Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

Everyone needs a reliable banana bread recipe — I adapted this one from Cooking Light.


Bananas are a staple in my kitchen. Great for potassium. And peanut butter, banana and honey sandwiches. And topping a bowl of cereal. But the last two of the bunch are sometimes too ripe by the time I’m ready to eat them. And this means banana bread! I smoosh them up with a fork and put them in a container in the frig (or freezer) until I’m ready to bake.

I’ve been using this adapted recipe from Cooking Light for a long time. It’s supposedly “light” but I think that will depend on how many slices you have.

This weekend I added 2 cups of bananas because that’s what I wanted to use up. The excess caused the bread to have a moist banana-y center which is fine but that texture may not appeal to everyone. This bread freezes well wrapped in plastic, then foil and placed in a freezer bag. Sometimes I’ll cut a loaf in half before freezing so that I only have to defrost a little at a time.

What else do you do with your over-ripe bananas? I sometimes freeze chunks for smoothies, but that’s about the only other idea I have.

Classic Banana Bread

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas, about 3 bananas
  • 1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt or low-fat sour cream (or vanilla yogurt)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup toasted chopped walnuts or pecans
  • Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350. Combine flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, stirring with a whisk.

Beat sugars and butter in a mixer until well-blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add banana, yogurt and vanilla. Beat until blended. Add flour mixture, beat at low speed just until moist. Fold in nuts.

Put batter into loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on rack. Remove from pan and cool completely. This usually doesn’t happen – it’s too tempting to have a warm slice.

13 thoughts on “Banana Bread

  1. Susan says:

    This recipe looks great. I’m going to try it next time my bananas sit too long.

    The other thing I do with overripe bananas is put a stick in them and put them in the freezer; they taste like a banana popsicle. Yes, I have easy access to my inner 8 year old!!

    1. deirdrereid says:

      I love the texture of frozen bananas. I’ve never made a banana popsicle, that would be a great summertime healthy treat. Thanks Susan!

  2. Trish Koch says:

    I must be lazy, I just stick the over-ripe banana in the freezer without peeling, mashing or containering. Works for short term freezing.

    1. deirdrereid says:

      I used to do that too, Trish, but I noticed this summer that the bananas held too much moisture after defrosting. After years of doing it your way, there were a few times this summer when my bread didn’t cook through the way I wanted even though it was in the oven forever. Maybe I had a freezer hiccup that caused it or maybe it’s the damn electric oven. I miss my gas stove/oven. I’m in the land of electric ovens here.

  3. Trish Koch says:

    Yep, they are watery – extra mushey from the freezer. I have a gas oven, and it seems to work OK for banana bread, but I don’t make it that often.

  4. Scott says:

    My little secret is that you can doll up a boxed (?!!?) banana bread mix by adding that overripe, smushed-up banana (or two) and everyone will wonder what your scratch recipe is …

    1. deirdrereid says:

      Gasp! Scott, I am so disillusioned. You want to hear something funny, Mark R. from my pastry shop used boxed yellow cake mixes sometimes at home. Him, of all people! Either that or he was pulling my leg, but I’m pretty sure he was serious. Said they had the recipe down pat. In case you were wondering, everything is made from scratch at the shop, and with butter (not shortening).

  5. MBauer says:

    I’m gonna make this this snowy morning!

    1. deirdrereid says:

      Yay! Share with us any changes you made and how it turned out for you.

  6. Scott says:

    Had a banana on my Cheerios the morning!

  7. Liz Cies says:

    Hmmm.. I have some over-ripe bananas in the kitchen, so I might just have to try this tomorrow!

    1. deirdrereid says:

      Thanks for visiting, Liz. It’s an easy and never-fail recipe for me. I hope you like it!

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