Quest for the Best Banana Bread: Final Showdown

It’s finally time! Thirteen recipes and nearly a year later, here we are at our final banana bread showdown. As many of you know we began our quest for the best banana bread last spring. It all started with the Big Bird banana bread years ago that I would make with my dad. Then for years without any banana bread at all, we were introduced to Doree’s banana bread and became convinced it was the best. And so the quest was born…

We certainly didn’t come close to touching the millions of banana bread recipes out there, but we did try a variety of often vastly different loaves on this journey. Starting with our Peanut Butter banana bread, we baked 13 loaves and saved several slices of each wrapped up carefully in our freezer. Just before leaving for our trip, we pulled out the slices to thaw, and you should have seen the kids bursting with excitement at the site of all the bags strewn across the table.

Miss A, who was crowned my sous chef when it came to banana breads, was eager to get the taste test underway. 

The slices all thawed rather quickly and didn’t appear to have suffered any freezer burn. We then wrote the name of each bread on the bottom of the plate, so that we couldn’t let any of our personal biases influence our votes and cut each slice into quarters. We then stuck a post-it to each plate to record our spoon ratings for each slice and dug in!

It was a virtual banana bread buffet and absolutely heaven for the kids (oh who am I kidding – us too!). While the kids would have liked to just start eating as fast as possible, we slowed them down and sampled one slice at a time by either eating our whole serving, or just a taste and then recording our votes. After our first few samples we were very pleased to discover that they had all upheld their taste and texture in the freezer as well.

Then, after a few more slices, we noticed that Miss A was actually eating every single serving – not just having a taste. Now while this might seem normal for most kids (Mr. N included), Miss A is not a big eater. She’s much more likely to pick at a bit of everything and she rarely clears her plate. So I commented, “Wow! I’ve never seen you eat like this!” to which Mr. N replied, “Oh I have. She eats like this all the time at the Chinese restaurant with Nana and Papa.” Apparently, we’re just not cooking the right things around here. ;)

So after Miss A finished 13 pieces of banana bread, which if you’re doing the math adds up to 3-1/4 total slices, we were ready to tally the results. Some fared well, others not so well, but the spoons were clear. The final results…Well, let’s just say we were both affirmed and surprised! Stay tuned because first we have a run down of the delicious contestants.
Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Bananas Foster Banana Bread

Martha Stewart Banana Bread (courtesy of my friend Liz)

Doree’s Banana Bread

Diethood Banana Bread

Buttermilk Banana Bread (courtesy of A_Boleyn)

Cinnamon Banana Bread (courtesy of Laura at Manna & Quail)

Bewitching Banana Bread (courtesy of Sally at the Bewitching Kitchen)

Whole Grain Banana Bread (courtesy of Kelly at Inspired Edibles)

Mountain Sky Banana Bread

Sweet Caroline’s Banana Bread (courtesy of Sweet Caroline’s Cooking)

First Look, Then Cook Banana Bread (Courtesy of Dawn at First Look, Then Cook)

Big Bird Banana Bread(Thanks Dad!)

And now for the big reveal…dum, da, da, dum…

Doree’s Banana Bread!

And for the surprise…

Betwitching Banana Bread! It was a two-way tie for first place!

We should have known…Sally does know her way around bread (and bananas!).

We also had a two-way tie for 2nd place:

Sweet Caroline’s Banana Bread and First Look, Then Cook’s Banana Bread.

But let’s be honest here, there really were no losers. Every single recipe was delicious in its own right. This is just one family’s humble take on the “best banana” bread and in reality, I think we’ll likely be adopting our favorite parts of several different recipes in what will ultimately become a new banana bread recipe to add to the mix. ;) That said, I think we’re a tad bit banana-breaded out for now…I can’t even begin to describe how full we were after that event!

Thanks to everyone who followed along and shared their recipes in our quest. We had a great time and I don’t think any of us will ever forget it! So enjoy – we hope that you find your “best banana” bread too. And stay tuned, Saturday we’ll announce our next “quest!”

(And dad – the Big Bird Banana Bread is still my favorite when it comes right down to it!)

69 thoughts on “Quest for the Best Banana Bread: Final Showdown

  1. spicegirlfla says:

    They really all look so good..what a fun challenge! I’m just so amazed Miss A ate so much! Must have been all the anticipation! You’ve just put me in the mood for baking up some banana bread!


  2. profiterolesandponytails says:

    You know, each and every photo of the different banana breads looks great. Nicely done! Banana bread is a staple in my house, as it makes such a great snack for school (and around the house). I’m definitely going to give the winning recipe a try. this was such a great idea, and it looks like the entire family had a lot of fun. Way to go!


  3. Purely.. Kay says:

    This taste test looked like so much fun for you and the kids. And Mr,. N informing you that Miss A eats at the Chinese restaurant nearly shocked me LOL. You normally tell us she only eats a bite and is pretty much done. I was surprised she ate all of the slices lol. This post was pure fun and I enjoyed every minute of it. Congrats to all the amazing banana bakers out there :)


  4. Maureen says:

    I love banana bread and I’m always looking for a new version and you’ve done all the work for me! They look delicious and the judges couldn’t be cuter. I can’t believe she ate that much!


  5. A_Boleyn says:

    I’m amazed at the degree of commitment you and your family had to this quest, especially as banana bread isn’t big on my list of must-have desserts but I would consider making Doree’s version just to see for myself just how good this is.

    Coincidentally, I have 4 bananas ripening on my fridge as of today’s shopping trip though I’ll probably end up freezing the ripe ones for another weekend. I’m making Indian food this weekend and finishing off the last of the raisin rolls. :)

    Did you ever check out my Swedish tea ring/coffee cake post?


  6. Caroline says:

    Oh my gosh, I can’t believe it’s finally over! I think I’m gonna miss these banana bread posts to be honest. ;) It’s been so fun going through the process with you and I can’t imagine how hard it was to choose between so many recipes. Looks like you guys had fun taste testing. Mr. N’s face is killing me in the 5th photo haha. Congrats to Doree on the winning recipe!! Looks like I’m going to have to give it a try. And wooohoo I can’t believe mine got second place! :)


    • Kristy says:

      We couldn’t believe it was over either. It was a rather bittersweet moment, but we had so much fun taste testing…the memory will certainly last a lifetime. And I can believe yours got second – it was delicious! (And both second place winners were just a point behind the first placers!) :)


  7. Karen says:

    What a perfect time to catch up with your posts since I have been traveling. The winning banana bread and looking back at your photos of your wonderful trip. You have been having a wonderful time…good for you.


  8. Eva Taylor says:

    I was really looking forward to this post, Kristy. What a fun afternoon that must have been. I haven’t made banana bread for quite some time, so I was actually waiting for the winner (I actually have rotting frozen bananas in my freezer for the early 2000’s!!!!) I’ll bake up a loaf to take with us on our mini vaycay to Niagara.
    Have a great weekend.


  9. Geni - Sweet and Crumby says:

    I want to be a kid at your house or even a neighbor would work well for me… What fun you all had and how fantastic that it lasted so long with the anticipation building for this amazing taste off. All of the breads look amazing! Thanks for sharing with us and inviting us to the party.


  10. smartfoodandfit says:

    Wow, that’s alot of banana nut bread to sample in one day! They all look so good, I can’t wait to try all of the contestants recipes one day, especially the winners and runner’s up!
    Looking forward to your next quest! Glad you guys are back! :)


  11. kitchenbelleicious says:

    Yeah your back! I am so glad- we missed you. Sorry I was MIA too- been crazy at my house these last few days and haven’t been able to post. Just did though and I linked my quest for the best kings cake to you two fabulous people and your quest for the best banana bread! Congrats on the winner of the best banana bread. Now i will have to give it a try


  12. sallybr says:


    I will tell my friendGlenys, the author ofthe recipe, and she will ve thrilled!

    what a great way to start a busy Friday, first place tie for my favorite banana bread!

    Thank you!


  13. Just A Smidgen says:

    What an awesome review to read this morning (actually it’s the middle of the night.. can’t sleep and I would give anything for a little slice of one of these)! I can’t wait til everyone wakes up and I can bake one of these.. I haven’t decided yet.. Dorie or Sally’s?! As always, I love the expressions on your kid’s sweet faces as they help you judge:)


  14. Charles says:

    Aah, the moment we’ve all been waiting for indeed! What a journey – you know, from the way you described it way back when it was made, I had a suspicion that Doree’s Banana Bread might win, or at least rank pretty darn high. Now I know I have to give it a try – I even have a load of bananas which are just begging to be smushed up and used for something right now, having long since passed the phase of “edibility”.

    That’s quite an epic tasting session – looks like you had a whole lot of fun, and thanks for wading through banana bread recipes so we don’t have to! :D Love the photos (especially the last one of Mr. N! LOL :D)

    Well done to the winners again! So Kristy – what’s next? I vote for cupcakes… or, no, maybe bread! I’d like to get a perfect bread recipe! :D


    • Kristy says:

      We thought Doree’s would win too. It’s just so darn good. The tie definitely was a surprise though, but then again it is Sally! ;) I love that last picture of Mr. N too – cracks me up!


  15. Courtney says:

    Yay for the culmination of a great quest! I can just picture you all afterwards, bellies full and happily tallying the results. I will definitely have to try out your winners – and some of the other contestants, too. They all look great!


  16. ChgoJohn says:

    My hat’s off to you all! That’s an awful lot of bread to not just eat but to analyze each and every mouthful. Your Sous Chefs should get gold stars — or gold spoons? — for sticking with it till the very end. Although I cannot wait to try either of the winning recipes, I think you’re right in that I couldn’t really pick a bad one out of that line-up. Can’t wait for the next quest to begin!


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