Banana bread made without a loaf pan is lighter and fluffier and tastes even better than banana bread made in a loaf pan. When it is made in a square ceramic baking dish it is fluffier and more cake-like in consistency than banana bread made in a loaf pan, which is usually dense. Both ways are great, but a square dish is my preference.
I have made this recipe at least a hundred times over 10 years. It is a recipe that we use over and over in our home, and it is the one that I hope, the most, that our kids make for their kids (or even college roommates) when they get older. Banana bread has such a nostalgia associated with it… weekend breakfasts, after school snacks, cold winter days and sunny spring days. There is so much good emotion wrapped up in banana bread. It is by far one of my favorite recipes.
The key to a great banana bread is choosing bananas that are the right amount of ripeness. I choose bananas that are overripe, to the point where you probably wouldn’t want to just peel one and eat it as a snack. But equally important, you don’t actually want them to be too overripe. If they are SO brown, that they’re kinda falling apart and pretty unpleasant to look at on the counter, that’s too ripe. If they are too overripe then the bread actually turns out to have a mushy and unpleasant texture. Choose bananas (or wait to use your bananas on the counter) until they have started to turn brown, have some brown spots, but not so ripe that they are completely brown all over.
Use 4 ½ medium sized bananas for this recipe (about 2 cups mashed). Choose bananas that are not huge, not tiny, but somewhere in the middle.
Not Too Much Sugar
Bananas have plenty of sugar in them, and when you choose bananas that are starting to brown they will be extra sweet. For that reason, banana bread does not need that much sugar. This recipe calls for ½ cup sugar, which is definitely less than typical, but I find is just the right amount. It is still plenty sweet, but tastes a little more appropriate for breakfast or a snack, rather than just as a dessert.
I also only include ¼ cup butter. That’s all that it needs. There’s plenty of wet ingredients in the batter with all the bananas that it doesn’t need a ton of butter. Any more than ¼ cup and you can start to actually taste the butter distinct from the rest of the ingredients.
If you make this banana bread, I'd love to hear from you! Leave a comment down below and let me know how it turns out. Your feedback means a lot!
If you're looking for another sweet bread recipe, you may love these:
Banana Bread without a Loaf Pan
- ¼ cup butter, softened
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 4½ medium overripe* bananas (see note above) about 2 cups of mashed bananas
- 2 large eggs
- ½ tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Butter and flour an 8x8 square ceramic baking dish.
- Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugar together. Add the bananas and use the mixer to mash the bananas on low speed. Add the eggs and vanilla and combine. Add the baking soda and salt and combine.
- Then with a spoon, mix in the flour by hand until just combined. Do not over mix. Pour into the prepared baking dish.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes. Timing may vary if using an aluminum or glass dish, or a 9x9 dish, and depending on how hot your oven runs.A toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean.