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Best Easy Banana Bread Recipe (+ High Altitude & Gluten Free Option)

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I have been searching for the Best High Altitude Banana Bread Recipe! This one is quite possibly the best EVER! So EASY, moist and amazingly delicious! Freezes great too! Plus simple instructions for high altitude, sea level and gluten free options.

A great banana bread should be easy to bake, with simple ingredients; it must be moist, have subtle banana flavor, not overly sweet, bake up golden brown.

You might enjoy these other simple, classic recipes as well; New England Whoopie Pies, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies, Basic Fudge Brownies or Mimi’s Copycat Honey Bran Muffins.

Sliced high altitude Banana Bread on tray | thefreshcooky

High altitude banana bread

Right now, banana bread is trending everywhere, not fancy, boutique ingredient banana bread like my Banana Nutella Bread or Moist Banana Graham Oat Bread but a basic, simple, classic banana bread.

Baking at high altitude banana bread requires the right recipe; I will give you tips on how to bake at altitude or sea level as well as adjustments or gluten free banana bread.

Image of high altitude banana bread sliced with chocolate chips on a parchment lined tray

Flour’s Famous Banana Bread

While visiting colleges in Boston, I had heard so much about Flour Bakery & Cafe.

I adore Joanne Chang’s cookbook Flour and have made several of her recipes, including her brioche (WOW!) and browned butter rice krispie treats (WOW-WOW!).

The beautiful bakery in the heart of downtown Boston, with all sorts of delectable pastries, and yet I went for their Famous Banana Bread. Simple ingredients, outstanding texture and flavor!

Sliced high altitude banana bread with chocolate chips on a wooden tray.

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread vs. Banana Nut Bread

What do you prefer? For me there is no contest, it’s banana NUT bread all the way, or plain without nuts, but my family, they are all about the chocolate.

I will show you how to easily add your own mix-ins.

A serrated knife slicing a large slice of high altitude banana nut bread.

HOW TO KEEP CHOCOLATE OR NUTS FROM SINKING IN QUICK BREAD

The short and simple on this toss whatever you are mixing in, into the flour mixture and coat, or remove a few teaspoons beforehand and toss separately.

banana bread recipe process shots | thefreshcooky.com

The coating of flour, helps the mix-in to “stick” to the batter while baking, not allow it to sink completely to the bottom.

additional process shots with flour, chocolate chips and walnuts for banana bread recipe | thefreshcooky.com

How to Bake Banana Bread

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (350 degrees F high altitude), unless using dark or glass pan, positioning rack in middle of oven. Spray 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with non-stick spray, and dust with flour. Or spray, then line with parchment (at least the bottom of the pan) for easy removal. May also butter pan.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix sugar and eggs, beating on medium speed for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy (8 minutes if using natural cane sugar or using a hand mixer).
  3. While sugar and eggs are combining, in a bowl, add flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt, whisk to combine, set aside.
  4. Mash bananas, measure creme fraiche (sour cream or greek yogurt) and vanilla.
  5. On low speed slowly drizzle in oil. Don’t just dump it in, but slowly drizzle while it incorporates, should take about a minute, you don’t want to deflate the egg and sugar batter!
  6. Add bananas, creme fraiche, and vanilla, mixing on low until just combined.
  7. Stir nuts or chocolate chips (or other mix in) into flour mixture, then fold flour mixture into wet batter. I use this spatula style for folding, as it grabs more batter at a time. Make sure no flour streaks are visible and nuts/chocolate chips should be evenly distributed. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and smooth top.
  8. Bake starting at 45-50 minutes, but bake up to an hour and 15 minutes if needed or until golden brown and the center springs back when you press it, if your finger takes off or sticks when you press it, it needs a bit longer. It should not be jiggly.
  9. Allow to cool on wire rack for at least 30 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack to finish cooling.
Facebook image of closeup of high altitude banana bread with nuts on parchment lined tray, overlapping each other.

HOW TO STORE BANANA BREAD

Personally, I think quick breads are better the next day, but sometimes I cannot wait that long! I also believe that something happens making the bread even more moist when frozen and thawed.

  • Wrap banana bread tightly in plastic wrap.
  • May hang out at room temperature up to 3 days or up to 5 if you keep your house cool like mine. 🙂
  • In the fridge up to 7 days (wrapped of course).
  • Frozen up to 3 months if tightly wrapped.
Slices of a loaf of high altitude banana bread with nuts on a natural piece of parchment paper with walnuts strewn about, on top of a tan and white striped tea towel.

CAN YOU FREEZE this BANANA BREAD recipe?

Absolutely! In fact, high altitude banana bread freezes beautifully.

Wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, then placed in freezer baggie up to 3 months (though I have found quick breads in my freezer that have been there longer and they thaw and taste just fine.)

Sometimes I cut the loaf in half, wrapping separately then I have a quick little something to give to a neighbor in need or when we have a banana nut bread emergency! LOL! Thaw frozen bread overnight at room temperature.

I also like to slice it ahead of time, into ¾ – 1″ slices, wrap the slices in plastic wrap, freeze — they toss well into lunch boxes! Check out my post on Creative Lunch Box Ideas for more “pop-in-the-lunch” snack ideas.

a sliced loaf of banana nut bread with banana in the background on a tray lined with parchment paper.

The Best Bananas for the Best High Altitude Banana Bread

I confess that I actually buy extra bananas sometimes just so I can have the “excuse” to make banana bread.

The browner the banana the better, in fact the best bananas are black bananas! That means that the sugars in the banana have done a great job at breaking down the flesh, making them even sweeter!

If using frozen bananas be sure to defrost on the counter first, draining the liquid that comes out before using in your recipe.

How to Ripen Bananas Fast

  • You can speed up the browning process by placing the bananas in a brown paper bag along with an apple on the counter for a day or two. The gasses emitted by the apple will speed the ripening process.
  • Or, while I have never tried this, if you are really impatient you can place bananas (in peels) on a sheet pan in a 300 degree oven and bake for about 20 minutes. Cool, peel, mash — makes awesome bread, I am told!

How to make GLUTEN FREE BANANA BREAD

This is a great Gluten Free Banana Bread recipe!

I have had great luck swapping out regular flour for a good 1-to-1 gluten free (my favorite) replacement.

You might also try substituting half the flour with GF oat flour or a 50/50 split between oat flour and a gluten free all purpose flour.

Bake as directed, watch on the earlier side though, my experience is that you do not want to over bake a gluten free recipe.

sliced loaf of best banana bread recipe | thefreshcooky.com

I hope you enjoy the recipe, if you do, peruse these other quick bread recipes and mufins!

Go and make some, toast a slice and slather it with butter and report back to me!

PIN to your favorite BREAD board!

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Yield: 9 slices

Best Banana Bread Recipe + High Altitude & Gluten Free Options

Best Banana Bread Recipe + High Altitude & Gluten Free Options

I am a banana bread nut and I have been searching for the Best Banana Bread Recipe! This one is quite possibly the best EVER! So EASY, moist and amazingly delicious! Freezes great too! Plus simple instructions to convert for high altitude or gluten free.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (may also substitute Gluten Free 1-to-1 flour or try half GF oat flour, half all-purpose or GF all purpose)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (high altitude; reduce to ¾ teaspoon )
  • ½-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar (reduce to ¾ cup for high altitude) I use all natural cane sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (I use Avocado, or try Coconut oil)
  • 3-4 bananas, medium very ripe, mashed (about 1 ⅓ cups)
  • 2 tablespoons creme fraiche (sub sour cream or greek yogurt)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped (optional)
  • 2/3 cup chocolate chips (tossed in a little flour) optional

Instructions

Preheat oven to 325°F (350° F high altitude, unless dark pan, see notes).

  1. Line the bottom and sides of a loaf pan with parchment paper or spray well with baking spray, or spray well with baking spray or rub liberally with butter.
  2. Whisk together together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt, set aside.
  3. Beat sugar and eggs on medium-high speed for 6-8 minutes (longer if using natural cane sugar), it should be nice and airy.
  4. Slowly drizzle in oil, should take about a minute. Add mashed bananas, creme fraiche (yogurt or sour cream), and vanilla extract.
  5. Toss nuts (or, if using or chocolate chips) in dry ingredients before folding into wet batter, this will help distribute them and keep them from sinking.
  6. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes. Start checking for doneness around 45-50 minutes.
  7. Loaf should spring back when lightly touched, if loaf is jiggly or sticky to the touch, return to oven for 5-10 minutes at a time.
  8. Remove from oven, allow to cool in pan on wire rack for at least 30 minutes. Remove from pan, let cool completely.
  9. High Altitude Baking Instructions: Start checking bread for doneness around 45 minutes. Loaf top should not jiggle or be sticky to the touch.
  10. Once cooled, wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Stores on counter for 3-5 days (cool house), in fridge up to one week and wrapped well and placed in freezer baggie for up to 2 months.

This recipe easily doubles or triples! If baking in mini loaf pans (split into 4 mini pans), reduce baking time to 20-25 minutes.

Notes

If using dark or glass pans, reduce baking temperature by 25°F.

If using a slightly smaller or larger pan you may need to adjust baking times, start checking at about 50 minutes.

Recipes lasts on counter up to 5 days in airtight container, up to 1 week wrapped in refrigerator and up to 3 months wrapped in freezer.

Recipe adapted from Flour's Famous Banana Bread

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

10

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 355Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 260mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 3gSugar: 13gProtein: 6g

The nutritional information is estimated and may not be entirely accurate, at times it pulls information for suggestions and options which may increase calories, etc. Nutritional information will change based on used ingredients, quantities used, etc.

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Marlene

Wednesday 20th of May 2020

Made this tonight, gluten-free, and it turned out great. Delicious!

Kathleen

Monday 25th of May 2020

YAY, love hearing this Marlene, so glad it turned out so well! Happy Memorial Day!

Bre

Saturday 16th of May 2020

Hi! Your recipe looks really good. I have tried making banana bread 6 times in the last 2 weeks, but each time I make it, the bread sinks and collapses in the center. I feel like I've done everything right: tested the center with a toothpick, adjusted to fit high altitude, fixed my oven temp... nothing works! Do you possibly know why this is happening and what I can do about it? I'm in Denver and this has never happened when I lived by sea level.

Kathleen

Wednesday 20th of May 2020

Hi Bre, try reducing your baking soda (or at least making sure it's fresh and viable). Curious if you tried my recipe which was made at high altitude in Denver or if you have been using other recipes? Not that anything is wrong with that, but I made changes purposely to get a good raise. Quick breads are tough.

Lynn Spencer

Saturday 9th of May 2020

Love the gluten-free suggestions! Thanks.

Kathleen

Saturday 9th of May 2020

You are very welcome, let me know if you try it and it works well, my next batch I was going to try it that way!

Amy Nash

Thursday 30th of April 2020

Absolutely scrumptious banana bread! I made it with the walnuts and all-purpose flour and it turned out fantastic! I froze individual slices for easy breakfasts in the future.

Kathleen

Thursday 30th of April 2020

YAY! Won't everyone be excited when they realize there is a stash in the freezer!

Sherry

Monday 27th of April 2020

I am going to make this today. Thank you for the recipe.

Kathleen

Tuesday 28th of April 2020

Hope you love it Sherry, thank you!

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