Christopher Kimball’s Cardamom Banana Bread

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He had me at cardamom and brown butter.  Put those two together with bananas and you have a marvelous complex flavor.  The ever-popular Christopher Kimball of his new Milk Street Kitchen, has many more recipes to come.  Go to his site and read about his exciting new venture!

Back to this marvelous banana bread.  It really is one of the best I have ever tasted.  Of course I am very partial to cardamom since I am lucky enough to have my daughter bring me back the spice direct from Finland.  It’s better than any I have found here.


Also notice the Marimekko oven mitt and pot holder in the first photo from Finnish cousin Leena, who is an incredible baker.  Finns are known to be wonderful bakers and use cardamom frequently.  In this bread, butter is melted and simmered until browned and fragrant then the cardamom is whisked in to bring out its spicy aroma.  You will want to stick your face in the pan!

The bread is so easy to make and makes one 9-by-five-inch loaf.  The recipe says it is optional to sprinkle a tablespoon of sugar on top, but don’t make it optional – do it!  It makes the top crunchy, shiny, and delicious.


4.5 from 2 reviews
Brown Butter-Cardamom Banana Bread
  • 2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 Tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 2 cups mashed bananas (about 4 large very ripe bananas)*
  • ¾ cup packed (5-1/4 ounces) dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon white sugar (optional) **
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. with a rack in the upper-middle position. Mist a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. (I am old-fashioned; I still grease and flour pans!)
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Once melted, continue to cook, swirling the pan often, until the butter is fragrant and deep brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and immediately whisk in the cardamom. Carefully add the bananas (the butter will sizzle and bubble up) and whisk until combined.
  4. Add the brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla, then whisk until smooth. Add the banana mixture to the flour mixture and, using a rubber silicone spatula, fold until just combined and no dry flour remains.
  5. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and sprinkle evenly with the white sugar. Bake until the loaf is well-browned, the top is cracked, and a toothpick inserted in at the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes, rotating the loaf halfway through.
  6. Cool the bread in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then turn out the loaf and cool completely before serving. Cooled bread can be wrapped tightly and stored at room temperature for up to 4 days or refrigerated for up to 1 week.
  7. * Don't measure the bananas by number, as differences in sizes can throw off the balance of ingredients. Mash and measure using a dry measuring cup. I actually used 5 bananas.
  8. ** I know he says optional for sprinkling on the sugar, but be sure and do it. It makes the top crunchy, shiny, and so good!




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12 Responses to Christopher Kimball’s Cardamom Banana Bread

  1. Barb Spigner October 24, 2016 at 7:30 pm #

    I printed this recipe out a month or so ago to make also–haven’t had a chance to make it. But now that it gets your stamp of approval I think it should move up to the top of the stack of my “this sounds like it would be good” recipes.

    • Debbie October 24, 2016 at 11:10 pm #

      I think you will love it, Barb!

  2. Kim Marsden October 28, 2016 at 9:15 am #

    I have my cardamom and am ready to bake! Thinking of your ‘last meal blog’, this bread may have to be on my last breakfast menu!! Banana bread has always been everyone’s favorite.

    • Debbie October 28, 2016 at 4:33 pm #

      Let me know what you think of it! I am waiting for a bunch of bananas to get overripe so I can make it again.

      • Kim Marseden October 29, 2016 at 9:23 am #

        Waiting on my bananas, too! I will let you know, although I will make it with some fresh ground whole wheat, too.

        • Debbie October 30, 2016 at 8:29 pm #

          Looking forward to hearing how it is with whole wheat!

  3. Plantlust July 9, 2017 at 4:53 pm #

    Made for the 1st time last week (the Brown Butter Cardamom caught my eye). Excellent recipe, comes together quickly and was scarfed down by my work colleagues!

    FYI- suggested “have you thought about making this with chocolate chips next time?”. No but that sounds like a great addition. Hmmmm, wonder if cream cheese frosting would be guilding the lily?

    • Debbie July 9, 2017 at 10:39 pm #

      It was the brown-butter-cardamom combo that caught my eye too. I love that recipe, and agree with you that chocolate chips would be a great addition. Thanks for writing and for the suggestion!

  4. jeff edwards December 3, 2017 at 11:07 am #

    i have made this a couple times recently. i put a splash more oil in the second time ala avocado oil as if a stick of butter wasn’t enough and doubled up the amount of sugar on top as i felt it could be a tad sweeter. and i cooked for a full hour and it was about perfect.

    • Debbie December 3, 2017 at 11:13 am #

      Thanks for the tip, Jeff! I have bananas ready to make this recipe again today.

  5. J. Kahn June 29, 2018 at 5:55 am #

    Just put this in the oven so no rating yet. The “boss” is a cardamom freak so I went a tad heavy on it. Thought about adding chopped walnuts but since this is my first time using this recipe decided not to diddle with it too much. Thanks for the post!

    • Debbie June 30, 2018 at 12:44 am #

      I would love to hear how the bread came out with a tad heavy on the cardamom. I tend to do the same thing as I could also be described as a “cardamom freak!”

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