The moist Banana Bread recipe you’ve been searching for! I tested a ton of different recipes so you don’t have to. The result is a bread that is super moist (thank you sour cream) and perfectly fluffy. It’s full of banana flavor without being too dense. It’s my favorite banana nut bread! And it’s easy to make! Originally posted May 28, 2020.

a loaf of homemade banana bread, sliced.
Table of Contents
  1. Discovering the Best Moist Banana Bread Recipe
  2. Ingredients for the Best Banana Bread Recipe (Moist!)
  3. How to make Banana Bread with Sour Cream
  4. Best Moist Banana Bread Recipe additions
  5. How to serve this Banana Bread Recipe (Moist!)
  6. Moist Banana Bread Recipe FAQs
  7. How to store Moist Banana Bread
  8. Other great quick breads for the win!
  9. Best Moist Banana Bread Recipe Recipe
  10. More recipes you are going to love!

Charlotte was in the living room the other day and called me over with an accusing look on her face. “Mom, was dad watching TV last night? And eating something? Because I thought I heard something, and there are crumbs on the couch.” Um. Good sleuthing, Sherlock. This is what we do literally every night after you are in bed: eat snacks and watch TV.

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butter melting on a slice of moist banana bread with walnuts.

I have no idea how it’s taken her 9 years to figure this out! I told her that this is the kind of behavior she can look forward to indulging in when she’s in her 30s. I didn’t mention the mortgage and the job and the lawn to mow; I didn’t want to crush all her dreams of staying-up-late-eating-cookies-bliss.

How was everyone’s Memorial Day weekend? Eric and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary! It was so fun, and you guys, we stayed at a place that wasn’t our house! We ate in a restaurant that wasn’t our kitchen! We had a full 30 hours away from our children! (Bless you for taking the kids, Mom.) There is nothing like coming out of quarantine to make the sun shine brighter and food taste even more amazing. Maybe we should always shut ourselves in our houses for 2 months before a vacation. We would enjoy it more!

moist banana bread recipe showing nuts inside a slice.

I’m so excited that things are starting to slowly open up! We all did a great job flattening the curve, right?! It’s really cool to see our country come together like that! ‘Merica.

Discovering the Best Moist Banana Bread Recipe

My sister Nikki called me a few years ago, confused that I didn’t have a banana bread recipe on the blog. It’s such a basic, how dare I not have a recipe for it anywhere?? (Good question, Nikki.) I’m finally getting around to it. Everyone needs a great recipe for this classic.

Banana bread has never been my favorite, so I knew it would take me a while of testing tons of different recipes to find out what I like most about banana bread, and then perfect my own version. (Just like I did for cornbread a few months ago.) I’m happy to say I’ve found the moist banana bread that will be my go-to from now on!

2 slices of super moist banana nut bread with butter on top and a full loaf in the background.

In anticipation of all the testing, I went to the store and bought over 25 bananas. The store clerks were totally giving me the side eye, because who does that?? I needed to let them sit and ripen so I could get on with the Great Banana Bread Bake-Off of 2020!

Eric’s parents were in town several days later when my bananas were just starting to brown. From the other room one morning I heard my mother-in-law Kris say something about making banana cake, and I came barreling into the kitchen like a psycho person, telling her the precious brown bananas were claimed. Sorry Kris!! Ripe bananas don’t just grow on trees! They take days to get to the perfect level of banana bread perfection!

8 loaves of banana bread with slices cut off, some sunken, some cracked.

I ended up making at least 12 batches of bread. Here are the first 8. Props to my in-laws Kris and Chip for helping me narrow down the best features of each one so that we could find the Perfect Banana Bread.

Ingredients for the Best Banana Bread Recipe (Moist!)

Almost all recipes for banana bread are basically the same. I’m really not exaggerating when I say this. I looked at dozens and dozens of recipes and only saw minor adjustments to this formula, which I can literally spout off the top of my head after making different versions of this 12 times in one week. This is for one 9×5 inch loaf.

(Ingredients and quantities for my recipe are given in the recipe below!)

Wet ingredients:

  • Butter. 1/2 cup (a few recipes use oil)
  • Sugar . Between 1/2 and 1 cup, brown or white or a mix
  • 2 eggs
  • Vanilla. Somewhere between 1/2 to 2 teaspoons 
  • Sour cream / Greek yogurt / buttermilk. 1/4 to 1/2 cup 
  • Banana. Anywhere from 1/2 cup to over 2 cups of mashed (2-6 bananas)

Dry ingredients:

  • Flour. Between 1 and 1/2 to 2 cups 
  • Baking soda. 1 teaspoon << almost no variation on this
  • Salt. 1/4 teaspoon to 3/4 teaspoon

Most of the banana bread recipes you find are nearly identical to each other, with one key ingredient making the biggest difference: BANANA. Some recipes call for 2 bananas, some call for 6. This is the difference between about 3/4 cup mashed banana up to 2 and 1/3 cups mashed banana, which is the highest amount I saw in any one recipe.

overhead shot of two loaves of banana bread comparing the number of bananas used in each.

So after lots of testing, I determined the amounts of the other ingredients I liked best (half white half brown sugar, 1/2 cup of sour cream, tons of vanilla, some oat flour in place of regular flour (more on that later), etc. Then I made 2 batches of my final recipe: the first one with 1 cup of banana (moderate), and the second with 2 cups of banana (tons).

Should I use 1 or 2 cups of banana for this Banana Bread with Sour Cream?

The results are in! I am a 1 cup banana bread lover.

2 slices of banana bread, one with 1 cup of bananas, 1 with 2 cups of bananas.

This was a surprise to me. I tend to go hog-wild sometimes, especially when it comes to baked goods. See this Coffee Cake with a Ridiculous Amount of Streusel, this Apple Crisp with a Ridiculous Amount of Streusel, or this Death By Chocolate Bundt Cake. I’m not really known for moderation you guys. I am an over-the-top-baker. I was ready to post Banana Bread with a Ridiculous Amount of Bananas. But guys… it’s just not my thing.

Can you tell why from the photo above? Look at the bottom edge of the 2 cup bread. It’s so heavy that the bottom of the bread is a completely different texture from the top half of the bread. Banana bread with too much banana ends up being SUPER dense, cloyingly sweet, and the worst trait: gummy. Nobody wants to eat gummy bread you guys. And it doesn’t hold together well for slicing. Bread is meant to be fluffy and tender, even banana bread. When you take a bite of 2-cup banana bread, it tastes like your taking a bite of a really soft banana with some butter on it. I mean, ugh, right?

banana nut bread shown cut into slices.

(This is 1 cup banana bread.)

Okay okay maybe it’s not that bad. I think some people actually prefer it, there are a TON of recipes out there with 2 cups. But I bet you 10 dollars if you made 1 cup banana bread and 2 cup banana bread and gave people a blind taste test, the 1 cup banana bread would win. All of my friends and family who tried this recipe preferred the 1 cup banana bread. It is still SUPER moist, but also fluffy, just like a quick bread ought to be.

overhead shot of banana bread.

(This is 2 cup banana bread)

There is one thing about 2 cup banana bread: I do think the top comes out prettier. You get that super glossy finish and a slightly more rounded top. I tried everything I could think of to get my 1 cup banana bread to look more like the 2 cup bread, but alas. You need all that extra moisture and liquid from the banana. The texture of the top of 1-cup bread is perfectly crispy and delicious, the 2 cup bread is more wet. Obviously I prefer a crackly top for eating. Of the two photos above, which one do you like better? Maybe I’m overthinking it!

How to ripen bananas quickly for this Moist Banana Bread Recipe?

There is a hack to ripening bananas at home. If you don’t have brown bananas, you have two options: you can use regular yellow bananas and just mash them up really well. If you do this, increase the brown sugar by about 1/4 to 1/3 cup and add a pinch more salt. The other option is to line a pan with foil, turn your oven on to 300 degrees F, and bake yellow bananas for about 15 minutes until the peels are black. Let cool completely and then use for banana bread!

Banana bread cut into slices on parchment paper.

How ripe should bananas be for this Moist Banana Bread?

Okay, word on the street is that the more ripe the banana, the better. Like one expression I stumbled on said, “A banana bread banana isn’t yellow; it’s black.”

I disagree. Ripe, yes. Spotted brown or streaks of black, definitely. Completely black, no. I don’t enjoy the overripe smell, for one thing. This is a personal preference and smell might be your best bet for figuring out what you like. You want to use the bananas before they have that trace of smell your nose identifies as rotten. No thank you!

Can bananas be frozen for later use?

Even after I bought 25 bananas to test the recipes for this post, I still needed more bananas believe it or not. Good thing I have been saving over ripe bananas in my freezer for literally years! Here’s what I do: when you have brown bananas on the counter but don’t have the time or inclination to make banana bread right away, peel them and freeze in a ziplock. If you have a whole bunch, you may want to lay them out on a baking sheet and flash freeze for an hour, then transfer to a ziplock. You can also freeze bananas in their peels, I’ve done that before. Just zap them in the microwave when you need them, then peel and use them for bread or whatever.

super moist banana nut bread cut into slices.

When you use frozen bananas for banana bread (or any baked dessert), you will have to microwave it long enough to be able to mash it. When you microwave it, a bunch of liquid will melt off of the banana. Don’t throw it away! Add it to your banana bread. It will make your bread extra moist!

How to make Banana Bread with Sour Cream

Now it’s time to make it! It’s so easy, I could literally do it in my sleep at this point. This is just a quick overview with some pictures. Use the recipe card below when you are in the kitchen making this!

  1. Beat the butter and sugar. Get it nice and creamy.

  2. Add in eggs, vanilla, mashed banana.

    mashed banana for moist banana bread

  3. Add in the dry ingredients.

    The blended oats is the one ingredient that is not common in most banana bread recipes. All you have to do is measure out 1/2 cup oats, add it to a blender, and pulse until powdery. I love the slightly nutty flavor the oat flour lends. If it sounds like an annoying step to you, then you can just replace the oats with 1/2 cup flour and call it good. Your banana bread will still turn out great.blended oats for banana nut bread

  4. I also added some optional spices in the recipe. Cinnamon, clover, and nutmeg.

    We are not going crazy here. This ain’t no spice cake. Just a hint allows the banana flavor to shine.

  5. Fold in the sour cream, fold in some nuts if you’re using them, and voila! Bake it up for an hour and you’re done.

    It’s so easy. There is a reason it’s called quick bread!pouring banana bread batter into pan

When my friends heard that I was testing a million banana breads they would tell me, oh, I love to add chocolate chips to mine!  It’s true, chocolate makes everything better. But it doesn’t make sense for testing. I was on a mission to find a stand alone bread that was good without chocolate chips, and good without even nuts (although I much prefer banana bread with nuts, I found.) All my test breads were made without mix-ins so that I could judge the actual bread without distractions.

If you want to add chocolate chips, nuts, cinnamon chips, go for it! Now that I have a favorite base recipe, I’m sure you will see many banana bread variations published here on the blog eventually! (UPDATE! I just made this Easy Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting!) See I told you more banana was coming :)

But in case you want some ideas now:

Best Moist Banana Bread Recipe additions

(Practically the kitchen sink, guys.)

  • Walnuts, roasted and chopped
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Raisins
  • Craisins
  • Chocolate chips
  • White chocolate chips
  • Butterscotch chips (too sweet? If you try it, I want to hear about it!)
  • Peanut butter (start with ¼ cup)
  • Cocoa powder (add ¼ cup cocoa powder and ¼ cup of extra sugar)
  • Orange zest
  • Sweetened coconut flakes

How to serve this Banana Bread Recipe (Moist!)

I like my banana bread straight up, but I’ll never say no to a glass of cold milk along with it. I’m also not above spreading a little butter on a still-warm slice. Also, if you’ve got Nutella or Biscoff in your cupboard, either would take this over the top. 

If I’m serving up slices, I usually do it with plates and forks since it is (on purpose!) moist and tends to fall apart a little. You can also cut smaller pieces to set out at a baby shower or brunch, and those are more manageable as finger food. 

banana bread recipe showing final cooked loaf, uncut.

Moist Banana Bread Recipe FAQs

What is the best way to mash bananas for banana bread?

I like to use a potato masher! But a fork works just fine too. Put that spoon away.

What makes banana bread moist?

There is a reason we are using SOUR CREAM in this recipe: it brings all the boys to the yard. And by boys I mean moisture. okay this analogy is going downhill fast. Bottom line: use sour cream (or Greek yogurt in a pinch) to add moisture to your banana bread. Adding extra bananas will just make your bread gummy, as discussed above.

How do you keep banana bread moist?

The great thing about banana bread is that the banana does the heavy lifting on keeping the bread moist, for days on end even. Be sure to seal room temperature bread completely using a ziplock bag or plastic wrap. If you need to wrap the bread before it’s completely cool, put a folded paper towel in with the bread to absorb some of the steam still escaping. This will help keep the top nice and crunchy!

Can this recipe be used to make Banana Bread Muffins instead of bread?

Yes totally! Line a muffin tin with paper liners. Pour the batter into each liner, filling them all the way to the top (yes, really!) Bake the muffins at 425 degrees for 5 minutes, then turn the heat down to 350 without opening the oven door. (This quick blast of heat helps the muffins rise and puff nicely, just as a muffin should.) Bake at 350 for an additional 15-18 minutes. The muffins are done when a toothpick comes out clean!

How to store Moist Banana Bread

Banana bread is just fine stored on the counter for a couple of days. In my house it’s disappeared by this point, but if you still have some left, feel free to pop it in the fridge or, even better, freeze it. You can freeze the whole loaf or freeze it in slices, so it’s easy to grab a piece for breakfast or dessert.

Does this Banana Bread Recipe need to be refrigerated?

Nope, once sour cream has been baked (in any recipe) it is fine to leave out at room temperature. It doesn’t need to go in the fridge, in fact it will dry out faster. Seal the bread well and store on the counter or freeze.

Can you freeze banana bread with sour cream?

Yes! Banana bread freezes beautifully! You can wrap an entire loaf in foil or plastic wrap and then ziplock and freeze (thaw on the counter with the bag sealed). Or you can slice it and wrap and freeze individual portions for when you need a quick fix. Let thaw on the counter in the sealed container. Toss thawed slices in the toaster for a minute to get rid of extra moisture.

melting butter on slices of banana nut bread.

And there you have it! The best moist banana bread! Do you think you are a 1-cupper or a 2-cupper? If any of you decide to make both versions, I would love to hear about it! Leave a comment or tag me on Instagram!

P.S. Update! I recently made this Easy Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. It’s super easy to make and if you love banana bread, you are going to love it! Who can say no to cream cheese frosting??

Other great quick breads for the win!

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Best Moist Banana Bread Recipe

4.82 from 160 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 55 minutes
Total: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 12 Servings
The moist Banana Bread recipe you’ve been searching for! I tested a ton of different recipes so you don’t have to. The result is a bread that is super moist (thank you sour cream) and perfectly fluffy. It’s full of banana flavor without being too dense. It’s my favorite banana nut bread! And it’s easy to make!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, 1 stick, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mashed ripe banana, 9 ounces*, about 2 and 1/2 medium bananas
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats, blended into a powder**
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, optional
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, optional
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves, optional
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup toasted pecans or walnuts, optional

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×5 inch loaf pan with nonstick spray, or line with parchment paper. I prefer using the paper so that you can lift the bread out for easy slicing.
  • If you plan to add nuts, toast them now so they have time to cool. Add 1/2 or 3/4 cup chopped nuts (I like either walnuts or pecans) to a dry baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 5-7 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes. You will know they are done when they are very fragrant. Set aside to let cool.
  • In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the butter until it is smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl. Add 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup white sugar and cream together. This means beat it for about 2 minutes until it is fluffy, making sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  • Add 2 eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Beat well until incorporated, scraping the sides.
  • In a small bowl, use a fork or potato masher to mash about 2 and 1/2 very ripe bananas. It should come out to about 1 cup.*  A little more or a little less banana, and you are still going to get banana bread. (More banana=more dense. Less banana does NOT make your banana bread not-moist.) 1 cup is the magic number for me. Add the mashed banana to the butter mixture and stir until incorporated.
  • Add 1 cup flour to the bowl, but do not stir yet. (You can mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl but I am too lazy.)
  • Add 1/2 cup old fashioned oats to a blender or food processor. Blend until the mixture has turned into powder, if it’s a little gritty that’s okay. Add the oat flour to the bowl but don’t stir.
  • Use a small spoon to stir 1 teaspoon baking soda, 2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt into the flour. You don’t want any clumps of salt or soda in your bread.
  • At this point, you can add 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/8 teaspoon each cloves and nutmeg. This bread is still really good without the spices, they are optional.
  • Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until incorporated, scraping the sides and bottom.
  • Lastly (don’t forget!!) fold in the 1/2 cup sour cream.
  • If you want to add nuts, fold them into the batter now. (Next time I think I will save 1/4 cup to sprinkle on top of the bread before going in the oven. Just an idea!)
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top.
  • Bake at 350 for 55-65 minutes. Every oven is different and you are probably going to have to check it a few times. There is nothing sadder than undercooked banana bread, so I rely completely on the toothpick test: a toothpick inserted very deeply into the center of your bread (stick it right into the crack that has formed) should come out with no wet batter on it. Very moist crumbs are ok, as the bread will continue cooking just a bit once pulled out of the oven. The bread should look nice and brown on top and should be pulling away from the sides of the pan.
  • Let the bread cool completely (okay, well at least for 20 minutes or so) on a cooling rack before slicing into it. If you don’t devour a warm slice immediately with copious amounts of butter, it’s a crime against bananas everywhere.
  • Store covered on the counter for up to 2 days, then if there is by some miracle some leftover, I would stick it in the fridge.
  • Banana bread freezes beautifully. You can wrap an entire loaf in foil and then ziplock and freeze (thaw on the counter with the bag sealed) or you can slice it and wrap and freeze individual portions for when you need a quick fix. Let thaw on the counter in the sealed container. Toss thawed slices in the toaster for a minute to get rid of extra moisture.

Video

Notes

*I like 1 cup banana bread, but as discussed in the post, you can add up to 2 cups (18 ounces) of mashed banana (and change NOTHING else in the recipe), and it will turn out fine. “Fine” meaning overly dense and gummy in my opinion ;) But if you serve it to people they will still say, “ooh, this is great banana bread!” Trust me, I did. There are many, many banana bread recipes out there that call for these same proportions with 2 cups banana. 
** You can replace the oats with 1/2 cup all purpose flour if you want!

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 257kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 53mg | Sodium: 414mg | Potassium: 125mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 346IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 81mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Bread
Cuisine: American
Calories: 257
Keyword: banana bread, sour cream
Did you make this? I’d love to see it!Mention @thefoodcharlatan or tag #thefoodcharlatan!

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Comments

  1. 3 stars
    Was so excited to make this recipe, but mine also boiled over. Super bummed too as I was making it for a gift basket and now have to go back to the drawing board. It does smell delicious.

    1. So sorry to hear that your banana bread spilled over the edges Mary! One common issue is using a pan that is too small. Even though it doesn’t seem that much smaller, an 8X4 inch loaf pan can only hold 4 cups of batter, and a 9×5 loaf pan can hold 8 cups of batter, fully double. This recipe calls for a 9×5 inch loaf pan, so if you pan was smaller that might have been the issue. I hope your next batch of banana bread turns out perfectly!

  2. 5 stars
    This is my favorite banana bread! I have made it many times. ❤️
    The only thing is I’ve tried twice to put a bit of small nut pieces on top and they’ve sunk in the middle. So I’ll just leave the top plain from now on.

  3. 5 stars
    Could you sub banana with pumpkin for an equally great pumpkin bread? I’ve tried many pumpkin bread recipes and haven’t been able to find one that gives a light loaf.

    1. Ooooh great question Amber! We’ve never tried that with this recipe before but if you try it, come back and let us know how it turns out!

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