This is the perfect banana bread: moist, sweet, and very easy to make. The recipe is for a plain loaf, but you can add chips or nuts. Roasting bananas makes them sweeter and ready to use, so you don't have to wait for bananas to ripen, you can make this quick bread even if you only have green fruit! It keeps well and can be frozen.
I love finding overripe bananas in the market. They're usually cast aside to a corner, already bagged and weighed so people don't have to go through the messy business of touching them. Just grab them. Then go home and bake your absolute-best-ever banana bread. Either that or you find blackened bananas in your fridge or wherever it is that you keep them. Again.
But, what if I want to make banana bread right now and they are all bright yellow and firm, even a bit green? Am I supposed to wait an entire week before I bake? I might not feel like it by then. Yes, life is tough.
In comes this recipe with the simplest trick to help banana bread lovers everywhere. By roasting bananas in the oven, you soften them and they concentrate the flavor so they're ready to be used.
This is an old-fashioned banana bread recipe that uses everyday ingredients.
- Bananas: use overripe or roasted bananas, they both work of course.
- Oil: I like to use sunflower, but I've made it with olive oil with great results.
- Sugar: I love using both white and brown sugar, similar to what we use in chocolate chip cookies.
- Eggs: fresh are always recommended.
- Flour: all purpose flour always works, and I've also made it with cake flour with great results.
- Salt: it brings out the flavors. I like kosher salt.
- Baking powder and baking soda: these are the leavening agents in the bread that will make it rise beautifully when it bakes.
- Lemon juice: just a tiny bit to tenderize the crumb and help the baking soda (it needs acid to balance it).
Best bananas for baking
We all know that the best banana for this type of recipe is one that is overripe, soft, mushy, that smells barely fermented with spotted skin.
You probably wouldn't eat it raw, but it does make the best bread. Why? Because the flesh is sweeter and the banana flavor of the bread is more intense. That doesn't happen with very firm bananas.
Enter this recipe for roasted banana bread. Where you roast your underripe bananas and half an hour later have soft, sweet bananas for your bread.
How to roast the bananas
- Whole: simply bake them in a medium oven (350°F/180°C) whole, unpeeled. After a half hour or so, they will turn completely dark, almost black. Not nice people, on that we can all agree (image below). But it's just the skin that is blackened. Inside it's soft and caramelized. You will understand the second you peel the banana how this changes everything.
- Without skin: you can also peel them, sprinkle with some sugar (optional) and bake in a aluminum pouch (a large piece of foil where you place the fruit and then close by lifting the edges and closing them together at the top) until soft and juicy.
- The eggs are beaten with the sugar until thick, about 1 minute and then the oil is added in a stream. The batter will be silky and unctuous. Add the mashed bananas, vanilla and the buttermilk (or use 2 teaspoon milk and 1 teaspoon lemon juice).
- I like some banana chunks to show, I feel it gives the bread a good texture.
- Sift the dry ingredients beforehand or have them measured and sift them directly over the batter (I do it this way). At this point I like to use a spatula to integrate well. If you use the hand beater make sure you beat at low speed just until combined.
- A tablespoon of sugar is sprinkled just before baking and it makes a wonderfully crunchy topping! You can also top with a raw banana, like we do in the chocolate chip banana bread recipe.
- Bananas: roasting them means you can use very firm or even greenish bananas and the flavor will be amazing. Besides roasting them whole in the oven, you can also peel them, sprinkle with some sugar and bake in a aluminum pouch until soft and juicy.
- Add-ons: chocolate chips, walnuts, pecans, white chocolate chips... a half cup of any or a mix of these and you have a fabulous flavored roasted banana bread.
- Oil: use oil instead of butter. The same volume, that is half a cup. Coconut is my favorite, but I've used sunflower, canola, and even olive oil.
- Keeping: as with most banana bread recipes, it tastes much better a day (or two) after it's baked. It freezes well, well wrapped. Defrost at room t°, unwrapped. I recommend warming it or toasting it before eating.
Other recipes you might like:
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This is the perfect banana bread. Moist, sweet, very easy to make, and you don't even have to wait for bananas to ripen!
- 2 cups (280g) all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ cup oil (I use sunflower)
- ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup packed (100g) brown sugar
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 2 cups coarsely mashed bananas (3 or 4 depending on the size)
- 2 tablespoons buttermilk (or use 2 scant tablespoons milk and 1 teaspoon lemon juice)
- Drops of vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon extra sugar, for sprinkling
- Grease one 11x4-inch (27x9cm) loaf pan.
- Preheat oven to 350ºF/180ºC.
- Place unpeeled bananas on a baking tray and roast until the skin turns completely dark and the inside is lightly soft to the touch, around 40 minutes. Let cool and mash.
- In a bowl sift together flour, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
- In a bowl beat eggs with sugar until they start to thicken.
- Add oil in a stream and beat until completely incorporated.
- Add bananas, buttermilk, and vanilla. Mix well.
- Add flour mixture in 2 parts and mix with a spatula until well combined.
- Pour into prepared pan.
- Sprinkle the top with granulated sugar.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes or until tester inserted comes out clean.
- Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes.
- Invert and cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.
- Store, covered, at room temperature, for 3 days. If the room is too warm I suggest keeping it in the fridge after the second day.
Bananas: roasting them means you can use very firm or even greenish bananas and the flavor will be amazing.
Add-ins: chocolate chips, walnuts, pecans, white chocolate chips... a half cup of any or a mix of these and you have a fabulous flavored roasted banana bread.
Butter: use butter instead of oil. The same volume, that is half a cup. Originally, I made it with butter and it's amazing.
Storing: as with most banana bread recipes, it tastes much better a day (or two) after it's baked. It freezes well, well wrapped. Defrost at room t°, unwrapped. I recommend warming it or toasting it before eating.
Keywords: roasted banana bread
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Complete Book of Baking