Banana Bread with Vanilla Browned Butter Glaze

Posting my definition of the perfect banana bread recipe has been on my mental and blogger to-do list since about 2009 when I posted my last banana bread recipe and with this recipe, I can finally check that task off my to-do list.

In an ironic twist of timing, Monday August 27 is National Banana Lovers Day.

Guess this recipe was worth the wait because it happens to be the best banana bread I’ve ever made or eaten and after I made it, I began experimenting with other banana bread versions and recipes and have come up with at least three more that I will be posting over next month, one per week, in something I’m calling Banana Bread Fest.

If you’re interested in why I am calling this bread the best ever, feel free to read on; it’s a pretty wordy post. If you just want to stare at the pictures and cut to the recipe, I understand. It’s a peeve of mine when someone says ohmygodthisissogood itwillchangeyourlife and very little explanation about why they feel that way is given. I offered plenty of explanation. What’s brevity?

This banana bread is different than many of the banana bread recipes I see on blogs and Pinterest lately. It’s not loaded up with chocolate chips, white chocolate, there’s no coconut flakes or berries added to the batter. There’s a notable absence of diced peanut butter cups, miniature candies, peanut butter, almond butter, cookie butter spread, Biscoff spread, Nutella or anything else that I see in so many of the recipes floating around.

Those breads and recipes all look wonderful and they all have their time and place, but adding candy to banana bread is not something my grandma did and hers in the banana bread I wanted to most emulate.

I can be the add-candy-and-a-white-chocolate-drizzle queen, but let’s face it, when you have a pile of ripe bananas on your counter and you want to whip up a loaf of bread, sometimes you just need a really good recipe that’s rooted in practicality, not in candy or a fancy nut butter spread.

I incorporated vanilla into the bread in four ways because I’m a vanilla freak. Yes, four. I should have probably called it Vanilla Banana Bread. You can tone it down in places if you wish but I’m not sure why you’d want to.

First, I added one box of vanilla Jell-O instant pudding mix to the batter. I know some people bristle at the thought of a boxed mix of anything and you don’t have to use it, but in this application, one little three-ounce packet of vanilla pudding adds a deeper and richer vanilla flavor and it keeps this bread so incredibly soft, tender, and moist because no one hates dry bread more than me.

My oven runs hot, fast, and furious here in Aruba so the top is just a smidge darker than I wished, but the bread still goes down as the best and moistest that’s ever passed my lips.

Next, I added six ounces of vanilla yogurt to the batter, helping to boost the vanilla flavor, moisture, and tenderness. The thicker the yogurt, the better. Sour cream may be substituted or use plain yogurt or if you have a fun yogurt flavor like mango or coconut cream, I’m sure they’d be lovely as well.

Just don’t use light, diet, or fat-free yogurt. Use full-fat, thicker, or Greek-style yogurt. The point is not to shave calories; the point is to create wonderful, moist, fall-apart-soft bread. Save the thin watery yogurt for something else.

Thirdly, the batter is doused with a tablespoon of vanilla extract. I’d bathe in twenty million tablespoons of vanilla extract if I could.

Finally, I glazed this baby with a vanilla-browned butter glaze, which is to-die-for crazy good and I think should be a mandatory glaze on everything from Baked Vanilla Donuts to Puffy Vanilla and Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Although the photos show the glaze applied as a pretty and delicate thin little drizzle, that’s not reality.

Reality is dipping my knife into the jar of glaze and spreading it in a nice thick layer over the entire surface of the bread, like buttering a piece of toast in browned butter frosting. Try it. You’ll love it.

If you’ve never browned butter before, the visual guide below may help guide you in creating the rich, nutty-aroma, and amber-hued butter that’s so scrumptious. Watch the butter closely and stop cooking when the butter is browned, not burned, taking into account carryover-cooking times. Remember to transfer the hot butter into a cool container immediately after removing it from the heat source so that it doesn’t continue to cook and possibly burn.

Browned butter is divine and will make you wonder why you haven’t been browning butter all your life for everything you’ve ever used butter for. Burnt butter is putrid and will make you want to evacuate your kitchen because it’s stinky and vile.

According to Christina Tosi, you can brown butter in the microwave. I tried it here in Aruba rather than browning it on the stovetop and you know what, she’s right. The details are in the recipe section.

It’s been 3-plus years since my last banana bread recipe (vegan, GF) which is truly wonderful, but includes a hefty dose of peanut butter in the batter and peanut butter makes anything more moist and more wonderful. This new banana bread recipe holds it’s own on every level, no peanut butter required.

Another reason I love this new recipe is because no mixer is required. Some recipes call for creaming butter and sugar, creaming in the eggs, beating in the bananas for two minutes and so forth. This recipe instead uses melted butter (and I much prefer melted butter to using oil for the added layer of flavor), and the batter is whisked together in one bowl, which is how my grandma made her banana bread.

A browned exterior and chewy crust with an incredibly moist and soft interior. It rose beautifully and there’s a balance of lightness and tenderness to the crumb but also some density. It’s loaded up with vanilla, and no mixer is required, which is why this is my new favorite banana bread. Scott said that hands down, it’s also the best banana bread he’s ever eaten and he’s not a banana bread guy. He’s a salty ‘n sweet Cinnamon Sugar Chocolate Pretzels guy.

I can’t wait to make another loaf when I’m back in San Diego with my regular oven. Or make the recipe as muffins, as mini loaves, as a 9-inch banana cake, or maybe add some pumpkin to the batter. My wheels were turning and I’ve since made three more banana bread versions and I’m no where near done. Stay tuned for the recipes in the upcoming weeks of Banana Bread Fest.


Banana Bread with Vanilla Browned Butter Glaze

Makes one 9-by-5-inch loaf (or can be made as two 8-by-4-inch loaves or three mini loaves, adjusting baking times as necessary)

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (half of one stick)

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

6 ounces vanilla yogurt (one standard-sized small container; Greek-style preferred, or sour cream may be substituted – do not use fat free or light yogurt or sour cream)

2 large or 3 small very ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 1/2 cups mashed)

one 3.4-ounce box vanilla instant pudding mix (not Cook ‘n Serve), optional see notes below

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste

Preheat oven to 350F, spray a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray with flour (I use Pam for Baking) or grease and flour the pan; set aside.

In a large microwave-safe mixing bowl, melt the butter, about 1 minute. To the melted butter, add the sugars, eggs, vanilla, yogurt, and stir or whisk to combine. Add the bananas and stir to incorporate. Add the dry pudding mix and stir to combine (Note: You are not making pudding; simply add the mix as a dry ingredient. You don’t have to use pudding mix but it creates wonderful moisture and flavor in the bread. If omitting, you may wish to add an additional 1/4 cup granulated sugar and an additional 1/4  to 1/3 cup flour, based on taste preference and how your batter looks).

Add the flour, baking soda, salt, and stir until just combined, taking care not to over-mix or bread will be tougher as the gluten will over-develop. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 50 to 58 minutes, or until top is golden and set, and a wooden skewer, cake tester, or knife inserted in the center comes out clean. If bread is browning too fast on the top, you may wish to lower your oven temperature to 325F midway through cooking, at about the 30-minute mark if your oven runs hot or tent the pan with foil in approximately the last 20 minutes of cooking. Allow bread to cool in the loaf pan for at least 20 minutes before removing from the pan and transferring to a rack to finish cooling.

Vanilla Browned Butter Glaze

1/4 cup butter (half of one stick)

1 cup+ confectioners’ sugar, sifted

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 tablespoons+ cream or milk, optional and to taste

You can brown the butter in a small saucepan on the stovetop, heating over medium heat. Swirl the pan or stir frequently for about 5 to 7 minutes, until the sputtering, crackling, and foaming has subsided, the butter has browned, and has a nutty aroma. Watch it closely so that it doesn’t go from browned and nutty to burnt and inedible.

Or, brown the butter in the microwave in a microwave-safe bowl by heating it on high power, uncovered, for 5 to 7 minutes, until the sputtering, crackling, and foaming has subsided, the butter has browned, and has a nutty aroma. The same rules apply in the microwave as on the stovetop; watch it closely and start checking it every 15-to-30 seconds starting at about the 5-minute mark, so that it doesn’t go from browned and nutty to burnt and inedible.

Transfer hot butter to medium-sized mixing bowl and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes.  Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and whisk to combine. Based on desired glaze consistency and taste preference, add the cream one tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached, playing with sugar and cream ratios as necessary. (I only use butter, sugar, vanilla in this glaze, no cream). Drizzle glaze over the top of the bread before slicing and serving; or slice, serve, and glaze each piece individually. I prefer to use the glaze like butter and spread it liberally on the interior surface of a slice.

Store unglazed bread in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days or store glazed bread in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Unglazed bread can be frozen for up to 3 months.


Related Recipes:

Peanut Butter Banana Bread (vegan, GF) – no mixer required, batter can be made in a blender

Banana Bread Cake (vegan, GF) – no mixer required, batter can be made in a blender

Banana Nut Muffins (vegan, GF) – one bowl, no mixer required, make by hand

Strawberry Banana Bread

Do you have a tried and true favorite banana bread recipe that you want to link up for Banana Bread Fest?

Or another quick bread recipe you love from zucchini to pumpkin to strawberry bread?

Link it up and have a great week!

The winner of the Capresso 12-Cup Stainless Steel Coffee Maker Giveaway is Jocelyn @BruCrew Life


  1. Nice recipe :)
    I also like the below banana bread recipe.
    Thanks for sharing,

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  3. I just wanted to let you know that I’ve now made this banana bread twice both times it was perfect, and the best banana bread I’ve ever made, or had. I gave my friend a slice, and told her I was mixing a batch for our Hells Canyon Relay coming up (running event in Eastern Oregon 210miles 12 people 2 days you know the kind) and she asked me to make some for her van of people too. I said I would because runners need this kind of bread. I did sub in a little white whole wheat for 1/2 cup of the all purpose flour and couldn’t tell the difference. Anyway thanks for the perfect recipe, it is now my only banana bread recipe.

    • Oh I am SO GLAD to hear this! I feel like it’s my perfect banana bread, too. I’ve since made other versions with zucchini, pumpkin; I have apple (tomorrow) carrot (next week and it’s amazing) and a few others coming up. Yes, it’s truly been banana bread fest! But they all derive from this base!

      Good to know about the flour substitution. I never even keep white w.w. on hand, just white A.P.

      Good luck with your relay, too!

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  6. I literally just made this banana bread tonight, I am not a baker of any kind I am only used to cooking simple dinner etc so I was bit worried. It turned out perfectly! I made 2 (doubled the quantities) and it is delicious and moist and not dry at all. Thanks for the lovely and SUPER EASY recipe! :D

    • I love comments like this, Alexa! Thanks for trying the recipe and reporting back and so glad you had success with it and found it to be easy! Those are my goals with the recipes I post and I am thrilled it was a hit for you!

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  12. I just made this the other day, and it was absolutely divine. The best banana bread I’ve ever tasted, yum! I thought the frosting was a little unnecessary in the end, as it took away from the pure delicious taste of the bread itself. I ended up scraping it off, but my mom liked it a lot. The foil over the bread was definitely a helpful tip as the top of the bread browned very quickly. Overall, GREAT recipe. I’ll recommend it to anyone I know who loves banana bread! Thanks for taking the time to make the recipe so clear and easy to do!

    • I am so glad you tried it and loved it! Yes, the glaze is an afterthought, it’s not necessary; I am a glaze person (like your mom), my husband is not as much (more like you). But glad that you have a go-to banana bread base recipe that you enjoy!

  13. i have this in the oven right now and it smells soooooooo good! and i made this glaze and i’m holding myself back from digging in with a spoon. Mmmmmm :) thanks avery! can’t wait for the bread to get done!

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  16. The best banana bread recipe out there! Thanks for the recipe! :)

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  23. Made some today – this is hands down the best banana bread I have ever had. And that glaze was to die for! Thanks for sharing the recipe! Just posted it on my blog:

    • Just checked out your post and I’m so glad you made it, loved it, and that it’s hands down the best banana bread you’ve ever had. I agree and I don’t toss words like ‘best ever’ around lightly so when I say it, I do mean it and glad you concur!

  24. This banana bread looks and sounds amazing! I just baked with bananas (for some delicious banana bars with brown butter frosting AND a honey cinnamon crumble banana bread) but now, I want to make this bread too! Why must you do this to me?! ;)

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  30. BEST. BANANA BREAD. EVER. It’s taking all I have to not eat the entire loaf myself! I’m already planning for my next batch! Thanks for sharing:)

    • Abby, I totally agree!!!!! I have about 15 recipes for banana bread on my site, and THIS is the one to beat. It always turns out, it never fails, it’s always super moist, I truly love it! Glad you’re a fan, too! :) Thanks for LMK you tried it!

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  32. Baked this bread this afternoon…just tried the first slice…and then immediately another one….oh my god…this one is sooooooo good!

    Used a pudding powder that is available in shops here in NL, don’t know whether it compares to yours but yummmm I loved it!

    Thanks for sharing…looking forward to find more yummie recipes here in the future :-)

    • So glad to hear you made this and are loving it! It’s my fave ‘basic’ banana bread but it’s far from basic :) Your pudding powder sounds about like what we have and whatever you did, sounds like it worked! LMK if you try other recipes!

    • Will certainly do…I just recently started to fall in live with baking…especially with bananas (driving my friend nuts here too *grin*) and just love the recipes from your site and some other -no sites from Holland funnily enough-

      Living in Holland does present some difficulties for certain ingredients but some are easily replaced by something dutch (like the custard pudding powder I used) or not…it means sometimes that I cannot bake it but that’s okay (not always, sometimes I’m totally drooling here and grumpy since no Reece’s thingys can be bought here f.e.), as long as I find things like these ;-)

      Got ideas also for this one…as muffins (oh more crust-must be heaven)…with chocolate…other fruit yummmm (my stomach growls for more RIGHT now_

    • We have a house in Aruba (Dutch island) and I am very familiar with Dutch grocery stores and foods! Last summer I did this post about various PBs I bought there!

      I totally understand the challenges of finding ingredients you want. When I make simple things there, I sometimes have to go to 3 or 4 grocery stores and pray I can even find what I want! If you ever need suggestions about substitutions on my recipes with ingredients, just email me :)

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  34. This is still cooling on my counter, yet I’ve eaten almost half of it already. It’s SO good. I did some things a bit different as to avoid going to the store. I left out the pudding and added 1/4 C flour and 1/4 C brown sugar instead of granulated. My batter was a touch dry, so I added a bit more vanilla extract. Maybe 1-2 tsp. Can’t go wrong there! I also used plain Greek yogurt. I love that the top is beautiful browny crispiness and the inside is moist and soft. Next time I will add walnuts as I just love them in banana bread. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  35. Just wondering, if I were to freeze this bread, how would you suggest thawing it? Would it be best to pop it in the oven for a while, or just let it sit out until it’s thaw, or something else?

    • Just on the countertop! Won’t take but maybe 1-2 hours, depending on how warm your kitchen is. Don’t pop it in the oven. In my experience, it will just dry it out!

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  37. Banana bread came out perfect! Soooo moist, and the flavor was amazing! Advice to others making this: don’t change a thing!

    Averie, you are the master and i am but your humble grasshopper. Thank you for making baking fun and idiot-proof for the beginner.

    • Thanks for trying this, Ande, and for the funny and nice things you said :) I am glad you found it to be idiot-proof & that you told others not to change a thing! (I wish more people would just do that!)

  38. I have tried so so many different banana bread recipes….at least 30…not even joking. So many my husband and son kid me about it. Every person in our family and all my friends give me their fave family recipe to try and many have been good but not IT. Always looking for that perfect elusive loaf. Your recipe has been sitting in my ever expanding pile of recipes to try and today was the day after scoring a pile of yucky rotten :o) bananas super cheap at the store. It was perfect! EXACTLY what I was looking for…moist but not wet…yes there is such a thing as too many bananas (tried a recipe that called for 6 of them…blech!) I loved everything about it. I was going on about it so much my son even had a slice and that is not typical of him – yes he liked it too. I had to use sour cream because for whatever reason…I can only find low or no fat vanilla yogurt here (southern Illinois)..I did find a few choices of flavored yogurts with fat but not any vanilla…I picked up a coconut…going to try that in a new batch tomorrow (have a couple more bananas to use up…made a batch of whole wheat banana pancakes also today). Oh…did not even use the glaze either although I will try it on at least 1 of the loaves (I made 3 minis and put 2 in the freezer). Thank you for sharing this recipe….deeply appreciated.

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  40. Hi Averie! I first if all just wanted to thank you for this amazing recipe! I can’t wait to try it out this weekend! I was wondering if the bread would still be just as moist and delicious as muffins?

  41. Hi! Do you think I could replace the yogurt with peanut butter? I don’t have full fat yogurt or sour cream, just fat free, so I thought maybe peanut butter could work? I hope so, can’t wait to try it! :)

  42. Oh and I’ve always had bad luck with loaf pans, the middle never seems to cook through! Do you think if I used a 9inch square pan it would work too?
    Same baking time? Maybe I’ll just cross my fingers and go with the loaf, I am just nervous bc I’m gifting it! Help! ;)

    • You could bake it in two 8×4 pans or as a 9-inch square. If you do either, you’ll need to shave off baking time. I do understand your frustration about cooking through with loaf pans (happens to me a lot) but you can put a sheet of foil over the top at about the 30 min mark so top/sides don’t get too browned before center cooks through.

    • Awesome, will do! I think maybe I’ll do the 2 pans so I can taste one too! :)

  43. Hi, Averie. Per usual, I loved your recipe. I’ve made many, many banana bread recipes but I really love this one. I love the texture of the bread and it’s so moist and delicious. Thank you!!

  44. Hi Averie,
    I am sorry for not commenting in forever. I did have a healthy baby girl 4 weeks ago and have been super busy with momhood! Its so different mow having 2 kids…life changes. One doesn’t know where time flies!

    But i haven’t forgotten this amazing blog. In the last 3 days i made this bread…which my hubby loved. Also the Nutella cookies with white chocolate chips and the blueberry crumb bar. They were all lvely.

    A belated new years wish…hope 2015 brings you good health and joy. I am excited for all your new recipes.

    Lots ot best wishes, iram

    • I was just thinking about you the other day because I knew you were due about a week or so before Xmas and figured you had your baby and were KNEE DEEP in new motherhood! Many congratulations on your new bundle of joy and I cannot even believe you are baking right now! You are truly amazing! Have a wonderful new year and enjoy the babymoon…however with 2 little ones, there’s no honeymoon period :)

      So glad you enjoyed these and the Nutella cookies AND the blueberry bars…you are just amazing!!

  45. Hi!

    Just made this yesterday after I randomly came across the recipe. I have never made banana bread before so I was a little nervous. But this was amazing!!! Turned out beautifully.. I can’t wait to try more variations!

  46. You had me till I read Vanilla Instant Pudding

  47. I want to make this banana bread but I only by the fat free dry pudding could I use it? I really do not like to buy something I would not use.

  48. If I wanted to bake it in a 13×9 pan, would I just double the ingredients? 

    • So you ou would be taking a LOAF of bread and turning it into bars/cake/something much flatter, and then in the process doubling the recipe. So it may work but I have no idea how it will go. LMK if you try!

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