Recipe Review

I Tried the Banana Bread Reddit Is Obsessed with (It’s One of the Easiest I’ve Ever Made)

published Feb 24, 2021
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Credit: Kelli Foster

If you can believe it, it’s been nearly a year since the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders went into effect — and with it, the subsequent banana bread frenzy. Since then I’ve been trying out different recipes and, in that time, I’ve come to learn a lot about what makes a banana bread recipe stand out from the rest.

Recently, when I saw a generations-old banana bread recipe take off on my favorite sub-reddit Old_Recipes, I knew I had to try it. If you’re not familiar with Old_Recipes, it’s exactly what what it sounds like: a place where people share old recipes that have been forgotten over the years. We’ve found a ton of gems there, like Peanut Butter Bread, Grandma’s Lemon Bars, Nana’s Devil’s Food Cake, and Murder Cookies, and I was confident this banana bread would soon be added to the list. The commenters who had baked the bread had only wonderful things to say, including someone who likened the recipe to one from a church cookbook (which always have amazing family recipes!).

Like many great family recipes that get passed from generation to generation, this banana bread recipe is hand-written on an index card. Original poster u/daviddwatsonn says it’s been in the family for four generations, and that if you’re going to make banana nut bread, this is the recipe to try. While the recipe card only includes the ingredients and no instructions, the original poster kindly passed along the instructions to the many commenters (including myself) who requested it. Here’s what happened when I gave it a try.

How to Make the Reddit-Famous Banana Bread

This is a simple and straightforward banana bread recipe. While the photo of the recipe card lacks instructions (maybe they’re on the back of the card?), the original poster kindly sent me (and many other commenters) the instructions within minutes of my message.

You’ll mix one stick of room-temperature salted butter with sugar, preferably by hand. Mix in a couple of eggs, vanilla extract, baking soda, and salt, followed by three very over-ripe mashed bananas and all-purpose flour. If desired, fold in chopped walnuts or pecans.

Transfer the batter to a greased loaf pan. The recipe suggests gently banging the pan on the counter four or five times to remove most of the large air bubbles in the batter. You’ll bake the bread until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about one hour.

Credit: Kelli Foster

My Honest Review of the Reddit-Famous Banana Bread

This bread is certainly good and has a lot of qualities I enjoyed, like an extra-crisp top and an ultra-tender texture, and it sliced beautifully without crumbling apart. It’s also one of the easiest and most straightforward banana bread recipes I’ve ever baked.

It’s not my favorite banana bread, though, because I found it be lacking in the flavor department. With each bite, I craved more banana flavor (yes, I used three very brown and overripe bananas) and I also found the bread to be overly sweet. It’s been a while since I’ve baked a banana bread recipe that uses granulated sugar, and I feel that for a basic loaf like this one, it leaves a flat, one-dimensional flavor, whereas using brown sugar would lend depth and notes of caramel to the bread.

If You Make the Reddit-Famous Banana Bread, a Few Tips

  1. Unsalted butter is fine. In the comment section, the original poster clarifies that the recipe calls for salted sweet cream butter. If you don’t have that, a stick of unsalted butter will work just fine.
  2. Use large eggs. The recipe simply calls for eggs, without specifying a size. Large eggs are standard in most recipes, and work well here.
  3. Swap the granulated sugar for brown sugar. Using an equal amount of light or dark brown sugar will give the bread a richer, deeper flavor.
  4. Toast the nuts. If you choose to add nuts to your banana bread, the very best thing you can do for a better-tasting loaf is to toast the nuts first. Take your pick between toasting the nuts in the oven, on the stovetop, or even in the microwave.
  5. You may need a slightly longer cook time. While the recipe calls for a one hour cook time, my loaf took about 70 minutes until it was cooked through. Start checking the banana bread at the 60-minute mark, but don’t be afraid to add more time.

More Banana Bread Recipes to Try

Have you ever tried the Reddit-famous banana bread? Tell us what you thought in the comments!