Everyone loves banana bread! This easy homemade banana bread recipe makes a sweet, moist, nicely browned loaf of homemade goodness that is always welcome!
Whether as an after-school treat, a gift of loving-kindness to a friend or a special neighbor, or maybe a way to take a moment for yourself and enjoy a break from your daily routine, this recipe will get raves!
We’ve been making banana bread at our house for decades. Our sons are in their mid-twenties now, but they remember the first time they put on their craft aprons, helped mix the ingredients, fill their special kid-sized loaf pans, and pop them in the oven.
They pulled up little stools to watch the loaves bake through the glass window in our old oven.
We captured the joy and pride they felt when their efforts paid off and they were able to show off their creations!
Such great memories and you can easily create the same magic for your family and friends with this easy homemade banana bread recipe!
Banana bread falls into the category of ‘batter bread’ or ‘quick bread’, as they are sometimes called. There is no yeast or time and effort spent kneading or waiting for this bread to rise. You simply place the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix them together. Then you add the shortening, the eggs, and a few mashed, overripe bananas and mix well. After a short mixing, the batter goes into the pan and then into the oven. It couldn’t be easier, and the payoff is HUGE! It smells like pure heaven when it bakes, filling your home with an aroma that your family will never forget. Once it cools, a slice of this banana bread will bring such joy! You can eat it by itself, or garnish it with a dollop of vanilla ice cream and some fresh berries on the side -either way you will enjoy a delicious, home-baked treat that your family will ask for again and again.
This is the recipe we have baked for many decades. See my notes below the recipe. I hope you’ll try it soon!
Easy Homemade Banana Bread
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp table salt
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 cup overripe bananas, mashed well (about 2 medium)
- ½ cup shortening, cut into pieces; plus 1 tsp for greasing bottom of pan
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten, to mix
- Pre-heat oven to 350º F. Position a rack in the middle of the oven.
- Using the extra teaspoon of shortening, coat the BOTTOM ONLY of a standard loaf pan, 9 x 5 x 3-inch, approximate size. Set aside.
- Place dry ingredients (flour through baking soda) in a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix the dry ingredients together until well-mixed, using a whisk or the paddle attachment of the stand mixer. (Start the mixer on low speed so as not to scatter the dry ingredients.)
- Add the mashed bananas, shortening pieces, and lightly beaten eggs to the dry ingredients in the bowl. Starting on low speed, mix until dry ingredients are moist. Increase to medium speed and mix well for approximately one minute.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth top while gently pushing batter into the corners of the pan.
- Bake in the center of a rack placed in the middle position of the oven for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the top-center of the loaf comes out clean.
- Remove the pan from the oven and cool for 10 minutes, in the pan, on a wire rack.
- Run a butter knife or a thin spatula around the edges of the bread and turn out the loaf. Cool completely on a wire rack.
My Notes and Tips for a Great Loaf of Banana Bread:
Bananas are obviously the key to flavoring this loaf. It is incredibly important to use bananas that are overripe. That means the skins are covered with brown speckles and beginning to turn dark brown. If you think the fruit is beyond the point of eating ‘out-of-hand’ because it is too ripe, then it is perfect for making this recipe. Avoid using underripe, green, or plain yellow fruit. In order to maximize the flavor, overripe bananas are essential!
What you don’t want is a banana that when peeled, the flesh of the fruit is turning to liquid or has an “off” smell. This could mean that the banana is beyond its useful life and should be discarded.
How you MASH the bananas makes a difference as well. The best way is to peel the banana and drop the fruit into a small mixing bowl with a flat bottom. Then use a hand-held potato masher (see photo) to mash the bananas until they are mostly of a liquid consistency, with small bits of solid banana left.
DO NOT use a mixer or a food processor to mash the bananas. The results will be sub-par. It is far better if the bananas are mashed by hand.
Step 2: It is important for a well-risen and beautifully ‘crowned’ loaf that you only grease the BOTTOM of the loaf pan and not the sides. As the bread rises in the oven, the ungreased sides of the loaf pan provide just enough resistance, or ‘drag’, to create the cracked and rounded top that is so pleasing to the eye.
It is necessary to grease the bottom of the pan with shortening, being careful to get the shortening all the way into the corners, so it will easily release from the pan.
A word about choosing bread pans is valuable here. I prefer light-colored, silver metal loaf pans. The darker pans work well, but they tend to absorb more heat in the oven and give a darker color and more well-done taste to the sides and bottom of the loaf. If you like a darker loaf, do not hesitate to use loaf pans with a dark finish.
Non-stick loaf pans are available and do work well at releasing loaves easily. I have always used traditional pans, without the non-stick coating, but only because that is what I inherited from my Mom!
Steps 3 and 4: If you are a beginning home baker, you will want to pay careful attention to starting both mixing processes (dry ingredients alone and dry ingredients mixing with wet ingredients) on LOW SPEED so you don’t scatter the entire kitchen with the contents of the mixing bowl! Does this sound like “the voice of experience”? It is, yes, because we’ve all done it at least once! Get in the habit of paying attention to the speed setting and you’ll save yourself a huge mess.
Step 6: After an hour in the oven, take a clean toothpick or narrow wooden skewer, and stick it into the top-center of the loaf. Pull it out, and if it comes out wet with batter you will need to continue baking for a bit longer. If the toothpick comes out wet at the one-hour mark, close the oven and continue baking the loaf for another 10 minutes. At the 70-minute mark, test again. If the toothpick or skewer is clean, with maybe only a couple of dry crumbs clinging to it, the loaf is done and can be removed from the oven and cooled.
Step 8: It is most often necessary to run a knife or a very thin spatula around the sides of the loaf to ensure an easy release when you invert the pan. A gentle shake of the inverted pan or a light tap on your hand will release the loaf.
1. Bananas NEVER get thrown away in our house. If I have some that are getting ripe enough for banana bread but, for whatever reason I cannot bake at that time, I simply peel the banana and wrap the fruit tightly in plastic wrap. Then I put the wrapped banana in the freezer, in a gallon-storage bag, and wait until baking is convenient. Allow them to defrost in the refrigerator, and you are good-to-go!
2. This recipe ‘doubles’ very easily. If you wish to bake more than one loaf, just double the amount of each ingredient and bake as directed in the recipe.
One way to decide how many loaves to make is to mash all the bananas FIRST. Then, put the mashed bananas into a measuring cup and see how much you have available to work with. The recipe calls for one cup of mashed bananas per loaf, so if you have two cups of banana mash, you can make two loaves. Three cups? Three loaves. Just make sure your mixer can handle the amount of ingredients you will be using for multiple loaves.
3. This bread is delicious by itself, sliced and eaten. It can also be toasted and spread with butter! Toast a slice, butter it, and place it in a small bowl with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a few raspberries and you have a dessert fit for guests!
4. This loaf freezes well. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and then in heavy-duty foil.
When you are ready to use a frozen loaf, let it defrost in the wrapper, either at room temperature (on the counter) or in the refrigerator.
If you like, you can warm the thawed loaf in a 350º F preheated oven for 10 minutes. Make sure to unwrap it first. You can set the loaf directly on the oven rack. No pan necessary, and you will have a nicely warmed loaf with a toasty outer crust.
5. You can take a loaf of this bread that is wrapped well in plastic wrap and/or foil and give it as a gift. Dress it up with a colored plastic wrap, tied with a strip of curling ribbon, and you have a beautiful (and delicious!) gift for a friend!
Thank you for your interest in creating great memories for your family, and for wanting to bless your loved ones with delicious homemade baked goods! I hope you try this easy homemade banana bread recipe and enjoy many years of pleasure with the results.
Please leave a comment if you have questions, or to let me know how you and your loved ones enjoyed this recipe! Thanks!