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Let Science Tell You When Bananas Are Ripe

By Andrea Geary Published

Maximizing fructose is the key to next-level baked goods.

To make sure that your banana bread is the best it can be, don’t bake until your fruit is very ripe and darkly speckled. This will all but guarantee deeply flavorful, moist results because as bananas ripen, their starch converts to sugar at an exponential rate. 

We have scientific proof: When we sent bunches of bananas to a lab to have their fructose levels measured, the results showed that heavily speckled bananas had nearly three times the amount of fructose (the sweetest of the sugars in fruit) as less‑spotty ones. And more fructose leads to tastier, more banana-y baked goods. 

What’s more, sugar behaves like a liquid in baked goods, so breads and muffins made with ripe bananas will not only have better flavor but also be more moist.

The Banana Bread Toolkit

Banana recipes

Recipe Ultimate Banana Bread

Any 10-year-old can make the typical dry, bland banana bread. But if you want to make a moist, tender loaf with over-the-top banana flavor, you need to think like a scientist.

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JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.