we’re in the same room. This stuff is so super moist and stuffed with maximum banana flavor, you’re going to die — deliciously.

The Ultimate Banana Bread

Trying to get amazing banana flavor into banana bread with optimal texture is a serious challenge. The more bananas you add, the more heavy and sodden your bread becomes, despite the actual banana flavor being there. Most recipes call for 2 to 3 bananas, because if you go higher than that, your bread will be entirely too moist and gummy. That just isn’t sexy in the least bit. So how do we fix this? Well, we’re replicating the whole “frozen banana” situation. When bananas are frozen then thawed, they release tons of liquid — delicious, tasty liquid! Well, we’re going to skip freezing bananas for a day and instead zap’em in the microwave to release their juices. We’re then left with tons of incredible banana juice that gets reduced down to a super concentrated syrup, almost like a makeshift banana extract — which gets thrown into the batter later.

Genius.

I must point out the importance of using super ripe bananas for this recipe. It’s imperative. The darker and more spotted your bananas are, the sweeter they will be and the more liquid they’ll release. I bought my bananas on Sunday and made banana bread the following Saturday. It was hell trying not to eat them, because I love bananas — especially the spotty brown ones…soooo sweet. But, I held it together, got myself some will-power and waited to make this delicious loaf of banana’y awesomeness. Don’t even try to make this with green or even yellow bananas, you guys. Seriously. Wait until they look like they’re decaying LOL! (you know what I mean ;) )

Are you ready for super intense and incredibly moist banana bread? Follow me…

The Ultimate Banana Bread
Six. Six ugly, yet super sweet bananas — ah ah ah

The Ultimate Banana Bread
Peel five of those babies and pop’em in a bowl, wrapped tightly with plastic wrap. Poke a bunch of vent holes and zap’em in the microwave for 5 minutes.

The Ultimate Banana Bread
After 5 minutes, this is what it looks like…murrrr

The Ultimate Banana Bread
Strain the bananas for 15 minutes, you should have about 1/2 cup to 3/4 (or more) of yummy, sweet banana liquid.

The Ultimate Banana Bread
If using walnuts, toast them in the oven for a few minutes — keep an eye on these so they don’t burn. It usually takes mine about 3 to 5 minutes in a 350 degree oven. If you don’t like nuts, leave’em out!

The Ultimate Banana Bread
Reduce the banana liquid down to 1/4 cup. Stir frequently and watch this carefully because it can boil over. It should take about 5 to 10 minutes to reduce, depending on how much liquid you have. Be patient, it’s worth it.

The Ultimate Banana Bread
Almost there…

The Ultimate Banana Bread
Finally got 1/4 cup. Add this to the bananas you strained earlier.

The Ultimate Banana Bread
Mash the bananas and concentrated banana liquid with a large fork or potato masher to incorporate and break up any large pieces of banana. Mixture should be mostly smooth.

The Ultimate Banana Bread
Add the melted butter, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla.

The Ultimate Banana Bread
Whisk until the sugar is dissolved and everything is combined.

The Ultimate Banana Bread
Either pour your dry into your wet, or your wet into your dry, and GENTLY fold the mixture on top of itself until combined. Please avoid over-mixing or you’ll end up with tough banana bread and we don’t want that.

The Ultimate Banana Bread
95% mixed…

The Ultimate Banana Bread
Add your nuts, if you’re using them — also folding them in…just a few turns to incorporate. Don’t worry if you have tiny pockets of flour, just make sure all the huge streaks are gone. My mixture pictured above is an example of too many large pockets of batter, but it’s nothing 2 or 3 folds won’t cure. Pour the mixture into a greased loaf pan.

The Ultimate Banana Bread
Slice your sixth banana on the diagonal.

The Ultimate Banana Bread
Shingle the slices of banana on both sides of the banana bread, then sprinkle 2 teaspoons of granulated sugar all over the top of the bananas and loaf. This candies the bananas and gives them a great sweet flavor.

The Ultimate Banana Bread
About an hour or so later, thar she blows!

The Ultimate Banana Bread
Incredibly delicious, intense banana flavor. You’re going to love it.

The Ultimate Banana Bread The Ultimate Banana Bread

This is damn good banana bread. Damn. Good. The best I’ve ever had.

Ultimate Banana Bread
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
adapted from Cook's Illustrated
Author:
Serves: One 9-inch loaf
Ingredients
  • 1¾ cups (8¾ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • 6 large very ripe bananas (about 2¼ pounds), peeled (see note)
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup (5¼ ounces) packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees, middle oven rack in place. Spray an 8½ by 4½-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together. Place 5 of the bananas in a microwave-safe bowl, covered with plastic wrap and poke a few vent holes so the steam can escape. Microwave on high power until the bananas are soft and have released their liquid -- about 5 minutes. Strain the bananas thru a fine-mesh strainer over a medium bowl so they can drain, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes or until you have ½ to ¾ cup banana juice.
  2. Transfer the banana liquid to a medium saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until it reduces to ¼ cup, about 5 to 10 minutes (depending on how much liquid was released). Remove pan from heat and stir the reduced banana liquid into the microwaved bananas, and mash with a potato masher until fairly smooth. Whisk in the butter, eggs, brown sugar and vanilla. Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture and stir just until combined, with some streaks of flour remaining. Gently fold in the walnuts, if using. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Slice the remaining banana diagonally unto ¼-inch slices. Shingle the banana slices on top of either side of the loaf, leaving a 1½-inch-wide spice down center to ensure an even rise. Sprinkle granulated sugar evenly over the top of the loaf.
  3. Bake until a toothpick inserted in teh center of the loaf comes out clean -- this can take between 55 - 75 minutes. Cool the banana bread in the pan on a wire rack for about 15 minutes, then remove from pan and continue to cool on the wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Notes
Be sure to use very ripe, heavily speckled (or even black) bananas in this recipe. This recipe can be made using 5 thawed frozen bananas; since they release a lot of liquid naturally, they can bypass the microwaving in step 2 and go directly into the fine-mesh strainer. Do not use a thawed frozen banana in step 4; it will be too soft to slice. Instead, simply sprinkle the top of the loaf with sugar. The preferred loaf pan measures 8½ by 4½ inches; if you use a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan, start checking for doneness five minutes earlier than advised in the recipe. The texture is best when the loaf is eaten fresh, but it can be stored (cool completely first), covered tightly with plastic wrap, for up to 3 days.

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Comments

  1. says

    Yooooo Resha I gotta give this a try!
    I make a banana bread every other week because I just love ‘em and they’re the easiest thing for me to bake..my granny taught me, but she didn’t tell me about putting them in the microwave…girl I gotta try this, and i’ll definitely report back and let you know how it turn out. Good looking out : )

  2. says

    I’ve made this recipe before and I also have to agree it was the best banana bread I’ve made by far! I didn’t use the nuts in this recipe but your pictures look so good and I think I will try to add the nuts next time! ^_~

    • says

      It’s so intense. It tastes like something you’d have to buy at a specialty shop, it’s seriously perfect. Let me know how it works out for you!

  3. says

    This looks awesome. Been following you on twitter for a while, and checking out your blog. Really like what you’re doing, and as a photographer I appreciate your natural light photos. I have read you complain about your apartment’s lighting, but it must be decent at least part time, because the banana bread picture at the top of the post is awesome. It’s got me heading to the store this afternoon for ingredients!

    • says

      Awwwww!! Thank you so much, you’re very sweet :) I can’t wait to get a new place with better lighting, kitchen lighting if possible. that would be so sweet lol. Enjoy your banana bread!!

  4. diana says

    OH MY GOD! This is the best thing I’ve ever eaten period! Thank you so much for the recipe! I’m going out to get a real loaf pan and some more bananas just so I can make this again as soon as the bananas get ugly :-D

  5. Tanya says

    Oooohhhh I am so excited! My whole family LOVES banana bread and I am forever trying different recipes. I have never heard of this method, I can’t wait to try it, thank you. So glad I found your blog today :)

  6. Renee says

    I just made this and it was delicious! I think I was too nervous about over stirring the mix so I had quite a few small banana chunks left, but it was a good texture balance.

    • says

      LOL I understand the nerves, but just remember it’s the stage when you add the flour that you don’t wanna overmix. the proteins in the flour would get overworked and create too much gluten…giving you super tough, leathery bread. ew. but you can pulverize the crap out of the bananas lol ;) glad it still worked out for you though!

  7. Michelle says

    This is a really drawn out way to make this, but it looks worth it.

    I feel like I get the same results just from heating and mashing my bananas.

    Either way, another well explained recipe :)

  8. says

    Hi! First things first, I find your blog absolutely amazing, and already tried a few recipes with great success :-)
    But this one is giving me a hard time. I feel like I followed every step correctly, but the banana bread never cooked fully, even after one and a half hour in in the oven at 350 degrees.. Would you have any clue of what could have happened? Thank you very much, Cécile

    • says

      hmm, you might want to invest in an oven thermometer to make sure your oven is reaching 350. and if that isn’t the issue, it could be the thickness/material of your baking pan. is it a thin aluminum one, or a thicker one? I’ve made this loaf in a thicker loaf pan and it took much longer than the suggested baking time, so that might be a possibility. if that isn’t the case, i’m really not sure what the problem may be. when you stick a toothpick in the center of the loaf after the suggested baking time, is it still coated with smooth shiny batter? or is the batter kinda pasty dull and dry?

  9. Teresa says

    I’ve made this twice and it is indeed the best banana bread. I generally scoff as EVERY! banana bread you find says “the best” and they’re often terrible. This is the creme-da-la-creme of banana bread recipes.

    • says

      i recommend a metal pan, but you should be able to use a glass pan just fine. just keep in mind that it may affect its doneness by a few minutes. either it will cook slightly faster or slightly slower. depends on the thickness of the glass. is it pyrex?

  10. RG says

    Stumbled across your recipe in my search for a moist banana bread. Given all the ingredients, I figured it would be delicious. Turned out super dry though. Followed recipe exactly.. baked around 60 mins. :(

  11. Kathy says

    I have made this recipe many times and my family thinks I am Martha Stewart!! Every time I make it they say its better than the last time. I find that freezing and then defrosting makes the bread moister. Also I can collect more ripe bananas over time. Make this, your friends and family will love you. Also does well in mini loaves.

  12. Ruth says

    I’ve been looking for a great banana bread recipe for years and have found some that are good but not what I was looking for….until I stumbled upon your recipe. While a little bit of work, it is well worth the extra effort! Love the sugary, banana laden crust and the light interior. Awesome.

    One thing I did differently was to use a hint from your apple pie recipe (trying that next) and I used the microwave to condense the banana liquid. Oh, and I accidentally used salted butter and it didn’t seem to matter.

    Thanks for sharing your talent and recipe, this will be added to my Christmas must make recipes.

  13. Nadia says

    OMG!!! I made your banana bread recipe and it was such a hit, so good. My family loved it. I want to make it for some family and friends for the holidays as gifts. I was wondering , can I substitute the walnuts for raisins or berries, for those who are allergic to nuts?

    Thank you for sharing your gift with us. You are amazing!!!

    • says

      I’m so happy you loved the recipe, isn’t it killer? You could absolutely sub the walnuts with anything you’d like, it’s a pretty forgiving recipe ;) Enjoy hun!

  14. jennifer says

    I cannot *wait* to try this tomorrow! I’ve been a baker for 15 years, and this is the most interesting banana bread recipe I’ve ever seen. :)

  15. Anya says

    So banana bread is pretty much my favourite sweet treat ever! I live on the stuff and I’ve been looking for the perfect recipe for years now! Everyone stop, this is it… Truly banana bread perfection.
    However I am a bit of a health nut so I reduced the butter quantity by a quarter, substituted coconut sugar instead of brown and spelt flour for ap flour and threw in toasted pecans because they rule!
    Even with these changes it came out amazingly risen and caramelised!
    Microwaving the bananas is ingenious!
    Thank you for the recipe! It’s getting me through my exams!

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