The easiest banana bread recipe I’ve ever made uses just one bowl, no mixer, and has a perfectly plush, soft texture using melted butter, Greek yogurt, and a bit of brown sugar. Add an extra sprinkle of sugar over top before baking for a caramelized crust!
I’ve made a lot of banana bread in my time. You probably have too.
If that’s true, then you know how surprisingly elusive a truly amazing banana bread can be.
Sometimes they’re too sweet. Sometimes they’re over-mixed and tough. Sometimes they’re heavy, or worse, greasy. Sometimes they have unmashed chunks of banana in the batter (gross). Sometimes they lack sufficient fat and have a nasty gummy texture. Sometimes they’re just plain bland.
You get the idea.
The other issue is that many banana bread recipes are overly complicated. Do a google search for “banana bread” and you’ll find many recipes claiming to be “the best” or “award-winning”, but not many claiming to be easy.
The thing about banana bread is, it’s a humble breakfast bread (or dessert bread; you may already know this, but it’s amazing warm with vanilla ice cream). It’s not trying to be a frosted cake or a perfectly shaped pastry. Banana bread is supposed to be homey and comforting. It’s supposed to be simple and easy, something you can make on a weeknight without ruining your kitchen or staying up all night.
And above all, it’s supposed to be soft, sweet, and reliably delicious.
What makes an easy banana bread recipe?
I set out to create the ultimate, go-to, never-fail, easiest banana bread recipe out there. And here are the things I think a great banana bread recipe needs:
- This recipe does not require:
- multiple bowls,
- a mixer,
- creaming of butter and sugar,
- browning of butter,
- swirling of multiple batters, or
- the making of streusels.
- This recipe does require:
- only one bowl,
- a few simple ingredients that most people have on hand, and
- about an hour in total including baking time.
This is my masterpiece. This, the easiest and also the best banana bread recipe I’ve ever had, provides the following:
- totally delivers on taste and texture:
- just sweet enough, but not overpowering;
- soft, but not gooey;
- densely crumbed, but not heavy;
- structured, but not tough;
- a complex, yet purely banana flavor, not encumbered by any other distraction.
I’ll be honest, it took me about 3 years to perfect. This was no small task.
In the process of developing this recipe, I read and experimented with a LOT of banana bread recipes. Over time, I narrowed down a set of criteria that I believe make for the best easy banana bread. Some of this comes down to taste, and some to science – which we all know are interrelated when it comes to baking!
Tips for success with the easiest banana bread:
- Use extremely overripe bananas and mash them REALLY thoroughly. I routinely use bananas that have gone completely brown because their flavor is at their sweetest and most concentrated. It makes for the best banana flavor in the final product. Mash the heck out of the bananas and get them as smooth as possible for the best texture in your bread. This is much easier with very ripe bananas; I use a fork but you could also use a potato masher or even an immersion blender.
- Use melted butter for flavor and moisture. There’s nothing quite like the flavor of butter, and in order to make this as easy as possible (i.e. no creaming), we’ll use melted butter. It just adds to the moisture of the overall product. If you don’t have or don’t want to use butter, however, you can use olive oil or coconut oil as a 1:1 replacement.
- Use a mixture of brown sugar and white sugar. Some recipes call for one or the other, but I find the flavor and texture to be best when you use half granulated (for sweetness) and half brown sugar (for moisture and softness).
- Use full fat plain Greek yogurt or sour cream for the best texture and flavor. You need to use this for a few reasons: (i) the acidic yogurt/sour cream reacts with the baking soda (a base) to produce the best rise; (ii) the slight sourness offsets the sweetness of the bananas, producing superior flavor; (iii) it yields the softest final product and allows us to cut back a bit on the butter.
- Stir the flour in only until JUST combined. Over-mixing will develop too much gluten and yield a tough bread. Just stir until there are no longer pockets of flour, then stop. Preferably, stir with a fork or a spatula so you have maximum control.
- Sprinkle sugar on top of the batter before baking. Ideally, use turbinado or raw sugar, but regular granulated works too. You only need about a tablespoon. This yields a shattering, crispy crust on the top as the sugar caramelizes during baking, and it makes a good banana bread into an excellent banana bread.
So, there you have it. I did all the experimenting so you don’t have to. I hope you try this recipe and love it as much as I do! Please let me know what you think if you try it!
More Banana Recipes
- Double Chocolate Banana Bread
- Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies
- Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins
- Baked Banana Donuts with Dark Chocolate Glaze
The Easiest Banana Bread
- 1 loaf pan (9"x5" or 8.5"x4.5")
- 1/4 cup (56g) unsalted butter (4 tbsp or 1/2 a stick)
- 3 overripe bananas (the browner, the better)
- 1/3 cup (66g) granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup (66g) brown sugar (packed)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup (56g) plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 and 1/2 cups (188g) all-purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon (11g) turbinado sugar (or additional granulated sugar, for sprinkling on top of the batter)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease an 8.5 x 4.5″ or 9 x 5″ loaf pan and set aside.
- Melt the butter and add to a large bowl (I just microwave the butter in this bowl to melt it). Add the bananas to the bowl and mash them very thoroughly into the melted butter until completely smooth, using a fork or potato masher.
- Whisk in the granulated sugar and brown sugar until well-combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, and whisk in each until well-combined. Add the yogurt, vanilla, salt, and baking soda to the mixture and stir until thoroughly combined and smooth.
- Add the flour all at once and stir with a fork or a spatula until a batter just comes together and no big flour pockets remain. Do not over-mix!
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth it out. Sprinkle the additional tablespoon of turbinado or granulated sugar evenly over top.
- Bake for 45-55 minutes (you will need the shorter time with a 9"x5" pan and the longer time with a 8.5"x4.5" pan), until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean or with just a couple crumbs attached.
- Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely (if you can stand to wait that long).
Like this recipe? Please rate it and leave a comment or tag me on Instagram @katiebirdbakes, and sign up for my email list to receive my recipes straight to your inbox every time I post!
Update to my first comment! Couldn’t wait for it to totally cool! Ate the end piece while it was still warm…delicious! As good as any cake!
So wonderful to hear that Juli! thank you so much for the review!!
Just made the cinnamon swirl version! Super easy! It looks and smells delish! Excited to eat it!
My new go-to recipe for a quick treat. Love the addition of greek yoghurt. Pretty much every recipe I’ve tried on this page has been a hit. Thank you!
Yay! Thank you Liliane!
Can I use gluten free flour
Other readers have said yes but I have not tried it myself.
Absolute home run with this recipe!!! Tastes exactly how I want a banana bread to taste like and super easy to make.
YAY! Thank you Michelle!
This is by far the best banana bread I’ve ever made! Perfectly moist and the perfect amount of banana flavour! I love how easy and simple this recipe is, and the fact it’s made in one bowl is even better! I highly recommend this recipe to everyone!! Thank you so much Katie, this is the best banana bread ever!💕👍
Thank you so much Ila!! I’m so glad you enjoyed this!
Best banana bread I’ve made, and the flavor I’ve been looking for. I did add 1/2 cup walnuts as well.
My new banana bread! Thanks
Thank you Joyce!! So glad you loved it! Great idea with the walnuts.
Love the simplicity of this recipe ( as well as your one bowl chocolate chip cookies, delicious)
Super easy and delicious
Thank you so much, Julie! So glad you love it!
I am vegan so can you tell what can be Substitue of egg
You can use a flax egg, chia egg, or a commercial egg replacer!
I’ve made this bread several times and absolutely love how easy it is to follow. It tastes amazing! Thank you for sharing!
Thank you Nancy! It’s a favorite around here!
PS,I used creme fraiche as that’s what I had in the fridge 🤭
Glad to know creme fraiche works! Thank you!
Haven’t baked a cake for years,this turned out perfect and is so delicious and best of all so easy 😊
I’m so happy to hear that! Thank you Jane!
Could I make this in muffin trays
Hi Cheyenne – yes, this recipe will make about 12 muffins. Bake at 350 for 18-22 minutes, they are done when a tester in the middle comes out clean!
This is the best banana bread recipe ever! It’s so easy and the loaf turns out moist, light and irresistible! I’ve started to memorize this recipe because I made it so many times.
Thank you so much, Jane!! I know the recipe by heart at this point too 😉
I made your banana bread yesterday and it was delicious! Very moist and just the right amount of sweetness. That little bit of sugar on top gives it a nice finishing touch. Thank you for sharing!
Thank you Deborah! I love the sugar crunch on top too 🙂
This is the best banana bread recipe i’ve made. Its pretty close to starbucks banana bread, which i love. Very moist. I even did 1/2 whole wheat flour 1/2 all purpose flour. the texture was perfect. Next time i will reduce the sugar though, i like my banana bread not as sweet.
Thank you Diane – great to know the 1/2 whole wheat sub worked for you! I’ve also subbed in 1/2 cup oat flour for 1/2 cup of the all-purpose and the texture has been great. Glad you enjoyed this recipe!
Wow! This was so good! Slightly crispy on the outside and so moist and delicious on the inside. I didn’t feel like creaming butter and sugar as my family’s standby recipe called for and I wasn’t sure melted butter would produce the same moist and fluffy texture. It was perfect, though! So easy.
Hi ! I followed your recipe but the cake turned out sticky and gluey after baking for 45 mins. I put it to bake further 15 mins but it still doesn’t have the texture of a bread/cake. The taste is good though. Any idea if it still can be eaten? And do you know what might have gone wrong? Is it because there is not enough flour?
Hi Cindy – sorry to hear that. Sounds like there wasn’t enough flour. Are you sure you put in 1.5 cups? The bread should not be gluey, but it is moist.
“This was great! Really enjoyed it – thanks for sharing. I do agree with another commenter who said it was a bit sweet – I will definitely reduce the sugar next time (I used regular granulated sugar).
Can’t wait for leftovers tomorrow! :)”
Thank you Hannah!
If I want to make 2 of these at a time do I just double the recipe? Or make 2 separate batches?
I would make two separate batches! The batter would turn out differently if doubled in the same bowl I think.
I love the tip of putting sugar on the top to get that crusty edge on the loaf – so great both taste-wise and texture-wise. This could have been an issue with my oven or subbing gluten free flour (or just the moistness from bananas), but this loaf wouldn’t bake fully through for me and I remember keeping it in for longer than the suggested time. Either way, I enjoyed it but next time I’d probably try to bake the recipe in muffin tins and adjust the time accordingly.
Baking in muffin tins sounds like a great idea – I’ve never had an issue with this banana bread not baking all the way through, but the GF flour could have something to do with it.
I tried this recipe and it was super easy to follow compared to the other recipe I tried and this was my second go at making banana bread and it came out amazing! This is my go to recipe now. Thank you!
Yay! Thank you so much!
Hi! Can I make using 8×8 tray?
Yes – I would start with 30 minutes bake time and keep checking until a toothpick comes out clean!
The 1/4 cup of butter that is the amount before melting it?
Can I make this keto by using almond flour and erythritol?
Hi Peg – Unfortunately I have not tried that so I can’t vouch for the results. Let me know if you try it!
your recipes never fail me! this was perfect – only took me 10 minutes to gather the ingredients, measure, mix and pour in the loaf pan. and of course, it is delish. it’s going into the rotation!
Thank you so much! So glad you enjoyed this one!
Have you tried a version that works with honey or maple syrup ?
Hi Mel – I have not, because liquid sweeteners tend to alter the final product so you’d have to substantially modify the recipe – a google search should find something great though!
Is there anything to substitute for the yogurt/sour cream?
You could use buttermilk – or if you need non-dairy, almond or coconut yogurt would work!
I have celiac disease so no gluten for me!
Do you think I can substitute regular flour with a 1 to 1 gluten-free flour?
Hi Rebecca – yes I do think you can use an all-purpose GF flour like cup4cup or measure for measure. Let me know if you try it!
Hi Katie, I love this banana bread. My friend has celiac disease and she loves banana bread but couldn’t have it. Can I substitute regular flour with coconut flour and regular sugar with coconut sugar?
Hi Lemka – no, coconut flour would not work as a substitution here. It is very absorbent and behaves differently from other flours. I recommend using an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend like Bob’s Red Mill or King Arthur Flour GF blends. You may also want to add xanthan gum if the GF blend you use doesn’t contain it – this helps with the rise. Coconut sugar should work though!
Thank you so much for your recommendation. I thought coconut flour will work, I am glad I asked!
I love easy recipes and this sounds fantastic! Do you have any recommendations on making these as muffins?
Sure! I think this would make 12 standard size muffins, same temperature and I would start checking at 18 minutes to see if they’re done!
This is one amazing recipe. Thank you so much for sharing! I’ve tried many a banana bread recipe from some of the big names and seriously this is the best. The. Best. Definitely going to make an extra loaf to freeze! Thanks Katie!
Thank you so much, Jo! We love this banana bread and I’m so glad you feel the same way about it as we do 🙂