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Christmas Banana Bread

Christmas banana bread is soft, moist, and perfectly flavored with sweet bananas, dark brown sugar, and cozy holiday spices. This holiday banana bread recipe is easy to make and topped with a fluffy frosting. Enjoy it with your morning coffee, serve it as dessert, or give it as a gift.

For more holiday-inspired recipes, try our popular eggnog banana bread, cranberry orange banana bread, and sweet potato banana bread.

frosted Christmas banana bread recipe on a marble plate.

The best holiday banana bread

You’ll love this homemade Christmas banana bread because it’s easy to whip up, and it’s so delicious.

Baking a loaf of this tasty banana bread will fill your home with fragrant holiday scents of cinnamon, molasses, and bananas.

Gingerbread banana bread makes the perfect breakfast, snack, and dessert for the holiday season.

Bake a loaf on Christmas morning, holiday tea, or a festive movie night at home.

It’s a holiday-must bake, together with cranberry orange muffins, snowballs, and eggnog muffins!

Christmas banana bread ingredients.

Christmas banana bread ingredients

See the recipe card below for exact measurements to make this easy holiday banana bread recipe.

  • All-purpose flour gives the holiday banana bread structure as it bakes.
  • Baking powder gives the banana bread a lift and creates a soft crumb.
  • Gingerbread spice infuses every bite with a delicious holiday aroma. It’s a cozy blend of cinnamon and other spices like ginger, cloves, and nutmeg. You can mix your own spice blend or buy a premade mix.
  • Bananas: Mashed bananas add flavor, moisture, and sweetness to the bread. The riper and spottier the bananas are, the better your bread will taste!
  • Dark brown sugar keeps the bread moist and sweet. I prefer dark brown sugar here because it contains more molasses and creates a richer taste.
  • Salted butter: Let the butter soften to room temperature.
  • Eggs: You need 2 large eggs.
  • Buttermilk makes the banana bread super moist and delicious.
  • Vanilla extract adds depth of flavor.
  • Candied cherries add a festive pop of color and extra sweetness.

Variations

  • Spices: You can change and adjust the spices to your liking. For a simpler version, prepare the banana bread with ground cinnamon. Pumpkin pie spice is a great substitute for gingerbread spice.
  • Molasses: Intensify the rich, toffee-like flavor of the bread by adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of molasses. Light and dark molasses will work for this recipe, and I recommend Grandma’s Original Molasses.
  • Chocolate chips: Stir in 1 cup chocolate chips. I love white chocolate chips, but milk or semisweet are tasty too.
  • Fruit: Raisins, dried cranberries (craisins), chopped dried apricots, maraschino cherries, and dried cherries are good substitutes for candied cherries.
  • Nuts: Pecans, walnuts, pistachio, and macadamia nuts add a lovely crunch to the bread. You can add 1/ 2 to 1 cup.
  • Extracts: Flavor your Christmas banana bread with a touch of rum extract, almond extract, or orange extract.

Topping

I garnished my banana bread with a simple buttercream frosting and festive, and red and green holiday sprinkles.

The easy frosting comes together with butter and powdered sugar and is an excellent pairing with banana bread.

You could also dust your holiday banana bread recipe with powdered sugar for a super simple garnish.

Or drizzle the loaf with a quick glaze made from powdered sugar and milk.

Or try my 2-ingredient cream cheese frosting. Lots of options here!

How to make Christmas banana bread

step 1 cream butter and sugar.

1 Cream butter and sugar

  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the softened butter and granulated sugar until fluffy and light in color, about 3 to 4 minutes.
step 2 add liquid ingredients.

2 Add liquid ingredients

  • Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until just combined before adding the next.
  • Next, add the mashed bananas, buttermilk, and vanilla. Mix until combined.
step 3 add dry ingredients.

3 Add dry ingredients

Add the all-purpose flour, baking powder, and gingerbread spice. Stir in until just combined. Don’t overmix the batter, or you’ll end up with dense banana bread. Fold in the candied cherries.

step 4 bake banana bread.

4 Bake & cool

  • Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 55 to 65 minutes.
  • To check the doneness, insert a toothpick or skewer into the center of the loaf. If it comes clean, the bread is done. But if you still see liquid batter, the bread needs to bake longer.
  • Let the banana bread cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Then, transfer the loaf onto a wire rack to cool completely.
step 5 frost the bread.

5 Frost the bread

  • In a large mixing bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer (with the paddle attachment), beat the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the powdered sugar. Whip for another 5 minutes. Spread the buttercream over the cooled loaf and decorate with sprinkles.

Baker’s tips

  • Ripe Bananas: Look for bananas that are speckled and brown, maybe even black. The riper they are, the sweeter the taste and the bolder the banana flavor will be.
  • Use brown sugar: While the bananas add sweetness to the bread, dark brown sugar provides a wonderful richness and extra moisture.
  • Properly measure the flour: Measuring the flour correctly is one key to baking perfect Christmas banana bread. Either weigh your flour with a kitchen scale or use the spoon-and-level method. Gently scoop the flour into your measuring cup, then level the excess off with a knife.
  • Don’t overmix: Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ones and stop once the batter just comes together. Overmixing activates the gluten in the flour, which toughens the bread as it bakes.
  • Check doneness: Stick a skewer into the center of your bread. If the skewer comes out dry or with crumbs, your banana bread is ready. But if you notice wet batter, continue baking the bread for another 5 minutes and check again.
  • Allow to cool before slicing: Allow your holiday banana loaf to cool to room temperature before slicing and serving. If you try to cut while the bread is still hot, you risk the loaf to fall apart and dry out.
slices of holiday banana bread with gold forks and a red and white kitchen towel.

Storage instructions

How to store Christmas banana bread

Store your holiday banana bread tightly covered or in an airtight container at room temperature.

The bread will stay fresh and moist for 3 to 4 days.

Freeze Christmas banana bread

You can freeze the whole loaf or individual slices for up to 3 months. You can freeze the loaf with or without the frosting.

Wrap the cooled loaf/slices in plastic wrap and place them in a freezer bag or a freezer-friendly container.

To thaw, let the bread sit out on the counter to bring it to room temperature.

Christmas banana bread on a white platter.

More banana bread recipes

Christmas banana bread.

Christmas Banana Bread Recipe

Yield: 1 loaf (12 slices)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Christmas banana bread is soft, moist, and perfectly flavored with sweet bananas, dark brown sugar, and cozy holiday spices. This holiday banana bread recipe is easy to make and topped with a fluffy frosting. Enjoy it with your morning coffee, serve it as dessert, or give it as a gift.

Ingredients

Banana Bread

  • 2 cups / 260 g / 9 oz all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp gingerbread spice (see below)
  • 1/2 cup / 1 stick / 115 g / 4 oz salted butter, at room temperature (or unsalted butter + 1/4 tsp salt)
  • 3/4 cup / 150 g / 5.3 oz dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups bananas, mashed (4 large bananas)
  • 1/2 cup / 120 ml / 4 fl oz buttermilk
  • 1 cup / 200 g / 7 oz candied cherries, roughly chopped (optional)

Frosting (optional)

  • 1/2 cup / 1 stick / 115 g / 4 oz salted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups / 180 g / 6.3 oz powdered (confectioners'/icing) sugar
  • holiday sprinkles

Instructions

  1. Prep. Preheat your oven to 350°F / 180°C / gas mark 4. Grease a 9 in x 13 in / 23 cm x 33 cm loaf pan with butter or nonstick spray and line with a piece of parchment (baking) paper. Set Aside.
  2. Cream butter and sugar. In a large mixing bowl, beat the softened butter and granulated sugar until fluffy and light in color, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Add liquid ingredients. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until just combined before adding the next. Next, add the mashed bananas, buttermilk, and vanilla. Mix until combined.
  4. Add dry ingredients. Add the all-purpose flour, baking powder, and gingerbread spice. Stir in until just combined. Don't overmix the batter, or you'll end up with dense banana bread. Fold in the candied cherries.
  5. Bake. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 55 to 65 minutes. To check the doneness, insert a toothpick or skewer into the center of the loaf. If it comes clean, the bread is done. But if you still see liquid batter, the bread needs to bake longer.
  6. Cool. Let the banana bread cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Then, transfer the loaf onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Frost the bread. In a large mixing bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer (with the paddle attachment), beat the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the powdered sugar. Whip for another 5 minutes. Spread the buttercream over the cooled loaf and decorate with sprinkles.
  8. Serve. Cut the banana bread into slices and serve when ready.
  9. Store. Keep your bread in an airtight container at room temperature and enjoy it within 3 to 4 days, or in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 304Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 52mgSodium: 226mgCarbohydrates: 53gFiber: 1gSugar: 26gProtein: 4g

FAQ

How do you ripen bananas fast?

Preheat your oven to 300°F / 150°C / gas mark 2.
 
Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil for easy cleanup.
 
Arrange unpeeled bananas on the prepared baking sheet.
 
Bake until banana skins are completely black all over, about 30 to 40 minutes.
 
Cool completely, then scoop banana pulp from the peel and mash.
 
Insanely Good Recipes shares more clever hacks to ripen bananas quickly.

Can you turn this recipe into muffins?

Yes! You can turn the recipe into Christmas banana muffins. Here are some tips to convert the bread into muffins:
 
Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C / gas mark 4.
Follow the directions to prepare the batter.
Line a 12-hole muffin pan with paper wrappers.
Fill the paper lines 2/3 with batter.
Bake your Christmas banana muffins for 25 to 30 minutes. Start checking doneness at 20 minutes.

Why did my banana Christmas bread turn out dry?

Banana bread can turn out dry for several reasons. Here is what might have happened:
 
Over-measuring the flour by packing it into the measuring cup.
Reducing/omitting/substituting the wet ingredients, including butter, sugar, bananas, and eggs.
Overbaking.
Oven temperature is too high (which results in overbaking).
Not baking on the center rack (which overbakes either the top or bottom of the loaf).

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