Moist & Soft, One Bowl Banana Bread

The ultimate one bowl banana bread recipe, so simple to make and easily one of the best you’ll ever taste! It’s moist, soft and the perfect balance of flavors. A recipe perfected for you!

Quarantine has us all baking banana breads left and right, but with so many recipes out there, it’s hard to know which one has the flavoral and textural profile you’re looking for. I’ve been trying to perfect the ideal one bowl banana bread for months now. For me, banana bread has to be very moist and tender, cakey and soft, cut smoothly and have a good banana flavor and balanced sweetness. For me, the word moist can’t be used enough to describe every bite you take.

So this is it. If that’s the banana bread you’re looking for, look no further. Once you make this recipe you’ll never want to try another one again. And the best part of it is that it can all be made it one bowl, no mixer needed! That is so important to me because I have always felt like banana breads should be easy to whip up, and by removed extra steps that require multiple bowls, the result really isn’t any different!

So let’s talk ingredients.

You can’t make banana bread without bananas. This recipe calls for 3 medium-sized bananas.

Are my bananas medium-sized?

If your banana looks way bigger than what you consider an average banana or smaller than your typical banana, you’ll need to adjust. A medium-sized banana is around 7 inches (18 cm) long.

Does it make a difference what size bananas you use?

Well, it does sort of matter, using large bananas may yield a bread that’s too dense and feels undercooked, using small bananas might not give you a enough sweetness, moisture and banana flavor. So if you only have large bananas, use 2½ bananas instead of the 3 that are called for in this recipe. If you have small bananas, use 3½ or 4 bananas instead, depending on how small they are.

For a tender, soft crumb and even moistness, make sure you use the right amount of bananas

What to do if your bananas aren’t ripe yet?

Here’s an important banana tip: make sure you’re using very ripe bananas! They should be bruised and mushy for your banana bread to be sweet and moist.

If your bananas aren’t ripe yet, the quickest way to ripen them is in the oven or microwave. Place in the oven at 300F (150C) for about 10 minutes, or till their skin becomes shiny and black. Alternatively, poke holes in the banana using a fork and then microwave for 1-2 minutes at 30 second intervals on high. Let cool for sometime before using, maybe even place them in the fridge to cool faster.

Can I use white sugar only?

You can substitute the brown sugar with white sugar only with a 1:1 ratio. Just know that it will take away some of that moist, ever-so-slightly cheweyness out of it. But it’s still totally doable and will still yield a deliciously rich and flavorful banana bread!

Can I simply melt my butter?

Very simply, NO. I mean, there’s no law against it but you will not get the same soft, delicate crumb you want, but a coarser crumb. I say this with experience.

For softened butter, make sure you leave it out at room temperature for an hour before you start baking. It must be soft to touch if poked, but not greasy and certainly not melted. If you forgot this step and don’t want to wait an hour, simply grate a stick of butter or slice it very thinly to speed up the softening process.

Mash it into the bananas, as you would the bananas themselves. Then, using a whisk, mix will till you’re able to see little specks of butter mixed homogenously throughout the bananas.

Mixing and folding

One bowl banana bread means you simply dump all the ingredients together and don’t have to take away from the catharsis and fun of baking with excessive cleaning. That said, to make sure this bread is soft, fluffy and light, how you mix the ingredients becomes important.

It’s important to incorporate a lot of air as you whisk the butter, and next the white and brown sugar, cinnamon, and then finally the eggs. Whisk well, till everything looks very well-mixed and the mixture looks light and aerated. This would be about a 40-60 seconds of whisking between each step.

Once you add the dry ingredients, ditch the whisk. Use a spoon or rubber/silicon spatula to fold the dry ingredients in. There is no mixing involved here as we want to keep the batter aerated. Once you fold it once or twice and see no more flour pockets remaining, stop right there. Overmixing will yield a denser batter.

What to mix-in with banana bread?

You can try mixing in some chocolate chips, chopped roasted walnuts, raisins, chopped pecans, or any other nuts really.

In this recipe, we sliced half a banana and layered that on top, as well as springled some brown sugar to get a nice crunch on the surface.

Important tips for making the perfect banana bread

I’ve made this and other banana bread recipes several times over the years and have come to realize that therea are a few simple yet very significant factors that influence how banana bread turn out:

  • The ripeness of your bananas: use only very ripe bananas that have plenty of black spots and are mushy inside. See above for how to quickly ripen unripe bananas.
  • Banana quantity: For this recipe, we used 3 bananas that were about 7 inches (18cm) long. ±1 inches (±2cm) is not a big deal, but if you’re using much larger or smaller bananas, that can negatively effect how fluffy, moist and evenly baked your bread is.
  • Mashing your bananas: put some elbow grease into the mashing process. There should be very few and small-sized chunks, if any, remaining. Your bananas should be mashed thoroughly to ensure a good nice banana flavor and moistness.
  • Whisking and folding: I have noted that for banana bread to have a very soft, tender crumb, it needs to be aerated well. When whisking the butter, eggs, sugars, vanilla and cinnamon, whisk really well to introduce air and make your mixture light very smooth. Similarly, to ensure batter is airy and light, fold in your dry ingredients. Stop once you see no more flour pockets. Don’t overmix your batter.
  • Bake at the right oven shelf and rotating halfway: place your pan on the middle shelf. Rotate the pan half way through to make sure you get even heating.

Let me know how this super-easy, moist and tender, one-bowl banana bread turns out for you guys! Post in the comments below or share a picture on instagram or twitter with the hashtag #hungrybyayesha

Moist, One Bowl Banana Bread

The ultimate one bowl banana bread recipe, so moist, tender and flavorful, easily one of the best you'll ever taste. A recipe perfected for you!
Prep Time10 mins
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: baking, banana, banana bread, breakfast, easy, loaf breads, moist, one bowl, quick bread
Servings: 10 slices
Calories: 251kcal
Author: Ayesha Bilal

Ingredients

  • 3 medium ripe bananas (7inches/18cm)
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened (113g)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar (100g)
  • ¼ cup unpacked brown sugar (50g)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 medium eggs, beaten
  • cups all-purpose flour (186g)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt

TOPPING (OPTIONAL)

  • ½ banana, sliced thinly
  • 1-1½ tbsp brown sugar (as preferred)

Instructions

  • Pre-heat oven to 350°F(180°C). Grease a 9"x5" (23x13cm) loaf pan and lightly coat with flour.
  • In a large bowl, mash your bananas very well. Get rid of as many lumps as possible. Add the softened butter and mash into your bananas and whisk very well.
  • Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract and whisk well for 30 seconds. Add the beaten eggs, whisk well for another 1-2 minutes, incorporating air into the mixture.
  • Add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Fold and mix gently into the mixture to keep it aerated. Stop folding when no flour lumps remain. Do not overmix.
  • Pour into pan. Optional: Place sliced bananas on the top and sprinkly with brown sugar.
  • Bake for 50-60 minutes, or till a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let rest for 10-15 minutes before removing from pan and slicing. The longer it rests and cools, the easier it will be to slice.

Notes

  1. Butter: use softened butter that’s still cool to the touch. It should not be greasy. While mixing in with the bananas, butter will seem emulsified, that is, you will see specks of butter in the mixture. This is normal. 
  2. Classic banana bread add-ins: if you’d like to level up the flavors of your banana bread, some tried and tested optional add-ins include chopped walnuts or pecans, chocolate chips, raisins, sliced bananas on top and a sprinkle of brown sugar.
  3. Baking: Place loaf pan in the center of your baking sheet and fit the baking sheet in the middle rack of your oven for even baking. Once baked, it’s important to let it cool as stated before slicing as hot cakes and breads will break.
  4. Banana bread muffins: you can easily bake this in a muffin pan and will yield about 8 muffins. Bake at 350°F (180°C) for 20-25 minutes or till toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. 
  5. Freezing banana bread: baked banana bread can be sliced and frozen. See blog above for instruction.
Ayesha Bilal
Ayesha Bilal

A 25 year expat, living currently in Turkey, and living my happiest life exploring the world, bit by bit, with my favorite travel buddy, and my partner, Argun. Follow my travel across England on FellowPrimo, and check out delicious recipes and the best spots to grab a bite around the world.

Articles by Ayesha Bilal