bourbon vanilla banana bread with candied walnuts


I’m the girl at the grocery store that spends five minutes deliberating over the bunches of bananas, looking for two or three that fit my exact specifications – the peels are preferably green-tinged so I know the fruit is underripe, and must have zero spots or blemishes. The moment a banana turns otherwise, I toss it in the depths of the freezer. Am I particular? Absolutely. Picky? Perhaps. Either way, my surplus bag of bananas calls for banana bread, and plenty of it!

Bourbon Vanilla Banana Bread with Candied Walnuts

Brown sugar, bourbon, and vanilla flavor this loaf and make me wonder why it took me this long to add a splash of booze to banana bread. Sugary crisp candied walnuts sprinkled over the top give each tender slice an addictive crunch. And unlike most things in life, banana bread actually gets better with age, so you may find yourself in the kitchen at midnight, carving off a sliver before bed when you simply need a sweet bite.

Bourbon Vanilla Banana Bread with Candied Walnuts


Bourbon Vanilla Banana Bread with Candied Walnuts

  • Yield: 1 loaf, 12 slices 1x



Candied Walnuts

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp hot water
  • 1 1/4 cups walnuts
  • 2 Tbsp turbinado sugar

Banana Bread

  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 3 Tbsp bourbon
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350Β°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. For the candied walnuts, whisk together sugar and hot water in a small bowl until sugar is dissolved. Add walnuts and turbinado sugar; toss to coat. Spread the walnuts in a single layer on prepared baking sheet and bake until crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Spray a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray. For the banana bread, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the mixture. Combine banana, sugars, coconut oil, buttermilk, egg, bourbon, and vanilla in a medium bowl; add to flour mixture and fold in just until combined. Coarsely chop 1/2 cup candied walnuts and fold into batter. Spoon batter into prepared pan and smooth top with an offset spatula. Halve remaining candied walnuts and sprinkle over batter.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes; rotate pan and cover with foil to prevent over browning. Continue baking another 30 minutes. Bread is done when golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs attached. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes; carefully remove bread from pan and cool completely.


  • Calories: 270
  • Carbohydrates: 35
  1. The description of your banana shopping was wonderful! I’m very picky about my fruit too! (I imagine we could have a great conversation about how our hand picked groceries are packed at the check out stand.) I stopped keeping bananas in the freezer because I tended to forget about them. With this scrumptious recipe brimming with walnuts and spiked with bourbon it might be time to rethink my strategy!

    1. Oh yes we could, I’m equally fastidious about bagging groceries – and keeping the bananas on top to prevent bruising! Thanks Deb :).

  2. I tend to linger too long in the fruit aisle, too…I’m always worried that the store clerks will start giving me the stink eye. πŸ˜€

    This bread sounds amazing!! Love all the flavour combo.

  3. Gorgeous banana bread! Love your use of coconut oil, buttermilk and bourbon for a slightly different take on it. And so with you on bananas – no blemishes and a tinge of green is the only way I will eat them! Past that point they are saved for freezing for smoothies or breads like this haha πŸ™‚

  4. Those walnuts on top look delicious. I am definitely nuts for nuts and I think I would loooove this bread (the fact that I always buy an extra bunch of bananas to ripe for the banana bread also helps with loving this banana bread).

  5. Could I substitute olive oil for the coconut oil? Or do you have a better suggestion? My bf has a coconut allergy but I want to make this for him.

    1. Hi Karrisa, you could substitute vegetable oil or a neutral flavored olive oil. You could also use melted butter, but the bread won’t be quite as tender. I’d recommend using a different oil as the best substitute. Hope that helps!

  6. Hi Laura
    I just recently found your site and have just finished baking your banana bread
    With mouth watering results
    I am looking forward to trying out a few more of your recipes hopefully with the same awesome results????

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