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:
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.