Brown Butter Banana Bread (Gluten-Free)

4/29/11: A couple of people have had problems with the baking time for this banana bread. I’m going to need to do some re-testing, so please hold off on making it until I know the recipe is correct. XO Winnie

gluten free banana bread

Even though I don’t have celiac disease, I choose to eat gluten-free. Why? Because I have a history of severe food sensitivities. I went for years without being able to eat wheat and other grains, so even though I can tolerate these foods in small amounts now, I am just used to not eating them. Plus, I feel better when I avoid gluten.

I eat a varied diet composed mostly of foods that are naturally gluten-free, and it’s recipes that contain these foods that are most prominently featured on this blog. If you’ve been reading for a while, you know I don’t post baked goods all that much: yes, you will find the occasional goodie that I successfully adapted to be gluten-free, but I honestly, I don’t think of myself as much of a baker. I’ve always felt that I lack the patience and skill required for developing truly great gluten-free baked goods. I figured it was way too time-consuming a process…something that required countless hours of recipe testing…something that’s best left up to folks like Amy, Karina, Jeanne, and Shauna.

Now let’s talk about Shauna for a second. I’ve been reading her blog for years. I love her writing and her recipes, but when she started baking only by weight recently, I was honestly a little miffed. I held out. I clung to my measuring cups. But then I read this and I started to come around. I have a scale…why not use it? So I started to weigh my ingredients. And I am now a convert. Using a scale means better gluten-free baked goods. It’s that simple. Or is it?

Welcome to the Ratio Rally: a monthly blogging event conceptualized by Shauna to get us comfortable and confident baking gluten-free by using ratios. What are ratios? Ratios are proportions of one ingredient to another. We’re using the indispensible Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking as our guide…quoting Shauna:

“Each baked good has a ratio of fats to flours to liquid to eggs. Or other ingredients. What makes a muffin different than pizza dough? What makes bread different than a cake? It’s not just the ingredients. It’s the way those ingredients work in proportion to each other….This is why baking has to be by weight. Because a cup of white rice flour is not the same as a cup of whole wheat flour. They have radically different weights. Add 50 extra grams of flour to a cookie recipe and you have messed up the ratio.”

Last month, the inaugural ratio rally group tackled pancakes. This month, an even larger group baked quick breads.

We’re all posting our own spin on quick breads this month and Silvana is our host.

We each developed our quick bread recipe using the following ratio/starting point:

2 parts flour/2 parts liquid/1 part egg/1 part butter (or other fat)

1 large egg weighs approximately 2 ounces, so 2 eggs weighs 4 ounces. Therefore, if you wanted to make a batch of muffins or an average size quick bread, you would need:

8 ounces gf flours
8 ounces milk or other liquid
2 eggs (remember this equals 4 ounces)
4 ounces butter or other fat

So there you have it. Your quick bread ratio. Now all you have to do is add other ingredients to your liking!

My family loves classic banana bread, but when I tried to make it gluten-free in the past, it was, um, not very good. What do I mean by that exactly? I mean that my kids took one bite, immediately identified it as gluten-free and strange tasting, and decided to pass. So my goal here was to create a great banana bread, one that no one would necessarily know was gluten-free.

Using the above ratio and following Ruhlman’s banana bread recommendations on page 72 of Ratio, I reduced the liquid to 6 ounces total and browned the butter. I used buttermilk for the liquid because I had some I wanted to use up, but you could use regular milk or a milk substitute like rice or almond milk if you don’t do dairy. Don’t like to bake with butter? Try melted organic coconut oil or whatever oil you enjoy in your baked goods. I added a splash of vanilla extract and some cinnamon to the batter, but I think cardamom or ground ginger might be nice, too.

You probably noticed that sugar isn’t part of the ratio; this means the amount you use is really up to you. A savory quick bread wouldn’t need much, if any, but banana bread should be sweet. I used 1/2 cup of organic sugar in my recipe, and I think it’s perfect. I don’t like my food to be very sweet, though, so you might want to use 3/4 cup if you do. Another option would be to use honey or pure maple syrup: if you go the liquid sweetener route, you should reduce the milk or other liquid accordingly.

I was really pleased with my banana bread and I am I so glad that I now have an understanding of how this whole ratio business works. And boy, does it work. How do I know? Not because I made the recipe once. Or even twice. I know this ratio works because I made gluten free banana bread three times, using different gluten free flours each time. When baking gluten-free, I like to stick with the flours that are more nutrient dense. I like almond flour, teff flour, etc., and I like to stay away from the binders/gums whenever possible. You are welcome to use the flours that you are comfortable with, though. If you are not gluten-free, you may absolutely use 8 oz. of gluten-full flour here. As long as you stick to the the ratio, you are good to go.

banana bread with cardamom

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banana bread gluten free

Make sure to check out Silvana’s April Ratio Rally Post to see the other quick breads made by fellow ratio rally bloggers!

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Recipe for Gluten Free Banana Bread


  • *3 oz. brown rice flour or teff flour
  • *3 oz. almond flour
  • *1.25 oz. quinoa or sorghum flour
  • *.75 oz. ground flax meal
  • *1/2-3/4 cup organic sugar
  • *1 teaspoon baking powder
  • *1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or cardamom
  • *3-4 large very ripe bananas
  • *2 eggs preferably organic and free-range
  • *1/2-3/4 cup buttermilk use the smaller amount if using 4 bananas
  • *1/2 cup organic salted butter browned in a cast-iron skillet over low heat for 5-7 minutes (make sure you don't burn it) and allowed to cool
  • *1 teaspoon all-natural vanilla extract
  • *3/4 cup gluten-free chocolate chips- optional or glaze made from 6 tablespoons organic powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons water, and a pinch of ground cinnamon or cardamom)- optional


  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. and butter/oil a standard loaf pan.
  • 2. In a large bowl, whisk the flours with the sugar, the baking powder, and the cinnamon.
  • 3. In a blender, process the bananas with the eggs, the buttermilk, the cooled brown butter and the vanilla.
  • 4. Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture and combine with a rubber spatula. Fold in the chocolate chips, if using, then transfer batter to your prepared pan.
  • 5. Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the banana bread comes out clean.
  • 6. If you are going to glaze the bread, mix the powdered sugar, water, and optional cinnamon together with a fork until the desired consistency is reached. Add a bit of water if you want it thinner, or more powdered sugar if you'd like it to be thicker. Set aside and wait to pour it on until the bread has cooled if you want the glaze to set (like in the pictures here); if you want it to seep in, you can glaze the bread while it's hot.
  • 7. Glazed or not, allow some time for the bread to cool before slicing, if possible.

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77 thoughts on “Brown Butter Banana Bread (Gluten-Free)”

  1. Hmmm. Just popped this in the oven and hadn’t read the comments about baking times. I’m hoping it worked! I used a bag of gf flour I’d mixed earlier (no idea what was in it, possibly some of the awful white starches) and added 3 oz of brown rice flour to make the 8 oz…Also used almond milk since that was what I had. I hope it turns out?

    Also threw in a spoonful of cocoa flour and some cocoa nibs since I only had a half handful of chocolate chips. Fingers crossed!

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  3. I love the look and sound of this bread. May I request you post measures in cup or tablespoons as well. I don’t have a kitchen scale. Really want to bake this for Christmas. Will appreciate it a ton..

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  7. I made this lovely recipe last night (with a scale) & for some reason, the interior would not cook through. After 75 mins, the sides & top were very done, but the entire interior was uncooked. I used 4 bananas & 1/2 cup buttermilk (low fat was all I could find) & everything else was done to the letter except that my blender died so I had to mix in the food processor. I used quinoa flour, not sorghum & 3/4 cup sugar & baked it on the middle rack. The cooked pieces taste fantastic & I would love to know what went wrong so that I can make this bread recipe a keeper! Any suggestions?

    • Rebecca- I don’t know what went wrong, but I’m going to be re-testing the recipe this weekend because you’re actually the second person who told me their interior wasn’t cooked. I’ve put a note up at the top of the post so others hold off on making it. So sorry it didn’t turn out quite right, and thanks for your patience while I figure it out :)

  8. Hi, I’m working my way through these muffin ratio rally recipes and I really like your flavor combination. However, I don’t get why the ratio concept is promoted as being virtually foolproof. For your recipe, you had to reduce the liquid to account for the moisture in the banana. As an experienced (gluten free) baker, I would know to do that, but someone new to baking might not, and then wonder why the recipe was too gummy or took longer to bake and get discouraged. I’ve noticed that other bloggers in this series also had to make adjustments, or try their idea several times before they got a good product. So I guess I have to say I’m not yet committed to ratios!

    • Mari,
      I hear you and to be quite honest, I’m not sure it’s foolproof either. I’ve gotten emails from 2 people whose bread didn’t cook fully in the specified time so it’s back to “the testing kitchen” for me.

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  10. Love love love these pictures and that glaze looks incredible; such a beautiful recipe and I can’t wait to try it. So happy to be a part of this Rally with you!
    Have a great weekend.

  11. I love your addition of brown butter, Winnie! And then you make it even more irresistible with your mention of sauteing the bread in butter and topping with creme fraiche . . . oh my. So glad you’ve embraced weights and ratios!

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  13. Smile. Isn’t baking by ratios so much fun? I love the creativity it can produce…you feel like a real baker! Thank you for sharing yourself and your creative eats with me week after week. This is a place where I come to feel love and inspiration. You are a blessing. Have a wonderful Friday!

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  15. This banana bread looks fantastic… And, I love Ratio. I hadn’t thought to use it to start working on some new gluten free recipes, but I will have to give it a try!

    • I never thought of it for experimenting with gf baking either…but it’s really great for that!

  16. Hi Winnie, I have just finished making this banana bread, well – it is still in the oven so I haven’t yet tasted it but the batter was delicious! I do have a question though… this is the first recipe I have made using the scale (I was inspired by Shauna to go buy it, but your recipe is the one that really convinced me!). Anyway, I am a bit confused by the ratio/weights of the liquids in this recipe as my bananas and the buttermilk weighed considerably more than the flours? The bananas alone weighed more – the buttermilk weighed less… Where do the bananas fit into the ratio? I assume they are part of the liquid since the were pretty mucky? I think everything will be fine as the consistency of the batter was beautiful and the loaf is rising nicely in my oven… just trying to figure it all out! Thank you for a great version of one of my favourite recipes!

    • Hi Susie,
      Sorry for any confusion! The bananas are actually not part of the ratio…they are separate. And the liquid(s) don’t need to be weighed…the liquids are measured in cups/by volume…it’s the solids that need to be weighed. So I used 6 oz. (volume) of buttermilk which is the same as 3/4 cup…if you are still confused, shoot me an email through my contact form and I’ll be happy to try to explain more :)

  17. I’ve also had very bad food sensitivities/allergies for many years. This year, I started really focusing on a gluten free diet and I really do feel so much better. I sleep better and my allergies are much reduced. Thanks for the recipe! I will surely give it a try!

  18. i have read Ratio, and too was inspired. The past few months I stopped eating gluten as I noticed my energy levels were plummeting. I would reach these points of fatigue for no reason. I have definitely noticed a change by not eating gluten. It sneaks in every now and then, when I MUST try a cookie or something, but I’ve been pretty good. Thanks so much for this recipe, can’t wait to try it, winnie!

    • Sara- that is really how gluten affects me, too. I feel fatigued when I eat too much wheat, etc. Sometimes it’s hard to discern if it’s gluten or just too many carbs in general, but I find that by staying away from the gluten for the most part, I do well. Sounds like the same for you :)

    • I do suggest it- such a helpful book- I have heard that there are some more professional level type books that discuss ratios in baking, but I think it’s a great place to start.

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  20. Winnie – A) I need to have that book. I love developing my own recipes but am always scared to do the basics with baking because I’m afraid I’ll end up with a block of bread or something. B) I don’t eat gluten-free, but when I gave it up for a stretch, I did find I felt better. With recipes like this, I’m sure I continue that stretch for even longer!

    • Kimmy,
      There seems to be a lot of skepticism out there about people without celiac feeling better on a gf diet, but I can speak from personal experience that it does help me. As for making basics with Ratio, I think those are the perfect recipes to experiment with, because gf or not, it just makes you a better baker!

  21. Reading all these blogs tonight with baked treats is making me want something! I love browned butter I love banana and your loaf looks amazing!

    • Thanks Shelby! My banana bread is honestly a little boring compared to some of the quick breads others made. But I love banana bread, so wanted to come up with a good one that was gluten free!

  22. Brown butter has such a lovely nutty flavor. What a great idea to add it to banana bread for another layer of flavor.

  23. Winnie this looks just wonderful – a lovely spin on a classic – I will have to try browning the butter next time in mine :)

  24. Really interesting post! I love measuring by weight, I think it’s so much faster than measuring with cups. I also like measuring in metric, must be the chemist in me taking hold in the kitchen! I’ve never had any gluten free breads, I think a sweet bread would be the one to test the waters on. Thanks for this recipe!

    • Yes it is definitely the chemist in you. I am not a math person so maybe that’s why it scared me. I haven’t had success with gf yeast breads yet…will tackle that next!

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  26. Winnie – what an awesome post. I use a scale a lot but that is because i cook out of many European magazines and cookbooks and you need more of a scale for that. But this ratio thing is brilliant – i have tried some quick bread that i have experimented with that just did not turn out right – i am now going back to this ratio. On a side note what plug/widget do you use for yout recipe archieves there that you have as dropp downs? – such a cute idea.

    • I think that widget is a standard wordpress thing…not sure honestly!
      As for using a scale, you are definitely on the right track. Next give the ratio a try :)

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    • Thanks! Yes it works for bfast or dessert. Delicious sauteed in butter topped with creme fraiche, too ;)

    • Brown butter is so delicious…I highly recommend it! Thanks- no idea where the person who gave me the pan got it, but I love it, too.

  29. That thick slice of bread with the glaze on top is making me hungry! Love the colors in this, also – what a beautiful loaf pan!

  30. Hi Winnie, you’ve inspired me to start looking past my measuring cups. I’ve always wanted to play around with ratios, but for some reason still cling to my cups (maybe because they are cute?). Anyway, thanks for the inspiration – and the bread looks wonderful! I have a friend who needs to eat gluten free and she will absolutely appreciate this.

    • Liren…it took me a long time to come around, too, but try it- I think you will be a convert…it’s so much more accurate baking this way!

  31. This looks amazing! I have a scale but usually only bust it out when I’m measuring the weight of my meat (I have to weight my meat or I will overeat)

    For years I have watched Alton Brown and listened to him lecture about how cooking by weight is always better but I never converted. I love the idea that just by doing things by weight you can customize almost any bread recipe you want. I have a few gluten free flours in my pantry…I think I might give something a try…wish me luck! :)

    • I’ve had a scale for years but only in the last month have I been using it to weigh my flours. Try it! And you don’t even have to use gf flours…that’s the beauty of a recipe like this!

  32. This looks heavenly! I love banana bread but haven’t had it in ages. The brown butter must bring the flavor to a new level.

    • I hadn’t had it in ages either. But now that I’ve made it 3 times in the last few weeks, I think it will be a while before I make it again!

    • I hope you give it a try! I was intimidated at first, and was sure I would fail. But I tried the recipe 3 times.. and varied it each time so each tasted a little different…yet it was successful every time because I stuck to the ratios. It’s really fun for those of us who love recipe development!

  33. LOVE this post, love your blog & I am so happy to see you baking. I too avoided it forever and now I am so happy it is in my world. This banana cake looks awesome!

    • Thanks so much Marla! Being able to develop our own baked goods this way is gonna be really fun :)

  34. This looks delicious! I love the idea of baking with ratios, but I haven’t gotten a scale….yet! I’m definitely inspired now ro buy one and experiment with my own gluten free baked goods.

  35. Looks delicious! We make a fantastic banana bread at the vegan restaurant/bakery where I work, and I think it’s time to make one that all the GF folks to enjoy too : )

  36. This is one of the few GF bread recipes I might actually try. Thank you for skipping the gums and using whole-food flours instead of junky refined stuff! :)

    • Yes, it’s really important to me that the flours I use in my gf baking are nutritious. Thanks for noticing!

  37. Funny isn’t it…people here in the UK tend to shy away from recipes involving US cup measurements, because they don’t know how to convert them (it’s pretty difficult seeing as different ingredients have different weights) and/or because using an American recipe means going out and buying a set of cups!

    • It is funny. One more reason for me to stop using cup measurements…or maybe I’ll start writing my recipes with both cups and weights…

  38. Looks divine. I’m with you ratios/weights and measures in general scare me- thanks for making it sound easy. I’ll give it a go and let you know how it comes out

    • Alysa,
      I am not a math person and this was hard for me to figure out, too! But then it clicked and was super easy. This ratio is so simple- I have it memorized now- means I can go in the kitchen and develop a recipe from scratch based on what I have around. Which is a fantastic thing to be able to do…give it a try.