Kristen’s Family Banana Bread

October 11, 2021
27 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland. Food Stylist: Lauren Lapenna. Prop Stylist: Sophia Pappas.
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 45 minutes
  • makes two 9x5-inch loaves
Author Notes

This is the banana bread I'll always come back to. Maybe because I can get two flawless loaves in under 15 minutes of work. Maybe because I can tweak it with what's on hand (and haven't broken it yet). Or maybe because it's the one my mom's been making since I was a baby, so it just tastes like home.

Recipe adapted by Peggy Cooley, Susan Miglore, and Kristen Miglore from A Plan for All Seasons: A Menu Cookbook by the Stanford Junior Women of Pasadena. Here are a few other recommended riffs we’ve tried: sprinkling the nuts on top, swapping up to 25 percent of the all-purpose flour for a whole-grain flour, and decreasing or increasing the sugar slightly (the original recipe called for 2 cups, but Kristen decreased that to make room for the sugary topping). This particular iteration tastes even better on day two.

Hear more from Kristen on why this banana bread is the one she and her family always return to on The Genius Recipe Tapes. —Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Kristen’s Family Banana Bread
  • 1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for buttering the pans
  • 6 very ripe large bananas (frozen and thawed work great)
  • cups (350 grams) granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • cups (315 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup (170 grams) chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips (optional)
  • 1 cup (113 grams) chopped nuts, such as walnuts or pecans (optional)
  • Turbinado or other sugar for sprinkling on top (optional)
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Butter two 9x5-inch loaf pans. (A loaf pan plus an 8-inch cake pan also works well, but note that the shallower pan will bake faster.)
  2. In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a potato masher.
  3. Mix in the butter, sugar, and eggs well.
  4. In a medium bowl, sift (or whisk) together the flour, salt, and baking soda, and add to the banana batter.
  5. Stir just until the flour mostly disappears. Add the optional chocolate and/or nuts, then stir just until no streaks of flour are visible.
  6. Pour into the buttered loaf pans (feel free to mix and match pans, but no pan should be more than ⅔ full). Sprinkle a thin layer of turbinado sugar on top.
  7. Bake until the top is dry and deep golden brown, and springs back when lightly pressed with a finger in the center. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out dry or with moist crumbs clinging (and maybe chocolate streaks, but no wet batter), 35 to 45 minutes, or less for shallower pans.
  8. Let the loaves cool until warm, about 30 minutes, then unmold, or let cool fully in the pan (handy for storage). Store tightly covered at room temperature.

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Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

16 Reviews

Yvonne M. November 28, 2023
This recipe one of the easiest to memorize! Not complicated at all, and delicious! Say less!
jgerba January 11, 2023
I have made this recipe about a dozen times so far with my little kids — it's terrific. Tastes equally delicious with whole wheat flour and coconut sugar (and you can't say that for every recipe). We're keeping it in heavy rotation!
Joyce January 2, 2023
I have made this recipe five times and each time my family enjoys it more than the last. It's simple and quick. I've made it with and without the chocolate chips and walnuts, and it's delicious either way!
Nina August 3, 2022
I made this and it was very easy and delicious. A foolproof recipe because most of my banana bread comes out dense and heavy like a brick.
Rosalind P. February 1, 2022
I swapped out 1/3 of the white flour for whole wheat. Cake was delicious. I'm going to try half whole wheat.
jenny January 1, 2022
Gloppy in the middle -- could have used another 10 minutes even though I inserted a toothpick that came out clean and the exterior was nice and golden brown.
Sara G. December 12, 2021
Simple and so delicious! Baked two loaves yesterday and another two today. Leaving in the oven a bit longer than recipe calls for, was still wet in the middle after 45 minutes, but came out brown, and so good! Thank you Kristen!
cpamaral December 6, 2021
Best banana bread I have made, so good make 3 times in one week. My new family favourite! Thank you Kristen for sharing this family treasure.
[email protected] October 20, 2021
This banana bread recipe is perfect! I added the chocolate chips and walnuts. Big hit!! Saved!!
carswell October 16, 2021
My recipe is a stripped down version of this one - less fat and considerably less sugar. I usually use brown sugar instead of white and my preference for spicing is to use a generous amount of cardamom over cinnamon. If I’m short on my supply of frozen bananas I will use some applesauce to make up the difference.

I’m another one who doesn’t care for chocolate in banana bread. I’m ambivalent on walnuts, sometimes I put them in but not usually.
liliana December 24, 2021
I'm with you 100%. Used 1 1/2 cups brown sugar and it was more than sweet enough. Cardamom and cinnamon make a difference.
Have never understood why North Americans over-sweeten everything as this kills flavour.
Money555 August 12, 2022
Oversweetens everything??? Sweetie, that’s YOUR opinion. And that comment is rude.
Kathy D. November 1, 2022
There is no cinnamon in the recipe, is there?
Lisa L. October 13, 2021
Banana bread is controversial. People love it or they hate it. If they love it, it's usually a specific one with which they grew up and nothing else compares. I've tried a number of recipes & will try this one, but our family go-to is a one-egg, much-less-butter recipe that I made my own by adding a fistful of chopped toasted pecans & another of shredded unsweetened coconut. The combo is divine. I'm with your parents re the chocolate. I find the combo of banana and chocolate too sweet, but will give yours a go.
Doris October 13, 2021
I agree. I had to create my own recipe bc I found most of them too sweet. And store bought Banana Bread tastes artificial. So, less butter with shredded coconut and pecans sounds wonderful. I add tahini & sesame seeds plus chocolate chunks to the top of my version.
Kris P. November 23, 2022
Oooo, coconut! Hadn’t thought of that but must try.