The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

No flavor in my banana bread

rmill13's picture

No flavor in my banana bread

I have now made a banana bread and a pumpkin bread in my breadmaker. On each occasion the bread has come out fine but they taste like regular bread. I am following the instructions and am putting in the banana/pumpkin as I put in the liquids. Am I doing it wrong?

yy's picture

I doubt you're doing anything wrong. It may just be a bland recipe, or if you're using a pre-made mix, a bland mix.The link below is a very good recipe that works out even if you haven't measured perfectly:

It does have a step where you whip the sugar and eggs until fluffy, so I don't know if you would get the same result in a bread machine. However, it works well even if you have to do the whole thing by hand. I highly recommend it.


lazybaker's picture

I watched America's Test Kitchen. They always end up cooking down the banana and pumpkin to concentrate the flavors.

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

I mean very, very, very, very, very, very ripe bananas, so ripe that the skins are brown-black and the mold is only a day away?

That's the secret to really great banana bread.

I don't use a breadmaker, but if you want to bake one without, here's my recipe. (You can use bread pans if you don't have a Gugelhupf (Kugelhopf) pan.)


Banana Nut Gugelhupf


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature.
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups very, very, very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup rum
  • 3 cups (dip and sweep method) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1.5 cups coarsely chopped, roasted pecans, walnuts, almonds, or hazelnuts (or any combination thereof)


  • Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
  • Toast walnuts/pecans for 12-15 minutes, then cool.
  • Once the nuts have cooled, coarsely chop them.
  • Generously butter and flour a large Gugelhupf pan (or 3 large or 4 small bread pans).
  • Cream (vigorously whisky) butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add wet ingredients (eggs, bananas, sour cream, rum, vanilla) to butter/sugar mixture and mix well.
  • Combine dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt, chopped nuts) in large bowl.
  • Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix until just combined. Avoid overmixing.
  • Batter should be VERY thick, so adjust with added flour if necessary, adding 1/3 cup flour at a time until thick.
  • Pour batter into Gugelhupf pan, leaving enough room at the top for expansion during baking (~ 3/4 to 1 inch). Trivial trivia: The part "-hupf" in Gugelhupf relates to the verb "hüpfen" (jump) and is a reference to the bread or cake going up while being baked. 
  • Bake 60-70 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  • Cool in Gugelhupf pan for 30 minutes, then invert onto a cake plate or the like.

This banana bread is very moist. If covered, it'll last a week on the counter and still be delicious.

jaywillie's picture

My family likes banana bread, so I've tried a lot of recipes. For the last few years, Tyler Florence's recipe has become my go-to for banana bread. Try it. I bet you'll like it.

golfermd's picture

His is also my "go to" banana bread. However, I adjusted it to my (our, my partner and her 91 yr old mother) tastes by doing the following:

1. I lightly brown the butter

2. I like a denser bread so I add only 2/3-3/4 tsp baking soda

3. I substitute chopped walnuts because I think they give a better taste.



thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

As for pumpkin, you can concentrate the flavour by roasting the pumpkin before using it in your bread. 

If you really want to concentrate the flavour, roast it and then dehydrate it; but, that's a bit much for pumpkin bread. (I make a sweet potato bread with the roasting and dehydrating procedure. It has huge sweet potato flavour. I like it very much.

G-man's picture

I see many folks above me have great suggestions. The one that really stuck out to me was using really, really ripe bananas. I'll second this, and I'll say that the best way to ripen bananas to the point where you can use them in banana bread is to put them in the freezer. Be sure to remove them from the peels before you do this, since the peels become very difficult to remove if you don't. When you're going to make banana bread, take the bananas out of the freezer and let them defrost, they'll have a texture almost like pudding, which is exactly what you want.

Another idea is to replace most of the liquid with yogurt. I've done this a few times using greek yogurt with truly excellent results.

I've never had to cook down the bananas to get better flavor out of them when I do these two things. Even if I find myself without yogurt and I have to use milk, the banana flavor comes right through.

golfermd's picture

I found that extremely ripe bananas don't work well in Tyler's recipe. They have to be a bit overripe, but not much more. The first step is to liquify the bananas, which is okay for the very ripe ones. However, the other bananas are not liquified and need to have some texture after mashing. I also found I didn't like the flavor caused by extremely ripe bananas.


thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

What flavour does an extremely ripe banana cause other than banana flavour?

I suspect this has something to do with the American penchant for thinking "green bananas good, yellow bananas bad, yellow bananas with brown spots spoiled or rotten."

That probably explains why, when I try anything "banana" in the US, it tastes so wrong to me. 


  • green banana (any visible green) = unripened and inedible 
  • yellow banana with lots of brown spots = almost ripe
  • yellow-brown banana with partially browned flesh = ripe
  • flies buzzing around black, alcohol-smelling bananas with moldy skin = time to make banana bread (the very height of deliciousness!)

My grandfather used to say, "The flies will tell you when they're ready to eat."

dmsnyder's picture

"Love flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana."