This recipe is a one-bowl wonder that’s just the thing when you could use a little comfort food with some nutritional saving grace. Quite a few years ago now, I started making the banana bread from Simply Recipes with some frequency (and, at times, with some urgency). Over time, I adapted it to our own tastes. Less sugar. More banana. Dark chocolate. Walnuts. But always in the one-bowl, no-fuss spirit that makes the original a thing of beauty.
Why we love this recipe
Banana bread should be comforting, breezy, and dead-simple to make. If you’ve got four big overripe bananas on your counter or in your freezer, you should be able to mash them up in a single bowl, stir in some common ingredients, and end up really, really happy.
Our banana bread does all that and without a ton of added sugar, to boot. It’s flexible enough to be delicious even if your bananas aren’t exactly the size we were thinking and you can’t read our minds.
Also, you guys? It has chocolate. Our recipe calls for half a cup, but we’ve HEARD you can add kind of a lot more than that if you’re so inclined.
Banana bread ingredients
For this recipe, you need just a few pantry ingredients, plus some overripe or frozen bananas. You’ll use:
- 4 medium- to large, very ripe bananas. You can make banana bread we have overripe bananas on the counter, or you can plan ahead by freezing your overripe bananas. (Just peel them and pop them whole into a gallon-size zip-top freezer bag.) When ready to use, you can defrost them with a short stint in the microwave.
- Melted butter
- An egg
- Brown sugar (not too much — lots of the sweetness comes from the bananas)
- Vanilla extract
- A splash of brewed coffee, if you have it, to deepen the banana and chocolate flavors
- Baking soda
- All-purpose flour (or a combo of all-purpose and whole wheat pastry flours, if you like)
- Finely chopped dark chocolate or bittersweet chocolate chips
- Chopped walnuts
How to make banana bread
For this easy recipe, ingredients simply get stirred into the bowl with a fork. You can see it all in action in the video that accompanies this post. You will:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the center and grease a loaf pan
- Mash the bananas well with a fork
- Stir in the melted butter
- Make a little space on one side of the bowl to crack the egg into
- Tip the bowl and beat up the egg a bit with the fork
- Add the brown sugar, vanilla, and coffee to the bowl and stir it all up well
- Sprinkle the baking soda, salt, and flour over the wet ingredients and stir until just combined
- Pour in the chocolate chips and walnuts and stir to distribute
- Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake the bread for 45 to 60 minutes until a tester comes out not smeared with banana
Healthy banana bread, give or take
Look, banana bread, like all quickbreads, is a treat. But our version goes heavy on the banana and uses only 1/2 cup of brown sugar. We usually make it with all-purpose flour, but if you like you can use whole wheat pastry flour as designated in the recipe below. All of this adds up to a not-too-sweet, moist, and totally delicious banana bread that’s a little better for you, and is more banana-forward, to boot.
More brunch favorites
Hosting brunch, or just looking to make a fabulous weekend breakfast? Here are some of our favorites:
- A fabulous basic pancakes recipe
- Savory Waffles
- Eggs Florentine
- Vegetarian Breakfast Casserole
- A fabulous basic waffles recipe
A quick, funny anecdote
Since we first published this banana bread recipe on Umami Girl back in 2010, some of our best friends have been making it even more often than we do.
They live in a different city, and we recently spent the weekend at their house.
When I woke up Sunday morning, my friend said, “I almost introduced you to your banana bread. I forgot it was yours.”
That’s my dream come true. Because it’s not my banana bread now. It’s theirs. And that’s the whole point of this operation.
Maybe go ahead and make it yours, too.
- 4 medium to large, very ripe bananas
- 4 tablespoons (56 grams) butter, melted
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) lightly packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon brewed coffee (if you have it)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups (180 grams) all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled (see note)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped dark chocolate or bittersweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
- Preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the center. Grease a medium (8-cup/9 x 5 x 3 inch) loaf pan.
- In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a fork.
- Mix in the melted butter.
- Crack the egg into the bowl near one of the sides, tilt the bowl slightly, and use the fork to lightly beat the egg.
- Add the brown sugar, vanilla, and coffee to the bowl and mix with the fork to combine well.
- Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the batter.
- Add the flour and mix with the fork until just combined.
- Add the chocolate and walnuts and mix just until they're well distributed in the batter.
- Scrape the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes to one hour, until a tester inserted in the center comes out cleanish. It's fine if it has some banana or chocolate on it, but lots of wet batter ain't right.
- Cool in the pan on a rack for ten minutes (before unmolding to cool completely, if you're positively made of steel).
When possible, it's best to weigh your ingredients for baking. If you don't have a kitchen scale, fluff the flour with a spoon and then lightly spoon it into your measuring cup, mounding it over the top. Then swipe the flat back side of a knife across the top to level the flour with the top of the measuring cup.
Instead of 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, you can use 1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon whole wheat pastry flour if you like.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 315Total Fat: 19.6gCarbohydrates: 32.7gFiber: 2.5gProtein: 3.9g