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delicious sliced banana nut bread on a cutting board

Easy and Moist Pistachio-Pecan Banana Nut Bread

Piistachio-pecan banana bread is full of crunchy toasted pecans and topped with freeze-dried Sicilian pistachios to add a delicious nutty surprise to our all-time favorite classic banana bread recipe. For those of you who have already made this (super moist) banana bread you know that adding nuts could only ever be more delicious. This pistachio-pecan banana bread is delicious eaten all by itself, toasted and topped with ice cream, or made into muffins — no fancy ingredients required! Plus, step-by-step recipes to make it even easier. 

Why We Love This Nutty Pistachio-Pecan Banana Bread 

  • It’s super quick and easy to mix
  • It’s full of intense natural banana flavor 
  • It uses up overripe bananas you might otherwise discard
  • Everything tastes better with pistachios and pecans
  • It freezes really well
  • You can use the batter to make pistachio-pecan banana bread muffins
  • It’s a great recipe for kiddos to help make

4 Steps For Making Perfectly Moist Pistachio-Pecan Banana Bread

How to Avoid Dry + Dense Banana Bread 

Below are four tips and techniques that make this banana bread better than most. It’s tender, light, moist, and easy to make. Use these tips and techniques below to avoid dense, dry, and flavorless banana bread. 

  1. Use completely black-brown or very dark and spotted bananas. It’s a well-known baker’s ‘secret’ that you never use yellow bananas for making banana bread. In fact, we usually wait until the bananas are 100% black (like the color of vanilla beans, tobacco, or leather) before we even think about making banana bread. As the banana ages (ripens) it turns carbohydrates into sugar changing both the flavor and texture of the banana flesh. It becomes intensely fragrant (full of “super banana flavor”) and much sweeter. Never let bananas age so long that mold starts to form (that would be gross and unsafe).
  2. Always thoroughly whisk the dry ingredients together before adding liquid (i.e. flour, baking soda, salt, and dry spices like pumpkin pie spice). This helps ensure the leavening agent (baking soda in this case) is evenly distributed and therefore enables the banana bread loaves to properly (and evenly) rise.
  3. Do not over-mix the banana bread batter. When adding the eggs, don’t mix too long after each addition (mix just about 3 to 5 seconds in between each egg for a total mixing time of around 15 seconds). And even more importantly, when adding the dry ingredients alternating with the wet ingredients it’s important to only mix just until everything is combined and no more. I like to stop the mixer just after I’ve added the last of the flour and the buttermilk. Then use a rubber spatula to easily fold the ingredients together, add the mashed bananas and fruit or nuts and fold until well combined (or add the fruit or nuts to each filled loaf pan). This is how I avoid over-mixing banana bread batter. If you mix too vigorously, or for too long you will further activate the gluten (protein) in the flour and end up with dense banana bread instead of a light, moist banana bread (similar to cake).
  4. Use buttermilk or homemade buttermilk instead of whole milk. The tang and acidity from buttermilk are needed for both the flavor and for the baking soda to activate (allowing the banana bread to rise). If you don’t have buttermilk, you have two easy options:
      • Make soured milk (aka faux buttermilk). Add 1 tablespoon (14g) freshly squeezed lemon juice to a measuring cup and fill with enough whole milk to reach the total amount of buttermilk called for in the recipe. Stir and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes on the counter before using.
      • Make homemade buttermilk by making homemade butter first. Add very cold heavy cream to a quart Mason jar that’s been chilled in the freezer for at least 30 minutes (even longer is better). Pour very cold heavy cream into the jar, tighten the lid and shake vigorously until the mixture starts to separate and butter has formed. Strain the butter solids out. The strained liquid is homemade buttermilk. Freeze unused buttermilk for making pancakes, scones, waffles, or biscuits.

Pistachio-Pecan Banana Nut Bread Ingredients 

You only need 11 ingredients to make homemade Pistachio-Pecan banana bread cake. This is a perfect way to use up aging bananas past their prime. I’ve topped this banana nut bread with freeze-dried pistachios which in all honesty did nothing for this dessert. Instead, I’ll be adding chopped pistachios next time, so I’ve added them to the ingredient list.

  • flour 
  • baking soda
  • salt
  • butter
  • sugar
  • eggs
  • pure vanilla extract
  • buttermilk or faux buttermilk*see recipe card notes for making faux buttermilk
  • overly ripe bananas 
  • chopped toasted pecans 
  • unsalted chopped toasted pistachios 

How to Make Pistachio-Pecan Banana Nut Bread 

Did you know that Banana Bread is the single most searched “bread recipe” on the internet? When you taste our recipe, you’ll understand why.  Making delicious homemade Pistachio-Pecan banana bread is easy and fairly quick. Plus, this is an especially good recipe to get kiddos into the kitchen to help out. Just be sure to check out the helpful tips and techniques above to ensure your loaves are always tender, moist, and full of sweet banana flavor. 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/176°C + Prep the baking pans. Turn on the oven and generously butter two loaf pans (or spray with non-stick cooking spray). Add about 1/2 cup of flour to one pan and turn the pan while tapping it to ensure the flour coats every surface well. Tap out the excess flour into the second loaf pan and repeat. Tap both pans well to remove excess flour, set aside.
  2. Measure + whisk the dry ingredients. Whisk the dry ingredients together well to ensure everything is evenly distributed and set aside. 
  3. Cream the butter + sugar. Using a handheld mixer (or stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment), cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). 
  4. Add the eggs + vanilla. Crack 3 eggs into a small prep bowl and add the vanilla. With the mixer running on medium-low speed, add eggs one at a time waiting about 5 seconds in between each addition blending just until the eggs are incorporated. The addition of all three eggs should take no longer than 15 seconds to incorporate. Turn off the mixer. 
  5. Toast + chop the pistachios and pecans. Add the nuts to a skillet and turn the heat to low. Shake the pan to toss the nuts occasionally and to get them evenly toasted. When the nuts are just golden brown (but not dark), remove them from the heat to a bowl and set aside. 
  6. Incorporate the flour mixture + buttermilk. Add about 1/2 of the flour mixture to the creamed mixture. Turn the mixer on low speed to gently incorporate the ingredients. With the mixer still on, add about 1/3 of the buttermilk, then add some more flour, then a 1/3 more of the buttermilk, then add the last of the flour, ending with the last of the buttermilk. Turn off the mixer and gently stir the mixture to finish combining the ingredients.  
  7. Add the bananas + nuts. Add the mashed bananas and toasted (cooled) nuts and gently stir with a rubber spatula until everything is just combined. Divide the batter evenly between two loaf pans and tap the pans on the countertop about 10 times to remove any air bubbles from the batter.
  8. Bake the pistachio-pecan banana bread. Place the loaf pans onto a baking tray and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and a cake tester (or toothpick) comes out clean when poked directly into the middle of each loaf. Remove from the oven and allow the banana bread to cool for 15 minutes in the loaf pans, then gently remove the loaves and place them right-side-up onto a cooling rack to finish cooling to room temperature. When loaves have cooled, you may slice and serve. Pistachio-pecan banana bread should be stored wrapped in sustainable cling film and placed into an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or it may be frozen for up to 3 months in the freezer, Enjoy!

Pistachio-Pecan Banana Nut Bread Cake step-by-step recipe photos 

Essential Banana Bread Tips & Tricks

Can I Freeze Homemade Banana Bread?

Yes, banana bread freezes really well. Always allow any baked good (including this banana bread) to completely cool to room temperature before wrapping with parchment and then sustainable cling film. Place the wrapped loaves into an airtight freezer bag or another container and freeze. You can defrost wrapped banana bread loaves in the refrigerator overnight, or on the countertop for a couple of hours. 

Can I Use Baking Powder Instead of Baking Soda in Banana Bread?

Yes, you can use baking powder instead of baking soda in this banana bread recipe. The rule of thumb for substituting baking powder with baking soda is to use 1 teaspoon of baking powder for every cup of flour called for in the recipe. In this case, you would use 2 teaspoons of baking powder to substitute the 1 teaspoon of baking soda.

Why is My Banana Bread Tough and Dense?

As explained above in the “4 STEPS TO MAKING PERFECTLY MOIST, SWEET, FRAGRANT BANANA BREAD”, if you over-mix the ingredients when combining the dries with the wet ones, you’ll over-activate the gluten in the flour which will cause your banana bread (or any quick bread or cake) to become rubbery and dense. In yeasted bread, it’s important for the gluten to be activated (which is why we knead bread dough), but for quick-breads and cakes, it will make the finished product undesirable. Gently combine the elements and if you’re ever in doubt, use a rubber spatula to combine all of the ingredients instead of a handheld or stand mixer. 

Why Does My Banana Bread Taste Bitter?

If your banana bread tastes bitter it’s because the recipe you’re using calls for excessive amounts of baking soda or baking powder. Never use more than 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda per cup of flour called for in a recipe. And don’t use more than 1 teaspoon of baking powder per cup of flour called for in a recipe. This will keep your baked goods from tasting bitter and will allow them to perform their leavening function without wreaking havoc on your baked goods (like sinking cakes and collapsed quick-breads). 

What Can I Substitute in Banana Bread if I Run Out of Bananas?

If you’re in the middle of making the batter for banana bread and realize you are short of the full amount of mashed bananas, supplement the missing amount with either applesauce or ripe mashed avocados. 

Why is My Banana Bread Dry?

If your banana bread is dry it’s probably because you added too much flour or baked it too long, or there’s not enough fat or moisture in the batter. Start by using an all-purpose or low-protein flour for Banana bread. Avoid using bread flour because it has too much protein. Then make sure you are measuring the flour properly. Correctly measuring flour starts with using the scoop and level’ method which. means that you use a scoop or large spoon to add flour to the measuring cup. Add more flour than what the measuring cup will hold, then using the back of a butter knife (the straight side) scrape the excess flour off back into the bag, leaving a perfectly measured amount of flour in the measuring cup. You can really mess up a recipe if you don’t use the ‘level and scoop’ method and instead take your measuring cup and dig straight into the bag or container holding the flour. As for baking the banana bread, if you still have several minutes of baking time left, but feel the top is browning too much, just place aluminum foil over the top. If your oven bakes hotter than it’s supposed to, you may also reduce the temperature by 15 to 25 degrees as well. 

Why Did My Banana Bread Collapse, fall, or sink in the Middle?

Typically the collapse of quick-breads and cakes happens for a couple of reasons.

  • Underbaking banana bread can cause it to be too moist on the inside and not adequately set up. As it cools, the “wet” middle will sink. Always make sure a toothpick or cake tester poked into the middle of the banana bread comes out clean before removing it from the oven.
  • Adding too much baking soda and/or baking powder causes too many (and too large) air bubbles to form (from the carbon dioxide that’s produced when the leavening agent and liquid are combined). The bubbles grow too large and then deflate onto and into themselves causing cakes and quick-breads to collapse in the center. 
  • Adding too many bananas to a banana bread batter can also make your banana bread sink in the middle. If the batter has too much moisture, the air bubbles created by the leavening agent (baking soda in this case) will never be enough to help create and set the air pockets that create the desired crumb (texture). Instead, the banana bread will be dense and “wet” in the middle. 

Looking for More Delicious Banana Bread & Quick Bread Recipes?

Above are a few of our favorite banana bread and pumpkin bread recipes you may also enjoy. 

Looking For Something Else Sweet to Eat?

If you’re looking for a little dessert inspiration we may have just what you’re looking for, above are a few of our favorites.

Let’s get started!

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delicious sliced banana nut bread on a cutting board

Easy and Moist Pistachio-Pecan Banana Nut Bread


  • Author: Kelly
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 2 Loaves 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Crunchy toasted pecans and Sicilian pistachios add a delicious nutty surprise to our favorite classic banana bread cake.  This banana nut bread is delicious eaten all by itself, toasted and topped with ice cream, or used to make a really great Saturday morning French Toast. Plus, no fancy ingredients are required, and it’s an easy recipe for kiddos to help make. I’ve included step-by-step recipe photos at the end of the post to make it even easier for anyone new to baking banana bread. 

This banana bread recipe is based on the Banana Cake we used to serve at a restaurant where I worked as the pastry chef assistant. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (260 to 280g)*see notes for correctly measuring flour below
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (6g)
  • 1 teaspoon + 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (4.5g)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature (113g)
  • 1 1/2 cups pure cane sugar (or granulated sugar) (300g)
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature (150g)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (8g)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature (120g)**see recipe card notes for making faux buttermilk
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) mashed overly ripe bananas (2 1/2 to 3 bananas) (300g)
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup chopped toasted pecans (65g to 130g)
  • 1/3 cup to 2/3 cup unsalted chopped toasted pistachios (40 to 80g)

*I use 00 flour when I’m in Italy, and the weight of different flours varies based on the humidity content and absorption potential of the flour you’re working with. Just be sure to use the ‘scoop and level’ method to measure your flour into measuring cups and spoons and the recipe works perfectly every time.


Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/176°C + Prep the baking pans.  Turn on the oven and generously butter two loaf pans (or spray with non-stick cooking spray). Add about 1/2 cup of flour to one pan and turn the pan while tapping it to ensure the flour coats every surface well. Tap out the excess flour into the second loaf pan and repeat. Tap both pans well to remove excess flour, set aside.
  2. Measure + whisk the dry ingredients. Whisk the dry ingredients together well to ensure everything is evenly distributed and set aside. 
  3. Cream the butter + sugar. Using a handheld mixer (or stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment), cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). 
  4. Add the eggs + vanilla.  Crack 3 eggs into a small prep bowl and add the vanilla. With the mixer running on medium-low speed, add eggs one at a time waiting about 5 seconds in between each addition blending just until the eggs are incorporated. The addition of all three eggs should take no longer than 15 seconds to incorporate. Turn off the mixer. 
  5. Toast + chop the pistachios and pecans. Add the nuts to a skillet and turn the heat to low. Shake the pan to toss the nuts occasionally and to get them evenly toasted. When the nuts are just golden brown (but not dark), remove them from the heat to a bowl and set aside. 
  6. Incorporate the flour mixture + buttermilk. Add about 1/2 of the flour mixture to the creamed mixture. Turn the mixer on low speed to gently incorporate the ingredients. With the mixer still on, add about 1/3 of the buttermilk, then add some more flour, then a 1/3 more of the buttermilk, then add the last of the flour, ending with the last of the buttermilk. Turn off the mixer and gently stir the mixture to finish combining the ingredients.  
  7. Add the bananas + nuts Add the mashed bananas and toasted (cooled) nuts and gently stir with a rubber spatula until everything is just combined. Divide the batter evenly between two loaf pans and tap the pans on the countertop about 10 times to remove any air bubbles from the batter.
  8. Bake the pistachio-pecan banana bread. Place the loaf pans onto a baking tray and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and a cake tester (or toothpick) comes out clean when poked directly into the middle of each loaf. Remove from the oven and allow the banana bread to cool for 15 minutes in the loaf pans, then gently remove the loaves and place them right-side-up onto a cooling rack to finish cooling to room temperature. When loaves have cooled, you may slice and serve. Pistachio-pecan banana bread should be stored wrapped in sustainable cling film and placed into an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or it may be frozen for up to 3 months in the freezer, Enjoy!

Notes

  • Can’t decide how nutty to make your banana bread? I tend to use 1/2 cup pecans and 1/3 cup pistachios for this recipe, but you can use up to the full amount called for in the recipe. Unlike fruits added to baked goods, nuts absorb or pull moisture away from baked goods. But use any amount you like without exceeding the measurements called for in the recipe.
  • Store banana bread wrapped well at room temperature and placed in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or in the refrigerator for longer.
  • If you don’t have buttermilk, you have two easy options:
    • Make soured milk (aka faux buttermilk). Add 1 tablespoon (14g) freshly squeezed lemon juice to a measuring cup and fill with enough whole milk to reach the total amount of buttermilk called for in the recipe. Stir and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes on the counter before using.
    • Make homemade buttermilk by making homemade butter first. Add very cold heavy cream to a quart Mason jar that’s been chilled in the freezer for at least 30 minutes (even longer is better). Pour very cold heavy cream into the jar, tighten the lid and shake vigorously until the mixture starts to separate and butter has formed. Strain the butter solids out. The strained liquid is homemade buttermilk. Freeze unused buttermilk for making pancakes, scones, waffles, or biscuits.

See the step-by-step recipe photos in the main post.

Essential Banana Bread Tips & Tricks

Can I Freeze Homemade Banana Bread?

Yes, banana bread freezes really well. Always allow any baked good (including this banana bread) to completely cool to room temperature before wrapping with parchment and then sustainable cling film. Place the wrapped loaves into an airtight freezer bag or another container and freeze. You can defrost wrapped banana bread loaves in the refrigerator overnight, or on the countertop for a couple of hours. 

Can I Use Baking Powder Instead of Baking Soda in Banana Bread?

Yes, you can use baking powder instead of baking soda in this banana bread recipe. The rule of thumb for substituting baking powder with baking soda is to use 1 teaspoon of baking powder for every cup of flour called for in the recipe. In this case, you would use 2 teaspoons of baking powder to substitute the 1 teaspoon of baking soda.

Why is My Banana Bread Tough and Dense?

As explained above in the “4 STEPS TO MAKING PERFECTLY MOIST, SWEET, FRAGRANT BANANA BREAD”, if you over-mix the ingredients when combining the dries with the wet ones, you’ll over-activate the gluten in the flour which will cause your banana bread (or any quick bread or cake) to become rubbery and dense. In yeasted bread, it’s important for the gluten to be activated (which is why we knead bread dough), but for quick-breads and cakes, it will make the finished product undesirable. Gently combine the elements and if you’re ever in doubt, use a rubber spatula to combine all of the ingredients instead of a handheld or stand mixer. 

Why Does My Banana Bread Taste Bitter?

If your banana bread tastes bitter it’s because the recipe you’re using calls for excessive amounts of baking soda or baking powder. Never use more than 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda per cup of flour called for in a recipe. And don’t use more than 1 teaspoon of baking powder per cup of flour called for in a recipe. This will keep your baked goods from tasting bitter and will allow them to perform their leavening function without wreaking havoc on your baked goods (like sinking cakes and collapsed quick-breads). 

What Can I Substitute in Banana Bread if I Run Out of Bananas?

If you’re in the middle of making the batter for banana bread and realize you are short of the full amount of mashed bananas, supplement the missing amount with either applesauce or ripe mashed avocados. 

Why is My Banana Bread Dry?

If your banana bread is dry it’s probably because you added too much flour or baked it too long, or there’s not enough fat or moisture in the batter. Start by using an all-purpose or low-protein flour for Banana bread. Avoid using bread flour because it has too much protein. Then make sure you are measuring the flour properly. Correctly measuring flour starts with using the scoop and level’ method which. means that you use a scoop or large spoon to add flour to the measuring cup. Add more flour than what the measuring cup will hold, then using the back of a butter knife (the straight side) scrape the excess flour off back into the bag, leaving a perfectly measured amount of flour in the measuring cup. You can really mess up a recipe if you don’t use the ‘level and scoop’ method and instead take your measuring cup and dig straight into the bag or container holding the flour. As for baking the banana bread, if you still have several minutes of baking time left, but feel the top is browning too much, just place aluminum foil over the top. If your oven bakes hotter than it’s supposed to, you may also reduce the temperature by 15 to 25 degrees as well. 

Why Did My Banana Bread Collapse, fall, or sink in the Middle?

Typically the collapse of quick-breads and cakes happens for a couple of reasons.

  • Underbaking banana bread can cause it to be too moist on the inside and not adequately set up. As it cools, the “wet” middle will sink. Always make sure a toothpick or cake tester poked into the middle of the banana bread comes out clean before removing it from the oven.
  • Adding too much baking soda and/or baking powder causes too many (and too large) air bubbles to form (from the carbon dioxide that’s produced when the leavening agent and liquid are combined). The bubbles grow too large and then deflate onto and into themselves causing cakes and quick-breads to collapse in the center. 
  • Adding too many bananas to a banana bread batter can also make your banana bread sink in the middle. If the batter has too much moisture, the air bubbles created by the leavening agent (baking soda in this case) will never be enough to help create and set the air pockets that create the desired crumb (texture). Instead, the banana bread will be dense and “wet” in the middle. 
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Category: Quick Breads
  • Method: Oven Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 slice

Keywords: easy moist banana bread recipe, buttermilk banana nut bread recipe, best banana nut cake, sicilian pistachios, banana nut bread recipe, southern banana nut bread, banana nut bread cupcakes, easy banana bread recipe, pistachio pecan banana bread cake, buttermilk banana bread recipe, pecan banana quick bread, kid-friendly banana bread recipe, overripe bananas, black bananas

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4 Comments

  1. Adding onto my comment: I made these delicious banana nut bread into muffins. They are so good and moist. I will freeze them and enjoy them for breakfast.

  2. Made this delicious banana nut bread. I made muffins so I can freeze them and take them for my breakfast to work.

    #bitingatthebits

  3. This is so yummy!!! I made this recipe but omitted the Pistachios & used extra Pecans!! It turned out great!! Easy to make instructions & great tips to make it turn out perfectly. Loved the scale to make bigger batch’s as I doubled the recipe for my husband to be able to a loaf with him to Trout Camp! Going to be in my rotation of favorites for sure. Thank You Kelly for all the good recipes!!!! 🥰

    • Thanks, Robin! I’m so happy you enjoyed it😊. Double pecans are always a great idea and I love that it was easy to scale. I hope the trout campers love you for making it❤️.

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