Banana bread is a comfort food classic. My secret is plenty of brown sugar, overripe bananas, and a specific mixing order for the ultimate sourdough banana bread.
If you’re a sourdough bread baker, you’re going to appreciate this recipe. A few years ago, I had the pleasure of sampling the most delicious banana bread. It came from The Boathouse restaurant, a fantastic beachside spot in Manly, Australia. I couldn’t get over how remarkably soft, sweet and scrumptious it was. The texture was like velvet.
At the time, I didn’t ask for the recipe, so I searched online until I found it. And now, my version is yours: one with sourdough and one without. Both are incredible.
What Makes This The Ultimate Sourdough Banana Bread?
First, it uses all brown sugar. No white at all.
When combined with perfectly overripe bananas and pure vanilla extract, it creates the most exquisite caramel flavor. It will blow you away.
Second, the ingredients are mixed in a specific order.
Typically, when making a quick bread like this you’d simply combine the wet and dry ingredients and call it a day.
But here, you’ll cream a portion of the wet ingredients first, then add the dry ingredients, followed by the milk and olive oil.
I was definitely hesitant about this at first (the batter looks totally strange when you get to the oil part).
But upon further research, this particular mixing order is the science behind its velvety soft texture.
Third, there’s no cinnamon in this sourdough banana bread.
And I don’t miss it!
Cinnamon is strong, and the lack of it really lets that caramel flavor shine though.
Finally, I added bubbly, active sourdough starter to the original recipe.
I wanted to see if adding bubbly, active starter as opposed to leftover starter discard would increase the rise… and it did!
Alternatively, you can use leftover discard instead. It just won’t rise as high.
Sourdough Banana Bread Recipe: Step by Step
Grab Your Ingredients
Ok, so you know the drill: measure out everything before you begin.
Preheat your oven to 360 F (that’s not a typo).
Baking the sourdough banana bread 10 degrees higher than 350 F gives the bread a nice lift.
You’ll also need a stand mixer or electric hand held mixer.
Butter Your Loaf Pans
Typically, I’d bake this sourdough banana bread in a traditional 9×5-inch loaf pan.
I’m using three 7x3x2-inch mini loaf pans instead. I like to freeze them individually. So cute!
Coat nicely with softened butter.
Mix the Ingredients
Start by creaming the brown sugar, vanilla and bananas together. Don’t bother to slice the bananas, just break them up by hand.
Then add the eggs and the sourdough starter. Followed by the flour, baking soda and salt.
Now add the oil & milk…
The liquids will not blend in right away. Just keep mixing on low speed until completely absorbed.
Bake the Banana Bread
Place the loaf pans onto a sheet pan and transfer it to the oven.
Bake on the center rack until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool before serving.
Friends, please look no further!
This sourdough banana bread is truly unique.
It’s soft, sweet, and packed with comfort and flavor (everyone always asks for the recipe when I make it!).
Take a cue from The Boathouse and serve it with salted butter or mascarpone cheese for a decadent treat. But plain is fine too!
More Sourdough Discard Recipes You’ll Love!
- Sourdough Discard 101: Recipes & Faqs Answered
- Best Sourdough Zucchini Bread
- Fluffy Sourdough Pancakes
- Cinnamon Sugar Sourdough Waffles
Ultimate Sourdough Banana Bread
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 65 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Yield: 1 loaf or 3 mini loaves
- Category: Sourdough Baking
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegetarian
Banana bread is a comfort food classic. My secret is plenty of brown sugar, overripe bananas, and a specific mixing order for the ultimate sourdough banana bread. Recipe adapted from The Boathouse restaurant in Manly, Australia.
Out of sourdough starter? You can still make this recipe (and it’s delicious!). Increase the milk to 125 ml (1/2 cup) total.
You will need a standard 9×5-inch loaf pan or three 7x3x2 mini loaf pans for baking.
- Butter, for coating the pan
- 375 g overripe bananas (appx. 1 1/2 cups lightly smashed)
- 225 g (1 1/4 cups lightly packed) light or dark brown sugar
- 1½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 100 g (appx. 1/2 cup) bubbly, active sourdough starter
- 250g (2 cups) all-purpose flour
- 1½ tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
- 125ml (½ cup) neutral flavored oil
- 60ml (1/4 cup) milk
- Powdered sugar, butter, and mascarpone cheese for serving, optional
- Preheat the oven to 360 F.
- Lightly coat three 7x3x2 mini loaf pans or one 9×5-inch loaf pan with butter.
- Add the bananas, sugar, and vanilla to a bowl. Cream with a hand held mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, about 30 seconds to 1 minute (some small lumps of banana are okay).
- Add the eggs, one at a time until fully incorporated. Add the sourdough starter.
- Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a separate bowl. Working in batches, add this to the banana mixture.
- Add the milk and oil and mix until just combined. Do not over do it; the banana bread will be tough.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s). If using the mini loaf pans, place them onto a baking sheet and transfer to the oven.
- Bake for 45 minutes (for the mini loaf pans) or 60- 65 minutes (for the standard 9×5-inch pan), until rich golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Cover with foil if the loaf browns too quickly.
- Cool in the pan for 20 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Serve with powdered sugar for a nice touch!
Keywords: sourdough banana bread, banana bread, easy banana bread, boathouse banana bread
One of my earliest childhood memories involves making banana bread with my mom’s youngest sister. I’ve been making banana bread ever since, and I have to say this is the BEST recipe I’ve tried yet. I was a little nervous that it wouldn’t turn out as well because I used sourdough starter that had been fed a couple of days ago, but it was fine. I added cinnamon and used some King Arthur whole wheat flour for a nuttier flavor. I also added chopped pecans and used melted unsalted butter in place of the oil. This recipe is getting filed in the permanent folder in my kitchen. It definitely gets 5 stars from me!
I was a bit worried because I tripled the recipe and it filled 4 loaves and a pan of muffins😳. I used sourdough discard, not active starter because I had a need to purge my discard. I added a heaping Tablespoon for each batch (so 3), and lowered the baking temperature to 350 because I live at a high altitude. The texture is very nice and the flavor is delicious.
I was 50 g short on banana so I added 50 g shredded coconut. YUM!
I will definitely make this again!
I make a lot of banana bread since we regularly don’t get through our fresh bananas fast enough. This is the best recipe I have used. I like to put mine in mini loaf pan (8 mini loaf pan) at 350 for 20 min. Made no other changes to the directions.
Courtney M says
This recipe is AMAZING. Made it into mini loaves and a few muffins with the batter that didn’t fit into the mini loaf tin. So so good! My kids love it too!
Thank you for this delicious recipe. The SD discard made the banana bread so light along with your instructions of mixing order. The bread was not only delicious but not heavy or gummy like other recipes I have made in the past. I love it and will definitely be making more. I recently purchased your cookbook and look forward to creating more of your wonderful recipes. Thank you!
My eight year old daughter and I loved this recipe! Thank you for sharing!
P.S. We also love your cook book and have gifted it to at least three people who also love it.
Manny Reverie says
Made this last night followed all of the directions except the following:
Just pulled the starter out of the fridge let is sit for awhile and used the amount called for (Ben Starr technique)
Added a cup of chopped pecans.
Came out fantastic! Will make riffs on this recipe sourdough gives it a great taste! Thanks!
I made the sourdough version. It’s delightful. It’s everything you described. A bit crunchy on the outside, like velvet on the inside.
I deviated slightly from the original. I didn’t have brown sugar, but I live in Mexico where I have yet to see white sugar, so my sugar always has a little hint of molasses. I also don’t have a hand or stand mixer, so I mixed it by hand. Still came out amazing.
The only problem I can find with this bread is I can’t stop eating it.
Wow, this recipe is a keeper! I am blown away by the incredibly decadent taste, and not to mention the delicious and cozy smell that filled my kitchen as it baked.
I did add 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 3/4 c chopped walnuts because I love crunch in my banana bread.
Thank you very much for the recipe!
Ru L says
Turned out great!
Barney F Bilello says
Fantastic recipe! Made the banana bread per the recipe without any changes and it came out beautifully.
Wow 🙂❤ Wherever to begin on how amazing this recipe is ! Moist, flavor packed, great exterior and interior crumb and way too easy to make! If that’s not enough to sway someone then one taste and it becomes a favorite.
I did add a pinch of cloves, a dash of ceylon cinnamon & orange zest. As well, I diy a loaf tin wrap (foil wrapped around wet paper towel) to wrap around the sides of the loaf tin. This ensured a nice even baking of the loaf and delayed the sides and bottom of the banana loaf from baking up first. Nice tender exterior with a moist interior. My oven baked the loaf in 52 minutes. After it had cooled, I drizzled the loaf with a glaze of icing sugar-fresh oj-orange zest. Doesn’t get any better than that 🙂.
Thank you for sharing such an amazing recipe ❤. This is a keeper!
I’ve made this recipe many times now and keep tweaking to get it just right. My sourdough starter is always 50/50 white/whole wheat flour. If you’re looking for some calorie reduction without sacrificing taste, I’ve found you can easily reduce the oil by half and sugar by ¼ cup without issue. Still delicious!
Best banana bread I’ve ever made. Taste perfect. The only thing I did differently was adding 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. Delicious.
Pomella Bender says
This made the best bannana bread ever. The texture was amazing and the flavor was even better. I freeze my bannanas when they are getting old. Thawing them out leaves a strong bannana liquid that I incorporated.
Pomella Bender says
This made the best bannana bread ever.
Unt Sah says
Thank you so much. I made this earlier today, we couldn’t wait for it to completely cool… the aroma got to all of us! I reduced the brown sugar by 80g, had no vanilla essence so used the last vanilla pod… still stunningly delicious to eat. I used the little rice bran oil i had left and topped that up with melted butter… again, soft crumb and delicious (lol). I was a bit worried about how loose the batter was… and thought it may over flow while baking, but, i trusted the process and was rewarded with one large loaf (there’s only half of it left now) of my first attempt at making something other than sourdough bread. This will be a keeper for sure. Again, thank you very much for the easy instructions and ingredients!
Samantha Agundes says
Can I use sourdough discard?
Can you use dairy free milk in this recipe?
Emilie Raffa says
Yes, absolutely! The flavor and texture will change slightly but it’s barely noticeable.
Kyla May says
I used dairy free milk in mine and it turned out just fine.
This arguably the best banana bread I’ve ever made! Thank you! ♥
I made this today and it’s very tasty but it formed like a hard crust? Outside is crispy and tough almost? It’s perfectly soft inside but I’m not sure what happened to the exterior. I followed the instructions completely, one loaf and baked at 360 for ~63 minutes. Any suggestions?
Anna, UK says
Wow, this was amazing! I only had one terminal banana so I made half the recipe and it was so good and tender, the texture is incredible.
Melissa Boos says
If your bananas aren’t ripe enough you can “cheat” by throwing them in the oven for awhile (still in the peel). They’ll soften up and be perfect.
Jennie K. says
I had overripe bananas and extra sourdough starter, after a quick search, I made a double recipe and ended up with some delicious bread. Notes: I like the option to bake by weight instead of measuring while still having the measurements available. It does well at 5,000 ft altitude without tweaking the recipe. I used active sour dough starter that I had fed last night and still used the baking soda. Tweaks: I added chopped walnuts at the end and used double fold vanilla extract poured instead of measured. Half of my bananas were frozen, I peeled them and added them while still frozen and they creamed easily and didn’t seem to make a difference.
This recipe is a keeper and I will make it again. Thank you!
For the sourdough starter, is it active (per the directions) or discard (per comment section)? If using active, is the baking soda still required? Also, could this be made with butter vs an oil? Thank you
Anastasiia dH says
Looks absolutely delicious!
Would it work if I used the Dutch oven to bake it instead of open pans?
I made the updated version of this recipe, it’s been deemed the best banana bread ever by everyone who has tried it.
I added about 1/2C chocolate chips and reduced sugar to 200grams. It rose beautifully and is the perfect texture.
I’m curious if it would work without the eggs but I don’t want to mess with that
This is now my go-to banana bread recipe! I started making sourdough bread almost 3 years ago and was looking for things to make with discard (although I’ve learned how to not have much discard). I usually use starter that hasn’t been fed for awhile and it turns out perfect every time and I frequently have “baking” bananas because I’ll only eat them just after they’ve turned from green to yellow. I always add walnuts. When I lived in Australia and took baked goods in to work, one of the young ladies said “this lady puts nuts in everything!” 😆 Must be a North American thing.
Melissa Boos says
You said you’ve learned how to not have much discard… what’s your secret? I’ve just started making sourdough and the quantity I’m discarding bothers me.
I use the Bake With Jack method for feeding my starter. I only add enough flour and water to produce enough to use most of it in the recipe I’m making. This way you only have a very small amount left for next time. I never throw starter away. I use it in recipes like this one. You can add it to muffin or cake recipes by reducing the amount of flour and liquid in the recipe by however much starter you’re adding. I recommend checking out Bake With Jack as to how he feeds his starter. I no longer use his method for making sourdough, I use Foodbod’s Master Recipe. Hope this helps.
I was looking for a banana bread recipe without cinnamon. I made this recipe as muffins baked for 25 minutes. They were delicious but they needed more salt in my opinion. With 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 cup mini-chocolate chips they were perfection! Thank you!
The Banana bread is very fluffy and makes a beautiful loaf. However it is pretty bland when it comes to good flavor. I personally prefer a more robust flavored banana bread that is a bit more dense.
I haven’t made this yet, but I’m curious why there’s no time for the sourdough starter to sit after adding it to the recipe? Without it, it won’t really be sourdough since the starter won’t have time to do it’s thing with the flour… (I’m a newbie to sourdough so I really am just seeking to understand)
In this recipe you are using sourdough discard. The sourdough starter is there for the tangy flavor instead of being there for the leaven. Since this is a quick bread recipe the leaven is baking soda.
I love this recipe! I just caught that in your introduction you mention olive oil but on the recipe card you list a “neutral flavored oil.” I’ve been using vegetable oil but I’m tempted to try it with olive oil. What oil do you use?
Jennie K. says
The extra virgin olive oil tasted good to me!
Wow, this is the best banana bread I’ve ever made! The order of mixing the ingredients really makes a difference in the texture. The bread tuned out soft and moist. I am happy to have another wonderful recipe to use my sourdough starter. Thank you!
I have made numerous loaves of banana bread that I have never really been impressed with. I made this last night for my family. I fed my starter about 5 or 6 hours prior. The rise was beautiful and perfect crumb. Not dry at all! I will be discarding my other recipes and using this one in its place! Thank you!!!
Tracie Kling says
I feel so wasteful throwing away so much sour dough starter every time I feed “Bunny”; that’s when I found this recipe. I wasn’t expecting much and I didn’t have high hopes because most of the banana bread recipes I’ve tried (cooking and consuming) are on the dry side; NOT THIS RECIPE! These mini loavesf are moist, light and have a wonderful taste!
I love it that you’ve named your starter. Ours is named Bread Pitt
This recipe makes one of if not the best banana bread I’ve ever had! Can you use muffin tins to make banana bread muffins?
Jackie Filippini says
I made this recipe today and really loved it! So easy and not time consuming. I used almond milk instead of regular milk and it totally worked. Next time I’ll probably add cinnamon, raisins and maybe cinnamon sugar on top. Overall a great base for banana bread. Thanks!
I make this all the time – if you use sourdough starter at it’s peak activity time (around 5-8 hours after it’s fed in my opinion) it comes out best. The only thing I do different is add pecans. I love this recipe.
Emilie Raffa says
Great tip, Henry. Thank you. Pecans sound fantastic :)
Ann Heitzenrater says
Can this recipe be doubled
Emilie Raffa says
Hi Ann! I would make (2) separate batches in separate bowls for best results.
This is absolutely delicious! I made two batches and added white chocolate chips to the batter. Mmmm good! Thank you Emilie!
I am always skeptical about banana bread recipes that use multiple bowls and make a bit of a mess, but this was totally worth it! I miss the cinnamon a bit, it the overall texture and taste is super yummy!