Rich, nutty, and sweet, Brown Butter Banana Bread is a delicious variation on the classic! This recipe is easy to make, great for a crowd & freezer-friendly!
This recipe was originally published on March 28, 2022. It was updated with recipe information on August 11, 2023.
Table of contents
If I could, I would name this post "Banana Bread or Bust." I mean, seriously, how does one really ever say "no" to banana bread?
I mean, I sure don't know how. Coming hot of the oven, with all of the nutty banana aromas tantalizing me throughout the baking, the anticipation is like nothing else.
Add a dimension of browned butter, and banana bread is really taken to a whole new level. Brown butter is surprisingly easy to make (all you need is 2 steps and an eye on the butter's progress!) and very rewarding.
The result: a banana bread that may have you telling your family to banana bread or bust, but more likely to snooze before they lose. Because yes, this bread will likely disappear that quickly. 😉 Enjoy, friends!
Why You'll Love Brown Butter Bread
- Nutty - both whole wheat flour and the browned butter contribute to the flavor, making a moist and tender whole wheat banana bread recipe.
- Sweet - most of the sugar in this recipe actually comes from the bananas. We only add ¾ cup additional sugar, which is a conservative amount of sugar for a quick bread recipe. The overripe bananas make the bread just the perfect amount of sweet.
- High Altitude Friendly - I live at 5000 feet and make this recipe frequently. It's light, fluffy, sweet, and nutty. No adaptations are needed to make this recipe if you live above 3500 feet.
- Delicious year-round - save the sweltering days of summer when the thought of turning on the oven is just unbearable, there aren't many times of the year that banana bread isn't amazing.
- Great for get togethers - I don't think I've ever brought a loaf of this bread to a party, picnic, or potluck where it wasn't enthusiastically received! If you are baking this bread for a large get together, double or triple the recipe to feed a crew (notes below!).
- Overripe Bananas: The browner and more ripe the better
- Unsalted Butter: Brought to room temperature.
- All-Purpose Flour: Adds structure to the bread and is a foundation for the sweet and nutty flavor.
- Whole Wheat Flour: Both white whole wheat flour and traditional whole wheat flour work well in this recipe
- Brown Sugar: Packed tightly in the measuring cups to measure. Either light or dark brown sugar works in this recipe.
- Granulated Sugar: Accentuates the sweetness of overripe bananas.
- Large Eggs: Bind the bread together and add a rich and savory flavor.
- Greek Yogurt or Sour Cream: Use Greek yogurt of any fat percentage. If using sour cream, use full-fat sour cream.
- Vanilla Extract: Use pure vanilla extract for the best flavor.
- Baking Soda: Helps the bread rise, making it light and tender.
- Ground Cinnamon & Salt: Accentuate the sweetness of the bananas and ties the flavors of the bread together.
- Butter: Salted butter can work in place of unsalted butter. Just reduce the salt in the recipe by a pinch if so.
- Sour cream or Greek Yogurt: Reduced fat sour cream can work for regular sour cream in a pinch. Vanilla low-fat yogurt can substitute for plain Greek yogurt.
- Sugar: Coconut sugar can substitute for both brown sugar and granulated sugar if desired.
How to Make Brown Butter Banana Bread
For the complete recipe and measurements, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
How to Brown Butter
Note: This step is optional. You can also make this recipe without browning the butter. Just melt it, let it cool to room temperature, and continue with the recipe as directed.
Step 1: Heat the butter to medium heat in a light-colored skillet. Melt the butter until it just starts to foam. Cook the butter for 2-3.5 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the butter turns a golden-amber color.
Step 2: Remove the skillet from the heat. Pour the butter into a cool bowl. Let the butter cool for 10-15 minutes at room temperature.
Make the Brown Butter Banana Bread
Step 1: Cream the brown sugar, sugar, and brown butter together until smooth, creamy, and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl while mixing as needed.
Step 2: Mix the eggs into the creamed butter until smooth and creamy, and a light color of yellow/orange.
Step 3: Mix in the Greek yogurt or sour cream, mashed bananas, and vanilla extract.
Step 4: In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon until combined.
Step 5: Slowly mix the flour into the batter, just until the streaks of flour disappear.
Step 6: Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake the bread for 55-75 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.
Step 7: Let cool in the pan on a wire cooling rack until room temperature. Remove the bread from the pan, slice, and enjoy!
- Measure the flour by weighing it. Weighing flour is the most accurate way to measure it and accurately measuring flour can make a huge difference in your baking results. I highly recommend weighing the flour if you don't already. You can find a food scale for under $10 on Amazon or at most Targets and WalMarts here in the states.
- Use overripe bananas. You want bananas with as many brown spots as possible. The browning creates more sugars in the bananas, contributing more banana flavor and sweetness to the bread.
- Don't burn the butter. You want the butter to be a golden-amber color, but not cooked any further or burnt. Once the butter turns golden-amber, remove the pan from the heat and pour the butter into the bowl to cool.
- How to mash bananas. There are many ways to mash bananas. You can mash them with a potato masher (as I did), two forks, or a pastry cutter. You can also mash them in a stand mixer with a wire whisk attachment. Whichever way you mash them, mash the bananas until they are smooth and runny. You don't want any large chunks of bananas remaining.
- Doubling the recipe. This recipe can easily be multiplied. Just increase the ingredients by the desired amount and follow the directions as listed, browning the butter for additional time until it's golden-amber as needed, and dividing the batter between the same number of pans that you multiplied the recipe by.
Making High-Altitude Banana Bread
You can easily make this bread at high altitude. I live at 5200 feet and the bread turns out perfectly every time. Just follow the directions as listed, using a glass baking pan (if possible) for the best results.
Banana bread is delicious enjoyed for breakfast - toasted and slathered with peanut butter or butter, of course! 😉 - a snack, or even for dessert. It's always welcome at family get-togethers, baby showers, bridal showers, barbecues, and more. Oh, and let's not forget what a great housewarming gift this bread is!
Banana bread is best consumed within the first 24 hours of baking, but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days.
Yes, you most definitely can freeze banana bread. Freeze the banana bread in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. To defrost, place the bread in a room temperature location for 2-4 hours, or until the bread is thawed through.
Tools needed to make this recipe
- Light colored skillet
- Measuring cups & spoons
- Food scale
- Mixing bowl
- Silicone spatula
- Stand mixer
- Loaf pan
- Cooling rack
More Banana Baking Recipes
- Dairy-Free Banana Bread
- Banana Bread Cookies with Maple Frosting
- Banana Zucchini Bread
- Peanut Butter Swirled Banana Bread
- Dairy-Free Banana Muffins
- Pumpkin Banana Muffins
More Quick Bread recipes
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This recipe was adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction's My Favorite Banana Bread Recipe.