Perfect for when you are craving classic banana bread! I love mixing up my banana bread with sour cream, it offers a little tang and a lot of moisture to the crumb. As with any quick bread, it's a super fast mix and bake! And if you eat a specific diet like gluten free or paleo, all you need to adjust this one is below.
Choosing the best bananas
Most of us are looking for a nice sweetness in our banana bread. And the best, most natural way to achieve this is with really ripe bananas. When I buy bananas, I set aside a couple and let them get nearly black. Then I freeze them until the day I bake. Bare minimum, use bananas with no visible green and lots of brown spots.
The best method for mixing banana bread
If you come across a banana bread recipe that instructs you to "cream the butter and sugar", beware. While you certainly can bake up lovely quick bread by approaching it like a cake, the method is unnecessary effort in my opinion. When I want banana bread, I want it easy and quick.
The quick bread method
Mix the wet, mix the dry, then mix them together and you're done! Quick and simple. No waiting for butter to soften, since you melt it. This is literally how I learned quick breads in culinary school. The creaming method is great for cakes, but let's not overcomplicate an afternoon snack.
The role of baking powder and soda in banana bread
Any reliable quick bread recipe will call for at least one teaspoon of baking powder (¼ teaspoon baking soda) per cup of flour. If a recipe doesn't follow this textbook, proven ratio, click away.
Chemical leaveners give baked goods rise and if used correctly a beautiful crumb. Baking powder and soda get the job done when activated by acid and heat in the oven, minus all the time spent whipping air into select ingredients. #bakingisscience
How to make this banana bread with sour cream work for any diet
Gluten free, dairy free, paleo-style and GAPs diet legal. Here are the small adjustments needed to enjoy this classic recipe on any diet.
Yes, even grain-free.
Here is how to adjust this, or any quick bread recipe, for different diets.
Dairy free. With coconut oil and avocado oil, it's so easy to bake dairy free. Especially when you are using the quick bread method and you don't need a fat solid at room temperature. Even without the sour cream, this bread is still delicious.
Gluten free. I've tested this recipe with Bob's 1:1 gluten-free flour blend. To avoid a loaf that sinks during cooling, let the batter sit in the pan for 30 minutes before baking. This allows the starches to absorb moisture from the mixture, and helps it rise and hold shape. Bake for 50-55 minutes to an hour. Cover with foil if it browns before a toothpick comes out clean.
Paleo/Grain free/GAPS diet/. I've also made this recipe using almond and coconut flours, and was surprised at how well it turned out. Now don't get me wrong - it is a different texture entirely. But my son who often follows the GAPS diet loved it. And the rest of us snuck a piece when he wasn't looking. It was banana bread, after all.
A few words on sugar in baking + quick breads
In our house, we tend to adhere 80% of the time to a paleo-style diet. No refined wheat flours, very light on the starch, heavy on pastured proteins, vegetables and fruits. This type of diet will change the way you look at added sugar. But it can also leave you feeling backed into a corner when it comes to baking.
Have no fear, I have a (not so secret) tip.
Kicking processed white sugar to the curb
You can easily replace processed sugar with honey or maple syrup in any recipe. And by all means, we all should most of the time. Honey specifically is twice as sweet as table sugar, but brings loads of great nutritional properties. Especially if you use raw, unfiltered honey.
Substituting with honey. Since honey is twice as sweet as sugar, simply use half the amount. Trust me, you won't miss the sugar, not among all that banana flavor. And your insulin levels will thank you.
Substituting with maple syrup. Maple syrup is lovely with banana bread! It's nearly three-times as sweet as sugar, so go easy here. When I use it in this recipe, I add no more than a third cup, often only a quarter cup since I really ripen my bananas.
Substituting with coconut sugar. Unlike honey and maple syrup, coconut sugar is less sweet than sugar by weight. So I stick with the same amount. This is truly a win-win, and my favorite way to replace white death in baking.
Worth a mention. Let's call a spade a spade. At the end fo the day, sugar is sugar. Moderation is key. But by making better choices, you can certainly soften the blow.
Banana bread with sour cream + other fun mix-ins
Sour cream is wonderful in quick breads, and even sour cream chocolate cake. A thick greek yogurt works, too. The cream or yogurt give the baking soda what it needs to do its thing. And there's a wonderful richness in baked goods with sour cream you can't with any other ingredient!
Indulge. A couple cups of dark chocolate chips are a lovely indulgence.
Add texture. For a little crunch with every bite, top the batter with chopped nuts or seeds before baking. For extra crunch, gently fold in a cup of chopped nuts at the end of mixing. Toss any mix-ins lightly with flour to keep them from sinking to the bottom.
Add tartness. Fresh berries are a great way to add a touch of tart and the flavors of summer. Toss about a cup in a little flour before folding in gently to the mixed batter. A little grated citrus zest is another way to add a subtle tartness.
Add fiber. Swap out regular wheat flour for whole wheat, or use half and half. Ground flaxseed or psyllium husk powder are a great way to add dietary fiber to an otherwise lacking snack. A couple tablespoons, up to a quarter cup, work with this recipe.
Let me know how you bake up your banana bread in the comments!
Yours in going bananas,
- 1¼ cup flour, wheat, whole-grain wheat, gluten-free or fine-ground almond flour/coconut flour blend* (see note)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
- 2 ounces/4 tablespoons/¼ cup unsalted butter, ghee or coconut oil, melted
- 2 large, ripe bananas
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar, packed (dark or light)
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons organic or cultured or homemade sour cream
- ¼ teaspoons lemon (or orange!) zest, optional
Prepare the deck
Preheat oven to 350° F. If using wheat flour, grease bottom and sides of an 8 or 9-inch loaf pan. For gluten-free bread, only grease the bottom. Or line standard muffin cup pan.
- Whisk or blend wet ingredients. Melt butter and cool a few minutes. Combine melted butter with remaining wet ingredients and whisk well, or blend in a blender until smooth.
- Whisk dry ingredients. In a large bowl, whisk together flour(s), salt, baking powder, baking soda and ground nutmeg.
- Add wet ingredients to dry. Mix just until the batter is smooth (over-mixing will lead to a tough loaf). Batter will be thick. If baking gluten-free, mix batter well.
Scrape into loaf pan, sprinkle with large crystal sugar (or regular granulated) and bake for 40-50 minutes. Bread is done when the top springs back from gentle pressure and/or until toothpick comes out clean.
If using a 9-inch loaf pan, cooking time will be slightly less. Muffins generally take 18-20 minutes. The toothpick test is your friend every time.
Cool bread in pan for 10 minutes, and then transfer to wire rack and cool completely.
Don't overmix! The binding gluten proteins in wheat flour will turn tough with too much mixing. Combine the wet and dry ingredients completely with about ten good stirs, then drop that spatula like it's hot.
For Paleo/Grain-free/GAPS: Replace the wheat flour with 1¾ cups almond flour + ¾ cups coconut flour. Replace the sugar with coconut sugar, or ⅓ cup raw honey. Eliminate the baking powder since most contain added starch, and are not grain-free. Using ¾ teaspoons of baking soda for leavening will give the same rise. If you are following a strict, dairy-free Paleo diet, lose the sour cream.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 40-50 minutes
- Category: sweets
- Method: baking
Keywords: banana bread recipe, gluten free banana bread, Paleo banana bread, GAPS diet banana bread