This twist on classic banana walnut bread adds brown butter which transforms the bread. Add a swirl of vanilla infused butter for an unforgettable breakfast, brunch or snack. So delicious you’ll need to make two, one to eat immediately and one for later.
If you’re like me, you always have ripe bananas that you hate to throw out. This is when you need some great banana bread recipes, because the riper the bananas the better a banana bread will taste.
Don’t throw out those black bananas, now you’ve got a “go-to” recipe that you’ll make over and over again.
What’s so special about this banana bread
There’s a million banana bread recipe out their, in fact I have another favorite banana bread recipe with a cheesecake filling on the site – YUM – along with a zucchini bread with bananas. This one is over the top delicious due to brown butter and vanilla butter. I’m not sure which is better.
The browned butter goes into the batter of the banana bread and the amazing vanilla butter is used to spread on the bread.
A third thing that makes it special are walnuts. Most recipes for banana bread call for pecans, which I agree are great, but there’s something about the combination of tasted walnuts and bananas.
The first time I made brown butter banana walnut bread it was to take to a friend who was recovering from surgery. However, once it came out of the oven, it was gone before I could share it. Instead of eating just one slice, everyone, including me, just had to have more.
We were still talking about it days later and it has become my “go-to” recipe for when my bananas are turning brown.
For those occasions when you don’t have overripe bananas it’s easy to ripen them.
How to ripen a banana for banana bread:
When you’re ready to make banana bread right now, but you’re bananas are not over ripe, learn how to ripen them in the oven.
The bananas will be almost runny but don’t worry, they will be perfect. No more waiting for your bananas to ripen. Now you can make banana bread any time you want.
What’s the best way to brown butter
While you’re ripening the bananas, if you don’t already have ripe ones, you need to brown some butter. This is easy to do and will be perfect as long as you don’t get distracted.
Place the butter in a small sauce pan and cook it until it foams. You will start to see a brown color develop and will smell the distinct aroma of brown butter. As soon as you see the brown forming, remove it from the heat and pour it out of the pan into a glass bowl or container. If you leave it in the hot pan, it will continue to brown until it’s burnt and then it’s ruined and you have to start again. For tips, learn how to keep brown butter from burning.
Ingredients for banana walnut bread
- Very ripe bananas – These need to be brown, for me they are too ripe to eat. You need overripe bananas for more flavor and sweetness. If you’re bananas are just ripe and not overripe, they won’t add much flavor.
- Butter – you will use some to brown and some to use to make vanilla butter.
- Walnuts – you’re going to toast these to bring out the flavor. You can also use pecans instead. To toast walnuts, place them in a pan in the oven and toast at 350º for a few minutes. Watch carefully so they don’t burn.
- Honey – this adds flavor and also cuts down on the granulated sugar that you need.
- Sugar – you’ll use granulated sugar in the cake and then sprinkle the top with tubinado sugar or demerara sugar. The turbinada give it a crispy top.
- Pantry staples – flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and an egg.
Pro Tip: To remove the seeds from a vanilla bean, slice it from end to end then use the blade of a knife to scrape down each half. The seeds will come out on the blade of the knife.
How do you make brown butter banana bread
Step 1: add some flavor
Brown the butter and let it cool slightly
Step 2: mix the liquids
Mash the very ripe bananas and add the brown butter, an egg, sugar and honey.
Step 3: add it all together
Add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture and mix, just until combined. Add toasted walnuts and pour into a loaf pan and top with tubinado sugar.
Bake for 30-40 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 15 minutes and remove from the pan.
Step 4: flavor the butter
For the vanilla butter, mix softened butter with a little sugar and add the seeds from a vanilla bean. Refrigerate until needed.
What makes this banana bread better than most is the brown butter, toasted walnuts and honey. What puts this over the top and makes it the BEST banana bread is the vanilla butter.
I don’t like frosting on banana bread, just warm with butter. So vanilla butter is just perfect for me. Of course this is still fantastic without the vanilla butter, but if you have a vanilla bean hanging around, go for it and be prepared to be amazed.
Go ahead and make a stick or two and keep it in the freezer to put on pancakes or waffles or apple oatmeal bread.
While banana bread might seem boring, it’s been around for a long time for a good reason. Adding something so simple as brown butter and then serving it with a simple vanilla butter transforms this to a fabulous breakfast or brunch treat. Throw in some sausage balls or serve with a quiche for a tasty brunch.
Banana bread FAQs
Why can’t you use ripe bananas for banana bread?
Bananas that are just ripe and not overripe will not add much flavor to the banana bread. Brown bananas are also softer making them easier to mash and sweeter.
How full should the loaf pan be for banana bread?
For banana bread the loaf pan should be about ⅔’s full so that when it bakes it does not come over the pan.
Can you freeze overripe bananas?
Yes, you can freeze overripe bananas. Remove the peelings and place on a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet and freeze. Once frozen remove to an airtight container or freezer bag.
What else can you make with Bananas
More sweet breakfast and brunch recipes
- Frosted cinnamon rolls
- Pastry filled with berries
- Pumkin muffins
- Monkey bread
- Blueberry Scones
- Streusel coffee cake
- Caramel coated French toast
If you loved this recipe, give it a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating! Also, snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #butterandbaggage and tagging me @butterandbaggage.
Brown Butter Banana Walnut Bread with Vanilla Butter
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 1 ½ cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 overly ripe bananas skins should be black, about 1 cup
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 egg beaten
- ¾ cup toasted walnuts
- turbinado sugar optional
- 8 tablespoons salted butter softened to room temperature
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 vanilla bean split and seeds scraped
- If skins of bananas are not black, preheat oven to 250º. Cook bananas in the peel on a cookie sheet for 15-25 minutes until skins are black.
- While bananas are baking, brown the butter. In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook butter until it turns brown, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly.
- Preheat oven to 350º. Butter and lightly flour a 9-inch loaf pan.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
- In a larger bowl, mash bananas with a fork. Add sugar, brown butter, honey, and egg, whisking to combine. Add flour mixture, and stir until just barely combined. Fold in chopped toasted walnuts.
- Place batter in prepared pan and sprinkle the top with turbinado sugar.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 15 minutes and then remove from pan to a cooling rack to cool before slicing.
- Vanilla Butter:
- In a small bowl, add butter, sugar and vanilla seeds scraped from the pod. Mix with hand held mixer to combine. Let sit for an hour before serving.
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- You can use pecans instead of walnuts.
- If your bananas are not overly ripe, they will not add flavor or sweetness to the banana bread.
- The vanilla butter is extra and not needed for a delicious banana bread.
- Make sure that you remove the butter from the stove as soon as it starts to turn brown, it will quickly go from brown to burnt. Don’t leave it in the pan as it will continue to cook, pour it into a bowl to cool.