Add endless moisture and a touch of tang to a quickbread favorite with this tried-and-tested recipe for Buttermilk Banana Bread. No buttermilk but still staring down a bunch of overripe bananas? It’s my Buttermilk Substitutions Guide to the rescue!
You might be thinking: How much can you improve upon perfection? Perfection, or banana bread in this case, is already just so good. And I’m sure you’ve had your fair share of delicately sweet, chocolate-studded loaves of banana bread. So what else can be done? Sure, you can swirl in chocolate and peanut butter, top it with fresh raspberries and chocolate chips and even sub in olive oil, sour cream or Greek yogurt to lend an irresistibly tender crumb to your banana bread.
But I’m here to tell you that yes, perfecting perfection is possible, all thanks to one of my all-time favorite secret weapons: buttermilk!
How Do I Know When the Bread Is Done?
A digital kitchen thermometer is your best friend, rather than just a regular “toothpick check”, when it comes to testing the doneness of a moist baked good like banana bread. Checking from the top center of the bread, your thermometer should come out to 200°F when your bread is ready.
If you don’t have a thermometer on hand, you can absolutely still use a small paring knife to test the middle for doneness. Just keep in mind that any melty mix-ins (like chocolate) will likely stick to the side of the knife. Pro Tip: If your banana bread looks like it’s getting too dark on top but still isn’t baked all the way through, tent it loosely with foil at the 40-minute mark then continue baking until a toothpick or knife inserted comes out clean.
What Is the Best Way to Store Banana Bread?
Storing moist, fluffy banana bread in an airtight container (wrapped in paper towels to absorb any excess moisture) or in plastic wrap at room temperature is where it will be happiest. However, if you won’t be eating it within 3 to 4 days, your bread will be safest in the freezer. Let the loaf cool completely then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Place in an airtight, sealed plastic bag or wrap it in aluminum foil.
It will keep between 2 to 4 months in the freezer, although likely way less time once you remember you can make Banana Bread French Toast!
Can I Substitute Sour Cream for Buttermilk in Banana Bread?
Yes! Sour cream goes great in banana bread (see: Sour Cream Banana Bread!). You can swap in ⅓ cup sour cream to replace the ⅓ cup buttermilk in this recipe. Fun fact: Sour cream, Greek yogurt and buttermilk add acid to your baked goods, which activates the baking soda and tenderizes the gluten;
If you don’t have either of those on hand, you can use this handy substitution guide for buttermilk. All you’ll need is milk and another acidic agent, like lemon juice, cream of tartar or white vinegar.
- 3 very ripe bananas, mashed well (about 1 ½ cups)
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup chocolate chips, chunks, nuts or other mix-in (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9-inch loaf pan with parchment paper then grease it with cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the mashed bananas, buttermilk, eggs, vegetable oil and vanilla extract.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, sugar, baking soda and salt. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix just until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips (optional).
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
- Bake the bread until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. (See Kelly’s Note.) Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool completely before slicing and serving.
- If your banana bread looks like it’s getting too dark on top but still isn’t baked all the way through, tent it loosely with foil at the 40-minute mark then continue baking until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
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