Banana bread is one of those childhood classics for me. My mom didn’t love to bake, but she could whip up mean banana and zucchini breads. I’d eat them hot from the oven, not waiting for the loaves to cool, and the warm, moist center would melt in my mouth. It wasn’t until college that I realized you could slather spreads on banana bread for heightened moistness and flavor. Butter, cream cheese, nutella, peanut butter. The options were limitless. With a new world of banana bread open to me, I was eager to start baking loaves on my own.
A lot of banana recipes that I’ve used will tell bakers to use somewhere between 3 and 5 bananas. This is a huge mistake. I was often frustrated by how such a simple recipe could give me such wide-ranging results. I’d make a perfect banana bread one week, then use the same recipe to get either too dry or too moist loaves. Then I realized how very different banana sizes can be and how important it is to actually measure the amount of banana rather than just trust that 3 bananas is the right amount. Baking is science!
Since figuring out that handy little trick, I’ve perfected my own banana bread recipe with warm spices, pecans coated in flour, and Greek yogurt. Why add flours to those toasted pecans? Coating nuts or dried fruit in flour prevents them from sinking to the bottom of your yummy baked goods.
The Greek yogurt is absolutely optional here. As you may know, it’s an obsession of mine that I’ve talked about before. If you prefer a cakier, drier banana bread you might prefer to leave it out. If you don’t like Greek yogurt (WTF?) and still want a bread on the moist side, adding ricotta or sour cream will work really well as substitutes. I’m also a huge fan of coconut milk in banana bread with toasted coconut flakes, but someone else who lives in this house and eats these baked goods isn’t so much a fan (everyone, boo him).
I love to have a warm, nutty banana bread, but spices are certainly another place that you can change things up. I think that ginger (or even crystallized ginger) is delightful in banana bread and I’m sure there a ton of flavor combinations you could try out here.
Looking for other tasty recipes for ripe bananas? Check out these Banana Nut Cinnamon Rolls. A real crowd pleaser!
- 300 grams all-purpose flour
- 165 grams brown sugar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 338 grams mashed ripe banana about 3 - 4 medium bananas
- 143 grams Greek yogurt
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 100 grams pecans chopped and toasted
- 1 tablespoon flour
Preheat oven to 350. Prepare a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan by buttering the sides and lining the bottom with parchment paper.
While oven is preheating, coarsely chop pecans (or your nut of choice). Place on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast in oven for 5 minutes, then give the pan a good shake or stir the nuts. Return to oven for another 5 - 7 minutes. When they smell roasted and nutty, they're finished. Put the nuts in a bowl, toss with one tablespoon of flour, and leave to cool as you prepare the rest of your ingredients.
Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Stir well to combine and make sure the brown sugar is nice and broken up.
In a smaller bowl, whisk the eggs then add the mashed up banana, melted butter, Greek yogurt, and vanilla. Stir well to combine and then add spices.
Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and use a rubber spatula to stir. Fold in the toasted pecans and continue to fold until there is no longer any flour visible. It should come together rather easily. Scrape the batter into your prepared loaf pan and smooth the top.
Place into the 350 oven and bake until the bread is well risen and a knife or cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean. This should take somewhere between 55 to 65 minutes.
When ready, remove from oven and cool in pan for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove from the pan and continue to cool on a wire rack or cutting board.