Banana bread is one of those recipes that shows up in nearly every cookbook thrown together by professionals and church ladies alike. It’s such a great recipe because it’s easy to switch out just about any ingredient you want to meet your dietary requirements (or if you happen to be short on an ingredient). Replace half the flour with whole-grain flour, use brown sugar instead of white, margarine for butter, chocolate chips for the nuts, or substitute almond milk, buttermilk or even water for the milk. You can combine ingredients in a stand mixer, hand mixer or even with a fork by hand. Pretty much everything in a banana bread recipe is negotiable — except the baking soda. You don’t want to toy with that.
But try whipping up a loaf with this easy recipe on a cold winter day. In no time, your house will smell like fresh, homemade banana bread. Those little old church ladies would be proud.
Basic Banana Bread
- 1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup), melted
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3 medium very ripe bananas
- 1/4 cup milk, whatever kind you have on hand
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
- Preheat oven to 350ºF, with baking rack placed in the lower third of oven. Line loaf pan with parchment paper and allow an extra few inches to hang over the sides. (This will help remove loaf after cooking.) Spray inside pay with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, whisk melted butter and sugar together until well combined.
- Add eggs. Whisk until combined again.
- Pour in milk and vanilla. Whisk until smooth.
- Add the bananas to the bowl and mash using the end of a whisk or a fork. Mash bananas well — some chunks are okay and will only add texture. For a smoother banana bread, continue mashing until lumps are removed.
- Next, add the flour, baking soda and salt and gently combine using a spatula. Don’t over mix. Stop mixing once dry ingredients are no longer visible.
- Scatter and lightly fold in the chopped walnuts. Pour and scrape all batter into the loaf pan.
- Bake loaf for 50-60 minutes, or until the top is a rich, dark brown, and the insides pass the toothpick test. Let cool for about 10 minutes, then lift the loaf from the pan using the excess parchment paper on the sides.
- Let cool on cooling rack for another 10 minutes before slicing.
*Banana bread freezes really well. After it has cooled completely, wrap securely in plastic wrap, and then again in foil.