This banana quick bread is the answer to your cravings. It has healthier ingredients, a sweet, beautiful crumb and flavor, and is full of dark chocolate chips. Either way, it's a crowd-pleaser because who can resist good banana bread?
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Originally posted in November 2017, the text and images have been updated to serve you better. The recipe remains the same but I added a variation.
As far as quick breads go, I think banana tops most lists.
I have a go-to banana bread recipe, as I'm sure you do too. Mine has roasted fruit and is plain, with no add-ons, just a whole lot of banana flavor.
Taking that recipe as a beacon, I developed a slightly different one, using oil and some whole wheat flour, plus adding dark chocolate chips to it because, well, it's chocolate and bananas people, it's an incredible combination! Especially when you add brown sugar to the mix.
All that said, this might be the best chocolate chip banana bread recipe I have ever made. True story.
- Bananas: use very ripe ones with brown spots. They have the best flavor after baking.
- Chocolate chips: use your favorite semisweet chip. I love Ghirardelli premium baking chocolate chips, Callebaut 54% chocolate wafers, and Nestle toll house semisweet chips. With chunks, they will use up more space in the cookie. I like that and use Ghirardelli Premium baking bar.
- Vegetable oil: I use coconut oil, which makes it lighter and moist. And sunflower oil when that's all I have.
- Sugar: coconut or fine muscovado are my choices for healthier bread. You can use brown sugar, of course.
- Flour: all-purpose and superfine whole wheat work really well, adding some earthiness but allowing for a tender, tight crumb.
- Eggs: fresh, large.
- Vanilla: I use pure vanilla extract or pure vanilla paste when available, but a good vanilla essence (artificially flavored) also works and is infinitely cheaper.
Best bananas for this bread
- Overripe bananas: also known as brown bananas, we all know that this recipe is best made with soft, mushy fruit, the type that can smell barely fermented and has spotted skin. The supermarkets sometimes have a special place for them and might even be labeled as great to make homemade banana bread, or
- More flavor: you probably wouldn’t eat them raw, but they do make the best bread. Why? Because the flesh is sweeter and after baking the banana flavor is more intense. That doesn’t happen with very firm bananas.
- Mashed bananas: I like to mash them by hand and leave them chunky so that they are present in a more noticeable way. Though they will meld with the rest of the ingredients when baked, chunky pieces will add a more rustic texture.
- Green bananas: if they're not ripe enough, roast them in a medium oven (350°F/180°C) for about 20 minutes until the skin turns completely dark. It will soften and caramelize the pulp. Let them cool and use as instructed in the recipe.
Variations & substitutions
I like to make a healthier version of this easy banana bread recipe by using coconut oil and all whole wheat flour, the superfine type.
You can also add a couple of tablespoons of cocoa nibs and wheat bran to the batter. Or nuts. it's all explained in the Notes, in the recipe card at the end of this post.
Easy steps to make banana bread
- Electric mixer: is quicker, but this bread can be made with a whisk and some arm power.
- Sifting dry ingredients: it's a way to incorporate air into the batter, resulting in fluffier bread. The whole wheat flour might be hard to sift, depending on the mesh you use. If it won't sift easily, simply stir it first and add it without sifting.
Bananas: I like to mash them, but not so much that they start to turn liquid. Chunkier is better in my world.
Chocolate: I use chips or chunks (cut from a chocolate bar). They will populate the batter differently, as pieces will be more noticeable than chips.
The final batter is rustic, with noticeable banana bits. If you want it smoother, mash the fruit until no chunks are left.
I like to use non-stick metal loaf pans that have been sprayed (with baking spray) and lined with a strip of parchment paper that covers the bottom and two short sides (image below). That way it's easier to remove and it doesn't stick.
This bread surface can be dull, so I add a whole banana cut lengthwise and then in half (image below). And I sprinkle with some extra coconut sugar to get a crunchy layer when baked.
You can also sprinkle with some chocolate chips or just the sugar.
- Room temperature: I highly recommend eating it at room temperature. Why? Because the banana flavor will be more pronounced and all around better. Cold numbs flavors in general, which also goes for chocolate chips.
- Dessert idea: toast thick slices of bread, put on the plate, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, and top with chocolate ganache/fudge sauce/dulce de leche/caramel and then some toasted walnuts.
- First days - I love to eat this bread during the first two days (if it lasts that long!), and it keeps great if well covered in plastic wrap.
- Refrigeration - after one day (tops), I put it in the refrigerator if I know I will keep on eating it. Always well wrapped in plastic wrap as the fridge dries things out. Let come to room temperature before eating,
- Freezing - if there's something left, I slice and freeze it. I like to wrap it in plastic and then in aluminum. It lasts a month.
What is the difference between banana bread and banana cake?
Banana bread is denser, less sweet than cake, and has a larger proportion of mashed banana. Its cake counterpart has more butter and leavening agents and less banana to make it lighter. That said, some recipes might overlap and be called one or the other interchangeably.
How do you keep banana bread moist?
Keep it wrapped in plastic or in a container. Also, a recipe using oil, like this one, can keep it moisture longer.
Should you refrigerate banana bread?
I highly recommend you do it after a day or two, especially if it's a hot environment. Fruit tends to ferment pretty quickly, and the bread will go bad in a few days. So, refrigerate it after a few days tops, always wrapped in plastic to keep moisture longer.
Related recipes you might like:
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- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup superfine whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup sunflower oil (use coconut oil if you want a healthier version)
- ½ cup brown sugar (use coconut or fine muscovado sugar for a healthier version)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 2 cups (3-4 medium) mashed very ripe banana
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips or chunks
- 1 whole banana, for decoration (optional)
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar or brown sugar, for sprinkling (optional)
- Preheat oven at 350ºF / 180ºC.
- Line a 10x4-inch loaf pan with parchment paper (bottom and two narrow sides) and spray or butter remaining sides.
- In a large bowl beat oil with sugar for 1 minute.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Add bananas and vanilla in 2 parts, alternating with sifted dry ingredients (flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt) in 3 parts. I sift everything directly over the batter, but you can do it separately.
- Add chocolate chips or chunks and mix well with a spatula.
- Pour into the prepared pan, smooth top and decorate with a whole banana, cut lengthwise in 4 pieces, on top.
- Sprinkle with the extra tablespoon of sugar.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes, until cracked on top and a tester comes out clean. Time might vary depending on the oven and the type of pan.
- Let cool on a wire rack and remove carefully, inverting the pan and peeling away the paper.
- It keeps, well wrapped, at room temperature for a day or two.
Bananas: the best ones for this recipe are the ones that are overripe, soft, mushy, that smell barely fermented and with a spotted skin.
Variations: add some chopped walnuts or pecans to the batter, about ¼ cup, or a few tablespoons cocoa nibs or wheat germ or bran.
Freezing: well wrapped it can be frozen for up to a month.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cooling time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 50 minutes
- Category: Quick breads
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 1/10
- Calories: 253
- Sugar: 5.9 g
- Sodium: 199.6 mg
- Fat: 14.6 g
- Carbohydrates: 27.2 g
- Fiber: 3.8 g
- Protein: 5.1 g
- Cholesterol: 37.5 mg
Keywords: chocolate chip banana bread