You can bake this classic banana bread with ingredients from your pantry, and substitutions are easy

If you’re missing an ingredient or can’t find it at the store, four substitutions will get you over the finish line

By Joseph Neese

Deputy Editor in Chief

Published April 4, 2020 5:35PM (EDT)

Courtesy Meghan McGarry/Buttercream Blondie
Courtesy Meghan McGarry/Buttercream Blondie

As we find ourselves suddenly at home, there's never been a better time to revisit the classics in the kitchen. When it comes to baking or bread making, the ultimate comfort food is banana bread. That's why it is consistently one of the most-searched recipes on the website of Salon's resident pastry chef, Meghan McGarry of Buttercream Blondie.

Like the lemon blueberry loaf McGarry recently shared with Salon Food, this is another recipe that you can bake using common ingredients you likely already have on hand in your baking pantry. Whether you're missing an ingredient or can't find it at the grocery store, McGarry offers several substitutions to carry you over the finish line. 

We'll be using McGarry's roasted strawberry banana bread as our template. This is one recipe that truly showcases how you can easily take a classic comfort food and elevate it to the next level at home, and no one is better known for dressing up classic desserts than Buttercream Blondie. The backbone of this recipe is a delightfully moist banana bread thanks to the combination of oil and sour cream. 

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Strawberries are coming into season, and roasting strawberries is one simple way to highlight the full flavor of this fruit. Because they're roasted, the strawberries turn into pockets of sweet vanilla bean fruity jam type goodness as they bake into the banana bread. There are few flavor pairings as classic as strawberries and bananas.

If you're searching for a little special to make for the Easter holiday coming up, look no further. This recipe is a great everyday recipe for home, especially at a time when the days seem to run together. We're going back to our comforts right now, and roasted strawberry banana bread will make you feel like you've reconquered the basics. 

Small victories in the kitchen

This is a perfect recipe to put your energy into when you need a distraction. Because it's simple, it won't stress you out. Though it tastes excellent for breakfast or brunch, it's also the perfect snack food. So stress bake at whatever time works for you.

This is also great baking recipe if you don't have a stand mixer already on hand in your kitchen. You can whisk everything in one bowl by hand, meaning those are the only two tools you need. Not only is no high-tech equipment required but also clean-up is a breeze, since you won't fill up the sink. If both tools are dishwasher safe, you can just throw them straight inside when you're done. 

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If you've ever made any recipe for banana bread before, you'll know this is the best way to use those overripe bananas on your counter up instead of throwing them in the garbage. If you have strawberries that are on their last leg, don't toss them out either.

Roasting this fruit is a great way to revitalize it. It intensifies the flavor and brings out the sweetness, especially when you add the vanilla bean to your pot. McGarry recommends making an extra batch of roasted strawberries, because they're so good you'll be tempted to eat a whole batch before you even throw them into your loaf mix.

One recipe, four substitutions 

If you prefer a lighter banana bread, you can swap out the sour cream with plain Greek yogurt. McGarry recommends adding a tablespoon of bourbon to add an extra depth of flavor. You can use a dark spiced rum or an orange flavored liquor if you've already polished off the bottle. If you're baking for the kids or don't drink, you can also skip this step. 

If you don't have any strawberries on hand or just don't feel like taking an extra few minutes to roast them today, you can leave them out. The base of this recipe is McGarry's classic banana bread, and it's perfect with only bananas. If you're not feeling fruity or you're trying to please someone with a sweet tooth, try tossing in a cup of chocolate chips instead. No matter which way you go, this banana bread is always a win.


Recipe: Roasted Strawberry Banana Bread

Ingredients for Bread:

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon bourbon, optional
  • 1/2 cup sour cream - can substitute plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (this takes 2-3 bananas depending on size)
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup vanilla roasted strawberries (one batch yields 3/4 cup)
  • 2 strawberries to slice for the top


  1. Prepare one batch Vanilla Roasted Strawberries Set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a loaf pan with nonstick spray.
  3. Whisk oil, eggs and sugar together.

Click here to access the remainder of Meghan McGarry's roasted strawberry banana bread. And don't forget to follow @ButtercreamBlondie on Instagram for more ways to bake through it.

By Joseph Neese

Joseph Neese is Salon's Deputy Editor in Chief. You can follow him on Twitter: @josephneese.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Baking Banana Bread Bananas Breads Buttercream Blondie Food Meghan Mcgarry Recipes