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Elevate Any Basic Banana Bread With This Tasty Trick

Jun 18, 2020

by Aravis Moore handmade and vintage goods

They say it’s what’s on the inside that counts, and I don’t want to go against conventional wisdom, but—they also say that we eat with our eyes. And with all the mouthwatering banana breads showing up in our social feeds recently, you may be feeling tempted to add some eye-pleasing oomph to your own tried-and-true recipe. Thankfully, it doesn’t take a pastry degree to decorate this classic comfort bake. To make the outer glamour match the inner goodness, all you need are a few edible embellishments foraged from your pantry. 

You can begin by baking your favorite recipe, or follow my instructions below for a warm, inviting loaf that’s sure to draw the whole family together around the table. Top off with a tasty flourish and you’ll be well on your way to banana bread bliss. I love using halved walnuts and fresh figs—but, for all you sugar fiends, consider a sprinkling of streusel or a handful of chocolate chips. If all you have is bananas, you can set one aside to slice lengthwise for a simple decorative finish.

Banana bread ready to be popped in the oven

Fig and Walnut Banana Bread

Yields 1 loaf

You will need:

  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3-4 medium, ripe bananas (optional: reserve one banana for topping)
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup walnut halves (optional)
  • 4 fresh figs (optional)
  • 1 standard 8½ x 4x½ loaf pan

Step 1: Gather ingredients and garnishes

Banana bread ingredients laid out on a table.

Measure out your ingredients and preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a loaf pan with butter or shortening.

Step 2: Bring on the bananas

Aravis mashing bananas with a fork.

Peel 3-4 medium-sized, ripe bananas. Mash with a fork if you prefer bigger bites of fruit, or puree for a more uniform texture. Set aside.

Step 3: Mix it up

Aravis mixing dry ingredients
Aravis adding mashed banana to wet ingredients.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In another medium bowl, whisk the oil and sugar together until combined. Add the eggs and mix to blend. Add the milk and vanilla, and whisk until incorporated. Stir in the mashed bananas. 

Step 4: Make the batter

Aravis adding dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.
Aravis stirring the batter until just combined.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet, stirring just until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spoon. 

Step 5: Finish with a flourish

Aravis adding figs to the top of the batter.
Aravis sprinkling sugar over the top of the prepared batter.

Arrange your pre-selected toppings in a pretty pattern on top of the batter, pressing them down lightly. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of sugar.

Step 6: Bake and serve

Two completed bread loaves on a wooden serving board.

Bake for 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Let the banana bread cool in the pan at least 10 minutes before turning out. Slice, butter, and serve on a pretty wooden bread board.

Get your baking staples

Put some extra pep in your prep-work with these pretty kitchen essentials.

A collage of baking staples available on Etsy
SHOP (clockwise from top left): Apron from Softer and Wild, $33; patterned rolling pin from Make 8 Bake, $29; ceramic mixing bowls from Ingrid Debard Ceramics, from $40; hand-painted forest measuring spoons from 7 Doors Studio, $46

Shop more cooking and baking basics

Recipe photographed by Aravis Moore.

Apron, Housewarming Gift, Mothers Day Gift, Gift for Mom, Kitchen Apron, Botanical Print Apron, Home Decor Gift, Floral Apron
Apron, Housewarming Gift, Mothers Day Gift, Gift for Mom, Kitchen Apron, Botanical Print Apron, Home Decor Gift, Floral Apron
$44.35 USD
Jungle patterned rolling pin, cookie stamp, engraved floral pattern rolling pin, nature embossing rolling pin
Jungle patterned rolling pin, cookie stamp, engraved floral pattern rolling pin, nature embossing rolling pin
$19.90 USD
Forest Animal Ceramic Measuring Spoons
Forest Animal Ceramic Measuring Spoons
$49.95 USD


  • gg16xhkr

    Anna from SublimationDesignsAn said 220 days ago

    It looks delicious! I will definitely bake this for my kids today.

  • TreasuredMemoryLane

    Sujata from TreasuredMemoryLane said 220 days ago

    What a great idea for using banana slices and figs in banana bread! Yummy! Thanks for sharing.

  • nyjscsqu

    Nadeshda Romanova from MoreSoutacheJewelry said 220 days ago

    mmm ... looks very appetizing! thanks for the recipe)

  • liraallayarova

    Lira Allayarova from LiraAllayarova said 220 days ago

    Wow. That's very beautiful. I will do too! I am a creative person, I make art clothes, but I love and cook

  • nisflzhf

    YourFrugalFriend from YourFrugalFriend said 220 days ago

    I love the addition of figs. I add dates to my banana bread. I even made a batch of banana bread the other day with carob powder and dried coconut. It is so versatile!

  • bbzvlhql

    Irina Shcherbinina from AmiguRinaDesigns said 220 days ago

    WOW! It look so yammy

  • kmjoy17

    kimberly Rush from MindsetGym said 220 days ago

    oh my gosh YUMMM! This banana bread just hit a whole new level.

  • 5ftjjt0a

    Nina from OriginalJewelrByNina said 220 days ago

    Ой как интересно, забрала себе в копилочку!!!

  • kimmeric

    Carol Carlson from kimmeric said 219 days ago

    I love the idea of adding a topping. It really elevates the look of the bread. Perfect for gift giving.

  • leximil75

    leximil75 said 219 days ago

    i swore I wouldn't be one of those that make banana bread during this quarantine but your recipe looks and sounds so good that I just have to make it! Thank you for sharing this!

  • lharots1

    Lynn H. said 219 days ago

    Hello, This looks delicious ! Is there a link to a version that is easier to print ? This one takes 17 pages... Best regards, and thank-you !

  • CardsbyBrendaH

    Brenda Hamilton from DesignedbyBrendaH said 219 days ago

    Looks really yummy, thanks

  • injl0dlw

    Yachiyo said 219 days ago

    Oh-WOW! ;-) Love the Figs! I will definitely go to the grocery store now to get the ingredients make it theFig & Walnut Banana Bread -- Thanks Aravis for Sharing.

  • injl0dlw

    Yachiyo said 219 days ago

    Oh-WOW! ;-) Love The Figs! I will definitely go to the grocery Store to buy the ingredients to bake this wonderful Fig & Walnut Banana Bread Thanks for Sharing Aravis!-)

  • candacegebhardt

    Candace Gebhardt said 219 days ago

    Sounds delicious 😋 I always use melted butter as I don’t like the taste of canola oil

  • isabelle0409

    isabelle0409 from isabelle0409 said 219 days ago

    As soon as I saw the figs I was sold! I love banana bread, always with walnuts, (is there any other way?) but the addition of figs, delicious! I can't wait to get a couple of loaves baked! Thanks for sharing your creative banana bread twist!

  • pmnxntnk

    Ruth said 219 days ago

    This sounds delicious!! I wish I had a slice with a cup of coffee right now! I'm definitely going the make it!!! Thank you!

  • oozj3zlq

    Natali Magic of lace from LaceClematis said 219 days ago

    It looks very attractive, I have no doubt that it’s delicious ... I really love the taste of bananas)))

  • Artwearelements

    Artwearelements from ArtwearElements said 219 days ago

    Wow, How beautiful and looks soooo yummy! I will definitely be making this! Whether I share remains to be seen! LOL!

  • bettysworld4u

    Betty from bettysworld4u said 218 days ago

    Looks Soooooo Delicious, I'm going to give this a try tomorrow. Thank you 4 Sharing.

  • dxzflrwu

    Kim said 218 days ago

    Just an FYI - the Banana measurement is 2 cups of mashed bananas. Using the above recipe: -You could replace the bananas with 2 cups of mashed mangoes (do 1 1/2 cups of mashed mangoes instead, due to mangoes have more water/moisture in them than bananas). -You could also substitute the bananas for 2 cups of pumpkin puree (canned pumpkin, the ones you use for making pumpkin pie).

  • j2qk0vas

    Nata from VintageSovietStyel said 218 days ago

    MMMMM ... I think it is very tasty and healthy))) Thanks for the recipe))

  • wrongydm

    Maria Klevakina from KnittingForBabyArt said 218 days ago

    An interesting recipe, you definitely need to try

  • katrinshinesupplies

    Ekaterina from katrinshinesupplies said 218 days ago

    It's truly mouthwatering ! Seems similar to banana pankakes I've made during lockdown.

  • wwn5hslz

    Natalia Mamzorkina from TeddysMomArt said 218 days ago

    Awakens the appetite!!

  • katrinshinesupplies

    Ekaterina from katrinshinesupplies said 218 days ago

    It's truly mouthwatering ! Seems similar to banana pankakes I've made during lockdown

  • ai848vtb

    Anastasia from YourAdventureInGlass said 218 days ago

    When I read recipes like this, I wish the internet could transmit smells ...

  • elevenrosesboutique

    Lisa from ElevenRosesBoutique said 217 days ago

    Aravis, Thank You So Much For Sharing Your Fantastic Banana Bread Recipe ! I just made mine today following your instructions and it turned out Beautiful ! I didn't have any figs on hand, so I switched up the topping with cranberries, nuts & a little brown sugar and it was Amazing !! Thank You Again Aravis !! Lisa :)

  • ikbpukhp

    Quais Samadi from TheLittleUniqueStore said 217 days ago

    Looks yummy! never done bakery, but after seeing the pictures I must say I am very tempted!

  • pm8heg3u

    Irene said 217 days ago

    Never thought of figs in a banana Bread I will try it. Love it

  • PorcelainPlumelet

    Olga Mironova from PorcelainKingdom said 217 days ago

    thank you for sharing the recipe! you always choose something special 😊

  • x8qnpozo

    Anna from LissiKids said 217 days ago

    looks very appetizing! I love to cook and I have a lot of kitchen accessories! but the kitchen patterned rolling pin struck me. I think I will buy it very soon

  • 24vdxpeh

    Agnieszka from Makramianki said 217 days ago

    I have never eaten such bread. A really amazing recipe. I will try to make my own bread, thank you. :) <3

  • kculik

    K Liketheletter said 216 days ago

    Woe betide those who bake banana bread using regular sugar rather than brown sugar, for they shall deserve the bland results of their labor. Tremble!

  • MashaCreate

    Mariia Shevchenko from MariUkraine said 216 days ago

    looks soooo yummy!

  • MyElegantThings
  • HarrietsJewelry

    Harriet from DancewithJewels said 215 days ago

    This banana bread looks delicious!I want to make this recipe!

  • brownsugah1

    Brown Sugah said 215 days ago


  • baybayluv

    baybayluv from baybayluv said 214 days ago

    do you sell your banana bread?

  • motzopz8

    Halyna from Vpodoba said 213 days ago

    Oh how cosy you are, your products look great! I just started my business on Etsy and it's incredible that there are so many creative people here

  • rhondastubbs2

    Rhonda Stubbs from RhondaCorner said 213 days ago

    This looks so good. I will be trying this. Thank you Rhonda

  • lauranstevens

    Lauran Stevens said 212 days ago

    What a delicious sounding banana bread. I’m anxious to try it out.

  • px6plqi8

    Steph from RitualsDesign said 212 days ago

    Looks delicious!

  • kulcuthbert

    Kul Cuthbert from kulandEdCARDS said 212 days ago

    looks delicious, especial with the topping - my kids would love this I do bake and cook a lot - and this is sure a keeper! thank you so much for sharing your talents...

  • raynejay

    rayne jacobsen from chickadeecall said 212 days ago

    I am going to try this bread. Great pictures, Very clear instructions. thanks.

  • ElenaMal

    Elena Malakhova from FestivalDolls said 209 days ago

    I love to cook, thanks for the recipe! :)

  • Dogdohr

    Joanne Dohr from Dogdohr said 206 days ago

    Need to try it with figs! Yum!

  • ufluobrf

    Elina from ElinaLeePrints said 205 days ago

    OMG, it`s looks so delicious! I prefer to add some chocolate and never tryed with figs. Thank you for the recipe <3

  • grrkvrmx

    Dolce from Dolce3D said 204 days ago

    WOW!!! This is very good idea for use my bananas. I will try to involve my cookie cutters, let's see what can iI get :D

  • fcpamsdu

    Alyssa from AlyssaNapierDesign said 202 days ago

    Oh my gosh! This looks SO yummy. I've never thought to add figs or banana slices to the top of my banana bread before baking! And I loveeee figs. They would definitely add some sweetness and flavor to the bread. Super excited to try this recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  • ls9ndbg5

    Wedu said 201 days ago

    Looks so yummy& tempting to try out the recipe. Thanks for sharing

  • feltdaisy

    Elena Gerasimova from feltdaisy said 189 days ago

    I've never seen a fig bread recipe before! Looks amazing, saved the recipe, thanks))

  • twkaivxn

    TG from TgsVisionHealthyFood said 171 days ago

    Waw ! It looks delicious...😋😋 Thank you for sharing your recipe. I bake too but this one looks yummy

  • anyarubina

    Anna Rubina from RubinaArt said 165 days ago

    I love banana bread! I will definitely try these tips, so far I've only tried nuts as additional ingredients.

  • hvwxppla

    Alexsandra Sheverova-Eltanskaya from HomeWreath said 152 days ago

    You know, I've often seen this bread in TV shows and films ... and I've always really wanted to try it. Now I know all the secrets of the recipe, thanks!

  • cx3bnv3i

    Vanessa anigian said 150 days ago

    I just wrote down all the ingredients going to the store tomorrow to make this recipe cannot wait to try it I will send another comment after I bake this thank you ever so much

  • metroretrovintage

    metroretrovintage from MetroRetroVintage said 120 days ago

    The added streusel and sliced banana center looks wonderful!

  • 2nq8ahdqbpvmd7rc

    Kseniya Klepikova from KsenushkaGallery said 70 days ago

    Thanx for appetizing recipe!

  • swanmaidensoap

    Amanda N. from FlowerAndEarthSoaps said 36 days ago

    Glad I caught this -- this would be a nice recipe for Christmas morning. Also, those blue bowls are gorgeous!

  • 8bbu8u78

    Melo Merriman from AuntMelosHabitue said 28 days ago

    How fun to find this! I'm known for my banana bread in this Northern part of California. When it is huckleberry season, I add some to my banana bread. Blueberries and a few chocolate chips are also a great addition. Thanks for this wonderful blog; keeps me on my toes!

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