This insanely delicious maple pecan banana bread is infused with pure maple syrup and toasted pecans. This recipe is easy to make for the best snack you can keep on hand for days. Take it to the next level with a swirl of maple cream cheese frosting on top!
In the past few months, the world has gone mad for two things: banana bread and sourdough. If you’ve found yourself with a heap of sourdough discard to use up, go and check out my white chocolate cherry sourdough muffins for a fun way to use that up. But if you’re looking for a new way to make banana bread, you’ve come to the right place! Now, I know, nobody NEEDS another banana bread recipe, but I think it’s always fun to put a new twist on old favourites and trust me when I say that you need to try this maple pecan banana bread! It’s perfectly fluffy, moist and packed full of maple pecan flavour. The maple cream cheese frosting is completely optional as the bread tastes amazing without it but if you want to serve up something with a little extra wow factor then I highly recommend it! It’s not overly sweet and complements the banana bread perfectly.
Ingredients you’ll need
- Raw pecans – pecans are incorporated into this banana bread in two ways. First we’ll toast them to release all of those delicious caramel flavours. We’ll blitz half of them until finely ground and use them in place of some of the flour and the other half we’ll roughly chop to stir in at the end for some crunch!
- Unsalted butter – I like to use room temperature butter and beat it with the sugar, resulting in a slightly fluffier banana bread. If you like a denser banana bread, you could use melted butter instead, although I haven’t tested the recipe with melted butter.
- Brown sugar – this banana is mostly sweetened with pure maple syrup but we’re adding a little brown sugar too for texture and extra flavour.
- Eggs – essential for the perfect texture!
- Pure maple syrup – for that irresistible maple flavour. I use grade A amber, but you could use a darker maple syrup for even more intensity.
- Vanilla extract
- Bananas – overripe bananas are the easiest to mash and add lots of sweetness. Bananas that have gone way past their best for eating are perfect here so don’t throw them away!
- Plain (all-purpose) flour – we’re replacing some of the flour with finely ground pecans but using mostly regular plain flour for the best texture.
- Bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) – for the perfect rise.
- Cinnamon – for just a touch of cinnamon flavour, you can leave it out if you prefer.
- Fine sea salt – essential for bringing out all of the flavours.
If you’d like to make the maple cream cheese frosting, you’ll also need:
- Cream cheese – here in the UK, it’s impossible to get hold of block cream cheese for some reason, so this recipe is written using the regular spreadable cream cheese we’re used to here. If you would like to use block cream cheese instead, just soften to room temperature and bear in mind you may need to add a little less icing sugar, so add it gradually just in case.
- Unsalted butter – softened to room temperature so that it blends well into the frosting.
- Icing (powdered) sugar
- Pure maple syrup
How to make banana bread
Banana bread is really easy to put together. The hardest part is waiting for it to bake! But I can assure you, this maple pecan banana bread is well worth the wait.
- Start by toasting your pecans in the preheated oven for 5-8 minutes until they’re fragrant. Set aside to cool.
- In a stand mixer (or using a hand-held mixer in a bowl) beat room-temperature butter with brown sugar until light and fluffy.
- Next, beat in the eggs one by one, mixing thoroughly after each egg.
- Add in the maple syrup, vanilla extract and continue to mix until smooth. Mix in the mashed bananas.
- Divide the cooled, toasted pecans in half. Add one half to a food processor and blitz until finely ground. Add these to the wet ingredients along with the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix until just combined.
- Roughly chop the remaining half of the toasted pecans and gently fold them through the batter.
- Pour the batter into a lined loaf pan and bake for 50-65 minutes until golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean.
- Leave to cool completely before slicing and/or frosting.
- To make the frosting, beat together cream cheese and room temperature unsalted butter until smooth. Add the icing sugar, maple syrup and salt and continue to beat until light and fluffy.
Some banana bread FAQs answered
Make sure you bake the banana bread at the correct temperature. I suggest baking it in the lower half of the oven, especially if you have a fan-assisted/convection oven. This will ensure that the banana bread does not burn before it’s cooked through. Start checking to see if the banana bread is cooked after 50 minutes, by inserting a cake tester or toothpick into the thickest part of the bread. If it comes out clean, the bread is baked.
I recommend using an 8 ½ x 4 ½” loaf tin for this banana bread. You can use a slightly smaller or larger one but you’ll have to adjust the baking times accordingly. I also recommend lining the pan fully with parchment paper to ensure the bread bakes evenly – in fact, the paper loaf pan liners you can buy are perfect for this!
Once cooled, keep the unfrosted banana bread tightly wrapped in cling film at room temperature for 3-5 days. The flavour of the banana bread just keeps getting better each day! If your kitchen is humid or you added the cream cheese frosting, I’d recommend keeping the banana bread in the fridge instead.
I mean, just look at that perfect texture! You know you want a slice!
I hope you’ll give this maple pecan banana bread a try! If you make it, be sure to leave a comment, rate the recipe and tag me on Instagram! I love to see your creations!
And if you’re looking for more baking recipes, why not try one of these:
- Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread
- Vegan Blueberry Muffins
- Popcorn Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Tiramisu Layer Cake
Maple Pecan Banana Bread
- 1 cup pecans (115g)
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature (115g)
- ⅓ cup packed brown sugar (70g)
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup pure maple syrup (120ml)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 medium or 2 large bananas, mashed (250-275g peeled weight, 1 cup mashed)
- 1 ¾ cups plain flour (all-purpose flour) (210g)
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
For the frosting:
- 5 tablespoons cream cheese (75g)
- 2 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature (35g)
- 1 ½ cups icing sugar (powdered sugar) (175g)
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Grease and line an 8 ½ x 4 ½" loaf pan with parchment paper or a loaf pan liner.
- Spread the pecans out on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 5-8 minutes until fragrant. Set aside to cool.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
- Next, beat in the eggs one at a time until fully combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the maple syrup and vanilla and continue beating until combined and smooth.
- Mix in the bananas until combined.
- Add ½ cup of the pecans to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely ground – but take care that you don’t blitz them into butter! Roughly chop the remaining pecans.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the finely ground pecans, flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and gently stir in until just combined. Fold in the chopped pecans.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-65 minutes. Bake in the lower half of your oven to ensure the bread doesn't brown too quickly. Start checking for doneness after 50 minutes – you want a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the thickest part of the loaf to come out clean. If it’s not ready, return to the oven and continue to check in 5 minute intervals. Leave to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove and cool completely on a wire rack.
- Whilst the banana bread is cooling, make the frosting. Beat together the cream cheese and butter until combined. Add the icing sugar, maple syrup and salt and continue to beat until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides if needed.
- Once cool, frost the top of the cake with the cream cheese frosting. If desired, top with chopped pecans and a drizzle of maple syrup. Makes 12 slices.