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Banana Nut Bread

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Buttermilk Banana Nut Bread is the perfect treat! It's a not too sweet quick bread with the richness of pecans and the savory tang of buttermilk. It's sure to be a hit in your home!
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
A loaf of Buttermilk Banana Nut Bread sliced and presented on a cutting board.

Buttermilk Banana Nut Bread is the perfect treat! It’s a not too sweet quick bread with the richness of pecans and the savory tang of buttermilk. It’s sure to be a hit in your home!

This Buttermilk Banana Nut Bread fits my family perfectly. We’re all either bananas or nuts. Really. A family get-together with all of us is like being in the middle of a comedy show.

A loaf of Buttermilk Banana Nut Bread sliced and presented on a cutting board.

We have the two most adorable, entertaining grandchildren you could imagine. They are always saying or doing something hilarious. And they LOVE my Buttermilk Banana Nut Bread!

The best thing about this banana bread recipe is that it’s so versatile. It’s great for breakfast with a hot cup of coffee. It’s a good afternoon snack with a cup of tea. You can also serve it for dessert with some lovely sweetened cream cheese. Plus, the recipe makes two loaves — one to eat and one to freeze or share with a neighbor.

One of my favorite old restaurants, which is now, sadly, out of business, always served a slice of banana nut bread with their chicken salad and fresh fruit plate. A fantastic combination.

My recipe makes a very moist, sweet loaf. It’s easy to make and uses ingredients that are easy to find in any grocery store…nothing fancy, but so, so good.

Overhead shot of buttermilk banana nut bread on a wooden serving board.

  • So versatile (it’s sweet, but not overly so; great for breakfast, snacks, even dessert)
  • Quick and easy to make
  • Make one, freeze one (or share one) recipe

Ingredients You’ll Need

Ingredients needed for Buttermilk Banana Nut Bread: sugar, butter, eggs, flour, baking soda, buttermilk, bananas, pecans, salt, and vanilla extract.
  • Sugar (plain white, granulated)
  • Baking soda (make sure it’s fresh)
  • Buttermilk (see my notes below if you don’t have it on hand)
  • Bananas (should be very ripe and fragrant)
  • Pecans (or walnuts, chopped roughly)

You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.

How to Make Buttermilk Banana Nut Bread

Let’s Go Step-by-Step

I always like to show you the photos and step-by-step instructions for my recipes to help you picture how to make them in your own kitchen. If you just want to print out a copy, you can skip to the bottom of the post where you’ll find the recipe card.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Grease and flour two loaf pans and set them aside.

Cream the Butter and Sugar, Add the Flour

Photo collage demonstrating creaming butter and sugar, adding eggs, and adding flour.

In a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, add the sugar and butter. Beat until well creamed. Add the eggs and beat until fluffy. Gradually add the flour beating on slow speed until well mixed.

Note: the batter will be quite thick at this point.

Add the Buttermilk

Photo collage showing adding baking soda to buttermilk (left) and combining the buttermilk with the flour, sugar, and eggs (right).

In a small bowl, add the baking soda to the buttermilk and stir together well. With the mixer at low speed, slowly add the buttermilk to the sugar, flour, and egg mixture.

Add the Bananas, Nuts, and Vanilla

Photo collage showing (upper left) mashing bananas, (upper right) adding mashed bananas to batter, and (lower) stirring pecans, salt, and vanilla into the batter.

In a small bowl, mash the bananas thoroughly. I use a fork to do this, but you can use a potato masher if you’d like. Hint: if your bananas are not quite completely ripe, put them in the microwave for about 20 seconds and they’ll soften right up.

Add the mashed bananas to the batter. Mix at low speed until well incorporated. Stir in nuts, salt, and vanilla.

Buttermilk banana nut bread batter in a prepared loaf pan.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pans.

Baked banana nut bread in loaf pan on a cooling rack.

Bake at 300 for approximately 1 hour or until a tester inserted near the center comes out clean. Remove loaves from the oven and cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Turn the loaves out on the rack and let them cook completely.

Three slices of buttermilk banana nut bread on a serving plate.

Fun Facts About Banana Bread

  • National Banana Bread Day falls on February 23 every year
  • The first published banana bread recipe appeared in a 1933 Pillsbury cookbook and became even more popular when published in the Chiquita Banana Recipe Book in 1950.
  • Some food historians think that banana bread was a byproduct of the Great Depression. During that time, housewives couldn’t afford to throw away overripe bananas because they were still a fairly costly item. Being the resourceful cooks that they were, they turned them into a sweet quick bread that their families enjoyed.
  • There are more than 500 varieties of bananas, even a pink one! Musa velutina, known as the pink banana is found in the wild in the eastern Himalayas and Assam. Not only is it pink, it’s fuzzy!

Tips

  • If your bananas are not quite completely ripe, put them in the microwave for about 20 seconds and they’ll soften right up.
  • If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can easily make a substitute using whole milk and lemon juice or white vinegar. For each 1/4 cup of milk, stir in 3/4 teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar. Let stand for 5 minutes before adding to the recipe.

FAQs

How ripe should the bananas be?

For the best results, the bananas should be very ripe. You want them to be spotted all over, quite soft, and fragrant. However, you can soften under ripe bananas in the microwave for about 20 seconds as an alternative. Your bread won’t be as fragrant as it will when using fully ripe bananas.

Could I use another kind of nut in the recipe?

Sure, why not? Walnuts would be a good choice. And I’d bet peanuts would be tasty, too.

How do I store my Buttermilk Banana Nut Bread?

Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days. You can also refrigerate it to extend its freshness for a few days.

Can I freeze the bread?

Yes, you can! You can either freeze the whole loaf or cut it into slices and freeze them individually.

Can this recipe be made gluten-free?

You can use a gluten-free flour substitute. Make sure it is a 1:1 substitution ratio and follow the instructions on the package.

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Recipe

A loaf of Buttermilk Banana Nut Bread sliced and presented on a cutting board.

Banana Nut Bread

Buttermilk Banana Nut Bread is the perfect treat! It's a not too sweet quick bread with the richness of pecans and the savory tang of buttermilk. It's sure to be a hit in your home!
5 from 7 votes
Print It Rate It Save
Course: Breads, Breakfast, Dessert, Snacks
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 24 servings
Calories: 194kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • cup buttermilk
  • 3 ripe bananas well mashed
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Grease and flour two loaf pans and set them aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, add the sugar and butter. Beat until well creamed. Add the eggs and beat until fluffy. Gradually add the flour beating on slow speed until well mixed. Note: the batter will be thick at this point.
  • In a small bowl, add the baking soda to the buttermilk and stir together well. With the mixer at low speed, slowly add the buttermilk to the sugar, flour, and egg mixture.
  • In a small bowl, mash the bananas thoroughly. I use a fork to do this, but you can use a potato masher if you'd like.
  • Add the mashed bananas to the batter. Mix at low speed until well incorporated. Stir in nuts, salt, and vanilla.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pans.
  • Bake at 300 for approximately 1 hour or until a tester inserted near the center comes out clean. Remove loaves from the oven and cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Turn the loaves out on the rack and let them cook completely.

Notes

Tips:
  • For the best results, the bananas should be very ripe. You want them to be spotted all over, quite soft, and fragrant. However, you can soften under ripe bananas in the microwave for about 20 seconds as an alternative. Your bread won’t be as fragrant as it will when using fully ripe bananas.
  • If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can easily make a substitute using whole milk and lemon juice or white vinegar. For each 1/4 cup of milk, stir in 3/4 teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar. Let stand for 5 minutes before adding to the recipe.
Substitute other nuts if you’d like. Walnuts would be a good choice. And I’d bet peanuts would be tasty, too.
Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days. You can also refrigerate it to extend its freshness for a few days.
You can freeze the whole loaf or cut it into slices and freeze them individually.
For a gluten-free option, use a flour substitute. Make sure it is a 1:1 substitution ratio and follow the instructions on the package.
 

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1 | Calories: 194kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 25mg | Sodium: 115mg | Potassium: 95mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 160IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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31 Comments

    1. We’ve always loved this recipe, too, Randall. And I love that it makes a loaf to share with friends as well.

  1. I love this little history on banana bread! For some reason, I never think to make it… Though I ALWAY seem to have bananas sitting on my counter that would be perfect for a banana bread :) This one looks great!!

    1. Interesting, isn’t it? My grandmother, who was a teenager during the depression era, made banana bread all the time!

      1. Thanks, Debra! I’ve been making this recipe for about 30 years and it’s always a hit.

  2. Thanks for this yummy recipe, Lana! In your “Ceasar Salad Pizza” post, you mentioned this bread “with a smear of sweetened cream cheese” (paraphrased) … can you elaborate on what you do to sweeten the cream cheese? Thanks very much!

    1. Basically you let a block of cream cheese come to room temp and then beat it with powdered sugar. For an 8 oz block, I’d use probably 1/4 cup of sifted powdered sugar.

  3. I always seem to have extra bananas around the apartment and so banana bread is always my go to – this looks delicious!

  4. hey, when my bananas are getting so that they’re a little riper than I like for eating.. I chuck them in the freezer, where they wait for the day I need to make banana bread! Always a ready supply, and bananas are never wasted!

  5. Ahhh mouth watering. My hubby is trying to perfect his banana nut bread recipe and I just sent this to him….. :)! Can’t wait!

  6. I love bananas in any kind of baked good. Loafs, cakes, muffins even cookies. I really like adding something tart like cranberries to balance the sweetness.

  7. Sorry Mama Neena – Polly’s was made with a box mix from the Jewel Tea Company. She loved those things.
    Miss P

      1. I remember that she told me. And, I recall seeing the box. At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

        Miss P

  8. I think that I have already told you that this was one of your Daddy’s favorites. Polly was famous for it when I was growing up. He was always glad when she make it. Your receipt looks a lot like I remember hers. Looks yummy with a cup of coffee or tea.

  9. I love everything with bananas, esp in desserts. It gives such a natural sweetness and yet lovely flavour. I haven’t tried banana bread yet. Hope to try soon.

  10. Mmmm, banana bread. I was looking at 3 ripe bananas just this evening, and told my husband he was going to score some banana bread tomorrow. He loves it!

    Lana, I am glad to see that I’m not the only person who realizes that you don’t have to use over-ripe bananas (a.k.a. rotten) to make banana bread. I never liked banana bread before.

  11. Nothing beats a good ol’ banan bread. I’ll take a slice with a dollop of butter. An after dinner snack. lol.