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 is 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

169 comments on “Banana Bread with Vanilla Browned Butter Glaze”

  1. This banana bread looks beautiful, Averie! I have a problem with banana bread because most of the recipes I’ve made produce a really dry bread. I’ve tried switching the fat from butter to oil to yogurt to sour cream, I’ve tried baking it in different pans and different temps for different times and NOTHING produces the dense yet light, super moist banana bread I want. This, however, looks like it’s going to answer all my problems. It looks gorgeous–and that white chocolate drizzle, hellloooo perfection!! Hope you saved me a slice :)

    • Hayley I so understand your issues! I have spent years trying to figure out butter (melted or creamed), oil, a combo of both, one or the other. Sugar – brown, white, combo, etc. Sour cream, cream cheese, yogurt, some all, none, combo, etc. Pans, sizes, one large, two small, 8×8, 9×9, cake pans, loaf pans, times, temps – girl I have DONE IT ALL. Baking soda, baking powder — trust me, Ive been thru the banana circus :) I think you will love this one and have success b/c if I could do it with 90% humidity in this oven I have here, anyone can!

      And it’s not actually white chocolate — it’s browned butter with confectioners sugar. You’ll want to drink it!

  2. I love that you made such a classic banana bread. Sometimes it’s nice to let those flavors shine. The addition of brown butter glaze sounds heavenly, especially when you talk about spreading it on like butter. I have a favorite zucchini muffin recipe that I make all the time. I love it because I pack tons of zucchini into it, and it makes me believe it’s quite healthy. Here’s the link: Hope you’re having a great weekend :)

    • you just used two words that I have posts about coming up next week: zucchini and classics.

      And thanks for actually reading the post (I know most people don’t!) and realizing that yes, I spread the glaze on like butter, and oh, it’s sooo good ;)

      • I try to always read full posts because more than a baking blogger I’m an aspiring novelist. My love of writing leads my posts to be very, very long most of the time, and I always hope people read them. Plus it helps me get to know my fellow bloggers better and learn about recipes I actually intend to make.

  3. You know what my favorite smell on earth is? The scent of banana bread baking. And you know I’m a vanilla freak too, so I bet this is the BEST-smelling banana bread ever. Gorge!

  4. Banana, zucchini and pumpkin breads are my favorites. Great idea with the multiple ways to bring in the vanilla flavor. I can’t wait to follow the comments and read about what people have made.

    I have a pumpkin bread recipe that I personally think it is fabulous–but it’s still just written on a piece of scratch paper. I’ll have to put it up on my blog when I make it this fall. So stay tuned. ;)

  5. Averie, I know how hard you worked on this recipe and you truly produced a WINNER. It’s beautiful and the pictures literally show how moist and rich it is. When I first read that you added vanilla in 4 ways, my mind was racing! How on earth did she do that? I couldn’t wait to read more. Your description and detail to this post is MUCH appreciated. I know readers like to actually… umm… read about the recipes and how-tos rather than seeing a picture of the recipe and reading a story about nothing-to-do-with-the-freaking-recipe. :)

    Loving the pudding addition. And I never thought to brown butter in the micro before! That is super interesting, I must try that next time. A simple, homestyle, classic banana bread recipe.. with no “extras” to make it outstanding, is certainly noteworthy in my book. I am so excited for banana bread fest! ;)

    • oh hi, me again! lol I forgot to tell you that I am in love with picture #3 in this post. The entire loaf taken from above. perfect, crisp, clear. beautiful. captures the glaze wonderfully! And my favorite banan bread recipe:

    • Yes, you of all people know all my trials and tribulations. As I told Hayley above, ‘trying to figure out butter (melted or creamed), oil, a combo of both, one or the other. Sugar – brown, white, combo, etc. Sour cream, cream cheese, yogurt, some all, none, combo, etc. Pans, sizes, one large, two small, 8×8, 9×9, cake pans, loaf pans, times, temps – girl I have DONE IT ALL. Baking soda, baking powder — trust me, Ive been thru the banana circus :)’

      And yes, this is not a gimmicky recipe, this is a classic. Other than maybe the pudding mix :) But it adds insurance of moisture and flavor, mmm, sooo good.

      Glad you like my methods and descriptions. More cold hard facts, less stories, that’s how I’m feeling about blogging these days :)

      And that pic you like – I submitted it but I bet they won’t choose that one. Maybe TS will. FG, I doubt it. I just hope they take any. lol

  6. I’m all about bananas in baked goods! I’ve been very into a vegan banana muffin recipe lately- I must try your take! I like you explanation on why its so darn good!

  7. I just bought a bunch of overripe bananas yesterday with the intention of making SOMETHING banana. I can’t get enough banana lately! Love this bread. The vanilla pudding is quite the surprise! I bet the flavor–and scent– is incredible. This is definitely unlike any other banana bread I’ve ever seen. We used to make dozens and dozens of loaves at our farm market’s bakery, but it was always the same recipe. Today, not so much. You never know what you’re going to get with your bananas. :)

  8. I liked that you put a glaze on the banana bread. The bread itself looks so moist and delicious.

  9. I love the coincidence because I’m in the same boat! I baked banana bread for Treats With a Twist this weekend and am going to be posting it too!
    I love anything with browned butter, so yours looks so amazing!

  10. My mouth is watering right now. That glaze looks so incredible! I have it in my head to try a new banana bread this weekend. I’lll let you know how it turns out!

  11. Yummy! I can’t wait to try the glaze!
    If you find some extra down time between baking amazing recipes, I’m tagging you for the inspirational blogger award!

  12. As I think about your recipe, I remembered a browned butter frosting I used on cashew cookies many years ago (sooo good). Pudding mix always seems to work wonders in quick breads, and I’ve used yogurt for the same purpose. All those great ideas in one amazing loaf! I’m so glad for the browned butter reminder– I had completely forgotten about it but I’ll be slathering on that glaze with a knife as well! I wish I had a couple of really ripe bananas NOW, but I will by later in the week so this is at the top of my to-bake list. Thanks for another great recipe!

    • You know you can put them in a brown paper bag on the counter and really speed things up for ripening if you want! And the browned butter glaze on cashew cookies; mmmm! And yes, slather it on like buttering a slice of bread. Not some little thin, dinky, glaze. Plentiful abundance :)

  13. I love my vegan recipe for Banana Bread, but the classic recipe that it’s based on is a staple in my family, from the Fanny Farmer’s Cookbook. My mom always sprinkled a hefty amount of brown sugar on top so it would caramelize in the oven, so now that’s something I always do when I make it too!

  14. Wow. This bread really does look and sound amazing. I appreciate the details in the post! Definitely bookmarking this for baking in the next few weeks. Thanks!

    – Shannon @

  15. Holy vanilla batman! This is amazing. Totally pinned!

  16. I bet this bread smells amazing!!! I love banana bread and vanilla so I’m definitely going to try this!!!!

  17. Hi Averie. This banana bread looks amazing! I mean I’m totally going to bake a loaf up this fall , (maybe even this week) and I’m even going to be a rebel and add the vanilla pudding mix. I so live on the edge, right? I actually love how the top got all brown, it looks so good!

    Jackie :)

  18. Averie, this is my kinda recipe. Growing up, my grandma also had an amazing banana bread (whose recipe I still use) so I know the need for a moist and dense recipe! I am so glad you made one without candy or whatever in it. The glaze on top (spread over the whole slice – YES!) does indeed look like your donut frosting. I say, spread it on thick and have a bowl nearby for dipping! That very last photo is killer. Sooo good! I cannot wait to make this! Awesome! :-)

  19. I too am a vanilla freak! I put way more then I should in all my recipes, I just tone it own for my readers. I love the stuff! Your banana bread looks out of this world! Adding vanilla pudding to it is genius, I can only imagine how much moister it must be. I am book marking this recipe fr next weekend baking! Ohhh, I can’t wait!!

  20. You know how I don’t like bananas, but I love banana bread. Well, I used to keep a steady supply of bananas in my freezer, but I haven’t gotten any in over a year. Just last week I bought a big bunch of those way reduced about to be really bad bananas and froze them. I was planning on making banana bread this week! And I HATE when people add anything to banana breads. I’m all for the pimped out cookies, but I like my muffins and cakes and bread simple. And easy.

    You know, I’m not even weirded out anymore when this kind of thing happens anymore.

  21. I’m sold on this bread! Not that it took very much convincing once you mentioned the instant pudding–I do love a great, moist spice bread. Also, I’m not sure why it took so long to register, but I didn’t realize you were from San Diego! Love that place–I’d be hankering to be back in that amazing weather if I was from there, too. It’s still sweltering two hours north in the big LA.

  22. Pingback: Minami Healthy eating plan: Morepa Platinum eagle – The Ideal Balance! | bread mixers stand mixers on sale

  23. Mmmmm, anything with browned butter is a winner in my book!

  24. Thanks for the visual on the brown butter, so good to know! I haven’t cooked with butter in a long, long time. I love the smell of it browning on the stove top. My Mom used to make brown butter cookies and they were out of this world amazing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *