julia’s banana bread

I just woke up from one of the best dreams I’ve ever had.  At the moment, I am sitting on Amtrak — rolling through miles of factory towns and burnt out buildings on my way to New York City.  As much as I love the city that never sleeps, I seriously needed some sleep. Thank the Lord it’s spring break and I can finally log out of my school e-mail account, hang up my backpack, and get some serious shut eye.  About an hour ago, the bumpiness of the train lulled me to sleep, and I was transported far, far away from the hustle and bustle of the city…

It’s a bit of a pet peeve of mine when people tell me about their dreams.  Not their dreams as in aspirations, but their nonsensical, rambling, nighttime dreams about purple cows and police chases.  Please forgive me, but I need to share this awesome dream with you guys.  It’s nothing crazy or complicated  — just a small tree house, a winding road, and some really good banana bread.

I had my noise cancelling headphones on, listening to Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s soothing voice and soon, I drifted off into the sunny beaches of Hawaii…

My mind wandered to an article about banana bread that I had read about in Bon Appetit a while back.  I dreamed that I was in an old, rickety Jeep, driving on a one-lane road along the shoreline.  I drove for about 20 miles, and although I’m usually pretty impatient, the drive didn’t bother me one bit. With a view like that, I really couldn’t complain.  Finally, I drove up to a treacherous twist in the path, and I saw a quirky, lime-green tree house perched among the shady palm trees.  The weather was warm and beautiful, and the kind, old woman behind the counter’s smile was even warmer and more beautiful.  I walked up to the counter and she handed me a warm slice of banana bread.  The end.

When I made Julia’s famous banana bread for myself, it was like something out of a dream.  I don’t know how to describe it — just trust the thousands of people who swear that it’s the best on the planet.  The recipe is perplexingly simple —  bananas, oil, and flour.  But there’s something very unique about it — a special island touch if you will.  It has significantly more
speckles and freckles than any other banana bread I’ve ever made — just like the freckles we all get at the beach.

One day, my dream will come true and I will actually make the trek up to Julia’s banana bread stand.  But for now, I’ll just cut myself another slice (or three) when I get home.

With love,
Erica

Ingredients

Nonstick vegetable oil spray



1 3/4
cup
all-purpose flour



1 1/2
teaspoons
baking soda



3/4
teaspoon
kosher salt



3

large eggs



1 1/2
cups
sugar



1
cup
mashed ripe bananas (about 2 large)



3/4
cup
vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a
9x5x3-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray. Whisk flour, baking soda, and
salt in a medium bowl. Whisk eggs, sugar, bananas, and oil in a large
bowl until smooth. Add dry ingredients to banana mixture and stir just
until combined. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top.


Bake until a tester inserted
into the center of bread comes out clean, 60-70 minutes. Transfer to a
wire rack; let bread cool in pan for 15 minutes. Run a knife around
inside of pan to release the bread. Turn out onto rack and let cool
completely.


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142 thoughts on “julia’s banana bread”

    1. Thank you so much! As a matter of fact, I have no idea where the freckles come from (none of my other loaves are ever this freckly…) I think that's just a bit of the magic in the recipe!

    2. the specks (or freckles) are the banana seeds. if you slice the banana you will see them in the center. usually 3-5 or so. the riper the banana the more seeds.

  1. AARGH! I just discovered your blog and I absolutely love it so so much. I'm a teanage blogger too apart from I live in the glorious country of England (anything but glorious!) and am 14 years old. I really wish my photographs could turn out like yours, maybe with a little practice? (A WHOLE LOT OF PRACTICE!)
    from Emily x

    1. Wow! Thank you so much for stopping by, and I hope you stop by again soon! I love England, and have visited London many times (and hope to return!). I am sure your photographs are beautiful (I am going to hop over to your blog to check them out). Keep on blogging! I love to hear from other young people who share my passion of blogging! <3 E

  2. I love Amtrak! And I love New York City! My Mom was born and raised there, but when she married my Dad she moved to Illinois. One time we went to New York City to visit family and took the train. I was just 9 years old, and LOVED it. So one time a few years ago I took myself out to NYC to visit family and went Amtrak. It brought back so many good memories, and I loved the trip! (I also love bread, so this post of your is double good for me) 🙂

    1. Haha I am sitting in Amtrak as I type this comment (again) on my way home (it was a short trip, sadly). I am glad you like NYC as much as I do! I would love to hear some of your sightseeing/restaurant recommendations sometime!

    2. Well, actually, I can't give much advice in the way of restaurants there, because with a big Italian family, I don't go out to eat! There is always so much food at my family member's houses! If I would try to eat at a restaurant, their feelings would be hurt. NOT a good thing to do to an Italian! 🙂

      However, that being said – – I did go to Veniero's Italian Bakery a couple of times (near St. Mark's Place) (but only because my cousin took me, so I had permission!) and have real, authentic cheesecake that was to die for! In fact, it was so good, I had one shipped to my Mom for Christmas one year. She was SO amazed at getting it! Also, one time my cousins took me to Chinatown and we went to a real Chinese restaurant, which was absolutely amazing.

      As for sightseeing, one of the best things we did one year was take the Circle Line Ferry trip. It's a three-hour trip, and went up the East River and back down the Hudson. We went under 11 different bridges, and also went really close past the Statue of Liberty. Amazing trip. Loved every second of it, and can't recommend it highly enough.

    3. Hahaha I'm really jealous of all of the food at your family's house :). Home cooked meals are always best. No way! We went to Veniero's Italian Bakery as well (after a sushi dinner). I should have ordered the cheesecake (that's what the waiter recommended), because it sounds out of this world! We got a really delicious slice of coconut cake though :). I've never been on the Ferry (we always stay in the city), but I would love to do that next time we're in the city.

    4. I will! Maybe I'll even order myself a slice as a treat. Yesterday, I went for cheesecake and fries at one of my favorite place, PJ Clarks. There's really nothing better than NYC cheesecake.

  3. Hi Erica, I have actually been to Julia's, best Banana Bread I've ever had! We went to Maui for my 50th Birthday and drove the one lane road and it is definitely a treacherous path! It is so worth the drive! Your picture is beautiful, makes me want to go back, I guess I will just have to make it and dream that I'm there! If you don't mind my asking what kind of camera do you use again?

    1. Really?! I am SO JEALOUS! It is one of my dreams to go there someday. I use a Canon Rebel. I recently got a new Nikon, but I always use my Canon because of all of its sentimental value <3

  4. I bought 2 bunches of bananas today and I cannnnot wait until they are spotty and perfect for banana bread. Have an amazing time in New York. Today was the first nice day in a looong time and hopefully it stays this way. If you want a list of my favorite food spots, let me know! xo nicole

    1. Awesome! Thanks for reminding me, I need to buy a big bunch of bananas too! I actually just got home :(, but please send me a list of your favorite places! I am sure we'll be back in the city soon!

    2. My husband works at a local grocery store & they let me know when their bananas get too ripe to sell, so I can buy several "bunches" at a deeply discounted price. Our church has monthly bake sales & we make banana bread each month. I have found that freezing my cheap, over-ripe bananas is wonderful for making banana bread! Just remove from freezer the amount needed, thaw on a paper towel lined plate, cookie sheet, etc… when thawed, use kitchen shears to cut off the end and just squeeze the banana out! It's really mushy, but just right for making bread!

    3. Oh my god I am so jealous! I wish I had an insider who could tell me when bananas were overripe! I do the same thing though, I freeze my bananas to relieve the anxiety that comes with rotting bananas sitting on my counter top haha

    4. I have never heard of that way, have thought of freezing bananas, that way but was sure that I'd still have to throw them out so I use the way my mom taught me . I peel them roll each one in tightly in foil and then store them in a zip lock bag ,they do not turn dark in the foil ,then you can just chop them and make the bread or just drop them in a blender with lite milk or half milk and half water or add some ice cubes and you have a very good soft ice cream .I add some vanilla and splenda as my hubby is diabetic so there fore not much sugar Right?

  5. I didn't know you were going to NYC, I was just there to visit our boys who are 22 and 20. My oldest works for VH1 Best Week Ever as their head writer, and my youngest is going to school at SVA and is interning as a production assistant on Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, He Heart She Holler!. Let me know next time you go, I can suggest a few places! Also one of my favorite bloggers besides yours is Crepes of Wrath and she lives in Brooklyn, she was up for best Photography on a blog. Thanks for the info on the camera, I will keep on trying with mine!

    1. No way! That's so cool! That's also awesome that your son works for Cartoon Network! I just got back home last night, but I am sure I'll be in the city again soon, and I would love to hear your suggestions! No way! I love Crepes of Wrath! Let me know how the camera works as well!

  6. Hi Erica, I promise I won't write you any more comments today, but I just nominated you for Saveur's Best Food Blog Awards! I think your way beyond your years in writing, photography and recipes!

  7. This looks great! I might double the recipe and make 2 loaves (or 1 loaf and some muffins since I only have one loaf pan). I have some bananas crying out to be baked!

  8. I lived on Maui for almost two years before moving to Kauai where I live now. Every time we had visitors we would make the trek out to Julia's bright little tree house. I'm not the biggest banana bread fan, but one taste of her amazingly moist bread and I was hooked! It is one of many things that I miss about Maui! The sweet and amazingly friendly woman most often found working there is every bit as warm and welcoming as you described! LOVE the bread, LOVE the tree house, LOVE her!

    1. I am so jealous that you lived in Maui/got to try this legendary banana bread! Now you can make it at home! I am glad that I was able to describe it accurately even though I've never been before. It is one of my dreams to go to Julia's someday!

    1. Mine did the same, it was almost caramelized on the outside and i baked for 50 minutes. It fell in the center, and very crusty and dark on the edges. I used a whisk to mix all of the dry ingredients and I combined my wet ingredients together, whisked separately then mixed them all together. So disappointed! 🙁

    2. I've tried this recipe twice now and both times the outside got very dark and the center collapsed. Seems like something is wrong with the recipe as I've made many banana bread loafs successfully with other recipes.

    1. Dee I would check your oven temperature to see if it was correct. If your bread starts getting too dark cover it with foil. Usually when they fall it's not quite done in the center. I bake mine till a tooth pick comes out clean.

    2. Mine did the same thing Dee! I'm wondering if it has to do with using glass loaf pans instead of metal? Maybe the oven temp needs to be lowered??

    3. Mine did the same thing Dee! One wondering if it has something to do with using glass loaf pans (vs metal)? Maybe the oven temp needs to be lower??

  9. Hi! This bread looks really good. I make banana bread all the time and thought it strange this didn't call for vanilla. (I make a double chocolate cream cheese banana bread that's to die for) I'm making yours tomorrow 🙂 I bake weekly treats for the local Police and Firemen and they love banana bread!

    1. That's so sweet of you! I should try to get in touch with the fire/police department, that would be a wonderful outlet for my baked goods. You could definitely add a dash of vanilla to enhance the flavor of this bread.

  10. I made 10 of these today. I collect banana bread recipes and make them quite often. I baked this exactly as the recipe said the first time and it burned before the center cooked. Then I tried three different size pans and sat in front of the oven to keep checking through the glass for progress. Same result. I covered the top with foil, it still was raw when the loaf was as brown as could be. 6 hours and 10 loaves later and I threw the recipe out. I wont be making this one again.
    Jealith

    1. I'm very sorry to hear that your recipe didn't turn out. The recipe worked very well for me — but everyone's kitchen is different. If you have a banana bread recipe you would like to recommend to me, feel free to shoot me an email.

  11. Let me tell you how stellar you and your blog are! You have great writing skills, far beyond a lot of people who have many years on you. Keep it up, seriously. That being said, I made this banana bread today (though I did adapt it to be vegan friendly, and threw some carob chips in as well) and it was delicious! Thanks for sharing, your blog is inspiring 🙂

    -College foodie who's too lazy to write a blog

    1. Thank you so much! I would love to know how you adapted it to be vegan friendly (quite intrigued!). This would be delicious with carob chips (I might throw a few into my next loaf!). I am always happy to see other young people like myself with a passion for food.

  12. Made this bread this evening. Cut sugar to 1 cup, cut oil to 1/2 cup, added 1/2 cup applesauce, and 1/2 cup pecan pieces. Excellent! Love the simplicity of this and how quickly it came together. Thank you for sharing (now to explore the rest of your blog!

    1. Yum! I am glad that you were able to make this recipe a bit healthier and it still turned out delicious 🙂 The addition of buttery pecan pieces sounds so good — I'll have to add that to my next loaf.

  13. I made this today and noticed the top was browning too quickly so i covered it in foil and then the whole thing overcooked and yet the middle is still a bit raw. 🙁

  14. If you don't mind me asking, how did your bread stay so moist? I am at 5100 ft elevation, and I cooked the bread at 350 for 60 minutes. If I bake the bread any less the, middle is very wet. Any suggestions?

    -Ally

  15. Oh I finally bought a loaf pan. I've been meaning to get one for ages (to specifically make banana bread because my mom and I love bananas) and finally got one when I went to the grocery store on Monday. I don't usually go to this particular one because it's not in my area but they have a more variety when it comes to international foods and when I went into their baking/cooking aisle (looking for a can opener) I fell in love. They actually had silicone spatulas xD and then I saw their loaf pan and a jumbo muffin pan and bought those too. I'll let you know how the banana bread goes, my family needs to finish eating a couple pumpklin pies before I feed them anymore baked goods.

    1. Woo! That's so great to hear — It's lovely when my recipes are well received! Try my cinnamon banana bread — that's still an all time favorite of mine as well 🙂

  16. This recipe is SO meant to be! My name is Julia so when I stumbled upon it, I was ever more convinced that I had to try it. It turned out amazing. My husband loved it so much. I just made it last weekend and will be making it again this weekend for a couple of my friends!

  17. Mine also became very dark and flopped in the middle, and I'm a seasoned baker. I had to bake mine about 90 minutes, with the foil on most of the time. The only thing I can think of is that it's supposed to be baking powder, not soda? Although "well-done," I sliced the sides off and the middle was indeed oh-so-good! Next time I'm going to try with baking powder and see how it goes.

    1. I'd really like to get to the bottom of the problems that people have been having with this recipe. I've made it many times and it has always turned out for me.

  18. Mine browned very quickly on the top and took closer to 80-90 minutes to cook. It is very dark, but delicious.

  19. Even with all the flops I decided to try this recipe and I decided to make it a little healthier an sugar free for my diabetic husband! I switched real sugar for 2 cups of Splenda. I cut the oil to 1/2 cup. I used whole wheat pastry flour for the white flour. I added 3/4 cup chopped walnuts and 1 tsp Mexican vanilla. It turned out beautiful – golden brown and rose perfectly! I did increase the baking soda to 2 tsp since I was using the whole wheat flour. Mine cooked in 57 minutes too.

  20. Even with all the flops I decided to try the recipe and mine turned out great! I made mine sugar free substituting Splenda for the sugar- I used 2 cups. I also subbed King Arthur Whole Wheat pastry flour for the white flour. Used 1/2 cup oil and added 1 tsp Mexican vanilla. Mine cooked perfect in 57 minutes!

  21. I made this the other day as we had two bunches of bananas that turned very quickly!

    I tweeked your recipe a bit to just 1 cup sugar (next time I make it I may even reduce it further to 3/4 cup as it was still very sweet!), replaced 1/2 cup oil with butter, used 1tsp baking powder with 1/2tsp baking soda and put in about 1 1/3 cups bananas as we had so many to get rid of!

    I also rotated the loaf 30 mins into baking, then reduced the temperature after 60 mins to 300-325 degrees and cooked for a further 20. It cooked perfectly! I don't have a proper loaf tin large enough so I had to use a "caterpillar" tin which was slightly more shallow than a loaf tin, so that may have had something to do with it.

    It was, however, delicious 🙂 So very, very moist and banana-y!

  22. Found this today, made it, it's almost gone and not done cooling yet. The best:) Added a splash of vanilla to the banana mixture and swapped out half cup of white sugar for Brown. Did bake up dark, but not burnt. Perfect crust for us. Been looking for the perfect one and I think I found it. Thanks

  23. Found this today, made it, it's almost gone and not done cooling yet. The best:) Added a splash of vanilla to the banana mixture and swapped out half cup of white sugar for Brown. Did bake up dark, but not burnt. Perfect crust for us. Been looking for the perfect one and I think I found it. Thanks

  24. Such fun! Banana bread is one of our favorites as well. It shifted me from freaking out because we weren't eating the bananas fast enough before they went bad to hiding a couple from my husband to make sure we could do bread. lol. 😉

  25. I am currently pregnant and have been craving banana bread 🙂 this recipe has been amazing for me! super easy and hits the spot like no other I have found. Thank you for this super yummy treat.

  26. I just made this and it is sooooo good. Mine browned quite a lot as well but still tastes delicious. Since oil is the only thing different about this recipe, what brand and kind of oil did you use. I used "Mazola" canola oil. I added nuts as well since dh loves nuts in everything. Will definately make again. Thanks for posting!

  27. I made this with baking powder the first time because I misread the instructions, and it turned out fine. Admittedly, I added a bit more than called for because I used all whole-wheat flour. (I don't like white in banana bread, for some reason.) I made it again as directed (but whole wheat), and I think the results were similar. I did add a little vanilla, though, which was that little something, I think, that made it over-the-top good!

  28. Hello!

    Your banana loaf looks really good but I am unable to replicate it, as easy as the recipe seems. I think it might be the measurements. So would you be a kind soul and give us the recipe in metric units ie. weights in grams? Thanks in advance!

  29. Just tried it…made 2 breads yesterday for my family and they just asked me to make 3 more!!! They were super deeelicious 🙂 thank you for sharing your recipe. Love it 😀

  30. Just tried this, and it was delicious. I used a cup-for-cup gluten-free flour blend due to my food allergies, which worked perfectly. My bread was significantly darker than I expected, as a few people have mentioned, and I was using a glass pan. I guess I'll try using a lower temp next time as suggested!

  31. I actually order Julia's banana bread online and have it shipped to me. Theirs looks so much darker. I though they put molasses in it? I have been looking for their receipe for awhile. I am glad you posted it. I am going to try it out!

  32. Hi Erica,

    I'm actually a first time visitor of your blog and I love everything I'm seeing, so far! 🙂 I want to try making this banana bread over the weekend and I was wondering if it would still be okay if I add in blueberries. I'm definitely going to make this recipe as is but just for future reference. 🙂

    Thank you!

  33. I found your blog by accident…or fate, lol. I had a bunch of overripe bananas on the counter, and my hubby said he wanted banana bread. I started searching Pinterest, and while I was poking around, he said, "Remember that banana bread we had in Maui? It was soooo good. I wish we could go back and have some more."

    I kid you not…the next recipe I clicked on (without looking at the title) was yours! I made it, and it turned out perfectly. It brought us right back to to driving along the twisty-turny roads of Maui in 2010, windows open, gorgeous tropical foliage swaying all around us…pulling over to Julia's at the end of the road and eating warm, delicious banana bread on some jagged black rocks while the waves crashed and the salt-water sprayed through the air. Ahhhhh…heaven.

    I've since made this recipe 3 times, and it's been wonderful!!! It turns out caramelized and crusty on the edges (yes, dark brown) and moist and sweet inside…just like I remember Julia's.

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe and bringing back some wonderful memories. This is definitely my go-to banana bread recipe from now on!! 🙂

  34. It's crazy how I was craving banana bread this morning…then BAM I click on your blog and find this by chance! I'm not gonna question it! 😉

  35. Mine too came out so dark, looked almost burnt. The center dropped as well, but was cooked. I was very nervous, as I've never had banana bread look like that. It however was the most delicious banana bread I've ever had. (I made it in a dark metal pan). The next day I decided to make it in a glass pan, it came out dark but not as dark as the metal pan loaf. The center did not drop, but it took longer to cook compared to the metal pan. I however don't know how it tasted as I gave it away, but there were no complaints on their end. I snapped a picture of the difference, because it was so significant. Will continue to make it, thanks for a great recipe!

  36. the ingredients here do not match the ones on Julia's official website. I have been there and inhaled one loaf with a friend before we got to the end of the road! Not sure how anyone can claim this as her specific recipe without having tasted hers. I believe the strawberry banana to be a cooking banana with red spots on the peel. Noone on Oahu or Big Island has ever heard of strawberry bananas in the 3 1/2 years I have lived here.
    The baking problems are because your ovens temp is higher than the setting and/or you need to use 3 small pans like they do because its too much batter for 1 large loaf.

  37. I know this is an old post, but I just wanna say I've made many diffrent recipes and yours is the one I keep coming back to. I make it at least once a month!

  38. I have a question about this recipe. I just made it, following directions exactly, and the bread came out at 60 minutes almost black from overcooking, while the middle was still wet. I see some other comments on this issue, but mine has this weird "foamy" texture to the top. I can't figure out why it's still almost too wet after baking for an hour. I put it back in to cook the middle, and at 75 minutes, it's still just charring the top and the middle is wet. I'm so sad because this recipe came so highly recommended!!

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