Caramelized Banana Bread

October  4, 2021
1 Ratings
Photo by Murielle Banackissa
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 40 minutes
  • makes 1 loaf
Author Notes

If you've tried countless banana bread recipes but are still looking for your go-to way of spicing up the classic recipe, this might just be the one for you!

Not only is this banana bread completely vegan (yep, no eggs or dairy!), it also features a special technique: caramelizing bananas for extra sweetness, depth, and flavor. This step adds about 10 minutes to the cooking process, but I promise you, it's worth it!

As with any banana bread recipe, the ripeness level of your bananas is important here. When I make traditional banana breads (without the caramelization step), I always opt for very ripe bananas—I’m talking almost completely brown. In this recipe, however, I recommend using bananas that are not overly ripe, or else they will fall apart when caramelizing. I would aim to use bananas that are mostly yellow with just a few brown spots. Avoid bananas that feel soft or mushy and ones that are overly spotted.

As for the other elements in this loaf: I chose to use all-purpose flour to give some lightness to the batter. And because the caramelization adds so much to the recipe itself, I kept it very simple in terms of other flavor boosters—cinnamon adds a subtle warming touch, and maple syrup brings sweet depth.

If you prefer a heartier loaf, feel free to replace 1 cup of all-purpose flour with 1 cup of whole-wheat flour. Spelt flour would also be a great alternative here. I chose to use unsalted vegan butter in this recipe, because I wanted the butter flavor to enhance and bring out the richness of the caramelized banana. I would not suggest replacing it in the caramelization process, but you can swap out the butter in the bread batter with canola or avocado oil. Lastly, if soy milk is not your nondairy beverage of choice, use unsweetened oat, cashew, or almond milk.

Store this bread in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days. —Murielle Banackissa

What You'll Need
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Caramelized Banana Bread
  • Loaf
  • Cooking spray, for greasing the loaf pan
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup melted unsalted vegan butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Caramelized Bananas
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted vegan butter
  • 2 medium ripe bananas (about 15 ounces), peeled and sliced into ¼-inch slices
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy milk, melted butter, maple syrup, and vanilla. Set aside.
  4. Prepare the caramelized bananas: Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the butter and heat until melted and bubbling, about 1 minute.
  5. Arrange the banana slices in the pan and cook for 3 minutes or until slightly golden and fragrant.
  6. Pour in the maple syrup and sprinkle in the brown sugar and cinnamon. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook for another 3 minutes, or until the bananas are caramelized and soft in texture on the undersides, but still hold their shape.
  7. Using a silicone spatula, flip the bananas on their backsides and cook for 2 more minutes, or until caramelized all over and very soft in texture. Turn off the heat.
  8. Mash the bananas in the pan using your silicone spatula or the back of a wooden spoon, until mostly smooth—it’s okay if some chunks remain. Transfer the caramelized bananas to the soy milk mixture. Whisk together. Transfer into the bowl with the dry ingredients.
  9. Whisk until no white flour streaks remain, but be careful not to overmix. Transfer into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top with a silicone spatula or the back of a spoon.
  10. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.
  11. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes, then remove from the pan and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

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