Banana Bread Recipe

Photo by Tyler Jordan

Its a strange thing really that I find myself baking so much these days. I seem to have developed a sweet tooth in the last couple of years and have found great satisfaction in adding new flavors to classic recipes. The use of orange extract and zest seem to be a common theme these days, my Ginger-Orange Carrot Cake Recipe is a prime example. I have always loved banana bread but am often frustrated that most contain nuts! I do love nuts, but (for whatever reason) do not care for them in my banana bread. I think it has something to do with those small pieces that get stuck in my teeth, they just don't seem to marry well. I find that adding coarsely grated chocolate adds a variance in texture that seems more appropriate, besides, who can say no to chocolate. I have tried this recipe using half unsweetened and half bittersweet chocolate, but I find that the unsweetened is much better complimented by the orange. For me, the bittersweet was just too sweet.

This recipe always turns out to be incredibly moist from the center of the loaf to the ends. This is attributed to the use of the yogurt, as well as the ripeness of the bananas. We use a lot of bananas at our house; as a snack, in cereal, with ice cream. I find that a quick smoothie or bread is a great way to use those bananas that may be too ripe or soft for those other applications.

How to Ripen Bananas

Overripe bananas contain an abundance of natural sugars that yellow bananas lack. However, if yellow bananas are all you have you can speed up the ripening process using your oven (this will not work on green bananas). Right before you are ready to use, place bananas (peel intact) on baking sheet in a warm oven for 15 minutes. Heating the bananas will cause the skins to blacken, while softening, browning and sweetening the flesh.

Orange-Spice Banana Bread Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup sugar
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons grated orange zest
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
2½ ounces grated unsweetened chocolate (optional)
3 ripe bananas, mashed (about 1½ cups)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon orange extract

The Best Banana Bread Recipe

1. With the oven rack in the lower-middle position, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously coat a loaf pan with vegetable oil spray.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg and chocolate (if using). In a separate bowl, whisk together bananas, butter, eggs, yogurt and orange extract. Gently fold banana mixture into the flour mixture until just combined; do not over mix.

3. Pour batter into loaf pan, smoothing the top. Bake until golden brown; to check for doneness, insert a wooden skewer into the center of the loaf ends. It should come out clean with only a few crumbs. You will find that a skewer inserted in the center will not come out as clean, but the batter will settle as it cools. The center will be considerably more moist than the ends but I prefer this to loaf ends that are too dry.

In my oven it takes anywhere from 50~60 minutes.

4. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, remove from pan and move to wire rack to cool for an hour.

14 Responses to “Orange-Spice Banana Bread Recipe”

  1. dominoNo Gravatar Says:

    Think it would be ok to substitute Cointreau or Grand Marnier for the orange extract?

  2. adminNo Gravatar Says:

    Absolutely Nick. Make sure to make Margaritas while you have them orange liquor handy :)

  3. Mark BoxshusNo Gravatar Says:


    What size loaf pan are you talking about here? 8×4 or 9×5?

  4. Mark BoxshusNo Gravatar Says:


    Is it an 8×4 or 9×5 loaf pan?

  5. adminNo Gravatar Says:

    @cookie doctor

    Standard bread loaf pan is what I use but any pan will do if you don’t have it.

  6. NicoleNo Gravatar Says:

    My husband hates nuts in banana bread and he loves spice bread so I’ll have to give this a try sometime! I’ve also heard that it’s great with chocolate but always forget to try it! Great recipe!

  7. adminNo Gravatar Says:


    Give this recipe a try, it sounds like it is right up your alley. If you prefer more sweetness use bittersweet chocolate rather than the unsweetened, or a combination of both. Let me know how it turns out!

  8. SuNo Gravatar Says:

    Can Honey be substitued for sugar – if so – what proportion? Thanks

  9. SuNo Gravatar Says:

    Can sour cream be substitued for the yogart?

  10. adminNo Gravatar Says:

    You have to be careful when substituting any ingredients in baking, especially when the molecular makeup is very different, as is the case with honey and sugar. That does not mean, however, that you can’t do it. Just keep in mind that honey is sweeter than sugar, adds moisture and acid, while also leading to quicker browning. So, rather than using a one-to-one ratio you would, ideally, want to decrease the amount of honey to offset the sweetness; reduce the other liquids in the recipe to combat the added moisture; add baking soda to temper the acid and lower the oven temperature to prevent over-browning.

    The question is, what are the ideal proportions? Depending on who you talk to the suggested ratio for substituting honey for sugar is different.

    On substituting sour cream for yogurt, my concern would be that the sour cream would substantially change the flavor of the bread. I, personally, encourage creativity in cooking and would encourage you to experiment with these substitutions and let us know what you find :)

  11. SuNo Gravatar Says:

    thank you for the info – great to have! Did not know about the honey vs sugar – that helps alot

    As for the sour cream – I have had really good luck subing it for milk with a little added water or larger eggs and do use it in my choc cake mixes add reduce the oil – love the flavor – seams to brighten the choc flavor

    I like added sour cream to pumpkin bread/cakes with good success so I thought I would try with the banana bread.

    thanks again -really appreciate the info!

  12. EdwinNo Gravatar Says:

    That looks so yummi!!! I will have my wife make that for me this week.

  13. CameronNo Gravatar Says:

    I tried the office sample this morning. Not too bad. The sweetness of the orange is a little lost, and I would personally bump up the spice a little. Overall, pretty good though.

  14. Mona WoltersNo Gravatar Says:

    Can you please email me this recipe. I would like to print it.

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