This is seriously the BEST Banana Bread with Pecans! It’s moist and tender, with pecans inside and on the top. It’s the perfect use for those overripe bananas.
I’ve tried a number of banana bread recipes over the years, and I hadn’t found a favorite. Until now!
This Banana Bread with Pecans recipe is truly the best out there.
The secret? An extra stick of butter. It’s true—butter makes everything better.
There’s not one but TWO sticks of butter in this recipe for one loaf. And, it’s loaded with pecans, both inside and on top.
It is banana nut bread perfection, with a moist crumb and plenty of crunch from the pecans.
The recipe is from an early 1980s junior league cookbook from South Carolina (which is where my Old Fashioned Pecan Pie recipe is from, too).
The instructions for the banana bread are pretty loose (2 or 3 eggs, use self-rising flour if you’d like, etc.) but I tested a few versions and the one printed below is the winner.
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What makes this the best banana bread with pecans
- Most recipes for quick bread have one stick of butter for one loaf. This one has TWO sticks of butter. It’s a game changer.
- Pecans everywhere! There are plenty of chopped pecans both inside and on top of this loaf. And, the pecans are toasted for the best flavor.
- Simple flavors. There’s no cinnamon, nutmeg, or any flavor additions in this loaf. This lets the flavor of the ripe bananas and the pecans shine through.
- You’ll need two medium-large ripe bananas for this recipe. They should have lots of brown spots or even mostly brown—no green bananas here!
- Two sticks of butter make this banana loaf extra tender and moist.
- A splash of vanilla extract complements the banana pecan flavor perfectly.
- Use toasted pecans for this recipe for the best flavor (follow instructions below if yours aren’t toasted already).
How to make a moist banana bread with pecans
Start by creaming together the unsalted butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. This is just like making cookies—take your hand mixer and go at it!
Add the eggs one at a time, and beat in between.
Then, drop in the bananas and vanilla extract. No need to mash the bananas first. That’s what the hand mixer is for!
Then, put the hand mixer away! This next part is key to a soft and tender banana bread. We’re going to fold in the dry ingredients (all-purpose flour, baking soda, and salt) by hand. If you do it with a mixer, the loaf can get tough.
Fold in the pecans, too, then spread the batter into a greased 9×5 inch bread pan that’s lined with parchment paper.
The parchment paper isn’t completely necessary, but I think it makes removing the loaf SO much easier. I just line the bottom of the pan—no need to line the sides.
Spray the pan first with cooking spray, then add the parchment. The cooking spray will help the parchment stick to the pan. You can also use binder clips to hold the sides out of the way while you pour in the batter. Just be sure to remove them before baking!
Bake the banana loaf for 60–70 minutes at 350°F, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. The loaf should bake in the center of the oven.
Start checking the loaf at 50 minutes for browning. If it’s browning too quickly, place a sheet of aluminum foil loosely over the top of the bread to prevent further browning.
Let the loaf cool for 15 minutes in the pan, then use the parchment paper as a sling and remove the loaf from the pan. Let cool for at least 20 more minutes before slicing (so it doesn’t fall apart when slicing!).
Tips for moist banana bread
- Don’t over mix the batter. Use a spatula to fold in the dry ingredients and the pecans.
- Use overripe bananas. Not green, not even yellow—they need to have lots of brown spots for the best flavor and an extra moist loaf.
- Over baked banana bread can be dry. Bake the loaf in the center of the oven. Check the loaf with a toothpick at 60 minutes. If there are still wet crumbs attached, give it another 10 minutes.
- Butter! This loaf has two whole sticks. And it makes for a super moist banana bread.
How to toast pecans
Toasted pecans create the best flavor for this banana pecan loaf! You can either purchase pre-toasted pecans, or toast your own.
Here’s how to toast your own. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread chopped pecans on a baking sheet. Place in the oven and toast for 7–9 minutes, or until golden brown and fragrant. Let the pecans cool before adding to the batter.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Scoop the batter into greased a greased muffin tin (⅔ of the way full) and bake for 20–24 minutes at 350°F. It’ll make 12–14 muffins.
If the top of the banana bread is getting too dark but the center isn’t done, place a piece of aluminum foil loosely over the top of the loaf as it bakes. This will drastically slow/stop the browning.
Banana bread can be frozen for up to 3 months. Wrap the loaf tightly in plastic wrap, then in aluminum foil. Slide into a resealable freezer bag, and freeze. Defrost overnight at room temperature.
You can keep banana bread either at room temperature or in the refrigerator. However you store it, cover it tightly so it doesn’t dry out.
Place bananas in a paper bag, along with an apple, and fold the bag closed. Let it sit at room temperature for several days. The apple produces ethylene gas that speeds ripening.
Here are a few ideas to make this banana pecan bread your own:
- Swap the pecans for chopped walnuts
- Stir ½ cup of mini or regular sized chocolate chips into the batter
- Add some warm spices with 1 teaspoon cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- Swap the pecans for dried fruit such as raisins, cranberries, or blueberries
More quick bread recipes
I love quick bread for an afternoon snack. This banana bread with pecans especially is delicious with coffee. Here are a few other old fashioned quick breads for snacking:
- Strawberry Bread
- Easy Zucchini Banana Bread
- Lemon Poppy Seed Bread
- Grandma’s Date Nut Bread
- Pear Bread
- Pumpkin Apple Bread
- Apple Cinnamon Bread with Streusel
Have you tried this recipe? Please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and/or comment below!
Banana Bread with Pecans
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 medium-large ripe bananas
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup finely chopped toasted pecans, divided
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan and/or line with parchment paper.
- Place the butter and sugar in a large bowl and cream together using a hand mixer (a stand mixer works, too).
- Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
- Add the bananas (no need to mash first) and beat those in, too.
- Stir in the flour, baking soda, and salt with a spatula. Then, stir in ½ cup of the pecans. Do not use a mixer for this step—it will make the loaf tough.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and top with the remaining ¼ cup pecans.
- Bake for 60–70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove from the pan and let cool fully.
- Slice and serve.