Do you have frozen bananas languishing in your freezer? Use them to make this amazing one-bowl brown butter banana bread.
This is some of the best banana bread I have ever had. It's moist and flavorful and a great way to use up overly ripe bananas. The best part is it uses simple ingredients and doesn't require a mixer.
Read on for my secrets to making the best banana bread with frozen bananas.
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- Why you will love this recipe
- Why you should use frozen bananas when making banana bread
- How to freeze bananas
- How to thaw frozen bananas
- What can I use if I don't have a loaf pan?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Looking for more easy baked goods? Try one of these:
- 📖 Recipe
Why you will love this recipe
- This banana bread is supper moist without being dense.
- All you need are basic common ingredients like flour, sugar, eggs, bananas, and baking soda.
- Banana bread is easy to customize. Just add your favorite mix-ins. See the list below for inspiration.
- You don't need a mixer to make this banana bread, just a large bowl and your favorite mixing spoon.
- Like all quick breads this banana bread is super quick and easy to make.
Why you should use frozen bananas when making banana bread
Something magical happens when you freeze bananas. When frozen ice crystals tear through cell walls within the bananas. This means when they thaw they become a mushy liquidy mess. Typically not a good thing but perfect if you are using these bananas to make banana bread.
Frozen bananas are much easier to mix into the batter than fresh ones.
How to freeze bananas
Once bananas are past their prime and covered in black spots save them for making banana bread or smoothies by placing them in the freezer.
To freeze bananas, peel the bananas and break them into large chunks. Place the chunks on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and freeze for one hour. Transfer the frozen bananas to an airtight container, label with the contents and date, and return the bananas to the freezer until you are ready to make banana bread.
Frozen bananas can be kept in the refrigerator for up to three months.
How to thaw frozen bananas
Bananas can be defrosted in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature in about an hour. Be sure to place the bag of frozen bananas on a sheet pan or in a bowl in case the bag leaks allowing the banana juices to run all over making a mess.
Ripe bananas: You can use frozen bananas instead of fresh ones. Thaw them at room temperature and drain off any excess liquid before using them in the recipe.
Brown sugar: Brown sugar contains more moisture and adds a deep caramel flavor. Feel free to substitute the same amount of regular white granulated sugar for the brown sugar although the bread may not be as moist. You can also reduce the amount of sugar if you prefer your banana bread less sweet.
Browned Unsalted Butter: Butter adds a rich nutty buttery flavor to this banana bread. I prefer to use unsalted butter to control the amount of salt. If you only have salted butter, reduce the amount of salt in the recipe to ¼ teaspoon.
Large eggs: Room temperature eggs are easier to incorporate. Be sure to fully incorporate each egg before adding the next egg.
Vanilla extract: Make sure to use pure vanilla extract not imitation. The flavor will be much better.
All-purpose flour: For a nuttier flavor swap up to half of the AP flour for whole wheat flour.
Spices: Often I will use just cinnamon and nutmeg but warm fragrant spices like cardamom, ginger, cloves, or allspice could work well too.
Baking soda and Baking Powder: Quickbread uses chemical leaveners such as baking soda or baking powder to rise.
Salt: Salt helps to boost the flavors in baked goods.
Kitchen scale: Kitchen scales make baking faster and neater. Accuracy matters in baking. Scales are more precise than measuring cups. Too much flour or not enough sugar can dramatically change a recipe. The most accurate way to bake is to measure your ingredients by weight rather than volume.
A kitchen scale also reduces the number of dishes you will need to wash because you are measuring each ingredient directly from the container into the mixing bowl without the use of measuring cups.
This scale from OXO is the one I use after it was recommended by Alton Brown. What makes this scale great is the display pulls out to make viewing measurements easier when using a large bowl.
Potato masher to mash the bananas and mix the batter by hand.
Rubber spatula: For folding batters together, I prefer a stiffer spatula like this one from OXO. It fits comfortably in my hand, is dishwasher safe, and is heat-resistant up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit. Both the handle and head are silicone coated which makes it easy to clean and safe to use with my non-stick cookware and bakeware.
Loaf pan: These are my favorite loaf pans. They are heavy duty which means they won't warp and they distribute heat evenly. Plus they are non-stick which makes removing loaves of bread really easy. I hand wash mine to keep them looking their best. Don't worry the non-stick coating also makes clean-up a breeze.
Cooling rack: Cooling racks are essential for cooling baked goods quickly and preventing soggy bottoms. I really like these cooling racks from the Checkered Chef. They are recommended by Cook's Illustrated, are very sturdy, and are free from coatings which means they are safe to use in the oven as well.
What can I use if I don't have a loaf pan?
If you don't have a loaf pan, there are a variety of other ways you could bake banana bread.
- Mini loaves: Pour the batter into three mini loaf pans and bake for 45 minutes.
- Muffins: Use this banana bread recipe to make 18 banana muffins. Pour the batter into lined or greased muffin pans and bake for 5 minutes at 425°F then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and bake for an additional 8-12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. The total bake time is about 13-17 minutes.
- Cake pan: Nearly any cake pan will work. Cake pans come in a variety of sizes so baking time will vary. As a general rule, the larger the pan, the thinner the bread will be, the shorter the baking time needs to be.
- Pancakes or Waffles: I haven't tried it yet but I suspect this batter would also make pretty good banana pancakes or waffles.
Brown the butter. Slice the butter into pieces and melt it in a light-colored skillet over medium heat whisking constantly. Once melted, the butter will begin to foam. Continue whisking for about 5-7 minutes, the butter will become a deep amber color. Remove the browned butter from the heat. Let the butter cool for 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven. Move the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheight. Grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan with butter or nonstick cooking spray.
Mash the bananas. In a large bowl mash the bananas. A potato masher makes this task a breeze.
Add the wet ingredients. Stir in the brown sugar and browned butter and mix until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and stir until combined.
Add the dry ingredients. Add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt and stir until combined. Do not over mix. Over mixing will create tough banana bread.
Optional, stir in your favorite mix-in ingredients.
Bake the banana bread. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 60 to 65 minutes. The banana bread is done when a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
Cool the banana bread. Remove from the oven and allow the bread to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.
This recipe for banana bread is a great base for all sorts of additional flavors. For an added flavor twist, try adding a cup of any combination of the following:
- peanut butter
- chopped chocolate
- raisins, craisins, or other chopped dried fruit
- chopped nuts
- seeds like sunflower or pumpkin seeds
- sliced fresh fruit
- shredded coconut
Stir in any additions just before pouring the batter into the pan.
Should you refrigerate banana bread?
Banana bread is best when stored at room temperature. Wrapped in plastic wrap it will keep for 4-5 days. Any longer, especially when temperatures are warmer, it will start to have a fermented flavor.
How to freeze banana bread
Banana bread freezes really well. Having a couple of frozen loaves or slices in your freezer means you always have a quick and easy breakfast or snack ready.
- Once the banana bread has cooled completely, tightly wrap the whole loaf or slices (individually or grouped) in 2-3 layers of plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
- Place the wrapped banana bread in a large freezer zip-top bag or reusable container.
- Label with the date and contents and freeze for up to 6 months.
- To thaw, place the frozen banana bread on the counter. It will thaw in about 30 minutes if it’s sliced or about two to four hours if it’s a full or partial loaf.
This recipe is very forgiving and will support various substitutions.
- Flour: For a nuttier flavor swap up to half of the AP flour for whole wheat flour.
- Sugar: Feel free to substitute the same amount of regular white granulated sugar for the brown sugar although the bread may not be as moist. You can also reduce the amount of sugar if you prefer your banana bread less sweet.
- Turn your banana bread into french toast. Cut dried out banana bread into ½-inch slices. Dip the slices into french toast custard and cook in a skillet or on a griddle.
Frequently Asked Questions
Baking times for all recipes are only suggestions. The actual baking time will vary depending upon your oven. It is helpful to know your oven and worth purchasing an inexpensive oven thermometer. Oven temperatures can vary as much as 50 degrees plus or minus.
There are a few clues to look for to tell when your banana bread is done. Most loaves of quick bread will crack on top when they are fully baked. This happens because the crust sets before the loaves have finished rising.
You can also gently poke the top with your finger. If it leaves an indent bake for a few minutes longer. If it springs back your bread is probably done.
Use a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf to check for doneness. If it comes out clean or with just a crumb or two sticking to it your banana bread is done. If there is uncooked batter on the toothpick bake the banana bread for a few minutes longer.
Alternatively, you can check your banana bread with an instant-read thermometer. This one from ThermoWorks is my favorite. Once the center of the loaf has reached 200 - 205 degrees Fahrenheit the loaf is done.
For even more information about baking laves of quick bread check out this post on How to Know When Banana Bread is Done.
Check the date on your baking soda to make sure it isn't expired and make sure you are adding the correct amount of baking soda. Adding too much will cause the bread to rise too high with too many internal air pockets which will cause it to collapse as it cools.
Don't over-mix the batter. Over-mixing incorporates too much air into the batter and can cause it to collapse.
Use the correct size pan and do not overfill it. If your pan is too full, there will not be enough support from the sides of the pan as the bread rises.
When banana bread and all loaves of quick bread bake they rise and the sugar caramelizes to form an outer crust, which darkens and crisps as the bread bakes. The bread can look fully baked even though it isn't. If you remove the bread from the oven too soon before the middle has had enough time to fully bake and set it will not have enough structure to support the crust.
If the top of your banana bread is browning too quickly check your oven temperature it may be too hot. You could also cover the top of the bread with a piece of foil for the last few minutes of baking to reduce the risk of the bread burning.
Grease your pan well. I usually use a nonstick spray but you could also use shortening, softened butter, or oil.
Line the pan with parchment paper. Leave two of the sides long to create a sling which makes removing the loaf of banana bread from the pan a breeze.
When you first remove the pan from the oven place it on a cooling rack to cool for 15-20 minutes. After the bread has cooled for a bit in the pan, carefully invert the pan and remove the bread. If the bread is allowed to cool completely in the pan the bottom can become soggy from trapped condensation.
If the bread sticks to the pan run a knife around the outer edges of the pan to loosen it.
Place the banana bread on a wire rack to cool completely. This will take a couple of hours.
You should make sure the banana bread has cooled completely before slicing or storing it. If you place warm bread in a sealed container, condensation will form and make your bread soggy.
- For the best banana bread you want to use really ripe bananas, preferably ones that have been frozen.
- If you don't have really ripe bananas you can speed up the ripening process by baking unpeeled bananas in a 250˚F for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Once you add the dry ingredients to the batter, do not overmix. Overmixing will create tough banana bread.
- I always use a metal pan to bake banana bread. If you use a glass pan, reduce the oven temperature to 325˚F.
- Baking times will vary depending upon your oven. It is helpful to know your oven and worth purchasing an inexpensive oven thermometer. Oven temperatures can vary as much as 50 degrees plus or minus.
Looking for more easy baked goods? Try one of these:
Thanks for Reading!
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