banana bread

New life for old bananas, part 2

20 August 2010

This is my holy grail banana bread recipe – super moist with deep banana flavor; springy and not heavy. The recipe is simple and perfect – and bakes into a beautiful gift-worthy loaf. I also cherish this recipe because it comes from my old friend and fellow chinese grandma Lisa, who was my first friend in first grade and comes from a family of amazing cooks, crafters and bakers.

I put this together while the banana chocolate chip muffins (from New life for old bananas, part 1) were in the oven. Without help from my four year old (who had maxed out his cooking attention span with the muffins), I easily had the bread ready for the oven before the muffins came out.

Start with butter and sugar:

I mix with a fork because I’m too lazy to get out a mixer:

Add eggs:

Mix well:

More old bananas (reusing my banana mashing plate from the muffins):

Add mashed bananas and vanilla to butter mixture:

Prepare sour milk and add:

Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl:

Add in batches to the wet ingredients:

Voila, batter!

Grease pan – I always use the waxed paper wrapper from the butter (again, compulsive re-use!):

This is going to be a big loaf…moved an oven tray down from my muffin baking to make room:

So much better than stinky decomposing bananas in the trash.

Kids filled up on the muffins earlier, so I’m going to enjoy some peace, a hot slice of and a cup of tea. Luxury.

Banana bread Lisa
The best banana bread recipe – super moist with deep banana flavor; springy and not heavy.


  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1 cup sugar (Lisa uses 1 1/2 cups, which makes for an even moister loaf)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup milk mixed with
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (not needed if using salted butter)
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch loaf pan (an 8-inch square pan also works).
  2. In a large bowl, mix sugar into softened butter.
  3. Add eggs; mix well.
  4. Mash bananas and add to batter. Add vanilla.
  5. Add vinegar to milk; add sour milk to batter.
  6. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  7. Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Mix well.
  8. Add nuts, if using.
  9. Bake for one hour (a square pan will take less time), until toothpick comes out clean. It’s important to do the toothpick test with banana bread, as often it looks nice and brown outside but still needs a few more minutes to cook fully inside.


  • My family actually likes it better when I cook banana bread in a baking dish (an 8-inch square or 11″x7″, 2-quart Pyrex). It cooks faster (about 35-40 minutes), and the texture is softer and lighter. My mom, a great cook but less-confident baker, also finds it much easier to know when the bread is ready in a baking dish than a loaf pan.

Here’s the link to a printable version.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Molly 26 August 2010 at 8:21 pm

I’m no longer wondering what I’m going to do with those banana’s in the fridge! I can’t eat them fast enough…. but I doubt I’ll have no trouble eating the banana bread!


Lisa 12 October 2010 at 6:59 pm

YUM! I just made this for Kev’s early AM work meeting! I usually have to dig thru stacks of the family recipes to find this oldie but goodie . . . so nice to see the recipe on-line! THANKS, Chinese Grandma!!


kathleen smith 25 January 2011 at 9:39 am

Made this last night as a wheat-free version, and it’s still SUPER tasty! Substituted 3/4 C cornmeal/flour, 1/4 c ground flax and 3/4 buckwheat. Thanks for the recipe! xxxoxxoxo


cg 25 January 2011 at 11:11 am

hi kathleen! very cool…thanks for posting the wheat-free variation! love it.


cc 14 May 2011 at 8:41 pm

Thanks for sharing this! Made a vegan version of this today, with soy milk, Earth balance (soy butter), and egg substitute in the same quantities as in the original recipe. Came out yummy, moist and delicious 🙂 BTW, love how you include pictures of your recipes in progress!


cg 14 May 2011 at 11:10 pm

you are on a roll! thanks for sharing the vegan substitution so that others can benefit from your legwork. makes me so happy when people share back. =)


christine (baking and barre in LA) 16 August 2015 at 2:40 pm

I made this a few days ago and it came out as promised, super moist (I did about 1 1/4 cups sugar). I’m not used to making banana bread with white sugar — does that have a different effect than brown sugar?

thanks for the recipe and beautiful pictures!


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