This is the best Easy Banana Bread Recipe–it’s easy to customize with the ingredients you have and it always turns out moist, tender, and just sweet enough.
While there are dozens of banana breads out there, this might just be the last banana bread recipe you’ll ever need. It’s incredibly reliable, and my family has been making it since 1993. We first discovered it in Cooking Light magazine.
In fact, this is one of my husband’s favorite recipes to make. It’s so forgiving that he never measures the bananas and substitutes whatever we have on hand. He usually makes some mini loaves with Craisins for me, one with walnuts for himself, and one with both craisins and nuts for the kids. Of course, he always generously sprinkles the tops with Sugar in the Raw.
Update: I’ve updated this post with new tips, tricks and photos so your family can enjoy this easy banana bread recipe as much as mine!
How to Make the Best Easy Banana Bread
Before you get started baking this fast and easy recipe, check your bananas. It’s best to bake with very ripe bananas, as they’re softer, easier to mix, and naturally sweeter. The peels should have plenty of brown on them and the fruit should be soft and easily mashable with a fork.
Your grocery store may have a clearance rack for produce which will likely have brown bananas on it.
In addition, make sure that all of your ingredients (yogurt, margarine, and eggs) are at room temperature. This will help the batter come together easily with no big lumps.
When mixing the batter, only stir until it just comes together. A few lumps will be visible, this is totally normal and actually a good sign. Overmixing can cause flat, dense, and chewy banana bread.
Then, when you pour the batter into your loaf pan, I recommend sprinkling the top with extra nuts and sugar. This adds a nice crunchy and sweet top crust to the bread that everyone loves.
Ingredient Swaps and Substitutions
This banana bread recipe is the most forgiving recipe on the planet.
Have four super ripe bananas? Throw them in!
Have yogurt instead of sour cream? That works! We’ve even used flavored yogurt before, it’s delicious.
Want to use a muffin or bundt pan? Go for it! And of course you can’t go wrong with a streusel topping.
Let the bread cool for 10 minutes in the pan after baking. This allows it to finish cooking all the way through.
Then you can let it cool the rest of the way directly on a wire rack. If you can’t wait for it to cool fully, you can serve it warm. Just note that the loaf will not cut cleanly if still hot.
Mix-Ins for Banana Bread
As I said, this recipe is very easy to mix and match. You can swap the walnuts with pecans or another nut or add your favorite crunchy additions. Some of my favorite banana bread mix-ins include:
- Craisins or other small pieces of dried fruit
- Other nuts, including walnuts, pistachios or hazelnuts
- Chocolate chips for a decadent twist
How to Know When Your Bread is Done
There are a few helpful tips from King Arthur Flour to ensure your banana bread bakes all the way through. Because there’s nothing worse than cutting into your freshly baked loaf to find a gooey, raw center!
- Make sure your oven is fully preheated.
- If you have one, use an instant-read thermometer to know for certain that your bread is done baking. The bread will register 200 to 205°F in the center when it’s fully cooked. Test in several spots for extra insurance.
- If you don’t have an instant-read thermometer, test the center of the bread several times with a thin serrated knife rather than a cake tester or toothpick. If you see any wet batter or crumbs, continue baking.
There are more tips on King Arthur Flour on how to avoid undercooking your banana bread.
Store leftover banana bread in an airtight container on the counter for up to three days. For longer storage, wrap the loaves tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil and freeze for up to six months.
When you’re ready to serve, let the loaves thaw on the counter for a few hours. If you like to serve warm bread, you can toast slices under the broiler or in a toaster oven. Or you can gently warm them in the microwave in 10-second increments until hot.
More Quick Bread Recipes
Try these other favorite sweet bread recipes when your loaf pan is free:
- Chunky Monkey Banana Bread Snacking Cake adds a delicious peanut twist to classic banana bread for a treat loved by all ages.
- Chocolate Chocolate Chip Bread because there’s no such thing as too much chocolate (even for breakfast)!
- Cinnamon Swirl Rhubarb Bread from That Skinny Chick can Bake is a sweet and tart quick bread with bright swirls of tangy rhubarb.
Easy Banana Bread
- 1 cup mashed very ripe banana about 3 small
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup plain nonfat yogurt we usually use low-fat sour cream
- ¼ cup margarine melted (we usually use butter)
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts or pecans toasted (we usually add walnuts and/or Craisins, then sprinkle the tops with sugar in the raw)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat an 8 ½ x 4 ½ x 3-inch loaf pan with baking spray and dust with flour.
- Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until well blended.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture. Add the nuts and stir just until moistened.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the top with sugar and more chopped nuts if you like.
- Bake for 45 minute to 1 hour, or until the center registers between 200°F and 205°F on an instant read thermometer, a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool for 10 minutes in the pan on a wire rack. Then remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.
I’m going to have to hide some bananas from the next bunch I buy so I can try this recipe. It looks so delicious, Barbara!
Thanks Carol – hope you love it!
Thank you for posting this recipe! It has a lovely texture (light and not heavy or gummy), while using the least amount of sugar and butter/margarine I have come across in a banana bread recipe. Like you, I used sour cream, but did not add nuts/raisins/chocolate chips, as I am a banana bread purist. This will be my standard recipe going forward.
My question is: what size bundt pan did you use in the photo? You mentioned “half size”, but what does that mean in terms of volume (number of cups?)?
Thanks Benita – so nice to hear you love it as much as we do. It’s a 6 cup bundt pan. Here’s an affiliate link https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IOYJ186/?ref=exp_pressurecookingtoday_dp_vv_d
Do you have a calorie and carb count on this recipe? Sounds good but need that info please. Thank you?
This is exactly what I was looking for! A light-in-texture banana bread recipe to use up the predominantly black overripe bananas sitting on my counter. I ended up using 2.5 bananas, low fat sour cream as suggested, and I used half regular flour half almond flour. Cooked in oversize muffin pan for 25 minutes. These were PERFECT.
Tonight I used this recipe to make pumpkin bread. Win!
Thank you, thank you a million times. I, too, have been making this bread since I found it in a Cooking Light Jul/Aug, 1994 issue and it is the best banana bread I’ve ever tasted, let alone made. I keep temporarily losing the magazine page and then finding it again; but it is so stained and ragged after 20 years that I can hardly read it. I’ve been searching for the recipe since the advent of Pinterest where I now store my favorite recipes and had been unable to find it. So thank you again — you just made my day! You made it even more by the one small change in the recipe. Mine says 1 egg and 1 egg white — glad to know you can use 2 eggs instead.
Thanks Holly – your comment made my day. I have magazine pages from years ago too. I recently made a variation of this muffin that you’ll want to try too. https://www.barbarabakes.com/2014/02/chunky-monkey-banana-muffins/
I just made these. Quite tasty. I did substitute stevia for the sugar and oat flour for the white flour. My only question is this-is there a way to make these and keep them from sinking in once they are out of the oven? Mine flattened right out. (unless its because of my substitutions?) Thanks for the advice!
Hi Sara – Mine never sink after they’re out of the oven. It was probably your substitutions or undercooking will cause them to fall too. Glad they were still tasty.
The Double Dipped Life
This looks like a great recipe for Banana Bread too! 🙂 http://doubledippedlife.blogspot.com/2009/10/banana-bread.html
wow. those looks crazy amazing!
These sound great, and thanks for mentioning the use of sour cream instead of yogurt, as I don’t always have yogurt on hand.
This is great to know… we are frequent banana bread makers too. My son loves to have it for breakfast, and I’d much rather make something homemade than see him eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch or the like. I love the idea of trying different flavored yogurts too. Bookmarked!
Dana – I never thought of it in terms of years – now I feel old! Love your blog!
15 years is a big commitment to a recipe – it must be great1
Oh Barbara, these look terrific. How nice to know it’s a healthier version of banana bread! Mine has a zillion calories for sure.
Beautiful pics!! Thanks again for the award!
I love cooking light recipes! Thanks!
Yum…these look delicious! I’ll be trying these and let you know how they turn out. They yogurt in them sounds extra good.
Thanks Augustina – how fun that you have saved it all these years too! It’s not on the Cooking Light website.
I actually still have the copy for this particular Cooking Light recipe. I like this banana bread recipe too. Yours looks so delicious!