This moist and delicious banana bread recipe, made without baking soda, is packed with bananas and has a tasty buttery flavor! It is perfect for when you have a banana bread craving but are out of baking soda.
Truthfully though? There are many reasons why you may want homemade banana bread without baking soda. And this recipe is so good, it will probably become your new go-to recipe no matter how much baking soda you have on hand!
Why You Will Love This Recipe
Delicious Flavor - Baking soda can contribute a bitter, sometimes soapy flavor. By leaving it out the banana flavor can really shine, without any harsh taste to overpower them. This recipe also has a more buttery flavor than traditional banana bread.
Golden Crust - When you add baking soda to a batter it causes the bread to brown more quickly. Leave out the soda and you end up with a beautiful golden crust!
Moist - This easy recipe uses a lot of bananas, as well as some butter and a few simple ingredients to make a loaf with moist crumbs.
Freezes Well - I love to keep a variety of quick breads on hand for an easy breakfast or last-minute entertaining! Slices of banana bread, applesauce pumpkin bread, and cranberry bread make a beautiful platter for a brunch buffet!
How to Substitute Baking Soda in a Recipe
The short answer is that it takes about 3 times the baking powder to replace baking soda in a recipe. But it's honestly not that straightforward.
It can be pretty tricky to figure out the right substitute. That's because there is so much science behind what causes baked goods to rise. Baking soda requires there to be enough acidic ingredients in the recipe in order to activate its rising properties.
In a standard banana bread recipe, the bananas and brown sugar provide the acid. These ingredients activate the baking soda, which releases carbon dioxide and gives the banana bread a nice lift. Baking powder isn't usually strong enough to make banana bread that is not dense.
To replace baking soda in banana bread we need something else to give it a boost. In this recipe, eggs do the trick. Beating the butter, sugar, and eggs until they are light and fluffy helps create the structure for great bread. The end result is banana bread that is only slightly flatter than a recipe made using baking soda. It is barely noticeable. And the texture is still soft, moist, and just like you love it!
See the recipe card at the bottom of this post for the full list of ingredients, including measurements.
Bananas: This recipe uses 4 large bananas, which adds lots of wonderful banana flavor as well as adding moisture to the bread. Bananas sweeten as they ripen, so overripe bananas work best.
All Purpose Flour: All-purpose flour is used to provide a good structure without it being too heavy. I recommend white whole wheat flour if you are looking for a whole grain alternative.
Baking Powder: This is a leavening agent that is activated by heat. It is the ingredient that makes the bread rise without needing to use baking soda.
Butter: I used salted butter when testing this recipe. If you prefer unsalted butter then increase the salt to ½ teaspoon. It is important to use softened butter so that it can incorporate into the sugar. This creates air pockets that help the bread rise.
Granulated Sugar: Because we aren't using baking soda the acid from brown sugar is not needed. That's why this recipe only calls for granulated sugar. But if you like the molasses flavor of brown sugar, feel free to replace half of the white sugar with brown sugar.
Nuts: Chopped walnuts or pecans can be used. Or you can leave the nuts out.
Step One: Whisk Dry Ingredients
- Combine the flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl.
- Set aside.
Step Two: Cream Wet Ingredients
- Place the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer using medium-high speed.
- Add the eggs and vanilla extract and continue beating for at least another minute, until the mixture is a fluffy texture.
- Some quick bread can be prepared by hand. This recipe is not one of them. It's important that the butter, sugar, and eggs are beaten well to help create the lift missing from not having baking soda.
Step Three: Fold in Mashed Bananas
- I use a fork to mash the bananas.
- Make sure to mash them really well so there are no remaining chunks. Otherwise, you will end up with big chunks of banana in your bread.
Step Four: Add Dry Ingredients to Batter
- Pour the flour mixture into the batter. At this point, you can stir by hand, or use your electric mixer on low speed.
- Do not overmix or it will make a heavy and dense bread.
Step Five: Bake
- Pour the batter into a 9-inch loaf pan that you sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
- Sprinkle nuts over the top of the bread, if using.
- Bake at 350°F (177°C) for 50-60 minutes.
- You can test the doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the bread. It should come out clean.
- Set your butter and eggs out ahead of time to come to room temperature.
- Beat the butter, sugar, and eggs really, really well. This will help lighten the bread and make it a little taller.
- Use stage 5 or 6 bananas. They should have a lot of brown spots but not have turned black.
- Check the bread about halfway through the cooking time. If it is starting to brown already then you can carefully place some aluminum foil over the pan to keep the bread from burning.
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread: Stir ¾ cup of chocolate chips into the batter.
Pumpkin Banana Bread: Replace 1 cup of the mashed bananas with a cup of pumpkin puree (for a total of 1 cup of pumpkin puree and 1 ⅓ cup mashed bananas) plus 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, ½ teaspoon of nutmeg,¼ teaspoon of ginger, ¼ teaspoon ground cloves.
Spiced Banana Bread: Similar to the pumpkin recipe above, but without the pumpkin. Add 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon ginger, and ¼ teaspoon cloves,
Cinnamon Sugar Topping: Mix ¼ cup of granulated sugar with 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon and sprinkle over the batter before baking.
Cream Cheese Glaze: Mix 4 ounces of softened cream cheese with 1 cup of powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 4-6 tablespoons of milk. Drizzle over your cooled banana bread.
Wrap the bread or place it in an airtight container. It will keep for up to 3 days at room temperature or 7 days in the refrigerator.
You can freeze the whole loaf of banana bread or individual slices. Wrap the loaf or slices in plastic wrap, then either wrap again in aluminum foil or place in a freezer-safe container. The bread will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw the whole bread overnight at room temperature. Individual slices take less than an hour to thaw.
Yes, frozen bananas can be used to make banana bread. Just thaw them overnight in the refrigerator before adding them to the batter.
Let me know how you like this recipe by leaving a review! And follow along on Instagram @stateofdinner for behind the scenes and to be among the first to know when new recipes post!
Banana Bread without Baking SodaRecipe by:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (260 grams)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder (10 grams)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ cup butter softened (1 stick/115 grams)
- 1 cup granulated sugar (200 grams)
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 ⅓ cup mashed ripe bananas (4 large, 5 ½ medium)
- ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease and flour a 9x5-inch loaf pan, or spray with nonstick baking spray.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and ground cinnamon in a medium bowl, then set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar for 2 minutes, until fluffy and smooth. Add the eggs and beat another full minute.
- Scrape the sides of the bowl, then mix in the vanilla extract and mashed bananas.
- Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until it is just incorporated and no flour is visible.You do not want to overmix. Stir in the nuts, if using.
- Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan. Bake for 60-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Check your bread after 30 minutes. If it is already browning then cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil to prevent it from browning too much.
- If using an 8x4-inch loaf pan, bake for 70-75 minutes.
- Store in a Ziploc bag or airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the refrigerator for 7 days.
- You can freeze the bread by wrapping slices individually in plastic wrap, then placing in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container. They will keep for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature before serving.