Bake

Our 10 Most Popular Banana Breads of All Time

Plus, a brand-new bonus recipe, straight from our test kitchen.

September 26, 2019
Photo by Ty Mecham. Prop stylist: Amanda Widis. Food stylist: Anna Billingskog.

In most cases, when fruit starts to discolor, pucker, and even ooze, it’s time to chuck it in the compost bin. But not bananas. Because when bananas are overripe for eating, they’re just right for baking.

Since Food52 started (did you know we’re 10 years old this year?), we’ve collected more than our share of banana bread recipes—from a tried-and-true classic to espresso-spiked. Today, we’re sharing the 10 most popular of all time.


Our Most Popular Banana Bread Recipes

10. Caramel-Rum Banana Bread

Caramel bits and a big splash of rum make this banana bread one of a kind. You could chop up caramel candies—or make your own with this recipe from Claire Ptak of Violet Bakery in London.

9. Miso-Banana Bread

Like salt, miso rejiggers desserts from sweet and, um, sweet to balanced and complex. In this case, it’s a banana bread game changer. Yi Jun Loh calls for white miso, but feel free to play around and try saltier, funkier red miso, or a mix.

8. Cream Cheese Banana Bread

Two types of dairy—cream cheese and Greek yogurt (or crème fraîche)—make this banana bread extra moist and rich. And, although it’s an optional ingredient, we love how a handful of millet adds a seedy crunch.

7. Chocolate-Almond Banana Bread

Ripe bananas are already plenty sweet. Unsweetened cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate tone down the sugariness, yielding a loaf that’s as fudgy as it is fruity.

6. Brown Butter Banana Bread With Peanut Streusel

Think banana with peanut butter is a perfect afternoon snack? Then this banana bread is for you. It’s inherently nutty from brown butter, then topped with a salty, peanutty streusel, which swirls itself into the loaf.

5. Espresso Banana Bread

Inspired by a coffee-banana smoothie, this banana bread gets a caffeine jolt from two sources: a shot of espresso (aka jet fuel; strong coffee works, too) and instant espresso powder. Which, yes, means it’s perfect for breakfast.

4. Grain-Free Banana Bread

Instead of the usual all-purpose flour, this loaf turns to almond flour, arrowroot powder, and buckwheat flour. But those aren’t the only flavors that make it special. There’s also maple syrup, coconut oil, and crushed hazelnuts.

3. Banana Bread Blondies

Who would’ve guessed that our bronze-medal banana bread is actually a blondie? In 2015, when it was published, our editors wrote, “Somewhere around our fifth blondie—in which the sweet cakiness of banana bread is condensed into fudge-like creations—we asked ourselves: Why didn't we think of this?” And I’m wondering the same thing.

2. Brown Butter Bourbon Banana Bread

Say that five times fast. Ironically (or maybe on purpose?), this recipe’s secret ingredients all start with a b: brown butter, bourbon, buttermilk, and brown sugar. But my favorite part is how you caramelize the bananas.

1. Banana Bread

Don’t you love when the simplest iteration of something is also the most popular? This recipe is a longtime family favorite for our co-founder Merrill Stubbs. “People seem to have strong opinions about what makes a good banana bread. For me, it's about walking that fine line between dry and overly squidgy (as Nigella would say). That's why I've stayed loyal to this recipe all these years,” she said. “It is very banana-y, especially if you use super soft, overripe bananas. If I'm going to make banana bread, I want it to taste like bananas!” Me too, Merrill. Me too.


Bonus Recipe!

Best Banana Nut Bread

A couple months ago, our test kitchen set out to create its own ultimate version of this classic. We tortured ourselves obsessed debated thoughtfully considered questions like: Which type of sugar brings out the biggest banana flavor? Granulated, light brown, dark brown, a mix? What about butter versus oil? How much vanilla? Many tests later, we landed on a recipe that checked all our boxes: banana-iest flavor, not too sweet, moist-tender crumb, delightfully nutty.

What's your go-to banana bread recipe? Share in the comments!
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Emma is a writer and recipe developer at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing articles about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now she lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's cooking column, Big Little Recipes, all about big flavor and little ingredient lists. And see what she's up to on Instagram and Twitter at @emmalaperruque.

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