My Favorite Banana Bread Recipe Has a ‘Magic’ Secret Ingredient—And Almost 10,000 5-Star Ratings

Hint: The secret ingredient is likely already in your fridge.



Every baker needs a good banana bread recipe in their repertoire—and here at Allrecipes, we have quite a few winners to choose from. Take our top-rated (and iconic) Banana Banana Bread that hundreds of thousands of people flock to each month, for example.

There’s one recipe, though, I turn to time and time again: Janet’s Rich Banana Bread.

What Allrecipes Community Members Say

This top-rated banana bread recipe is, quite literally, perfect. Don’t believe me? Here are some rave reviews from the Allrecipes community:

  • “This banana bread turns out great every time,” according to Kelly HR. “I think the sour cream is the magic that makes it so moist. I have been asked for the recipe many times.”

  • “I think this is quite possibly the best banana bread I've ever made and tasted,” says amydonahue0223. “It has to be the addition of the sour cream that makes it so dense, moist, and delicious. It's the only one I'll make now.”

  • “I've been making banana bread for over thirty years, including some recipes that used sour cream,” says tcquilter. “This one is the best.”



The Secret Ingredient

So what makes this fan favorite banana bread recipe so tender, moist, and rich? Sour cream. As it turns out, the refrigerator staple packs a major punch—in more ways than one. Here's how the powerhouse ingredient takes classic banana bread up a notch:

  • Fat: Sour cream has much higher fat levels than other ingredients that might take its place in similar banana bread recipes, such as milk or buttermilk. Fat, of course, is essential in baking: It tenderizes gluten, providing moisture and richness.

  • Thickness: It adds a ton of moisture without thinning the batter in the same way a liquid would. A thick batter is almost always best when it comes to quick breads and loaf cakes, as it tends to result in a more substantial finished product with a tender, fine crumb.

  • Acidity: Baking is a science and, in this recipe, sour cream acts as an acid that reacts with baking soda to create a leavening effect. This helps the bread rise and creates an ultra-soft texture.

  • Flavor: The banana bread has a very subtle tanginess thanks to the addition of sour cream. The flavor is similar to baked goods made with buttermilk (such as this beloved buttermilk pound cake), but it’s somehow even more luxurious. 

Optional Tweaks

Janet’s Rich Banana Bread recipe has been reviewed by our Test Kitchen and boasts a stellar 4.8 stars (with almost 10,500 ratings!), so you know it’s perfect as written. However, I do a few things differently:

  • I mix a heaping ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon into the dry ingredients. Try as I might, I just can’t help myself from adding cinnamon to all my baked goods. I’ve never had any complaints!

  • The recipe calls for a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Full disclosure: I always measure vanilla with my heart—and I encourage you to do the same.

  • I mash the bananas instead of slicing them. This probably doesn’t make a huge difference, as the bananas will break down during the baking process no matter how you stir them into the batter. I’m a creature of habit, though, and mashing the bananas just feels right.

What If I Don’t Have Sour Cream?

If you’re craving an elevated banana bread, but don’t have sour cream on hand, buttermilk will give you a similar tangy flavor. It will also react with the baking soda to create a soft, tender crumb. However, it does have less fat than sour cream—which means the finished product will be more fluffy than rich.




I have family members with allergies, so I skip the walnuts the recipe calls for (though I’m sure a walnut-speckled banana bread is delicious). Other optional mix-ins include: semi-sweet chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, coconut flakes, and dried fruits.

Read the original article on All Recipes.