5 mistakes ruining your banana bread according to an expert (2024)

Whether it's for breakfast, a snack, a housewarming gift, or the perfect dessert to end a meal, banana bread is truly delightful — when it's made correctly, that is.

As Insider's food reporter, I've made plenty of banana bread (most recently using lifestyle guru Joanna Gaines' recipe). And throughout my hours of baking it, I've learned there are a few mishaps that won't change the quality of a banana bread too badly — and a few other problems that'll completely wreck your loaf.

Here are five common baking mistakes you might be making that are ruining your homemade banana bread:


Measuring out flour the wrong way can make banana bread dry

One common mistake home bakers make is packing their flour. When measuring flour, it's important to spoon it into a measuring cup, leave a mound, and level it off with something flat like the back of a knife or a skewer.

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With this recipe, packing your flour as you measure it out (and therefore using too much of it) will make the banana bread dry and crumbly.

Mistaking baking powder for baking soda changes the taste of banana bread

5 mistakes ruining your banana bread according to an expert (2)

This is a colossal mistake that can drastically change the flavor of your loaf.

Rather than the flavor of fresh bananas used in the recipe, using baking powder (instead of the correct ingredient, baking soda) makes this loaf taste more like the artificial banana flavoring used in candies.

Forgetting to halve your eggs if you cut the recipe in half risks a spongey banana bread

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Though it's unlikely that a recipe will call for anything other than a round number of eggs, you could run into an issue if you're cutting a recipe in half. And it's a bad idea to skip over halving your egg measurements precisely.

Making the decision to use a whole egg rather than half of an egg, for example, makes for a spongey cake with severely muted flavors. Just take the time to measure out half of the egg — trust me on this.

Skimping on the sugar can dry out a loaf of banana bread and leave it flavorless

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It turns out, sugar does more than just make things sweeter.

When it comes to banana bread, cutting back on sugar will leave you with a dry loaf totally devoid of any distinguishable flavor.


Adding in extra butter won't make your banana bread richer — it'll just weigh the loaf down

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Typically, we equate butter or fat with richness in a baked good. But in the case of banana bread, adding extra butter weighs down the loaf and takes away from the banana flavor. The end result? A heavier banana bread with a more muted banana flavor.

And though the inside winds up moist, my too-much-butter loaf ended up dry on the outside.

5 mistakes ruining your banana bread according to an expert (2024)


Will too much baking soda ruin banana bread? ›

Using too much baking soda or baking powder can really mess up a recipe, causing it to rise uncontrollably and taste terrible.

What makes banana bread unhealthy? ›

You may find banana bread delicious, but conventional banana breads tend to be high in added sugar, refined carbs, and calories. Thus, it's best to enjoy banana bread occasionally as part of a balanced, nutrient-dense diet.

What happens when you put too much banana in banana bread? ›

Using too much banana could make your bread heavy and damp in the center, causing it to appear undercooked and unappealing. If you have bananas leftover, you can always freeze them for later use.

How bad is too bad for banana bread? ›

In my experience, using bananas with a dark brown or even black peel for banana bread is ideal, as long as the inside isn't rotten. Key takeaway: As long as your bananas aren't starting to get moldy, infested with fruit flies or beginning to rot they aren't too ripe for baking banana bread.

Is baking soda or baking powder better for banana bread? ›

To substitute baking soda for baking powder in banana bread, use one third the amount of baking soda that you would of baking powder. For example, if your recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of baking powder, you can use 1 teaspoon of baking soda (exactly one third).

What happens if you put too much flour in banana bread? ›

Using too much flour makes for an extra crumbly bread.

If you're tapping your measuring cup to level out flour as you measure, or you're pushing down the piled-up powder, you'll end up using too much of it. I packed my flour for this loaf, and what I got was a crumbly cake with a dry crust all around.

How long should you let banana bread cool before cutting? ›

Let it cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then remove and cool completely. If it is not cooled properly, there will be trapped moisture, which can make your banana bread soggy and can also invite bacteria growth, she says.

Why are overripe bananas better for banana bread? ›

Ripe bananas are not only softer and easier to mash and blend into a batter, but they are also sweeter, which is why baking recipes specifically call for ripe bananas in ingredient lists. As the bananas ripen, the fruit converts starches to sugars, making them sweeter and more flavorful.

What happens if you put too many eggs in banana bread? ›

Using too many eggs

The result could be a banana bread that is dense, spongy, and rubbery. Given that this baked treat is already a hefty product, you will want to avoid these unappetizing textures. According to The Cake Blog, over doing it on the egg addition can also affect flavor.

Can you eat 2 week old banana bread? ›

Wrapped well and stored at room temperature, banana bread will last about five days. If stored in the fridge, it should last a full week. A frozen loaf of banana bread will last up to a year in the freezer, wrapped well with storage wrap and aluminum foil.

How do you know if a banana is too rotten for banana bread? ›

Mold on bananas is fuzzy white, gray, or greenish—it looks a lot like mold on bread. If a banana smells rotten or fermented or is leaking fluid, it's time to say goodbye. If the fruit inside, not just the peel, is black, that's a sign that your banana is too far gone to safely eat.

At what point should you not use bananas for banana bread? ›

As it sits at room temperature, starches convert to sugars, making the fruit sweeter and softer. These brown spots, often seen as a sign of spoilage, are actually a dead giveaway of peak banana bread potential. But, there is a limit. Black bananas or rotten bananas are a no-go.

What happens if you put too much baking soda in bread? ›

Too much baking soda will result in a soapy taste with a coarse, open crumb.

How much baking soda is too much? ›

It's best to avoid the following when taking baking soda for acid reflux: taking more than 3 1/2 tsp of baking soda (seven doses) in a day. taking more than 1 1/2 tsp of baking soda (three doses) in a day if you're over 60 years old. taking the maximum dosage for more than 2 weeks.

Why do I taste baking soda in my banana bread? ›

Bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) is the raising agent and this can sometimes taste bitter or soapy if the wrong quantity is used. Make sure that you measure the bicarbonate of soda with a proper 1 teaspoon/5ml measuring spoon and the spoon measurement should be level.

How does baking soda affect bread dough? ›

Baking soda becomes activated when it's combined with both an acidic ingredient and a liquid. Upon activation, carbon dioxide is produced, which allows baked goods to rise and become light and fluffy (1).

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