Bursting with banana flavor, these banana nut muffins are simple to make and stay moist for days! Toasting the nuts adds a wonderful flavor, and this recipe is so easy to switch up by using different nuts or adding a crumb topping.
There's nothing like a classic blueberry muffin (these blueberry crumb muffins are #1 in my house), but sometimes it's good to switch it up and making something different, like banana nut muffins.
I've gotten into the habit of letting bananas languish on the counter until they're nearly black. In fact I can't even remember the last time I ate a banana straight-up as a snack. I let them go until the reach the 'aw man they're too ripe to eat, guess I have to bake with them' stage. Bummer. 😉
With banana bread-adjacent flavors baked in a fraction of the time of a traditional loaf, these muffins are seriously moist with the right amount of sweetness to fit in as a snack or as a welcome addition to the breakfast table.
Why This Recipe Works
- Sorry to keep repeating this word, but these banana nut muffins bake up moist and stay that way for days. A few tricks during assembly and storage help produce soft and tender muffins, all the while minimizing extra moisture from forming as the leftovers sit.
- Extra care given to the ingredients shines through in the finished product. Beating the bananas with an electric mixer produces a lighter, creamier banana flavor without any off-putting texture chunks, toasting the nuts deepens their flavor, and a pinch of nutmeg boosts the warm flavor of cinnamon.
- You have a lot of flexibility to make this recipe your own. Pecans or another nut variety can be subbed in (or omitted entirely), and you can choose to add an easy crumb topping -- or not.
- Bananas: You'll hear it all the time in banana baking recipes to use overripe bananas. That's because overripe bananas have more liquid and develop a higher sugar content as they ripen, both welcome things when it comes to baked goods. Look for bananas that have many brown spots/areas all the way to bananas so overly ripe that they're mushy and nearly black.
- Buttermilk: Buttermilk is important to use here in place of regular milk as we need its acidity to get the baking soda to react and help these muffins rise. See tips in the recipe card below on how to create a homemade buttermilk substitute with the milk of your choice and white vinegar or lemon juice.
- Nuts: Walnuts, pecans, even almonds can all work here. Regardless of the variety you use, toasting the nuts deepens their flavor and takes this banana nut muffin recipe up a notch.
How to Make This Recipe
The first step is to toast the walnuts. In a rimmed baking dish, they toast in under fifteen minutes in a 350°F oven and can be prepped days in advance of making these muffins for convenience.
- Add overripe bananas to a mixing bowl. We'll need one cup of mashed banana, which ends up being the amount from around two large bananas.
- Beat the bananas very well with an electric mixer until they're creamy and as smooth as they'll get. Measure one cup of the mashed banana (it should be right around there) to use in this recipe and leave it in the mixing bowl.
- Add the remainder of the wet ingredients to the bowl with the banana: buttermilk, melted butter, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract.
- Mix until evenly combined with an electric mixer or by whisking well by hand.
- Add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg to a separate, larger mixing bowl and whisk evenly.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Ditch the electric mixer at this point because overmixing can cause the gluten in the flour to overdevelop and produce a tough texture. We'll do the rest by hand.
- Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined (it's okay if a few lumps remain), then add the toasted walnuts.
- Fold the walnuts into the batter using big, sweeping strokes along the bottom of the bowl to do this as efficiently as possible. We don't want to mix everything too much to cause toughness.
At this point you have a choice: crumb topping or not?
I make these banana nut muffins both ways and can say either is great. It just depends on what you're in the mood for. Here is the crumb topping recipe I always use and it will generously cover twelve muffins.
Either way, evenly distribute the muffin batter between twelve greased or lined muffin cups. Scatter with the topping, if using.
Bake in a 375°F (190°C) oven for 17-20 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the tallest part of a muffin comes out clean and the tops spring back when lightly pressed.
Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then carefully remove them to a wire rack to cool completely before storing. This prevents excess moisture from being trapped in the container and leading to spoilage.
- Only let the muffins cool in the pan for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Longer can cause the exteriors of the muffins to overcook (as the pan is still hot) and toughen them up.
- If you've struggled with muffins sticking to paper muffin liners, give each paper liner a quick spritz with cooking spray before pouring in the batter. This was a lightbulb aha moment when I tested batches of pistachio muffins. You get the benefit of easier pan clean up along with an easy release from the liners.
- To counteract one-, two-, three-day-old banana nut muffins from becoming too moist, line the top and bottom of your storage container with paper towels. The paper towels absorb a fair amount of excess moisture. Change them out as needed. If not eating right away, consider freezing freshly-baked muffins in an air-tight container or bag.
Well, ehh. In my opinion these muffins are a fairly average baked good made with butter and sugar, so not that healthy. If you're looking for a healthier base option, these healthy banana muffins are made with whole wheat flour and without oil/butter or refined sugars.
Yes. Let them thaw first then mash them as part of the recipe. Add the liquid that forms from thawing frozen bananas to the bowl and mix it into the mashed banana before measuring out one cup.
Two thoughts: bananas and flour. Make sure your bananas are overly ripe as they contain more moisture than less ripe bananas. Then be sure to measure your flour correctly to prevent too much from getting into the recipe. Stir up the flour in its container, then spoon it into a measuring cup until heaping. Without packing it in, level off the top of the measuring cup allowing the extra to fall back in the container.
More Ways to Use Ripe Bananas
If you’ve enjoyed this recipe, I’d love for you to leave a star rating in the recipe card and/or a comment review below!
Banana Nut Muffins
- 1 cup (240g) mashed overripe bananas about 2 large
- ¾ cup (180 ml) buttermilk (see note for homemade)
- ½ cup (113g) melted unsalted butter slightly cooled
- ⅔ cup (135g) packed brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ¾ cup (213g) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅔ cup (74g) chopped toasted walnut pieces or pecans
- 1 batch crumb topping (optional)
To toast the nuts:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Add walnut pieces to a dry (ungreased) rimmed baking dish in a single layer (I like to use a 9" metal cake pan). Toast for 9-12 minutes, or until the walnuts become fragrant and have turned a darker brown. Stay close by during this process as they can go from nicely toasted to burnt quickly.
- Once toasted, immediately transfer them to a plate/bowl to cool so they don't continue toasting on the hot pan. If making the muffins right away, increase oven temperature now to 375°F.
To make the muffins:
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a muffin tin or add paper liners and set aside for now.
- Mash bananas very well using an electric mixer until fairly smooth and creamy. Measure out one cup of the mashed banana and add it to a mixing bowl. To the bowl add the buttermilk, melted and slightly cooled butter, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract. Beat until all of the ingredients are well combined and smooth.
- To a separate mixing bowl add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. Whisk to combine evenly.
- Pour the mixed wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Stir until the dry ingredients have just mixed in, taking care not to overmix. Some lumps in the batter are okay. Fold in nuts.
- Evenly distribute the muffin batter between the prepared muffin tin wells. If you'd like to add a crumb topping, prepare that now (linked in the ingredients section) and scatter it evenly over top of the muffins.
- Bake for 17-20 minutes, or until the tops spring back when pressed and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Let muffins cool in the muffin tin for 5 minutes, then remove them and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Remove the muffins from the baking pan after five minutes to prevent the muffin exteriors from overcooking and becoming tough.
- Lightly spray paper muffin liners with cooking spray to help the muffins release cleanly from the paper.
Nutritional information is provided as an estimate. As it can vary due to many factors (brands used, quantities, etc.), we cannot guarantee its accuracy.Food Safety and Nutrition Disclaimer
This recipe and accompanying photos have been updated from the original publish date in February 2014.