The Hungry Games: Banana Bread Edition

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This banana bread recipe is easy and fast to make, and is a great way to use up over-ripe bananas.  Everyone's grandma has a great banana bread recipe (and this is my grandmother's recipe), but we actually did side-by-side taste tests with several other very popular banana bread recipes, and this recipe came out on top!

This is the BEST recipe for homemade banana bread.

I'm excited to announce a new weekly feature here on Tikkido:  The Hungry Games.  It's pretty much a battle  between recipes, and only one can be victorious.  It was inspired by my incredible pastry chef/microbiologist mother, who has taken to taste testing multiple recipes for the same item in order to find the very best to make part of our collection.  And for our very first entry:  Banana Bread.

We test four or so recipes, from blogs, from friends, from our vast collection of cookbooks.  We bake them all up at the same time, and have as many people as we can con into helping do a blind taste test and fill out a survey.

Taste test of four banana bread recipes

Often, there's a clear winner. Sometimes, there's a tie, as in our banana bread face-off. In that case, we look to the complexity of the recipe.  If one recipe is less fussy and easier to prepare, it's declared the winner.  That's what put my Grandma Berta's recipe at the top of the heap in this contest.  

Loaf of banana bread in pan, surrounded by bananas and walnuts.

It's classic, it's easy, it's fast, it's delicious, and it uses up old bananas past their prime for eating.  Does it get any better than that?

Frozen, over-ripe bananas.

We always have bunches of bananas in our freezer.  Whenever we have a banana that gets a little too ripe for us to eat fresh, we throw it right in the freezer, peel and all.  They last forever, it seems, and they defrost really quickly once you take them out of the freezer.  If you freeze your bananas like we do, I would caution you to let the bananas thaw out in a bowl, because they will make sticky puddles of banana juice as they come to room temperature.  

Loaf of banana bread, sliced on a cutting board, surrounded by walnuts and bananas.

The Hungry Games Banana Bread Winning Recipe:

Two loaves of banana bread in pans on a granite counter.

Berta's Banana Bread Recipe (Makes One Loaf of Banana Bread):

  • 1/2 cup butter-flavored Crisco (We've tried it with actual butter, and the shortening gives it a better texture.  My mother reports that since the banana flavor is dominant, the flavor benefit using real butter would otherwise give is insignificant.)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 or 4 mashed, ripe bananas (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon  salt
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 Fahrenheit.

Cream together sugar and shortening.  Add eggs, and beat until fluffy.  Mix in flour, salt, baking soda, and mashed bananas and mix until well combined.  Fold in walnuts, if desired.

Bake in a greased bread tin at 325 for approximately 1 hour, until a test-skewer stuck into the center of the bread comes out clean.  When I baked the banana bread this afternoon, I needed an hour and five minutes.  Ovens vary quite a bit, so definitely check at the hour mark and adjust the cook time to your particular oven.

Two loaves of banana bread in pans on a granite counter.

Internal Temperature for Banana Bread:

You can also an instant read thermometer to check if the banana bread is done.  Bake the banana bread until the internal temperature reads 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Loaf of banana bread on a cutting board, surrounded by bananas and walnuts.

Fast, delicious, and it uses up fruit that would otherwise get tossed.  My kind of recipe!  Perfect for a brunch, a shower, or a make-ahead holiday breakfast.  And simple enough that the kids will have a great time helping out.  My girls leap at the chance to crack eggs and mash bananas when it's time to bake!

In future weeks, I'll be sharing our winners in the butter cake, peanut butter cookie, quick lemon bread, and carrot cake competitions.  And I can't wait to start gathering recipes for others, too!  What would you most like to see featured and get the Ultimate Hungry Games Winning Recipe for?  Taking recommendations now!

We taste tested many recipes, and this is the BEST, easiest banana bread recipe around.

And, as my friend Naz just said, "May the odds be ever in your flavor!"   Sorry, I just couldn't resist.

Printable, One Page Banana Bread Recipe

navigational image leading reader to one page, printable banana bread recipe.

Turn Banana Bread into Banana Muffins:

Banana bread baked as banana muffins in a cupcake tin.

Do you love banana bread, but prefer the grab-and-go convenience of banana muffins?  This banana bread recipe can easily be baked as banana muffins!  You simply:

  • follow the same recipe to make the batter
  • scoop into lined muffin/cupcake tins
  • bake at 325 for 20-22 minutes, until a toothpick comes out of the center of the muffin clean

Other Quick Bread Recipes You Might Like:

 
Nicole Wills, creator of Tikkido

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