This easy carrot banana bread is a delicious mashup of carrot cake and banana bread. An easy no mixer quick bread recipe using two overripe bananas and a few freshly grated carrots for the perfect breakfast, snack or treat.
Is there anything better than the smell of homemade banana bread baking? This easy banana bread recipe is quickly going to become your new favorite. We’re putting a little twist on it by adding fresh, shredded carrots to the mix with some warming spices to create the most delicious marriage of two of my favorite treats, carrot cake and banana bread.
Not only can you use up those brown bananas staring at you on the counter, but you also get to throw in a few of those leftover carrots lurking around in the crisper drawer. So, it’s fruit AND vegetables in the same treat and that is a major win.
Let’s make some carrot banana bread!
All you need is a few basic ingredients from the pantry to make this easy recipe.
- Overripe bananas – you’ll need two bananas with plenty of brown spots. The more brown the better.
- Carrots – I highly recommend using whole carrots and using a box grater to shred them. Pre-shredded carrots will work, but the pieces are thicker and drier and the loaf will have a different texture.
- Brown sugar and granulated sugar – dark brown sugar adds so much flavor.
- Oil – I use avocado oil but you can use vegetable oil or canola oil.
- Vanilla – use real vanilla extract.
- All purpose flour
- Baking soda
- Cinnamon and salt
- Walnuts – totally optional but I love the crunchy texture of banana nut bread.
- Optional – a little bit of ground cardamom and a pinch of black pepper just add a little something special. I also recommend sprinkling some turbinado sugar over the top of the loaf before baking.
This single loaf recipe comes together quickly without the need to use a mixer.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees f and prepare a loaf pan. The best way to do this is to make a sling with parchment paper by cutting two sheets to fit each way in the loaf pan with some overhand. That way you can easily lift it out and slice.
Start by mashing bananas in a large mixing bowl. You can do with with a potato masher or just use a fork. Whisk sugars, eggs, oil and vanilla extract in with mashed bananas. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and cardamom and black pepper if using.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and use a wooden spoon or spatula to combine. Fold in grated carrots and nuts, if using. Sprinkle more chopped walnuts and turbinado sugar over the top of the bread.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in a 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes.
Banana bread is done when it’s golden brown on top and a skewer or knife inserted into the center of the loaf comes out mostly clean with a few moist crumbs. Let it cool in the pan for ten minutes and then use the parchment paper sling to gently lift the loaf out of the pan and transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely. If you can stand it, let it cool to almost room temperature before slicing. Definitely recommend a slather of good salted butter when you’re ready to eat it!
Tips for making perfect banana bread
- Use the spoon and level method to measure the flour. Don’t scoop it right out of the bag with your measuring cup as you risk packing the flour too tightly and adding too much to the recipe.
- Use overripe bananas. Brown spots are good, almost all the way brown is even better. That sweet banana flavor only comes through when the fruit is really past it’s prime.
- Use a serrated knife to slice it. Use a bread knife to gently saw back and forth when slicing. This way, you won’t squish it down and make it gummy in the middle. You will get perfect slices with an even texture throughout.
- Sprinkle a few tablespoons of coarse turbinado sugar on top of the loaf before you bake. This adds a wonderful crunchiness to the top of the loaf that’s just iresistable! If you’re using nuts, sprinkle a few of those on top too.
- If you want a little extra decadence and more carrot cake energy, spread some cream cheese frosting over the top of the loaf.
Storing and freezing
It’s hard not to eat the whole loaf right away, but carrot banana bread keeps well on the counter, wrapped in plastic wrap or in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days. Never store any banana bread in the refrigerator, it will get dried out.
To freeze, tightly wrap the loaf, or individual slices, in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and then place the wrapped bread in a freezer bag. Freeze for up to four months. You can thaw it individual slices on the counter for 20-30 minutes. For a whole or half loaf, it may take a few hours.
To reheat slices, microwave it for 20-30 seconds or pop it in the toaster oven to warm it. My favorite way to warm it is in the toaster oven for the crispy edges.
Can I use this recipe to make carrot banana muffins or mini loaves?
Absolutely! Follow the same steps and then scoop the batter into a prepared muffin tin. Bake muffins at the same temperature for about 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
For mini loaves, follow the same instructions for a full loaf and reduce the baking time. Start checking them at about 25 minutes.
More quick breads you will love
- Blueberry Banana Oatmeal Muffins
- Buttermilk Blueberry Muffins
- Spiced Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins with Streusel Topping
- Sausage Cheddar Biscuits
Carrot Banana Bread
- 1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 overripe bananas
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- ⅓ cup neutral oil avocado oil, canola oil, vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup grated carrots about 2 medium carrots
- ¾ cup chopped walnuts optional
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom optional
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper optional
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare a loaf pan.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and cardamom and black pepper, if using.
- In a large bowl, mash bananas. Whisk in eggs, sugars, oil and vanilla extract.
- Add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture and use a wooden spoon or spatula to combine. Fold in the grated carrots and nuts, if using.
- Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle the top with turbinado sugar and nuts if using.
- Bake at 350 degrees f for 50-60 minutes until a skewer or a knife inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
- Let the loaf cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes. Remove loaf from the pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.