For some, fall means enjoying pumpkin spice lattes and warm apple pie with vanilla ice cream on top. For others? It means delectable banana bread for breakfast, afternoon snack, or midnight treat. But if you’re baking banana bread in your favorite loaf pan, you need to know when it’s done to avoid dried-out loaves.
How can you tell if banana bread is done or not? The most reliable way to check for doneness is with a thermometer. If the interior temperature of your banana bread is between 200F and 205F (or 210F for gluten-free banana bread), it’s done. You can also do the famous “toothpick test.”
Hey! My name’s Michelle, and I’ve enjoyed baking for the past ten years – both for fun and profit! Banana bread is always a classic, and knowing when it’s done is imperative to a successful loaf. I’ve discovered the top five ways to check for doneness, and I’m sharing them with you today.
Ok, banana bread lovers! Let’s learn how to tell if banana bread is done.
- 5 Ways to Tell if Banana Bread is Done
- 1. Thermometer (Most Reliable)
- 2. Toothpick Test (Very Reliable)
- 3. Poke Test (Reliable)
- 4. Visual Check (Mostly Reliable)
- 5. Breaking Away From the Pan (Least Reliable)
- Is banana bread supposed to be gooey in the middle?
- Can you put banana bread back in the oven if it’s undercooked?
- Why does the center of my banana bread not cook?
- Banana Bread Doneness Can Be Checked in Many Ways!
5 Ways to Tell if Banana Bread is Done
Checking whether or not your banana bread is done is a cinch, and you don’t need any special or fancy tools – unless, of course, you’re the proud owner of a baking thermometer, which you should be, by the way.
If you haven’t invested in a thermometer just yet, don’t worry. There are four other ways to tell if your banana bread is done.
Let’s see all the different ways to check for doneness!
1. Thermometer (Most Reliable)
The best way to tell if banana bread is done is to use your handy-dandy notebook; err, I mean baking thermometer. (That was a “Blues Clues” reference, in case you’re not a nineties baby like I am!).
Insert the thermometer smackdab in the center of your banana bread. You want to push it down an inch or two. That’s because the top of your banana bread will be much hotter than the interior.
If the internal temperature reads anywhere between 200F and 205F, it’s done! (Gluten-free banana bread can reach temperatures up to 210F.)
Not there yet? Just keep baking.
2. Toothpick Test (Very Reliable)
If you’ve ever made beautifully-risen cupcakes or a vanilla birthday cake, you’ve undeniably performed the “toothpick test.” It’s the most popular way to check for the doneness of baked goods. And it can be used to tell if your banana bread is done, too.
Simply use a toothpick and insert it into the banana bread, the same way you would insert a thermometer. If you don’t have a toothpick handy, you can also use a sharp knife. (And to be honest, sometimes I use a fork if I’m rushing and not overly concerned with the way it “looks.”)
Insert the toothpick (or another item) into the center of the banana bread and remove it. If it comes out clean, or there are only a few moist crumbs hanging on for dear life, your banana bread is ready to come out of the oven.
3. Poke Test (Reliable)
If you’ve been here before and have read any of my articles about dough proofing, then you know that I suggest using the “poke test” to check to see if the bread dough is done proofing or not. However, this same test can also check the doneness of your banana bread.
To do the poke test, simply poke the banana bread loaf with your fingertips. Be careful, as the banana bread will be pretty hot. If it springs back, it’s done. If your finger leaves an imprint or the banana bread springs back slowly, it needs more time to bake up.
4. Visual Check (Mostly Reliable)
Banana bread that’s done will have a gorgeous, golden brown exterior thanks to the natural sugars of the bananas creating a caramelized crust. So, go ahead and give your banana bread a good look-over. If it’s beautiful and golden, it’s most likely done.
I say most likely because there’s a slight possibility that the inside isn’t cooked all the way. This may be the case if your oven temperature is too high or your oven’s not calibrated correctly. Always follow your recipe’s directions and calibrate your range using an oven thermometer.
5. Breaking Away From the Pan (Least Reliable)
When baking bread in an oven, one of the tell-tale signs that the loaf is done is that the sides of the bread pull away from the pan it’s baked in. It’s pretty reliable!
But when it comes to quick loaves of bread like banana bread, this method of checking for doneness isn’t always accurate. That’s because quick bread doesn’t always break away from the sides of the pan.
So, while this may indicate doneness, it shouldn’t be the only method of telling if banana bread is done – at least in my opinion.
Now that you know how to tell if banana bread is done, there’s no stopping you. So get in there and make that luscious loaf of bread ASAP! But before you do, check out these frequently asked questions to learn more.
Is banana bread supposed to be gooey in the middle?
Banana bread is not supposed to be gooey in the middle. It’s not banana bread pudding! If you find that your banana bread is gooey in the middle, then it needs more time to bake. Pop it back into the oven and give it some more time.
Can you put banana bread back in the oven if it’s undercooked?
If your banana bread is undercooked, you can put it back into the oven. However, I only recommend this if you notice the banana bread is undercooked shortly after taking it out of the oven. If you let the banana bread cool for several hours, it likely won’t work, and you will need to start from scratch.
Why does the center of my banana bread not cook?
Honestly, the reason your banana bread isn’t cooked in the center is likely because it hasn’t cooked for long enough. Put it back in the oven and give it more time to bake. The other cause is too many bananas or other wet ingredients, although this is less likely and can be noticed before putting the loaf into the oven.
Banana Bread Doneness Can Be Checked in Many Ways!
A thermometer is the best and easiest method for checking banana bread doneness, although the toothpick test is also reliable. If you don’t have either item, you can perform the poke test or use visual cues to tell if banana bread is done.
What’s your favorite way to tell if banana bread is done?
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.