Recipe summary

Hands-on time:
20 mins.
Baking time:
1 hrs 10 mins.
Total time:
1 hrs 30 mins.
Yield:
1 loaf, 18 servings
Banana bread is oh-so-simple... yet like many simple recipes, requires a few out of the ordinary ingredients to bring it from potentially boring to memorable. A hint of spice, honey for sweetness and moist texture, and one final touch—a few spoonfuls of jam—distinguish this tasty bread from run-of-the-mill versions.

Our guarantee: This moist, dense banana bread is a deep golden brown, with mild-to-medium banana flavor and a light touch of spice.
Volume Ounces Grams

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar, light or dark, firmly packed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium or 2 large bananas)
  • 3 tablespoons apricot jam or orange marmalade, optional but tasty
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Directions

  1. 1) Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 5" loaf pan; or a 12" x 4" tea loaf pan.
  2. 2) In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, beating till smooth.
  3. 3) Add the mashed bananas, jam, honey, and eggs, again beating until smooth.
  4. 4) Add the flour, then the walnuts, stirring just until smooth.
  5. 5) Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan, smoothing the top. Let it rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.
  6. 6) Bake the bread for 45 minutes, then gently lay a piece of aluminum foil across the top, to prevent over-browning.
  7. 7) Bake for an additional 25 minutes (20 minutes if you're baking in a tea loaf pan). Remove the bread from the oven; a long toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center should come out clean, with at most a few wet crumbs clinging to it. The tester shouldn't show any sign of uncooked batter. If it does, bake the bread an additional 5 minutes, or until it tests done.
  8. 8) Allow the bread to cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Remove it from the pan, and cool it completely on a rack.

Tips from our bakers

  • Be sure to use ripe bananas; their peels should be bright yellow, with no green showing at all, and beginning to turn brown. For more pronounced banana flavor, use extra-ripe bananas, ones whose peels are mostly black-brown.
  • An easy way to mash bananas is to peel, cut into chunks, and place in a zip-top plastic bag, leaving about 1/4" open at the top of the bag for air to escape. Gently knead/flatten/squash the banana chunks with your fingers.
  • To make banana bread French toast: Cut your several-day-old loaf into 3/4"-thick slices. Dip the slices into your favorite French toast batter, and cook in a skillet or on a griddle. For added crunch, crush 2 to 3 cups of cornflakes in a wide shallow dish, and dip both sides of your battered banana bread slices into the flakes before cooking.