Banana Walnut Bread is an American staple. Sometimes I wonder if the internet needs another banana bread recipe. Yet here I am updating my banana bread recipe and insisting that you try it, because it is so good, and worthy of your time. I give full credit to the creators of THIS Food Network banana bread recipe, as my inspiration for this deliciousness. For years I made that recipe, until I started tweaking it to the recipe I am sharing today.
Things in this post:
- Choosing the right bananas
- Creaming the butter versus melted butter
- Making this recipe gluten free
- Making this recipe dairy free
- Adjusting baking time for banana muffins
- Adding toppings to your banana bread
The closer the banana is to being tossed in the trash, the better
The best bananas for banana bread are the ones that look like they are ready to be tossed. I use bananas that look like the photo above and beyond, never ones that are less spotted. The older the banana the higher the sugar concentration, the sweeter and more dare I say moist, your banana bread will be. Trust me on this one.
Making Banana Bread with children
Making banana walnut bread is also a great family activity. My children love making banana bread. I let them crush the bananas, measure out the dry ingredients and take turns mixing the batter, but most importantly they love eating it. I skip the nuts and dairy in their batch (tree nuts and dairy allergies in my house) but it is equally delicious. A tip here is to crush your bananas until smooth. Once I left my bananas in chunks and after the banana bread cooled the banana chunks became black and mussy and no one wanted to eat that banana bread. It just did not look appetizing.
For best results, cream the butter and sugar
Many banana bread recipes use oil or melted butter and require that you mix these ingredients together, versus creaming. What I love most about this recipe is that it calls for creaming the butter and sugar. When I first started making this banana bread, I creamed the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, similar to when making a cake. However, that kind of creaming is not necessary and I get pretty much the same results with a quick 5 to 10 minutes of creaming and I always use room temperature butter for better creaming results.
Creaming the butter and sugar is the only step in this recipe that requires a mixer. For the best results, it is better to hand mix the wet and dry ingredients together. Using a mixer completely changes the texture of the bananas. Every time I went against this rule and dumped everything in the mixer, I end up with a pretty dry banana bread.
Lining the pan with parchment paper is an essential step
Pro-tip: Spray your baking pan with cooking spray, then line it with parchment paper. Cut your parchment paper with extra to create an over-hang, which makes it easy to lift your loaf out of the pan, after baking. After years of making this banana bread, I've also stopped adding the walnuts to the batter and only add them on top of the banana bread. I discovered that when you add then to the top of the batter just before baking, they roast in the oven adding a crunchy texture to the banana bread. Where as when I added them to the batter they became soft and not pleasant to eat.
Making Banana Muffins
This recipe is perfect for Banana Muffins. Skip the loaf pan and scoop your batter into lined muffin tins. I skipped the nuts when making these, but feel free to add some walnuts for Banana Walnut muffins. Just be careful not to overfill your muffin tin for perfect muffin tops. Bake your muffins for 35 minutes for perfectly golden beauties.
Make it Dairy Free and Gluten Free
Lots of food allergies in my home, so I've been adjusting our go to recipes to convert them to dairy free and gluten free:
- DAIRY FREE OPTION: To make this banana bread diary free, substitute the butter with ½ cup of melted coconut oil or ½ cup of non dairy butter. I also substitute the milk, for ½ cup of coconut milk. If using melted coconut oil, simply mix it with the sugar instead of creaming.
- GLUTEN FREE OPTION: Gluten free cup for cup or measure for measure flours have been making life so much easier. I love substituting all purpose flour with the exact amount of cup for cup gluten free flour for the same tasty results without the tummy ache. My favorite gluten free all purpose flour for this recipe is Betty Crocker All Purpose Gluten Free Rice Flour Blend
Try Different Toppings on your Banana Bread
Keep things interesting by trying these different toppings on your banana bread:
- Walnuts of course! I like to keep the walnuts just on top. They roast in the oven and add a nice crunch. When added to the batter they get a bit chewy and soggy
- Chocolate chips. In the image above, we (my daughter and I) added dark chocolate chips but any chocolate chips or chocolate chunks will do
- Peanut butter chips. On their own or mixed with chocolate chips these make a really decadent banana bread
- Coconut flakes. I love topping off my banana bread with coconut flakes before baking. The flakes toast up in the oven and adds some coconut goodness to the already yummy banana bread
- Nut butter: Amp up the protein in your banana bread with a drizzle of nut butter just before baking. This is my favorite way to make my banana bread.
The Printable Banana Bread Recipe:
Banana Walnut Bread (with Dairy Free & Gluten Free Options)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup room temperature butter or melted coconut oil or non-dairy butter
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups flour may use cup for cup or all purpose gluten free flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 ripe bananas
- ½ cup of milk may use coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup chopped walnuts optional
- Preheat Oven to 325°F
- Add butter and sugar to a stand mixer and cream together until well combined, about 5 minutes (you may also use a hand held mixer or a wooden spoon for this step)
- In separate bowl, crush bananas until smooth, then add the milk and vanilla extract and mix together and set aside
- Separately, in another bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ground cinnamon and set aside.
- Do not use the mixer for the next steps: Add banana mixture to butter, sugar and eggs mixture and mix thoroughly using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Then add the flour mixture, ½ cup at a time and mix until it forms a thick batter. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan, lined with parchment paper and bake for 1 hour.
- Let cool, then remove from loaf pan, cut into slices and serve warm.