The ultimate quick bread, this easy Banana Date Bread features a crunchy brown sugar crust and plump, sweet, chopped dates within. This recipe breathes new life into tired, basic banana bread with simple but extraordinary flavor enhancements. You'll never look at other banana breads the same way again!
(This recipe was originally published in March 2015, but was updated with new photos and content in 2020).
Banana bread is probably the most common quick bread in many people's repertoires. This banana date bread is not only incredibly moist, it boasts sweet bites of chewy, delicious dates as well as a crispy, sugary crust on top. The dates really take this bread over the edge. They provide a distinct flavor heightened by their inclusion in this banana date bread.
Using brown sugar in the batter yields an almost caramel sweetness which is a wonderful compliment to bananas. A sprinkling of dark brown sugar over the top before baking creates an amazing caramelized crust.
This offsets not only the moist texture of the banana date bread, but also provides an extra layer of sweetness to an otherwise mild breakfast treat. It's incredible what a minor addition can do to improve upon a timeless favorite!
- Bananas: Use well-mashed ripe bananas for this recipe. You’ll need about 3 bananas, although if they are smaller bananas you may need closer to 3 ½ bananas to yield the 1 ½ cups of mashed banana required for the recipe.
- Dates: You may use store-bought chopped dates (sold in bags near other dried fruits in the supermarket) although these also contain dextrose to keep the chopped dates from sticking together. If you chop your own dates, you will need about 5 pitted Medjool dates to yield ½ cup chopped dates.
- Brown Sugar: This banana date bread recipe uses both light and dark brown sugar (light in the batter and dark sprinkled on top). If you only have light brown sugar, you can use this to sprinkle over the bread as well, although the dark brown sugar is exceptionally good at creating a super crispy browned crust on top.
- Plain Yogurt or Sour Cream: You can use either plain, non-flavored yogurt or sour cream in this recipe. Low fat yogurt or sour cream will also work just fine if that’s what you have.
How to make it
Lightly spray a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with oil spray and if using a metal loaf pan line the bottom with parchment. There’s no need to line with parchment if using stoneware as it’s already pretty nonstick.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, light brown sugar, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon, allspice, and chopped dates. If you have chopped the dates yourself (as opposed to store-bought chopped dates) they may be sticky, so use your fingers as needed to break them up. Once they are coated in the flour mixture they will be fine (PHOTOS 1-2 BOTTOM BOWL).
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix the mashed bananas, yogurt or sour cream, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla extract with a fork (PHOTOS 1-2 TOP BOWL). Gently fold the banana mixture into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula until just combined (PHOTO 3).
Next, scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan, spreading it evenly. Sprinkle dark brown sugar on top of the loaf (PHOTO 4). Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean (PHOTO 5).
Cool the brown sugar banana bread in the loaf pan for 5 to 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling (PHOTO 6).
Please scroll to the bottom of the post for the full recipe (in a printable recipe card) including ingredient amounts and detailed instructions.
Expert tips and FAQs
This banana date bread will keep at room temperature for up to 4 days stored in an airtight container. The sugar crust on top of this bread has the best texture the day the bread is baked, and will soften in the following days, but will still be delicious.
If you don't have (or like) dates, try substituting with chopped toasted walnuts and/or chocolate chips! These are both delicious complements in banana bread, although I think the dates are what make this recipe so unique and special. You can even add walnuts to this recipe while keeping the dates to make a banana date nut bread.
Store your brown sugar at room temperature in its tightly sealed original bag placed inside a sealed freezer bag with all the air pressed out. The key is to squeeze out all the air from both the original bag (do the best you can) and then put it in another airtight container. This will keep your brown sugar soft and fresh much longer!
No. Refrigerating banana bread can adversely affect its texture, causing it to dry out. Instead, store it in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
Other recipes you may like
- Bouchon Bakery Banana Muffins
- Banana Chocolate Chunk Muffins
- Banana Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Guinness Bread
- French Gingerbread (Pain d'Epices)
- Hummingbird Cake
- Clinton St. Baking Co. Pancakes with Crunchy Bananas
- Cold Brew Iced Coffee (to drink with it!)
Tried this recipe? Please leave a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page. You can also follow me on social media on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!
Brown Sugar Banana Date Bread
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ cup chopped dates
- 1 ½ cups well-mashed very ripe bananas (about 3 bananas)
- ¼ cup plain yogurt or sour cream
- 2 large eggs
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter melted and cooled
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar for sprinkling
- Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Lightly spray a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with vegetable oil spray and if using a metal loaf pan line the bottom with parchment--no need to line with parchment if using stoneware.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, light brown sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, and dates; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, mix the mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter, and vanilla with a fork. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the banana mixture into the flour mixture until just combined.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan, spreading it evenly. Sprinkle the dark brown sugar on top of the loaf. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes (or potentially longer--around 65 minutes if using stoneware), until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool the bread in the loaf pan for 5 to 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.
- Serve warm or at room temperature. Wrapped in parchment or in an airtight container, the bread will keep at room temperature for up to 4 days.
- You may use pre-chopped dates (sold in bags or boxes near other dried fruits in the supermarket) although these also contain added dextrose to keep the chopped dates from sticking together. If you chop your own dates, you will need about 5 large pitted Medjool dates to yield ½ cup chopped dates. A smaller variety of dates will require more dates for the same yield.
- If you don't have (or like) dates, try substituting with chopped toasted walnuts and/or chocolate chips! These are both delicious complements in banana bread, although I think the dates are what make this recipe so unique and special. You can even add walnuts to this recipe while keeping the dates to make a banana date nut bread.
- If you only have light brown sugar, you can use this to sprinkle over the bread as well, although the dark brown sugar is exceptionally good at creating a super crispy browned crust on top.
- The sugar crust on top of this bread has the best texture the day the bread is baked, and will soften in the following days, but will still be delicious.
- Adapted from The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook
*All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.*
Made this bread today. The only change I made was to add another handful of chopped dates, and a handful of chopped walnuts.
OMG, this is the BEST Banana bread I've ever baked. The amount of cinnamon and allspice was perfect. I also appreciated that there was only brown sugar.
Moist and tender, with a little lovely crust.
I cannot thank you enough for this phenomenal recipe. ♥️♥️
So glad you enjoyed this banana bread! It is my absolute favorite as well! Adding crunchy walnuts along with the dates sounds fabulous 🙂
Super easy and delicious. I didn’t have plain yogurt so I used vanilla yogurt and didn’t add the vanilla extract. Also didn’t have unsalted butter so I only added added a sprinkle. Chopped the fresh dates and they were super sticky but broke apart when the flour was added. I will definitely make this again.
Love it! ❤️ Going to save it and have it as my go to Banana Bread recipe!!
Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful recipe. I made 8 miniature loafs, 4 had pecans and dried peaches and the other 4 had dates and pecans. My husband loved it. I will be making this again and again. Thank you again for sharing!
Tried this today after seeing the photo on Pinterest, and it is excellent, in fact the best I’ve made, and I’ve made many. Thank you for sharing it.
This bread is so delicious I gave it 5 stars even though I did have one issue with it. I found that because the dates are chopped you end up with exposed areas that are moist and therefore the flour seemed to stick and clump to those areas. Did anyone else find this? The flavour is over the top delicious and will definitely make again but next time I will add the dates after I have combined the wet and dry ingredients.
So glad you enjoyed this recipe! It’s a personal favorite of mine! You can definitely fold in the dates after adding the wet ingredients. Having the dates coated with extra flour (where it sticks to the dates a bit) won’t hurt your bread at all. In fact having flour coating the dates would help them not sink to the bottom of the bread as it bakes. In any case try it both ways and see what you think 🙂
This is the best BB recipe I've ever had. So good! I wish I had enough ingredients to make two loaves.
It's my absolute favorite banana bread recipe too! So glad you tried it 😀
This looks amazing!
Lucy, it IS amazing! I'm not overselling it. Truly my favorite banana bread recipe of all the banana breads I've made over the years 🙂 It's the only recipe I ever make now.
This recipe is so delicious and moist compared to plain banana bread. I don't eat my bananas just so they will ripen for this recipe. As the recipe says give it 55 mins for a clean knife or toothpick test. You won't go back to plain ol banana bread after trying this! Thanks for sharing it!
Hands down the best banana bread recipe! The dates are such a wonderful addition 🙂
Teo Ai Li
Can I replace yoghurt with same amount of buttermilk? Thanks
Hi Teo! You can usually substitute one of the other pretty easily in muffins and quick breads. I haven't tried in this specific recipe but it should work based on other recipes I've tried with the same substitutions. Give it a try and let me know how it goes! Enjoy 🙂