Whole-Grain Banana Bread: introducing our 2018 Recipe of the Year

What does it take to be named King Arthur Flour’s 2018 Recipe of the Year?

Like any competition, the winner needs to stand out from the crowd. And if there’s a crowd of recipes any larger than that of banana bread, we haven’t found it.

EVERYONE has a favorite banana bread recipe, be it your grandma’s, something you learned in middle school life skills class, or the latest online celebrity version.

Bottom line: banana bread recipes are ubiquitous; heck, we have a baker’s dozen of ’em on our own website alone. So how could we possibly choose just one banana bread recipe — Whole-Grain Banana Bread — as our 2018 recipe of the year?

Simple. We think this particular banana bread offers the best combination of flavor, texture, and versatility we’ve ever experienced.

Let’s talk flavor

A full pound of bananas gives this bread assertive banana flavor — which is just as it should be. Brown sugar adds a note of caramel, while toasted walnuts and a touch of cinnamon lend depth to the bread’s taste.

The ideal texture

Some banana bread is dry. Some is so moist it practically oozes. This banana bread’s fine crumb holds just enough moisture to give it a soft, rich mouthfeel without edging into sogginess. And the loaf is perfectly balanced between light and heavy — nicely dense, with just the right amount of heft.

Start basic; go creative

Perhaps counterintuitively, the simplicity of this bread is exactly what lends it such versatility. The basic ingredients — flour, sweetener, fat — are endlessly interchangeable. The basic recipe calls for a 50/50 blend of all-purpose and white whole wheat flour. But it’s simple to swap out the all-purpose flour for whole wheat to make a 100% whole-grain loaf; or use 100% all-purpose flour, if that’s your preference. You can even make the bread gluten free simply by using our Measure for Measure flour — no further adjustments necessary.

Trying to reduce the sugar in your diet? The sweetness of the bananas allows you to lower the recipe’s added sugar by at least 25%. Don’t care for brown sugar? Use granulated sugar. Or substitute honey, maple syrup, or the liquid sweetener of your choice; read on for our test kitchen tips.

Want to substitute butter for vegetable oil? How about lowering the fat in the recipe by swapping out applesauce for part of the oil — or yogurt for all of it? We’ve tested these substitutions, too. Thankfully, the bananas and sweetener in the bread give it enough moistness to help counteract some of the toughening effect inherent in fat reduction; see our substitution details at the end of this post.

Whole-Grain Banana Bread via @kingarthurflour

And we haven’t even started to consider mix-ins: chocolate or cinnamon chips, diced dried apricots, toffee bits… In short, this recipe is the perfect blank palette, awaiting any creative adjustments you’d care to make.

Is your own favorite banana bread recipe a winner, garnering rave reviews everywhere you take it? That’s excellent; having a sure-thing recipe is every baker’s goal. But even if your current recipe is a slam-dunk success, we urge you to try this one. Just as there’s enough love in your heart for each of your children to receive equal portions, thus it is with humble banana bread: there’s plenty of room at the top for more than one favorite recipe.

Our 2018 Recipe of the Year: Whole-Grain Banana Bread, an outstanding example of America's favorite homemade bread. Click To Tweet

How to make Whole-Grain Banana Bread

Let’s stir together this simple one-bowl bread.

Preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the center position. Lightly grease a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan. If your pan is glass or stoneware, reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.

Gather your ingredients:

2 cups (16 ounces) mashed banana; about 4 or 5 medium bananas
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup (4 ounces) King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour or Premium Whole Wheat Flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted if desired; optional

1 tablespoon sugar mixed with 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, for topping

How to make Whole-Grain Banana Bread via @kingarthurflour

A short word about bananas: banana bread is the ideal way to use up those overripe bananas in your fruit bowl. For best flavor, bananas should be heavily streaked with brown, ranging from those pictured above to bananas that are nearly all dark brown. Check out your supermarket’s outdated produce section for a good buy on too-ripe (but just perfect for banana bread) bananas.

How to make Whole-Grain Banana Bread via @kingarthurflour

In a large bowl, stir together the mashed banana, oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla.

How to make Whole-Grain Banana Bread via @kingarthurflourMix in the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and chopped walnuts. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to thoroughly combine the ingredients.

How to make Whole-Grain Banana Bread via @kingarthurflourScoop the batter into the prepared pan.

Mix together the topping —1 tablespoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon — and sprinkle it over the batter.

Bake the bread for about 60 to 75 minutes. If baking in a glass or stoneware pan, increase the baking time by 10 to 15 minutes (to a total of 70 to 90 minutes).

Check the bread at 45 minutes; if it appears to be browning too quickly, tent it with aluminum foil.

How to make Whole-Grain Banana Bread via @kingarthurflour

See that wet batter on the knife blade? The bread’s not done.

How to make Whole-Grain Banana Bread via @kingarthurflour

When the knife comes out clean, the bread is done.

A paring knife (or other thin knife) inserted into the center of the loaf should come out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it (but no wet batter).

Remove the bread from the oven. Cool it in the pan for 15 minutes, then loosen the edges, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool completely.

Personalize the recipe

Reduce (or change) the sugar: If you want to reduce the sugar in the recipe, start by lowering it by 25% (from 1 cup to 3/4 cup); the bread will (obviously) be less sweet, and also a bit less tender.

We love the slightly caramelized flavor brown sugar lends this loaf, but if all you have on hand is white granulated sugar — use it: 1 cup, same amount as the brown sugar.

Or use 1/3 cup liquid sweetener (honey, agave, or maple syrup) + 1/2 cup brown sugar; increase the amount of all-purpose flour by 2 tablespoons if you make this substitution.

Balance the flours to taste: If you want to try a 100% whole wheat loaf, go for it! Simply substitute 1 cup whole wheat flour for the all-purpose flour listed, no further changes necessary. Want to go the other way? Substitute all-purpose flour for the whole wheat flour for a 100% all-purpose flour loaf.

Try butter: Use 2/3 cup melted butter in place of the vegetable oil.

Reduce the fat: If you’d like to reduce the fat in this recipe, try any of these substitutions, which will yield a loaf very similar in texture and moistness to the original:

• 1/4 cup applesauce for 1/4 cup of the vegetable oil
• 1/4 cup yogurt (full-fat, reduced-fat, or nonfat) for 1/4 cup of the vegetable oil
• 1/2 cup full-fat yogurt for all of the vegetable oil

Want to lower the fat even further? Substitute applesauce or yogurt (full-fat, reduced-fat, or nonfat) for all of the vegetable oil. Understand that the resulting loaf’s texture will be notably less tender.

Make it gluten-free: Substitute 2 cups Measure for Measure flour for the all-purpose and whole wheat flours called for in the recipe; no further substitutions or changes are necessary.

Baking at altitude? See our high-altitude baking tips.

Want a copy of the recipe? Print it here.

Over the course of the coming year we’ll return to this recipe many times, showing you how to bake it in an array of different pans; what (and how) to add mix-ins; how to turn the recipe into pancakes, waffles and French toast — and more. In the meantime, please share your banana bread thoughts — and what makes your recipe the best ever — in comments, below.

One final thought

For those of you wondering how anything as plain and simple as banana bread warrants being named our Recipe of the Year, Susan from Shreveport’s recipe review says it better than we could:

“I’m ashamed, KAF, that I doubted you when I opened your site to your 2018 recipe of the year and – TAH DAH! – it was banana bread (yes, I was disappointed). Banana bread is okay, but it’s not usually a crave-worthy treat. It’s something you do to use up black bananas. I waited a few days and then decided to try it today. I knew as soon as I saw the batter that it was different. It looked more like caramel than any banana bread batter I’d ever made. Then the smell coming from the oven – OH MY! That caramel flavor from the brown sugar coupled with the sprinkle of cinnamon sugar on top is what sends this recipe over the top. This is absolutely a banana bread recipe worth gifting and it’s so incredibly easy! Next time I’m going to try using all white wheat flour. Good call, KAF. Nice job.”

Our previous Recipes of the Year

2017: Lemon Bundt Cake
2016: No-Knead Crusty White Bread
2015: Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
Recipe of the Centuries: Cake Pan Cake

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. Ricardo Neves Gonzalez

    I add instant soluble coffee and chunks of dried bananas we call here banana-passa in stead of raisins. It really makes the difference. Honey and cinnamon are good too and pinch of baking soda to give little crispy texture to the edges of this fabulous cake! And of course I always ask at market for those over ripped bananas they are ready to throw away. It really makes the final great difference in flavor of my cake!!!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Ricardo, those all sound like tasty tweaks. The instant coffee/espresso powder would add somewhat of a tropical taste, perfect with bananas. I envy you your banana-passa! Thanks for connecting, as always — PJH@KAF

  2. Elizabeth

    Bless you, KAF, but my good old recipe from my good old “Better Homes and Garden” cookbook (so old the cover’s fallen off) is the same good old recipe just halved and minus the vanilla and the sugar topping. Using half whole wheat flour might be a nice touch, and I will try that, but this really is the most profound recipe you could come up with for 2018?

    Use a food processor to mash the bananas. I also add in egg, sugar and oil at the same time. And you didn’t suggest lemon peel, but I keep dried lemon peel from a mail order spice company in my spice drawer, and I always add a teaspoonful with the wet ingredients. (KAF sells lemon peel, don’t they? You missed a chance to promote it!)

    Banana bread converts well to muffins,and I often make it that way for easy serving. Shorter baking time that way.

    (And BTW, as long as the nice cake tester I bought back in 2016 at KAF comes out clean, I know it’s going to be not too moist or dry. See, I really am a fan even when I write stuff like this!)

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Elizabeth, I always say, if you have a recipe you love — great! Still, it’s always fun to try something new. We actually weren’t going for profundity here, but rather for versatility; we wanted to make sure we had a recipe that could easily be tweaked to use different flours, different types and amounts of sugar and fat, would take well to being baked in different shapes, and used basic enough ingredients that no one would have to search for anything unusual partway through the list of ingredients. (Lemon peel’s a good idea, though — the tang would add a nice, subtle note.) Plus we wanted to make sure it was an easy, stir-together, one-bowl recipe. We’ll see what people think as the year goes on. Banana bread — any kind of banana bread — is sure to provoke a response! PJH@KAF

    2. Danielle

      Elizabeth: good you added that last comment – otherwise an unnecessarily snarky, negative review.

    1. Lynne

      Ooooh! Browned butter sounds like a teriffic variation. I’ll definitely try that, as soon as I have some overripe bananas!

    2. Betsy

      Ohhh, good idea! I’m going to try this tomorrow with your suggestion of browned butter. Never used whole wheat flour in mine, so I’ll try that too. Should be just like all the other great recipes from KAF – terrific!

  3. Kim Starr

    Thanks for sharing and great suggestions and tips.

    I make a similar recipe for banana muffins and wanted to share that my favorite flour for making 100% whole grain muffins is whole wheat pastry flour or spelt flour.

    They are softer/lighter and lend themselves well to muffins and quick breads.

    Happy baking!

    Reply
    1. Susan Deardorff

      PJ, Thank you for all the tips on substitutions, and how they effect the end result. Susan

  4. Madeline

    I enjoy banana bread very much! When time runs out, I simply put my over-ripe bananas, skins and all, in the freezer for when I do have time, and I use my blender to mash the bananas with the egg and oil together for a smooth addition, I don’t care for chunks of banana in my banana bread, just the flavor. Come to think of it, I do believe I have some bananas awaiting to be used for a banana bread with the additional plus of warming the kitchen with the minus temperatures we have been having lately! Thanks King Arthur!!

    Reply
  5. April Johnson

    This recipe is very similar to my favorite banana bread recipe and I will enjoy comparing them when I make KAF’s bread. I just need some bananas. Do you think using a combination of melted butter(1/3 cup) and vegetable oil (1/4 cup) would work? I am going to try adding lemon per Elizabeth’s post but add some cardamom in addition to the cinnamon. I look forward to experimenting with the recipe!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi April. A combination of butter and oil should be perfectly fine! We can’t wait to see your finished loaf! Annabelle@KAF

  6. Amy

    I really appreciate this recipe, and I hope that it will help give people confidence that they can use whole wheat flour and try lots of variations and it really *will* be okay. I use all whole wheat flour, 1/3 c brown sugar, 1/4 c butter (browned, if I have the time) instead of the oil, and a few spoonfuls of yogurt as my baseline because I can’t stand oily textured cakes. And because we prefer smooth over chunky, I puree the bananas with all of the liquid ingredients with my immersion blender — very speedy! Another mix-in for the list: toasted sesame seeds are excellent here.

    Reply
    1. Dianne

      Glad to see someone who cut down on the sugar, as I will do also. With all the sweet ripe bananas I can’t imagine one cup is necessary, especially since this is so ‘healthy’ otherwise.

    2. PJ Hamel, post author

      We tested the bread on many, many of our fellow employee-owners, Dianne, and the majority preferred the full-sugar version; though that’s probably because people’s expectations around banana bread are that it be sweet; and most people don’t typically cut the sugar in their sweet recipes, and thus aren’t used to the less-sweet flavor. But I think if you cut the sugar here, you’ll be very satisfied. Good luck — PJH@KAF

    3. Stephanie

      I have used coconut sugar and powdered stevia combined in place of regular brown sugar and reduced the overall amount to 3/4 cup with good results. You can use it for toppings, too. I think coconut sugar (made by evaporating the sap) results in a crumb in between the full sugar and low sugar version. I use all whole wheat or whole wheat pastry flour and some Greek yogurt as Amy does. I am trying to transition from baking items with some healthy ingredients to truly all healthy ingredients, which means no refined sugar or flour for me, though many recipes on the internet just don’t cut it for me. I have been helped by KAF recipes. They are a good base for experimenting, because the chemistry is sound.

    4. Jani

      Stephanie: I love your idea about adding coconut palm sugar! I am prediabetic (unfortunately), and coconut palm sugar doesn’t cause my blood sugar to spike. I am going to try using that, along with Stevia. Thanks so much for posting!

  7. Kathryn

    I was happy to use my overripe bananas to try this recipe. It is good! What makes it 2018 recipe of the year (and I was skeptical) is its versatility. I opted for whole grain, reduced fat, reduced sugar options, but I didn’t want to go too far. I love how my final product is slightly sweet, tender and full of banana flavor. For me, it is perfect. And I look forward to baking a gluten-free version for one friend and a version with lots of mix ins for another friend, and I have already shared the recipe with a third friend. Absolutely recipe of the year!

    Reply
  8. Anne

    Serendipity! I was just gong on line to look for a recipe that needs lots of old bananas and found this in my email!
    I love the basic recipe along with all the variations! Thanks!

    Reply
  9. Michel Corbin

    When my bananas get overripe I throw them in the freezer for banana bread. As they thaw the moisture tends to get separated (it kind of looks like banana syrup). If I made this recipe would I want to include all that liquid?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Definitely a personal choice, Michel. You can drain it off before mashing the bananas or mash them up with the liquid. It shouldn’t make any noticeable differences in the final loaf. Happy baking! Annabelle@KAF

    2. Margy

      A trick I learned from another magazine (think it may have been Cooks Illustrated), is to take the banana liquid produced while thawing, and to boil it to reduce it to a nice, thick syrup, then add that to the batter. Really gives a !bang! of banana flavor.

    3. Fran Carfaro

      I have used a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated. Their “secret” innovation is heating the bananas in the microwave so that the banana’s natural liquid is released. It is separated from the solids so that it can be reduced to about half on the stovetop, then added back into the banana solids. The reduced liquid becomes thick and syrupy, and concentrates the flavor. I have done this most of the time now, but truly am not sure if it makes a difference!! I have some other issues with my banana bread which are more disconcerting – (like I can’t get a nice rise and dome…..)

    4. PJ Hamel, post author

      Fran, I’ve tried oven-roasting my bananas before using, which does much the same thing as Cook’s method. Like you, I’m not sure it really makes a difference, especially considering the extra work; but I’ve made a mental note to keep trying it, with degrees of how caramelized to make the banana. Our banana bread recipe doesn’t dome hugely, but to me that simply means it’s nice and moist and somewhat dense, in the nicest of ways; a high dome would signify a drier, lighter bread, which in this case I’m not after. Hope you give this recipe a try! PJH@KAF

  10. Corki

    I’m not a big fan of bananas but I love pumpkin! Would this recipe work swapping the bananas for one 16oz can of pumpkin?
    Thanks

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Go for it, Corki! It will be noticeably less sweet, so maybe adding a dried cranberry or dried apricot will bump up the sweet flavor. Annabelle@KAF

  11. JAZ

    I don’t bake much with whole wheat but I am planning on trying this so I’ll pu a bag of your whole wheat. Love all the combos – another example of giving us the confidence to grow out of our comfort zone. This is why your my go to baking reference. Thank you for all you do.

    Reply
  12. Carol

    I was all set to make this with my frozen ripe bananas when I discovered I did not have enough. I didn’t want to wait for new bananas to ripen and then discovered a trick on YouTube. I took my new unripe bananas, separated them and laid them down on a parchment covered rimmed baking sheet. Baked them (unpeeled) in a 300 degree oven for about 30-40 minutes. Voila…banana skins turned dark but insides were the perfect consistency of ripened bananas. Banana bread, here I come.

    Reply
  13. Marguerite Rizzo

    I always keep over ripe bananas in my freezer. You can just put them in wihole with peels on or peel and slice. When I make babana bread, I cook my bananas to remove some of the liquid to get a more intense flavor.

    Reply
    1. Drew458

      This is the idea behind the “ultimate banana bread” recipe that is all over the internet. Use twice as many bananas but nuke them 5min to get the liquid out, sieve to drain, then reduce the drained liquid to 1/4 cup and add it back in. I just made a loaf the other day, AP flour, using >2 1/4 pounds of peeled frozen organic bananas, which was about 8 medium ones, which gave me a full cup of liquid. A little cinnamon and nutmeg in the batter, a couple tbs of white sugar added to the brown sugar, turbo sugar sprinkled on top, and to make mine “super ultimate” I used browned butter instead of plain butter. Double the volume of lightly toasted chopped walnuts to more than a cup, and it is fantastic. For once, I have a banana bread that actually tastes like bananas. 450 for 58min and it is done, but still a little bit mushy in the middle. Next time, I’ll reduce the liquid down to 1/8c to make it just a little drier. It takes a bit longer but is the best I’ve made so far.

  14. Bronwyn Rider

    I’ve been looking for a different banana bread recipe than the one I’ve been using, so I’m very glad to see this one posted. Can’t wait to try it!

    Reply
  15. Limane

    Banana Bread, really….the recipe of the year, and its barely 2018? I do like banana bread, and appreciate the detail given regarding substitutions. Just thought the honor would belong to something less common.

    Reply
    1. Lynne Conway

      Banana Bread is the perfect baked good. Always welcomed as a gift. The best smell ever in your kitchen when baking. And the best all-around comfort food there is with a nice cuppa. I love this. Less is more, less complicated is better.

  16. Kelly

    I’m kind of a banana bread purist, no nuts in mine, though I don’t mind them in someone else’s bread. I really love my own recipe, which has both butter and oil, as well as sour cream in it, but I am willing to give yours a try to do a head to head. Never know when you might find a new favorite!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You definitely can. Same temperature, and we’d recommend to start checking for doneness around the 20 minute mark, though they could take up to 30 for a toothpick to come out clean from the center. Happy mini baking! Annabelle@KAF

    2. Marilynn Hopman

      My Christmas gifts included 2 loaf size Banana Breads and 16 mini loaves. I calculated 3 1/2 cups batter per standard loaf and 1/3c each for the mini loaves. Twenty minutes is about right in a metal mini loaf pan.

    3. PJ Hamel, post author

      Thanks for the tip, Marilynn. Banana bread is a wonderful gift, isn’t it? PJH@KAF

  17. Mary Brammer

    This recipe looks delicious and really like the use of whole wheat flour. But I am not a fan of bananas. If I can smell it, it is too ripe for me. Do you have a suggestion for a substitute for the banana?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      While you’re welcome to experiment substituting other ingredients for the bananas, we have numerous recipes for other quick breads that aren’t based on the humble banana; Blueberry Bread, Pumpkin Bread, Ginger Bread, just to name a few. Happy baking! Annabelle@KAF

    2. Lynne

      Try it once. Just because you don’t like bananas doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t like banana bread. And even if you don’t, you likely won’t have trouble getting rid of the remains.

    3. PJ Hamel, post author

      Thanks, Lynne — excellent point! We never seem to get stuck with leftover banana bread here in the test kitchen… 🙂 PJH@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Margaret. To print the recipe, simply scroll up to the top photo of the blog post, click the orange link for the recipe under the photo, and click “Print Recipe” on the right side of the recipe page. Happy baking! Annabelle@KAF

  18. Leah

    I had a bumper crop of persimmons last fall. I substituted mashed persimmon pulp for banana in the Joy of Cooking recipe for banana bread. I will try the KAF recipe with the frozen persimmons I stashed away.

    Reply
  19. Christina

    Thank you for all of the interesting tips and tricks. I have recently begun buying and enjoying different organic grains and flours. I keep thinking of the possibilities of the crunchy granolas either in or on top of the banana bread somehow. Anyway, I was teaching my son about survival cooking in nature and we opted to make banana bread in cans and steam them. The bread was so wonderful and moist.that now it’s the only way he wants to eat it. Keep up the good work! I appreciate your expertise and feedback.

    Reply
  20. Michael

    Am I missing a printer friendly version of this recipe? No interest in printing every word herein. Merely the basics.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      No worries, Michael. To print the recipe, simply scroll up to the top photo of the blog post, click the orange link for the recipe under the photo, and click “Print Recipe” on the right side of the recipe page. Happy baking! Annabelle@KAF

  21. Doreen

    I have been making this King Arthur White Whole Wheat Banana Bread recipe for the past 15 years (maybe 20 yrs) at least twice per month and every time..it is a hit! I think it is a perfect recipe. It’s not mushy and it’s not dry, has a great flavor and great texture. Amazing with nuts and goes great with a cup of coffee for breakfast!

    Reply
  22. Anne Burton

    I, too, have a go-to banana nut bread recipe. But I tried this one (adding dried cranberries as well as walnuts) and —WOW!—I have a new go-to recipe, this one. Anything that uses up that many ripe bananas is great. My freezer is loaded with them. Thanks!

    Reply
  23. LR

    Someone please explain browned butter to me. You just melt it on the stove? Also, does it really intensify the flavor or what is the purpose?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Linda. Brown butter is very easy to make and quite tasty. It’s simply butter that’s been slowly cooked on the stove top until it has a lovely nutty flavor, caramelized color, and a thin texture. It’s a classic sauce on butternut squash or pumpkin ravioli, and we can imagine a lovely accompaniment to banana bread! Annabelle@KAF

  24. Lucy

    This looks like the banana bread recipe I’ve been waiting my whole life for! Can’t wait to make it (but must wait, because my bananas are green). I’ve always been a big fan of cardamom in banana bread. Also like it on the less sweet side. And to the person who asked about melted coconut oil in place of the vegetable oil–I do that often and it works great.

    I think that the way you guys deal with snarky comments represents the gold standard of Internet civility. Extra thumbs-up for that!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Lucy, I agree, cardamom (a very under-utilized spice, IMHO) is a great addition to banana bread. Thanks for the info. about melted coconut oil; and for your kind comments. Much appreciated. PJH@KAF

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Great to hear, Nelda. That’s one of the things we really appreciate about this recipe: one bowl, easy to stir together. It’s a great confidence-builder for kids, or for adults just learning to bake. And for those of us who’ve got baking pretty much down, it’s nice to have a go-to recipe that can be put together quickly and easily. Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm here! PJH@KAF

  25. Dana

    I’m hoping to make this today to use up the stash of frozen over-ripe bananas in my freezer.

    For my personal taste, it’s not bananas bread without golden raisins (soaked in either the banana liquid or some warm cider) and cardamom. But those should be easy to substitute for nuts and cinnamon so I’m game!

    Thanks for such a versatile, homey recipe!

    Reply
  26. Carol

    I have been looking for a banana bread recipe ,as I have yet to bake my own, and this sounds perfect! Can’t wait to try it and experiment with different versions. Thank you!

    Reply
  27. Nancy

    I have to agree with this banana bread being chosen as Recipe of the Year! I have collected and tried many other banana bread recipes over the years. I threw them all out after discovering this version from KA last year. It has become a staple in our home. I love that it works with many variations, includes whole wheat, and that a mixer is not needed!

    And, by the way, thank you for providing your recipe measurements by both volume and weight! After living in Germany many years ago, I am totally sold on baking with a scale!

    Reply
  28. Norma Harrison

    I made my usual Banana Bread last night. I will try this one next. Sounds great just as it is written.

    Reply
  29. Judy McKinney

    I can’t say enough good things about this bread recipe. I have been baking for 50 years and this is the best banana bread I have found. So many recipes are fussy this one is not. You just dump it all together using what you have on hand and it works. I didn’t have enough bananas for one batch so I added in applesauce to make 2 cups. No one knew the difference.
    I made gift boxes of baked goods for Christmas and everyone loved this bread. I baked it in muffin tins, mini loaf, and full size loaf pans, then I froze it til I was ready to pack up my boxes.

    Anytime I can get whole grains, fruit and less sugar into my family and they ask for more I count it as a great accomplishment.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Judy, thanks so much for your kind comments! You’ve hit on everything we like about this recipe: its versatility (both ingredients and pans), ease of preparation (including freezing), use of whole grains, potential for less sugar… and just plain GOOD. 🙂 PJH@KAF

  30. Phylnk

    How do you get the banana nut bread to be dark in color…not from being overbaked either…and to be moist but not gummy? I will try this recipe as soon as I get the WWW flour. Thanks and love your website as well as your products.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Hi — The amount of bananas and the use of baking soda both have something to do with color. The bananas naturally turn dark brown as they bake, so the more bananas you use percentage-wise to other ingredients, the darker your bread will be. Baking soda, when used with certain other ingredients, darkens the whole, as well. We use brown sugar here, which also contributes slightly to color. As for “moist but not gummy” — that all has to do with rise and bake time. Too little rise, and your bread can tend toward gumminess; same result from being underbaked. Good luck with this recipe; I suspect it’s going to offer everything you’re hoping for! PJH@KAF

  31. Alphiemom

    Made it yesterday. Definitely a keeper! Since there are just 2 of us, I made 4 small “mini” loaves – two to eat now and 2 for the freezer! Love the variations.

    Reply
  32. Yvonne

    I love oats in quick breads, but have never really figures out how to convert recipes. Would love your suggestions.

    This recipe looks very similar to then in the KA Whole Grain Baking book. I make it often. Happy to see an alternative to butter, I often use yogurt. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Great idea, Yvonne. We recommend starting with 1/4 cup of quick oats per loaf. You can always experiment by adding more, but it’s just a good starting point to see how it effects the overall texture. Happy baking! Annabelle@KAF

  33. Karin

    I followed the recipe pretty much as is, except I added a heaping tablespoon of ground flax seed. The loaf domed really well! Baked at 325 in a glass pan.

    Reply
  34. Kerri

    When substituting melted butter for the vegetable oil, why isn’t it equal portions? The adjustment shows 2/3 c butter to 1/2 c oil. I was taught equal amounts solid for solid, liquid for liquid.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Oil is 100% fat and butter isn’t; it’s about 83% fat (depending on brand) plus milk solids, water, and a few other components. In order to ensure you’re adding the right amount of fat to the bread (which will make the texture tender), you need to use a bit more butter than oil. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  35. erica

    For years I’ve used the recipes for banana bread from Beard on Bread. Always good but this recipe is even better. I used all King Arthur white whole what flour and added more walnuts and some chocolate chips. Just delicious! Thank you for my new favorite banana bread recipe!

    Reply
  36. Julie Hazzard

    Sounds delicious! I am making banana bread for the preschool where I work next week. I tend to be more comfortable baking with an 8×8 pan. Any changes in ingredients or cooking time you would suggest? Many thanks!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You’ll end up with something more like a banana cake than a banana bread if you use that large of a pan, and the resulting bread will be quite thin unless you double the recipe (or increase it by 1.5x). Bake at directed and check for doneness after about 25-30 minutes for a single batch, checking in 5 minute increments until a knife turns out clean. If you increase the recipe to make a thicker cake/bread, it will need more time in the oven, so adjust your baking schedule accordingly. Kye@KAF

  37. Lois

    May I suggest the addition of a Nutritional Analysis? In these days of raging
    diabetes and obesity perhaps another choice would be better for the Recipe of
    the Year?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Lois, you can find the nutritional information in the “At a Glance” box on the recipe page. (It’s on the right hand side.) We thought this recipe was perfectly suited to the growing trends of healthier eating: you can make it 100% whole grain, and we also include options for reducing the sugar and/or using a natural sweetener like honey or maple syrup instead of sugar in the recipe. Additionally, we provide supporting information for reducing the amount of fat by using either yogurt or apple sauce. We hope these options help you make a banana bread that’s suitable to your needs. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Suzanne, you can find a printer friendly version by clicking on the full recipe page and looking for the “Print recipe” button on the top right hand part of the page. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  38. Seema

    OMG – I have tried a different banana bread EVERY time I make banana bread – always in search of that perfect recipe to make me search no more. The buck stops here – LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this. My breads always come out undercooked, and burned on the top when I use a loaf pan, but this was fantastic – cooked it at 325 for 1 hr 15 minutes and it was perfect. Using a knife, instead of a toothpick, ensured perfection. I cannot tell you how excited I am to have a “go to” recipe for my banana bread. SUPER YEAH!!

    Reply
  39. Jennie

    My family doesn’t like having nuts interrupt the soft texture of the bread. So I usually add chopped walnuts and sugar on top of banana and zucchini breads. The nuts become toasted and add to the delicious crust of the bread.

    Reply
  40. Deborah Devine

    Super Delicious Banana Bread, and with whole wheat flour! Thank, I liked this recipe so much that I wrote into my recipe book that will be passed down to my daughter and granddaughters. Thank-you.

    Reply
  41. Lois Lorimer

    Any advice on recipe adaptations for a diabetic who loves banana bread but is strict about managing his carbs?
    Just decreasing sugar by 1/4 probably won’t do it. Whole grain is good, I know. ( Glycemic index info would be helpful.)

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Lois, while our taste testers liked the flavor and texture of banana bread made with either 100% or 75% the amount of sugar, we did do more testing to see what would happen when reducing the sugar even further (25% and 50% sugar using baker’s percentage). The texture becomes drier with lower amounts of sugar. You can check out the full article on our blog here to see more details about what to expect. You’re also welcome to experiment with using liquid sweeteners in this recipe like maple syrup of honey, both of which have lower glycemic indexes than regular sugar. We hope that helps, and if you’d like to discuss further adjustments, consider giving our Baker’s Hotline a call: 855-371-BAKE(2253). Kye@KAF

    2. Jani

      Lois, have you tried coconut palm sugar? I am prediabetic, but my doctor told me about the coconut palm sugar. He told me that the coconut palm sugar hasn’t shown to spike blood sugars like other refined sugars. You might want to ask your doctor about it. It’s been a lifesaver for me!

  42. Cathy B.

    I can’t wait to try this recipe! I love banana bread, but I have been so disappointed with some of the recipes I have tried in the past from other cookbooks. Thank you to Kerri for asking the question about butter substitution for oil. I was also taught to substitute equal amounts of butter for oil. I’m so glad to know the correct substitution! Thank you!!

    Reply
  43. Carol Burttram

    Made this banana bread yesterday. Followed recipe with exception of having to substitute half a cup of cake flour for white flour when I ran short. Also, I only used half of the cinnamon called for. This was the best banana bread I have ever made.

    Reply
  44. Rebecca

    This is really close to my grandmother’s recipe, and I’m excited to play with the variations!

    One question: I’ve been experimenting with using ghee in recipes place of butter – in a bread, would i follow the butter or oil measure using ghee?

    Reply
    1. Susan Reid

      Use the oil amount, Rebecca. Ghee is pure fat, and behaves like oil when you bake with it. Susan

  45. Rosemary Carlough

    I made this yesterday. Followed the recipe with the exception of using Irish Wheat Flour for the whole wheat part and tossing in a few chocolate chips. I liked the advice of using a knife rather than a toothpick to check for doneness, but I still seem to have undercooked it a bit. I have more luck with banana bread recipes in two smaller pans. They seem to cook more evenly than when I use one big pan. In one big pan the edges cook much more than the centers.

    Reply
    1. Susan Reid

      Rosemary, if you haven’t seen one, our Tea Loaf Pan may be just the trim, for you. It’s designed to hold a 9″ x 5″ recipe, but bakes much more evenly and there’s less to wash than if you use two smaller pans! Susan

  46. Barbara

    A suggestion was made about adding cardamom to the batter but how much? I am always looking for a way to use it but don’t want to overdo it.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Barbara, we asked one of our test kitchen bakers and here’s what she said: “Cardamom is quite strong so I’d recommend using a scant 1/2 teaspoon. You could reduce the cinnamon to 1/2 teaspoon (so you’ll have a combined full teaspoon of spice), but if it was me making it, I’d probably still use 1 teaspoon of cinnamon + scant 1/2 teaspoon cardamom – I think they compliment each other nicely.” We hope that helps, and happy baking! Kye@KAF

  47. Nancy

    I so love banana bread and when I got this recipe in my email I was dying to try it. Well, as I’m typing I have it in the oven. Instead of all oil, I used 1/3 melted butter and 1/4 vegetable oil like, April Johnson’s, above comment. I used brown sugar but was wondering if dark brown sugar be would work, too? And I used a glass loaf pan…I sprayed it with Pam. Also, I have two large bananas left (probably 1 cup)…if I cut all ingredients in half will that work to make muffins? I have a 6 large muffin pan.

    Reply
    1. Susan Reid

      Hi, Nancy. Dark brown sugar will certainly work, but of course the finished bread will also be darker. And especially so in a glass loaf pan. Pretty much any quick bread recipe you come across will bake up fine as a muffin. Set your timer for 23 minutes and use a paring knife to check the center of one of the muffins; go for additional 5 minute increments as needed. Susan

  48. Nancy

    Oh my goodness…perfect banana bread!!! So delicious!!! Like I said in my previous comment I used 1/4 oil and 1/3 melted butter (only change…all other ingredients stay the same) instead of all oil. I used a glass loaf pan at 325…It took about a hour and 15 minutes. Wish I could post a picture. Next time I’m going to throw in 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips.

    Reply
  49. Bobbi

    I am excited to try this recipe! But I have a quick question. I was taught 40 years ago that brown sugar was packed into the measuring cup and old recipes would say “1 Cup Packed Brown Sugar”. This recipe and others only say ‘1 cup brown sugar’. Do I only pack when it says? Or is it just a ‘given’ that with brown sugar you pack? This has been puzzling me. Thanks

    Reply
    1. Susan Reid

      Hi, Bobbi. It’s a given in this recipe. To double check, just toggle to the weights version of the online recipe. A packed cup of brown sugar weighs 7 1/2 ounces. Susan

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We love that approach too, Pat! We recently came up with a recipe called Banana Cinnamon Bundt cake that elevates the flavors of banana bread to a new level. Plus, it’s cake you can most definitely eat for breakfast. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Vicki. To print the recipe, simply scroll up to the top photo of the blog post, click the orange link for the recipe under the photo, and click “Print Recipe” on the right side of the recipe page. Happy baking! Annabelle@KAF

  50. cathyf

    During the college semester, I make 2-4 loaves of banana bread per week, so I’m always up for tinkering with the recipe. My #1 banana bread tip is that the most important secret is REALLY REALLY ripe bananas, that most people would describe as rotten. The perfect banana bread banana is about 5 minutes before the first mold appears on the skin. Since I make so much, I am always on the lookout for cheap bananas, which I let get to perfect nastiness on the counter and then pitch into the freezer. When I need to bake, I put the frozen bananas into the microwave on the defrost cycle.

    Once they are defrosted, they make a slimy soupy glop. I have to bake my bread for a long time (75-90 minutes) to get it to bake — is this because of all of the liquid? I’m game to try this trick of reducing the liquid to a syrup first to see if I can get it to bake faster. My recipe calls for a cup of banana, a cup of sugar, and two cups of flour per loaf, and I’ve pushed the banana to 1-2/3 cups over the years. But as the amount of banana goes up the bake time does, too. How to you get it to cook in 60-75 minutes with that much banana in it?

    I use 100% whole wheat flour because I like the flavor better, but I notice that I don’t get the same high dome as I get with all-purpose. I have experimented with substituting 15g of vital wheat gluten for 15g of the flour, but it doesn’t seem to make much difference. Is this the right strategy? Am I using the right amount?

    My recipe came from my mom, but it must be some well-known recipe. My supermarket sells overripe bananas at a discount, and they put them in little paper sacks. They decorate the sacks with artwork, and a banana bread recipe, which is my mom’s exact one. This recipe calls for butter or margarine, and I have always used solid fat, which I cream with the sugar as the first step. My mom always used bargain-brand margarine, while I’ve tried that, butter, butter-flavored Crisco, and now I’ve settled on Smart Balance (the regular, not the “lite” version). What’s the difference with using oil or melting the butter/margarine? (I get the attraction of brown butter, but not oil…)

    Speaking of fat, why is applesauce considered a substitute for the fat rather than for the sugar? A couple of times when I lost track of my freezer inventory and been a little short of banana I’ve used chopped apples to stretch the bananas. If I were to invent an apple bread recipe, I would start with the banana bread recipe for the other ingredients and substitute applesauce & apples for the bananas, and it wouldn’t have anything to do with the fat.

    I think of the bananas and the sugar as two forms of sugar in the recipe. (And for anyone who thinks that sugar is evil and bananas are health food, forget it. Especially when overripe, bananas are basically just sugar and the things that make it tastier sugar are trace elements that have no effect on the nutrition. Diabetics are specifically told to avoid overripe bananas.) As I’ve increased the amount of banana in my bread, I’ve experimented with decreasing the sugar and increasing the flour. I cook by weight, so I have been substituting gram-for-gram between flour/sugar, 28g per loaf. Is that the right strategy? Should I be using a different ratio?

    My recipe for one loaf of banana bread (I always double this to make 2, and use a stand mixer). It usually comes out weighing a couple of ounces over 2lbs per loaf.
    113g (1/2 cup) Smart Balance
    170g (7/8 cup) sugar
    2 eggs
    1/2 T baking soda
    1/2 t salt
    375g (~1-2/3 cup) mashed overripe banana
    254g (2-1/8 cup) whole wheat flour
    56g (1/2 cup) chopped walnuts

    Cream the smart balance, then add the sugar and beat at high speed until it lightens in color. Beat in the eggs. Add the flour, soda & salt to mixing bowl, then dump in the mashed bananas. Run the mixer until they are combined, then add the walnuts and mix a little longer until those are mixed. Bake at 350 for 75-90 minutes.

    Reply
  51. Zorra

    We were permanently put off banana bread years ago when someone gave us a loaf with a center so was gooey it was inedible. This seems to be a hazard more with banana than other quick breads. But your recipe sounds so tempting, I just might have to give it a try. To banish the fear of under-baking, I wonder if you could tell me what final temperature the bread should reach? I’d feel more confident using a thermometer to avoid mishaps. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Great question, Zorra. For quickbreads, including banana bread, you want the interior temperature to reach 200°F. Happy baking! Annabelle@KAF

    2. cathyf

      Zorra, with that bread with the gooey center, did the top look right? The one time I left my husband in charge and he took the bread out too early the tops caved in pretty badly but they were just slightly gummy right along the top. It tasted fine and was gobbled up by the college students who didn’t seem to notice anything wrong with it!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Barbara, if you have two half-sized pans, you’re welcome to use them to bake your banana bread. When we baked this recipe in the smaller loaf pans that you can find at the grocery store (the ones that measure about 5 3/4″ by 3 1/4″ by 1 7/8″), a single batch of batter made 4 loaves. They baked at 350°F for a total of 33 minutes. If your pans are larger than this, you’ll want to extend the baking time by about 5-10 minutes until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  52. Lorraine

    Delicious! Only changes I made to recipe was to halve the brown sugar, add a little nutmeg and omit the sugar/cinnamon topping. Used half whole wheat. Came out moist, perfectly baked (clean knife) at 70 minutes. I did have to cover after about 45 minutes. Next time I’ll try converting recipe to all vegan ingredients.

    Reply
  53. Nancy

    I’d like to make two loaves. Can I just double the recipe? Or should I make the recipe twice? I know some recipes can’t just be doubled. I’d like to give a loaf to a friend and keep one for myself. Thanks for your guidance!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Nancy, we’re glad to hear you’re eager to bake for good. You’re welcome to make a double batch of this recipe if you’d like. If you have a scale, you can weight out the batter in each loaf pan to ensure they’re even. 1 batch should weigh just shy of 2# and 6 ounces. We hope that helps, and happy baking! Kye@KAF

  54. Judy

    Hi. I have used the same recipe for banana bread for years—Starbucks was giving out recipe cards when they introduced their banana bread. It is tasty and has served us well. But it is a new year and what better way to start than with KA’s Recipe of the Year. My question: would there be any reason not to use ghee clarified butter instead of the vegetable oil? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We haven’t tried it, Judy, but we don’t see any reason not to give it a whirl. Like we suggest for butter, you’d do best to melt and cool it slightly before attempting to incorporate it. We hope you’ll share your results with us using #kingarthurflour. We’d love to see how it comes out! Mollie@KAF

  55. Paqueta Moorehead

    Hello, last night I made banana bread for the very first time in my life using the above recipe. I pretty much followed the recipe to a T. However, I used one stick
    of butter in place of the vegetable oil and some milk. I also used one egg and one egg yolk. In addition, I added ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and walnuts. My loaf was moist, flavorful and the texture was excellent! No grainy taste here and only two slices from the loaf remains as I write this comment. I believe the secret
    to making delicious bake goods is definitely quality ingredients and of course King Arthur flour. I am definitely going to make a few more loaves next week and will reduce the fat by using applesauce.

    Reply
  56. Judy

    I made the recipe today and it is delicious! My personalizations: I used 1/2 cup ghee in place of the vegetable oil, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup KA sprouted whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup chopped/toasted pecans. I used 1/2 tsp cinnamon only because I have never used cinnamon in banana bread before, but next time I will use 1 tsp. After posting my earlier question I saw Rebecca’s question on 1-7-18 about using ghee and Susan Reid’s reply to use the oil amount when using ghee. That was helpful advice. Banana bread for breakfast tomorrow.

    Reply
  57. Lynne Conway

    I normally bake all my quick breads in the KAF Tea Loaf pan. I love that thing to pieces. Would I still use 325 degrees and what about the cooking time in this pan since the tea loaf normally shortens the time? thank you!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      The Tea Loaf Pan usually requires about 3/4 of the amount of time that the recipe calls for, so try baking your banana bread at 325 degrees F and check for doneness after 40 minutes. A sharp knife inserted into the center should come out clean when it’s done. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  58. Robert

    I may have to try this and see how it stacks up to the recipe that currently use. I usually use a blend of KAF flour and flour milled from locally grown wheat.

    Reply
  59. Emilie

    I made this today using KAF White Whole Wheat for all of the flour, with the add in being 1 cup of KAF cinnamon chips. It is seriously delicious, you’d never know it’s whole grain. I used a metal tea loaf pan to end up with slightly smaller slices, and since it’s longer and more narrow than traditional loaf pan, I checked the baking time at 45 min. (at 350). Unfortunately I mistakenly used a cake tester instead of a knife to test and at that point it tested in multiple places with just a few crumbs. (The knife in the instructions totally escaped me and a cake tester/wooden skewer is habit.) However once it had cooled and I flipped it out of the pan it was obvious it wasn’t nearly done enough in the center. I just put it back in the oven but it had cooled so doubtful it is salvageable. Obviously my mistake but would love to have internal temp on all recipes possible as another option for testing for doneness!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Emilie, so sorry for this mishap. It can be a little tricky testing banana bread for doneness, and it does take a long time to bake all the way through. In general, I find a temperature of about 200°F to 205°F is good for quick breads, but you’re right; we’ll test this particular bread and post a “finish” temperature in the recipe. Thanks so much for the suggestion (and I hope you give it another try — while enjoying at least the fully baked pieces of the loaf you just finished).  PJH@KAF

  60. Debbie Edgil

    It’s COLD & windy outside today, a good day for baking! This is the best Banana Bread I’ve ever made. I love the crusty top, & it’s not as dense as Banana Breads usually are. It’s also the 1st time I’ve tried your White Whole Wheat Flour.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      The perfect day for warm banana bread indeed, Debbie. So glad you tried our white whole wheat; it’s my go-to whole grain flour, since you can substitute it for all-purpose flour in just about anything, and no one’s ever the wiser! PJH@KAF

  61. Charlene

    Great pick KAF! Banana bread has been my go to recipe when teaching each of my 6 children the love of baking. An on-hand ingredient list is great for spontaneous kitchen fun. So looking forward changing up our tried and true with something exciting and new!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      And thanks for sending more good banana bread bakers out into the world, Charlene! PJH@KAF

  62. Candy

    I love this recipe! It’s definitely a keeper. My first time to bake with whole wheat flour too. My question is, can I bake this in a bundt pan?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Good question, Candy! That should be no problem, just grease the pan, let the banana bread cool on the counter for about 5 minutes before flipping it out of the pan, and if possible, use a less intricately designed Bundt pan, just to ensure that it’s easy to slice and serve. Happy baking! Annabelle@KAF

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *