You will love this (gluten free!) chocolate chip banana bread. Moist, soft, with a gentle caramel flavour coming from the brown sugar and ripe bananas, and generously loaded with chocolate chips… there’s nothing not to love about this wonderful bake that walks the line between breakfast, snack and dessert.
There’s magic in a loaf of freshly baked banana bread. It’s the delicious kind of magic, that hides in a caramelised golden crust and a moist, soft interior that’s still slightly warm.
You get the first hints of that magic while the banana bread is still baking – the kitchen fills with the smell of butter and sugar, spice and caramelising goodness. It’s one of the best smells in the world, bringing with it the feelings of warmth and home.
How does one then improve on this perfection? Simple. Just add chocolate.
If you’ve been round these parts before, then you know that I consider chocolate a separate food group, and the most important one at that. So going from banana bread to CHOCOLATE CHIP banana bread just… makes sense.
It’s the natural way of things in my kitchen, adding chocolate chips to just about everything.
Of course, this banana bread is also gluten free. And just like all the other gluten free recipes on The Loopy Whisk – no, you can’t tell it’s gluten free. Trust me.
Before we get to the bits and bobs of making this mouthwatering banana bread – if you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date on the latest recipes and tips!
How ripe should bananas be for banana bread?
The best bananas for banana bread should be very ripe, and I do mean VERY ripe. The darker the better, really (within reason – as I explain in more detail below).
If your bananas are yellow, with some green around the stem, they’re probably not ripe enough for banana bread. Using such bananas will give you a banana bread that lacks flavour (and can also be rather dry).
Bananas that are a rich yellow colour with plenty of brown spots and streaks are your best choice for banana bread. Such bananas are at their peak sweetness, and carry the most flavour.
On the other hand, extremely ripe bananas that are almost completely black (and often feel unpleasantly soft to the touch) are unfortunately past their prime – using them can result in a banana bread with an unpleasant aftertaste. It’s best to just throw them out.
How do you make chocolate chip banana bread?
We begin, as expected, with the bananas. By now you should know exactly what kind of bananas you need for the best banana bread – VERY ripe, but not black.
I prefer to mash up the bananas with a fork – this gives you a slightly chunky purée, as opposed to a completely smooth texture (which you can get by using a blender or food processor). This is mostly down to personal preference: I love getting the occasional small piece of banana in my banana bread. If that’s not quite your thing, just use a blender or food processor to get the bananas completely smooth.
We’ll also add a teaspoon or two of lemon juice. This serves two purposes:
(1) it slows down the rate at which the mashed bananas oxidise (which preserves their lovely flavour and colour), and
(2) it lifts up the flavour of the banana bread as a whole, by giving it just a hint of freshness – not so much that it tastes lemony at all, but just enough so that it keeps it from tasting “too heavy”.
In a separate bowl, we’ll mix together light brown sugar and melted butter. The brown sugar amps up the caramel flavour of the banana bread, and the melted butter means you’ll skip the inevitable oops-forgot-to-soften-the-butter-at-room-temperature situation. You’re welcome.
The butter and sugar are whisked until pale and fluffy and lovely.
Next up: add the mashed bananas and eggs. Whisk it up until smooth. Simple. Before we forget: add a dash of vanilla, because vanilla makes everything taste even better.
Add in the dry ingredients – all the usual suspects: gluten free flour blend, almond flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, a pinch of salt. Half a teaspoon of cinnamon and a generous pinch of nutmeg for an extra oomph of spice that will make your kitchen smell wonderful.
Mix it up until lovely and smooth.
Because we’re making chocolate chip banana bread: let’s not forget the chocolate chips, mmkay? You’ll think half a cup is enough, but then you’ll realise you’re being silly and add another handful. And a few more just for good measure.
Then, transfer the chocolate chip banana bread batter into a lined loaf tin and smooth out the top. Sprinkle with too many chocolate chips. Just kidding. No such thing as “too many” or “too much” when it comes to chocolate.
And then… bake. Yes, simple as that.
How long do you bake chocolate chip banana bread?
For best results, bake the banana bread at 355 ºF (180 ºC) for about 1 hour. The time may vary slightly depending on your oven and baking tin size, shape and material.
To make sure you’re baking your chocolate chip banana bread to perfection, insert a toothpick or skewer into the middle of the banana bread about 50 minutes into baking. If it comes out covered in half-baked batter or with many moist crumbs attached, bake it about 5 minutes longer. Continue baking (and checking) until the toothpick/skewer comes out clean.
Now, because the bananas contain a lot of (natural) sugar themselves, and we’ve added all that lovely brown sugar, the top of the banana bread will start browning rather quickly. When you notice it becoming a deep golden brown colour, cover it with a sheet of aluminium (kitchen) foil, shiny side up. This will slow down the browning, giving you that wonderful golden brown caramelised top we all know and love.
How long does banana bread keep?
Even though this chocolate chip banana bread is gluten free, it keeps nice and moist for 3 – 4 days in a closed container in a cool dry place. Although – let’s be real here – it’s not going to last that long anyway.
How do you keep banana bread moist?
The secret to a wonderfully moist and flavourful banana bread is using perfectly ripe bananas (see above for details). Other than that – just follow the recipe below, really. I guarantee wonderfully moist and delicious results every single time.
And then, once it’s baked and cooled, just make sure to keep the banana bread in a closed container in a cool dry place – this will prevent it from drying out too quickly.
Other wonderful banana bread mix-ins
Of course, there are other options aside from chocolate chips. Here are a few of my favourites:
- chopped toasted pecans
- dried fruit (everything from dried figs to cranberries)
- peanut butter (just swirl it in there!)
- chocolate spread (again – swirl it in, and be generous)
- fresh blueberries or raspberries (trust me, it works)
Though I have to say, chocolate chips are my go-to option most of the time. There’s just something about half-melted chocolate chips in combination with the soft, still slightly warm banana bread that makes me all warm and fuzzy.
Give it a try. Enjoy. And thank me later.
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Chocolate Chip Banana Bread (Gluten Free)
- 1 1/2 cups (330 g) mashed bananas (3 medium bananas)
- 3 tsp lemon juice
- 1 1/3 sticks (150 g) unsalted butter, melted
- 3/4 cup (150 g) light brown sugar
- 2 medium eggs, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla paste (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
- 1 3/4 cups + 2 tbsp (225 g) plain gluten free flour blend (I've used Doves farm plain gluten free flour blend, which doesn't contain xanthan gum)
- 1/2 cup (50 g) almond flour
- 1/4 tsp xanthan gum (omit if your GF flour blend already contains xanthan)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1/2 - 1 cup (90 - 175 g) chocolate chips
- Pre-heat the oven to 355 ºF (180 ºC) and line a loaf baking tin with greaseproof/baking paper. (Dimensions of the loaf tin: 8 inch/21cm long, 4inch/11cm wide and 3inch/7cm high.)
- Mix the mashed bananas with the lemon juice and set aside.
- In a bowl, whisk together the melted butter and light brown sugar until pale and fluffy.
- Add the mashed bananas, eggs and vanilla paste, and whisk until well combined.
- Sift together the plain gluten free flour blend, almond flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg, and add them to the wet ingredients. Whisk or stir well until you get a smooth batter with no flour clumps.
- Add most of the chocolate chips into the banana bread batter, and mix until they're evenly distributed.
- Transfer the batter into the lined loaf tin, smooth out the top, and sprinkle with the leftover chocolate chips.
- Bake in the pre-heated oven at 355 ºF (180 ºC) for about 60 minutes, or until well risen, golden brown on top and an inserted toothpick/skewer comes out clean. If the banana bread starts browning too quickly or too much, cover it with aluminium foil (shiny side up) and continue baking until done. It's best to cover it with aluminium foil when it starts becoming a deep golden colour.
- Once baked, allow it to cool in the tin for 5 - 10 minutes, then remove out of the tin and allow to cool completely on a wire cooling rack. (Although it's rather wonderful still slightly warm.)
- Storage: The gluten free chocolate chip banana bread keeps well in a closed container in a cool dry place for 3 - 4 days.