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Ina Garten’s Banana Bread (Easy Recipe)

Whether you’re an avid Barefoot Contessa viewer or not, Ina Garten’s banana bread is legendary.

It’s tender, naturally sweet, and full of crunchy, buttery pecans to boot.

When I’m craving something sweet, nothing beats a big slice of Ina Garten’s banana bread.

Top View of Ina Garten's Banana Bread Loaf, Sliced, with Toasted Pecans on a Wire Rack
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Ina Garten’s Banana Bread Recipe

How many times have you bought a bunch of bananas only to see them turn brown and mushy on the counter?

Me too. But with this recipe, they’ll never go to waste again.

I actually buy bananas and specifically leave them to turn brown just so I can make it!

Yes, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of banana bread recipes online.

But if you want the lightest, moistest, and most delicious, you’ve got to try this one. 

Every bite is full of incredible flavor.

This recipe is perfect for getting rid of overripe bananas. Plus, it’s sweet enough for dessert but also great for breakfast on the go.

And you can’t beat it as a holiday gift! 

Close Up of Ina Garten's Banana Bread Loaf with Pecans Cooling on a Wire Rack

How Ripe Should Bananas Be For Banana Bread? 

Most banana bread recipes call for ripe or overripe bananas. But what does that mean?

Bananas should be very or overripe for banana bread. That means they should be brown, spotty, slightly mushy, and fragrant.

They can even be almost black!

Green or yellow bananas aren’t great for banana bread because they’re too firm and not flavorful enough yet.

I know what you’re thinking: no one wants to eat a rotten banana! But don’t worry, a black banana doesn’t mean a rotten banana. 

Instead, the banana is at its sweetest as the sugars have broken down.

So the next time you find almost-black bananas on your counter, don’t trash them. Make this bread instead!

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How to Ripen Bananas

If your bananas are yellow or green, you might be wondering how to ripen bananas.

And luckily, it’s so easy!

Just pop them in a paper bag and an apple. Roll the top down then let nature do its thing.

In a day or two, they’ll be much softer – and sweeter!

If you’re really in a hurry, bake the bananas in the oven. Set the temperature to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and bake them – peel and all – for about 20 minutes.

Just be sure to cool them before use.

Close Up of Slices of Ina Garten's Banana Bread with Pecans, Stacked on a Wire Rack

How to Store Banana Bread

Banana bread doesn’t last long in my house. But when I do have leftovers, here’s how I store them:

To Store: Wrap the cooled bread tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil or use an airtight container. Keep it at room temperature for 2-3 days or in the fridge for 4-5 days.

To Freeze: Wrap the whole (cold) loaf or individual slices in two layers of plastic wrap and one layer of foil. Keep in the freezer for up to three months.

When you’re craving banana bread, let it thaw overnight in the fridge or on the counter. 

Note: Some people say banana bread is only good for three or four months in the freezer. But I’ve thawed some after six months, and it was still delicious.

It usually depends on how ripe the bananas were when you baked it. If they were super ripe, the flavor should be fine.

But the longer it sits in the freezer, the more the flavor will mellow. That’s why I recommend eating it within three months.

Ina Garten's Banana Bread Slices on a White Marble Table with Pecans

How to Keep Banana Bread Moist 

Ah, now this is the million-dollar question, isn’t it?

Banana bread is always so moist and exquisite when it’s fresh. But after sitting for a day or so, it can get pretty dry. 

Fortunately, this banana bread recipe has more natural moisture than most and stays tender for days.

Just be sure you store it correctly in an airtight container

If, for some reason, the bread does dry out, don’t worry. Warm a slice in the microwave with a damp paper towel. The steam will add moisture to the bread.

More Banana Bread Recipes We Can’t Get Enough Of

Dairy-Free Banana Bread
Joy of Cooking Banana Bread
Martha Stewart’s Banana Bread
Chrissy Teigen Banana Bread
Paula Deen Banana Bread

Ina Garten’s Banana Bread (Easy Recipe)



Prep time


Cooking time





Whether you’re an avid Barefoot Contessa viewer or not, Ina Garten’s banana bread is legendary. In fact, it’s so popular, it’s in three of her cookbooks! 


  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

  • 1 cup toasted pecans, chopped (may substitute walnuts)

  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

  • 1/4 cup buttermilk (may substitute sour cream or yogurt)

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 4 soft, overripe medium bananas, mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175°C) and grease a 9×5 loaf pan with butter or cooking spray. Line it with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, pecans, granulated sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg.
  • In a separate medium bowl, whisk the eggs, melted butter, buttermilk, brown sugar, and vanilla. Stir in the mashed bananas.
  • Gently stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture until just combined (some lumps are okay). Then, pour the batter into the loaf pan. Give it a few taps on the counter to level out the batter.
  • Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Allow the banana bread to cool for about 10 minutes in the pan before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Slice, serve, and enjoy!

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author avatar
NaTaya Hastings
NaTaya Hastings is a food and recipe writer for Insanely Good Recipes. She’s an educator, boy mom, dog mom, and whatever-stray-enters-the-yard mom. As a result, she's constantly cooking for both humans and animals.

Luckily, she enjoys it!

Though born, raised, and still living in Alabama, her specialty is NOT down-home Southern cooking. Instead, she loves to experiment with Asian, Mexican, Italian, and other ethnic cuisines. She has two mottos when it comes to cooking. “The more spice, the better!” and “There’s no such thing as too much garlic!”

She’s also pretty good with desserts. Especially the easy, no-bake ones.

Her favorite things are cuddling with her four giant dogs, traveling, reading, writing, and hanging out in nature. She’s also pretty excellent at Dominoes.

10 thoughts on “Ina Garten’s Banana Bread (Easy Recipe)”

  1. Hi,
    I came across the banana bread recipe you shared on your blog. I have made it twice now, and it has been a hit!! Thank you, thank you, Thank YOU! I am not a baker by any means, and I’ve tried with very little success. You laid out the instructions just perfectly, and you helped me with my very first banana bread success! Yes, I was whooping and hopping with glee. Again, thank you for your gift in sharing with us.

  2. I used this recipe this Thanksgiving, in place of my old standby recipe. Everybody enjoyed it and said it was fantastic! I’m diabetic so I can’t enjoy, but I still love to bake!

    • Hi Marianne, you’ll add the nuts to the banana bread in step 2 of the recipe:

      2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, pecans, granulated sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg.

    • Hi Allison! Yes, you can absolutely double this recipe. Just keep in mind, you’ll need a bowl big enough to hold all the batter 🙂

  3. This was so good! I love Ina’s recipes, and this was no different. I tweaked the recipe a little: I omitted the nutmeg, I added a little extra vanilla (an extra tsp), and I used the sour cream option. I also had to cover the top of the bread with foil towards the end, because the top/outside of the bread cooked faster than the inside, to prevent the top of the bread from burning/overcooking and drying out. The bread came out moist and flavorful. My family gave it rave reviews. Overall, this is a great recipe and I recommend using it.


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