Freebie Friday: Banana Bread, Quick Baking Bliss

October 15, 2010 | By | Comments (48)

Banana Bread. It means a lot to me. And based on the popularity of our October issue, it means a lot to you, too. Banana bread is one of those Cooking Light favorites that remains on top: top-requested from readers, top-searched on our site, top-rated by our editors. In October, the editors added to our collection of great banana bread recipes with such wonders as Peanut Butter Banana Bread and, dare I mention it, Bananas Foster Bread. Yum.

Maybe it's karma, but banana bread holds a special place for me as well. My grandmother made the most amazing banana bread (OK, based on the recipe, it was more like cake than bread). I would go to great lengths to make sure the required 3 almost-black bananas were left behind in the fruit bowl. When I came home from school, the aromas of baked banana bread smacking me in the face as I came in the door made me, well, bananas.

The day before my first child was born, I was in the mood for that banana bread. So I pulled 3 overly-ripe bananas from my stash in the freezer, mashed them with the wet ingredients, stirred in the dry with a fork as my grandmother did, and proceeded to eat the entire pan while standing in my kitchen. A moderation moment it was not. A memory I cherish, for sure.

At Cooking Light, we take special care to create baking recipes that 1) work 2) taste delicious 3) are lighter than your grandmother's version. Does that mean you should eat an entire batch in one sitting? Absolutely not. Does it mean you have new recipes you can pass to your kids? Yep. Quick Baking SE

In honor of my favorite quick baking treat, we're giving away a copy of our Special Edition, Cooking Light Quick Baking, on sale now through November 5th on news-stand. It's full of our best quick-baking recipes. Here's how it works:

Step 1: “Like” us on Facebook (use the Facebook box to the right and click “Like” if you don’t already like us).

Step 2: Describe for us here in 50 words or less your favorite quick-baking recipe. Entries should be typed into the comments field of this blog post. Entries are due by Monday, October 18 at 11:59 a.m. EST.

Editors will select their favorite based on originality, creativity, and how well you address our question. Winner will be notified via email by October 25, 2010. For full contest rules, click here.


See our collection of Best Banana Bread Recipes for quick-baking inspiration.


  1. Lee

    I found your Chai Banana Bread recipe and was excited as had recently learned how good Chai is, but the recipe did not have chai listed as an ingredient. Was chai omitted?
    Thank you for your reply.

    August 21, 2012 at 7:02 pm
  2. Cindy

    Lately I like to mix a can of crushed pineapple and a box of angel food cake mix. Bake as directed and top with Fat Free cool whip.
    If I’m actually baking I’m a sucker for a sucker for my great grandmother’s recipe for banana cake with cream cheese frosting, yum!

    October 24, 2010 at 12:18 am
  3. kee

    I’d really love eating banana bread. It is known as banana cake in our place…

    October 19, 2010 at 2:55 am
  4. Lenzy

    It’s my favorite but I never learned cooking it. I really love banana bread.

    October 19, 2010 at 2:54 am
  5. Gina

    I have a delicious banana bread recipe. It’s quick and easy because the ingredients don’t have to be added in any special certain way or order. I just go down the list and add the ingredients into the same bowl. It’s so moist and flavorful. My whole family loves it!

    October 18, 2010 at 11:37 pm
  6. LaTanya

    I love to quick bake delicious pumpkin bread with a sweet vanilla glaze! Yummy 🙂

    October 18, 2010 at 3:16 pm
  7. SusieBee

    My favorite quick baking bliss would have to come from whole wheat, zucchini, chocolate bread. Mmmm Mmmm good!

    October 18, 2010 at 2:36 pm
  8. Diane

    Frankly, I don’t know which is my favorite. I don’t know what’s inside this book of baking goodness!
    Which is why I am so very anxious to win it. And when I do, I will try all 74 recipes, starting with the Apple Cupcakes with Almond Streusel on the front cover. Then, I will certainly let you know which one is my favorite!

    October 18, 2010 at 11:20 am
  9. Kristina

    My family’s very favorite quick bake recipe is for Cajun Pepper Cheese straws. A little flour, baking powder, cayenne, butter, cheddar and parmesan mixed together, rolled out and cut into thin strips makes a perfect snack or accompaniment to dinner. Delicious!!!

    October 18, 2010 at 11:16 am
  10. Meghan

    I made it this past weekend for a pumpkin carving party. Take spice cake mix, 1/3 c veg oil, 2 eggs and mix together. Then add 1 c of butterscotch chips and 1 c oatmeal. Mix, then bake at 350 for 13 minutes or until golden brown. I got it from a ‘cookies’ cookbook, not cooking light but I tell myself it has oatmeal so it must be heart healthy!

    October 18, 2010 at 10:52 am
  11. Kathie Martin

    My favorite baking recipe to date is for an Italian Cream Cake that my husband puts on his Christmas list each year. It’s suprisingly easy to make and unbelievably tasty!

    October 18, 2010 at 10:45 am
  12. stephanie

    I re-invented my Nana’s orangey pumpkin bread that she made up until she was 99 years old. I switched out the crisco she used for applesauce and now use whole wheat flour instead of all purpose. No one can taste the difference and it bakes in about a half hour! She died a little over a year ago and my kids mention her every time we eat it.

    October 18, 2010 at 10:37 am
  13. Dani Smith

    My favorite quick baking recipe is double banana nut bread. I first made it for care packages when my husband was in Iraq because he was missing tastes from home. I sealed it with my foodsaver and when he got it 3 weeks later, it was just as fresh as when I sealed it! And since then, it has become a staple in our house.

    October 18, 2010 at 10:15 am
  14. Heather

    My favorite quick baking recipe is rhubarb pie. I make it the exact same way my grandmother made hers. I also chop up plenty of rhubarb and freeze it so we can have pie throughout the year. My whole family loves it and the pie disappears quickly.

    October 18, 2010 at 10:13 am
  15. Meg Martin

    I need help with varieties and this book is the answer! We add a few chocolate chips or even shredded zucchini–delicious! Thank you for the great opportunity! I need all the cooking help I can get!

    October 18, 2010 at 10:13 am
  16. Heather

    My favorite quick baking recipe is rhubarb pie. I make it the exact same way my grandmother made hers. I also chop up plenty of rhubarb and freeze it so we can have pie throughout the year. My whole family loves it and the pie always disappears quickly.

    October 18, 2010 at 10:12 am
  17. Heather Moon

    My favorite quick-baking recipe is a banana nut bread that came from my grandmother. It is so good, I won’t eat other banana breads, but it is also full of shortening and sugar, so I wish I could find a healthier version that I love as much!

    October 18, 2010 at 9:52 am
  18. Reita Spilsbury

    This would come in handy to use when I am pressed for time getting my three kids out to school, and my husband and I out the door for work.

    October 18, 2010 at 9:52 am
  19. RaRa

    My favorite quick-baking item is a dark chocolate ganache cake. It’s easy to mix up & is relatively healthy (for a chocolate cake) with 179 calories per slice & 7g fat. 🙂 It can be done without a lot of fuss if guests pop by and bakes in 20 minutes. It’s also flexible as you can add, for example, orange or peppermint extracts to give it a different flavor profile. I love it!

    October 18, 2010 at 9:50 am
  20. Gerry from Napa Valley

    For quick & tasty appetizers, My favorite is baking mini-buttermilk biscuits with different honey based flavors brushed on the top of each batch. In batches, I heat the honey in a sauce pan, add finely chopped rosemary & Herbs De Provence and brush over the biscuits. Delicious & Versatile!

    October 18, 2010 at 9:50 am
  21. Maria A.

    There are so many recipes to choose from that it’s hard to pick one. I think my go to quick dessert recipe is Palmiers made w/puff pastry. But I have a special place for Toni’s Banana Bread (Cooking Light October 2000). After making this recipe, I subscribed to Cooking Light.

    October 18, 2010 at 9:49 am
  22. Rosie

    I would have to say that my favorite quick-baking recipe is actually No Bake Cookies. Though you technically don’t bake them in the oven, I still consider this a baking favorite! It’s so very kid-friendly and fast that it’s a cinch when you’re in a pinch and want to give the little ones a chance to pitch in. Plus, the cookies are heavenly and are always a fan favorite of the kids who help and the adults who get to enjoy their little-hand made cookies. 🙂

    October 18, 2010 at 9:44 am
  23. bamagirl3525

    My favorite quick recipe is my grandmother’s brownie recipe. I can’t share too much (it’s a secrete!), but I will say that melting the butter in the brownie pan and then adding it to the brownie batter makes for a super-moist and chewy crust! I also only add about 3 tablespoons of cocoa, which makes for a surprisingly light-tasting brownie.

    October 18, 2010 at 9:39 am
  24. Marcy form MN

    There is an orange Banana bread that CL put out in a September issue about 7 years ago…it is my go to banana bread as as every one loves it and you would never know it was a healthy

    October 18, 2010 at 9:36 am
  25. Klein-Ruh

    My grandma’s “Ingwerbrot”, a long-lasting low-fat quick bread loaded with candied ginger and spices. We bake it in November and, wrapped in foil, it lasts until Christmas – and gets moister and spicier. Every Sunday afternoon in December we have tea, Christmas cookies and a slice of Ingwerbrot with butter.

    October 18, 2010 at 3:15 am
  26. Monica

    I wanted to share with you how much my family loves the new banana bread recipe. I couldn’t find where to tell you, so I’m writing you here. Right now it’s our favorite because it’s healthy, lowfat and it’s home baked!

    October 17, 2010 at 6:06 pm
  27. Tracey

    My favorite is a twist on a classic “dump” cake – I tweaked the original recipe and made it a lighter version by using splenda in place of the sugar, applesauce in place of the vegetable oil along with the other ingredients (flour, cocoa, vanilla, vinegar, water, salt, baking soda) dump the ingredients and bake 30 min or so to make a cake that’s moist enough to need no frosting, and comes out as a brownie-flavor with a cake-texture. Delicious!

    October 17, 2010 at 2:41 pm
  28. phyllis

    A simple scone. Well … not all that simple. I like topping them (before baking) with some powdered candied ginger. Served warm … slathered with butter … a very easy to make breakfast treat.

    October 16, 2010 at 10:15 am
  29. Virginia

    I didn’t learn to cook or bake until I was an adult. The first quick-bread I made was a banana bread with chocolate chips and a peanut butter frosting. It was more dessert than banana bread, but oh, so yummy. Cooking Light has helped me learn to cook and bake over the years–along with some trial and error!

    October 16, 2010 at 1:56 am
  30. Sue

    Spoon Chocolate Jello Pudding into a wine glass, add a layer of crumbled chocolate cookies, walnuts and choc chips, a layer of vanilla Jello pudding, and keep layering! MMM good.

    October 15, 2010 at 8:09 pm
  31. Beth Cummings

    For a quick fix I love using a low fat brownie, and instead of the normal wet mix-ins I use 1 part applesauce and 1 part Sugar Free Raspberry Jam. It’s like you are biting into the most decadent Raspberry Fudge ever eaten. Now imagine it a la mode. Mmmmm.

    October 15, 2010 at 6:39 pm
  32. Monica

    Spice cake mix with 15 oz. can of pumpkin puree. Add nothing else. Mix on medium for 2 minutes. Bake as directed on box. Easy. Healthy. Can be used as cupcakes or muffins.

    October 15, 2010 at 5:17 pm
  33. Rebecca

    My favorite recipe is not that healthy but it’s Paula Deen’s (now you know why it isn’t so healthy!) chocolate chip zucchini bread. Hubby thinks it’s the best thing since sliced bread. Begs for it sometimes. And with the back log of zucchini from the garden, I’m happy to oblige!

    October 15, 2010 at 5:05 pm
  34. Christine

    I’ve been making banana bread for more than 25 years, starting back when I was a teen. Obviously, it’s a great way to get rid of over ripe bananas, but it’s also a healthy snack or quick breakfast. My then boyfriend, now husband,loves it, and so do our children!

    October 15, 2010 at 4:58 pm
  35. Alyson

    My favorite quick bread is Martha Stewart’s banana bread… It has coconut in it and is so good!

    October 15, 2010 at 4:55 pm
  36. Jennie

    I absolutely love the Cinnamon Apple Cake from Cooking Light. I have made it for breakfast, treats at different functions, and dessert. It’s light but always gets rave reviews! The apples and the cream cheese make the cake sweet and moist. Plus it’s very easy! My husband always requests that I make a second cake to keep around the house, which I usually do. This is a favorite for my family and friends!

    October 15, 2010 at 4:43 pm
  37. Cecilia

    My favorite quick baking recipe is a zucchini carrot muffin that includes whole wheat flour, wheat germ, oatmeal, plain yogurt, honey and lots and lots of shredded carrots & zukes. So tasty and healthy!

    October 15, 2010 at 4:39 pm
  38. Ann K.

    My grandmother would say anything with poppy seed is a great recipe and I would have to agree with her. Though my favorite would be her recipe for Banana Cake w/cooked fudge frosting… amazing!

    October 15, 2010 at 4:33 pm
  39. Tracy

    I love the Cooking Light recipe for Fresh Thyme Popovers. Just a few ingredients to mix and they go with almost any dinner we like in our house. Plus leftovers for breakfast are yummy!

    October 15, 2010 at 4:16 pm
  40. Michelle

    My favorite quick baking recipe is zuchinni bread. My youngest son is a picky eater, but he loves this bread. I love that it uses whole wheat flour, egg whites, and lots of grated zuchinni. Cinnamon and honey add sweetness, and the house smells sooooo good while it bakes!

    October 15, 2010 at 4:07 pm
  41. Sara Naureckas

    Absolutely adore the “6 week bran muffin” recipe from “Cooking from Quilt Country”. You mix it up, stick it in a big tupperware thing, and can have fresh muffins whenever you want without really even being awake enough to know what you’re doing. Batter really does last 6 weeks – gets better with time.

    October 15, 2010 at 4:04 pm
  42. Ashley

    I love whole wheat peanut butter banana bread with brown sugar oat topping. I bake with bananas, applesauce, wheat germ, and powdered peanut butter- less fat and still super tasty! 🙂

    October 15, 2010 at 4:00 pm
  43. Mary

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE sour cream, cheddar, and green onion drop biscuits. The add-ins make it so they don’t taste light at all, and are a great alternative to cornbread with chili. They go great with any type of soup, and I even served them for Thanksgiving one year. YUM!

    October 15, 2010 at 3:55 pm
  44. Becki

    My mom’s Rhubarb desert recipe for sure! you can whip it up in the time it takes to preheat the oven, it uses a white cake mix, rhubarb, sugar free strawberry jello, splenda, shredded coconut and sliced almonds and a drizzle of water and your all set! You wouldn’t believe how easy it is!

    October 15, 2010 at 3:52 pm
  45. Kait

    Dump cake – without a doubt! “Dump” a can of pineapple, cherry pie filling, yellow cake mix, butter, and nuts into a baking dish and bake at 350 for 40 mins. No mixing or measuring, and best of all: only one dirtied dish – the one the cake is in!

    October 15, 2010 at 3:39 pm
  46. Misty Moody

    My favorite healthy baking recipe is a basic cookie dough that I doctored a bit. It uses unsweetened applesauce, whole wheat flour, and you can use any dried fruit, chocolate chip, and nut combination you choose. Every time I make it, I can make a different flavor cookie!

    October 15, 2010 at 3:29 pm
  47. Jennifer

    My family’s favorite quick bread recipe is CL’s Banana-Oatmeal Loaf. My kids swear they hate oatmeal, but little do they know that it’s in their favorite snack. My kids will go out of their way to not eat the last two bananas so that I’ll make this bread for them.

    October 15, 2010 at 3:25 pm
  48. Christine

    This unfortunately isn’t light, but my favorite quick baking recipe is Apricot Nectar Cake. It uses a lemon cake mix for the base. Then you add apricot nectar, oil, sugar and eggs. Bake in a well greased bundt pan and glaze with a lemon juice and powdered sugar glaze. Amazing!

    October 15, 2010 at 2:49 pm

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