Did you know that you can achieve a fluffy texture and tender crumb in your banana bread without baking soda? While many quick bread recipes rely on this ingredient for the proper lift, your delicious banana bread doesn't need it! Learn how to make banana bread with baking powder instead of baking soda with this easy recipe whether you've run out of baking soda or not!
📖 What does baking soda do in banana bread?
Baking soda, or Sodium bicarbonate, is a leavening agent found in many baking recipes including homemade banana bread or banana muffins. Traditionally baking soda is what gives your banana bread its rise. This is an important ingredient in quick breads because the rise is what makes the difference between light and airy bread and flat and gummy bread.
You might be wondering, do you need baking soda for banana bread? The answer is no. Rather than leave it out altogether, you should find a good baking soda substitute instead.
📖 What can I use in place of baking soda in banana bread?
If you find your pantry doesn't have what you need, don't worry, you can still make delicious banana bread no baking soda required. Baking powder is the best substitute for baking soda in banana bread, but if you want to make banana bread without baking soda or powder, you may also find success swapping in self rising flour.
🌟 Why this is the best recipe
- Fewer ingredients - Banana bread recipes that are made with baking soda also need an acidic element, like sour cream or greek yogurt, in order to fully activate their rise. This recipe is different from baking soda banana bread because it relies on fewer ingredients, ultimately meaning less time in the kitchen.
- Classic banana bread flavor and texture- My recipe is light and fluffy while still providing both the traditional banana bread texture and the classic banana bread taste. Just because this isn't banana bread with baking soda doesn't mean it won't taste just as delicious!
- Easy to make- Banana bread baking can be a labor of love and while the end result is worth it, it can be a tedious process. This easy banana bread recipe with baking powder as the leavener is perfect for both new and seasoned bakers.
- Detailed Instructions- My visual instructions and detailed explanations will help you every step of the way. I've covered all the details big and small to help you to handle any issues that might arise.
- Customizable- The traditional banana bread flavor is perfect, but if you're looking to switch things up, this recipe makes it so easy! For instance, maybe you want to add semi-sweet chocolate chips for a decadent chocolate chip banana bread. No problem!
📝 Ingredient notes
- Granulated Sugar: Bananas are naturally sweet but not sweet enough to give that classic comfort food taste on their own. Using granulated sugar also adds moisture to the batter and helps give the loaf a beautifully browned crust.
- Brown Sugar: Using a mixture of granular white sugar and brown sugar is key to this quick bread. Brown sugar has a delicious molasses flavor that gives the loaf a deeper flavor. Brown sugar is also naturally moist so it will keep your banana bread soft and tender.
- Vegetable Oil: You'll want to use a neutral oil that has no taste, such as vegetable oil, refined coconut oil, or canola oil. You can also use melted unsalted butter, but I believe that oil is the best choice for a moist loaf of banana bread with baking powder.
- Banana Puree: The delicious flavor in banana bread comes from banana puree, or finely mashed bananas. To make the mashed banana puree you'll want to use very ripe bananas with peels that are turning dark and have spots.
- Eggs: Eggs contribute many things to banana bread. The fat from the yolk helps make the loaf tender and moist while the protein in the egg whites gives the bread structure.
- All-Purpose Flour: Flour is the base for this recipe. I used all purpose flour, which is easily accessible and generally very inexpensive. Check out my flour guide for more information on which flours work best in baking recipes.
- Salt: Salt is an important ingredient in baking, even with sweet desserts! It balances the sweetness in the recipe and helps to bring out the natural flavors of the other ingredients.
- Baking Powder: Baking powder in banana bread gives the loaf its rise and fluffy texture. It's the best replacement for baking soda in banana bread.
- Spices: Cinnamon is wonderfully aromatic and complements the comforting flavors of this delicious loaf. Ground cinnamon is my spice of choice for this recipe, but feel free to use a spice blend such as Pumpkin Pie Spice.
- Banana: In addition to banana puree, this recipe uses banana slices for decoration. The banana caramelizes a bit during cooking and gives each slice a bit of extra sweet flavor.
🛒 You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the Recipe Card at the bottom of this post
👩🍳 How to Make This Recipe
1. Step-by-step process
Making banana bread is pretty straightforward, and it doesn’t get any simpler than this easy banana bread recipe without baking soda.
- Start by preheating your oven to 175 C / 347 F (no fan) This will give your oven time to reach temperature while you prepare the batter for your banana bread without baking soda.
- Prepare your loaf pan and grease it well with butter or cooking spray. You can also choose to line it with parchment paper. Be sure to check out my post on how to get cakes out of pans easily.
- In a medium bowl, mash your overripe bananas or place them into a food processor. You'll want to break them down until no large lumps remain.
- In a separate extra-large mixing bowl, use your electric hand mixer to whip the oil, eggs, granulated sugar, and brown sugar for 3-4 minutes until fluffy. Then, fold in your banana puree.
- Next, sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and spices together so they're well combined.
- Fold the sifted ingredients into the wet ingredient using a rubber spatula, scraping the sides of the bowl in a circular motion until fully incorporated.
- Scrape the batter into your prepared loaf pan and tap it on the counter gently to make the batter even and release any air bubbles. Place the banana halves on top of the bread.
💡 Top Tip: It's important to always start with room temperature ingredients. To get your eggs to room temperature fast, place the eggs (still in their shells) in a bowl of warm tap water for 5-10 minutes.
2. How to bake
Always preheat oven before starting any baking recipe. Your oven will need time to heat up to the proper temperature, and this can be going on in the background while you're mixing ingredients for your banana bread
- Place the banana bread into the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. When done, the loaf should spring back and have a golden brown color. You can also use a digital thermometer to measure the center of the bread, it should read around 93 C /200 F when done.
- Allow the banana bread to cool completely before cutting into it. A cooling rack can help speed up the process. Serve the bread fresh and store any leftovers at room temperature in an airtight container, or wrapped in plastic wrap or foil for 3-5 days.
💡 Top Tip: Focus on visual clues when determining doneness along with time. Ovens can heat differently so yours may need slightly more or less time. Look for a firm golden crust and a clean toothpick test.
This moist banana bread is delicious as written and can also be perfect for when you want to get creative with the flavors.
- You can replace the banana puree with pumpkin puree for a tasty seasonal recipe. Pumpkin puree and self rising flour can also easily make this a vegan banana bread without baking powder or baking soda. Pumpkin puree sort of replaces eggs in baking recipes.
- For a bit of texture, add chopped nuts to the batter or sprinkle them on top before baking. Chopped walnuts, pecans, and cashews serve up a delicious hint of salt and are great for added crunch. Or why not add some delicious streusel topping before baking for extra crunch?
- Once baked, feel free to drizzle some homemade walnut butter, homemade cashew butter, or homemade pecan butter over your banana bread
- Use spices and glazes to add flavor to your banana bread. Try pumpkin pie spice, a splash of vanilla extract, or even a tablespoon of orange zest. Glazes make for a beautiful presentation and add complementary flavors. Try a drizzle of peanut butter, honey, or my decadent chocolate glaze.
🥣 Equipment Notes
Using a digital scale allows for consistent measurement and helps take the guesswork out of your measuring techniques. A scale will make for an overall better baking experience and a more accurate recipe.
When mixing your banana bread recipe without baking soda, be sure not to overwork the batter. To avoid a dry and dense texture, use a good-quality rubber spatula to incorporate the dry ingredients.
The temperature your oven displays might not be accurate 100% of the time. Consider using a digital oven thermometer to know whether you’ll have to adjust the cooking time.
🎓 Expert tips
- Always be sure to preheat the oven. This is very important because it takes a while for the oven to reach temperature, and if you try to bake the banana bread before the oven is fully preheated it can affect the rise and texture, and ultimately cause the recipe to not turn out.
- Focus on texture and visual doneness cues, not just the time. A toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf should come out clean. If the toothpick comes out with raw batter on it, the bread needs more time to fully cook.
- Room-temperature ingredients, such as eggs and banana puree, will incorporate more easily. This helps prevent overmixing, which results in an overly dense final product.
- Be sure to use very ripe bananas. The perfect bananas will have lots of dark spots on the peel and be very soft. However, the bananas themselves should be mostly free from blemishes.
If you're making a no-baking soda banana bread, you'll need a good leavening agent if you still want a fluffy texture. Baking powder is the best baking soda substitute for banana bread, but there are many substitutes that can work.
Absolutely! Banana bread freezes really well. You can freeze the entire loaf or separate it into slices. To freeze, first, allow the loaf to cool completely. Then, wrap your loaf or slices in foil and place them into a resealable freezer bag for up to four months. When you're ready to enjoy it, allow your banana bread to sit at room temperature to defrost. Loaves will take longer, usually a few hours. Slices may take an hour or less.
Store banana bread leftovers in an airtight container or wrap them in foil and leave them on the counter for up to four days. If you live in a very warm climate, you may find that you need to place a paper towel around your leftovers to absorb excess moisture.
Without baking soda or a replacement, your bread will be dense and will not rise very much. A small amount of rising can occur naturally, but it's likely that the loaf will be very flat. Follow my recipe to learn how to make banana bread with baking powder only.
Overly dense banana bread can have a number of causes. Overmixing, overmeasuring (adding too much flour) and undercooking can all be causes of dense banana bread. This banana bread without baking soda should not be dense, it is a fluffy moist alternative to traditional banana bread.
When done it will be dark brown on the top and sides. Use my photos for reference and use the toothpick test to determine the doneness of your loaf. Remember, visual cues are more important than baking time. Your loaf may need a little more or less time in the oven than mine did.
More Bread and Loaf recipes
Banana Bread without Baking soda
- 90 g (½ cups) Granulated sugar
- 90 g (½ cups) Brown sugar
- 120 g (½ cups) Oil no flavor vegetable oil
- 250 g (1 cups) Mashed bananas ripe bananas
- 2 Eggs room temperature
- 230 g (1¾ cups) All purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 2 teaspoon Baking powder
- 1 teaspoon Spice eg. cinnamon or homemade pumpkin spice
- 1 Banana cut into half to decorate the top
US customary cup measurement is an indicative figure only. Measure the ingredients with a digital scale by weight (gram). Baking is art but also science which requires precision and accuracy.
- Prepare your Loaf pan and grease it throughout
- Using your electric hand mixer, in a large bowl whip oil, eggs, and the 2 different kinds of sugar for a few minutes until fluffy, then fold banana puree in
- Sift dry ingredients together (flour, baking powder, salt, spices) then fold it into the wet ingredient using a rubber spatula
- Bake for 45 min or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean
- Cut only after the cake has come to room temperature. Serve it fresh and store any leftovers at room temperature in an air-tight container for 3-5 days
- All ingredients must be at room temperature to properly emulsify: eggs, banana puree, etc.
- Use good quality vegetable oil that has no taste
- Make sure that your baking powder has not expired
- Digital scale is required for a consistent, happy baking experience:)
- Do not overwork the cake batter, after the wet ingredients are whipped, switch to a rubber spatula to incorporate the dry ingredients
- Grease your tin throughout so the Banana bread can easily be removed after baking. Check my article on how to get cakes out of pans easily
- Always pre-heat your oven and consider using a digital oven thermometer for the best results
- Baking this Banana bread takes 45 minutes in my oven however focus on the texture, not the time. Apply the toothpick check (it should come out clean) to avoid raw cake