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Basic Banana Bread Recipe (Easy and Delicious)

Sliced banana bread on a chopping board beside a pair of bananas on a wooden desk.

Most likely invented by frugal Great Depression cooks to avoid throwing out any spare bits of food, banana bread is a wonderful snack to accompany a cup of tea in the afternoon or for a quick and easy breakfast. This recipe for Basic Banana bread is great for beginner cooks.

Preparation time: 15 to 20 minutes

Baking time: 50 to 60 minutes

Serves: 10 to 12 servings

Technically, it’s more like a cake than an actual bread, but banana bread is a wonderful snack that’s not overly sweet. Packed with banana flavor and always moist and tender, banana bread is a great way to welcome a new neighbor to the neighborhood or a tasty snack for the grandkids after school.

When you’re trying to make the most of your grocery budget, wasting any food is a big no-no. This recipe for banana bread can make good use of those bananas that are a bit too far gone for eating fresh as a snack. If your bananas are turning black and you won’t be able to get to baking a fresh loaf of  banana bread before the weekend, you can peel the bananas, stick them in a ziplock freezer bag, and stash them in the freezer until you get around to baking the bread.

When you’re ready to bake, simply remove the bananas from the freezer and allow them to thaw at room temperature for a few hours before you plan to bake the bread. Use the thawed bananas the exact same way that you would fresh bananas in the recipe.

Many people prefer to include nuts in their banana bread recipes. This recipe doesn’t include nuts but if you are a nut lover, feel free to include one half to a full cup of chopped nuts, stirring them into the batter at the very end, right before you put the batter in the pan. Many people like walnuts in their banana bread, but pecans are a delicious alternative if you don’t have walnuts on hand.

In 1870, the first banana arrived in the United States in Jersey City, New Jersey. Captain Lorenzo Baker found some bananas in Jamaica and brought the fruit to Jersey City for sale. The fruit proved to be quite popular and Baker teamed up with Andrew Preston and several others to create the Boston Fruit Company. The purpose of this company was to handle the purchase and importation of bananas and other tropical fruits to the United States.

Despite the introduction of bananas to the United States in the 1870s, it wasn’t until the 1930s that they were used as an ingredient for baked goods. At this point in time, baking powder and baking soda came onto the market and new recipes for using these ingredients became popular. Food historians also theorize that frugal cooks from the time of the Great Depression created banana bread as a way to make use of every bit of food in the house and avoid throwing away anything that could be eaten.

The Cavendish is the name of the variety of bananas that is most familiar to consumers in the United States, but did you know that there are over 1000 different varieties of bananas in the world? No banana plants grow naturally in North America. Therefore, all varieties of bananas have to be imported from other areas of the world, mostly South and Central America.

Banana Bread Recipe

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Step 1: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the butter and the sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Butter and sugar mixed in a bowl.

Step 2: Add the eggs, beating after each one. Add the vanilla and mix well.

Eggs beaten together with the sugar and butter mixture.

Step 3: Peel the bananas and put them in the buttery mixture. Using a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon, smash the bananas into the batter. Keep mashing this mixture until you can’t see any large chunks of banana.

In a separate medium-sized bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

Take about half of the dry ingredients and stir them into the butter mixture just until it is combined. Do not over mix.

Flour, baking soda, and salt mixture added to the butter, eggs, and salt mixture.

Step 4: Add half of the milk and stir the mixture, again being careful not to overmix the batter.

Milk added to the mixture.

Step 5: Add in the remaining flour, stir, and then add the remaining milk. Stir it just until mixed.

Flour and milk added to the mixture.

Step 6: Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan and spread the top of the bread to smooth it.

Battered mixture poured onto the loaf pan.

Step 7: Place the loaf pan into the center of the preheated oven and bake the bread for 50 to 60 minutes.

The outside of the loaf should be lightly browned and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center of the loaf should come out clean.

Freshly baked banana bread on a wooden chopping board.

Step 8: Let the loaf cool for about 10 minutes and then remove it from the pan by using a spatula to loosen the sides and turning the loaf quickly upside down over your cutting board.

Let the loaf cool for about an hour for easy cutting, but if you really want warm banana bread and don’t mind messy slices, you can wait only 15 minutes. Store wrapped in aluminum foil in the refrigerator.

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