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History of Banana Bread (And Some Fun Facts!)

Banana bread is definitely one of my favourite things to bake. You can try endless variations, and it’s always a hit with friends and family.

As I made it the other day, I started thinking about the history of banana bread.

Like, where did banana bread originate? Why is it called bread and not cake?

Intrigued, I dove into some research to get answers to my questions. Read on to find out what I learned and discover some fun banana bread facts.

Where Did Banana Bread Originate?

Banana bread is thought to have originated in the United States in the early 1900s.

One theory is that it was created by enterprising housewives who were looking for ways to use up overripe bananas before they went bad.

Another theory suggests that banana bread was created by companies that were looking for ways to promote the sale of their newly developed baking powder.

Whatever its origins, there’s no denying that banana bread is a delicious part of American culinary history that thankfully made its way over the pond to the UK.

Like many popular foods, banana bread has its own national day, celebrated on 23rd February each year.

First Banana Bread Recipe

One of the earliest known recipes for banana bread appeared in Pillsbury’s 1933 Balanced Recipes cookbook.

This recipe used mashed bananas, flour, sugar, eggs, butter, baking soda, thick sour cream and salt.

Over time, other ingredients like cinnamon, vanilla extract, and chopped nuts were added to the basic recipe to give banana bread even more flavour and texture.

Today, there are endless variations on this classic quick bread, from chocolate chip banana bread to vegan banana bread.

Fun Facts About Bananas

Did you know?

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  • There are more than 400 varieties of bananas.
  • A banana is a berry and not a fruit.
  • A row of bananas is known as a ‘hand’, and a single banana is known as a ‘finger.’

Why Is Banana Bread Called Bread And Not Cake?

Banana bread is called ‘bread’ and not a cake because of the loaf tin it is typically baked in. Banana bread is also sliced like a load of bread and sometimes even toasted and buttered like we would with a slice of toast.

Although we call it banana bread, it is, by definition, actually a cake.

A cake is defined as;

“a sweet food made with a mixture of flour, eggs, fat, and sugar” (reference Cambridge Dictionary)

Banana Bread Variations

The method I typically use is my favourite easy banana bread recipe.

Still, there are plenty of different ways to cook banana bread, from the cooking method to the ingredients you use.

  • Chocolate Chip Banana Bread the same delicious banana bread but mixed with some delicious chocolate chips; it’s the perfect combination!
  • Banana MuffinsBanana muffins are a great way to enjoy banana bread on the go.
  • Slow Cooker Banana BreadBanana bread in a slow cooker has a slightly different texture to oven baked, but it’s an interesting way to enjoy banana bread without the need for an oven.
  • Air Fryer Banana BreadAnother way to enjoy banana bread without using an oven! Air fryer banana bread cooks in less time, uses less energy and tastes just as good as oven-baked – what’s not to love?
  • Nutella Banana Bread
  • Banana and Blueberry Bread
  • Peanut Butter Banana Bread
  • Vegan Banana Bread
  • Banana and Walnut Loaf
  • Sugar Free Banana Bread
  • Eggless Banana Bread
  • Coconut Flour Banana Bread
  • Microwave Banana Bread

Where Is Banana Bread Popular?

Banana bread is popular worldwide, but some countries enjoy it more than others.

I looked at the Google search volumes of banana bread worldwide to see which countries searched for a banana bread recipe the most.

It will not surprise you that the USA takes the top spot, but the other top ten countries might surprise you.

Banana Bread Search Trends

United States1.2 million
United Kingdom77,000
New Zealand13,000
Czech Republic11,000
*based on data from Ahrefs @21.11.2022 – figures are a monthly average over the last 12 months

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