Lightly sweetened with brown sugar and with a touch of cinnamon, this moist banana bread recipe gets a hint of tanginess from Greek yogurt. Like my Fluffy Sourdough Banana Muffins, this recipe is simple to make with pantry staples. Banana bread with brown sugar is freezer friendly for meal prep and easy snacking.
Moist Brown Sugar Banana Bread
Banana bread with brown sugar is simple to pull together using pantry ingredients. It’s moist, with loads of banana flavor and a hint of cinnamon. Here’s why you should make this recipe:
- While everyone loves a classic banana bread recipe, this recipe is even better because it’s made with all brown sugar (hello rich caramel flavors) and includes a touch of Greek yogurt for tangy flavor.
- For a banana bread recipe with cinnamon, this one tops the charts! Just a touch to tickle your taste buds.
- I love to make banana bread with brown sugar and oil instead of butter because it’s easy to whip up. No mixer is needed.
- Plenty of walnuts for texture and health! Let’s go!
Quick Guide: How to Make Moist Banana Bread with Brown Sugar
Because banana bread is so classic, there are many recipes out there. But what I love about this recipe is that it’s lightly sweetened with 3/4 cup brown sugar verses a cup or more. So, while the brown sugar flavor is noticeable, it doesn’t mute other ingredients. In summary, here’s how to make this brown sugar banana bread (see recipe card for details):
- First, prep your loaf pan, by oiling it and then optionally lining it with parchment paper. Toast the walnuts and mash three large ripe bananas.
- Second, in small bowl, whisk your dry ingredients: flour, baking powder and baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
- Third, in a large bowl, whisk the eggs with brown sugar, vanilla extract and mashed bananas.
- Next, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, fold in the Greek yogurt, and add chopped walnuts.
- Last, sprinkle the top with walnuts (optional) and bake.
Banana Bread FAQs
Which Brown Sugar is Best for Banana Bread?
This really depends on preference. In this banana bread recipe, you can use dark or light brown sugar. There’s not too much difference in texture, but dark brown sugar offers a but more molasses, caramely flavor, richness and renders a slightly darker banana bread. I find that the rise is a bit more even and lofty with dark brown sugar. But the difference is subtle (light brown sugar is pictured on this post).
Does Brown Sugar Make Banana Bread Moist?
Brown sugar in banana bread makes it super moist because of its molasses content. Sugar and molasses are both hygroscopic so put those two together (brown sugar) and you have sugar that really likes to hang on to moisture, which makes for a chewier and moist banana bread.
Is Brown Sugar Better for Banana Bread?
This depends on preference and of course, the recipe. If you prefer a moist, rich, caramely, earthy banana bread flavor, then a brown sugar banana bread recipe is perfect for you!
How to Ripen Bananas in a Hurry!
Making banana bread with ripe, extra splotchy, even black, soft bananas creates the best flavor because they’re sweeter than greenish or just starting to turn brown bananas.
But if you’re craving brown sugar banana bread and your bananas aren’t quite ready, follow this pro tip I learned from Epicurious:
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and pop the bananas, unpeeled, in a 250 Fahrenheit (151 Celsius) oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until the skin turns black. Allow the bananas to cool enough to be handled, peel, cool completely then carry on with the recipe.
How to Mash Bananas
There are several ways to approach mashing bananas. First, peel your banana and discard the peel. Remove any banana strings that are hanging on. Next, you’re ready to mash. Here are a few tools to get the job done:
- Potato masher
- Mini avocado / potato masher – my favorite
- Food Processor – least favorite – extra dishes
If you use a fork, slice the banana in half lengthwise to make the banana easier to mash. For any extra banana mash, store it in a lidded container in the fridge and use it in a Citrus Ginger Mint Green Smoothie or stir it into Peanut Butter Overnight Oats.
A Few Recipe Tips
- Nuts: Walnuts are a perfect partner in banana bread, but you can leave them out or opt for pecans.
- Things for Slathering: Toast the banana bread first, then slather with butter, cream cheese, peanut butter or your favorite jam.
- Brown Sugar Cinnamon Banana Bread: I’ve included 1 teaspoon in this recipe, but for a more cinnamon forward flavor, increase the cinnamon to 1 1/4 teaspoons.
- Flour: Make with either all purpose flour or whole wheat white flour for a healthyish banana bread.
- You can freeze banana bread with delicious results. Slice the banana bread then freeze on a parchment lined sheet pan. Once frozen transfer to a storage container. Sliced banana bread can go from freezer to toaster!
Did you make this recipe? If so, please leave a comment and rating below as it helps others considering making this recipe. If you’re on Instagram, be sure to take a picture and tag me @VanillaAndBean so I can see and share in my stories!
Brown Sugar Banana Bread Recipe
- 1 cup (110 grams) Raw Walnuts divided (1/4 cup will be used for sprinkling on top – optional)
- 1 3/4 cup (250 grams) Unbleached All Purpose Flour or Whole Wheat White Flour
- 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon Fine Sea Salt
- 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder non aluminum
- 1 1/4 cup (305 grams) Mashed Bananas about three medium bananas
- 3/4 cup (145 grams) Brown Sugar light or dark, packed
- 2 Large Eggs
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) Coconut Oil melted, warm or use canola oil
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 cup (140 grams) Whole Milk Yogurt or Greek Yogurt plain, unsweetened. (or you can use whole milk as seen in the video below).
- Throughly coat a 9 by 5 inch (23 by 13 centimeters) loaf pan with coconut oil, or olive oil – get the corners good! Optionally line the pan with parchment for easiest release and removal. Set aside.
- Place 3/4 cup (80 grams) of walnuts in a pan and transfer to the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit (177 Celsius). The walnuts will toast in the preheating oven for about 18-20 or until lightly toasted and fragrant. Rough chop when cool. If using the extra 1/4 cup for the top of the banana bread, they should be untoasted. Rough chop those too. Set aside.
Make the Banana Bread:
- In a small bowl, whisk the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda and powder. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the mashed bananas, brown sugar, eggs, coconut oil, and vanilla extract until smooth – small banana lumps are okay. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until no dry patches of flour remain. Fold in the yogurt until no white streaks remain. The batter will be creamy and rich. Fold in the toasted walnuts.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of raw, untoasted walnuts (they'll toast in the oven).
- Bake the banana bread at 350 Fahrenheit for 60-70 minutes, tenting with aluminum foil at 40 minutes if the bread is getting too dark. The bread is done with a tooth pick comes out clean, the bread is golden brown and fragrant.
- Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer the bread to a cooling rack.
- Store banana bread at room temperature in a covered container for up to four days. To freeze: freeze slices in a single layer on a sheet pan. Once frozen, transfer slices to a lidded container or freezer bag for up to two weeks. Sliced banana bread can go from freezer to toaster.