Best Banana Walnut Bread

Banana Walnut Bread

Here is the Best Moist Banana Walnut Bread recipe I’ve kept for over 20 years.  I’ll give you the secret to making it flavorful, super moist, tender and delicious every single time. You can make it with or without nuts. This is a One-Bowl Recipe. No mixer needed, just a fork and spoon. WATCH the video to see how quick and easy this is to make.

Let’s jump right in here and talk about Banana Bread. Is there anything that smells better than fresh homemade banana bread baking in the kitchen? Oh! if there is a scent for comfort, that’s it! No wonder so many candles are named “Banana Bread.”

The Ingredients

There are no weird ingredients in this recipe. Pure Basic Banana Bread. This recipe is a simple and pure, loaded with fresh ripe bananas, butter and pure vanilla extract. You can go a little wild here and add some walnuts. I like to make a few loaves with walnuts and a few without.

Banana bread ingredients.

  • ripe bananas
  • margarine or unsalted butter, gently melted
  • white sugar
  • regular sour cream
  • table salt
  • eggs
  • pure vanilla extract
  • baking soda
  • all purpose flour
  • chopped walnuts (optional for Banana-Nut Bread)

Why this recipe is so good

There are several reasons why Banana Bread recipes might turn out dry or undercooked. I’m sharing with you the TWO secrets to great Banana Bread –

1. Make it in mini-loaf pans. These are the 5-inch long pans. You can use the inexpensive aluminum disposable type and those are easy if you aren’t ready to invest in a set of mini-loaf pans. Most people use the larger loaf pans to make Banana Bread. Those larger loaf pans are really designed for YEAST Breads or Pound Cakes. (Note: Don’t Make Meatloaf in a Loaf Pan, that’s another story- “Loaf” doesn’t always mean LOAF.) Banana Bread is considered a QUICK bread. I also like the small loaf pans because it slices up into perfect size pieces that fit right into your hand to hold and nibble.

mini loaf pans 5by3.

I’ve always found that Quick Breads turn out better if they are made in smaller forms. There is a reason that cupcakes are generally moister than large cakes. The reason is, it bakes from the outside in. So if you are using a larger pan to bake in, by the time the middle is baked, the outer edges have developed too dark. And Dark edges equals DRY.

2. This recipe has Sour Cream in it. This lends to a moister bread.

How Ripe Should Bananas Be For Banana Bread?

You will get out of your bread what you put in to it. If you put over-ripe fully black rotten bananas in your bread, you will have Rotten Banana Bread. Ideally, your bananas should be yellow and have some brown freckles on them. They are best from the time they have a few freckles, and no more freckles than the photograph below. At any point after this ripeness stage, they are ready for the compost pile.

ripe bananas with spots.

History Tidbit: Is This a Vintage Banana Bread Recipe?

Yes! I printed this recipe out in 1999 from what was probably one of the first recipe card sites on-line. Have NO IDEA what site that was. I have modified it a little bit. But since then, I’ve come across several variations in cookbooks of this recipe using sour cream as far back as the 1960’s.

How To Store?

Wrap the bread as soon as it cools with Saran Wrap. Heat in microwave to soften it up.

Can you freeze Banana Bread?

Yes. This recipe is great for freezing. Make sure to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then place them inside a freezer bag or container so that it doesn’t get freezer burn. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 4 months. To thaw, just let thaw naturally on the counter or use the defrost function on your microwave.

This recipe makes 3 small loaves. Not one big one. 🙂 You can put it in one big loaf pan but only fill it halfway. SEE how easy, VIDEO below.

Moist Banana Walnut Bread.

Banana Walnut Bread

Pure Basic Banana Bread. This recipe is a simple and pure banana bread loaded with fresh ripe bananas, butter and pure vanilla extract. You can add some walnuts. I like to make a few loaves with walnuts and a few without.
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Author: Lanie Smith


  • 3 small sized ripe bananas (or 2 medium sized) yellow with brown freckles
  • 1/2 cup margerine or unsalted butter lightly melted
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp regular sour cream
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts* optional


  • Place peeled bananas in a large bowl and mash until slimy.
  • Add all of the other ingredients in the bowl, one at a time, in the order listed, stirring each one in, as you go.
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  • Spray tins with Pam Baking spray.
  • Spoon batter evenly and equally into each of the 3 Tins.
  • Bake for about 27-30 minutes until a golden brown crown on top appears. Keep the oven door closed while it's baking. A massive drop in heat can cause your bread to collapse in the middle.
  • Enjoy warm with a pat of butter.


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BreadsContests and WinsFavorite

Smokehouse Cranberry Cheese Bread

Smokehouse Cranberry Cheese Bread

This homemade Cranberry Cheese bread is for certain a WINNER. The texture is flaky and light. The flavor is smoky and cheesy with a little tart sweetness from the cranberries and pure maple syrup. This is the winning recipe from the 2015 National Festival of Breads and it was won by my friend Lisa Keys.

Lisa and I first became friends on facebook many years ago. We both belonged to Cooking Contest Central and have the mutual love for cooking contests. I suppose though I never really got to know Lisa until the tragic event of losing her only son, William. She began to journal the grieving process on her blog, Good Grief Cook. Not only did I get to know her a little better, I had the privilege of getting to know the heart of a very special young man who is now an Angel to many.

L to R: Ronna, Lanie, Patrice, Mary, Lisa
L to R: Ronna, Lanie, Patrice, Mary, Lisa

When Lisa was invited to Kansas to compete with this bread, she invited my husband and I to join her as guests. We drove to Manhattan, Kansas which is just an hour away. It was thrilling to watch her win. I also was able to meet a few other exceptional ladies I’d been wanting to meet too. Ronna Farley is also my sweet friend and she went on to win the contest in 2017.

More about Lisa. She is accomplished in everything she does. She has been successful in her 30-year career as a Physician Assistant and also as a competitive cook. She even won CHOPPED on Food Network! I admire her most on a personal level though. I think she represents STRENGTH, TENDERNESS, WISDOM and PATIENCE. I also TRUST her, especially with baking advice.

Let’s Bake this Bread. Did I mention the texture? It must be the tofu. Everything about this bread is wonderful. It’s simple and snazzy too.

Smokehouse Cranberry Cheese Bread

Lisa absolutely forbid me from “throwing in” the extra ounce of cheese from my block. Notice the recipe calls for 6 ounces not 7. She reminded me of the importance of weighing ingredients. She said I had to snack on that extra ounce. 🙂

For the Recipe and Video tutorial, click here. RECIPE 

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Light Wheat Bread Recipe (Bread Machine)

In the last 10 minutes of the bake cycle I brushed the top with melted butter. OH the aroma of fresh baked bread filling the house. I know my family is going to be so happy to get home this afternoon.

From start to finish, this loaf was made by the bread machine in 4 hours. Wheat flour has a strong flavor and thicker texture. For a loaf of wheat bread you will find recipes using 100% wheat flour or half wheat flour, half bread flour. I decided on this one because it is 1 part wheat flour to 2 parts bread flour. I wasn’t quite sure what “Light” meant but now I know, it was just the color of it!

You are probably wondering about the dry milk in the recipe. Why is it in there? I read that it helps to stabilize the bread. If you want to omit it, I really don’t think it would be a problem, you can omit it all together. You could even replace all of the water in the recipe with milk. But for now, I’m following all bread recipes EXACTLY as written. I’ll save my creativity for cooking contest entries. I’ve learned over the years that following the recipe exactly is how to get the good results you want.

Light Wheat Bread Recipe - The Vintage Cook

“Dry Milk (or milk powder) is a way of enhancing the dough to: Make a softer loaf (due to the milkfat acting as a tenderizer by interfering with gluten production) Add flavor to the loaf. Enhance browning of the crust due to the potential caramelization of the milk sugars.”

Even though this recipe is named, “Light”, it is still pretty earthy and dense. The bread machine is practical, especially if you are making bread once or more a week. It’s most important setting is the process of proofing, which can be troublesome for new bakers.

I’m loving this machine but missing my oven. When I used to make croissants and bagels, I’d hook a heating pad up with a small extension cord and turn my oven into a proofing box.

I really want to get my hands sticky and shape some bread. On to the next!

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