Buttermilk Banana Bread

I think I live with a family of monkeys.  We go through a lot of bananas in this house.  A LOT.  Like 5+ bunches a week.  And we use them all, for the most part.  In parfaits, in smoothies, on oatmeal, just plain, what have you.  Friends who come to our house can never believe that we really do eat the huge pile of bananas we have in the fruit basket.

Once in a while, it does catch up with us, and we end up with some very ripe bananas.  When that happens, it’s time to make the family banana bread.

When I first met my father in law, I would have never guessed that he spent any time in the kitchen.  Big guy, career military man, you get the idea.  I was so wrong.  It turns out that he developed the best banana bread recipe.  Ever.  It’s moist, it’s cake-like, it’s delicious.

We must have made dozens and dozens of loaves over the years, and after some time, I have updated his recipe to suit our needs.  I’ve replaced his call for Crisco with butter.  While Crisco does allow for a light and flaky crumb, I don’t particularly like the hydrogenated oils.  I’ve also found that buttermilk works very nicely.  And I upped the banana content.

One little trick, in case you don’t already: make a sling by lining your buttered loaf pans with parchment paper.  When it’s time to remove the bread from the pans, it’ll be as easy as…um…banana bread.

The next time your monkeys leave you with ripe bananas, give our banana bread a try.  You’ll go bananas over it.

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Buttermilk Banana Bread

Yield: Makes 2 loaves.


3 cups flour
½ tsp salt
1½ tsp baking powder
1½ tsp baking soda
½ cup chopped pecans (optional)
2 cups sugar
½ cup unsalted butter
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk (or substitute 1 cup milk with juice of one lemon)
5 - 6 very ripe bananas


Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Prepare two loaf pans by buttering and lining with parchment paper.

Sift or whisk flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.  Add pecans if using, then set aside. In a separate bowl, cream sugar and butter. Mix in eggs, one at a time, then add the bananas. Add dry ingredients and buttermilk, alternating until incorporated.  Try to end with the dry ingredient addition, and be sure not to over mix.

Bake in buttered loaf pans for one hour or until toothpick comes out clean.

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by Liren Baker on February 21, 2010

70 Responses to “Buttermilk Banana Bread”

  1. denise @ quickies on the dinner table February 21, 2010 @ 7:45 pm (#

    Liren, my family’s almost as bad with bananas! I never have extra for banana bread *grr* even when I buy piles and piles hoping to wait for at least some to get really ripe and sweet – it’s always all gone before I can say well, “banana bread”. Next time I wanna make it, I will try your recipe :)

    • kitchenworthy replied: — February 22nd, 2010 @ 7:49 am

      Hi Denise! I guess it’s probably a good thing that there aren’t enough bananas for banana bread…that means much healthier eating :) But when it’s time to indulge, definitely try it. Hope you love it as much as we do!

  2. TinyGatsbyKid February 22, 2010 @ 8:35 am (#

    I can attest to the sheer awesomeness of this banana bread. I remember when you shipped a loaf across the country to me and despite the long journey and questionable conditions of shipment, it arrived in perfect shape. It retained it’s texture, moisture, and yumminess. Some hardy stuff…

  3. Eric Ackerson February 22, 2010 @ 5:29 pm (#

    OMG I am on a cleanse diet this week and of course you would post one of my favorite baked items. And yours looks amazing! I love the buttermilk addition. I need to start baking again.

  4. Bonnibella February 22, 2010 @ 8:42 pm (#

    Amazing looking bread, my bf loves banana bread without nuts and I use his mother’s recipe but I will swap this recipe and see if he notices!

  5. kitchenworthy February 22, 2010 @ 11:37 pm (#

    Hope you guys enjoy it when you try it!

    Bonnibella, I usually omit the nuts for my hubbie, but I love when the pecans are in the bread — it becomes much more decadent.

    Eric, a cleanse diet sounds too rigorous! You can justify this bread because it’s very high in potassium and fiber.

    TinyGatsbyKid, it really is a hardy bread. We always pack a few loaves when we go on a ski trip — make a great quick snack and stays fresh for days!

    p.s. It made the Foodbuzz Top 9!!!! Check it out here!

  6. Carol Egbert February 23, 2010 @ 1:23 am (#

    I put overripe, unpeeled bananas into the freezer until I have enough to make banana bread. Next time I make it, I’ll try your recipe. Thanks.

    • kitchenworthy replied: — February 23rd, 2010 @ 1:37 pm

      Great tip! We always end up using our frozen ripe bananas in smoothies; it’s a good reminder for banana bread!

  7. notyet100 February 23, 2010 @ 7:50 am (#

    this looks so nice,,..yummy recipe too

  8. Lori February 23, 2010 @ 9:39 am (#

    Looks so delicious! I always love baked goods that have buttermilk or sour cream in the mix. Seems to have magical properties.

  9. Lori February 23, 2010 @ 12:04 pm (#

    Yup- just back to tell you that I did your recipe and it is in the oven as I write. Cant wait. Is it okay if I post about it with a link back to you?

    • kitchenworthy replied: — February 23rd, 2010 @ 1:39 pm

      Hi Lori, hope it turned out well! Of course you can post about it – I appreciate the linkback! Let me know how it turned out.

  10. Kath February 23, 2010 @ 1:25 pm (#

    I can’t wait to try this. We always have old bananas – buy them too green then wait too long to eat them! Think I’m going to have to put my current – green- bananas in a paper bag so they’ll get ripe faster. I’ve made all sorts of banana confections – but I’ve never used buttermilk in the mix – brilliant!

  11. Anna February 23, 2010 @ 3:40 pm (#

    I love the buttermilk idea, it looks so moist. :-)

  12. betsy February 24, 2010 @ 8:50 am (#

    This sounds so good, thanks for sharing!!

  13. Holly February 24, 2010 @ 4:12 pm (#

    I LOVE banana bread but have only really had amazing versions of it maybe twice in my life. This looks like a recipe I need to get my hands on! :) I’m not much of a baker, but if it’s good, I can give it a whirl. I’ll let you know how it goes!

    Thanks for sharing a fam favorite!

  14. May February 25, 2010 @ 11:53 pm (#

    This sounds tasty, banana with buttermilk.

  15. C and C Dish February 26, 2010 @ 7:27 am (#

    I have made many banana breads and I don’t think I have ever tried buttermilk. This looks delicious…can’t wait to try it!

  16. Liren February 26, 2010 @ 10:50 pm (#

    Buttermilk is definitely my favorite thing to bake with these days. It makes everything so delicious. Hope you all try it and enjoy it!

  17. Dee February 28, 2010 @ 5:48 pm (#

    Ahhhh, banana bread, one of my faves! I always add chocolate chips, though not too many! And I add flaxseed. I hide healthy stuff where ever I can! I will try this recipe, I’m intrigued by the buttermilk.

    • kitchenworthy replied: — February 28th, 2010 @ 6:08 pm

      Hmm, flaxseed, great idea! My kids gobble this up, it would be good to sneak in some extra wholesomeness!

  18. Theresa March 4, 2010 @ 6:33 am (#

    At what point in the recipe do you add in the buttermilk? After combining the eggs, bananas, butter and sugar, do you add in the buttermilk alternately with the flour?
    It looks delicious in the photo!

    • kitchenworthy replied: — March 4th, 2010 @ 11:08 am

      Hi Theresa! Yes, you add the buttermilk, alternating with the flour *after* adding the eggs and bananas. I’ll update the recipe to make it more clear!

  19. Marcella March 6, 2010 @ 8:01 pm (#

    I tried making this today and the house smells wonderful. Just wondering if you really always bake it at 300? It seems low – I had to add an extra 20 minutes for the bread to be baked all the way through. Should be a delicious dessert tonight and for breakfast too.

    • Liren replied: — March 6th, 2010 @ 9:55 pm

      Hi Marcella! Great question. Baking at 300 degrees is my father in law’s strict instructions for this banana bread — he is a believer in low and slow baking. I remember the first time I saw the recipe, I thought it was a typo. I will say that over the years, I’ve baked the banana bread in different ovens (each oven is different!), in different states (altitude/humidity matters), in different kitchens (different karma?), and I’ve found that generally, I try to honor his 300 degree/hour instruction. Sometimes it’s spot on, and sometimes it’s not, depending on where I am baking. Feel free to bake it in a normal 350 degree oven for a shorter period of time. Sometimes I will bake at 325 and keep a close eye on it. But, if I have time, I’ll set the oven for 300 for 1 hour then get other things done around the house. In my current kitchen, the timing and temperature does work, give or take five minutes. So feel free to tweak!!

  20. julia April 10, 2010 @ 6:15 am (#

    I just pulled this out of the oven. It looks perfect and smells perfect. Just waiting for it to cool down enough to dig into to! I had to add a dulce de leche swirl! Why? B/c it was in my cupboard and practically SCREAMING my name! Great recipe! Thank you.

    • Liren replied: — April 11th, 2010 @ 7:37 pm

      Hi Julia! Oh my goodness, just when I thought it couldn’t get any better you add dulce de leche? YUM! How did it turn out? I’ll have to try that!! I’m so glad you tried the banana bread – thanks for stopping my to let me know :)

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  22. Charissa February 6, 2012 @ 5:58 pm (#

    I just made this recipe and it is the most moist and lightest banana bread I have ever eaten, let alone made. I’m pleased as punch with this and I’m going to write about it on my blog and put your link up. Thank you so much, this is a new family fav.

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  24. Christie November 17, 2012 @ 9:51 am (#

    I have never had a recipe made with buttermilk that was not delicious! It just adds a different taste that you cannot beat…….definitely going to try this!

  25. Joan January 13, 2013 @ 1:06 pm (#

    I only had two ripe bananas so I added a cup of zucchini and two Tbls oh dark coco powder. Choc banana zucchini bread. It smells good and the batter tasted good so we’ ll see.

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  27. Lisa April 18, 2013 @ 7:56 pm (#

    UM….YUMMMMM. Yes the most moist banana bread ever! I love the golden colour too. Not dry at all. I will ask a few questions, what size loaf pan do you use? Also, it just says add bananas but I assumed mashed, or purée. I did cut the sugar in half. I used a cup of organic golden cane sugar. I took a chance and it’s really sweet. I also just wet my parchment and didn’t have to butter the pan. Or was it to read, line with parchment or butter the pan? Many thanks, Lisa

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  29. Darla May 10, 2013 @ 10:00 am (#

    I have been on the hunt for a great banana bread recipe!! Thank you thank you thank you! This is the absolute best one! So moist and just perfect! My husband over buys on bananas now so that we have the extra for this treat! The only thing I did different was add chocolate chips…so glad you shared this!

    • Liren replied: — May 10th, 2013 @ 8:30 pm

      Darla, I am so glad! It’s a very old family favorite, and we love to put chocolate chips in it too, from time to time. My husband was just saying today how he wanted some banana bread, I need some ripe bananas fast! Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving such lovely note.

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  33. Brenda T September 4, 2013 @ 6:48 pm (#

    I modified the recipe slightly-reduced the sugar to 1 cup white and 1/2 cup brown sugar and added 1 t each of cinnamon and vanilla. Turned out awesome, so moist.
    Thanks for a great recipe.

  34. Maria September 19, 2013 @ 9:07 am (#

    Finally made these…oh so good! Do you think it is bad if I just buy bananas so they go old and then I can make this?

  35. JenniSu March 2, 2014 @ 10:12 am (#

    I just made this recipe…..absolutely fantastic..!!!
    I feel that the buttermilk is the key ingredient that makes it super moist!!
    (I made the buttermilk by using 1 cup 2% milk & 1 tablespoon vinegar.)
    I did add a little vanilla but otherwise used the recipe exactly…& it tastes so great!! My husband loves it….but I made it for my dad…the true test will be when he tastes it….I will let you know the results.

    I also did not have loaf pans…..so I used a Bundt pan & 6 large muffin …..this recipe makes a lot…!!!
    Thank you for sharing your awesome recipe!!
    It’s a keeper!!

  36. JenniSu March 2, 2014 @ 6:45 pm (#

    My mom & dad loved it…..My mom asked me for the recipe….I just sent her this link!! Thank you again!!

  37. Kriss August 9, 2014 @ 4:38 pm (#

    I just popped my loaves in the oven. I have been searching for a good buttermilk banana bread recipe and by the looks of all of the awesome comments it looks like a winner. Can’t wait to try them!

  38. Josie August 20, 2014 @ 1:38 pm (#

    Hey! Finally, a banana bread that looks delicious! Umfortunatley mine is in the oven and doesn’t look so good, meaning it’s not turning the beautiful golden brown it actually looks kinda light brown just like the recipe… Dunno if what I’m saying is very clear… Please help! 

    • Liren Baker replied: — August 20th, 2014 @ 2:33 pm

      Hi Josie, I’m not sure how long your bread has been in the oven so far, but it helps to make sure it’s on the center rack in the oven. Due to variations in oven temperature, it is possible that yours is running hotter than other ovens. If you are worried, lightly cover the banana bread with foil to prevent over-browning. Hope this helps. – Liren

  39. El September 25, 2014 @ 9:26 am (#

    I just made this recipe into muffins. I cut the sugar back to one cup and are very sweet. Two cups would be insane! The flavor is AMAZING! The best I have had. Very moist with lots of banana flavor. The only problem I had was I filled my muffin cups 3/4 the way to the top like usual, but the tops didn’t bubble up high like they usually do, they stayed flat and the batter poured off the sides of my muffin pan. If you make muffins be sure to only fill your cups 1/3-1/2 way. I baked the muffins at 350 for 25 min or so.

  40. Mae October 16, 2014 @ 7:23 am (#

    OK, I NEVER leave comments, but I had to for this one.  If you *like* banana nut bread, but don’t *love* banana nut bread, this is the recipe for you to try.  I’ve always thought I should enjoy banana nut bread more than I do.  I mean, I like nuts, I like bananas, and I LOVE sweet breads, but MOST banana nut breads have a tough, dark, crust and I usually end up only eating the tiny inner rectangle and throwing the rest of my piece away.  (Which, when you are busy and have two young children, that reward is not worth the effort!)  So, I normally make pumpkin bread, or a loaf pound cake and leave the banana nut bread making to others.  However, yesterday I noticed we had several overly ripe bananas and a open container of buttermilk that was going to expire, so I thought, “Why not?”  and gave this recipe a try.  I’m so pleased with the results!!  I’m not sure if it is the buttermilk, or all the bananas, or the low and slow cooking time, but this is the best banana nut bread ever.  It is simple and classic and delicious, but NO HARD, BROWN CRUST!  In fact, just looking at from across my kitchen, I would NEVER guess it was banana nut bread.  Even the end pieces are delicious, which is really saying something.  Thank you so much for posting this recipe.  It has now become my One And Only recipe for banana nut bread.  All the others are going into the trash can.  

  41. Sally October 19, 2014 @ 12:21 am (#

    I managed to bake the banana bread and it was very moist and yummy. My family loved it. I will try to post the pics. However, I found it to be a bit too sweet hence might try to reduce the sugar to 1 cup next time. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  42. Liz Molitor November 22, 2014 @ 8:20 am (#

    i also ended up having to cook my loaves for about an hour and 20 minutes instead of an hour – maybe because i used glass dishes instead of metal?

    in any case, it was worth it because oh.  my.  goodness.  this was the most delicious, moist, flavorful banana bread i’ve ever eaten, let alone made.  keeping this recipe for sure!

    • Liren Baker replied: — November 22nd, 2014 @ 11:33 am

      Hi Liz! It could be partially due to the glass baking dishes, but it could also be nuances in oven temperature. Either way, I’m so glad you loved the banana bread! The recipe definitely uses the low and slow method of baking, which I think contributes to the moistness of the bread. Happy you think it’s a keeper, too!

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  47. Turner April 24, 2015 @ 6:52 am (#

    This was delicious! I also reduced the sugar to one cup and had to bake for 1 hour 20 minutes. It was so light and fluffy, I will definitely be making this one again!

    • Liren Baker replied: — April 24th, 2015 @ 7:47 am

      So glad you enjoyed it, Turner!

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  49. nicole @ i am a honey bee May 25, 2015 @ 5:02 am (#

    I made this recipe this morning. Awesome!!

  50. Kathy September 13, 2015 @ 4:13 am (#

    Made this last night after an overabundance of bananas left over from a XC meet.  Delicious!!! Very moist and very addicting.  I keep taking one more slice…  Thank you for the recipe.

    • Liren Baker replied: — September 13th, 2015 @ 7:48 am

      You’re so welcome, Kathy! I’m so pleased you enjoyed it – this recipe has a special place in my heart, and I’m so glad you were able to make it!

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  52. KatieAnn February 24, 2016 @ 2:24 pm (#

    Will freezing the ripe bananas ahead of time change the outcome??

    • Liren Baker replied: — February 26th, 2016 @ 8:54 am

      Great question! I haven’t had a chance to try it with frozen ripe bananas, but I know plenty of people who make their banana bread with it. I think the trick may be to thaw it partially, then drain off a little bit of the excess liquid after mashing before adding to the dough. I hope that helps, and if you try it out, please do let me know how that works out.

  53. Sharon dicorato March 14, 2016 @ 4:21 am (#

    I made this for my family and it was a hit! I added a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter and omitted the nuts. It was moist and flavorful and totally delicious! Thanks for my favorite banana bread of all time!

    • Liren Baker replied: — March 18th, 2016 @ 6:01 pm

      Hi Sharon! I’m so glad my favorite banana bread is now your favorite, too! Adding peanut butter is an awesome idea – I’ll have to try that :) Thank you for coming back to let me know!

  54. kate @ tasty seasons April 8, 2016 @ 9:52 am (#

    i just took the second loaf out of the freezer and microwaved a slice as soon as I could cleave it off the frozen loaf… and it was still delicious and moist!  Any baked good that can withstand that kind of torture is definitely a winner!  Thanks for sharing this family recipe.  :-)

    • Liren Baker replied: — April 8th, 2016 @ 3:47 pm

      Hi Kate! So good to hear from you! Yay – so awesome to hear the frozen loaf was just as good as the first. Our second loaf rarely makes it to the freezer ;)

      Funny enough, I hid some ripe bananas today so I can make a batch this weekend!

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