- I made and reviewed banana bread using recipes from famous chefs Ree Drummond, Alton Brown, and Curtis Stone.
- Drummond’s Bundt-style bread was interesting and not too sweet.
- Stone’s recipe resulted in a super-moist banana bread with spicy flavours.
- I liked all three recipes, but Brown’s was my favourite because it had a distinct, but lovely, flavour.
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Even celebrity chefs have their own unique spins on the classic baked good.
I tried recipes from Ree Drummond, Alton Brown, and Curtis Stone to see which one has the best banana bread.
Read on to see how the different recipes stacked up.
Drummond makes a classic banana bread â€” but in a Bundt pan
Overall, Drummond’s recipe was pretty standard for banana bread as far as ingredients go, but using a Bundt pan elevated the baked good.
I was interested to see the addition of sour cream, and I was a little concerned it would make the flavour too tangy or the texture too moist.
This banana bread required a lot of attention, especially during and directly after baking
The process was straightforward: Cream the butter and sugar, add the wet ingredients, mix the dry ingredients separately, then slowly combine everything together.
The real care came during the baking process.
First and foremost, it is important to only fill the Bundt pan about 2/3 of the way to give the mixture space to rise without overflowing.
Because I used a 6-cup Bundt pan, I also had to pay close attention to the baking time to prevent overcooking. I found it only needed to bake for 45 to 50 minutes rather than the 1 hour 10 minutes called for in the recipe.
The batter made enough for about two of these loaves.
On the first try, I successfully flipped the Bundt pan over on a cooling rack immediately after removing it from the oven.
But on my second attempt, the banana bread looked beautiful in the pan, so I tried to snap a few pictures before flipping it over â€” which was a big mistake.
By the time I got to flipping the Bundt-style loaf over, some spots had already stuck to the pan.
Drummond’s banana bread was tasty and not too sweet
Ree’s recipe tasted like a standard banana bread, so the Bundt shape gave it a little something special.
It wasn’t overly sweet, which was nice. If you don’t have much of a sweet tooth, this is a good recipe to follow.
The edges were just slightly overdone and a bit harder to chew, but the middle was soft yet dense and slightly moist without being soggy or falling apart.
Brown’s ingredient list was surprisingly simple
After following many of Brown’s recipes and watching a lot of “Good Eats” on the Food Network, I have come to expect his ingredients to be complex. So I was pleasantly surprised to find a simple list.
I also liked that Brown swapped some of the plain flour for homemade toasted-oat flour for a heartier loaf.
I should have known the process would be difficult
I realised I spoke too soon about the simplicity of Brown’s recipe as soon as I started reading the directions.
To start, I had to toast and pulverize some old-fashioned oats to make the homemade flour.
I didn’t have a food processor, so I used an immersion blender with a special attachment that works similarly (but not as effectively). I figured my resulting coarse oat flour would just add a unique texture to the final product.
Then, the steps were precise as far as mixing went, especially regarding the eggs. As Brown puts it, “A good batter is essentially an emulsion, so this slow addition of the eggs is critical.”
It took a while to get everything mixed together exactly as specified.
Once the loaf was in the oven, I kept a close eye on it and actually pulled the banana bread out about 10 minutes early.
The exterior was starting to look quite dark and slightly caramelised.
Brown’s banana bread had a really unique flavour from the oats
Fresh from the oven, the banana bread was sinking in the middle and had a dark exterior. I was worried I did something wrong and overcooked the exterior and undercooked the middle, but I sliced a few pieces and found each held itself together very well.
It was love at first bite.
The toasted oats gave the loaf a slightly nutty flavour without actually including nuts. It was much sweeter than the first loaf, and the taste of banana came through clearly without being overpowering.
Stone’s recipe called for a lot of ingredients, including nuts and spices
As far as ingredients go, this recipe had the longest list, which included whole-milk yogurt, toasted and chopped walnuts, and freshly grated nutmeg.
I was really puzzled by what to expect in terms of flavour and texture, but the smell of nutmeg and cinnamon sold me.
Despite the lengthy shopping list, the directions were simple
Although there were a lot of ingredients to gather, the actual steps to make the banana bread were easy: Beat the eggs and sugar together, add the remaining wet ingredients one at a time, mix the dry ingredients, add them to the wet ingredients, and fold in the walnuts.
The recipe called for 1 1/2 cups of walnuts, which I thought was a lot for a standard-sized loaf. I don’t love nuts in desserts, but I hoped for the best.
After noticing the first two loaves baked quicker than the recipes stated, I paid close attention to this banana bread as it baked. And good thing I did because it was ready to go about 20 minutes early.
After pulling it out of the oven, I worried that even 20 minutes early wasn’t enough because the edges and top were dark.
Stone’s banana bread was super moist on the inside, but a bit overdone on the outside
Right after taking the first bite, I noticed the edges were crispy and overdone, but luckily they didn’t leave an acrid taste in my mouth.
But the interior was so moist it was falling apart and couldn’t hold its shape. I assumed the combination of mashed bananas, vegetable oil, and yogurt contributed to this ultra-moist texture.
As far as flavour goes, the addition of nutmeg and cinnamon was brilliant. These spices elevated the whole loaf, giving it a warm, cosy feel perfect for enjoying with coffee on a chilly morning.
The walnuts were fine and helped contrast the extra-soft inside of the loaf, but I could’ve done with fewer of them.
I enjoyed all 3 loaves, but Brown’s recipe was my favourite
I genuinely liked all of the banana breads and would happily make any of them again, but I enjoyed the distinct flavour of Brown’s best.
I’ve had banana bread with oats in it before, but toasted oat flour took the bake to a whole new level for me. I liked that it added a hint of a nutty flavour without actual nuts.
Although the loaf was moist, it still held its shape. The edges were almost caramelised, too, which only added to the depth of flavour.
The other recipes were still delicious in their own right.
I certainly wouldn’t mind making Ree’s show-stopping banana-bread Bundt in the future, and I’ll probably add cinnamon and nutmeg to every loaf I make from here on out after tasting Stone’s recipe.
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