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How to Make Really Great Banana Bread

Updated on August 23, 2011

The Secret: Rotten Bananas!

To make really great banana bread you ned some really "rotten" bananas--the blacker the better. It takes three bananas to make one loaf, so you can freeze your rotten bananas until you have enough for a loaf or two. It's a great use for your bananas that are too ripe to eat; Now you don't have to throw them away. There's no need to bag them. Just throw them in the freezer in their skins and they'll keep for quite awhile. When you're ready to make your bread, thaw them on something that won't stain, like a glass or ceramic plate, not on a formica counter or a melamine plate. They will ooze liquid when they thaw. Don't worry about it. When they are soft, peel them and put them in threes (3's) in a mixing bowl. Beat them with an electric mixer until fairly smooth (a couple of minutes). If the bananas are not ripe there wil be lumps. For each 3 bananas add 1 egg, 1 cup sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix well, then add 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda. Mix again and slowly add 1/4 cup melted butter. The new margarines don't melt well, so I use real butter, but my Mom uses margarine and it comes out fine.

Time to Bake

At this point I like to add 1/2 cup or so of walnuts, pecans, or toasted wheat germ per loaf (toasted wheat germ gives you that nutty favor, but my kids like it better than nuts). Pour into greased loaf pan(s), sprinkle sugar on top, and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about an hour, or until center springs back when pushed (or when knife inserted in center comes out clean, or however you like to check for doneness). It will be quite dark. Cool 10 minutes, then loosen sides with knife and remove from pan to wire rack(s) to cool. It's wonderful warm with real butter on it!

Nothing beats it hot from the oven!
Nothing beats it hot from the oven!

The Credentials

I've been eating this bread for 57 years and I just learned from my mother that this was my great grandfather's recipe back when he had a fruit stand out in front of his house in Acton, Mass. Somehow that makes it taste even better! People are always asking for the recipe because "it's the best banana bread I ever tasted!" It has been served at hundreds of church suppers and bake sales up and down the east coast, baked in tiny loaf pans and put into Christmas baskets (it freezes well), and shows up at the breakfast table as often as it does for desert or a snack.

Nutritious and Economical

I have exchanged whole wheat flour (1/2 c) and soy flour (1 T) for part of the 1 1/2 c flour (still totaling 1 1/2 c flour), used wheat germ instead of ( or with ) the nuts, and the kids still loved it! I also usually add about 1/4th cup of flax seeds for some omega-3's. It's a good way to sneak in a little more nutrition. It's also very economical. You can often buy over-ripe bananas very inexpensively if you don't want to wait to save them up in the freezer, and the other ingredients don't cost much. The best part, aside from the favor, is that there are only natural ingredients in this bread and it only takes a few minutes to mix it up. I hope you'll try it, and let me know what you think!

The Recipe

For each loaf: 3 very ripe bananas

                 1 egg
                 1 c. sugar
                 1/2 t. salt
                 1 1/2 c. flour
                 1 t. baking soda
                 1/4 c. melted butter or margarine
                 1/2 c. nuts
Mix well.  Pour into greased loaf pan, sprinkle with sugar, and  
bake at 350 for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Cool.


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    • SandyHoyt profile image

      SandyHoyt 5 years ago from Madisonville, LA

      I have yet to see (or smell!) a banana too rotten to make into banana bread! I have pulled completely black, shriveled bananas out of the freezer, peeled off the skin (and the moldy spots!) and thrown them in the bowl! If they're turning into banana "vodka" don't worry--it'll cook off and leave good flavor--kinda like cooking with wine.

    • profile image

      justine 5 years ago

      Its okay even if they are smelly?

    • profile image

      GM 5 years ago

      I made your banana bread and it is SO good!!!

      Next time I will add chocolate chips.


    • brennawelker profile image

      brennawelker 6 years ago

      THanks for this hub Sandy. YOu're doing great.

    • SandyHoyt profile image

      SandyHoyt 7 years ago from Madisonville, LA

      Adam, I hope your family enjoys it as much as ours does! I especially love it when it's cooked really dark. If you get a chance, let me know how it turns out!


    • profile image

      Adam 7 years ago

      Thanks for the recipe. My Dad bought a bunch of bananas from Costco about a week ago and no one ate them. I guess I was not in the mood for bananas that week. So with the summer heat they were getting blacker each day. I didn't want to throw them into our compost bin. So my Mom and I tried out your recipe. It took about 15- 20 mins to prepare and now our kitchen smells great. Can't wait to take the pan out of the oven and taste it. It sure smells great.

      Thank You,

      Adam and family

    • SandyHoyt profile image

      SandyHoyt 9 years ago from Madisonville, LA

      Thanks, Cathy. Good ideas about the bananas!

    • profile image

      Cathy Davison 9 years ago

      This banana bread is great. You can also thaw the bananas in the microwave if you're in a hurry. Use the defrost setting and don't let them get too hot or they might cook the eggs in the batter.