Celebrate National Banana Bread Day!

Celebrate National Banana Bread Day!

Every year on February 23rd, we celebrate #NationalBananaBreadDay, a day dedicated to this beloved sweet bread.

Bakers know the secret to making perfect banana bread lies in using ripe, mashed bananas. This creates a moist and flavorful quick bread, almost like a cake. While some recipes incorporate yeast, most don't require it. Regardless of the method, the finished product makes a delightful sliced snack. Toast it with butter for an extra special treat!

From Novelty to Staple: The Rise of Banana Bread in America

Despite arriving in the US by 1870, bananas faced a surprising delay in culinary acceptance. Initially viewed as a tropical curiosity rather than an ingredient, they took decades to find their way into American kitchens.

The First Banana Breads (1893 & 1918):

One of the earliest mentions of banana bread comes from 1893, when The Vienna Model Bakery advertised it as a novelty in St. Louis. Their recipe used banana flour, made by drying and grinding the fruit, reflecting methods used in the West Indies.

Fast forward to World War I in Hawaii. A surplus of bananas led to creative uses, including incorporating them into bread. A 1918 recipe from The Maui News featured bananas, flour, and leavening agents, but lacked the familiar quick bread texture. Another recipe from the same year, submitted by Mrs. Dean, for "banana muffins" came closer to our modern understanding of quick bread.

From Tropics to Tables (1927):

As the Great Depression approached, families learned to use every scrap of food. Overripe bananas often found their way into breads, stews, and other dishes. Unifruit, a produce company, capitalized on this by offering a free cookbook in 1927 called "From the Tropics to Your Table," featuring recipes using bananas, including muffins and breads.

The 1930s proved pivotal. The widespread availability of baking soda and baking powder revolutionized home baking, favoring the rise of "quick breads" like banana bread. This trend was further solidified by the inclusion of banana bread recipes in Pillsbury's 1933 cookbook, followed by Chiquita Banana's Recipe Book in 1950.

However, these days, sourdough foodies are into using their discard to make a less quick version.

Banana bread


Serving Size:
1 Loaf (about 12 slices)
Prep Time: 15 min.
(Long Ferment: 8–12 hours)
Quick and easy


  • 1⁄2 cup|120g active sourdough starter or discard
  • 2 cups|250g all-purpose or whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tsp|5g baking soda
  • 2 tsp|10g baking powder
  • 1 tsp|3g sea salt
  • ¾ tsp|2g ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp|1⁄2 g nutmeg
  • 1⁄2 cup|113g melted butter (or 1/3 cup|71g extra-virgin olive oil
    plus more for brushing and coating the baking pan [or vegetable cooking spray])
  • 1 cup|220g dark brown sugar
  • 3|350g ripe bananas, smashed
  • 2|140g large eggs
  • 1 tsp|4.3 vanilla extract
  • Optional ingredients may include pecans or walnuts, chocolate chips or chunks


  1. If baking immediately, preheat the oven to 350°F|175°C
  2. Lightly grease a standard loaf pan (9×5×3 inch|23x13x8cm) with butter.
  3. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in one separate bowl. 
  4. In your stand mixer (or a second bowl), mix softened butter (or oil) and brown sugar until light and fluffy. 
  5. Add in the eggs, vanilla, bananas, and sourdough discard or active starter. 
  6. Fold in the dry ingredients, just a bit at a time until it is combined, but not overmixed, which developed gluten and a denser loaf.
  7. If using optional ingredients, fold them gently into your dough (remember the baking soda and powder are working with your starter immediately, so too much mixing may deflate the dough).
  8. Pour the batter into your greased pan. (You might also line the loaf pan with a piece of parchment paper).
  9. Bake for 50–60 minutes, but test the bread at 50 minutes to see if a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean. Mine did but it was not done, so it had to go back in for 20 more minutes. Either my altitude or stove made this bake more slowly.
  10.  Allow the bread to cool for one hour before removing it from the pan.


  1. “12-24 hours before you plan to make banana bread, mix together sourdough starter, melted butter, eggs, and flour. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and allow to ferment at room temperature for 6 hours. Put the batter in the fridge and allow it to ferment for another 6-18 hours.
  2. “The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. “Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add brown sugar, vanilla, mashed bananas, salt, baking powder and baking soda to mixing bowl.
  4. “I highly recommend using a stand mixer because the fermented dough will be stiff and difficult to combine with the other ingredients by hand.
  5. “Set on low to medium speed until completely combined.
  6. “Pour into loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes.
  7. “Allow to cool in the pan for one hour.“[6]

This historical journey, from exotic fruit to household staple, reveals the fascinating interplay between technological advancements and cultural acceptance in shaping culinary trends. The story of banana bread is a testament to both American ingenuity and the ever-evolving landscape of our kitchens.

So, why not whip up a loaf of banana bread today and join the celebration? It's a perfect way to enjoy the delicious flavor of this timeless treat.

Articles Cited
1. Joanne Hutson, “Go bananas for…bananas,” Mayo Clinic News Network. April 2017.
2. M. Shahbandeh, Favorite fruit consumption United States by type 2021, Statista, Apr 8, 2022
3. National Day Calendar, National Banana Day
4. Lisa, Sourdough Banana Bread, Farmhouse on Boone
5. Martha Stewart, Sourdough Banana Bread, Explore Martha Stewart

Did you bake anything for #NationalBananaDay? Tell us about it in the comment section below


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