Banana Bread Scones From Samantha Seneviratne

June 26, 2021
55 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland. Prop Stylist: Ali Slagle. Food stylist: Samantha Seneviratne.
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 22 minutes
  • Makes 8 scones
Author Notes

For those bananas getting speckled on the counter (or falling at your feet every time you open the freezer door), I’ve found a happy new home. Think: all the comforts of banana bread, with more crunchy-sweet edges and fluffy, chocolate-spiked middles—and ready in, oh, about half the time.

As Samantha Seneviratne writes in The Joys of Baking: Recipes and Stories for a Sweet Life, “These scones are the perfect breakfast when you’re rich in overripe bananas but don’t have the time or patience for banana bread. They bake up fast and don’t need to cool before being eaten. Some of the butter might ooze out a little while they bake, but don’t worry. That just helps get the bottom extra crunchy.”

A few tips: If you'd like to use frozen bananas, thaw them overnight in the refrigerator or under warm running water. Mash any extra banana liquid back into the bananas and be sure to measure out 1/2 cup to keep the dough from being too wet and sticky. To peel the hazelnuts, just toast them in a 325°F oven until they smell toasty and are golden throughout (break one open to check), about 10 minutes. Let them cool wrapped in a clean kitchen towel (the trapped steam helps loosen the skins), then rub any loose skins off with the towel. Don't worry about any skins that don't come off. If you don't have hazelnuts or don't want to use them, feel free to swap in a different nut or leave them out. Feel free to swap in another kind of chocolate (Samantha used chopped chocolate chips in the video below) or leave it out, too.

Recipe adapted slightly from The Joys of Baking: Recipes and Stories for a Sweet Life (Running Press, October 2019).

This post contains products independently chosen (and loved) by our editors and writers. As an Amazon Associate, Food52 earns an affiliate commission on qualifying purchases of the products we link to.Genius Recipes

Test Kitchen Notes

If you’re like us and wish every baked good had crispy-crunchy edges and ends, these scones are for you. They’re the banana bread equivalent of the brownies made in one of those maze-like pans (just Google it, you'll be glad you did.) They have all the fruitiness of banana bread, with the crunch and crumble of perfect bakery scones. Food stylist and cookbook author Samantha Seneviratne’s Genius recipe is done in about half the time a normal loaf of banana bread takes, which means you can make this recipe any time of day (or night) a craving strikes.

Another reason to love these scones? They only require one banana, as opposed to the three or four called for in most banana bread recipes. And doesn't there’s alway seem to be one lonely speckled banana left slowly dying on the counter? This is a more than adequate way to do that sad counter-banana justice!

For a twist, try using chopped dark chocolate in lieu of chips, and substitute walnuts for hazelnuts as a nod to everyone's favorite scone-like Levain cookies. Just be sure to pile lots of the crunchy turbinado sugar on top and maybe a sprinkle of flaky salt too. Serve the scones warm, slathered with butter, chocolate-hazelnut spread, or your favorite nut butter. These are best fresh, and freeze any leftovers past the second day, although chances are they won't last that long. —The Editors

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Banana Bread Scones From Samantha Seneviratne
  • 1 extra-large, extra-ripe banana, mashed (1/2 cup)
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into roughly 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 1/4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1 1/4 ounces hazelnuts, toasted, skinned, and finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • Sanding sugar for sprinkling (or turbinado or granulated)
  1. Heat the oven to 425°F.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the banana, cream, egg, and vanilla. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender, or 2 knives used like scissors, until the mixture resembles coarse meal with some larger pieces. (You can use your fingers if you work fast enough that the butter stays cold.) Toss in the chopped chocolate and hazelnuts.
  3. Drizzle in the banana mixture and stir with a fork until the mixture is crumbly and moistened, but stop before you’ve mixed it into a uniform batter. Tip out the mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and pat it into a craggy, 6-inch circle. Using a sharp knife or a bench scraper, cut the circle into 8 equal triangles. (At this point, you could freeze the triangles well-wrapped on their sheet for another day. Bake them from frozen.) Spread the triangles a good couple inches apart and brush the tops with the cream. Sprinkle with sanding sugar.
  4. Bake until the scones are golden brown and set, about 18 to 22 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center of a scone should come out clean. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve warm or room temperature. Scones are best the day they’re made, but any leftovers can be frozen (or stale ones can be split in half and toasted in butter in a skillet to revive them).

See what other Food52ers are saying.

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Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

90 Reviews

Debra T. November 10, 2023
I have tried many scone recipes and this is by far the best! Turned out a little dark on the bottom but may be my oven. The taste and texture was perfect. I substituted blueberries since I didn't have any ripe bananas and omitted the hazelnuts.
plotto September 4, 2023
OMG. I might never bake banana bread again!
Jeanne L. April 8, 2023
Can you use unsweetened almond milk instead of cream?
Auggie December 9, 2022
Doubled recipe. I used mini chocolate chips so I could use less. No nuts added. Cut into squares, brushed tops with leftover milk mixture, and froze. When I want a few I bake them at 420° for about 18 minutes and have wonderful fresh scones.
PMHatton October 13, 2022
I made these scones but use vanilla and butterrum extract. Add walnuts and chocolate chips it's so many alternative to add they were delicious.
Judy May 11, 2022
This recipe is fantastic...subbed toasted chopped walnuts and added chopped medjool dates instead of chocolate. Also, a great trick for the butter...grate it on large grater straight from the freezer and just toss it in with a fork. Works the dough less for a tender scone.
Gisele May 8, 2022
I love this recipe! I use it as a base for other scones now. Today I made rhubarb scones using some stewed rhubarb and also some chopped rhubarb and toasted pecans. They were a huge hit!
angelitakarmalita April 22, 2022
This recipe makes me feel like a rock star! I always have overripe bananas & there’s only so many smoothies & lassies a girl can drink… they are so delicious & I make the recipe as written (except for the nuts, I use whatever I have on hand). The dough is sticky, deal with it, they’re worth it & it makes them super tender. I freeze them & bake as off when I’m craving them (which is often❤️) delightful & delicious!!
Gibson2011 July 21, 2021
These scones have an understated banana flavor that I really like. The dough is super sticky to work with and I didn't attempt to. I used a 1/4 or 1/3 cup measuring cup to scoop them onto the sheet. I got around 10 or 11 drop scones and cut back the baking time to around 15 minutes. So good.
Lynn June 26, 2021
I used 1/3 cup sour cream instead of heavy cream, and (mistakenly!) only used half a stick of butter. IT CAME OUT PERFECT! dough was not too wet, the texture was perfect. an entire stick of butter would be way too much. I brushed with milk before sprinkling with turbinado sugar. I will make it this way from now on. FABULOUS!
kdenton June 14, 2021
When I’ve made scones, I first freeze the butter. Then I grate the butter by hand into the flour mixture. Fluff the butter/flour mixture to coat the shreds of fat and it’s done. I also keep the wrapper on the butter as much as possible to keep it from getting too slippery.
If the butter gets soft toward the end, stick everything back in the freezer.
Lemonshmallow January 19, 2021
Many thanks. It's simply a perfect recipe in my book. I have been making this recipe at least once a month since it has been made available by food52 and it's definitely one of my favourite ways of using bananas (even when not overripe it still works fine if anything less sweet). The temp suggested works well in my oven so I never needed to adjust that. I always use frozen, grated butter and leave the scones to rest either in the fridge or freezer before shaping and then baking them. I also swap the brown sugar for cane sugar bc thats what I always have at home (and it's a cheaper alternative where I live) it works very well too.
abartrem December 1, 2020
These are terrific! To save time and ease, I just use a cookie scoop and drop them onto the cookie sheet. They turned out great and store well in a Tupperware container
MBV October 19, 2020
I gave this recipe a try today and the scones turned out quite nicely. I like that the recipe uses easy to find ingredients and the scones are not super sweet. The only thing I didn't like was that the dough comes out incredibly sticky (like other reviewers have said). I found it hard to move them onto the baking sheet once the dough had been divided. The next time I make them, I think I will put them in the fridge after forming the dough into a round circle and that might help with the stickiness. I took the advice of one of the reviewers and turned down the oven to 350F once the scones went in. Mine were done on a light sheet pan after 23 mins. The tops were golden and crunchy and the bottoms were not burnt - the granulated sugar I had sprinkled on top had disappeared as I expected it would (I didn't have any turbinado sugar on hand).
Woo.Rankin October 10, 2020
First time making scones and this recipe was easier then I imagined. Followed the recipe exactly, and substituted with pecans and chocolate semi-sweet morsels, since I had those ingredients in my pantry, and the scones came out perfect!! So delicious! Nice and crisp top; and nicely browned on the bottom;, and perfectly cooked inside, not too moist; and not too dry. It was just like a muffin top, and that's always the best part of a muffin. This scone recipe is the BEST!
Boopy99 September 9, 2020
We love love love these scones! Saw some of other reviews and I always use more than 1/2 cup of mashed banana -- could there be a blip in the recipe?
feliciak August 2, 2020
These scones are truly a quarantine blessing! I've made them 10 times so far and make small adjustments each time- like using coconut sugar and roasting the walnuts the night before so they are cool. At first I found the sticky dough tricky, but now I have the hang of it using a combo butcher knife to cut and small spatula to move. Normally, I bake them at 425 for 20 min (with a Wolf oven), but on a high rack or double sheet. Everyone who tastes them is wowed. So divine!
feliciak August 9, 2020
Even though I've made these according to the directions many times, today I spaced out and accidentally added the heavy cream to the dry ingredients! Eek. But, weirdly this misstep made final dough much less sticky and easier to handle. I was able to shape them perfectly without struggling to keep the dough from sticking to my fingers or the utensils. I might try the method again!
frosenthal July 9, 2020
I'm very in to these scones. I've been having one for an afternoon snack with a cup of tea since I discovered the recipe a couple of weeks ago. It's perfect comfort food during this pandemic! For me, 14 minutes is the right timing.
Gabriele M. July 3, 2020
Just made them. Used 3 smallish bananas. So, so delicious 😋. Will become a staple in our house. Thank you for providing this recipe.
Elise M. June 25, 2020
Quarantine banana bread bored me REAL fast, so I'm thrilled this recipe came into my life. I followed the recipe as-is except I left out the nuts and chocolate to indulge in the pure banana flavor instead. I recently discovered that coconut cream can be used as a 1:1 plant-based substitute for heavy cream (I try to limit my dairy to just some 2% in my coffee). I've made this recipe twice now with canned coconut cream from Trader Joe's and it's lovely! You barely taste the coconut flavor.

I've had the same issues with the bottoms getting too dark/browned with both batches, so I'll need to test some of the review notes with the cooking temperatures. Dough is definitely sticky. I pour my dough onto floured parchment on the baking sheet to shape, then leave the dough circle in the fridge overnight to stiffen before cutting and baking in the morning.