Banana bread is a crowd favorite because it’s healthy, delicious, and ridiculously easy to make.
So, you might be wondering: if it’s so easy to make, why does my banana bread burn on the outside?
The short answer is that baking banana bread also comes with challenges, especially for first-timers.
In this article, we looked at all the possible answers to the burnt bread question, plus some tips to avoid it in the future.
Why Does My Banana Bread Burn on the Outside?
Below are the top three possible reasons why your banana bread is burnt on the outside.
The first and most apparent reason is oven temperature.
Notice how we specifically said oven temperature and not just temperature? That’s because many ovens have varying temperatures, even if you follow that 325°F—the most common temperature for banana bread—on the dot.
This is mostly due to the appliance’s control systems, thermostats, and thermometers. The variation in oven temperature results in significantly varying cook times, even if you follow the exact same temperature setting.
Some ovens run cool, and some run hot. Ultimately, if you’ve had your oven for a while, you would have a pretty good idea of how it behaves in terms of temperature.
If it’s a brand-new oven, give yourself some time to get acquainted with it.
Aside from the oven’s actual temperature, fluctuating temperatures within the appliance also affect your banana bread. Some parts of the oven may get hotter than others.
Often this is the case for ovens with multiple layers. These shifting baking temperatures are the most common cause of unbaked centers and over-baked crusts in most pastries—including your banana bread.
You can use an oven thermometer to ensure all cake parts are exposed to the correct temperature. If not, you can rotate the bread pan every now and then to ensure even baking.
Speaking of bread pans, they can also be a culprit behind the burnt outsides of your banana bread. For instance, dark pans bake quicker compared to light-colored or glass bakeware.
This is because dark-colored pans absorb and spread heat more rapidly. Thus, when using this material for baking, you may have to adjust and decrease the oven temperature.
However, if you notice that the outside of your banana bread is still burning after adjusting the temperature, consider using another bread pan. Oven-safe glassware typically absorbs heat slower, but they retain heat even when out of the oven.
In addition, with a glass pan, you can see and track just how brown the outside of your banana bread is while baking.
Let’s say your banana bread is already burnt, and you can no longer save it or eat it as it is. So, what else can you do with it?
We want to preface this by saying that you should avoid eating severely burnt bread. Burnt food, in general, contains acrylamide.
While limited research confirms its drastic effects on human health, it’s better to be safe than sorry. With that said, only repurpose your burnt banana bread as something edible if, and only if, it’s not charred and black!
There are two ways to turn your burnt banana bread into breadcrumbs. The first is by putting it through a blender or a food processor.
Another method is to crumble the bread and then use a skillet to toast it. For both methods, you can add any other ingredient you’d like.
Banana breadcrumbs match well with breakfasts, desserts, and snacks. Add them to rolled oats, cornflakes, and even ice cream.
The sweet breadcrumbs add texture and subtle hints of sweetness too.
Do you know the best thing about bread pudding? It’s that the recipe calls for day-old loaves.
Most recipes use leftover bread. This means the loaf that you use doesn’t have to be perfect.
That’s exactly why you can repurpose your burnt banana bread and turn it into bread pudding. Making this is as simple as gathering all of your ingredients, like vanilla, milk, butter, sugar, and salt, and popping them into the oven.
Once baked, whisk this mixture and add eggs. Then, pour it over your burnt banana bread and bake again for 30 minutes or so.
If you don’t really like the idea of eating burnt banana bread, but you still don’t want it to go to waste, you can use it as a fertilizer. Bread is relatively easy to compost because it breaks down easily.
Using burnt banana bread—one that’s beyond salvageable—as fertilizer is a great idea to avoid any food wastage. Instead of feeding it to your family and friends, you can give it to your backyard plants instead.
Here we have a few tips and tricks to help you avoid burnt outsides and make the perfect banana bread!
Since one of the most common reasons for burnt banana bread problems is caused by wrong temperatures, you can opt to calibrate your oven. How do you know if your oven needs to be calibrated?
The simplest way to find out is to use an oven thermometer. Begin by setting your oven to a certain temperature; 320°F, for example.
Then, use your oven thermometer to check if the inside matches your set temperature. Suppose it’s off by a few degrees—regardless if it’s higher or lower—you need to calibrate your oven.
Since all ovens are built differently, you’re going to have to visit the owner’s manual to check if you can calibrate it on your own. Otherwise, call the manufacturer for further instructions and assistance.
Another method to prevent the burnt outsides of your banana bread is to tent the top with foil. Tenting is commonly done to lock in moisture when baking.
This technique is usually used in roasts like beef, chicken, and other savory meals so that the oven doesn’t dry out the meat. However, you can do this with your banana bread too.
Tenting exposes the entire banana bread loaf to even oven temperatures. In addition, this helps prevent browning, or worse, burning, while the rest of your bread is still baking.
All you have to do is to fold your aluminum foil like a tent and place it over the banana bread. However, note that different results are achievable, depending on what side of the foil you use.
Make sure the shiny side of the foil is facing toward your oven so that it browns the bread slower and locks in moisture.
When you find yourself asking, why does my banana bread burn on the outside? Common culprits are your oven’s temperature, uneven baking inside the oven, and your bread pan.
Unfortunately, you can’t always save burnt banana bread. However, there are a lot of ways you can repurpose them, by making breadcrumbs, bread pudding, and even fertilizer.
You can avoid burnt banana bread altogether, though. Two top tips are to calibrate your oven for the right temperature and tent your loaf with aluminum foil to avoid uneven baking.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard.