This moist brown butter banana bread is full of flavor and bound to become your new favorite banana bread recipe. The classic banana bread flavor is enhanced with the nuttiness of browned butter and has a luxurious brown butter cream cheese frosting to top it all off.
I may be biased, but I'm convinced this is the best banana bread recipe I have ever tried. The banana works so perfectly with the nutty flavor of the brown butter, and the texture is wonderful and varied with the moist crumbs and slight crunch of the pecans.
There is no better (and easier) way to elevate any dessert recipe than by using brown butter. The amount of deliciousness that comes from just one small extra step is unreal. I use it in my Brown Butter Pecan Cookies and for a delicious brown butter frosting on my Chai Cake, and it takes the recipes from delicious to 'wow'! This brown butter banana bread with browned butter frosting is no exception!
This recipe uses all the same ingredients as a classic banana bread recipe, but the brown butter does some heavy lifting when it comes to the flavor!
- Bananas - I used medium-large bananas, when peeled they weighed about 110g each. It is so important that your bananas are ripe - this means the banana peel has started to go brown. Even better if you have overripe bananas (the skin is completely brown) the more brown they are the sweeter and more flavorful they will be! If you try to make banana bread with unripe bananas they won't mash properly or blend into the loaf, and the banana flavor won't come through.
- Butter - Use unsalted butter, we're going to brown the butter to use in both the banana bread and the frosting.
- Sugar - Part of the sugar will be white, superfine sugar (caster sugar in the UK).
- Light Brown Sugar - The remaining sugar will be light brown sugar - this will add to the flavor and texture of the banana bread.
- Greek Yoghurt - This is what will give us a super moist banana bread.
- Vegetable Oil - A little oil will help replace some of the moisture that is lost from the butter in the browning process.
- Eggs - Use large eggs and always free-range if you can.
- Flour - All-purpose flour is best for banana bread, it provides structure but will also produce a strong but soft loaf.
- Vanilla - Vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste will help show off those bananas.
- Pecans - I love what the chopped pecans bring to this banana bread! They add a soft crunch to the texture and complement the brown butter and banana flavors so beautifully.
- Cream Cheese - For the cream cheese frosting, use a brand of cream cheese that isn't too soft. I like using Philadelphia.
- Powdered Sugar - Also for the frosting, this will provide sweetness and also thicken the frosting so it can hold its shape.
See recipe card for quantities.
Brown the Butter
I do have an entire blog post about how to brown butter if you'd like a more in-depth guide.
Tip: Both the brown butter banana bread recipe and the brown butter frosting need browned butter - so it makes sense to brown all the butter at once to save you from doing it twice.
Though the banana bread only requires 1 stick of butter, and the frosting only requires ½ a stick, I recommend browning 2 sticks of butter as it will be easier to divide in half. You'll have a little bit of brown butter leftover which you can use to spread onto your banana bread slices!
- Step 1: Chop the butter into smaller chunks and place them in a light-colored pan over medium heat. The light color of the pan allows you to keep an eye on the changing color of the butter. You can still make this with a dark pan, you'll just have to be more diligent with checking the color change.
- Step 2: As the butter melts it will start to bubble and make a crackling sound. Stir occasionally.
Chop butter into small pieces and put in a light-colored pan on medium heat.
As the butter melts it will bubble and make a crackling sound.
- Step 3: Once the crackling subsides, the butter will start to brown quite quickly. You may see a foam start to form on top of the butter, just use a spoon to move it to the side gently so you can check the color of the butter.
- Step 4: When the butter is a deep golden brown color, and you can smell an irresistible nutty aroma, the browned butter is ready! Remove from the heat immediately and transfer to a heatproof bowl.
Important: make sure you scrape down the bottom of the pan to get all the little brown specks that are in there - these are the milk solids and they are what provide all the delicious flavor to the brown butter!
Move the foam aside to check on the color of the brown butter.
Pour into a heatproof bowl immediately.
- Step 5: Divide the brown butter in half. There are two ways to do this, you can do it by eye with two equal-sized bowls, or you can pour the butter into a bowl on a scale to measure the total amount, then transfer exactly half to a separate bowl. Obviously using a scale is more accurate, but doing it by eye will work too if you're careful.
Note: try to make sure that you have a roughly even split of the milk solids between the two bowls, you can just use a spoon to transfer them from one bowl to the other if you feel it's not even.
- Step 6: Set one of the bowls aside to cool and solidify at room temperature for use in the frosting later, use the other bowl to make your banana bread right away.
If you are making your brown butter ahead of time, just keep it all in one bowl in the fridge and split it in half later - it's much easier to divide it evenly when it is in its solid state. (Give it a really good stir first to evenly disperse those brown bits!) Then you can just re-melt the half that is for the banana bread in the microwave.
Make the Brown Butter Banana Bread
This is a super easy brown butter banana bread recipe, even with the extra step of making the brown butter, it's still such a simple process. And the little extra really takes it to the next level and adds so much flavor to what was already a pretty perfect banana bread!
- Step 1: Grease and line a 9x5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper, and preheat your oven to 350°F / 180°C.
- Step 2: Chop the pecans roughly and set aside.
- Step 3: Put your liquid brown butter in a large bowl along with the sugar and light brown sugar. (If you made your brown butter ahead of time, be sure to melt butter in the microwave in 30-second increments to bring it back to its liquid state). Mix everything together with a whisk.
Pour half the brown butter into a mixing bowl.
Whisk together the brown butter and sugars.
- Step 4: Peel your bananas and mash them in a bowl with a fork or potato masher. It's so important that the bananas are nice and ripe, they should have plenty of brown spots all over the skin, otherwise, they won't mash properly and you won't get much banana flavor. Add the mashed bananas to the butter/sugar mixture and mix them in with the whisk.
- Step 5: Add the wet ingredients, including the eggs, vanilla, greek yogurt, and vegetable oil. Mix everything together until well combined. You don't want to add any air here, just mixing things together. Make sure your eggs and yogurt are at room temperature before adding.
Mash the bananas and mix them into the batter.
Add the liquid ingredients.
- Step 6: Sift the dry ingredients into a medium bowl, including the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix them together well before adding to the banana mixture and whisking gently to combine everything. Make sure there are no lumps of the flour mixture.
- Step 7: Add the chopped pecans to the banana bread batter and mix them in to disperse them evenly - I advise switching to a wooden spoon or a spatula for this part as the pieces of pecans can get stuck in a whisk.
Add the dry ingredients.
Mix in the pecans.
- Step 8: Pour the banana bread batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake in the preheated oven for 55 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. If it looks like the top of the banana bread is getting too brown in the oven before the inside is fully baked, place a little bit of aluminum foil over the top to stop it from browning further while the inside bakes.
- Step 9: Let your delicious banana bread cool in the pan for about an hour before transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely.
Pour into a lined loaf pan.
Bake for 55 minutes.
Make the Brown Butter Frosting
This homemade banana bread is already insanely delicious, but to take it to a whole new level, I love adding this brown butter cream cheese frosting on top! It really makes it into the best ever banana bread recipe!
- Step 1: Take the cooled butter from earlier which should now be in a solid state again. Give it a really good mix through to evenly disperse the little brown bits (the milk solids that contain all the flavor).
We will actually only use some of this brown butter in the frosting, you'll have some leftover. Measure out about 3 tablespoons of butter and add to a small mixing bowl. (Either use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or a regular bowl with an electric mixer).
- Step 2: Add the room temperature cream cheese and beat together with the brown butter until they are combined and smooth.
Mix cooled brown butter with cream cheese.
Beat together until combined and smooth.
- Step 3: Sift in the powdered sugar, then mix in, starting on slow so you don't get a big sugar cloud all over your countertop. Then add the vanilla and a pinch of salt and turn up to high speed and beat for about a minute.
Beat in the remaining ingredients.
Beat for 1 minute.
- Step 4: Spread the brown butter cream cheese frosting all over the top of the cooled banana bread. You can use the remaining brown butter to spread on the banana bread slices for extra flavor - or just keep it for something else.
- Greek Yogurt - If you don't have Greek yogurt, you can substitute for sour cream, this will still create the lovely moist crumb that we want.
- Vegetable Oil - You can swap this for any kind of flavorless oil such as canola oil. If you really want to you could also leave it out entirely and add a tablespoon of milk instead.
- Pecans - You can of course swap the pecans for any kind of nut you like. Walnuts go very well too. Or you could just skip the nuts entirely.
- Regular Butter - If you aren't keen on making the browned butter, this is still my go-to recipe for the perfect banana bread. You'll still get amazing flavor and perfect texture if you use regular melted butter instead of brown butter.
- Without Frosting - Frosting on banana bread isn't for everyone, so feel free to skip that step and make this without the frosting. You'll only need half the quantity of butter stated in the recipe, and you can skip adding the oil.
For some extra flair, you could also add a sliced banana to the top of the batter before baking, if you won't be covering it in frosting. Or sprinkle with some brown sugar for a lovely crunchy top!
- Chocolate Chips - What isn't made better by chocolate chips? Add ¾ cup chocolate chips at the same time (or instead of) the pecans for a simple twist on this recipe.
- 9 x 5-inch Loaf Pan
- Large Mixing Bowl
- Light colored pan
- Wooden spoon
- Stand mixer - the banana bread itself doesn't require a mixer, but the frosting is definitely easier if you have an electric whisk or stand mixer.
Store your brown butter banana bread in the fridge in an airtight container. It will be good like this for up to 5 days. For best results, remove from the fridge a little before serving so it won't be completely cold.
I strongly recommend waiting until your bananas are going brown to make this recipe. Like any classic recipe for banana bread, you need the sweetness and softness of ripe bananas for it to be a success. To speed the process up, you can take unripe bananas and store them in a paper bag with an avocado, this will help them to ripen faster.
You may have heard a hack for browning bananas immediately by baking them in the oven. If you bake bananas the skins will go brown, but it is only superficial and doesn't actually give you the results you need, so I recommend just waiting. I promise the lovely flavorful bread is worth the wait!
Love Brown Butter Desserts?
Try some of these delicious recipes.
Brown Butter Banana Bread
For the Banana Bread
- 3 Medium Bananas 320g (very ripe)
- ½ cup Superfine Sugar 100g
- ½ cup Light Brown Sugar 110g
- 2 sticks Unsalted Butter 227g (this amount is for the banana bread AND the frosting. If you are just making for the banana bread, use 1 stick / 113g)**
- 2 Large Eggs
- ⅓ cup Greek Yoghurt 81g
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla
- 1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
- 1 ⅓ cups All-purpose Flour 160g
- 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
- ½ teaspoon Baking Soda
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ¾ cup Pecans 90g
For the Frosting
- 3 tablespoon Brown Butter 42g (prepared earlier in step 1 of banana bread recipe)
- 3 oz Cream Cheese 85g
- 1 ½ cups Powdered Sugar 180g
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla
- 1 pinch Salt
Brown the Butter
- Cut the butter into smaller chunks and place in a light-colored pan over medium heat. (See recipe notes about browning the butter for the banana bread and the frosting at the same time to save you from doing it twice)
- As the butter melts, it will start to bubble and make a crackling sound. Keep going, stirring occasionally.
- After the crackling subsides, the butter will start to brown quickly so keep an eye on it. A foam may form on top, you can just use your spoon to push it to the side to check on the color of the butter.
- When the butter is a deep golden brown color, and you can smell an irresistible nutty aroma, the brown butter is ready! Remove from the heat and pour into a heatproof bowl immediately to prevent any further browning.
- For more info on browning butter, check out my blog post - How to Make Brown Butter.
- If you are browning just the butter for the banana bread (1 stick of butter), continue with the banana bread recipe. If you are browning for the banana bread and the frosting at the same time (2 sticks), make sure you split your brown butter in half before continuing with the recipe (see recipe notes below).
Make the Banana Bread
- Grease and line a 9x5 loaf pan and preheat your oven to 350°F / 180°C.
- Put your liquid brown butter in a large bowl along with the sugar and light brown sugar. (If you made your brown butter earlier, be sure to melt it in the microwave to bring it back to a liquid state). Mix everything together with a whisk.½ cup Superfine Sugar, 2 sticks Unsalted Butter, ½ cup Light Brown Sugar
- Peel your bananas and mash them in a small bowl with a fork or potato masher. Add them to the butter/sugar mixture and mix in with the whisk.3 Medium Bananas
- Add the eggs, vanilla, yogurt, and vegetable oil and whisk everything in until combined.2 Large Eggs, ⅓ cup Greek Yoghurt, 1 teaspoon Vanilla, 1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
- Sift in the dry ingredients including the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.1 ⅓ cups All-purpose Flour, 1 teaspoon Baking Powder, ½ teaspoon Baking Soda, ½ teaspoon Salt
- Chop the pecans roughly and mix them into the batter - you may want to switch to a spoon or spatula for this part as the pecans can get stuck in the whisk.¾ cup Pecans
- Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan and bake for 55 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the banana bread comes out clean.
Make the Brown Butter Frosting
- The reserved brown butter you prepared earlier should have solidified by now. If you had it in the fridge, be sure to bring it to room temperature before using. Give it a good mix to evenly disperse all the milk solids (little brown specks). Take 3 tablespoons and add them to the bowl of a stand mixer (or regular bowl with electric whisk).3 tablespoon Brown Butter
- Add the cream cheese (also at room temperature) and beat together with the brown butter, just until combined.3 oz Cream Cheese
- Add the powdered sugar and mix in slowly to avoid a sugar explosion all over your worktop, once it's all incorporated, add the vanilla and a pinch of salt, then turn the mixer to high speed for about a minute.1 teaspoon Vanilla, 1 pinch Salt, 1 ½ cups Powdered Sugar
- Spread over the top of your cooled banana bread and enjoy.
- I recommend browning 2 sticks of butter, this is actually a little more than you'll need, but it will be easier to divide the browned butter in two, and you'll have some lovely brown butter leftover to spread on your banana bread.
- When dividing the brown butter, you can do it by eye, but the easiest and most accurate way to do it is with a kitchen scale so you can make sure you have equal amounts.
- Try to make sure you have an even amount of milk solids (the little brown bits) in each lot of the brown butter, use a spoon to scoop some out and transfer between the two if you need to adjust.
- When the half batch for the frosting solidifies, be sure to give it a good mix to disperse the milk solids well throughout the brown butter.