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Ultimate Banana Bread

(recipe, Anna Conley)


From Cooks Illustrated: Going to combine the banana-boosting technique in this one with the sourdough banana bread recipe.


  1. 1¾ cups (8¾ oz) all purpose flour
  2. 1 tsp. baking soda
  3. ½ tsp. table salt
  4. 6 large very ripe bananas (about 2¼ pounds)
  5. 8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  6. 2 large eggs
  7. ¾ cup packed (5¼ oz) light brown sugar
  8. 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  9. ½ cup toasted, coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)
  10. 2 tsp. granulated sugar


  1. Sift flour, baking soda, salt together in a large bowl
  2. Place 5 bananas in a microwave safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap, cut vents for steam. Microwave on high power until bananas are soft and have released liquid, about 5 minutes. Transfer bananas to fine mesh strainer over a medium bowl and allow to drain, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes. You should have ½ to ¾ cup liquid.
  3. Transfer banana liquid to medium saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until reduced to ¼ cup, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat, stir reduced liquid into bananas and mash with a potato masher until smooth. Whisk in butter, eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla.
  4. Pour banana mixture into flour mixture and stir until just combined with some streaks of flour remaining.
  5. Gently fold in nuts, if using.
  6. Scrape batter into greased loaf pan.
  7. Slice remaining banana into ¼ inch thick slices. Shingle banana slices on top of either side of the loaf, leaving a 1½ inch wide space down the center to ensure even rise. Sprinkle granulated sugar evenly over loaf.
  8. Bake in preheated 350F oven until cake tester comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then remove from pan and continue cooling.