This Old Fashioned Banana Bread recipe is adapted from the 1972 Betty Crocker cookbook. It is a super moist and easy classic banana bread recipe with only two bananas and common pantry ingredients. Add some nuts to make the best banana nut bread like Grandma would make.
Pantry ingredients—all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, vegetable oil, salt
Nuts—(optional) chopped walnuts or pecans -
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Featured Comment from Barbara: "5 stars, I love this recipe. So easy to make and delicious to eat."
Life doesn't get much better than a house filled with an enticing aroma of banana bread and a fresh slice coated with butter in your hand for breakfast, brunch, or dessert.
For decades, this has been our family's favorite recipe for making the best banana nut bread. It's easy, based on the cookbook Grandma would use—follow the simple step-by-step photo instructions.
👨🍳How to Make Banana Bread—Step-by-Step
1. Preheat the oven to 350°, not convection.
2. Grease and flour a loaf pan with a tablespoon of butter and a little flour. If you want thin loaves, use two loaf pans.
3. Mash 2-3 overripe bananas in a large mixing bowl. Add 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour to the mashed bananas, 1 cup sugar, 4 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 3 tablespoons oil, ¾ cup milk, 1 egg, and 1 cup chopped walnuts.
4. 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, but do not over-mix.
5. Pour the mixture into the floured pan and smooth with a rubber spatula.
6. 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.
For more details, keep reading. See the Recipe Card below for complete printable instructions.
⏲️How long to bake banana bread?
About 1 hour, give or take a little, for a large single loaf in a "standard" loaf pan size (8½ x 4½ x 2½ inches) or bigger.
For two shorter loaves, divide the batter and use standard or a bit smaller loaf pans. The cooking time will decrease by 15-20 minutes, but check early.
The old-fashioned toothpick test involves inserting a toothpick in the center and checking whether it comes out clean when it's 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.
Options and variations
The most common variation is using half a cup of chocolate chips to replace half the nuts.
Some people like cinnamon or nutmeg (about ½ teaspoon) or vanilla extract (1 teaspoon), but these are not flavors I associate with banana bread. If you do, by all means, add them.
✔️Tips to make it right every time
- Use ripe bananas—as they ripen, they become sweeter as starch breaks down and flavors intensify.
- You can use 2 large to 3 medium bananas. You can increase the amount of bananas slightly and decrease the milk if you wish.
- Nuts are optional, but chopped walnuts are traditional. Some people prefer pecans. You can skip the nuts if you want.
- Please only buy aluminum-free baking powder. The cost and performance are the same, and aluminum has an unpleasant aftertaste for many people.
- This version does not contain baking soda, which is slightly sour. The baking powder will give it a little more golden brown crust and a lighter texture.
- Using buttermilk (or substitute) will give more rise from the baking powder and a softer result.
- Do not try to make this a healthy recipe—it is not. It is already relatively light in oil, and any decrease will make it less moist and tender.
⬇️How to make this a "for two" friendly banana bread
This is an easy recipe to cut in half. The full recipe makes make one large loaf or two smaller loaves. To make banana bread more "for two" friendly, you can make one smaller loaf in a "standard" loaf pan size (8½ x 4½ x 2½ inches) or smaller.
- Use the recipe card and adjust the number of servings to half.
- Use the amount of ingredients in the ingredient list, not the instructions—those do not adjust.
- Cooking time will decrease by 15-20 minutes, but check earlier than that several times and watch for the endpoints.
How to store banana bread?
Like most quick bread, banana bread can be 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 days.
Banana bread will store well in a freezer for 3 months. I suggest wrapping small amounts well and storing them in an airtight container.
This is not one of those little bricks of banana nut bread. As you can see in the pictures, it is a large loaf with a bit of a "muffin top," 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 8½ x 4½ x 2½ inches. But the length varies between 8 to 9 inches, the width between 4-5 inches, and the height between 2½ to 3½. Some are even larger, and many that are much smaller.
I use a loaf pan that is 5 by 8½ 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 two most important things are not to overcook and to store correctly. You can add an extra banana and decrease the milk by about the same volume. Do not decrease the oil.
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Old Fashioned Banana Bread
- 2-3 bananas - over ripe
- 2 ½ cup AP flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 teaspoons baking powder - aluminum-free
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ¾ cup milk
- 1 egg
- 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans - Optional
- Preheat the oven to 350°, not convection.
- Grease and flour a loaf pan with a tablespoon of butter and a little flour. If you want thin loaves, use two loaf pans.
- Mash 2-3 overripe bananas in a large mixing bowl. Add 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour to the mashed bananas, 1 cup sugar, 4 teaspoons 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, but do not over-mix.
- Pour the mixture into the floured pan and smooth with a rubber spatula.
- 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.
Your Own 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 8½ x 4½ x 2½ 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.