4.84 from 12 votes

Classic Banana Bread with Pecans

Loaf of banana bread on parchment paper with three slices cut

Here in Minnesota there is a timeless tradition of going to the “cabin.” During the summer everyone heads out of the city on the weekend to fish, and during the winter they still fish, but on frozen lakes. I am not originally from around here and have not quite embraced this weekend exodus, but I have a friend who is and she lures me to her cabin, not with the prospect of fishing, but with her banana bread.

She always bakes the loaf in the early morning while I am sleeping, so I wake to the fabulous smell of the bread and fresh coffee. It is sweet and cakey, much lighter than this fruity bread has the reputation for. After decades in Minnesota I still don’t have a cabin, but I am grateful for the 5-hour drive to my friend’s, just to have her banana bread.

How to Ripen Bananas Fast

I also keep a stash of overly ripe bananas in my freezer, so I can make it at home. The flavor of this recipe depends on the sweetness of the fruit. Those black spotted bananas your kids don’t want to eat in their lunch are perfect. If you don’t have any overly ripe ones on hand, you can roast the fruit to bring out the sweetness. Just throw your yellow bananas (the green ones won’t work) on to a cookie sheet, peels and all. Pierce the skins and bake them at 350°F for about 45 minutes. Let the bananas cool and then peel and mash.

Banana Bread Variations

Banana bread is such a classic and it has so many delicious variations. Check out the following recipes if you love this one!

If you love bananas as much as I do, be sure to check out my collection of banana desserts, complete with banana pudding, banana cream pie, and banana layer cake, among others.

Banana Bread

The flavor of this banana bread depends on the sweetness of the fruit. The riper the banana the sweeter the bread. Pecans add nice texture.
4.84 from 12 votes
Servings: 2 loaves


  • 2 cups (470g) very ripe, mashed bananas about 4 medium sized or 1 pound
  • 2 1/4 cups (270g) all-purpose flour scoop and sweep
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (200g) sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) brown sugar tightly packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 cup (112g) pecan pieces, lightly toasted optional


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F with the rack in the middle of the oven. grease two 8.5 x 4.5 Inch loaf pans and line with greased parchment paper to create a sling, set aside.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
  • In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the sugar, brown sugar and eggs on medium speed for about 4 minutes. Mix in the vanilla and slowly drizzle in the oil while the beater is on medium low speed.
  • Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a rubber spatula to stir, alternate adding the dry ingredients and the mashed bananas in 3 batches, mixing just enough to combine them. Add the nuts and mix just to combine.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pans and smooth out the top. Bake for about 1 hour or until a tester comes out clean. If the top is over browning after 45 minutes, gently drape the top with foil.

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32 thoughts to “Classic Banana Bread with Pecans”

  1. 4 stars
    This was very good and I used it as the base for the chocolate bread pudding. It definitely has that chocolate taste to it. I did substitute the vegetable oil with half melted butter and half avocado oil and the texture was perfect.

  2. 4 stars
    I made this today but only used a quarter of a cup of white sugar on top of the half cup of brown sugar and I found this was quite sweet enough with all the added bananas. Left out the pecans as I didn’t have any. Good flavour and texture all round!

  3. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for this recipe. I have made this several times…I delete the cocoa… I add back in the measurement for the the cocoa with flour!?! Is that a good replacement? I also put a flour, brown sugar and butter crumble on top. I have tried out sooo many banana bread recipes that have come out so dense…and they weigh like five pound’s! Your recipe is a winner! Thank you for sharing! Debbie from So Cal☀️☀️

  4. 5 stars
    Our favorite banana bread recipe! It’s easy and delicious. But it only took 40-45 minutes.

  5. 5 stars
    Thank you for this perfect banana bread recipe! I added a butter, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and pecan crumble to the top before baking it. I have made so many different versions of banana bread….you are amazing and I just knew that this recipe one would be the best! Thanks again! Debbie

    1. Hi Debbie, thank you so much for coming back to rate and review the recipe. We appreciate it so much! We’re thrilled you enjoyed it. Wishing you a wonderful holiday season!

  6. Made this recipe. Used my ceramic pans.. They were a little smaller but better filled them normally. The bread fell in center and was raw . I weighed bananas to one pound mashed chunky. Any ideas ?

    1. Hi Donna, it sounds like the banana bread was under baked. Ceramic pans cake take longer to heat up and you may also need to check your oven temperature with a separate oven thermometer to make sure it is accurate. The best way to ensure it is finished baking is to test it with a skewer. I hope this helps!

  7. I tried a gluten free adaptation which my family and I loved. I am not an expert, but as a home cook have been baking gluten free for 6 years I weighed mashed banana to 1 lb. For the
    all purpose flour I substituted:
    1 1/4 C (110 grams) oat flour, 1/2 C (48 gr) almond flour, 1/2 C (61 gr) tapioca flour and increased the baking powder 2 tsp total. Recipe except above followed. Baked in 8 x 4 in pans to internal temp of 210 deg F
    The resulting loaves were very moist and flavorful. The tester was still slightly moist at 210 deg. Left loaves in pans with foil cover until cool.

    1. Hi Barbara! I’ve just added a recipe card so you can easily print this. Happy baking!!

  8. Texture looks exceptional! But more flour than banana suggests the banana flavor is not going to be strong enough. I think banana bread has to be rather dense (that means big crumbs). It’s a flavor vs texture thing; can only have one not both. I wish someone would create a recipe that uses way more banana than flour and still somehow ends up with very fine crumbs.

  9. Hi Zoe,
    I love Banana Bread and I am sure this one taste wonderful.
    Would you happen to have a recipe for Banana Bread that’s Gluten free?
    Thanks much!

    1. Hi Kamal,

      You can probably get away will substituting a portion of the butter, but not all of it or the texture and flavor will be compromised.

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. I see the above comment about substituting oil for the butter. Am I just missing the butter in the ingredients list?

        1. Hi Sybil! This recipe calls for oil, but you could test swapping a portion of the oil for butter if you prefer it that way. Happy baking!

  10. Hi Zoe, Thanks for the recipe! I made banana bread a couple of days ago and it tasted good 🙂 How can I make it a bit less dry though?


    1. Hi Alice,

      If your banana bread was dry, you may want to bake it for a bit less time. Try testing it 10 minutes early and see if a tester comes out clean.

      Thanks, Zoë

  11. I’ve used only one banana bread recipe my whole life, my grandmother’s. I know it by heart, no need for the card any more. I saw this recipe and had to try it. This recipe is great. The chocolate adds a “hmmm… what is it?” factor without overwhelming the banana flavor. Moist, great crumb, and best of all, it makes two loaves instead of just one.

  12. I’m getting ready to start baking for a benefit for Epilepsy- I’m doing 20 loaves of bread, copius amounts of muffins,coffeecakes, and now, your banana bread! I’m betting it will be the first thing to sell out!

  13. I just made this yesterday for a friend’s birthday. Banana bread is the only dessert she likes and it turned out wonderful. I usually don’t like banana bread because it is usually such a dense cake but this one was so light and rich, thank you so much for sharing.

  14. Wow…cocoa powder in banana bread! I’ve got to try this recipe…it looks just scrumptious. What a lovely way to wake up at the cabin…to fresh banana bread. That’s a very good friend.

    1. 5 stars
      Dear Zoe, great recipe… Delivers great flavor and texture. However I’m confused because the photo doesn’t match the end product. The cocoa powder makes it darker. Is the photo suppose to go with a different recipe? Thanks, Anna

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