Banana bread is one of the most popular recipe searches here at Allrecipes. And no wonder. At its best, banana bread is moist, tender, flavorful, and comforting. And it’s actually very easy to make. You don’t have to knead it or wait for hours while yeast makes the batter rise. (There’s a reason why it’s called a quick bread!) You simply mix a few simple ingredients together, pour the batter into a pan, and bake. Still, there are essential tips and techniques that help your banana bread turn out rave-worthy every time.
Top Tips for Perfect Banana Bread
Prep the Oven and Pan First
Heat your oven and prep your loaf pan before you start mixing ingredients. The leavening ingredients that cause banana bread batter to rise—baking soda and baking powder—are activated as soon as they become moist, so the sooner the batter goes in the pan and into the oven, the better. Speaking of ovens, invest in an oven thermometer to make sure your oven is calibrated correctly. An oven that’s too hot will bake the outside of the bread too quickly and leave the inside underdone.
Mix Dry Ingredients Thoroughly
Stir the dry ingredients together with a wire whisk in a large bowl. You want the leavening to be evenly dispersed throughout the flour so the bread rises properly when it bakes. And why a large bowl? Read on and all will be revealed.
Ripe Bananas Are Best
Choose very soft bananas with brown or speckled skins. As bananas ripen, they get sweeter and softer, which makes your banana bread moister and more flavorful. Plus, they’ll be that much easier to mash with a fork or potato masher. What other baked good is actually better when the main ingredient has been sitting around for a while?
Mix Wet Ingredients Separately
Wet ingredients include butter, sugar, mashed banana, eggs, dairy, and optional liquid flavorings such as vanilla extract. For most recipes, you’ll start by beating—or creaming—the butter and sugar together, then stirring in the mashed bananas. Eggs go in next, and then the rest of the wet ingredients.
Use Room-Temperature Butter
Room-temperature butter is easier to beat together with the sugar so that the mixture incorporates air and becomes light and fluffy.
Mix Wet Into Dry
Use a spoon to make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients, then pour the wet ingredients into it. Now you’ll see why you use a large bowl to hold the dry ingredients. You need all that extra room for stirring everything together in the next step.
Stir Together Gently
Use a spoon or spatula to gently fold the ingredients together, turning the bowl and scraping up the flour just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Don’t worry about lumps in the batter; they’ll bake out.
Additional tidbits such as nuts, dried fruit, and chocolate chips should be added after the wet and dry ingredients are combined. Again, fold everything together very gently.
This is probably the most important piece of advice in this whole process. Overbeaten batter will develop air pockets as it bakes and the bread will toughen up.
A few minutes before your oven timer goes off, insert a bamboo skewer—not a metal skewer—into the center of the bread, making sure it reaches right into the middle of the bread. When you pull it out, check the skewer to see if wet batter is clinging to it. If so, return the bread to the oven. Test again in a few minutes. You want the skewer to come out with no more than a crumb or two clinging to it. The early test will help ensure that you don’t overbake your bread.
Related: Learn more about making moist, tender quick breads.
Watch as Chef John shows you how to make his favorite banana bread recipe.
Take it to the next level with crunchy toppings and decadent glazes.
You can make muffins out of any banana bread recipe; you simply bake the batter in a muffin baking pan and slash the baking time to 18 to 20 minutes. Try these top-rated Banana Crumb Muffins.
Our Most Popular Banana Bread Recipe
Three Ways to Serve
- Bake a loaf fresh for the week, then slice as you go.
- Bake several loaves and freeze, pulling them out as needed. (Muffins and quick breads can be frozen for up to three months.)
- Slice loaves and freeze servings individually (wrap each in waxed paper, then in a resealable plastic bag). Grab one from the freezer in the morning for a snack later on.
- Go bananas in our entire collection of banana bread recipes.
- Learn how to bake perfect cookies from scratch.
- Trying to fit a square cake into a round pan? Print out our baking pan conversion chart to see if you can substitute one pan for another.
- Did you run out of an ingredient? You might have a good substitution right in your kitchen. Find out with this common ingredient substitution chart.