Buttermilk Banana Bread
Once you make this Buttermilk Banana Bread recipe, you’ll never make another banana bread again! This family recipe is the best moist banana bread recipe, delicious with nuts, chocolate chips, or your favorite mix-ins!
This recipe for Buttermilk Banana Bread is perhaps one of the nearest and dearest recipes to our family – every time we make it, it reminds us of my father-in-law; this recipe is, in its essence, his. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do, and think of him! Once you make it, you’ll never make another banana bread again.
Note: This post first appeared on February 21, 2010. The recipe and post have been updated with enhanced content and photographs, as well as improved kitchen notes and recipe annotation. I hope you enjoy this favorite from my kitchen!
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 buttermilk 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 buttermilk banana bread a try. You’ll go bananas over it.
How to Make Buttermilk Banana Bread
This Buttermilk Banana Bread is easy to make and a great base for your favorite mix-ins. Try it with chopped nuts, chocolate chips, or even coconut. The recipe makes two loaves, so it’s easy to customize flavors.
Start by whisking the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together. If you are using the chopped pecans, go ahead and add those in and then set the mixture aside.
Use a separate bowl for creaming the sugar and butter together. The eggs are added in one at a time and then the bananas.
To combine the mixtures, I alternate adding the dry ingredients and buttermilk. Avoid over-mixing here!
Transfer the bread into two buttered and parchment-lined loaf pans and bake!
Looking for more banana baked goods? Be sure to check out these banana recipes:
Chocolate Banana Fig Bread
Banana Bread French Toast
Chocolate Banana Muffins
Coconut Banana Bread with Nutella
Chocolate Banana Quinoa Muffins
Buttermilk Banana Bread
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans optional
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1 cup buttermilk or substitute 1 cup milk with juice of one lemon
- 2 1/4 cups very ripe mashed bananas (about 5 medium bananas)
- Preheat oven to 300°F. Prepare two 9x5-inch loaf pans by buttering and lining with parchment paper. See notes below if using 8x4-inch loaf pans.
- 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.
- Transfer to prepared loaf pans. Bake for 1 hour or until the loaves are golden, firm to the touch, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If you have an instant-read thermometer, the banana bread is ready when the temperature is between 195-200°F. Cool the banana bread completely before storing, it will keep well wrapped at room temperature for 2-3 days (but will likely be eaten well before then).
Buttermilk Banana Bread Tips/FAQs
- What size loaf pan can I use? For many years, I baked this banana bread in two 9x5-inch loaf pans and share the recipe as such.
- However, I now also like to bake it in two 8x4-inch loaf pans, which results in taller loaves but takes approximately 1.25 hours to bake.
- You can also bake this in 2 5-cup duet bundt pans at 350°F for 30 minutes, making 4 mini bundt "cakes."
- Why do you bake it at 300°F? My father-in-law believed in using low and slow baking when it came to banana bread, and it results in a very moist and tender loaf. If you're in a rush, you can bake it at 350°F, but watch the time, as it will take less time to bake. You can also start it at 350°F and lower the temperature halfway through to 300°F. But it's easiest to just set it at 300°F and forget it, or at least until the scent of banana bread beckons you back into the kitchen.
- How ripe should the bananas be? VERY ripe -- dark and spotted, soft and fragrant bananas are what you are looking for and will make the best banana bread.
- Do I need to mash the bananas? If you're using a hand mixer or using arm-power, then yes. If you're using a stand mixer, you can pop the whole bananas in (as I do in the video). Keep in mind, the bananas should be very ripe (and soft).
- How should I store the banana bread? First, cool the banana bread completely. A loaf takes at least 1 full hour on a wire rack to cool. Wrap the banana bread with a paper towel, and then wrap completely with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Wrapping the banana bread well will keep the banana bread from drying out, and the paper towel will absorb any excess moisture from the banana bread.
Has anyone tried to make this in 1 9×5 pan?
Hi Megan! I specify in the recipe that it should be made in two 9×5 pans – you can halve the recipe if you want just one loaf!
Have you ever made this into muffins instead of bread?
Hi Jeanne! Yes, it does wonderfully baked as muffins! Simply adjust the baking time; around 18-22 minutes. Enjoy!
I loved your recipe, but swapped out a few things and it turned out the best my family has ever had. I changed out white sugar with brown, white flour with whole wheat and buttermilk with homemade kefir. Also added strawberries, thank you very much!
The recipe is so flexible, and I’m thrilled that it did well with all your substitutions! Homemade kefir sounds especially delicious! Thank you for baking the banana bread and letting me know how it turned out, John!
I am always trying new banana bread recipes but this is one I always go back to! Love it. I definitely cook mine at higher temp though, I like my bread darker. But it’s a great recipe!!
I’m so glad you keep coming back to this recipe!! Thank you so much, Ashley! :)
Yum! I always have troubles with banana bread recipes and this turned out perfect. Not too oily or sweet or dense or watery or chewy. It was perfect and I even subsituted a few ingredients to things I had on hand. I used organic brown sugar in place of the white sugar, I used gold n white flour instead of the white and I used oil in place of the butter and it was perfect! I also made a butter and cream cheese frosting with organic powdered sugar and that was amazing as well. I was afraid this might be too sweet with 2 cups of sugar but with 3 cups of flour it was fine and I might have put an extra 1/4 cup flour in to make sure it was thick enough on account I am always worried that it will be to wet and won’t rise and be too wet in the middle. Good advice to bake at 300, it took awhile but it was worth it. The edges were not too brown like normally banana bread can be. Thank you!
Oh! And I used plain whole yogurt instead of buttermilk because I didn’t have any on hand. These substitutions all worked fine! Yay!
Emma, I’m thrilled you loved the banana bread recipe! It really is a forgiving recipe, so I’m happy that it worked with all your substitutions. The frosting sounds INCREDIBLE!!
I’d like to make this into muffins. Is that possible?
Hi Alison! Yes, these would be great as muffins. I suggest baking the muffins at 425°F for 9 minutes, then lowering the oven temperature to 350°F (do not open the oven door) and continue baking for another 7 to 8 minutes, or until the muffins are domed, and the tops are firm when gently pressed. A toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins should come out clean.
If you don’t feel like watching the clock, you can bake the muffins at 350°F for 18-20 minutes. The tops might be a little flatter, but they will still taste wonderful!
Can these loafs or muffins be frozen & if so for how long…& the defrost instructions….
Hi Francesca! Yes, banana bread loaves or muffins can be frozen. Be sure to cool them first completely and wrap well, whether you are freezing banana bread slices or the entire loaf. I recommend wrapping first in parchment paper, then in aluminum foil, and placing it in a freezer safe bag.
To defrost, you can allow the banana bread to defrost on the counter. It will take about 30 minutes for slices, and several hours (2 to 4 hours) for a whole loaf. Alternatively, you can speed up the process and defrost a whole loaf (still wrapped in the foil) in a 350°F oven for about 1 hour to 90 minutes, depending on the size of your loaf.
I hope that helps!
Quick question do you cool the Banana Bread in the pan? Banana Bread was great.
Hi Nikki! I usually let my banana bread sit in the pan 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Since I line my pan with parchment paper, it easily transfers! Hope that helps ☺️
This is a great buttermilk bread recipe as it is or with additions, we almost all have our special ideas and favs, I sometimes like to spice it up with fresh ground nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger, and I like real vanilla extract in most sweet breads. Have made this several times and always give as gifts, who doesn’t love a great slice of banana bread ‼️♥️
Thank you, Michelle! I do love it plain or loaded with additions! I’m so glad you enjoy it!
This was the best banana bread I have ever tasted! It was just so wonderful!
Nida, that is the best compliment ever! Thank you!
I have been making your banana bread for a number of years now. I have 4 loafs in my oven right now actually! Hands down the best recipe I’ve come across.
Thank you, Erinn! That means so much to me – I’m glad you love it as much as we do!
You’re right, I haven’t made another bb recipe since! This one is moist, flavorful, and easy to make. I’ve made this at least 15 times since I found this keeper!
Thank you so much, Donna! So glad to hear how much you love this banana bread as much as I do!
Thanks for an easy, tasty banana bread. I used 2 overripe bananas, 2 thawed (frozen for smoothies) bananas and one yellow banana and I am pretty sure I over mixed the batter, but it still turned out delicious. I took 3 pieces to work – one for me, my hubby and our boss. Boss liked it so well he asked if he could have another piece. You bet!! So I didn’t get to try it until I got home. This will be my go to recipe from now on.
Donna, I’m so happy that this is now your go-to recipe!
I made this doubled (for Valentine’s Day gifts) and started with 10-bananas. It looked like it needed a bit more moisture, so I folded in 1 cup thawed blueberries coated with sugar (so they wouldn’t streak). I put the some nuts in the batter and more on the top. On 2 loaves I put a streusel topping so they are almost like coffee cake.
No matter what variation, they all turned out delicious!!! Everyone got something unique (they all know each other). This is a versatile & superb recipe !! As written, it is perfect, too!
Next time I might try adding chocolate chips – I know I can’t go wrong. Thank you!!
Hi Ann Marie, I’m so glad everyone loved their Valentine’s Day gifts! I love the idea of blueberries as an add-in – that sounds delicious! Thank you for sharing — and enjoy the chocolate chip version next time, it’s one of my favorites!
WOW! I was a little nervous when I saw how runny the batter was, but it came out great! Sometimes banana bread can be a little dry, not this one. It came out moist and full of flavor. I used 6 bananas and the flavor was wonderful. Now I have to find a place to hide it from my kids and husband. Shhh…
So glad it turned out great, Shawna! Hope the kids and husband were able to get a little taste ;)
What size loaf pan did you use?
Hi Jann, I use a 9×5 inch loaf pan but you can also use an 8 inch loaf pan, or mini loaf pans; just be sure to adjust baking time as necessary. I hope that helps!
You’re very welcome, Jann!
A WONDERFUL recipe. I made mini muffins for a special event in my daughter’s third grade class, and this officially makes 96 of the little guys. Because it was for kids, I made a few small modifications. Replaced 1 c of the AP flour with white whole wheat flour and used 1 c sugar and 1/2 brown sugar (as another commenter mentioned). I replaced the nuts with an equal portion of mini chocolate chips, and I used 6 bananas. I think I could have reduced the sugar even more (and will probably do that the next time), but I don’t know any kid who would complain about a muffin being too sweet. Ha! I secretly loved the chance to make simple homemade mini muffins for this group of 20 kids, rather than the ones from the store that are popular, but also full of junk. And based on the enthusiastic taste test reaction from my third grader, as well as my husband and 13yo, nobody will be missing those grocery store mini muffins today.
The buttermilk was wonderful, proportions are perfect, loved baking at 300 for a slow rise and browning. I am certain this recipe is wonderful exactly as written, and I thank you for sharing!
Hi Kristin, thank you so much for sharing your adaptations — I’m glad it worked out and was a hit with your daughter’s class!
This is by far the best recipe for banana bread ever!! This has replaced my own family recipe.
A very belated but grateful thank you, Evelyn! I’m so glad you love the banana bread recipe so much!
Roughly about how many cups of mashed banana?
Hi Abigail! This recipe takes about 2 1/2 cups of mashed banana, which is generally 4-6 medium bananas — you have a bit of flexibility. I hope that helps!
Great flavour and so moist! My kids loved making it with me! It calls for 5-6 bananas and I used 6, but next time I think I will try only 5. This recipe will be made again and again in our house!!
Cyndi, a belated thank you for your comment! I’m so glad your kids loved making the banana bread with you!
Kitchenconfidante.com my family is a clan of monkeys To! Family of 6 and boys! I buy 6-9 hands each week. They love bananas!
Your Buttermilk Banana Bread recipe is perfection!
Yvette Perez Stevenson
Wow, I can only imagine how fun it must be at your house! I’m so glad you love the recipe, thank you!! :)
I am so thankful that this recipe delivers as promised. Beautiful,moist,bananaie! I bought the overripe bananas at the store already in a count of 5,I added the one overripe one from my own kitchen and then the magic happened.
This brought a smile to my face! I’m so pleased you enjoyed it so much!!!
Hi! This banana bread looks divine! I just had a quick question. When you say 5-6 ripe bananas how many cups is that when they are mashed? I live in Africa and I’m almost certain our banana sizes are different. Would love to make this properly so any insight would be great. Thanks!
Hi Mahima! Thank you for your question! I just re-made this recipe and paid closer attention to the bananas. I would say that between 2 to 2 1/3 cups of mashed bananas is about right, and there is definitely flexibility here, just pay attention to the loaves as you finish baking. Hope this helps!