Brown butter and caramelized banana liquid take this classic Banana Bread recipe to the next level. You don’t need to look any further because you’ve found the best banana bread recipe in the world!
Allow me to explain why this is THE best ever banana bread recipe!
Number 1: Brown butter will make anything taste 10x better.
Number 2: This recipe packs in so much banana flavor thanks to a technique I learned from Jessica Gavin’s Cookbook – cooking the bananas and reducing the liquid until it thickens and caramelizes. This helps two-fold because of the additional banana you are able to pack into the bread and the caramelized banana sugar adds a wonderful complexity.
How to make Brown Butter Banana Bread
Making the brown butter
Prepare the brown butter first to give it a chance to cool down before you start making the bread. For more details and tips, check out my post on how to make brown butter. You do not need to strain the brown butter for this recipe, just let it cool in the pan.
Preparing the bananas
I use 4 medium (Costco size) bananas in this recipe, each one is about 6” – 7” long. The total weight of the bananas is about 1 pound, without the peels.
Microwave the bananas in a large vessel, it should have plenty of extra room so the bananas don’t boil over. Don’t cover it so the steam can escape, otherwise, there will be a banana explosion in the microwave. During the last minute, keep an eye out to ensure the bananas won’t spillover.
Strain the bananas over a bowl to retain the liquid. Reduce the banana liquid in a small saucepan over medium heat until it reduces by half and starts to caramelize. When adding the bananas and the caramelized banana liquid back together, this mixture is about 1 ¼ cup or 320 grams.
You can also use frozen bananas. You don’t need to microwave them in this case, but you do need to let them come to room temperature. The frozen bananas will release the liquid while thawing. Be sure to thaw them in a bowl or in a strainer over a bowl to retain the liquid. Reduce the liquid as above.
Can I just use the bananas without cooking it?
Preparing the banana can be a little bit tedious, but you’ll be rewarded with a really delicious banana bread that has a wonderful and complex flavor. If you really want to skip this step, you can use 1 ¼ cup of mashed overripe bananas, or 320 grams, or about 2 ½ medium bananas.
Your homemade banana bread will still have a robust banana flavor and taste delicious even without the caramelized banana flavor.
Making the banana bread batter
- Mash the bananas with a potato masher and beat in the caramelized banana liquid along with cooled brown butter.
- Add eggs, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and beat until smooth.
- In a small mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and stir in the salt. Add flour mixture to the liquid mixture.
- Fold with a spatula until a chunky batter forms. It’s okay if you have a few streaks of flour left in the batter.
Variations and add-ins
I absolutely love the flavor of this banana bread even without any spices and add-ins. In fact, you don’t need anything extra in this recipe because the flavor of brown butter and caramelized bananas are superb! But you can customize your banana bread to your heart’s desire, try adding:
- Familiar spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom to the batter for even more flavor.
- Chocolate chips or peanut butter chips for some melty gooey factor like this Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread.
- Chopped walnuts or pecans for a little crunch and texture like these Banana Nut Muffins.
- Or a combination of spices, chips, and nuts for a flavor and texture explosion.
- Use overripe bananas for the most banana flavor.
- You can substitute frozen bananas. When using frozen bananas, you don’t need to microwave it to extract the liquid. Simply thaw the frozen bananas and the liquid will come out.
- If you don’t want to cook and reduce the banana liquid, you can use less banana in the batter instead.
- Add spices, chips, and nuts to customize your banana bread to your liking.
Store leftover banana bread slices in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. If the weather is particularly warm, refrigerate your banana bread and warm it in the microwave for 10 – 15 seconds before serving.
Leftovers are also fantastic for making Banana Bread French Toast!
Delicious brunch worthy treats
- Blueberry Coffee Cake
- Orange Cranberry Bread
- Almond Croissant French Toast Bake
- Pani Popo (Samoan Coconut Buns)
- Cinnamon Scones
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment, send me a photo, rate it and don’t forget to tag me @wildwildwhisk on Instagram. I’d love to see what’s cooking up in your kitchen. Cheers!
- 4 oz unsalted butter (113 g)
- 4 medium bananas (extra ripe, 1 pound without peels)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¾ cup light brown sugar (150 g lightly packed)
- 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour (230 g)
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Melted butter for pan
- To brown butter, heat unsalted butter in a light color saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter melts, it will become foamy. When the foam subsides, you will see clear bubbles, start whisking continuously at this point to keep the milk solids from burning. When the butter is caramel in color and smells nutty, turn off the heat and set aside to cool. This will take approximately 8 minutes and 30 seconds.
- To prepare the banana, remove peels and microwave the bananas in a large bowl uncovered for 5 minutes. Transfer the cooked bananas to a strainer set over another bowl to extract the liquid. Put the banana pulp into a large mixing bowl and set aside to cool.
- Transfer the banana liquid into a saucepan. Cook the liquid over medium heat until reduced by half and slightly caramelized. Set aside to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Brush a loaf pan with some melted butter and line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper, letting the excess hang over the sides. Brush the parchment paper with more butter. Set aside.
- When the brown butter, banana, and banana liquid cool to room temperature, mash the banana with a potato masher and add the banana liquid and brown butter to it. Whisk together to combine.
- Add brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, and beat until smooth.
- Sift flour, baking soda, and baking powder into a small mixing bowl. Stir in the kosher salt. Add the flour mixture to the liquid mixture and fold until just combined.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan and bake for 55 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean with just a few crumbs attached.
- Allow the bread to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing it from the pan and let it cool further on a wire rack.
- You can substitute frozen bananas. When using frozen bananas, you don’t need to microwave it to extract the liquid. Simply thaw the frozen bananas and the liquid will come out, retain the liquid and reduce per recipe instructions.
- If you don’t want to cook and reduce the banana liquid, you can use less banana in the batter instead, about 2 ½ bananas or 1 ¼ cup mashed, about 320 g.