Pumpkin Banana Bread with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

Well here you go. My first pumpkin recipe of the season and I’ve got many more where this came from.

I’ve held off as long as I can, but now the pumpkin floodgates have opened.

Pumpkin Banana Bread with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting - Soft, fluffy, super moist, and a perfect way to put those ripe bananas to use!! Easy, no mixer recipe!

This bread was the first thing I made after arriving home in San Diego after a month in Aruba. I had been dreaming about pumpkin anything the entire month of August in the 95F degree Caribbean heat and humidity. Go figure.

All I wanted was pumpkin. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I made this smoothie and tried convince myself that was good enough. Sure, it’s a great fall-flavored smoothie, but it wasn’t pumpkin.

Pumpkin Banana Bread with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting - Soft, fluffy, super moist, and a perfect way to put those ripe bananas to use!! Easy, no mixer recipe!

Like a pregnant woman who’s craving pickles and sends her husband out at 3am for them, I was a woman on a mission in search of canned pumpkin puree. Just like I went to five grocery stores on the island to find a box of Jello instant chocolate pudding mix for the three ingredient Frozen Chocolate Wafer Cake I made, I went to six grocery stores to find canned pumpkin, but came up empty handed. I knew I would but I had to at least try anyway.

Pumpkin puree tends to be a seasonal item even in the U.S. where it’s well-loved. Most other countries don’t get our obsession with pumpkin and I pity international food blog readers who read U.S.-based blogs for three months a year. We’re making pumpkin breads, smoothies, pies, brownies, pumpkin salads and it’s one big pumpkin fest and they can’t even buy it. Steaming, mashing, and pureeing squash or sweet potatoes is likely the closest substitute.

Pumpkin Banana Bread with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting - Soft, fluffy, super moist, and a perfect way to put those ripe bananas to use!! Easy, no mixer recipe!

I had elaborately built up this recipe so much in my mind so much that I even had myself a little worried about what if it didn’t turn out like I had envisioned. Nothing like unpacking suitcases, doing vacation laundry, being jet-lagged, and rather than being concerned about the piles of mail and dust bunnies that had collected while we were gone, I was really only concerned about having success with this pumpkin banana bread. I had been fantasizing about it for what seemed like years.

All I had to do was get my hands on a can of pumpkin puree, which was easy because I knew I had two cans of Trader Joe’s pumpkin puree stashed in my cupboard from last fall. They didn’t expire until October 2014. Pumpkin hoarders take note that you can stash away pumpkin puree for a couple years and still be safe in case you can’t get Libby’s year round in your area.

Luckily, this bread turned out to be everything I wanted and more.

The golden top layer is the bread-top equivalent of a muffin top. Since I go around picking off muffin tops, you can use your imagine about what happened to the top layer on all the slices of this bread.

Pumpkin Banana Bread with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting - Soft, fluffy, super moist, and a perfect way to put those ripe bananas to use!! Easy, no mixer recipe!

The bread’s flavor is equally balanced between pumpkin bread and banana bread. If desired, enhance the pumpkin flavor by adding more pumpkin puree and cutting back on the mashed bananas a bit, or by adding a more generous amount of pumpkin pie spice. However, I wanted pumpkin-banana bread, not just pumpkin bread, and am pleased with the balance. I have another recipe coming for those who want unadulterated pumpkin bread.

The moisture and softness level of the bread is out of this world. The addition of Greek yogurt, pumpkin puree, bananas, a box of instant pudding mix, and a tablespoon of molasses not only all boost the flavor depth and profile of the bread, but each of those ingredients also tenderize it. If you’re a dry bread hater like I am, you have nothing to worry about with this loaf.

It’s also a snap to make. No creaming of ingredients, just stir everything into one big bowl, pour into a loaf pan, and bake. I’m sure you could bake the batter as muffins or in a Bundt or tube-cake pan, too.

Pumpkin Banana Bread with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting - Soft, fluffy, super moist, and a perfect way to put those ripe bananas to use!! Easy, no mixer recipe!

This is the third banana bread recipe in my Banana Bread Fest series. Banana Bread with Browned Butter Glaze and Zucchini Banana Bread with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting were the first two recipes. Just like I added glaze and frosting to those breads, this one is no different.

I went with the same Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting that I made for the zucchini banana bread, and it worked just as well with pumpkin as it did with zucchini. I try to pair my vegetables with frosting whenever possible.

Pumpkin Banana Bread with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting - Soft, fluffy, super moist, and a perfect way to put those ripe bananas to use!! Easy, no mixer recipe!

The tang of the cream cheese, the comforting and homey quality imparted from the browned butter, counterbalanced with the sweetness from the confectioners’ sugar make it a frosting that I slather generously on the bread.

I don’t do it for the photographs because it looks like a big, white, smeary mess, but spreading the frosting all over the interior surface of a slice of bread, like you’re buttering a slice of bread, is simply divine and highly recommended.

And so it begins. Welcome to Pumpkin Season 2012.

Pumpkin Banana Bread with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting - Soft, fluffy, super moist, and a perfect way to put those ripe bananas to use!! Easy, no mixer recipe!

Pumpkin Banana Bread with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting - Soft, fluffy, super moist, and a perfect way to put those ripe bananas to use!! Easy, no mixer recipe!

Print Recipe

Pumpkin Banana Bread with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

Soft, moist, fluffy and so much better than another loaf of plain banana bread. Fast, easy, and everyone will go nuts for this comforting loaf. I made as one 9-by-5-inch loaf but you may wish to divide batter among two 8-by-4-inch loaves and reduce baking time by about 10 minutes; or bake as 3 or more mini loaves, bake in a 9-inch square pan, as 12-cup Bundt cake, or as muffins; adjusting baking times as necessary.

Yield: one 9-by-5-inch loaf, see notes above

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 60 to 68 minutes, or until done

Total Time: about 90 minutes, for cooling



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

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 large egg

5 to 6 ounces vanilla or plain yogurt (one standard-sized small container; Greek-style preferred, or sour cream may be substituted; I use Chobani Vanilla)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon unsulphered molasses, optional (I use Grandma’s)

1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)

1 cup mashed bananas (about 1 1/2 large or 2 small bananas)

1/3 cup raisins, shredded carrots, shredded coconut flakes, nuts, chocolate chips, optional (I didn’t use any)

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

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (pumpkin pie spice is largely a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger if you find it in your area)

1/2 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes just over 1 cup frosting

1/4 cup butter (half of one stick)

4 tablespoons cream cheese

1 1/2 cups+ confectioners’ sugar, sifted

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 tablespoons+ cream or milk, optional and to taste


Bread - 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(s)s; set aside.

In a large microwave-safe mixing bowl, melt the butter, about 1 minute. To the melted butter, add the sugars, egg, yogurt, vanilla, molasses, and stir or whisk to combine. Add pumpkin puree, bananas, and stir to incorporate.

Add the optional add-ins, dry pudding mix (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), cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, salt, cloves and stir to combine (All spices should be added to taste; if you like a heavier cinnamon or pumpkin-pie flavor, add more. If you don’t keep them all on hand, not a big deal; use what you do have)

Add the flour, baking soda, and stir until just combined, taking care not to over-mix or bread will be tougher as the gluten will over-develop; this is a fairly thick batter and thicker than any previous banana bread batters and with the least amount of flour added (I used Trader Joe’s pumpkin puree which was thick, dense, and well-packed; if using another brand of pumpkin puree which is thinner, you may wish to increase the flour to 1 3/4 cups or slightly over, but at 1 2/3 cups flour my batter was already quite thick). Pour batter into prepared pan(s) and bake for about 60 to 68 minutes (this is for one 9-by-5-inch loaf), 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 a bit fast on the top, you may wish to lower your oven temperature to 325F 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 30 minutes before removing from the pan and transferring to a rack to finish cooling.

Frosting - 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 cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and whisk to combine. Based on desired frosting consistency and taste preference, add the cream or milk one tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached, playing with sugar and cream ratios as necessary. (I only use butter, cream cheese, sugar, vanilla in this frosting, no cream). Drizzle or spread frosting over the top of the bread before slicing and serving; or slice, serve, and frost each piece individually. I prefer to use the frosting like butter and spread it liberally on the interior surface of a slice. Store extra frosting in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

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

Related Banana Bread Recipes

Banana Bread with Vanilla Browned Butter GlazeBanana Bread Fest Week 1

Zucchini Banana Bread with Browned Butter Cream Cheese FrostingBanana Bread Fest Week 2

Related Pumpkin Recipes – All Pumpkin Recipes are Here including:

Pumpkin Spiced Brown Rice Tempeh and Cranberry Salad (vegan, gluten free if gluten-free tempeh is used)

Pumpkin Honey Tofu (GF, use agave instead of honey to keep vegan) – Due to the method used of freezing the tofu, then thawing it, then marinating and cooking it, this tofu turns out incredibly spongy and bread-like; a tofu-based pumpkin bread. I highly recommend it.

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars (vegan, GF)

Do you like pumpkin?

I have seen so many pumpkin recipes already on blogs and on Pinterest already this fall that I almost feel like I’m late to the Pumpkin Party, and it’s only early September.

I have all my Pumpkin Recipes here but have at least three more pumpkin recipes that I’ve already made the past couple weeks. I will try to space them out and not overwhelm you with pumpkin. Is one a week okay?

I have a Pumpkin Pinterest Board

A couple random tidbits that I’ve learned about canned pumpkin puree:

It’s not really pumpkin in the cans, it’s a blend of pureed squashes.

I’ve heard from many people who’ve actually boiled or cooked and then mashed and pureed real pumpkins that they prefer the pumpkin puree sold in cans. For two bucks, it’s one of those situations on the work-reward-tastetest scale, where I will continue to happily buy storebought, which means I have more time to bake up treats.

If you eat enough brightly colored orange food, you will turn orange. Right before Skylar’s first birthday she was on a pureed sweet potatoes, squash, and pumpkin kick and we took her to the pediatrician for her one-year checkup and the first words out of our doctor’s mouth was, “Has she been eating lots of orange food? She looks a little on the orange side.” After that we curtailed the orange foods for a bit.

Do you have any favorite pumpkin bread or pumpkin-anything recipes?

Feel free to link them up! I love finding out about tried-and-true favorites.


  1. I have a pumpkin obsession, as well, and have been looking forward to fall :) seems like grocery stores are finally stocking up on fall ingredients! Can’t wait to try this recipe. Thanks for sharing!

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  4. I will have to have to try this one too! I love your banana fest and without realizing it, it looks like i am doing it along with you :). I have been dying to start baking with pumpkin!

  5. The bread looks perfect! I’ve been daydreaming about putting cream cheese frosting on everything lately. I think I have to satisfy it sometime soon. I like pumpkin, yes. Not totally ga-ga for it, but I enjoy it when I have it. I never crave it, but I do say I should have it more often when I do eat something made with it. It’s one of those things. :)

    • You know it wasn’t until about 4-5 yrs ago, sort of coinciding with blogging, that I really got into pumpkin and now, I just HAVE to have it! I used to be meh, whatever. But I’ve come to just adore the stuff!

  6. The frustration of going to 6 different grocery stores in search of pumpkin sounds like a pure nightmare! But you know what? This bread looks well worth the Aruba inconvenience and the wait. I almost had a semi-heart attack seeing no pumpkin on my Target shelves on Sunday but was delighted to see it at my grocery so I did what any other sane person would do… I stocked up. :)

    The bread looks SO moist, so soft, and the whole muffin top appeal leaves me drooling! The bottom and top layer almost look gooey which is what I LOVE about banana breads. Its rich orange-yellow color is gorgeous too! A photogenic bread indeed. Pumpkin season 2012 is well underway. Cannot WAIT to see more pumpkin recipes where this gem came from. :)

    • When I read your email about the pumpkin gone missing situation I was chuckling b/c of what I went thru in Aruba! Glad you’re well-stocked up now.

      I love that almost gooey top and bottom layer – it’s an art b/c sometimes I underbake and it’s too gooey and practically raw but othertimes I bake for just a few extra mins and I don’t get that gooey layer b/c just a couple mins too long can change things, dramatically.

      And thanks for the Pin!

  7. Ooooh, it looks so good Averie!!!

  8. This looks divine! I’ve been holding off buying pumpkins, mums, cornstalks. It’s 64 degrees here this morning and I know my husband will tease me if I click on the fireplace. But I can resist no longer! That’s funny about your daughter turning orange. We had the exact same experience at the pediatrician when my daughter was a year old….”Your daughter is orange, might want to pull back on the sweet potatoes”. Of course she still LOVES them to this day and she’s 28.

  9. This sounds lovely! And that browned butter frosting sounds particularly tasty!!

  10. Oh heavens girl, this looks outstanding! I’m so ready for pumpkin back in my life.

  11. I want to dive head first into that. Or make a bed out of it….I could just eat it at will. No wait, that’s a bad idea.

  12. WOW Averie! This looks sooo delicious! I so wish my hubby would eat veggies – and out of all of them pumpkin is my fav!! I will have to just eat the whole thing on my own!!

  13. I love love love that you added molasses to the recipe! Looks divine!

  14. I’ll bet the cream cheese frosting puts this bread over the top. I make some pumpkin banana muffins that are a favorite over here. I’ve already broken out the pumpkin, too. I just couldn’t wait.

  15. Thank goodness I’m eating my oatmeal right now or I might lick the screen. That looks amazing! I love pumpkin. I usually end up making tons of pumpkin soup this time of year. I have a cupboard filled with pumpkin so I really should use it and stop hoarding it LOL.

  16. This combination is way too fun and I can only imagine how moist the bread is because of the bananas and pumpkin!

  17. Now you have me craving pumpkin! Goodness after all this talk about it….

  18. I’m loving both banana and pumpkin right now! I’ve been making vegan muffins of both…in fact…I may make more today and combine them together as you’ve done! Nom NOm!

  19. I’m loving all your variations on banana bread AND what the addition of the pudding mix and Greek yogurt does to them. Sooo good! I hoarded some cans of pumpkin last season and have 1 small one left–so yes I love pumpkin (I haven’t met a squash I dislike yet)! I must give this one a try also.

  20. reading your post reminded me of something I saw on my errands yesterday… canned pumpkin! in a slightly unlikely place, too… or at least somewhere you may not have checked – Cost Plus World Market!

    Totally saw it there. :)

    hope this helps for future pumpkin craving recipes!

  21. I just posted pumpkin too ;) it’s too good to resist! Just like this bread, which looks incredible!!!

  22. Your breads always look scrumptious and pillowy soft. I wouldn’t mind a loaf to finish off right now!

  23. I love pumpkin! I used fresh roasted pumpkin, though, and fresh shredded pumpkin is insane! I am surprised to hear that canned pumpkin is not available year round. Always nice when something turns out as good as you imagine. My favorite pumpkin recipe of all time is pumpkin whoopie pies with marshmallow filling, and I don’t think it will be topped anytime soon! http://piesandplots.net/pumpkin-whoopie-pies-with-marshmallow-filling/

    • That filling. Oh, that filling! mmmmm! I have another pumpkin recipe coming up that I’m posting on the 24th that I think you’ll like then! And much of the US can’t get pumpkin year-round and internationally, people think we’re nuts with our pumpkin obsession here!

  24. haha – the pumpkin floodgates. i’m not the biggest fan of pumpkin, but the one thing i do like is pumpkin bread! i like that yours has banana incorporated in it and yogurt. i can already imagine how amazingly moist these must be!

  25. Yay for baking with pumpkin!! I love the frosting, of course :)

  26. This looks beautiful, Averie! I stocked up on pumpkin last year when it was $0.69/can – I bought two cases! Made me feel less crazy when I saw it for $2 a can this week!

  27. Ya killin me!!!! SOOOO tasty yet again today. Yes to pumpkin – I’d eat it year round if it was in season – and yes, ALWAYS, to frosted quick bread. There’s something so satisfying about a warm loaf of bread. Thanks for another lovely recipe!!

  28. Amen! Pumpkin is king! Long live pumpkin! Keep the pumpkin recipes coming—the combo of banana and pumpkin is a new one for me, love it!

  29. I’m not sure which sounds better, a month in Aruba or brown butter cream cheese frosting.

  30. I don’t think it can get any better than pumpkin and browned butter!

  31. To me, steamed squash tasted like what I imagined it’d be like biting into a jack-o-lantern (i.e. the smell of scooping out seeds before carving)–hallelujah for whoever decided it’d be a great idea to cream a bunch of sugar into pumpkin and call it dessert. I love autumn now though thanks to pumpkin pie and bread recipes like yours, thanks for sharing this!

  32. Still not ready to welcome fall, but all these pumpkin recipes are super tempting!!!

  33. Pumpkin recipes is on my top 3 favorite things about Fall. I’ve been looking forward to my pumpkin belgian waffles for months now.

  34. LOVE pumpkin. Nothing else so reminds me of fall in MN during this crazy San Diego heatwave. I had to have something pumpkin this weekend (could have been the heat, could have been a pregnancy craving :)), and definitely overstocked when I found it at Ralph’s this weekend.

  35. This is why I love Fall!

  36. I love pumpkin. I love the way it looks on the table (for decoration), the way it smells in my Yankee Candle and the way it tastes in coffee, muffins, cakes, breads, cookies and pies! You asked if once a week would be too ok? I say…every day is fine with me! The many pumpkin posts never overwhelm me but actually make me feel all cozy about the approaching seasons of Thanksgiving and Christmas and a nip in the air.

    This bread of yours looks incredible. I love how you put so many layers of flavors in it: molasses, yogurt, pudding…I mean, oh yes! So moist and delicious looking. I don’t think I would have thought to combine banana and pumpkin but those two flavors actually sound incredible together. Awesome pics, too, btw! :-)

    • There are SO many layers going on but they all complement each other (rather than turn into a hodgepodge…lol) and one just adds more softness than the next which is how I like my breads :)

      Well you’re in luck with the pumpkin recipes..the last 4 out of 5 things Ive made involve pumpkin. In about 2 weeks, my posts will catch up to real time and there’ll be a few weeks where there’s lots! of pumpkin!

  37. So awesome Averie! I love all your breads!

  38. I have a freezer full of ripe bananas that I really need to get around to using for something – this recipe might prompt me to use them up sooner than later!

  39. Oh my goodness that bread looks amazing!!

  40. Oh nice! Nanas n punkin’:)
    I love most anything pumpkin, generally! Unless there is coconut involved…

  41. Hi Averie, I am glad you opened those gates as I really love pumpkins. Although I use it mostly in more savory dishes, I have one or two recipes with it where I add sugar… :)

  42. What interesting ingredients! Looks delish

  43. i understand your angst about building a recipe in your head and the recipe not turning out right… but this looks WONDERFUL and i’m glad it turned out the way you wanted it to!
    i can’t wait to try it! :)

  44. I’m not gaga over pumpkin, but I do love a good muffin or bread. In fact, I’m having friends over for brunch on Sunday and was just thinking about what to make. I think I may go with this one, or the zucchini-banana bread…which do you like better?

    • This one is definitely more pumpkin-ey and more robustly flavored than the zuke bread. You know how zucchini is; in all reality it’s pretty flavor neutral. If you want that ‘flavors of fall’ vibe, go with this. If you want more of a classic banana bread, go with the zuke-banana bread.

  45. I love the macro shots of this bread. You can tell how rich and moist it is!

  46. Love pumpkin and frosting compliments the bread so well. A slice with my tea this would morning would just be the best start to the day. :)

  47. Yay fall! I need to stock up on pumpkin :)

  48. Ok, true story…I just made pumpkin banana muffins last week:-) Great minds think alike!!! It gives it such a rich and awesome texture! I stash pumpkin cans too…in fact I just used up the rest of last years cans. Time to stock up for next year! Your pictures always inspire me to work harder at mine. Maybe one day we will get a chance to meet up and you can show me some fun camera tricks!!!

  49. Ugh I’m so sick of pumpkin recipes! lol The same thing happens in the blogosphere every fall! We all need a new fall ingredient

  50. yayy. so excited to see pumpkin recipes popping up. it’s fall!

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