Brown Butter Cardamom Banana Bread

When I have overripe bananas hanging around, I do what most of you probably do - throw them in the freezer for smoothies or make banana bread. I have a tried and true recipe I’ve been using for years, so why change what works? But then I saw a recipe for Brown Butter Cardamom Banana Bread. Maybe it was time step away from the cinnamon and try something different.


Cardamom has been described as herbal, citrusy, woody, and intensely aromatic. Although it sounds like it could be an overpowering flavor, it gives this banana bread a subtle complexity that seems to cut through the sweetness that’s common in many recipes. The combination of cardamom and brown butter is bright, yet warming, all at the same time.


This recipe comes together so quickly and easily. Most of the ingredients are added to the same pan used to brown the butter. First the cardamom is added to the hot butter to bloom the spice and enhance the flavor. Then you add the bananas, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla. It may not look pretty, but it smells amazing!


The banana mixture is then folded into the dry ingredients until no flour remains. Be careful not to over mix or you can end up with an overly dense or rubbery loaf. Definitely not what we want! The top is sprinkled with sugar before baking, giving the loaf a deliciously sweet and crunchy top. Since the loaf itself isn’t overly sweet, this topping is the perfect finishing touch.

The next time you need to use up those past their prime bananas, try this Brown Butter Cardamom Banana Bread and take your ordinary banana bread to the next level.


Brown Butter Cardamom Banana Bread

Recipe from Milk Street

Recipe makes 1 9-inch loaf

Note: It’s important to measure the bananas by volume rather than by number. Difference in size can throw off the balance of the recipe ingredients.


2 cups (10 oz.) all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp kosher salt

1 stick (8 tbsp) salted butter

1 1/4 tsp ground cardamom

2 cups mashed banana (about 4 ripe bananas-see Note)

3/4 cup (5 1/4 oz.) dark brown sugar

2 large eggs

2 tsp vanilla

1 tbsp granulated sugar


Place oven rack in upper-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9-inch loaf pan with cooking or baking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Continue cooking, swirling the pan, until the butter is deep brown and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the cardamom.

Whisk in the bananas until fully combined. Then add the brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Add the banana mixture to the flour mixture and fold with a spatula until just combined.

Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake, rotating about half way through, until well browned and top has cracked. A tooth pick should come out clean. This will take about about 50-55 minutes, but mine was done closer to 45 minutes, so keep a close eye on it towards the end of baking.

Cool loaf in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes before turning loaf out. Place it on the wire rack to cool completely before serving. Store at room temperature for up to 4 days or refrigerate for up to 1 week.