Banana Walnut Bread is a versatile cake-like bread that brings together crushed ripe bananas and crunchy walnuts. This recipe includes medications for vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free options. Enjoy banana nut bread, an American staple, for breakfast, dessert, or as an anytime snack.
Banana Walnut Bread
Sometimes I wonder if the internet needs another banana bread recipe. Yet here I am updating my banana walnut bread recipe and insisting that you try it, because it really is the best banana bread and worth 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.
Why You’ll Love This Banana Walnut Bread Recipe
- Versatile: There are so many ways to make banana walnut bread. Add or omit ingredients based on dietary needs and your personal preferences. I skip the nuts and dairy in their batch (tree nuts and dairy allergies in my house) but it is equally delicious.
- Fun 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.
Ingredients for Banana Walnut Bread
This recipe is made with simple pantry staples so shop your kitchen before making a grocery store run.
- Banana Walnut Bread
- Why You’ll Love This Banana Walnut Bread Recipe
- Ingredients for Banana Walnut Bread
- The Best Banana For Banana Bread
- How to Make Banana Walnut Bread
- Tips for the Best Banana Walnut Bread
- How to Make Banana Walnut Bread Dairy Free, Gluten Free, or Vegan
- Different toppings for your Banana Bread
- More Recipe Variations
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Banana Walnut Bread (with Dairy Free & Gluten Free Options)
- Granulated sugar: For sweetness.
- Room temperature butter: or melted coconut oil or non-dairy butter
- Large eggs: This acts as a binder.
- All-Purpose Flour: You may use cup4cup or all-purpose gluten-free flour instead.
- Leavening Agents: This quick bread requires baking powder and baking soda.
- Salt: This balances the sweet flavors.
- Ground cinnamon: This adds a warm spiced quality.
- Ripe bananas: This is the star ingredient of this bread. They are mashed to create a smooth consistency that blends throughout the batter, adding flavor, moisture, and natural sweetness.
- Milk: You may use coconut milk as a dairy-free alternative.
- Vanilla extract: For vanilla flavor.
- Chopped walnuts: This is an optional ingredient.
See recipe card for quantities.
The Best Banana For Banana Bread
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.
I recently made this recipe using red bananas and it was amazing. I highly recommend, but please let them get dark skinned and ripe for best results.
How to Make Banana Walnut Bread
Creaming the butter and sugar versus melting and mixing
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.
Update: I’ve recently been pinched for time and just melt the butter and add it to the batter and the results are almost identical. So if you are on a time crunch, just melt the butter.
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.
Add Other Ingredients
In a separate large mixing bowl, crush bananas until smooth, then add the milk and vanilla extract to the mashed bananas and set aside. In another large 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.
Once it’s cooled to room temperature, wrap the bread tightly with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for up to one week. For longer storage, freeze it for up to 3 months.
Tips for the Best Banana Walnut Bread
- Use cooking spray AND parchment paper. 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.
- Crush your bananas until smooth. Once I left my bananas in chunks and after the banana bread cooled the banana chunks became black and mushy and no one wanted to eat that banana bread. It just did not look appetizing.
- 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 them to the top of the batter just before baking, they roast in the oven adding a crunchy texture to the banana bread. Whereas when I added them to the batter, they became soft and not pleasant to eat.
How to Make Banana Walnut Bread Dairy Free, Gluten Free, or Vegan
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 dairy free, substitute the butter with 1/2 cup of melted coconut oil or 1/2 cup of non dairy butter. I also substitute the milk, for 1/2 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
- VEGAN: Just skip the eggs in the recipe. The bananas are a great binder and is all you will need.
Different toppings for your Banana Bread
Keep things interesting by trying these different toppings on your banana bread:
- 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 add 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.
More Recipe Variations
Upside Down Brown Sugar Banana Coconut Bread
Recently I wanted to do something different with the recipe so I added a cup of unsweetened coconut flakes to the batter. Then I added a brown sugar and butter mixture to the bottom of the pan, topped it with sliced bananas, followed by the batter. I baked that to golden perfection, flipped and it was amazing! See the notes section of the recipe card for detailed instructions.
Instead of the loaf pan, scoop your batter into lined muffin tins. You can also omit the walnuts if you like. Just be careful not to overfill your muffin tin for perfect muffin tops. Bake your muffins for 35 minutes for perfectly golden brown beauties.
Frequently Asked Questions
Although bananas and walnuts are nutritious on their own, this is a baked good, made with sugar and fats. You can always alter the recipe, using gluten-free or vegan alternatives. But in general, enjoy banana bread as an indulgence.
Overripe bananas are sweeter than less ripe bananas. They’re also more moist, which results in a more tender crumb and overall better texture.
Baking soda helps the batter rise by producing carbon dioxide gas once exposed to heat. It also improves the overall taste. Overripe bananas are naturally acidic. Baking soda helps neutralize this acidity, which can enhance the flavor profile of the bread and balance the sweetness of the bananas.
Banana Walnut Bread (with Dairy Free & Gluten Free Options)
- Stand Mixer/Hand Held Mixer/Wooden Spoon
- 2 Mixing Bowls
- Greased Loaf Pan
- Parchment Paper
- 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
For the Upside Down Brown Sugar Banana Coconut Bread
- 1 Cup Grated Coconut or unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1/4 Cup Butter
- 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
- 1 Banana cut into 1/4 inch thick round slices
- 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.
- Add the coconut, if you are making the upside down brown sugar banana coconut bread, and mix together well
- 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.
For the Upside Down Brown Sugar Banana Coconut Bread
- Mix the butter and brown sugar together until slightly melted, then line the bottom of a greased loaf pan with the mixture
- Next place the sliced bananas on top of the mixture, then pour in the batter and bake for 1 hour or until a tooth pick inserted into the banana bread, comes out clean
- Remove from the oven, and flip onto a plate or cooling rack immediately. Do not let it cool down or the brown sugar will cool down and the bread will stick to the bottom of the loaf pan. Use a knife to free the sides of the pan before flipping it. Then allow to cool before serving
- After you’ve combined all the dry ingredients (see ingredients listed above), add the coconut flakes, then add the dry ingredients and combine to make a thick batter
- Then mix the butter and brown sugar together until nice and melty, then spread evenly on the bottom of a load pan
- Next add the slices bananas, followed by the batter, then bake until a tooth pick inserted into the banana bread comes out clean (see recipe card for exact temperature and timing for baking).
- 1 cup of freshly grated coconut, or unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1/4 cup of room temperature butter (feel free to use dairy free butter) and 1/4 cup of brown sugar
- 1 banana but into 1/4 thick round slices, you can also do length slices
The information listed in the recipe card is an estimate provided by an online nutrition tool. The tool evaluates ingredient names and amounts then makes calculations based on the number of servings listed for the recipe. It is provided as a general guideline and not as a precise calculation. For precise nutrition information please feel free to add the ingredients to your preferred nutrition calculator or consult a doctor or licensed nutritionist.