This classic homemade banana bread with almonds recipe is quick, easy, and simple, and results in a soft moist, delicious traditional banana loaf!
During the Great Depression, because people couldn't throw out any food, as it was too precious, banana bread was born. That's when they combined overripe brown bananas with new technology to make quick bread using chemical leaveners.
Now, banana bread is popular worldwide! I was pleased to find that banana loaves are a common occurrence here in New Zealand supermarkets (for when a craving hits!). However homemade banana bread from scratch is still the best!
All banana bread recipes need flour, fat, sugar (or a sweetener), and a chemical leavener (like baking soda or baking powder), on ripe bananas.
There are hundreds of variations of this recipe because it is so versatile. Some variations have spices, buts, and chocolate chips, or are made for specific diets. The possibilities are endless!
This recipe hasn't really undergone any major changes. However, I decided to test out making banana bread without baking soda.
I also decided to add almonds to the banana bread, and I find they add a delicious, lightly nutty flavor to the loaf. However, this can also be left out should you not have any almonds on hand.
The original recipe used 1 ½ teaspoons of baking soda instead of baking powder.
My Simple Classic Banana Loaf
My recipe is an ode to the good old simple classic banana loaf. With a few small twists. I like the addition of yogurt, it gives a great tang and added moisture. And I cut down the sugar content within the bread by a ⅛ to a ¼ cup to sprinkle raw, granulated, or coffee sugar over the bread to give it a little crunch. This also provides a nice contrast to the soft moist center of the bread.
My original recipe had no additional nuts or chocolate chips - because that is the banana bread I grew up with. But this is a versatile recipe and half a cup of chopped nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts) or chocolate chips (up to a cup) really adds a delicious twist to the bread.
Additionally to that, I have decided to go with a no baking soda recipe, and use baking powder as a leavener. This also means that an excellent self-raising to self-rising flour will also work really well for this recipe.
Why this Recipe Works
- This is a really simple and versatile banana bread. It can be made with nuts or chocolate chips.
- This recipe contains a delicious sugar crunch topping on the bread - which can be left out if you want lower-sugar banana bread.
- This recipe also makes 12 regular-sized banana muffins if you would like muffins over bread.
- This banana bread is made without baking soda but instead uses baking powder, or can even be made with self-rising or self-raising flour.
Butter adds flavor, softness, and moisture and sometimes aids in the leavening of baked goods. I use New Zealand butter in my recipes, which has approximately 82% butterfat and can be very yellow (similar to European or Irish butter). Butter cannot be substituted with butter or margarine spreads, but it can be replaced with baking margarine.
Salt is a crucial ingredient in all baked goods. I use table salt in all my recipes. One teaspoon of table salt equals 1.5 teaspoons of Morton Kosher Salt equals 2 teaspoons of Diamond Crystal.
Plain/all-purpose/standard grade flour can be substituted on a 1-to-1 basis for recipes with ½ to 1 teaspoon of baking powder per 120 grams/1 cup of flour. This recipe requires 3 teaspoons of baking powder to 2 and a half cups of flour. So a direct swap from plain flour will work fine.
Greek yogurt, plain yogurt, or sour cream to add moisture and a bit of tang.
Eggs bind everything together.
Bananas - ripe and even a bit brown are best for banana bread. This recipe requires two large bananas.
Baking powder acts as a leavening agent for this quick bread recipe. Because this recipe has no baking soda. Make sure your baking powder is fresh (especially if you haven't bought some in a while) by placing a ½ teaspoon into a cup or bowl. Pour about a ¼ cup of boiling water over the baking powder. If it foams and bubbles it is still fresh.
White or brown sugar to sweeten the banana bread. I like using white sugar in this recipe, but either will work.
Sanding sugar/coffee sugar or raw sugar to dust over the top of the banana bread for added crunch. This is an optional extra. For a lower-sugar version of this recipe, leave this out.
Almonds/pecan or chopped walnuts add a delicious flavor to the bread, with some added nutrients.
Room Temperature Ingredients
Use room-temperature ingredients! Using room temperature ingredients ensures that ingredients in the batter or dough will incorporate easier. Take note that room temperature refers to around 20°C/68F.
- To bring eggs to room temperature quickly, place them into warm water for about 10 to 15 minutes.
- To bring butter to room temperature quickly, cut the butter into cubes and zap it in the microwave at 20% power in 10-second intervals. Or place the cubes in a bowl over warm water (such as with a double boiler) over low heat for 1 minute!
- Milk, buttermilk, and cream can be brought to room temperature by zapping in the microwave at 20% power in 10-second intervals. Or on low heat for a minute or two swirling every 10-15 seconds.
- If the butter is too warm/soft for baking - pop it into the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
Weighing & Measuring Ingredients
Weighing ingredients with a kitchen scale is more accurate than using measuring cups. All my recipes are developed and tested using grams only.
However, I have activated the metric-to-cup conversions. Simply click on "cups" or "metric" for your preferred measurements. For these conversions, cups are equal to 240 millilitres/8 fluid ounces, tablespoons are 15 milliliters and teaspoons are 5mL.
Step 1 - Allow all the ingredients to come to room temperature.
Step 2 - Preheat the oven to 180°C/355°F. Prepare a regular loaf tin by lining it with baking paper and setting it aside.
Step 3 - In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the butter, yogurt, eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract.
Step 4 - Add the flour, baking powder, and salt to the wet ingredients and mix until the flour is about halfway mixed through.
Step 5 - Add the mashed bananas and almonds into the batter and fold through until just combined. Do not overmix.
Step 6 - Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin. Score down the middle with a butter knife. And then sprinkle the sugar over the loaf. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean.
Step 7 - Allow the banana bread to cool in the tin for 15-20 minutes before lifting it out and cooling it on a wired cooling rack. Banana bread can be served slightly warm, or at room temperature.
Making Banana Muffins
Follow the instructions above. Divide the batter between 12 regular-sized muffin cases. Top each muffin with ½-1 teaspoon of raw sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out mostly clean.
Expert Tips for this Recipe
Bananas must be overripe. They must be brown and a bit manky looking. This ensures that the banana flavor will really be present in the bread.
Banana bread tastes great freshly baked, but like many foods out there, even better the next day. If you can, let the loaf rest overnight.
This bread can be served as is, with a little butter and maybe a dollop of jam, a smattering of Nutella.
Ovens and Air-Fryers
The temperatures stated are for conventional ovens. For convection, fan-forced, fan-assisted, or air-fryers, the temperature must be reduced by 20°C/25°F.
For baking, make sure the oven is fully preheated, and that the rack is in the middle of the oven. Open the oven as little as possible. For best baking results use an oven thermometer.
Remember that all ovens work slightly differently and bake times may need to be adjusted for your specific oven.
Storage and Freezing
Store this banana bread in an airtight container at room temperature for ⅘ days. Keep in mind that this is a moist quickbread, and should the weather be rather warm, store the bread in the fridge instead.
Alternatively, you can freeze the banana bread by wrapping it in cling film and tin or aluminum foil for up to 3 months.
Banana Bread FAQ
For banana bread - the riper the bananas the better!
No, using too many bananas will result in mushy, dense bread that may seem to be undercooked. If you find you have many overripe bananas, make an additional loaf of banana muffins and freeze them.
First, check the oven temperature using an oven thermometer. If your oven wasn't fully preheated or runs a bit cooler than it should, it will take longer to bake. Additionally, make sure you add the correct amount of bananas. You may be tempted to add in that third large banana but this may result in a mushy dense bread.
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- 60 grams butter (very soft)
- 2 eggs (large)
- 85 grams Greek yogurt (sour cream)
- 150 grams sugar (white/light brown)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 300 grams plain flour (standard-grade/all-purpose)
- 3 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon table salt
- 2 bananas (large, mashed)
- 70 grams slivered almonds
- 25-50 grams raw sugar (sanding/coffee sugar - optional)
- Allow all the ingredients to come to room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/355°F. Prepare a regular loaf tin by lining it with baking paper and set it aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the butter, yoghurt, eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract.60 grams butter, 2 eggs, 85 grams Greek yogurt, 150 grams sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Add the flour, baking powder and salt to the wet ingredients and mix until the flour is about halfway mixed through.300 grams plain flour, 3 teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon table salt
- Add the mashed bananas and almonds into the batter and fold through until combined.2 bananas, 70 grams slivered almonds
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin. Score down the middle with a butter knife. And then sprinkle the sugar over the loaf. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean.25-50 grams raw sugar
Nutrition information is an estimate. If scaling the recipe remember to scale your cook and bakeware accordingly. All temperatures stated are conventional, unless otherwise stated. Recipes tested in grams and at sea level.