Updated November 3, 2023
It’s a common frustration – you pull a beautifully browned banana bread out of the oven only to find the center is still wet and gooey. And asking yourself, “Why Is My Banana Bread Not Getting Done In The Center?” The number one culprit is a batter that is too thin from overripe bananas. Using bananas that are overly spotted and soft results in a thinner batter due to the extra moisture. To make sure your banana bread bakes evenly from edge to center, getting the right batter consistency is important. A thin batter, however, is not the only culprit.
Why Is My Banana Bread Not Getting Done In The Center?
There are several reasons why your banana bread is not getting done in the center. Overripe bananas add excess moisture to the batter. Overfilling the baking pan leads to a thick batter that will underbake in the middle. The oven temperature and underbaking will prevent the center from reaching the ideal internal temperature of 200–210°F. To ensure the banana bread bakes evenly throughout, use bananas at the proper ripeness, avoid overfilling the pan, bake for an adequate amount of time with the correct oven temperature, and last but least, your leaving agents such as baking powder or baking soda has lost their potency.
Batter Too Thin
Overripe bananas contain more moisture and will be darker in color and spotted. As bananas ripen, their starch converts to sugar, making them sweeter and softer.
To prevent a raw center, it’s best to use bananas that are fully ripe but not overripe. Good bananas for banana bread will have a firm, yellow color with minimal dark spots. If you only have way overripe bananas on hand, then use less than the recipe calls for. This will help to prevent a wet/thin batter that will not bake correctly, thereby causing that underdone gummy center.
One thing to remember is the oven temperature and cooking/baking times in a recipe are really only guides. The adjustment is up to you. If the outside of your banana bread is getting too dark too soon, or your oven is too hot, try lowering your oven temperature and baking your banana bread longer.
The usual way to test if your bread is done is by inserting a toothpick or skewer into the center of the bread. We usually look for a clean toothpick, but when it comes to banana bread, you want a toothpick that comes out sticky with a few wet crumbs but without batter sticking to it.
If it comes out completely clean, the bread is most likely gonna be overdone. Which, in my opinion, is about just as bad as an underdone banana bread. Who wants to bite into a gooey mess or bread that is as dry as the Sahara dessert?
Overfilling Your Pan/Wrong Pan Size
Many bakers cram banana bread batter into the pan until it’s piled high. Resist temptation! Overfilled pans prevent even baking, leaving the center underdone. For the best results, fill the pan only 1/2 to 2/3 full. The batter will spread out and cook evenly.
Check your recipe to ensure you have the correct size pan. With an over-filled pan, the edges of the bread may look done while the middle is still wet. If you need to, divide the batter between two pans rather than cramming it all into one.
Expired baking soda/ baking powder won’t get a rise out of anyone.
Baking soda and powder don’t go bad per se. But over time, they will begin to lose their potency. Old leavening agents can’t properly aerate the bread and give it rise, resulting in dense spots that won’t bake through. Always use fresh, and when in doubt, give them the fizzle test.
Baking soda- Take ¼ teaspoon of the soda and add ¼ teaspoon vinegar. If it fizzles right away, it is good to go.
Baking powder- Take ¼ teaspoon baking powder and add ½ cup water. It should fizzle immediately. If not, then throw it out and buy a fresh box.
By making these small tweaks, using properly ripe bananas, not overfilling your pan, enough bake time, in a properly heated oven and fresh baking soda/powder, you can fix the issue of underbaked centers in banana bread
For the best texture and flavor, let your banana bread cool completely before slicing. Spread on some cream cheese or butter for a delicious treat! With the tips above, you’ll be able to enjoy the pleasures of perfect banana bread without the frustration of gummy centers.
Are you ready to bake some perfect banana bread? Try this recipe!
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Frequently Asked Questions
Have more questions when it comes to baking banana bread? Here are a few Frequently Asked Questions.
Is it better to bake banana bread in a glass or metal pan?
Glass and metal pans will both work well, with some small differences. Glass pans allow you to see the bread browning which can help avoid overbaking. However, glass doesn’t conduct heat quite as evenly as shiny metal. For best results, use a metal pan with light colored interior that will let you monitor doneness. Be sure to let it cool before removing to prevent sticking.
Is banana bread supposed to sink in the middle?
A sunken center is normal for quick breads like banana bread after cooling. The bread continues baking from residual heat even outside the oven, causing it to settle a bit. The dip isn’t a flaw, but a sign your bread is nicely moist and dense. Enjoy that dip with an extra pat of butter!
How long do you wait to take banana bread out of the pan?
Banana bread needs to cool completely before removing from the pan, at least 1-2 hours. Cooling allows it to firm up and pull away from the sides of the pan for clean removal. Inverting onto a rack also helps prevent soggy bottoms. Don’t rush the process for clean slices every time.
I’m Taianne, the owner and operator behind We Are Baking. Baking my first cake at age 11 hooked me on creating sweet treats. Though my interest faded during childhood, it was rekindled when I married my apple pie-loving husband. I love trying new recipes, tweaking classics, and helping others learn the science and art of baking. I started We Are Baking to share tips, tricks, and favorite recipes I’ve discovered over the years. When not in the kitchen, I enjoy spending time with family and friends. My goal is to inspire others to embrace their creativity through baking. Feel free to contact me with any questions!