Moist Brown Sugar Banana Bread

a tray of sliced moist banana bread with pecans and two cups of coffee.

When you’re craving a moist banana bread, this one sweetened with brown sugar and spiked with bourbon is one of the best. This homemade brown sugar banana bread is speckled with crunchy toasted pecans and makes three big loaves so you can freeze some for later or share with friends. Try this easy, moist banana bread recipe whenever you’ve got over-ripe brown, speckled bananas on the counter.

Ingredients for the brown sugar banana bread recipe.

Does the world really need another easy, moist banana bread recipe? I Googled it and came up with 8,330,000 results.  So the answer, it would seem, is no.  

On this website alone, I have several (and they’re all really good). I guess it just depends on what you’re craving and the ingredients you have on hand.

I have a gluten free version, some banana muffins made with chocolate chips and coconut, as well as this tropical version with macadamias, and this moist fall inspired banana bread with pumpkin and streusel.  

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Regardless of which you choose to make, when you’ve got speckled, overripe bananas on your counter, you’d better get busy.

Ingredients for this moist banana bread recipe:

  • All Purpose Flour
  • Baking Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Salt
  • Unsalted Butter
  • Ground Cinnamon
  • Ground Mace (optional)
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Brown Sugar
  • Eggs
  • Over Ripe Bananas
  • Bourbon
  • Milk
  • Toasted Pecans

This tasty bourbon and brown sugar banana bread comes together with three main components.

  1. Dry ingredients, a mix of flour, leavener and spices.
  2. Softened creamed butter, brown sugar, eggs and mashed bananas.
  3. Liquid ingredients, a mix of milk and bourbon.

Why can’t you mix the ingredients together in one bowl?

The reason you’ll want to mix dry and wet ingredients separately, is to ensure that each are evenly and completely combined, keeping the texture of the banana bread moist and tender throughout.

Assembling the dry ingredients:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and mace, if using.
  2. Whisk the dry ingredients together until thoroughly combined and set aside.

Blending the butter, spices and brown sugar for a moist banana bread

  1. Make sure the butter has softened to room temperature. (Don’t microwave it – that’s just a mess waiting to happen).
  2. Beat the butter with a hand mixer or stand mixer (recommended) until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the brown sugar and beat until very well blended, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally with a rubber spatula.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time to the banana bread batter, mixing well between each addition.
  5. Add mashed bananas and mix well to combine.

How to mash bananas for a moist bread

Over-ripe bananas give this bread its signature flavor and helps to make the banana bread very moist. Look for fruit that has more speckled brown skin than yellow and yields easily when you press it.

Use a fork to mash the fruit (or even a potato masher) until the bananas are mostly smooth with just a few lumps.

adding bourbon to the milk and incorporating it into the batter.

What’s the best bourbon for brown sugar banana bread?

Bourbon blended with milk is another moist-maker, but also gives the loaves a richness that you’ll love.

You don’t have to use an expensive bourbon whisky for this bread. Jack Daniels or Jim Beam work fine. Save your pricier spirits for sipping.

adding dry ingredients to the butter mixture.

Alternate adding ingredients for a moist banana bread batter

To assemble the banana bread batter, add about 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the butter brown sugar and banana mixture. Blend just until it’s combined (don’t over beat), then add about 1/3 of the milk and bourbon mixture.

Continue in this fashion, adding the dry ingredients and the wet, finishing with the last of the milk and bourbon.

If you have a stand mixer, I’d recommend using because of the sheer volume of batter.

If you don’t have a stand mixer, use a large mixing bowl with a rubber base {affiliate link below}, so it doesn’t slide on the counter.

Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure the dry ingredients are fully blended.

Once the batter is mixed, stir in the chopped, toasted pecans and spread it into 3 prepared loaf pans.

adding toasted pecans to the banana bread batter.

Best loaf pans for brown sugar banana bread recipe

I use three 8 1/2 x 4 1/2″ loaf pans which makes three tender, moist banana bread loaves.

The first time, I made this in two pans instead of three and it literally overflowed all over my oven like some kind of volcanic disaster movie.

Heed my warning… use three pans… or if you don’t have that many, make them in batches or use a muffin tin for moist banana bread muffins.

How to ensure your banana bread doesn’t stick to the pan:

There’s nothing worse than trying to turn out baked goods that refuse to release from the pan. Here’s how I prep my loaf pans so that the moist banana bread doesn’t stick:

  1. Cut a piece of parchment paper to the same size as the bottom surface area of the loaf pan. (I do this by resting the pan on the parchment paper and tracing a line around the bottom. Then use scissors to cut the parchment, just slightly smaller than the tracing area, to fit the pan without riding up the sides.
  2. Liberally spray the pan with nonstick vegetable spray.
  3. Rest the parchment in the bottom of the pan and spray again with nonstick spray.
  4. Divide the bourbon brown sugar banana bread batter between the prepared loaf pans and bake.
filling bread pans with banana bread batter.


Breads with a moist dense batter will sometimes form a crack in the seam. It’s caused by the heat of the oven “setting” the crust before the bread has finished its rise. The crack is normal, especially in quick breads like this one, but sometimes the crack can take on a jagged, earthquake vibe.

For slightly more control of where that crack ends up, use a paring knife to make a slash down the center of the loaf about 1-2″ deep. As the brown sugar banana bread rises and bakes, the crack at least set in the center.

baked brown sugar banana bread in a loaf pan.

This moist, tender banana bread recipe is well suited to mix-ins. So feel free to switch it up as you like.

Swaps and Substitutions:

  • Substitute pecans for other toasted, chopped nuts like walnuts, almonds or pistachios.
  • Add a cup of dark chocolate morsels. The batter is thick enough that they shouldn’t sink to the bottom. If you’re nervous, use mini morsels.
  • Try butterscotch chips for even more nuance.
  • Glaze the banana loaves with a bourbon glaze, made with 2 cups of confectioners sugar, 2 tablespoons of bourbon and 2 teaspoons honey.
a sliced loaf of bourbon banana bread on a cutting board.

The brown sugar and bourbon add a richness that goes beyond plain old banana bread and if you let it sit a day, the bourbon flavor becomes more pronounced— I’m just sayin’.  

And since this makes three generous loaves, its great for holiday entertaining, or gifting to friends and neighbors if you’re feeling charitable.  It also freezes well if you’d rather keep it all for yourself!

Serving the banana nut bread with coffee.

Brown Sugar Banana Bread FAQ’s

How long do I bake the brown sugar banana bread recipe to make muffins?

It depends on what size your muffin tins are. For regular sized muffins, bake 20-25 minutes. For small muffins, 15-18 minutes and 1-2 bite mini muffins, 12-15 minutes.

How do I freeze extra loaves of banana bread to keep them moist?

A double layer of protection will keep the banana bread moist. Wrap in plastic wrap first, then in a layer of freezer paper (or cut up a heavy duty brown paper grocery bag. The loaves will keep well in the freezer for

a breakfast tray with coffee and sliced brown sugar banana bread.

There’s just something so right about the combination of bourbon and brown sugar. Here’s a few more of my favorite recipes with that classic pairing.  

More recipes with bourbon and brown sugar:

Bourbon banana bread on a wooden serving platter.

More amazing quick bread recipes:

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moist brown sugar banana bread recipe on a breakfast tray.
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4.75 from 20 votes

Bourbon Brown Sugar Banana Bread

Rich butter and brown sugar batter with a solid dose of bourbon, and crunchy toasted pecans – takes this banana bread off the charts! Makes 3 loaves – great for sharing!
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword banana, banana bread, bourbon
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 24


  • 3 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1 ½ cups unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 ½ cups brown sugar firmly packed
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 bananas over ripe, mashed
  • ¼ cup bourbon
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 ½ cups pecans toasted, chopped


  • Adjust oven rack to one third up from the bottom. Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray three loaf pans (8 1/4 x 4 1/2 x 2″) with nonstick vegetable spray. Cut out two pieces of parchment paper to line the bottom of each pan and press into the pan. Spray the parchment with vegetable spray and set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt cinnamon and mace, if using. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl or using a stand mixer, add the butter and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the brown sugar a cup at a time until it’s completely incorporated into the butter.
  • Add eggs one at a time, beating until completely blended after each addition. Add the bananas and vanilla and mix until well combined.
  • In a 1 cup glass measuring cup measure out 3/4 cup milk. Add enough bourbon to fill the milk to the 1 cup line and stir to blend.
  • On the lowest speed, alternate adding the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients in 3 additions, ending with the wet ingredients. Do not overmix, just until the ingredients are combined. Stir in the chopped toasted pecans.
  • Divide the batter between the loaf pans.
  • Place the loaf pans on a sheet pan and bake for 45-55 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn out the loaves onto a wire baking rack to cool completely.


Can be wrapped in plastic wrap or foil and kept refrigerated for 3-5 days or freeze (wrapped in freezer paper) for up to a month.


Calories: 338kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 69mg | Sodium: 244mg | Potassium: 189mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 435IU | Vitamin C: 1.3mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 1.4mg

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  1. Hello
    I’m making this today but I don’t have bourbon, would rum be a good replacement?
    Thank you

  2. 5 stars
    I just made this but didn’t have 3 loaf pans so I did 1 loaf and 12 muffins. Too die for!! I took the muffins out at about 23 minutes and left the loaf to finish. The crumb was so soft on both and the flavor is perfect! Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe!

  3. Can I put 2/3 of this batter in a Bundt pan and 1/3 in a loaf pan? Bundt for us with pecans, loaf to give away to family allergic to nuts.

    1. Sure, but you may need to adjust the bake time. I’d bake for the recommended standard, then see how cooked (or not it is) and add 10-15 minutes from there. Test with a toothpick or cake tester poked into the center of the cake. If it comes out with batter stuck to it, it will need more time. If it’s just a few crumbs, it should be ready.

      1. 5 stars
        Perfect timing for your reply. Thank you so much.

  4. I want to make this but I’m wondering about the size of bananas you use. Do you happen to have a cup measurement for the amount of mashed banana to use?

    1. I don’t have a cup measure, but each banana should yield about 1/2 cup of mashed banana. So figure on around 1 1/2 cups of puree.