Banana bread was one of the first things I baked as a kid. Just thinking about a thick slice smeared with peanut butter gets me drooling every time. My mother always let me be the one to mash the bananas and I did so, by hand, with fervor and might. I still love that preparation step. And I especially love how the kitchen smells with a loaves in the oven.
Over the years, I’ve tried a lot of variations on classic banana bread. My go-to for many years was a recipe using applesauce instead of butter. I also loved the indulgent version that added chocolate chips. Bread for dessert; bring it on! And how about coconut? That is a favorite of mine. While others like walnuts or some other texture contrast, I most often prefer adding in coconut or doing any simple version, as long as its sensationally moist and banana-y bread.
So when this “Best of Show” quick bread recipe came in from the Indiana State Fair, I was all about trying it! You’ll love the texture and taste you get by using Greek yogurt. Use either vanilla or a banana flavor. The pudding mix is a wonderful enhancement as well.
Blue Ribbon Banana Bread – Best in Show
This blue ribbon winning banana bread recipe comes from Teresa Grissom. She won at the Indiana State Fair, Best of Show in the Quick Bread category (2016). Best of Show – for those not in the know – is when a person wins out of all the entries in its category. It means Teresa mastered the techniques needed to make her entry stand out from all the other banana breads. And her ingredient combination nailed it for best taste and texture. So… the bottom line is… this recipe is an award winner…and ready to be baked by you. So hit the kitchen and go bananas.
Banana Bread with Greek Yogurt & Pudding Mix
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup Greek yogurt (vanilla or banana flavor)
2 cups mashed banana
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
1 pinch nutmeg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 pinch salt
1 (3 ounce) box instant banana pudding mix (just the dry mix)
1/3 cup chopped pecans (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally spray 9-inch loaf pan (or 8-count mini loaf tin) with cooking spray and set aside. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the butter and brown sugar until blended. Whisk in the eggs, yogurt, banana, and vanilla until combined. Lastly, add 1 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, flour, baking soda, salt, and pudding mix, being careful not to over-mix.
Spread batter into prepared pan (or 8-count mini loaf tin). For 9-inch loaf: bake for 30 minutes, then loosely tent the bread with foil (helps prevent top/sides from cooking too quickly and potentially burning). Continue baking for additional 30 minutes. For 8-count mini loaves: bake 15 then start checking for doneness. Further bake in 5 minute increments until fully cooked, about 25-30 minutes total, depending on loaf sizes. With any size, use the age-old “doneness test” if needed: when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean – or just a crumb or two – your banana bread is fully baked. Be careful not to overbake you breads. Cool your loaf (or loaves) then slice. Taste great solo, with a pad of butter, or a smear of your favorite nut butter.