From Z to A: Amazing Banana Bread Recipe

You know what’s horrible? Trying amazing food and then having no clue how to make it and the person who made it doesn’t have a recipe for it. This is my plight being in a Pakistani family. You learn to cook by watching; there aren’t many written recipes (though times are a-changin’!) and there are only approximations of quantities (ex: a pinch of this and a bit of that). 

It can be really frustrating. I’ve finally learned to cook a great deal of meals in this manner, but obviously I write recipes and want to replicate what I make later and pass things on to my kids. It’s because of this that I’m such an avid writer and tester of recipes. The one I’m sharing today is no different. 

My aunt in Canada makes amazing banana bread. Everytime we’re in Toronto, she whips this up. One time I finally asked her how to make it and I got the same answers: “Like a cup or 2 of flour, some bananas, a little bit of sugar and then you bake it.” Those descriptions are really endearing, but I will create slop if I follow that. I told her to write it down the next time she made it, but she has three jobs and forgot because she’s so busy. 

Sidenote: My aunt is a saint of a person, because she does two of those jobs solely to put poor kids through college. You read that correctly; she works to put another family’s kids through college. I remember that every time I need a little inspiration and motivation in life.

Ok, back to the banana bread. She never could get something on paper I could use, so I had to get inventive and use the bit of information she could provide to develop something from those pieces. There were some terrible tries where there weren’t enough bananas or other batches where it was too dry. It wasn’t until weeks/months into the process that I learned I could quickly ripen the bananas by putting them in the freezer overnight, thawing them in the fridge, then draining them.

I finally got it to where it was edible, but I wanted it to be amazing! And, although I may tweak it some more, I think the recipe here is really, really good. It’s moist, packed with banana flavor, sweet but not too sweet and is versatile enough to handle nuts and chocolate chips without becoming either too bulky or mushy. 

This is the beauty and work behind recipe testing and development. It’s a fun game of trying to get things just right to suit your taste. This is why I love what I do!


Amazing Banana Bread


  • A bit of sugar (1 to 1.25 cups, depending on taste)
  • A little softened butter (1 stick)
  • Some vanilla extract (2 tsp.)
  • A coupla eggs (2 eggs)
  • A touch of buttermilk (1/4 cup)
  • A heap of all-purpose flour (1 1/2 cups)
  • Big pinch of baking soda (1/2  tsp.)
  • Big pinch of kosher salt (1/2 tsp.)
  • A whole bunch of ripe, mashed bananas (4 to 5)
  • A handful of chopped nuts or chocolate chips (approx. 1/2 cup) (optional) 


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a loaf pan.

  2. Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.

  3. In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar using either a hand mixer or stand mixer. Mix until well-incorporated and fluffy.

  4. Add in the vanilla, eggs, buttermilk and mashed bananas one at a time making sure to mix between each addition. 

  5. Add in the sifted dry ingredients and mix only until incorporated. (You don’t want to over mix or it’ll become tough.)

  6. If using nuts and/or chips, stir in by hand.

  7. Pour into a loaf pan and bake 45-60 minutes until cake tester comes out with just a bit of residue on it. Timing depends on your oven, but check early on to make sure it doesn’t overcook.


From Z to A with Zara Abbasi

Zara Abbasi is the pastry chef and recipe developer for Zara Made It. Follow her food adventures on Instagram at @zaramadeit 

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