Easy Banana Bread
Updated: Apr 10, 2020
I firmly believe that banana bread is something you should be able to make anytime and anywhere, with a mixer or with a fork, in a loaf pan or in a muffin tin — whenever you have a few bananas going soft and freckly. Banana bread, I’m pretty sure, is at least 50 percent of the reason bananas exist.
Here is a very basic and very forgiving recipe that takes all of 10 minutes to whisk together. An hour of waiting while your house fills with tempting aromas and then you’ll be snacking on your very own slice of warm, fresh-baked banana bread.
Only Use the Ripest Bananas
Just about the only requirement for making banana bread is that you use ripe bananas. Once the skins start to develop freckles and the fruits are just a little too soft for pleasurable snacking, then it’s banana bread time. Letting your bananas ripen even longer — until the skins are brown and the fruit falls apart when you peel it — will make your bread even more strongly banana-flavored and richer.
How To Make Banana Bread
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 medium bananas, very ripe
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts or chocolate chips (optional)
Heat the oven to 180°Cand prep the pan. Arrange a rack in the bottom third of the oven and heat to 180°C. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper, letting the excess hang over the long sides to form a sling. Spray the inside with cooking spray. → If using nuts, toast them in the oven for 10 minutes as the oven is pre-heating.
Melt the butter. Melt the butter in the microwave or over low heat on the stovetop. → Alternatively, for a more cake-like banana bread, soften the butter (but do not melt) and cream it with the sugar in a stand mixer in the next step.
Combine the butter and sugar. Place the melted butter and sugar in a large bowl and whisk until combined. (Or cream the softened butter and sugar in a mixer until fluffy.)
Add the eggs. Crack the eggs into the bowl. Whisk until completely combined and the mixture is smooth.
Add the milk and vanilla. Whisk the milk and vanilla into the batter.
Mash in the bananas. Peel the bananas and add them to the bowl. Using the end of the whisk or a dinner fork, mash them into the batter. Leave the bananas as chunky or as smooth as you prefer. If you prefer an entirely smooth banana bread, mash the bananas separately until no more lumps remain, and then whisk them into the batter.
Add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Measure the flour, baking soda, and salt into the bowl. Switch to using a spatula and gently stir until the ingredients are just barely combined and no more dry flour is visible.
Fold in the nuts or chocolate, if using. Last but not least, scatter the nuts or chocolate over the batter and gently fold them in.
Pour the batter into the pan. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, using the spatula to scrape all the batter from the bowl. Smooth the top of the batter.
Bake for 50 to 65 minutes. Bake until the top of the cake is caramelized dark brown with some yellow interior peeking through and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean, 50 to 65 minutes. Baking time will vary slightly depending on the moisture and sugar content of your bananas — start checking around 50 minutes and then every 5 minutes after.
Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Set the loaf, still in the pan, on a wire cooling rack. Let it cool for 10 minutes — this helps the loaf solidify and makes it easier to remove from the pan.
Remove from pan and cool another 10 minutes. Grasping the parchment paper sling, lift the loaf out of the pan and place on the cooling rack. Cool for another 10 minutes before slicing.
RECIPE NOTES Banana muffins: To make muffins, line a muffin tin with paper liners and fill each cup to roughly 3/4 full. Makes 8 to 10 muffins. Storage: Wrap leftovers tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for several days, or wrap the bread in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil and freeze for up to 3 months.