This Brown Butter Buttermilk Banana Bread is the best way to rescue those spotty brown bananas sitting on your counter. It levels up from basic banana bread with a swirl of nutty brown butter, a tangy measure of both buttermilk and Greek yogurt, and a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg. This recipe is also super adaptable, welcoming a handful of roughly chopped chocolate and/or your favorite nuts with ease.
- What ingredients do you need to make Brown Butter Buttermilk Banana Bread?
- Tips for making the best banana bread
- Banana bread made with yogurt and buttermilk
- Can I use frozen bananas?
- How to brown butter
- What kind of mix-ins are best to use in banana bread?
- What pan is best to bake banana bread in?
- How to freeze banana bread
- Is banana bread best served hot or cold?
- How to pan-fry banana bread
- What tools do I need to make this recipe?
- Looking for more baking inspiration?
- Brown Butter Buttermilk Banana Bread
What ingredients do you need to make Brown Butter Buttermilk Banana Bread?
- Bananas - Spotty bananas to be precise! This recipe is perfect for all of those neglected bananas sitting on your kitchen counter going soft and spotty.
- Butter - The butter in this recipe gets browned which adds a nutty, toasty, and caramel-like flavor to the banana bread.
- Brown sugar - Brown sugar adds sweetness and helps lock in moisture for perfectly moist banana bread!
- Greek Yogurt - Add added moisture, flavorful tanginess, and acid which helps contribute to the rise of the banana bread when baked.
- Buttermilk - Just like Greek yogurt, buttermilk contributes to the overall moisture, flavor, and rise of the banana bread.
- Vanilla - Adds flavor to the banana bread
- Eggs - Provide structure to the bread and help contribute fat to flavor and lock in moisture.
- All-purpose flour - I prefer to use organic unbleached all-purpose flour for this Brown Butter banana bread. The three that show up in my pantry most often are Central Milling Organic Unbleached, King Arthur Organic Unbleached, and Bob's Red Mill Organic Unbleached.
- Baking soda - Contributes to the leavening (or rise).
- Kosher salt - Is crucial to balance the flavor of banana bread. Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt is a staple in my kitchen.
- Cinnamon - Adds warmth and flavor. I prefer to use Ceylon cinnamon.
- Nutmeg - Adds warmth and flavor.
- Optional add-ins: Nuts, chocolate, coconut, and/or dried or fresh fruit as desired.
Tips for making the best banana bread
Use ripe bananas
The spottier the better. You want to choose bananas that have peels that are partially or fully covered in black age spots and are soft and nearly squishy to the touch. These bananas will produce the best texture and most pronounced banana flavor in your bread. They're also the easiest to mix in to get delicious banana flavor in every bite.
How to get bananas to ripen faster
Want to make banana bread but your bananas aren't ripening quickly enough? Stick them in a paper bag with an apple or an already-ripe banana (to help trap the ethylene gas they are producing) to speed up the ripening process.
Use the right flour
I prefer to use organic all-purpose flour for this recipe because it's a staple I always keep on hand. It's also a good, medium-density flour that will produce a lovely crumb. The three that show up in my pantry most often are Central Milling Organic Unbleached, King Arthur Organic Unbleached, and Bob's Red Mill Organic Unbleached.
You can also use whole wheat flour, but note that it will make a much denser bread.
Can I make this banana bread gluten-free?
If you would like to make this Brown Butter Buttermilk Banana Bread gluten-free you can use a 1:1 gluten-free flour blend like this one.
Mix the batter by hand
It's okay to use a hand-mixer for the wet ingredients, but I don't find it necessary because I personally like banana bread that includes a few chunks of banana here and there rather than a perfectly smooth banana batter. You absolutely do not want to use a mixer once the dry ingredients are added as you want to minimize the gluten formation in the flour as much as possible -- which can make an overly dense or gummy banana bread. Mixing the batter by hand helps result in a banana bread that is moisture, more tender, and has a better crumb structure overall.
Fold-in dry ingredients last
The all-purpose flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and any mix-ins you want to add need to go in last. This helps blend the dry ingredients into the wet batter without risking over-developing the gluten in the flour. It also helps to add the mix-ins before the flour is completely mixed in to help prevent them from sinking to the bottom. A few small streaks of flour are totally okay and the batter should look reasonably lumpy.
Grease and line your loaf pan
There's nothing worse than pouring batter into a pan and then realizing that you forgot to grease the pan. For banana bread that pops out of the pan cleanly, make sure to properly grease every nook and cranny of the inside of your loaf pan with butter or coconut oil. I like to go one step further and partially line the pan with a strip of parchment paper on the widest side; this helps make it easy to dislodge and pull the loaf straight up and out by hand.
You can find my advice for choosing the best pan to bake banana bread in further along in the post.
Bake at the correct temperature
This seems like simple advice, but baking your banana bread at the correct temperature will help ensure that you end up with an evenly baked center and a nicely golden outer crumb -- I prefer 350 degrees F / 175 C. Moist batters like banana bread don't fare well when rush baked so don't be tempted to bump the heat up or you may risk an unevenly baked crumb.
The number one way to ensure that you're baking at the correct temperature is to test your oven with an oven thermometer like this one. Then, if your oven runs hot or cold in either direction, you can better adjust your temperature to help reach the correct degree of heat.
Test for doneness
Check for visual cues
The top should be nicely golden. You'll also want to look at the edges of the banana bread as it will start to pull away from the sides of the pan once done.
Gently press the top
If the bread is nice and squishy it's a good indicator that its fully baked. If it's still jiggly or your fingertips leave dents, it's an easy indicator that it's not done yet.
Take the temperature
Water starts to steam at 212 degrees F / 100 C so it's important that you pull your banana bread out of the oven before it reaches that temperature otherwise it is more likely to dry out. 200-205 degrees F / 93-96 C is the range you're aiming for to obtain a properly baked banana bread (this range is increased to 200-210 degrees F / 93-99 degrees if using gluten-free flour).
Why the toothpick test isn't a great test for banana bread
One popular way to test the doneness of baked goods is to insert a toothpick or skewer into the treat and if it comes out with batter or crumbs it's recommended that you continue to bake further. However, because banana bread is so moist and dense this is not a great indicator for checking its doneness. Though you definitely want to continue baking if you see liquid batter, a few crumbs on the toothpick or skewer are totally normal. If you continue baking until you see no crumbs, you're likely to overbake the banana bread.
Banana bread made with yogurt and buttermilk
Yogurt and buttermilk are both used in this easy moist banana bread recipe to add tangy flavor, lock in moisture, and acid to the recipe, which helps contribute to the leavening (or rise) of the bread as it bakes.
Out of yogurt or buttermilk?
If you are out of Greek yogurt, you can substitute it for sour cream in equal proportion with good results. If you are out of buttermilk, you can substitute for an equal measurement of whole milk with a teaspoon of vinegar or lemon in a pinch, but it won't be quite as tasty as buttermilk.
Can I use frozen bananas?
Yes, in fact, this is a really great way to save spotty bananas for a future date when you can't use them right away. I often freeze them whole and in their peels to make it easy. For best results, you'll want to allow the bananas to fully defrost, discard the peels, and drain off any excess liquid before using them. Defrosted frozen bananas are also very soft, so don't worry about mashing them too much.
How to brown butter
- In a skillet over medium heat, add the butter and allow to melt, stirring with a wooden spoon occasionally.
- As the butter melts it will begin to foam. Watch the pan closely during this process as the color will quickly change from buttery yellow, to golden, to toasty brown.
- Once the butter has reached a stage where it is golden brown with some toasty brown bits, remove it from the stove immediately and carefully transfer to a heatproof bowl.
What kind of mix-ins are best to use in banana bread?
Though this Brown Butter Buttermilk Banana Bread is great sans additions, I love folding some fun extras into brown butter banana bread batter once in a while. The best way to add mix-ins is to add them in before you've fully mixed the flour in. This helps coat the mix-ins with a bit of flour which helps prevent them from sinking to the bottom.
Some of my favorite mix-in options are:
- Chocolate - I prefer to roughly chop chocolate bars so you get some areas with flecks of chocolate and some areas with pools of chocolate, but you can also use chocolate chips if you prefer. Sometimes I will use a mix of several types of chocolate. I am particularly partial to a mix of really dark chocolate and Valrhona milk chocolate caramelia feves.
- Nuts or seeds - Chopped walnuts are my go-to for banana bread, but chopped pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, macadamias, pistachios, or even seeds like pepitas (pumpkin seeds), sunflower seeds, or sesame seeds can be fun too.
- Dried coconut - I prefer unsweetened shredded coconut because it's less sticky and blends better into the batter without adding too much additional moisture.
- Dried fruit - Dried cranberries, blueberries, strawberries, and chopped dates or apricots are all fun mix-ins for banana bread.
- Fresh fruit - You'll want to be careful when adding fresh fruit to the batter as they add a considerable amount of moisture to an already moist batter. When adding fresh fruit make sure that it's not water-logged before adding. If using defrosted frozen fruit, allow it to drain excess liquid before adding. Blueberries work especially well in banana bread and I also love slicing some additional banana to add to the top of the bread once it's poured into the loaf pan.
What pan is best to bake banana bread in?
The best pan to bake banana bread in is a loaf pan made of a material that evenly distributes heat. I prefer to use a non-stick metal pan like this OXO loaf pan, but you can also use a metal pan without a non-stick coating as long as you properly grease and line the pan before using.
The second best option for baking banana bread is a ceramic pan, which generally conducts heat reasonably well, but generally not as well as metal pans. These are a nice option if you prefer a nice dark crust to your banana bread. You'll want to make sure to properly grease and line these pans so that your banana bread is easily removable after baking.
I highly recommend you do not use a glass pan for banana bread if you can avoid it. The one positive to glass pans is you can easily see how brown the outer crust of your banana bread is, but they do not conduct heat evenly. With a moist batter like banana bread necessitates, you are more likely to end up with bread with a wet center once the outer crust is nicely browned, or an overly-browned outer crust by the time the center of the bread is fully-baked.
How to freeze banana bread
- Allow the banana bread to cool completely. This will help prevent the steam from the warm bread from creating a layer of icy crust when frozen.
- I prefer to pre-slice the banana bread, but you can also freeze whole loaves. If you prefer to pre-slice your bread you can optionally also add a small piece of parchment paper between each slice if you'd like to be able to more easily pull out a few slices from the freezer at a time.
- Tightly wrap banana bread in 2-3 layers of plastic wrap, then seal it in an airtight container or freezer bag to further secure it from freezer burn.
- The banana bread should keep for up to 3 months in the freezer -- I like to mark the date I freeze it on the bag. Thaw in the refrigerator when ready to use.
Is banana bread best served hot or cold?
I think banana bread is delicious hot, room-temperature, or fridge-cold! It's totally up to your preference, so I suggest trying it all ways to see what you like best!
If you'd like to serve this Brown Butter Buttermilk Banana Bread as an extra-indulgent dessert, it's really tasty pan-fried in a little butter, which greats lovely toasty caramelized edges that are completely irresistible.
How to pan-fry banana bread
- In a skillet over medium-high heat, add a small pat of butter (salted or unsalted) and allow to melt.
- Add a slice of banana bread (banana bread that has been chilled first works best as it has a tighter crumb which is less likely to fall apart or over-absorb the butter).
- Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes or until the edges are nicely browned, then flip and cook the opposite side until browned the same.
- Serve warm with an optional dollop of vanilla Greek yogurt or whipped cream on top.
What tools do I need to make this recipe?
- A kitchen scale
- Liquid measuring cups (optional)
- Measuring spoons
- A skillet
- A silicone spatula
- A large mixing bowl
- A fork
- A 1 lb (4.5 x 8.5 inch) loaf pan, greased and lined with parchment paper
- A thermometer (optional, but handy)
- You may also need: A cutting board (if adding mix-ins that require chopping)
- You may also need: A chef's knife (if adding mix-ins that require chopping)
Are you looking to upgrade your cooking tools or replenish your pantry? Check out my kitchen tools shop page and pantry staples shop page to find my must-have kitchen tools, pantry items, and other Whip & Wander favorites.
Looking for more baking inspiration?
Love this Brown Butter Buttermilk Banana Bread recipe? Here are some more of my favorite easy baking recipes:
- Brown Butter Buttermilk Skillet Cornbread
- Sourdough Discard Spiced Pear Muffins
- Sourdough Discard Carrot Cake with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
- Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake with Maple Bourbon Butterscotch (gluten-free)
- Pumpkin Pasties (with a gluten-free option)
- Hagrid's Rock Cakes (with a gluten-free option)
brown bananas sitting on your counter. It levels up from basic banana bread with a swirl of nutty brown butter, a tangy measure of both buttermilk and Greek yogurt, and a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg. This recipe is also super adaptable, welcoming a handful of roughly chopped chocolate and/or your favorite nuts with ease.
- Butter or coconut oil to grease pan
- 400 g (about 3 large or 4 medium) ripe and spotty bananas, peeled
- 4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 200 g (1 cup firmly packed) brown sugar
- 120 g (½ cup) Greek yogurt
- 80 g (⅓ cup) buttermilk
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 270 g (2 ¼ cups) unbleached all-purpose flour (may sub for 1:1 gluten-free if needed)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp Kosher salt
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon (I prefer Ceylon)
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- Optional: 4 oz chocolate, roughly chopped and divided
- Optional: 60 g (½ cup) walnuts, roughly chopped
- Optional: additional sliced banana to top
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F / 175 C. Grease a 1 lb (4.5 x 8.5 inch) loaf pan with butter or coconut oil and line with parchment paper. I like to add a strip in on the wide side of the pan with the tails hanging out so you can lift the banana bread up and out after baking.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the bananas. Using a fork, gently mash them until they are mostly broken up but still fairly clumpy. Reserve to the side.
- Brown the butter: In a skillet over medium heat, add butter and allow to melt, stirring with a wooden spoon occasionally. As the butter melts it will begin to foam. Watch the pan closely during this process as the color will quickly change from buttery yellow, to golden, to toasty brown. Once the butter has reached a stage where it is golden brown with some toasty brown bits, remove it from the stove immediately and carefully transfer to the mixing bowl with the mashed bananas.
- Add the brown sugar and gently mash into the bananas and browned butter with your fork until the sugar is dissolved.
- Add the Greek yogurt, buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla and mix with a silicone spatula until fully combined.
- Add the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg and partially fold into the wet ingredients. If you are using the optional chocolate and walnut mix-ins, they can be added to the partially combined wet and dry ingredients at this time (I like to reserve 1 oz of the chocolate to top the batter at the end). Continue folding gently until the dry ingredients are just incorporated and no large streaks remain. Do not overmix!
- Pour the batter into your reserved prepared baking pan, scraping the bowl down with the spatula. Top with the remaining 1 oz chopped chocolate and sliced banana, if using. Bake for 60-70 minutes or until the banana bread reaches an internal temperature between 200-205 degrees F / 93-96 C (or 200-210 F/ 93-99 C for gluten-free flour). If you find that the top is browning too quickly you can loosely tent the top with a piece of foil.
Nutritional information on Whip & Wander is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site.
- Serving Size: 1 slice
- Calories: 397
- Sugar: 32 g
- Sodium: 221 mg
- Fat: 13 g
- Saturated Fat: 8 g
- Carbohydrates: 62 g
- Fiber: 3 g
- Protein: 8 g
- Cholesterol: 77 mg
Keywords: banana, brown butter, chocolate, walnuts