Dulce de Leche Banana Bread
This Dulce de Leche Banana Bread recipe is the perfect excuse to use those overripe bananas that have been sitting on your counter. Moist, fluffy and swirled with decadent dulce de leche! All made in one bowl, this is the ultimate afternoon pick-me-up.
A one bowl banana bread recipe!
To me, bananas and dulce de leche are a match made in heaven!
Perhaps an exotic combination for you, but a classic one for us Brazilians. In Brazil, a quick and easy dessert or snack consists of placing a banana on a plate and drizzling with dulce de leche. Simple but oh so satisfying!
So when I saw some sad looking bananas on my counter, I immediately knew a Dulce de Leche Banana Bread needed to happen!
The internet is full of all kinds of banana bread recipes. Classic, healthy, with chocolate chips, with nuts, with brown butter, with Nutella, with cinnamon and even with bacon!
Well, Google, I see all your delicious recipes and I raise you the most amazing banana bread you will ever taste.
That is, if you like dulce de leche. But, seriously, who doesn’t?
To make this banana bread recipe, you’ll need:
RIPE BANANAS: The recipe asks for 3 bananas. If you want to be precise, you will need 340 grams of mashed bananas.
DULCE DE LECHE: Like caramel, but made of milk. You can buy it or make your own.
FLOUR: You can use all-purpose or cake flour. Cake flour will give you a finer texture, but all-purpose works just as well!
EGGS: Two large eggs. Better if they are at room temperature.
BUTTER: Use unsalted butter so you can control the salt content.
YOGURT: Using yogurt instead of milk gives the banana bread a subtle tangy flavor and richer texture. Whole-milk, full-fat Greek yogurt is what I usually have on hand and what I used to develop this recipe.
BROWN SUGAR: Brown sugar contributes to the moistness of this banana bread recipe. However, if you only have white sugar on hand, you can use that!
BAKING SODA: Baking soda is a leavening agent that, when combined with something acidic (in our case, the yogurt and brown sugar) will react and create carbon dioxide, which aerates and raises the bread. If all you have on hand is baking powder, you can use that. Instead of 1 teaspoon baking soda, you would use 3 teaspoons of baking powder.
VANILLA EXTRACT: Use pure vanilla extract, not imitation vanilla, please! You can use vanilla bean seeds if you have that. In that case, slice the seed in thirds and split and scrape on-third of the bean.
SALT: I almost always add a pinch of salt to my sweet recipes. It won’t make your banana bread salty, I promise. Instead, it will help balance and enhance the flavors.
How ripe should bananas be for banana bread?
The ripest they can be!
The best bananas for banana bread are those dark brown (perhaps even black), too squishy and too soft bananas that you keep considering throwing away.
They should at least have black or brown freckles on their skin. But the ones that are dark skinned and fall apart when you peel it are the ones that will make your bread very rich and banana-y.
Now, if your bananas are smelling funky and/or have mold on their skin, they are past their prime and have to be tossed. RIP, bananas!
How to quickly ripen bananas
Craving this Dulce de Leche Banana Bread but all you have are green or yellowish-green bananas? Don’t despair! There is a way. Two, in fact!
If you can wait 1-2 days, you can place your bananas in a brown paper bag and close loosely.
And, if you have a piece of ripe fruit (like a banana, apple or tomato), place it in the bag as well. That fruit will release ethylene – a molecule that works on processing the sugars within the fruit, allowing it to soften and change colors – which will help speed up the ripening process.
Now, if you need to have your banana bread NOW, you will have to use your oven.
Place the bananas, without peeling, on a baking sheet and put in the oven set at 300 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes. The banana skin will turn completely black all over and they might leak a bit, that is normal!
Let them cool before peeling and mashing them.
How to make banana bread recipe
This banana bread recipe is very forgiving and is made in one bowl! No stand or hand mixer necessary.
It’s that kind of recipe you want to have on hand for when your sugar tooth starts aching in the middle of the day!
It uses ingredients that are probably already in your pantry and allows for some creativity. If you don’t have an ingredient, you can easily swap it for something else!
No dulce de leche? Use Nutella instead. Or – gasp – just omit it! It will be a plain banana bread, but sometimes those can hit the spot too.
Finally, don’t stress if you can’t swirl like a professional baker. I can’t either! But a few pockets of dulce de leche here and there are so delicious that you won’t even notice.
Here’s how I make this dulce de leche banana bread recipe. As always, you will find the printable (and more complete) version of the recipe at the end of this post!
Step 1: Mash the bananas
- Place the bananas in a large bowl and mash them until smooth. (Photo 1) If you like some banana chunks in your bread, you can mash until it is still lumpy.
Step 2: Mix the ingredients
- Add the melted butter and yogurt and mix until combined. (Photo 2)
- Stir in the brown sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and salt. (Photo 3)
- Sift the baking soda and flour into the batter and gently fold, mixing until there are no white spots left. (Photo 4)
- Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan. (Photo 5)
Step 3: Add the dulce de leche
- Divide the dulce de leche into 3 dollops. Place the dollops on the top of the batter, in a row. (Photo 6)
- Using a butter knife, swirl the dulce de leche around, making sure to go deep so the whole bread gets some! (Photo 7)
Step 4: Bake
- Bake at 350º F for 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. (Photo 8)
If possible, always use a scale and follow weight measurements when baking. Volume can vary a lot, depending on how you scoop your flour. For example, dipping the measuring cup into the flour container will get you a higher amount of flour than if you spoon the flour into the cup.
How to store banana bread
Store your dulce de leche banana bread at room temperature, in a dry area. If stored in an airtight container or tightly wrapped with foil or plastic wrap, it should keep for 2-3 days before it starts drying out.
If you don’t eat within that time frame, you can extend its shelf life by refrigerating for up to one week. However, I find that it gets considerably dry if refrigerated.
Can I freeze Dulce de Leche Banana Bread?
Yes, banana bread can be frozen for up to 3 months.
I like to freeze individual slices, so I can have a serving when the craving strikes, but you can also freeze the whole loaf if desired.
To freeze, wrap the slices (or whole loaf) tightly with foil or freezer wrap. Then, place them in a freezer bag to lower the risk of freezer burn.
Did you make this recipe? I love hearing from you! Please comment and leave a 5-star rating below. You can also take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #oliviascuisine.
Dulce de Leche Banana Bread
- 3 ripe bananas, (340g after mashing)
- ½ cup (113g) butter, melted
- ⅓ cup (70g) full-fat Greek yogurt
- ½ cup (80g) brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups (256g) all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup (80g) dulce de leche, divided
- Preheat oven to 350º F.
- Spray a 9X5-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray or grease with butter. Reserve.
- Peel the bananas and place in a large bowl. Mash, using a fork, until smooth (or chunky, if you prefer).
- Add the melted butter and yogurt and whisk vigorously, until combined.
- Stir in the brown sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and salt, whisking until smooth.
- Sift the baking soda and flour into the batter. Use a wooden spoon to gently mix, until no white spots remain. Do not overmix! Batter will be thick, that is normal.
- Transfer batter to prepared pan.
- Divide the dulce de leche into 3 dollops and place them on the batter, in a row. Use a butter knife to swirl it, making sure to go deep so the dulce de leche is spread evenly throughout the bread.
- Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean. Remove from oven and let it cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.