This Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Bread can be baked With or Without Chocolate Chips and is adapted from old-fashioned and vintage banana bread recipes with the results being the best banana bread that is soft as a cake yet firm enough to be toasted for a delicious breakfast or snack. Each bite is packed with tasty sweet banana flavours with a hint of warm spiced cinnamon and tasty little nuggets of dark chocolate. As the banana cake bakes your kitchen will smell divine, with sweet banana toffee cake aromas escaping out of your oven!
This vegan banana Bread is dairy-free and egg-free, and so does not require eggs or dairy to bake into a wonderfully soft, moist, banana flavoured loaf cake that is firm enough to withstand toasting in a dry fry pan or skillet or under a grill [broiler]. Even if you add chocolate chips the banana bread can still be warmed up for the best toffee-chocolate-banana flavours!
History of banana bread
Banana bread or banana loaf cake is more similar to a cake or tea bread and likely gets its name as it is traditionally baked in a loaf tin. Also banana bread is usually served in rectangular slices similar to tea breads or fruit breads.
Banana bread is claimed to have originated in the United States during the Great Depression [1929-1939]. Banana bread is the ultimate budget-friendly bake as at the time of the Great Depression bananas were easily accessible and housewives were looking for ways to use over ripe and past their best bananas. Banana bread was the perfect solution, as it was a quick and easy way to make a delicious and wholesome treat that filled hungry tummies.
The first known recipe for banana bread appeared in a 1933 cookbook called "Balanced Recipes" by Pillsbury. This recipe called for mashed bananas, flour, sugar, eggs, butter, baking soda, and salt. Over time, other ingredients, such as cinnamon, vanilla extract, and nuts, were added to the basic recipe.
The popularity of banana bread soared in the mid-20th century, with numerous recipes appearing in cookbooks and on the back of flour and baking powder packages. In the 1960s, banana bread was even used as a form of political campaigning: the wife of a presidential candidate famously published her recipe for banana bread as a way of reaching out to voters.
In the UK, the late Queen Elizabeth [1926-2022] the 2nd, was said to enjoy a slice of banana bread for Afternoon tea, and Buckingham Palace always had a banana bread stored in the palace refrigerator just encase they needed a sweet treat for unexpected guests.
The United States have such a great regard for banana bread that there is a special day just for this tasty bake - National Banana Bread Day which is celebrated each year on the 23rd February.
Modern banana bread
Today, there are endless variations on banana bread, for example chocolate chip banana bread, vegan and plant-based banana bread, whole-food fat and sugar free banana breads, as well as gluten-free banana bread recipes.
Modern banana breads are still a popular frugal bake, that makes good use of over ripe bananas saving them from the waste bin, and it is often served for breakfast, brunch, or pudding or dessert, and is a favourite at potlucks, cake sales, and fund raisers.
Recently, banana bread has also became something of a global sensation, as due to recent lockdowns, many people turned to home baking, favoring banana bread as their new favorite budget-friendly bake. They also shared photos of their banana bread creations on social media to showcase their lockdown and isolation bakes!
Another family favourite bake from the Great Depression and one which also rose in popularity during lockdown was Peanut Butter Bread. We have a deliciously easy vegan adapted 1930s Great Depression Peanut Butter Bread recipe so do check that bake out as well as its a keeper!
If a no chocolate chip banana bread is preferred the chocolate chips can be simply omitted and perhaps substituted with chopped nuts, dried fruit, seeds, chocolate or vegan yogurt covered raisins, or cacao nibs. For a tasty twist, chop up your favourite trail mix and add this mix instead of chocolate chips for the best Trail Mix Banana Bread! We have an easy guide on making trail mix over on our Easy Vegan Trail Mix recipe post.
Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Bread
This vegan chocolate chip banana bread could not be easier to prepare and is the perfect way to use up very ripe bananas or a bunch of reduced price bananas.
Even bananas that are almost black on the outside can still be used for banana bread recipes, as the riper the banana the better the flavours and textures of the baked banana bread will become. If you don't have older bananas that need using up, its a great idea to put aside 3 medium-sized bananas so that they ripen up and become perfect for banana bread.
The addition of chocolate chips to banana bread adds extra delicious flavour dimensions as chocolate and banana pair so well together. My kids like to spread some vegan chocolate spread over a slice of banana bread with perhaps a few slices of fresh banana, for a double banana and double chocolate banana bread experience!
How To Prepare Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
Preparing this dairy and egg free banana bread is really easy as its just a case of mixing the sugar and margarine together, before adding the mashed bananas and plant-based milk, and then bringing the cake mixture together by adding the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt.
First, cream the brown sugar and vegan margarine together either by hand with a mixing spoon or by using an electric hand whisk.
Stir through the mashed bananas and pour in the plant-based milk, give it all a good mix.
The mixture will look split but that is to be expected and will fix itself once the flour is added.
Next, add the self-raising flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon and stir until just combined.
Stir through the chocolate chips.
Scoop the cake batter into a prepared loaf pan and bake for 45-60 minutes.
A slice of banana bread is delicious for breakfast, or brunch, as well as for Afternoon tea, or anytime you fancy a tasty vegan bake. Spread a slice with vegan butter or margarine, marmalade, fruit jam, peanut butter, vegan chocolate spread or simply enjoy as it is.
Recipe notes and frequently asked questions
Banana bread can be stored for up to 4-5 days within a cake, biscuit or cookie tin or other covered container. Wrap the banana bread in a layer of parchment or baking paper as this will help keep the bread fresher for longer. Banana bread can also be stored wrapped and kept refrigerator which is recommend if you live in a warm region or your house is extra warm.
Banana bread can be frozen for up to 3 months, thaw to room temperature before eating. For ease of removing one or two slices of banana bread from the freezer, place a piece of parchment paper between the slices so that they do not freeze together. Alternatively, freeze the entire banana bread or a smaller wedge.
The chocolate chips can simply be omitted or replaced with cacao nibs, chopped walnuts or pecans, flaked almonds, vegan chocolate covered raisins, raisins, sultanas, cranberries, chopped dates or dried apricots, sunflower or pumpkin seeds.
As our banana bread recipe calls for self-raising flour it is not a gluten-free bake as it contains wheat. However, the self-raising flour could be replaced with a self-raising gluten-free flour blend.
If your in the UK Doves Farm Freee Foods self-raising white flour or Asda Free From self raising flour would be good flours to try, and if your in the US try Bobs Red Mill gluten-free baking flour or similar.
As well as switching the flours to a gluten-free equivalent xanthum gum will need to be added to the flour as this product helps to bind cake or bread crumbs together as well as improving its elasticity. Gluten-free bakes baked without xanthum gum, or a similar product, often crumble when they are being sliced so they are an important addition.
For our banana bread recipe use about ¼ teaspoon of xanthum gum sifted through the flour, and make sure that your baking powder is also gluten-free.
Another consideration is that gluten-free bakes can be more drier compared to their wheat bakes counterparts but as this is a banana bread recipe there is a lot of moisture added from the ripe bananas so this may not be an issue.
However, if once the bread mixture is prepared and it looks a little dry then an tablespoon or so of plant-based milk could be added.
And do note that we have not tried this bake as gluten-free yet [its on a list of recipe testing to-dos that gets larger each day if not every hour!] but we have baked many other gluten-free bakes so can hopefully make a few educated guesses! If you do bake a gluten-free banana bread do pop back and let us know how you got on as we would love to know. Thanks!
Yes, self-raising flour and self-rising flour are the same thing. The difference in name is primarily due to regional language preferences, with "self-raising flour" being commonly used in the UK and "self-rising flour" often used in the US.
Both types of flour are a blend of all-purpose flour or plain flour, baking powder, and salt. The baking powder acts as a leavening agent, allowing baking to rise without the need for yeast. This makes self-raising/self-rising flour useful for a variety of bakes such as cakes, biscuits, and quick breads.
If a recipe calls for self-rising or self-raising flour and you only have all-purpose flour or plain flour on hand, you can make your own by adding about 1 teaspoon of baking powder and a pinch of salt for every cup [roughly 150 grams] of all-purpose/plain flour, and mix these additions well throughout the flour.
The simplest answer is that ripe bananas taste so much better in baking compared to firmer less ripe bananas but there are many more reasons. Here are a few:
Sweetness: As bananas ripen, the starches in the fruit convert into sugars and so overripe bananas are much sweeter than just ripe or less ripe green bananas. The banana sweetness adds to the sweet flavour of the banana bread which leads to less added sugar being required in the recipe.
Banana flavour: The flavour of bananas intensifies as they ripen so using overripe bananas in banana bread ensures a strong banana flavour throughout the bread.
Moisture: Overripe bananas are also more moist, which helps create that deliciously moist and dense texture that is ubiquitous in all good banana breads.
Ease of mashing: Overripe bananas are softer and easier to mash compared with less ripe starchy bananas so this helps incorporate the bananas into the cake mixture.
Lastly, overripe and black bananas are perfect for banana bread and ensures that they don't end up rotting away in the tip or rubbish bin so saves money and food which is a win-win as a delicious loaf of banana bread is the result.
Its easy to mash bananas for baking but there are several techniques you can use to suit your needs.
Before mashing, make sure your bananas are ripe enough, they should be yellow with lots of brown spots, or even fully brown, which means they will be very easy to mash and will be nice and sweet.
Although, for banana bread the bananas do not have to be completely mashed or perfectly smooth as bits of banana in the batter is inevitable and will just contribute to the banana bread texture.
Choose one of the following banana mashing techniques!
1. Use a cutlery fork: This is the most popular and easiest method but for some with mobility issues such as arthritis, mashing with a fork may be quite difficult so choosing a different method may be better. To mash with a fork simply peel your bananas and place them in a large bowl, then use the back of a fork to press down and mash the bananas. Continue until you've reached your desired level of smoothness. Some people like to leave a few small chunks for texture.
2. Potato masher: If you're mashing a larger quantity of bananas, a potato masher can make the job easier and faster.
3. Hand mixer or stand mixer: If you want a very smooth banana puree, you can use a hand mixer or a stand mixer with the beater attachment. Just be careful not to overmix, as this can result in a gummy texture in the final baked goods.
4. Food Processor or blender: This is another good option for achieving very smooth mashed bananas, but it also requires more washing and cleaning-up.
Extra banana sounds like it would be a great idea for banana bread recipes but in reality using extra banana than the recipe calls for could result in a banana bread that is too moist and may look under baked.
So its best to always follow the recipe and only use the amount of bananas a recipe calls for, and even better if the recipe specifies a weight measurement follow that for best results!
The crack on top of your banana bread is actually a common characteristic of quick breads such as courgette [zucchini] bread, peanut butter bread, malt loafs, tea breads and some types of fruit loaf cake.
This crack, also known as a "quick bread split", usually occurs due to the oven's heat causing the leavening agent (such as baking soda [bicarbonate of soda] or baking powder) to produce gas, which makes the quick bread batter rise.
The outer edges of the bread bake and set faster than the center, which continues to rise leading to the surface cracking in order to accommodate the continued expansion in the middle. These cracks can create a unique, appealing texture and look for the bread although many people do fret that they have done something wrong with the recipe.
The temperature of the oven, amount of leavening agent, and how much the batter is mixed can all impact how much the quick bread rises and, therefore, how much it cracks. A high oven temperature can cause a rapid rise and a large crack, while overmixing can lead to more gluten formation, which might also result in a larger crack.
So, the crack on top of your banana bread is perfectly normal and is a sign that your bread has risen properly, however, if you'd prefer a loaf with a smaller crack be careful not to overmix your bread batter.
Soft brown sugar or light brown sugar is a type of granulated sugar with a distinctive light brown colour and moist texture as it contains molasses. There is also a dark brown sugar.
Light brown sugar contains about 3.5% molasses, while dark brown sugar has about 6.5%. The extra molasses in dark brown sugar gives it a deeper brown colour and a stronger, more caramel-like flavour.
In some places, soft brown sugar might also be known as light brown sugar or moist brown sugar or simply brown sugar and its often used in baking recipes, especially cakes, breads, cookies, and biscuits, to add richness, moisture, and depth of flavour.
If you don't have soft brown sugar available there are a few alternatives you can use such as dark brown sugar, golden caster sugar, muscovado [Barbados] sugar, demerara sugar, granulated sugar, caster sugar, coconut sugar, or date sugar.
Although, do keep in mind that a different sugar will change the flavour and possibly the texture, depending on which sugar you use, of your bake but it will likely still be very delicious.
Yes, you can easily make your own soft or light brown sugar if you have white sugar such as granulated or caster sugar and a jar of molasses. Stir about 1 tablespoon of molasses thoroughly through a cup of white sugar and store the brown sugar in an air-tight container. If you need dark brown sugar use 2 tablespoons of molasses per 1 cup of sugar.
Yes, you can certainly substitute the cinnamon in your banana bread recipe although adjustments may have to be made as some spices are more overpowering compared to others so always start with a few pinches at first then add more if not strong enough. A mixture of several different warm spices will add extra delicious flavours.
Cinnamon alternatives include: nutmeg powder or grated nutmeg, cardamon powder, allspice, ground cloves, ginger powder, ground mace, pumpkin spice blend, apple pie spice blend, and mixed spice.
If it is Autumn or Fall season then using a pumpkin spice or apple spice blend will create a delicious thanksgiving banana bread or for a Christmas banana bread go for mixed spice or a mixture of cloves, ginger, and nutmeg.
Alternatively, simply omit the cinnamon as it is not essential for banana bread but a warm spice or spice blend perfectly compliments the delicious banana flavour. Or instead of cinnamon add a few teaspoons of vanilla extract or essence.
Determining when your banana bread is done can sometimes be a bit tricky because the top can brown before the middle is fully cooked. Here are several methods you can use to check if your banana bread is done:
Toothpick test: This is the most common method. Insert a toothpick (or a thin kebab skewer or cake tester) into the center of the loaf. If it comes out clean or with a few small crumbs clinging to it, the banana bread is done. If the skewer or toothpick has unbaked batter on it, then the bread needs more time. Although if your banana bread is a chocolate chip one then the toothpick may have poked a bit of melted chocolate, so give it a wipe and test a different area!
Appearance: The bread should be a golden brown colour, and the edges may start to pull away from the sides of the pan. The top of the bread will be firm to touch and will likely have a crack.
Baking time: Use the recipe baking time as the main guide but keep in mind that exact baking times can vary based on individual ovens [with fan ovens baking faster] and the specific ingredients you use, but the recipe estimated time does gives you a good ballpark range to start checking for doneness.
Finally, it's always better to err on the side of slightly overbaking than under-baking as a slightly drier banana bread is still very tasty, whilst an under-baked bread can be doughy and too moist resulting in a banana bread that is difficult to slice.
Absolutely! A frosting can elevate a humble slice of banana bread into a delicious easy dessert or pudding. For example top your banana bread with our Orange Buttercream Frosting which we use to top our carrot cupcakes, or our Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting which is over on our spiced applesauce cake recipe.
Banana bread would also be delicious topped with our Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting which is within the recipe notes of our pumpkin spiced fruit cake recipe. Alternatively for an easy vegan Chocolate Ganache have a look at our recipe for old school dinners chocolate traybake. Or for a Lemon Water Icing or Lemon Drizzle Glaze check out our lemon drizzle cake recipe.
Instead of a frosting, icing, or drizzle, a simple scoop of vegan ice cream or whipped cream is a quick way to transform the banana bread into a tasty vegan pudding. Throw in a few chopped walnuts and a drizzle of maple syrup, chocolate sauce or similar, for extra tastiness.
Banana bread is perfect as it is but it can be extra delicious spread with vegan butter, vegan cream cheese, peanut butter, almond or cashew butter, vegan chocolate spread, Biscoff spread, fruit jam, vegan lemon curd, or marmalade.
A scoop of vegan yogurt or vegan cottage cheese along with some fresh sliced fruits or berries are a nice addition especially for breakfast, brunch, snack, or supper.
Many people enjoy slices of cheese along with their fruit cake so a slice of vegan cheese with your banana bread is not too shocking an idea!
Other tasty accompaniments include tea, coffee, hot cocoa, or something chilled such as plant-based milk, iced tea, iced coffee, smoothies or milkshakes.
Banana bread flavours improve as each day passes so if you can bear it leave your bread until the next day! On day three it will taste similar to those little individual Banana Soreen Malt Cakes you can purchase from the supermarket. So tasty!
More easy vegan sweet breads and loaf cakes
We love old-fashioned, vintage, classic sweet breads, tea loafs, tea-breads, and fruit loaf cakes so we have an ever-expanding collection on our family recipe blog. Here are a few of our favourites this Vegan Depression Era Peanut Butter Bread, this Vegan Old-Fashioned Weetabix Loaf Cake, and this Sweet Cherry Loaf Bread, and not least this Tasty Teatime Malt Loaf.
Sweet breads and loaf cakes are ideal for quick snacks and suppertimes as they are not as sweet as cake yet are sweet enough to provide a sweet treat, and they can be topped with fresh fruit, fruit jam, peanut butter, vegan butter, or even slices of vegan cheese.
Quick sweet breads are often prepared with everyday pantry ingredients and are very versatile as any flavourings a particular recipe may utilise such as dried fruits, nuts, glace cherries, vanilla, warm spices such as cinnamon, etc can be switched out with anything similar that you have to hand.
***please note: for US measurements click the 'US customary button' within the recipe and the measurements will switch to tablespoons, cups, and ounces.***
Vegan Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
- cutlery fork for mashing banana
- electric hand mixer optional, as can just use a mixing spoon
- 1 kg/ 2Ib loaf pan Plus parchment [baking paper] or a baking paper loaf pan insert
- 60 grams vegan margarine or vegan butter
- 115 grams soft brown sugar light brown sugar
- 340 grams mashed bananas or 3 medium very ripe bananas (weight is after skin removed)
- 230 grams self-raising flour
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 1 pinch salt
- 4 tablespoons plant-based milk such as soya or oat milk or your usual milk
- 100 grams dark chocolate chips (vegan-friendly) Or a block of vegan chocolate cut into chip size pieces.
- Preheat the oven to 150 Fan, 170 Celsius, 338 Fahrenheit, Gas 3.
- Prepare the loaf pan by grease it with vegan margarine or butter, and lining it with baking parchment or pop in a paper case insert.
- With a cutlery fork or potato masher mash the bananas until smoothish, they do not have to be completely smooth as some small lumps of banana are fine.340 grams mashed bananas
- Add the sugar and margarine to a bowl and beat or mix well with a mixing spoon or an electric hand mixer until they are both thoroughly creamed together. This should take a minute or two with a hand mixer, but add an extra few minutes if mixing with a spoon by hand.60 grams vegan margarine, 115 grams soft brown sugar
- Add the mashed bananas and stir through the creamed mixture.Don't worry if the mixture looks split. Its fine.
- Pour in the plant-based milk and mix.4 tablespoons plant-based milk
- Sift in the flour, baking powder, and cinnamon and sprinkle in the salt.230 grams self-raising flour, 2 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder, 1 pinch salt
- Stir with a mixing spoon until everything is just combined. Don't beat the mix or stir too fast.Pop in the chocolate drops and mix through the batter.100 grams dark chocolate chips (vegan-friendly)
- Scoop the batter into the loaf pan and smooth out the surface with the back of a cutlery spoon or similar.
- Bake for 45-60 minutes on the middle shelf until risen, golden, and a skewer or toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. If the toothpick has smudges of melted chocolate just test a different area.Check the banana bread to see if it has baked after 45 minutes, as ovens vary in their baking times especially fan ovens which tend to bake quicker.
- Leave the banana bread to cool in the loaf pan for at least 30 minutes.Carefully tip out and place on a wire rack to cool, and peel away the parchment paper from the sides. Or just sit the banana bread on a cutting board or similar to cool if no wire rack is available.
- Nutritional data is provided for guidance only and is not a strict calculation as ingredients vary.
- Store banana bread for up to 5 days within a cake tin or airtight container. Wrapping the bread in an extra layer of greaseproof paper will help preserve the freshness and moistness for longer.
- Banana bread can also be stored wrapped in the refrigerator which is especially recommended if you live in a hot area or your house is extra warm. The chocolate chips will go hard in the fridge which is very tasty. Banana bread may keep for an extra few days if stored in the fridge.
- Banana bread can be frozen for up to 3-4 months. Wrap up the whole banana bread or portion out slices. A small piece of parchment paper between each slice or few slices allows for easier retrieval of 1 or 2 slices at a time.
- Thaw to room temperature before enjoying.
- Chocolate chips or drops can be replaced with a broken bar of vegan chocolate, cacao nibs, chopped walnuts, flaked almonds, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, shredded coconut shards, etc.
- Or simply omit the chocolate chips or drops.
- Stork baking margarine was used for this banana bread.
- For a gluten-free banana bread replace the flour with gluten-free self-raising or self-rising flour, gluten-free baking powder, and add ¼ teaspoon of xanthum gum. An extra 1 tablespoon of plant-based milk may be required to mix through the batter as gluten-free bakes can be extra thirsty!
- Banana bread flavours improve as each day passes. If you can bear it leave your bread until the next day! On day three it will taste similar to those little individual Banana Soreen Malt Cakes you can purchase from the supermarket. So tasty!
- Check out our recipe notes and FAQ section above for more useful information.
Prepared our delicious Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Bread? Do let us know how you got on with the recipe as we love hearing from you. Thanks so much, Jacq x