The only thing I like better than my Pumpkin Bread is a really, really good Classic Banana Bread. I can’t tell you how many recipes for Banana Bread I’ve tried over the years. This one, right here, is my fave. I love it, the folks love it. My Da dubbed it the “Best Banana Bread I’ve ever had…” and he’s in his late 80s.
Over the years, I’ve tried Cook’s Illustrated, numerous Sarah Lee copycats, my cousin’s (sorry girl!), my Mother’s, my Grandmother’s, and countless others. I’ve tried Banana Bread with buttermilk, milk, cream cheese, yogurt, sour cream, oil, shortening, applesauce, and butter. And Banana Bread with all kinds of add-ins as well as those with bananas sliced and shingled across the top.
About Classic Banana Bread:
Over the past 35 years, I’ve gone from simple to increasingly complicated, and back to simple, again. This recipe seems almost too good to be true. It doesn’t look much different than any other banana bread. But it is. It really is. It’s soooo good.
Perfectly moist, not too heavy or dense, it has a crusty little top that’s beautifully browned and of course, it has the classic crack. Well behaved, it turns out of the pan and slices beautifully.
And the banana flavor comes through beautifully! Partly because after trying so many recipes I took a cue from the proportion of pumpkin in my pumpkin bread and figured four medium bananas were the way to go instead of the standard three.
And if I have it around, I am apt to toss in a little rum or bourbon instead of vanilla (totally optional) which I think accents the banana flavor beautifully~I’m trying not to think about it tucked away in the kitchen. I’m trying really hard…
Making Classic Banana Bread:
This recipe uses the classic creaming method. Your butter needs to be room temperature (and although banana bread is more forgiving than some baked items) that’s when a stick of butter can be bent and doesn’t blow out or break. If your banana bread ever seems greasy or oily, chances are your butter was too soft.
Once the butter is beaten just enough to lighten in color, add in the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Only then do the eggs and banana get dumped in and mixed just until combined. In go the dry ingredients (already mixed together) and again, mix just until combined.
The final little touch that I love to use is to add a tablespoon of rum (love love love bananas and rum!) instead of vanilla. Bourbon works, too. And so does vanilla, so you do you! Bake until a tester comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached.
If you have no overly ripe bananas, simply bake the required number of bananas for any recipe at 300 degrees until soft, about 30 minutes for small, up to an hour for very large.
They will look blackened on the outside but inside they’ll be just right for any recipe. Let cool before using.
How to Serve Classic Banana Bread:
Now to be sure, any bread should be cut once cooled, but we prefer to dig in warm, nice thick chunky slices and add butter to melt over the bread. Once cooled, you can cut thinner, more reasonable slices if you wish!
I love any quick bread served with softened cream cheese instead of butter, but Addi is adamant! Only butter and real butter will do!
How to Store (and reheat) Classic Banana Bread:
There is something a little magical about any quick bread. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap once cooled and it will be even moister the next day.
Banana Bread freezes very well. Just keep it wrapped in plastic and add a layer of foil to the outside to protect and keep all the plastic wrap intact. For best results, thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
If you wish to reheat a slice, just a few seconds in the microwave will do the trick.
Saving Money on Classic Banana Bread:
You might want to see if a store in your area doesn’t sell brown bananas at a reduced rate and of course, you can prevent waste by freezing your bananas. It never hurts to buy more if they’re on sale, too.
- If you wish, just toss your brown bananas in the freezer. Pull them out and peel them when you’re ready to cook and defrost them in the microwave. The disadvantage is they can take up a lot of room.
- Another option is to mash your bananas (use a little lemon juice or real lemon to prevent browning if you wish) and put them in a Ziploc bag. Most recipes call for three bananas but this one calls for four. If you don’t have enough browned bananas, just add more as they happen until there is enough for a recipe. Make sure to label how many bananas are in the bag as you add
As far as saving money on baked goods, I try to buy the majority of my baking goods during the big holiday sales or at Aldi.
Let’s talk about butter coz that’s a pricey item but this same strategy works for any item. If you buy strategically and freeze it until you need it, you can have it for half the cost or less. Aldi butter is always reasonable (and Costco isn’t bad) but the sales on butter at the regular grocery store during the big baking holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter are usually even better. To see what might be on sale around any given holiday, check out my page Win at the Grocers.
Start to get into the habit of noting how much you use of products (and what you’re paying for them) and stock up at the low, buying enough to last to the next great sale. I literally count the weeks between holidays & figure out how much butter to buy. I bake and use about a pound of butter a week. If I can buy at a $1.69 sales price as opposed to our normal whopping $4.99 a pound it makes a huge difference. Over the course of a year, I can pay $87.88 instead of $259.48 just on butter!
If you’re curious how much it costs to run a freezer, the average is about $4.99 a month. Less than the cost of a Big Mac. Just sayin’. You might want to take a peek at my articles on Banking Your Food and Freezer Options.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as our family has over the years! We had a funny coincidence: my Grand daughter, Addie, had tinkered and perfected her own fave banana bread and made it for me…it turns out that with the exception of the extra banana, it was almost exactly the same as mine! We had a good laugh and I told her it was no wonder I liked hers as much as mine, lol!!
Classic Banana Bread
- Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- Yield: 10 to 16 slices 1x
- Category: Bread
- Cuisine: American
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 4 medium bananas, blackened in spots and finely crushed
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla (or 1 tablespoon rum)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Beat butter until lightened in color, add sugar, scraping down sides and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs and crushed bananas all at once and mix until combined.
In another bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to banana mixture and mix until just combined. Add vanilla (or rum) and turn into a well-greased and floured 9 x 5″ pan.
Bake for about an hour to an hour and ten minutes, until a tester comes out with a few moist crumbs. Remove from oven and cool on a rack for 15 minutes or so, covered by a clean towel. Turn out bread.
This is a special week for me: I’m still cohosting Throwback Thursday with Quinn, Carlee, Meaghan & Alli (click on the link) of course, but I’m also a cohost on Angie’s Fiesta Friday! Scarlett from the Unwed Housewife is my cohost, so stop by and check out her blog, too. 🙂
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