My mom's banana bread is my absolute favorite! It's the best. It's super moist because it uses cake flour instead of all-purpose flour, and lots of ripe bananas. It's the only banana bread recipe you'll ever need!
Mom's Banana Bread
My mom has never been a big baker. Especially when it comes to making things from scratch.
In our house, all cakes came from a box and I loved them all! My favorites were the yellow cake and devil's food cake from Betty Crocker.
The one thing she did bake from scratch was banana bread. She uses none other than Betty Crocker's recipe and it's delicious!
I've been using the same recipe as my mom since I started baking in college, but along the way, I've made a few adjustments.
Cake flour vs. All-purpose flour
The original recipe called for all-purpose flour but I love using cake flour in my banana bread!
In Japan where I grew up, "flour" generally refers to cake flour, and rarely do you see all-purpose flour in stores. This is why both my mom and I used cake flour for all baked goods.
Cake flour is finer and has a lower gluten content so it results in a soft, very moist banana bread.
Butter or oil in banana bread?
You can use either butter or oil when making this banana bread recipe!
If you are dairy-free, you could use a neutral flavor oil, like refined coconut oil or olive oil (not extra virgin). That said, butter adds amazing flavor.
Creaming the butter and sugar together gives the bread a lighter, tender texture. Using oil will make moist and dense banana bread. Both options are delicious!
How ripe do the bananas need to be?
Whenever you're baking with bananas, you want very ripe, spotty bananas! The banana peel should be pretty brown.
I usually peel overripe bananas and put them in a freezer bag to store in the freezer. I defrost them whenever I want to bake my mom's banana bread recipe!
You could use a blender or food processor to pureé it for a smooth batter. Otherwise, mash the overripe bananas to get little chunks of bananas.
Buttermilk substitute: Yogurt + Milk
Many banana bread recipes use buttermilk, which gives baked goods moisture and fluff. Yum! The problem is, buttermilk isn't available in many countries.
Buttermilk is an acidic ingredient used to activate the baking soda in the recipe. The reaction creates bubbles and leads to fluffy banana bread.
My mom always used whole milk, but milk isn't acidic so it doesn't activate the baking soda. If the baking soda doesn't get activated you're left with a metallic aftertaste.
Many people like to add vinegar or lemon juice to milk and letting it curdle for a buttermilk substitute. That method's never worked for me, so I always substitute buttermilk by mixing yogurt and milk at a 1:1 ratio. Sour cream and milk works well too!
Mix-ins to add to banana bread
My mom always adds walnuts to her banana breads and remain my favorite mix-ins! Pecans are also a great option for nuts.
If making banana nut bread, toast nuts in the oven before making the banana bread batter. You want them to cool completely before folding them into the batter. Toasting them makes them extra crunchy and aromatic.
If you're not a fan of nuts in your baked goods, you can also add chocolate chips or fresh blueberries! I also suggest adding a swirl of Nutella or a cinnamon streusel on top!
Here's a good tip: If you're adding any mix-ins, toss it with a couple tablespoons of the dry ingredients. This helps to keep them from sinking to the bottom of the pan, and get evenly distributed!
The baking temperature will be different, depending on what kind of loaf pan you use.
If your loaf pan is a dark metal pan, the pan absorbs more heat than a light metal pan. That means the exterior of the banana bread will brown before the center cooks through.
If you're using a light metal pan, bake your banana at 350°F/175°C. If you're using a dark metal pan, preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C.
Whichever loaf pan you're using, bake your banana bread for about 1 hour 15 minutes.
When is my banana bread done baking?
So as with any quick bread or loaf cake, test for doneness by sticking a toothpick into the center. If it comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, it's ready to be taken out of the oven.
If your toothpicks are short, use a skewer or a piece of spaghetti. They're longer than toothpicks, making them the perfect tool to use for banana bread.
Other banana recipes!
- Chocolate chip banana bread (GF/DF)
- Banana cupcakes (V)
- Chocolate banana cupcakes (V)
- Banana coconut upside down cake
- Banana pudding (V)
More quick breads and loaf cakes!
Mom's Banana Bread
- 1 9-inch loaf pan
- 2½ cups cake flour 312.5g if using Bob's Red Mill gluten-free 1 to 1 baking flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup salted butter, softened at room temperature
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1½ cups mashed over ripe bananas about 4 medium bananas
- ¼ cup plain yogurt
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup chopped toasted walnuts optional
- Preheat the oven to 320°F/160°C (350°F/175°C for light metal pans) and grease or line a 9-inch loaf pan.
- In a bowl, sift together cake flour, baking soda, and salt. If adding walnuts (or other mix-ins), take a couple spoonfuls of the flour mixture into a separate bowl and toss the walnuts with it. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream together softened butter and sugar. Add the eggs, banana, yogurt, milk, and vanilla and mix until combined.
- Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir only until combined. Fold in the walnuts and pour into the prepared loaf pan.
- Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes and test for doneness with a skewer (spaghetti works well too!). Let it cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Did you know that bananas weren't introduced to the U.S. until the early 1800s?
Cuban red bananas were being sold only in the ports of New York and Boston until the 1830s. They then gradually gained popularity as an exotic tropical fruit.
The modern-day banana bread as we know it wasn't introduced until the 1930s!