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My Mother-In-Law’s Banana Bread

My Mother-In-Law has been baking banana bread for decades, using the same tried and true recipe. I had never tried her recipe before, but with everything going on at the moment, it seemed like a great time to try it!

It is a classic banana bread recipe made with all the good stuff. Overripe bananas, butter, and just the right amount of sugar.

image of banana bread loaf sliced open

This recipe is also one of the few desserts my husband enjoys eating! And if anything, that’s a testament to how delicious this recipe is.

Banana Bread Aesthetics

While banana bread is amazing as is, there are a few things I like to do to make sure it looks as good as it tastes.

My first tip is avoid over-mixing the batter! Mix each ingredient just until it’s incorporated. This ensures your banana bread will be light and fluffy.

There is nothing worse than dense banana bread, so please be gentle with your batter 🙂

The second thing I recommend doing is sprinkling a couple teaspoons of granulated sugar on top of the banana bread batter once it’s in the pan.

As it bakes, the sugar caramelizes add becomes a gorgeous golden color. This creates a wonderful texture and adds complexity to the flavor to your banana bread.

image of banana bread batter in loaf pan topped with extra sugar and sliced bananas to make it look pretty

My last tip is to cut a banana in half lengthwise and press it on top of your batter before baking it.

This gives the banana bread a gorgeous finished look and lets everyone know what flavor it is with one look!

I also love the extra texture and flavor that the bits of banana add to the top of each slice.

Why is it Better to Use Overripe Bananas in Banana Bread?

Most banana bread recipes insist on using only the ripest bananas, including this one. But why are overripe bananas better to bake with??

image of ripe bananas, ready to be used to make banana bread

There are actually several reason! The first is that as a banana ripens, more of its starch is converted into sugar. This creates sweeter, more tender baked goods.

Another benefit of baking with super ripe bananas is that they’re super easy to mash up. This ensures your banana bread has a uniform, even texture without any unexpected chunks of banana.

Overripe bananas are also more aromatic and give baked goods a more intense banana flavor than yellow bananas.

image of banana bread batter being made with super ripe, brown bananas

The final and best reason (in my opinion) is that it uses up overripe fruit that would otherwise go to waste!

With all that in mind, this recipe will still turn out if you use yellow bananas. It just won’t have as intense of a banana flavor!

Baking Hack: How to Quickly Ripen Bananas for Banana Bread

If you only have yellow bananas and want that intense banana flavor, don’t worry!

You can easily turn yellow bananas brown in a matter of minutes. Preheat your oven to 300 F / 150 C and place your unpeeled bananas on a foil-lined baking sheet.

Bake them for about 15 minutes, or until the banana skin is uniformly dark in color.

Let them cool on that pan for 10 minutes, then carefully peel and mash them.

image of moist classic banana bread, sliced and ready to be eaten

Substitutions and Swaps

While I love this recipe just the way it is, I know some of you might not have all these ingredients on hand!

Below are some swaps and substitutions that can be made in this recipe:

  • Overripe Bananas – If you don’t have overripe bananas on hand, bake your bananas at 300 F for about 15 minutes or until the skin of the bananas is black.
  • Lemon Juice – Fresh lemon juice really enhances the banana flavor in this recipe and prevents the mashed bananas from browning. It can be left out if needed though!
  • All-Purpose Flour – This recipe turns out best with AP flour, but you can use a cup for cup gluten free flour blend in its place if needed.
  • Unsalted Butter – If you only have salted butter, on hand you can use it in place of the unsalted butter in this recipe. Just be sure to omit the salt that this recipe calls for. You can also use vegan butter in its place!
image of ingredients laid out to make banana bread, including ripe bananas
  • Granulated Sugar – I think this banana bread has just the right amount of sweetness, but you can either increase or decrease the amount of sugar by 1/2 cup based on your preferences.
  • Baking Powder / Baking Soda – This recipe uses both leavening agents, and both are important to help this recipe rise correctly! Make sure both types of leavening agents are properly measured and haven’t expired.
  • Whole Milk – You can also use skim milk, full-fat yogurt, buttermilk, sour cream or alternative yogurt or milk (almond, soy, oat) if you’re dairy free.
  • Eggs – If you don’t have eggs on hand or can’t eat eggs, you can use flaxseed eggs in their place.
image of classic banana bread loaf sliced open to show the tender, fluffy texture of the loaf

Tips for Making the Best Banana Bread:

  • Properly measure your flour (fluff, then spoon into the cup measure and level) or use a kitchen scale to measure your dry ingredients.
  • Don’t over-mix the batter! It will make your banana bread dense and chewy. Once you add the flour, be sure to mix the batter JUST until it’s combined. It’s ok if you can still see little streaks of flour, it will get mixed in after you add the bananas.
  • To make gluten free banana bread, swap in your favorite GF flour blend for the AP flour in this recipe. Be sure to over-mix your batter (it gives GF baked goods better structure) and let the batter sit for at least 30 minutes before baking for best results.
  • Ingredients at room temp mix together better! Set your cold ingredients ahead of time.
  • Bang your loaf pans on the counter before putting them in the oven. This brings any air bubbles that are trapped in the batter to the surface.
  • Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of granulated sugar on top of the batter once it’s in the pan to create a caramelized and crunchy top!
  • Press a sliced banana into the batter before it’s baking to make each loaf even prettier.
banana bread loaf sliced and stacked to show how pretty and delicious it is

Making This Banana Bread in Advance & Storage Tips

You can make this banana bread in advance! If stored in an airtight container, it can last for 5 days at room temp, up to a week in the fridge, or up to a month in the freezer.

It freezes extremely well, so don’t be afraid to enjoy a freshly baled loaf and freeze the other! I like to wrap my loaves in a layer of plastic wrap, then a layer of foil to lock in all the moisture.

When I’m ready to enjoy one of the frozen loaves, I move it from the freezer to the fridge the night before. Then I set it out at room temperature to let it thaw for a few hours before slicing and enjoying.

image of banana bread slices, stacked to show how soft and moist they are

Let Me Know What You Think!

If you try my MIL’s recipe, I’d love to hear what think of it! Please leave a rating, and let me know your thoughts by sharing a comment 🙂

Also please tag me @chelsweets and use the #chelsweets so that I can see your amazing creations on social media!

Other Recipes You Might Like:

Yield: 16

My Mother-In-Law's Banana Bread

image of moist classic banana bread, sliced and ready to be eaten

This is my Mother-In-Law's tried and true banana bread recipe! It's moist, fluffy, and packed with banana flavor!!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients

My Mother-In-Law's Banana Bread Recipe

  • 2 cups mashed bananas, about 4 large bananas (500g)
  • 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (30g)
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (170g)
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar (250g)
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature (170g)
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder (12g)
  • 1 tsp baking soda (6g)
  • 1 tsp salt (6g)
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour fluffed and level (440g)
  • 3/4 cup whole milk, room temperature (180ml)

Optional Mix-Ins

  • 1 cup chocolate chips (175g)
  • 1 cup chopped, toasted nuts (125g)

Decorations

  • 4 tsp granulated sugar (2 tsp per loaf)
  • 2 additional medium-sized banana (one per loaf)

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F / 175 C and grease two 8.5 in. x 4.5 in. loaf pans with non-stick spray or butter.
  2. Mash up 2 cups of overripe bananas and combine them with 2 Tbsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice. This prevents the bananas from browning and brightens up their flavor. Set aside.
  3. Add 3/4 cup unsalted butter and 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar into a large bowl. Beat on a medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes with either a hand mixer or a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. Beat until the mixture becomes lighter in color.
  4. Mix in 3 large eggs on a medium speed and continue to mix for an additional minute. The mixture should look fluffier and lighter. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed with a rubber spatula.
  5. Add in 1 Tbsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp salt, and 2 cups of all-purpose flour. Mix on a low speed until just combined.
  6. Pour in 3/4 cup of milk and mix on a low speed until it's incorporated.
  7. Add in the remaining 1 1/2 cups of flour, and mix on low just until you can no longer see streaks of flour.
  8. Mix in the mashed banana/lemon juice mixture on a low speed until it's fully incorporated into the batter. If desired, fold in chocolate chips and/or toasted nuts.
  9. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.
  10. To dress up my banana bread, I like to sprinkle 2 tsp of granulated sugar over the top of each loaf to create a crunchy, caramelized top. I also cut a medium-sized banana in half lengthwise and press it on top of the batter as a garnish.
  11. Bake on the upper baking rack for 55-65 minutes, rotating half way through to make sure they bake evenly. If you notice the tops of the loaves are browning too much, place a foil tent over each loaf to protect the top while allowing the bread to finish baking through.
  12. Remove the loaves from the oven and let them cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
  13. Wait to slice the banana bread until it is fully cooled!! If it's still warm, it will be difficult to cut.

Notes

Making This Banana Bread In Advance & Storage Tips

You can make this banana bread in advance! If stored in an airtight container, it can last for 5 days at room temp, up to a week in the fridge, or up to a month in the freezer.

It freezes extremely well, so don't be afraid to enjoy a loaf freshly baked and freeze the other! I like to wrap the banana bread in a layer of plastic wrap, then a layer of foil to lock in all the moisture.

When I'm ready to enjoy one of the frozen loaves, I move it from the freezer to the fridge the night before. Then I set it out at room temperature to let it thaw for a few hours before slicing and enjoying.

Different Batch Sizes

This recipe can easily be halved to make one loaf. It can also be doubled to make four loaves or two loaves in a larger bread pan. If you use a larger pan, the loaf will need to bake longer.

This recipe can also be used to make banana bread muffins. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full, and bake at 350 degrees F for 14-16 minutes.

Nutrition Information

Yield

16

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 424Total Fat 18gSaturated Fat 9gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 59mgSodium 361mgCarbohydrates 63gFiber 4gSugar 32gProtein 7g

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