Crystallized ginger gives this spiced banana bread recipe a delicious new dimension. This simple, easy, nut-free quick bread is perfect for the holidays; and as it bakes, your whole house will smell heavenly!
What's the Story on this Recipe?
We started making this candied ginger banana bread almost by accident. Mr. B and I are very big on ginger, and candied – or crystallized – ginger is one of our favorite things. One night when we were getting ready to make a loaf of my Mom’s classic banana bread, we thought, “Hey, I wonder how some ginger chips would taste in that?” We made a few minor leavening changes to accommodate the additional lift required by the heavy ginger chips, added a trio of complementary spices, and the rest is history.
This gingery, nut-free recipe quickly became Mr. B’s new favorite quick bread. The crystallized ginger gives the banana bread a cozy, warmly spiced dimension. It's perfect for the holidays, too; and as it bakes, the whole house smells heavenly.
What Goes into Ginger Spiced Banana Bread
If you are unfamiliar with candied ginger, let me introduce you. Crystallized ginger is fresh ginger that has been peeled, sliced or chopped, cooked in a sweet syrup, and finally, coated in fine white sugar.
Once cooked, the ginger takes on a soft, pliable texture almost like gel-candy. It’s delicious for snacking, and outstanding baked in desserts and pastries.
Ingredient Notes & Substitutions
★ Crystalized ginger chips: Crystallized ginger can be found in most grocery stores, and almost any Asian market. For this recipe, we use precut ginger chips to save ourselves from having to chop up sticky larger pieces, but if the large pieces are all you can find, simply freeze the candied ginger before you try to chop it.
★ Bananas: Use overripe bananas. It will take about 2 large or 4 small bananas to make a single loaf. (If you can't wait for your bananas to ripen, read below for how to ripen bananas quickly.) Prep the bananas by mashing them with a fork. DO NOT puree them!
★ Sugar: This recipe calls for equal amounts of brown and white sugar; however, you can use all white or all brown sugar. (The loaf will bake up a little darker on the outside if you use all brown sugar.)
★ Butter: Use real butter if possible. Using margarine or other butter substitutes can make the loaf too oily.
★ Sour cream: Use full-fat sour cream. You can substitute applesauce for half of the sour cream with good results.
★ Lemon zest: Use fresh lemon zest.
How to Make this Recipe
This recipe takes about 15 minutes to mix up, and about an hour to bake.
Preheat oven to 350°F | 177°C. Spray a 9x5 inch loaf pan with non-stick coating, or grease with butter.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and salt. Whisk together and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to cream the room temperature butter first, and then add the sugars and cream them all together.
Add the eggs one at a time, along with the vanilla and mix to combine.
With mixer on low, add half of the sour cream and half of the mashed bananas.
From this point on, mix everything by hand.
Hand-mixing is one of the secrets to tender, moist banana bread.
Using a spatula, stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. (Do not do it the other way around.)
Fold in the remaining sour cream, crystalized ginger, lemon zest, and bananas.
Spread the batter evenly into the prepared loaf pan.
Allow the pan to rest on the counter for 5 minutes, and then place in the preheated oven (350°F | 177°C) to bake for 60-70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
Cool loaf for 10 minutes before removing from pan, and then allow it to cool completely on a wire rack.
FAQs & Expert Tips
Like classic banana bread, this quick bread will stay moist and hold its flavor for some time, making it a perfect choice for gift-giving during the holidays.
To maximize the shelf life, wrap the bread tightly with foil or plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out.
• Counter: 2-3 days.
• Refrigerator: About a week.
• Freezer: If you are going to freeze this, add an extra layer with a resealable freezer bag to the plastic wrap. If properly frozen, it will last for over a year; however, it is best eaten in the first 3-4 months.
Warm Spaces (24-48 hours)
Place bananas in warm areas such as near a heater or above your refrigerator. Bananas are ready to use when brown spots begin to form on the peel.
Paper Bag (24 hours)
Place bananas in a paper bag. If they are in a bunch, do not separate them. You can add an apple to the bag to speed up the process. (Both apples and bananas emit ethylene gas which causes ripening.)
Oven (20 minutes)
Place bananas on a baking sheet and bake at 250˚F | 121˚C for 15 to 20 minutes. The heat brings out the bananas' sugars. Bananas are ready when the peels become shiny and black. They may also be a bit "weepy." This is not a problem.
Note that this method will not work on very green bananas.
Microwave (1-2 minutes)
Pierce the peel of the banana a number of times to allow air to escape, and to avoid having a banana blowout in your microwave.
Microwave the banana on high for 30 seconds at a time. Cool enough to safely check for doneness between each round in the microwave. If not, microwave for an additional 30 seconds. Continue this process until desired ripeness is obtained.
More Recipes for Ginger Lovers
Spiced Banana Bread with Crystallized Ginger
- ½ cup butter softened
- ½ cup white sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ cup crystallized ginger chips
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 cup mashed bananas about 4 medium bananas
- Preheat oven to 350°F | 177°C.Spray a 9x5 inch loaf pan with non-stick coating or grease with butter.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and salt. Whisk together and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to cream the room temperature butter first, and then add the sugars and cream them all together.Add the eggs one at a time, along with the vanilla, and mix to combine.
- With mixer on low, add half of the sour cream and half of the mashed bananas.
From this point on, mix everything by hand.
- Using a spatula, stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. (Do not do it the other way around.)
- Fold in the remaining sour cream, crystalized ginger, lemon zest, and bananas.
- Spread evenly into the prepared pan.Allow the pan to rest on the counter for 5 minutes, and then place in the preheated oven (350°F | 177°C) to bake for 60-70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
- Cool loaf for 10 minutes before removing from pan, and then allow it to cool completely on a wire rack.
• Refrigerator: About a week.
• Freezer: If properly frozen, banana bread will last for over a year; however, it is best eaten in the first 3-4 months.
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