Banana Pecan Muffins are a handheld version of banana bread with the added crunch of chopped pecans.
Why I Love Banana Pecan Muffins
- I love a good banana bread recipe. Banana muffins are moist, easy to make, and full of banana flavor. Heck, even people (like me!) who don’t like bananas love banana pecan muffins.
- Muffins are basically an excuse to eat cake for breakfast. Enough said.
- Pecan and Banana Muffins can be made ahead of time and use ripe bananas, which I almost always have. More about that to come. #momlife
Kitchen tools needed to make this recipe
You already have everything you need in your kitchen, I can (almost) guarantee it!
- 12 Cup Muffin Tin
- Large Mixing Bowl (this set is so cute!)
- Toothpick (just one will do!)
How to Select the Perfect Bananas for Banana Pecan Muffins
We seem to always have ripe bananas sitting on our kitchen counter. For these muffins, the overripe banana is a good thing. We want some deeper yellow coloring and some brown spots on the peel.
When bananas look a bit like Charlie Brown's shirt, they become sweeter and more awesome.
Now, I’ll stir up some controversy here and say I think there’s such thing as an overripe banana.
I say this because at some point, bananas transform from the perfectly sweet, mashable ingredient into a self destructing pile of unsmushable fruit. We don’t want that, especially since my spellcheck won't recognize "smushable" as a word.
It seems that in our house, no one thinks about eating bananas until they’re overripe. And when I tell them to grab a healthy snack they’re like, “Mom, I can't eat these. Why did you buy bad bananas?”
There are not "bad" bananas. I mean, what are they doing, robbing banks? Stealing parked cars?
We both know they were "good" bananas before they were "bad" bananas. They're just more desirable now because my family thinks they can't have them.
It’s kind of like when you give your sister the blouse you haven't worn for years. I mean, its been sitting in your closet for two years, getting no love. Then, your sister shows up to Easter rockin' your rose colored shirt with the cute detail on the sleeves, and suddenly, you want it back.
Ahem. Anyway, that’s how life is with bananas.
I’m not gonna say the bananas are bad, they’re just no longer desirable for eating straight up as a snack. But don't worry, I have a recipe fix for that...
Here's what we'll need to make a moist and tasty banana muffin.
- Very ripe bananas, mashed: When bananas are ripe, the starch turns to sugar. This makes the bananas extra sweet! See banana musings above.
- Unsalted butter, melted: To melt butter I cut it into tablespoons (I don't measure, I just give it a few chops) and place it in a bowl. I heat it in increments until it's melted. Viola!
- Milk: we use whole milk because it's what I have in the fridge. You can substitute whatever kind of milk you have on hand.
- Egg: at room temperature if possible. If you forget to pull out your eggs in advance you can submerge it in lukewarm water for about 20 minutes before cracking. Egg acts as a binder for our muffins and pulls the whole thing together.
- A teaspoon vanilla extract: it's just a natural pairing, what can I say??
- Dry ingredients: The usual here like all purpose flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and brown sugar
- Pecans: You'll want these coarsely chopped. If you don't care for pecans, use walnuts or even macadamia nuts. Keep the nuts in larger pieces so you can really enjoy every bite!
How to Make Banana Pecan Muffins
We’ll start this recipe like we do with most baked goods. Mix the wet ingredients, then add the dry ingredients.
Step 1: Preheat your oven and spray a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.
my favorite way to mash bananas
You can use a fork to mash your bananas, but honestly, I have an even better way.
My absolute favorite way to mash bananas in a bowl is by using a pastry blender. If the bananas are properly ripe, they’ll mash easily and you don't have to chase them around the bowl.
Step 2: In a large mixing bowl, mix the mashed bananas, melted butter and milk. Stir with a spoon to combine.
Step 3: Add the egg, vanilla, and brown sugar to the banana mixture.
Step 4: Add the remaining dry ingredients and fold until just incorporated, trying not to overstir. Then, fold in your nuts.
If the lingo "fold" has you scratching your head, no worries! You can see more about how to fold ingredients in this post.
Step 5: Fill your muffin pans about ⅘ full. That's kind of a weird measurement. I guess what I’m saying here is don’t fill to the tippy top or your muffins will have no where to grow.
More than half, less than full. That’s the ballpark we’re shooting for here.
Bake for 18-20 minutes. When you stick a toothpick into the center of a muffin, it should come out clean. This means no batter sticking to your pick. A crumb or two is perfectly fine.
Magnificent Muffin Tips
- Don’t go overboard when it comes to chopping your nuts. Go for a coarse chop. You want to be able to identify there are pecans in every delicious bite!
- I'm so thankful for non-stick spray, which is an invention that makes our lives easier, don't you think? But I don't like getting the overspray on my kitchen counter.
I either spray my pan over our deep sink, or do as my friend Lynn does. She open the dishwasher door and sprays her pan on there. All the overspray stays put and washes away the next time the dishes wash. Genius!
- Sometimes muffins get stuck to the pan when they bake, even when you grease your pan. Hey, it happens!
I try to run a knife or spatula along the sides of my muffins, then gently tilt the pan. They'll fall out of the muffin cups this way. Just remember the key word....gently tip!
Is there a way to ripen or soften bananas quickly?
Actually, there is!
If you have a day or two to spare, you can place your bananas in a paper bag and fold it closed. It speeds things up by a day or two, but results are not immediate.
How to freeze ripe bananas
My favorite way to solve the "I need ripe bananas now!" conundrum is to freeze overripe bananas ahead of time. I have a container in my fridge of peeled, halved bananas that were past their prime.
When I need them for a recipe, I simply pull out however many bananas I need.
Other nuts you can use
Banana bread pairs well with walnuts, pecans, or even chopped macadamia nuts.
Can Banana Nut Muffins be frozen?
Yes, banana nut muffins can (and should!) be frozen. This is a perfect way to take advantage of the time you have for baking + ripe bananas.
Be sure to completely cool the muffins before freezing. Place muffins into freezer bags or wrap individually and place in a freezer safe container.
Those of you who are cooking for two can either give your leftovers to friends and neighbors, or stash them in the freezer to pull one or two as you need them!
Muffins can be thawed at room temperature and enjoyed.
More Muffin Recipes You’ll Love
Be sure to save this recipe to Pinterest! And if you make these banana and pecan muffins, please give your feedback below!
Banana Pecan Muffins
- Non-stick cooking spray
- 3 very ripe bananas mashed
- ¼ cup unsalted butter melted
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup pecans chopped + extra to top muffins before baking, if desired
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a standard muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
- Add the mashed bananas, melted butter, and milk to a large mixing bowl. Mix to combine. Beat in the egg and vanilla, and brown sugar.
- Add in the remaining dry ingredients and fold in until just mixed. Fold in the pecans by gently scraping the bottom of the bowl with a spatula, bringing the mixture to the top.
- Fill your muffin cups to about ⅘ full. Top with additional pecans, if desired. They're prettier this way, too!
- Place in the pre-heated oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool for at least 5-10 minutes before serving.