Most of the time, my classic Healthy Banana Bread does more than nicely. It’s pretty much perfect as far as banana bread goes. That said, we must not forget about the special times. Like Wednesday. Or you are having a good hair day. Or you need chocolate before 10 a.m. Then, only Chocolate Banana Bread will do!
Marvelously moist with an intense chocolate flavor that balances the banana-ness just right, this recipe celebrates the divine combo of chocolate + banana in a fashion so sublime, our loaf hardly lasted two days.
This recipe has chocolate two ways, plus a pinch of espresso powder to intensify the chocolate flavor.
This bread is a little bit extra, which is exactly the point. If we are going to do this, let’s do it right.
This decadent-tasting double chocolate banana bread is an adaptation of my favorite healthy Chocolate Banana Muffins.
Like the muffins (and many of my other healthy quick bread recipes), it’s made with wholesome ingredients, yet could pass the inspection of even the most ardent of chocolate lovers, including yours truly.
With this recipe, you can feel redeemed enjoying chocolate for breakfast any morning (or let’s be honest—any afternoon or evening) the craving strikes.
For me, that craving was in full force every day this lovely loaf remained on our counter…which sadly wasn’t many.
I bet it disappears quickly in your kitchen too!
How to Make Healthy Chocolate Banana Bread
It was important to me to make this dark chocolate banana bread healthy.
Banana bread is bad for you when it is high in sugar, uses a large amount of oil or butter, and is made with refined flour instead of whole grains.
You can make a great-tasting banana bread without those excess additions.
Banana itself is so naturally moist and sweet, it’s one of the very best ingredients for nutritious baking (hence I have so many banana recipes! This Oatmeal Banana Bread is another favorite).
To make this chocolate banana bread healthy, I used a few simple swaps.
In addition to breakfast, this banana bread is a healthy snack that’s sure to perk up your afternoon.
- Flour. For a healthy swap, I used white whole wheat flour for part of the flour in this recipe (the rest is all-purpose flour). The swap is imperceptible, and the whole wheat flour provides more protein and fiber.
- Banana. Banana adds delicious natural sweetness to the bread and gives it that signature, beloved flavor. Bananas are packed with potassium and fiber.
- Cocoa Powder. The key to the bread’s irresistible and rich chocolate flavor.
- Espresso Powder. While optional, this gives the chocolate flavor an extra intensity boost that you don’t want to miss.
- Cinnamon + Vanilla. The dynamic duo of warmth and coziness. Both ingredients pair perfectly with the chocolate and banana flavors.
- Greek Yogurt. One of my favorite healthy swaps! Instead of making the chocolate banana bread with sour cream, a favorite for making moist baked goods, I used Greek yogurt. It’s low in fat, high in protein, and offers the same moisture and tanginess as sour cream.
- Honey. I used honey as a healthy, natural swap for refined sugar. It pairs nicely with the other flavors and gives just the right amount of sweetness.
- Chocolate Chips. A must-have addition to banana bread in our household! If you prefer chocolate banana bread without chocolate chips, you can omit them or swap in a different kind of baking chips (like peanut butter chips or white chocolate chips).
- Melt the coconut oil.
- Whisk the dry ingredients together.
- Whisk the wet ingredients together.
- Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Add the chocolate chips.
- Transfer the batter to a pan and top with more chocolate chips. Bake the chocolate banana bread at 325 degrees F for 50 to 60 minutes.
- Let the loaf cool for 5 minutes in the pan before removing it to a wire rack. DIG IN!
Why Did My Banana Bread Fall in the Center?
An out-of-date leavening agent, using too much banana, or inaccurate oven temperature can cause banana bread to fall in the center. To make sure this doesn’t happen to you:
- Be sure your baking soda is active and hasn’t expired. To test, add 1 ½ teaspoons of it to 1 tablespoon of vinegar. It should be very fizzy.
- Measure your banana after mashing it. “Large” can mean different things to different people, which is why I also give you a volume measure.
- Use an oven thermometer. Some ovens can be off by 10, 20, or even 30 degrees, all of which make a difference.
- Bake your banana bread fully. Because it can be hard to tell when banana bread is done, I like to use an instant read thermometer. When quick breads (like banana bread) are done baking, the center will be 195 degrees F.
What to Serve with Chocolate Banana Bread
- Peanut Butter. A warmed slice of chocolate banana bread with a smear of peanut butter is a taste of heaven. (Almond butter would also be delish.)
- Chocolate Hazelnut Spread. Lean into the chocolaty goodness by topping your bread with a smear of chocolate hazelnut spread (like Nutella).
- Fruit. Both of the above options would be extra delicious with an added layer of fresh fruit. Banana slices, raspberries, blueberries, or strawberries would be wonderful. A fruit spread would also work great.
- All on its own. This bread is wonderful warmed, with a cup of coffee, tea, or even milk.
- To Store. Store bread in a paper towel-lined airtight storage container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- To Freeze. Freeze leftover bread slices in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Thaw and enjoy as desired.
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The Best Loaf Pans
This set of nonstick loaf pans is great for promoting even baking and creating perfect edges every time.
Mornings (and afternoons and evenings and midnight snacks) are better with double chocolate banana bread in it! Your future self is thanking you already.
- ½ cup coconut oil melted and cooled to room temperature or canola oil
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup (plus 1 tablespoon) white whole wheat flour or regular whole wheat flour
- 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder optional for a more intense chocolate flavor
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup mashed ripe banana about 3 medium-large bananas
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 2/3 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt at room temperature
- ½ cup honey
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips plus additional for sprinkling on top if desired
If using coconut oil, melt it now and let it come to room temperature. (If using canola oil, skip this step.) Be sure you have ½ cup when it is in its liquid state.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 9×5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, white whole wheat flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, espresso powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, add the mashed banana (if you are mashing the banana directly in the mixing bowl, double-check that you have the correct amount), then whisk in the eggs, Greek yogurt, honey, vanilla, and oil. If the oil resolidifies, warm the bowl in the microwave in 10-second bursts, just until it melts.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into it. With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir gently and patiently to combine. The batter will look dry at first but will begin to come together as you go. It will also be thick and shaggy, which is just right. Stop as soon as the dry ingredients disappear and don’t over mix. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Scoop the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with extra chocolate chips if desired.
Bake the chocolate banana bread for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean without any wet batter clinging to it. Test a few times to make sure the bread is cooked through (and that what stuck to the knife was in fact batter and not a melted chocolate chip). For total accuracy, use an instant-read thermometer. When the loaf reaches 195 degrees F, it’s done.
Place the pan on a wire rack. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Using the parchment “handles” gently lift the loaf onto the rack and let cool completely. Slice and enjoy!
- TO MAKE GLUTEN FREE: Use a 1:1 all-purpose GF baking blend like this one.
- TO MAKE DAIRY FREE: Use a non-dairy yogurt.
- TO MAKE VEGAN: **Not yet tested. This is my best estimate.** I believe you could swap flax eggs for the regular eggs, use a coconut milk-based yogurt, and swap maple syrup for the honey. If you decide to try this, I’d love for you to report back in the comments.
- TO STORE: Store bread in a paper towel-lined airtight storage container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. See my guide for How to Store Muffins for more tips.
- TO BAKE AS 12 TO 14 MUFFINS: Coat a standard muffin pan with nonstick spray and fill with the batter almost all the way to the top. Bake at 325 degrees for 22 to 26 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 3 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Adapted from my Chocolate Banana Muffins.
Serving: 1slice (of 10); with chocolate chipsCalories: 326kcalCarbohydrates: 44gProtein: 7gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 33mgPotassium: 333mgFiber: 4gSugar: 20gVitamin A: 64IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 83mgIron: 2mg
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