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How do you keep banana bread moist when baking?

Making moist banana bread is a delicate balancing act between ingredients and technique. With the right tricks and tips, you can ensure your banana bread stays deliciously moist and tender every time you bake it.

Why does banana bread dry out?

Banana bread dries out for a few key reasons:

  • Overbaking – Baking the bread for too long causes moisture to evaporate.
  • Not enough moisture – If the batter doesn’t have enough liquid ingredients, the bread can turn out dry.
  • Overmixing – Overmixing the batter develops too much gluten, leading to a tough, dry crumb.
  • Incorrect pan size – Using too large of a pan can cause the batter to spread out too thin and overbake.

By understanding what causes banana bread to dry out, we can make adjustments to the recipe and method to produce supremely moist loaves.

Tips for keeping banana bread moist

Here are the top tips for keeping your homemade banana bread nice and moist:

Use very ripe bananas

Super ripe, brown speckled bananas that are just short of being black contain more moisture and flavor compared to underripe yellow bananas. The riper the bananas, the more moisture they impart. Mash the bananas thoroughly so they almost turn into a puree for maximum moisture.

Don’t overmix the batter

Gently mix the wet and dry ingredients together just until incorporated, being careful not to overbeat. Overmixing develops too much gluten, leading to a dense, dry crumb. Mix just until there are no visible flour streaks.

Include sour cream or yogurt

Sour cream and yogurt add extra moisture as well as a nice tanginess that complements the bananas. Replace the milk or water in the recipe with an equal amount of sour cream or yogurt for bonus moisture.

Add an extra egg

Eggs provide moisture and structure. Consider using 4 eggs instead of 3 per loaf for a supersized moisture boost. Just take care not to overbake when including the extra egg.

Swap oil for melted butter

Butter contains around 15% water so it makes banana bread more moist than oil. Replace the oil with an equal amount of melted butter. Let the butter cool before mixing into the batter.

Grease the pan well

Grease the loaf pan thoroughly with softened butter or nonstick baking spray. This helps prevent the banana bread from sticking so it can come out of the pan cleanly. The outer edges won’t overbake and dry out.

Use a loaf pan liner

Lining the pan with parchment paper helps insulate the loaf and prevents the outer edges from overbaking. The paper also helps the bread release without sticking to the pan.

Don’t overbake

It can be tempting to bake banana bread until deeply browned on top but this dries it out. Bake just until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50-60 minutes. The internal temperature should reach around 200°F.

Let it cool completely before slicing

Allow the banana bread to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Slicing into it too early releases moisture. Let it rest for at least 1-2 hours if you can resist!

Moist Banana Bread Recipe

This supremely moist banana bread recipe uses many of the tips mentioned above to produce tender, moist loaves every time. Ripe bananas, sour cream, extra egg, and melted butter all help it stay nice and moist.


  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan and line with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, mash the bananas thoroughly with a fork. Stir in the melted butter, sugar, egg and extra yolk, sour cream, and vanilla until combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and gently stir just until combined and no flour streaks remain. Do not overmix.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top. If desired, sprinkle the chopped nuts over the top.
  6. Bake for 55-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The top will be lightly browned.
  7. Allow the banana bread to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing. Enjoy!

Frequently Asked Questions

Should banana bread be moist?

Yes, well-made banana bread should be moist and tender, never dry or dense. Moisture is key to creating soft, delicious banana bread with great texture.

What makes banana bread dry out?

Overmixing, inadequate moisture, incorrect pan size, and overbaking are the main culprits of dry banana bread. Taking steps to maximize moisture and prevent overbaking will keep your loaf nice and moist.

Is oil or butter better for moist banana bread?

Butter is better than oil for moist banana bread because it contains water so it adds extra moisture. Replace the oil in a recipe with the same amount of melted, cooled butter.

Should you use brown bananas?

Yes, very ripe, speckled, brown bananas contain the most moisture and flavor. The riper the bananas, the more moisture they impart for supremely moist bread.

What can I add instead of sour cream?

Greek yogurt is an excellent substitute for sour cream in banana bread recipes. The yogurt adds extra moisture just like sour cream does. You can swap them 1:1.

How long does banana bread last?

Well-wrapped banana bread will stay fresh at room temperature for 3-4 days. For longer storage, keep it refrigerated for up to 1 week or freeze it for up to 3 months.


With these simple tips and tricks, you can feel confident baking irresistibly moist banana bread every time. Very ripe bananas, extra egg, sour cream, melted butter instead of oil, proper pan preparation, and preventing overmixing and overbaking are the keys. The result is a supremely tender, moist loaf that stays fresh and delicious for days. Give this moist banana bread recipe a try and you’ll have the perfect treat to enjoy with your morning coffee or share with friends.