This easy classic banana nut bread is everything a banana bread should be: moist, warm spiced, and studded with crunchy toasted walnuts.
Do you like your banana bread…nutty? A few dark brown bananas are an ordinary sight on our counter (yours too?). Usually our go-to banana recipes are healthy muffins or banana oatmeal pancakes, but this time we wanted something new. Meet this ultra Classic Banana Nut Bread! This one is just like Grandma’s: moist and cinnamon-scented, with bursts of crunchy walnuts throughout. To take it over the top, toast the nuts in a skillet to bring out their nutty undertones before gently folding them into the batter.
Ingredients in this banana nut bread
This banana nut bread is a straightforward take on the classic! We’ve got a few tricks up our sleeve, so here are a few notes on what you’ll need:
- Bananas: Make sure they are ultra ripe! Spotty and brown is good and black works too!
- Walnuts: You can use any type of nut in banana nut bread. Walnuts and pecans are the most classic: but you can get creative (see below).
- Neutral oil: We prefer oil in our quick breads because it doesn’t require melting like butter: one less step!
- Light brown sugar: Color matters here! Dark brown makes the bread a very dark color
- Eggs, baking soda & salt: The regular players for a quick bread.
- Cinnamon and allspice: Allspice gives it just the right unique intrigue in flavor!
- Vanilla: A hefty dose of vanilla gives it a smooth flavor.
- All purpose and whole wheat flour: A mix of flours adds a nuance to the flavor a pinch of nutrients.
How to make banana nut bread
Banana nut bread is like any quick bread recipe. If you’ve made pumpkin bread or zucchini bread, you know the drill! There’s one extra step you’ll need in the beginning:
- Toast the nuts in a dry skillet. This brings out their nutty flavor (see below).
- Mix the wet ingredients. Mash that banana with a fork or potato masher first.
- Mix the dries in a separate bowl.
- Stir to combine, then gently fold in the nuts.
- Bake for 45 minutes, then add foil and bake 15 more. Add the foil to make sure the nut topping doesn’t get too brown.
Why toasting the nuts makes a difference
The first step to this banana nut bread is toasting the nuts. Why do you toast nuts? Toasting nuts brings out at beautiful nutty essence that’s otherwise undetectable. You have to taste it to believe it, but there’s a huge difference between a raw nut and a toasted nut.
Over here, we always toast our nuts (yep!) before adding them to salads and desserts. So why not do it before folding into a quick bread? You can toast nuts on the stovetop or in the oven. Here’s How to Toast Nuts (2 Best Ways!).
Alternate nuts & mix-ins for banana nut bread!
Walnuts and bananas are a classic combination. But you can get creative with other types of nuts or add-ins! Here are a few ideas of mix-ins for banana nut bread:
- Chocolate chips
- Butterscotch or peanut butter chips
- Dried cherries or cranberries
- Shredded coconut
The most fun part is combining them to make interesting flavors! Try chocolate hazelnut banana bread, cashew cherry, or coconut butterscotch.
Banana nut bread storage
Here’s the great thing about this banana nut bread: it’s seriously moist and keeps very well! You’ll find it’s even softer and moister the second day. We like to keep it at room temperature because it’s so beautifully moist and you can eat it right away. But here are a few options for storage:
- How long does banana bread last at room temperature? 4 to 5 days, covered in aluminum foil.
- Can you refrigerate banana bread? You can! Keep in mind that it does dry out a bit in the fridge. It also tastes a little better at room temp, so you may want to leave it on the counter for a few minutes before eating.
- Can you freeze banana bread? Yes! Slice it into pieces and wrap it in plastic wrap and then place it in a freezer safe bag or container. It stays good for about 3 months.
Do you eat plant-based? It’s easy to make this banana nut bread vegan: just substitute flax eggs for the eggs. Flax eggs are simply ground flax seed mixed with water: it combines to make a gel-like substance that’s great as a binder in vegan baked goods.
Want another option? This Vegan Banana Bread is extremely delicious.
More banana recipes (bread, muffins, oh my!)
What else can you make with ripe bananas? So many things. Our favorite are our healthy muffins (many variations below), but there are lots of options. Here are our favorite banana recipes:
- Bake up a pan of this fan-favorite Banana Baked Oatmeal
- Blend up a creamy Chocolate Banana Smoothie or Strawberry Banana Smoothie
- Spring for a treat with Chocolate Banana Muffins
- Make a big pan of Healthy Banana Bread Muffins or Banana Blueberry Muffins
- Opt for Healthy Banana Bread instead
This banana nut bread recipe is…
Vegetarian and dairy-free. For plant-based and vegan, substitute flax eggs for the eggs.Print
This classic banana nut bread is everything a banana bread should be: moist, warm spiced, and studded with crunchy toasted walnuts.
- 1 cup walnut halves and pieces
- 1 1/3 cups mashed ripe bananas (4 or 5 very ripe bananas)
- 1/2 cup neutral oil (organic vegetable, canola or grapeseed)
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs (or flax eggs for vegan)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter an 8 or 9-inch loaf pan.
- Toast the walnuts: Place the nuts in a dry skillet (no oil) over medium heat. Heat, shaking the pan and stirring often with a wooden spoon, until the nuts are fragrant and slightly darker brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Stay at the stove because the nuts can easily burn! Remove immediately from the heat and transfer to a plate to stop the cooking. Then chop the walnuts: it should be enough for about 3/4 cup.
- Make the batter: Mash the bananas in the bottom of a large bowl, enough for 1 1/3 cup. Whisk in the oil, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla extract.
- Add the baking soda, kosher salt, all-purpose flour, and whole wheat flour to the bowl and stir together with a spoon. Gently fold in the 1/2 cup walnuts.
- Bake: Pour the batter into the loaf pan and top with the remaining 1/4 cup chopped walnuts. Bake 45 minutes, then add foil loosely on the top. Bake another 10 to 15 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean (or the internal temperature is 200 degrees): the exact timing will depend on the size of the pan.
- Cool: Cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Then run a knife around the edge and invert the loaf onto a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. Storage info: The bread lasts 4 to 5 days at room temperature wrapped in aluminum foil, refrigerated for 10 days, or frozen for 3 months (slice it into pieces and wrap it in plastic wrap then a freezer-safe bag or container).
- Category: Bread
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Banana nut bread
More quick bread recipes
Quick breads are breads that don’t use yeast, like banana bread and pumpkin bread! They bake right after mixing up the batter. Here are a few more quick breads to try:
- Pumpkin bread: Try Healthy Pumpkin Bread, Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread or Vegan Pumpkin Bread
- Cranberry bread: Try Easy Cranberry Bread
- Zucchini bread: Try Best Zucchini Bread, Easy Zucchini Bread or Vegan Zucchini Bread
- Cornbread: Try Best Homemade Cornbread or Easy Vegan Cornbread
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.