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hand reaching for piece of banana bread

One-Bowl Brown Butter Banana Bread is a little black dress of a recipe: classic, go anywhere, always special.

vertical image of banan bread with slices cut and some left whole on dark wood boardIf you have a hankering for banana bread, might I suggest you give this one a try? Although I have not reinvented the wheel, this is a taste-of-home recipe, adapted from my mother’s one, that deserves your attention. Plus, chances are you have everything you need to get baking. So, curl up with a hot cup of tea and read on. 🙂

side-on close up of banana bread on dark boardWhy make this brown butter banana bread

For those of you not inclined to bake, fearing failure/fancy ingredients/lack of fine motor skills, banana bread is for you. This recipe is fool-proof. It uses store cupboard/fruit bowl ingredients. And as for decorating, it doesn’t get easier than slicing a banana and plopping it on top.

Another big plus that makes it doable for anyone, is that it is equipment-light. Bowl, spoon, oven, pan, measuring spoons and scale (or cups, if you must) are all that you need.

banana bread ready to bake

no decoration skills required for brown butter banana bread making!

Of course, all of the above is null and void if the recipe isn’t delicious. I am firmly of the mind that I don’t want to waste calories or time baking something just because it’s easy, and uses stuff I already have/need to use up. Nope, it needs to tempt me to lick the bowl. It needs to make my mouth water as it bakes. It needs to be near-impossible to let it cool enough to slice.

This is that recipe.

brown butter in cup alongside bowl of banana bread ingredients

mashed bananas, sugar, vanilla, yogurt, eggs, treacle alongside the not-so-secret ingredient – brown butter

What makes this banana bread irresistible?

Two words: Brown butter.

Now, you can definitely make it vegan; I give instructions for that below. But, if you can, use real butter. Use organic butter from grass-fed cows, unsalted and from a freshly-opened pack. I sometimes use half butter and half fruity extra virgin olive oil. And it tastes great, with a super texture and moistness. But once you try the brown butter hack, that’s you for life.

Find your favourite brand – or make your own, as I sometimes do. Then perhaps save it for when you can really taste it. Like on sliced, toasted sourdough. Or in this brown butter banana bread.

Browning butter is a very simple thing, but it has such an impact on its flavour: toasty, nutty, rich, extraordinarily aromatic.

close up brown butter banana bread on wooden boardWhat is brown butter?

Butter is comprised of three elements: fat, milk solids and water. When browning butter you are cooking it to evaporate the water, with the the fat separating from the milk solids, too. What results is a superbly rich, golden-brown liquid with an intensely “buttery” taste. This is also what you do to make ghee, although ghee and clarified butter are strained of the milk solids before using or storing. Keeping the butter on the heat until it gets deeply golden and lightly browned is just an extra step. This article gives an excellent overview of the process and the differences between ghee, clarified butter and brown butter, as well as uses.

vertical image hand reaching for a slice of banana bread on wooden boardHow to make brown butter

For our purposes, these are the steps to take:

1) Slice the butter – in this case 80 grams in weight – and place it into a small, non-flimsy pan and heat over a medium flame. As it melts, stir it. At this point I should let you know that you will not be leaving the pan for anything. Doorbells can ring, children can argue, dogs can beg to be let it: stand firm or the butter will burn. In a blink of an eye.

2) Once the butter melts completely it will foam up and you won’t be able to see the bottom of the pan. Have faith: it will subside. Once the foam dies down, you will start to see brown sediment appear at the bottom of the pan. This means that the butter is browning and nearly ready. Let it carry on just until it gets a light brown. This will be just a matter of seconds, not minutes. If you want to stop the cooking when you see the sediment, this is fine, too. The deeper the colour the richer the taste, but you need to know when to stop before it gets burned. It is a fine line.

brown butter in pan

old, unedited image from aaaages ago of brown butter. See the sediment on the bottom? That’s what you want to see.

3) Take the pan off the hob and pour the browned butter into a cool bowl. For this recipe just pour it straight into the mixing bowl as the first ingredient to be mixed.

4) If not using right away let it cool completely and store in a lidded jar in the refrigerator. Clarified butter and ghee are strained butters and can be stored for quite awhile. Browned butter is not strained of the milk solids and will spoil more quickly. I suggest you use any extra butter you might brown for other things (to sizzle capers for pasta!) within a week.

The extra secret

Well, to anyone who makes banana bread it’s not a secret, but if you are a newbie to banana bread making you have to know this. Make sure your bananas are very, very ripe. Heavily – darkly – spotted and verging on imploding. It’s okay if they are a bit mushy, or more than a bit mushy. I draw the line at bananas that smell faintly of booze (that’s them fermenting), but even that’s okay.

small bunch ripe bananas

costa rican bananas from the supermarket – not quite ripe enough for me! Give ones like these another three days 🙂

Want to ripen your bananas faster so that you can bake this ASAP? Give one of these banana-ripening tips from Spruce Eats a go. It won’t be as good as letting nature do the work, but the brown butter does some serious heavy lifting, amping the flavour enough to spark your bake to life.

mixing one-bowl brown butter banana breadThe cake

Once you have made the browned butter the rest is just a matter of mixing it all up – one bowl! – pouring into a lined baking tin and baking until browned, risen and impossibly enticing. Then there is the waiting for it to cool.

That’s the hardest step.

Other banana breads and cakes on Food To Glow 

These can all be adapted to use brown butter.

Chocolate and Rosemary Banana Bread

Marbled Peanut Butter, Banana and Jam Bread

Blueberry and Cardamom Banana Bundt Cake (vegan)

Read the recipe below and note the variations you can make and the vegan tweak, too.

Do let me know if you make my Brown Butter Banana Bread in the comments below, or on one of my social channels. Find me on Instagram (where I also share Instagram-only easy recipes!), Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. I love your comments, emails, messages and likes! Thanks so much for taking the time to read Food To Glow. It means so much to me xx

side-on close up of banana bread on dark board

hand reaching for piece of banana bread
5 from 4 votes

One-Bowl Brown Butter Banana Bread

One-Bowl Brown Butter Banana Bread is a simple, moist and delectable way to use up over-ripe bananas. Slices freeze well and are perfect for lunchboxes and with a cup of tea.

Course Baking
Cuisine American
Keyword banana bread, easy recipe
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 12 slices
Calories 170 kcal
Author kellie anderson


  • 80 g unsalted butter organic and best quality, plus a little extra to top
  • 350 g mashed ripe bananas 3 medium bananas, peeled weight
  • 100 g muscovado brown sugar or other dark, rich minimally processed sugar
  • 2 tbsp black treacle/molasses
  • 50 g yogurt
  • 2 lg organic eggs room temperature; beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 125 g wholemeal spelt flour or plain wholemeal/wholewheat flour
  • 125 g white spelt flour or plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt can go down to 1/4 teaspoon
  • 1 small banana optional; for top of cake


  1. Preheat your oven to 160C fan/180C/350F. Oil a 2 lb (9 x 5) loaf tin, and line with a long strip of parchment paper (this makes lifting the cake out much easier).

  2. Slice the butter and heat in a small pan, watching it like a hawk, until it is deep golden. Stir it occasionally to prevent burning. It will foam up, then subside to a clear state, and you will start to see brown "sediment". Take the butter off the heat when it reaches a golden brown colour. Immediately pour it into your mixing bowl. I like to use a ceramic or Pyrex bowl.

  3. Now add the mashed bananas, sugar, treacle, yogurt, egg and vanilla. Mix until completely amalgamated. I tend to use a strong whisk, but a large wooden spoon is fine, too. Now sift over the flours, baking powder, salt and cardamom, tipping in any bran left in the sieve. Mix lightly, just until the flour disappears. Do not beat as this will make the banana bread tough.

  4. Now pour the batter into the prepared tin. If you are decorating with a banana, slice it lengthways into three thin planks, laying them over the batter. Place on the centre shelf of your preheated oven and bake for around 50 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a thin skewer or toothpick; it is done if the skewer comes out clean. If a little batter is still clinging, place back in the oven - lightly covering with foil if brown enough - for a further 10 minutes.

  5. Remove from the oven and slick with a little butter if you wish. Perhaps even the tiniest lightest dusting of ground cardamom (be careful though; it's potent stuff). Set aside to cool on a wire rack for a few minutes before removing the bread from the pan - use the overhanging paper - and allowing it to cool completely. Slice it up and enjoy with a cup of tea! Eat within five days, or freeze some for enjoying later.

Recipe Notes

To make muffins - often more appealing to kids - reduce the baking time to 20-25 minutes.

Variations: add chocolate chips (about 75 grams); chopped toasted nuts (about 75 grams); use ground cinnamon or nutmeg instead of the cardamom. You can also use either all butter or all olive oil. In this type of cake the only difference will be one of taste rather than texture.

To freeze: slice the banana bread and interleave slices with parchment paper before placing in a freezer-safe box or bag. To eat, remove however many slices you wish and let defrost naturally. This won't take long. The bread will keep well in the freezer for one month.

Make it vegan: use 2 teaspoons of baking powder rather than 1 teaspoon of baking soda and eliminate the yogurt and eggs; replace butter with a good quality solid vegan butter such as Naturli'.

Make it gluten-free: this is easily converted to your favourite gluten-free flour mix, although I've not yet made it this way. 

A note on using US measurements: I have provided a tab to convert to US measures. Round them up or down as needed. For instance, the conversion of flour turns 125 grams of flour to 1.o4 cups. Obviously just use a level cup, tapping it on the counter after filling and adding more as needed to get it level at the top line.

Nutrition Facts
One-Bowl Brown Butter Banana Bread
Amount Per Serving
Calories 170 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Fat 7g11%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 8mg3%
Sodium 207mg9%
Potassium 102mg3%
Carbohydrates 26g9%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 10g11%
Protein 3g6%
Calcium 17mg2%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Vitamin A 90IU2%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Pin now. Make soon!

Long image banana bread with hand reaching for slice; brown rustic board with concrete background

18 thoughts on “Brown Butter Banana Bread {one-bowl and easily vegan}

  1. Wow! I have never seen a banana bread like this before. I am going to put your recipe on my to- do-list.

    1. kellie anderson says:

      I do hope you get to make it, Noel. Come back and let me know how you like it, would you? Thanks 🙂

  2. Mr A says:

    Great design and taste – brilliant

  3. Ann says:

    I can assure everyone that it is as good as it looks, I have eaten, more than one slice, of it!

  4. Well, do I get Top of the Class for speed of making this as I made it right away! 😁 As you said, I had all the ingredients in the house (well the bananas were not as ripe as they should have been as I stick my over- ripe ones in the freezer for use in the blender…I did think of quickly defrosting them but wasn’t sure if that was wise). Anyway, it smells divine and will be a lovely welcome for my friend who is arriving shortly
    ps is it rude to cut into a cake before guests arrive….
    pps i stupidly put the banana decoration the wrong way ie the banana inside facing down rather than up so its not half as attractive as yours…I shall send photo evidence 😉

    1. kellie anderson says:

      Gold star and top of the class accolades for you, Niki. 🙂 And no, it isn’t bad form to cut into it first. If it is sliced up, how will she know? (pro tip from a greedy girl)

  5. Debby Woods says:

    Can’t wait to make this bread. I hope to swap out the flour for GF flour.

    1. kellie anderson says:

      I’d love to know how it is with gf flour. What kind will you use for it, Debby?

  6. 🤣😋 kettle on…

  7. Sheree says:

    Mmm, love banana bread!

  8. Elaine says:

    Can’t wait to try this recipe. I freeze my over ripe bananas , so not to waste . Will they be ok to use in this recipe once defrosted ? Let me know what you think !

    1. kellie anderson says:

      Oh, I’m so chuffed you want to make this, Elaine. 🙂 The bananas will be very wet (as you know!). If I were you I would defrost the bananas in a colander as well as use just one tbsp of the yogurt. Does that sound okay to you?

  9. Lana M says:

    This is quite simply the best banana bread I’ve ever had. I loved using molasses for its beautiful color and flavor! Thank you for the great recipe! 

  10. Cassie Tran says:

    Ooh, banana bread! This is such a yummy-looking loaf. Never had brown butter before, but that’s because I used to eat tablespoons of butter as a snack when I was growing up, which angered my mother because she thought I’d get acne and a heart attack if I overdid it! LOL! But I would love to try the vegan version of this now <3

  11. Chelvi S says:

    I have made banana breads, but yours seems to be special – I love the way you have placed those banana slices on the top. This one I have to make. You have mentioned about vegan. I am not vegan but I make diary free since I have people allergic to lactose. I can use a vegan butter. My question is can I use soy or almond milk yogurt in the same quantity you have mentioned?

    1. kellie anderson says:

      Absolutely, Chelvi. I sometimes do that, even though I prefer the dairy yogurt to eat myself 🙂

  12. Chelvi S says:

    Thank you

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