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Buttermilk Banana Bread on a square white plate with a red handled knife

Buttermilk Banana Bread

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This Buttermilk Banana Bread is a classic, dense,  and moist quick bread using buttermilk for a delicious change of pace.

Do you ever buy a quart of buttermilk for one recipe, then have loads leftover that you have no idea how to utilize? Yes, me, too. This banana bread and my corn muffins are two quick breads that will help decrease your supply!

Buttermilk Banana Bread slices on a white ceramic tray

Buttermilk Banana Bread

I hadn’t made banana bread in a long time.  My kids all ate bananas as toddlers, but when that stage was through, this fruit became banana non grata in our household. I had a legitimate excuse for not liking bananas.

My sisters and I had to choke down banana-flavored liquid Dramamine before our cross country vacations through the plains and over the Rocky mountains in an unairconditioned station wagon. The nausea from riding in the back of that station wagon on winding roads through the mountains and the nausea from the nasty taste of the Dramamine resulted in my siblings and I boycotting banana anything for years.

So it was a bit of a shock when my oldest asked if I could make banana bread.  What?  Where did this request come from?  I picked up bananas the next day and left them to ripen on the kitchen counter.

2 slices of Buttermilk Banana Bread on a square white plate topped with a pat of butter

Tips for Making This Banana Bread

That request had me hooked again! The sweet tender loaf was perfect for breakfasts and snacks. Here are a few tips for making banana bread and also a few for baking up quick breads in general.

  • Use very ripe bananas for this recipe. The skin should be covered with dark speckles and there should be an obvious banana aroma.
  • PRO-Tip: You can also ripen bananas by roasting them when you’re in a pinch. Place unpeeled bananas on a foil lined cookie sheet and roast at 300 degrees for 15-30 minutes.
  • Did you know you can freeze ripe bananas to use later? If you just have one or two, but not enough to make a full recipe, peel them, then toss them in a Ziploc freezer bag, remove any excess air, and freeze until you have enough to complete the recipe.
  • To use your frozen bananas in banana bread, defrost first, mash a bit if needed and mix into the batter as your recipe directs.
  • PRO-Tip: If you don’t have buttermilk on hand you can make your own by putting 1 tablespoon of either vinegar or lemon juice into a 1 cup Pyrex measuring cup. Fill the cup to the 1 cup mark and let sit for a few minutes to allow the milk to thicken and curdle slightly. You will only need 1/4 cup for this recipe.
  • PRO-Tip: Make sure not to over mix your batter. The dry ingredients should be mixed in just until combined. If you must use a mixer, mix on the lowest speed only until the flour is incorporated or tunnels will form throughout the loaf.
  • PRO-Tip: Baking times will vary depending on your oven and even the ripeness of your bananas. Insert a toothpick into the middle of the loaf to check for doneness (I insert a toothpick into the cracks along the top of the loaf at a few spots). If it comes out clean, the loaf is done. If not, bake for a few more minutes and recheck.
  • Let  your banana loaf cool in the pan for about 15 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to finish cooling. This first cooling period allows the loaf to firm up a bit before your release it. I like to line the bottom of my pans with a rectangle of parchment so that the bottom does not stick. I spray the top of the parchment with non-stick cooking spray for easy removal

Perfect Banana Bread

When those bananas became perfectly ripe, I knew it was time to bake that requested loaf of banana bread. I opened one of my recipe binders and right on top was a sheet I had printed off the Internet in 2006 for “Indescribably Delicious Banana Bread.”  I couldn’t resist trying a recipe with a name like that. Plus it contained buttermilk which, like sour cream, adds a certain tenderness to baked goods.

It also had a brown sugar nut glaze, but I didn’t guild the lily this time. I will make that version for my girlfriends, who aren’t nut phobic like my family.

The resulting bread was perfect…a lovely crumb, not too dense and incredibly moist…just the way a quick bread should be.  After a lengthy hiatus from all things banana, I think I found a new favorite banana bread recipe.

If you love nuts in your banana bread, try my Classic Walnut Banana Bread.  I also have a marvelous Cinnamon Topped Banana Bread and Chocolate Chip Toffee Banana Bread for you to check out. Other favorite quick breads include these Mini Pumpkin Breads, Southern Peach Bread, and Classic Zucchini Bread.

Buttermilk Banana Bread on a square white plate with a red handled knife
Originally posted in 2011; photos and text updated in 2019

More Banana Recipes:

This Sugar Crusted Zucchini Bread is another favorite quick bread recipe, but you may also enjoy these other banana recipes:

This recipe was first shared in June 2011. Photos and text were updated in 2019.

Buttermilk Banana Bread slices on a white ceramic tray

Buttermilk Banana Bread

A classic moist banana bread with a buttermilk twist.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Yield 16 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Optional Topping:

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 10 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 5 tablespoons milk
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350º.  Grease and flour one 9 x 5 loaf pan.

Cream butter and sugar with a hand mixer for 2 minutes. Add bananas, eggs, vanilla and buttermilk and mix to combine. Whisk together flour, soda, baking powder and salt in a clean bowl.  Add to banana mixture.  Mix until just combined (I like using a wooden spoon or spatula for this step) as quick breads should not be beaten or over mixed.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake 50-55 minutes, or until the bread pulls away from the sides of the pans and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool before slicing.

To make optional topping, melt the butter in sauce pan, then add the sugar and milk.

Cook until very syrupy, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add chopped pecans.

Pour over bread, and spread across the top. Place under broiler, watching very carefully,  until brown and bubbly.

Notes

Adapted from The White Oak Restaurant on Buffalo Lake.

Makes 1 large loaf.

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