The Best Banana Bread Recipe (with Chocolate Chips)
This recipe is a one-bowl wonder that’s just the thing when you could use a little comfort food with some nutritional saving grace. Quite a few years ago now, I started making the banana bread from Simply Recipes with some frequency (and, at times, with some urgency). Over time, I adapted it to our own tastes. Less sugar. More banana. Dark chocolate. Walnuts. But always in the one-bowl, no-fuss spirit that makes the original a thing of beauty.
Frozen bananas work great here. When bananas become slightly overripe, peel them and freeze in a ziplock bag. Then use for banana bread and smoothies.
Why we love this banana bread recipe
Banana bread should be comforting, breezy, and dead-simple to make. If you've got four big overripe bananas on your counter or in your freezer, you should be able to mash them up in a single bowl, stir in some common ingredients, and end up really, really happy.
Our banana bread does all that and without a ton of added sugar, to boot. It's flexible enough to be delicious even if your bananas aren't exactly the size we were thinking and you can't read our minds.
Also, you guys? It has chocolate. Our recipe calls for half a cup, but we've HEARD you can add kind of a lot more than that if you're so inclined.
Healthy banana bread, give or take
Look, banana bread, like all quickbreads, is a treat. But our version goes heavy on the banana and uses only 1/2 cup of brown sugar. We usually make it with all-purpose flour, but if you like you can use whole wheat pastry flour as designated in the recipe below. All of this adds up to a not-too-sweet, moist, and totally delicious banana bread that's a little better for you, and is more banana-forward, to boot.
Chocolate chip banana nut bread, hi.
And don't let the slightly healthier vibe fool ya. This banana bread recipe is also chock full of bittersweet chocolate chips and chopped walnuts. The recipe calls for half a cup of each, but a medium loaf pan can accommodate more if you're so inclined. We are often so inclined.
We love really good chocolate chips for this purpose (and really all purposes). Something like Guittard or Ghirardelli gets the job done.
A quick, funny banana bread anecdote
Since we first published this banana bread recipe on Umami Girl back in 2010, some of our best friends have been making it even more often than we do.
They live in a different city, and we recently spent the weekend at their house.
When I woke up Sunday morning, my friend said, "I almost introduced you to your banana bread. I forgot it was yours."
That's my dream come true. Because it's not my banana bread now. It's theirs. And that's the whole point of this operation.
Maybe go ahead and make it yours, too.
- 4 medium to large, very ripe bananas
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon brewed coffee (if you have it)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups (180 grams) all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled (see note)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped dark chocolate or bittersweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
- Preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the center. Grease a medium (8-cup/9 x 5 x 3 inch) loaf pan.
- In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a fork.
- Mix in the melted butter.
- Crack the egg into the bowl near one of the sides, tilt the bowl slightly, and use the fork to lightly beat the egg.
- Add the brown sugar, vanilla, and coffee to the bowl and mix with the fork to combine well.
- Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the batter.
- Add the flour and mix with the fork until just combined.
- Add the chocolate and walnuts and mix just until they're well distributed in the batter.
- Scrape the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes to one hour, until a tester inserted in the center comes out cleanish. It's fine if it has some banana or chocolate on it, but lots of wet batter ain't right.
- Cool in the pan on a rack for ten minutes (before unmolding to cool completely, if you're positively made of steel).
When possible, it's best to weigh your ingredients for baking. If you don't have a kitchen scale, fluff the flour with a spoon and then lightly spoon it into your measuring cup, mounding it over the top. Then swipe the flat back side of a knife across the top to level the flour with the top of the measuring cup.
Instead of 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, you can use 1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon whole wheat pastry flour if you like.