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Gluten-Free Banana Bread

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Gluten Free Banana Bread on parchment paper
Photograph by Travis Rainey, Food Styling by Emilie Fosnocht

When real estate agents talk about luring potential buyers at an open house with the smell of baked goods, they’re probably referring to banana bread specifically. Banana bread in the oven smells like comfort, like the very notion of home itself (as seen on TV, with a sleepy dog and flowers in the front yard). Every baker deserves a solid back-pocket recipe.

Turns out, making the best gluten-free banana bread is just as easy as the regular version of this beloved quick bread. Where some recipes may use almond flour, oat flour, or coconut flour, this one turns to commercially available gluten-free baking flour blends that contain xanthan gum, as a reliable and convenient substitute for wheat flour. Our favorite gluten-free flour blends for this banana bread recipe are Cup4Cup and Bob’s Red Mill. For the most banana-y banana bread, use overripe bananas. Fruit that is speckled black is ideal since most of the starches have converted into sugar, resulting in a sweet and tender loaf with a strong fruit flavor. We like to weigh or measure out our mashed bananas to ensure a moist loaf that isn’t gummy, a common problem with many gluten-free banana bread recipes. A combination of baking soda and baking powder keeps this banana bread light and lofty.

Looking to make this dairy-free? Use an equal amount by weight of melted coconut oil (either refined or virgin) in place of the butter. If you want to venture beyond chopped walnuts or pecans as mix-ins for your quick bread, a handful of chocolate chips would be a good idea. Add up to half a cup of chocolate chips, stirring them into the batter along with the nuts. Mini chocolate chips are especially great here as they distribute more evenly in the thick batter. Gluten-free baking comes with its own challenges. If you attempt to substitute coconut sugar or applesauce or flax eggs in place of light brown sugar and eggs, expect your banana bread recipe to perform differently.

To make banana muffins, portion and bake the batter in lined muffin cups (the baking time will be shorter; start checking for doneness after 25 minutes).

Baker’s Note: You can make your own gluten-free blend for this recipe: Stir together 1 cup (160 g) oat flour, 1 cup (120 g) white rice flour, ¼ cup (30 g) tapioca starch, and ½ tsp. xanthan gum to replace the commercial gluten-free flour blend below.

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What you’ll need

Recipe information

  • Total Time

    1 hour 30 minutes

  • Yield

    Makes one 8½x4½" loaf

Ingredients

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 cup (110 g) pecans or walnuts
2 cups (280 g) gluten-free flour blend with xanthan gum
2 tsp. Diamond Crystal or 1¼ tsp. Morton kosher salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
3 large very ripe bananas, mashed (1½ cups; 340 g)
1 cup (200 g) light brown sugar
3 large eggs
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, slightly cooled
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Raw sugar (for sprinkling)

Preparation

  1. Step 1

    Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 325°. Lightly coat an 8½x4½" loaf pan with nonstick vegetable oil spray. Line with piece of parchment paper, leaving overhang on long sides. Toast 1 cup (110 g) pecans or walnuts in a single layer on a small rimmed baking sheet, tossing halfway through, until slightly darkened in color and fragrant, 8–12 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop.

    Step 2

    Meanwhile, whisk 2 cups (280 g) gluten-free flour blend with xanthan gum, 2 tsp. Diamond Crystal or 1¼ tsp. Morton kosher salt, 2 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1 tsp. baking powder, and 1 tsp. baking soda in a medium bowl to combine.

    Step 3

    Vigorously whisk 3 large very ripe bananas, mashed (1½ cups; 340 g) and 1 cup (200 g) light brown sugar in a large bowl until no large lumps remain. Add 3 large eggs, ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, slightly cooled, and 2 tsp. vanilla extract and whisk to combine.

    Step 4

    Add dry ingredients to banana mixture and whisk until batter is smooth and thickened slightly, about 1 minute. Fold in nuts, then scrape batter into prepared pan; smooth surface. Lightly sprinkle with raw sugar (1–2 Tbsp.). Generously coat the blade of a small paring knife with nonstick spray; run knife lengthwise through center of batter to create a shallow cut (this is so bread will split cleanly along line as it bakes rather than cracking randomly).

    Step 5

    Bake bread until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 190° (a tester inserted into the center should come out with only a few moist crumbs attached), 60–80 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let bread cool in pan 15 minutes. Turn bread out onto rack and let cool completely (if you feel comfortable, carefully remove parchment paper so bread doesn’t turn gummy on the bottom).

    Do Ahead: Bread can be baked 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

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  • Tasty

    • Anonymous

    • UK

    • 6/13/2024

  • delicious

    • Anonymous

    • 5/16/2024

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