Whether you’ve always had a passion for baking or just want to get better at making delicious treats, then the best way to improve your skills is to start off easy. Banana bread is a simple dessert you can make using ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen pantry.
And not only is it simple to make — it’s also super versatile. Depending on preference, dietary restrictions and what you have on hand you can combine different ingredients to create a new flavor and eat it at any time of the day. Here are all the ways you can use one recipe as a starting place and customize it, whether you want vegan banana bread or a healthy banana bread recipe.
How do I make banana bread from scratch?
If you have overripe bananas lying around, then it’s the perfect time to make banana bread. All you have to do is mash those bananas and mix them together with the rest of the ingredients. Stick it in the oven and within an hour, your family members will be lured into the kitchen by its lovely smell. Trust us, they will thank you.
What can I substitute for brown sugar?
Our personal preference in this recipe is brown sugar, but we’ve made it with regular granulated sugar and know that also works well. If you are avoiding refined sugar, then coconut sugar is an excellent alternative. You can also maple syrup, honey or agave instead; typically the rule is to use ¾ cup liquid sweetener for every cup of sugar (for this particular recipe, that would be a slightly overflowing ½ cup of syrup).
What can I substitute for butter?
Whether you are lactose intolerant or out of butter, you’ve got options. You can substitute the butter in this recipe for the same amount of applesauce or coconut oil or about ⅞ the amount of oil (vegetable or canola oil is common but olive oil or any other oils will work too, though they may change the flavor). Even plain yogurt can be used in place of the butter in this recipe in a pinch.
What can I substitute for eggs?
Don’t panic if you are out of eggs, are vegan or have an egg allergy. One of our favorite egg substitutes is a “flax egg.” Simply mix together 1 ½ tablespoon ground flaxseed (flaxseed meal) with 2 ½ tablespoons water, then let it sit for about 5 minutes until it has thickened and gelled slightly. To substitute two eggs in a recipe, double the flax egg. You can also use chia seeds instead of flax. Another option is to swap in a mixture of 2 tablespoons water, 2 teaspoons baking powder and 1 teaspoon vegetable oil per large egg. For the most surprising egg substitute (that actually works), try using ¼ cup unflavored seltzer per large egg. Seriously.
What can I substitute for milk?
Any plant-based milk substitute will work in place of cow’s milk. If you have a can of evaporated milk in the pantry, you can mix it with one part water and use it instead. And sour cream or yogurt is a wonderful baking substitute for milk to help achieve that nice moist texture.
How can I make banana bread healthier?
If you are looking for a healthy banana bread recipe, then many of the swaps already mentioned may achieve your desired effect (like replacing the butter with applesauce, trading the sugar for a non-refined sweetener, and swapping in a flax egg for a chicken one). To take it a step further, you can also substitute all or half of the all-purpose flour for whole wheat flour (the more whole wheat flour you use, the denser the bread will be, but it will still be tasty). You can also use a few tablespoons of flax meal in place of some flour. If you are gluten-free, you can try gluten-free “all-purpose” flour, but the texture will likely be different.
What mix-ins can I add to banana bread?
Of course, bananas are a key ingredient to making the bread, but you can also try adding other fresh fruits like strawberries or blueberries to give it an extra fruity flavor. We probably don’t have to tell you twice to try adding up to 1 cup of chocolate chips, but you can also play around with the kind of chocolate as well as use nuts (especially walnuts or pecans) or chopped dried fruit. For an upgrade, try swirling in some peanut butter or Nutella before baking To change the flavor a bit, you can experiment with the spices; instead of cinnamon you can use pumpkin pie or apple pie spice, or try adding a pinch of cardamom to the mix. The possibilities are endless.
If you have no clue where to start, this easy banana bread recipe will show you the way. There are plenty of ways you can play around with banana bread that fits your taste (you can even turn them into muffins instead!). And if you need more ideas on different kinds of banana bread you can make, then we have recipes you can use for every day of the week.
2–3 overripe bananas
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Step 1: Preheat oven to 350F.
Step 2: Lightly grease a 9-x-5-inch loaf pan with butter or nonstick cooking spray.
Step 3: In a small bowl, cut bananas into small chunks then mash with a masher or a fork (you should have about 1 cup). Set aside.
Step 4: In a large bowl, mix together 2 cups flour, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Step 5: Stir in 1/2 cup melted butter to dry ingredients.
Step 6: Add the eggs one at a time, fully mixing the first egg into the batter before adding the next.
Step 7: Add 1/4 cup milk, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and mashed bananas to the batter. Mix until all ingredients are combined.
Step 8: Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes, until a toothpick or knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Step 10: Let the bread cool for 10 minutes in the pan before slicing.
Note: You can keep homemade banana bread in a container or zip-top bag on the counter for up to four days. Alternatively, it freezes beautifully. You can wrap up the whole loaf in foil and plastic wrap, or freeze individual slices in a freezer bag. To defrost a whole loaf, just take it out of the freezer and bring to room temp. Slices can be microwaved for a few seconds at a time until just warm, and then toasted if you like.