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Sourdough Discard Banana Bread is a delicious twist on traditional banana bread that incorporates leftover sourdough starter. The sourdough’s slightly tangy flavor complements the sweetness of ripe bananas beautifully! Plus, this delicious bread recipe is topped off with a sweet and rich caramel icing– so good!

A loaf of banana bread with caramel icing, with three slices laying down on a cutting board next to the loaf itself.

This unique banana bread is perfect for an afternoon treat, dessert, or bringing to a potluck. I mean who doesn’t love banana bread? And the icing makes it irresistible! It’s also great for gifting.

Why you’ll love this recipe:


  • The ultimate combination of two favorites
  • Easy recipe using simple ingredients
  • Bonus caramel icing recipe!

Ingredient Notes

Ingredients to make sourdough discard banana bread.
  • Flour– I like all purpose, unbleached. King Arthur is a great brand. I also like the Costco organic unbleached flour.
  • Leavening– For the perfect texture, you need baking powder and baking soda.
  • Cinnamon– I love the warm spice this brings to the banana bread, if you’re not a fan, you can totally leave it out.
  • Bananas– You’ll need ripe mashed bananas– Overripe bananas are best. If they are just right for eating, they will work too, but the more ripe the better and sweeter they are.
  • Egg– I love my local source, but let’s be real here- it’s for baking, use anything as you won’t taste it anyway.
  • Brown sugar– Neede for both the bread and the frosting. You can substitute white sugar for brown sugar in the bread recipe if desired. For the frosting, you definitely need to use brown sugar.
  • Sourdough discard– This is sourdough starter that is no longer active. This recipe also works with active sourdough starter.
  • Butter-I typically prefer unsalted. However in this case, either will work.
  • Heavy cream– Milk or half and half work just fine in the icing if you don’t have heavy cream.
  • Powdered sugar– Sifted powdered sugar blends easier.

This banana bread recipe is a fun twist on the classic favorite, giving you the sweetness of traditional banana bread with the tang of sourdough bread.

How to Make Sourdough Discard Banana Bread

Be sure to check out the full recipe and ingredient list in the recipe card below.

4-image collage showing the steps to make sourdough banana bread.
  1. Whisk the dry ingredients together (except sugar).
  2. Mix the wet ingredients together (plus sugar).
  3. Pour into a greased loaf pan.
  4. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Let it cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes, then remove it carefully to let it cool completely.

How to Make Caramel Icing

Be sure to check out the full recipe and ingredient list in the recipe card below.

4-image collage showing how to make caramel icing.
  1. Add butter and sugar to a saucepan over medium-low heat and whisk them together as they melt.
  2. Next, bring the butter mixture to a boil.
  3. Stir in the heavy cream, let the frosting mixture boil again, and then remove it from the heat.
  4. Add the powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Use a hand mixer or stand mixer to get it really smooth if preferred. Then, use a rubber spatula to spread the frosting over the cooled banana bread.
Close up overhead view of banana bread that has thickly spread caramel frosting. The loaf fills most of the frame with some sliced bananas peeking out on the left side next to the loaf.

Tips & Tricks

  • All ovens are different, so I recommend starting to check it at 45 minutes.
  • You know the bread is finished baking when the top is golden brown, the edges pull away from the sides, and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
  • The frosting will set up quickly, so use spread it on the cooled bread immediately after making it.

Variations

Here are some ways to change it up:

  • Active sourdough starter– This recipe calls for unfed sourdough starter, but you can use active sourdough starter if preferred.
  • Out of Starter?Check out my traditional banana bread recipe.
  • Salted Caramel Banana Bread– Add a bit of sea salt to the icing recipe for delicious salted caramel icing! Or, just sprinkle some flaked salt on top.
  • Vanilla and Spices– Add vanilla and other warm spices, like nutmeg, for more cozy and comforting flavor.
  • Chopped Nuts– Add chopped pecans or walnuts for a satisfying crunch. You can mix them right into the bread, or sprinkle some chopped nuts over the frosting.
  • You can use whole wheat flour, if desired, but the texture will be more dense and not as fluffy.
  • Chocolate chips are an excellent addition to the bread recipe!

Banana bread comes in all kinds of varieties, so have fun with it! Serve it with some coffee or a refreshing glass of strawberry lemonade.

Two slices of banana bread with caramel frosting on a speckled plate, garnished with 3 banana slices on the side.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why use sourdough discard in banana bread?

It adds a subtle tangy flavor and banana bread, plus if you’re consistently feeding your starter, this is a great way to reduce waste.

How ripe should bananas be for banana bread?

The riper, the better! You want the outside of the banana to be mostly brown or have many brown spots.

Can I use frozen bananas?

Yes! Allow them to thaw to room temperature before using them.

Storing and Freezing

Wrap any leftover bread in plastic wrap and store it in an airtight container at room temperature, away from direct sunlight.

It can be frozen up to 3 months. When I freeze bread, I wrap it first in plastic wrap, then in a zippered bag to prevent freezer burn.

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A loaf of banana bread with caramel icing, with three slices laying down on a cutting board next to the loaf itself.

Sourdough Banana Bread with Caramel Icing

Sourdough discard banana bread is a delicious twist on traditional banana bread that incorporates leftover sourdough starter. It has a slightly tangy flavor from the sourdough, which complements the sweetness of ripe bananas beautifully.
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Course: baking, bread
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 371kcal
Cost: $7

Equipment

Ingredients

For the bread:

  • Butter for greasing the pan
  • 137 g 1 ⅛ cups all purpose flour
  • 12 g 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1.5 g ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 g 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 225 g mashed bananas about 1 ½ cups
  • 1 egg
  • 156 g ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 100 g ⅓ cup sourdough discard
  • 22 g 1 ½ tablespoons butter, melted

For the frosting

  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 cup powdered sugar sifted

Instructions

For the bread:

  • Preheat the oven to 350° and grease the loaf pan with butter and set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon until well combined, set aside.
  • In another mixing bowl, add the mashed bananas, egg, brown sugar, and sourdough discard, whisk together until thoroughly combined and blended together.
  • Make a well in the flour mixture, and pour the mixed wet ingredients into the center. Gently stir until just combined.
  • Pour into the greased loaf pan, and bake for 50-60 minutes. It’s finished when the edges have pulled away from the pan, the top is golden brown, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes, then carefully remove the bread from the pan and let it cool completely on the rack.
  • Once the bread is completely cooled, spread the frosting on top. Allow it to set before serving.

For the frosting:

  • Melt the butter and sugar together over medium low heat, whisking them together until they are incorporated.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, and boil for 2 minutes. Stir constantly.
  • Add the heavy cream, and stir to combine. Allow the mixture to come to a boil again, and then remove it from the heat. Stir in the sifted powdered sugar until combined. If you prefer, you can use a hand mixer to blend the sugar in so it’s nice and smooth.
  • Using a rubber spatula, gently spread the frosting over the cooled banana bread.

Notes

  • Although this recipe calls for unfed sourdough starter (discard), you can also use active, bubbly sourdough starter.
  • You can substitute white sugar for the brown sugar if desired.
  • Milk or half and half work just fine in the icing if you don’t have heavy cream.
  • Ovens vary, start checking for doneness at 45 minutes.
  • The bread is finished when it is golden brown, the edges are pulling away from the side, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Nutrition

Calories: 371kcal | Carbohydrates: 68g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 293mg | Potassium: 180mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 51g | Vitamin A: 377IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 132mg | Iron: 1mg
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