Old fashioned moist and delicious banana nut bread is easy using this adapted 1972 Betty Crocker Banana Bread recipe. This is the traditional recipe that your grandmother used.
One of our family's favorite recipes for decades, and we make it as banana nut bread or banana bread, depending on which child is home.
Life doesn't get much better than a house filled with an enticing aroma of banana nut bread and a fresh slice coated with butter in your hand.
Sometimes the best recipes are the old-fashioned recipes. Inspired by the 1972 Betty Crocker Cookbook, this moist and easy banana nut bread recipe is what your grandmother loved.
This is a recipe I have used for years with a few adaptions. But to publish this recipe, I looked far and wide at other recipes—is there something better?
I went to Cooks Illustrated but was rejected—they needed six bananas. What do they do, plan ahead, or something?
Others needed lots of butter and tons of ingredients. I just wanted old fashion banana nut bread. What was so hard about that?
I really couldn't find anything even close to better than what I had been using. Yep, I had just what I wanted, and it came out great.
This is just the best banana bread ever. Moist with great banana flavor.
It shouldn't be a big surprise that the most important part of banana bread is choosing the correct bananas.
The bananas need to be "overripe," which will convert some of the starches to sugar and make the bananas, hence the banana bread sweater. Also, this will make the bread moister and add more flavor. So, the more brown spots, the better.
You can use 2 large to 3 medium bananas. You can push the amount of banana up some and decrease the milk if you want to make it your own.
Depending on your needs, it is OK to add or skip the nuts.
Walnuts are traditional and my choice. Coming in second is pecans, and in third place are any nuts you want to use.
Please only buy the aluminum-free baking powder. The cost and performance are the same, and for many people, aluminum has an unpleasant aftertaste.
There is no baking soda in this recipe. The easy answer to why is that Betty Crocker wanted it way back then, but baking soda does have a bit of sourness, and the baking powder will give a bit more golden crust.
The oil is essential to have a moist and tender texture. You can decrease the fat in many recipes, but it is relatively light here, and you will pay the price in the results. So please don't do that here.
The most common seems to be a half cup of chocolate chips to replace half the nuts.
Some people like cinnamon (about ½ teaspoon) or vanilla extract (1 teaspoon), but these are not flavors I associate with banana bread but if you do, by all means, add them.
👨🍳How to Make Banana Nut Bread
It is this easy. All you need is a couple of bananas with common pantry ingredients.
- Mash 2-3 over-ripe bananas in large bowl.
- Mix all ingredients into the mashed bananas and nuts if you want.
- Pour into one or two prepared loaf pans.
- Bake until a toothpick comes out clean or an internal temperature of 200° to 205°.
This is not one of those little bricks of banana nut bread. As you can see in the pictures, it is a large loaf, so use a standard to larger loaf pan.
If you want that thinner loaf, split the batter into two loaf pans and decrease the baking time.
"Standard" loaf pan size is 8-½ x 4-½ x 2-½ inches. But the length varies between 8 to 9 inches, and width between 4-5 inches, and the height between 2 ½ to 3 ½. There are also some even larger and many much smaller.
I use a loaf pan that is 5 by 8 ½ for one loaf.
I'm old and the traditional way to prep a pan for quick bread is to rub on a light coat of butter (I use a small zip-lock bag) followed by a dusting of flour (over the sink).
However, a good spray of PAM cooking spray will probably be enough.
The old-fashioned toothpick test of inserting a toothpick in the center, and when it comes out clean, it is done.
But if you have no toothpick or don't entirely trust that, cook to an internal temperature of 200° to 205° in the thickest center of the loaf.
The two most important things are not to overcook and to store properly. You can also add an extra banana and decrease the milk by about the same volume.
Like most quick bread, banana nut bread is very nicely stored at room temperature and wrapped well with plastic wrap for 2-3 days. A tight layer of aluminum foil over the plastic wrap helps keep it airtight. The quality seems to deteriorate rapidly after 2-3 days.
Banana nut bread will store well in a freezer for 2-3 months. I suggest wrapping small amounts well and storing them in an airtight container.
This recipe is listed in these categories. See them for more similar recipes.
🖼️Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350°, not convection. Use 2-3 overripe bananas.
Grease and flour a loaf pan with a tablespoon of butter and a little flour. Use two loaf pans if you want thin loaves.
Mash 2-3 overripe bananas in a large mixing bowl.
Add 2 ½ cup all-purpose flour to the mashed bananas, 1 cup sugar, 4 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 3 tablespoons oil, ¾ cup milk, 1 egg, and 1 cup chopped walnuts. Stir to mix or beat at medium speed with a hand mixer for 1-2 minutes, occasionally stopping to scrape sides to be sure to incorporate all the ingredients.
Pour the mixture into the floured pan and smooth with a spatula. Then bake for about one hour until a toothpick comes out clean or an internal temperature of 200° to 205°.
Remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack.
Old Fashioned Banana Nut Bread
- 2-3 bananas - over ripe
- 2 ½ cup AP flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ¾ cup milk
- 1 egg
- 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans - Optional
- Start with 2 large or 3 medium overripe bananas. Preheat the oven to 350°, not convection.
- Mash 2-3 overripe bananas in a large mixing bowl.
- Grease and flour a loaf pan with a tablespoon of butter and a little flour. Use two loaf pans if you want thin loaves.
- Add 2 ½ cup all-purpose flour to the mashed bananas along with 1 cup sugar, 4 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 3 tablespoons oil, ¾ cup milk, 1 egg, and 1 cup chopped walnuts. Stir to mix or beat at medium speed with a hand mixer for 1-2 minutes, occasionally stopping to scrape sides to be sure to incorporate all the ingredients.,
- Pour the mixture into the floured pan and smooth with a spatula. Then bake for about one hour until a toothpick comes out clean or an internal temperature of 200° to 205°.
- Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.
My Private Notes
- You need 2 large or 3 medium overripe bananas. You can vary that some with no change in the recipe but if unsure, decrease the milk a bit.
- "Standard" loaf pan size is 8-½ x 4-½ x 2-½ inches. For the single loaf here, use the standard or slightly bigger. For two shorter loaves use standard or a bit smaller.
- If you choose to make two shorter loaves, the cooking time will decrease by 15-20 minutes, so check early.
- The old fashion toothpick test of inserting a toothpick in the center and when it comes out clean it is done. But if you have no toothpick or you don't quite trust that, cook to an internal temperature of 200° to 205° in the thickest center of the loaf.
- Store at room temperature wrapped airtight for 2-3 days. On the fourth day, the quality will deteriorate.
- You can freeze banana bread for 2-3 months. I suggest wrapping small amounts well and storing them in an airtight container.
To adjust the recipe size:
You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.
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Originally published January 26, 2012. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.