Chocolate-Bourbon Banana Bread

This chocolate-bourbon banana bread is filled with ripe bananas, ample chocolate and walnuts, and a good glug of bourbon. A lovely Christmas recipe by Joy the Baker.

A loaf of chocolate-bourbon banana bread with several slices cut off one end.Chocolate Bourbon-Spiked Banana Bread

This oh-my-gosh-I-can’t-stop-eating-it-until-the-loaf-is-gone banana bread isn’t exactly your mom’s banana bread. Or your grandma’s banana bread. It’s better. And a little different. And that’s not a bad thing at all. Whereas the classic is uncomplicated and nutty and comforting, this defiantly rebellious and somewhat cake-like version takes things a little further, adding chunks of chocolate and a splash of bourbon. Those who tend to get a little tipsy off the bourbon, please note that its function here is as a fundamental flavor enhancer. Not unlike vanilla extract. If you crave a harder hit, you’ll need to keep that bottle by your side. And if you don’t care for the booze, splash in a little vanilla instead.–Renee Schettler

How this banana bread recipe came to be

Blogger and cookbook author Joy Wilson created this amazing rendition of chocolate banana bread by riffing on a recipe from her grandma, or Mommom. Her changes to the classic dense loaf leave us nothing short of incredulous. And her note to her Mommom explaining her rebellious streak leaves us nothing more than charmed. Here’s what she has to say…

Dear Mommom,

I love your banana bread. It’s moist and uncomplicated, full of banana bits and supreme comfort. I’ve enjoyed your banana bread for as long as I can remember. Dad makes a low-fat version of your banana bread but come on! I just can’t get behind that. Your recipe reigns supreme. Just one thing though, I added chocolate and bourbon to your classic. What can I say—I’m young and reckless.

Love, Your Dear and Darling Granddaughter

Chocolate-Bourbon Banana Bread

  • Quick Glance
  • (15)
  • 25 M
  • 1 H, 30 M
  • Serves 12 | Makes one 9-by-5-inch loaf
4.9/5 - 15 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the Joy the Baker Cookbook cookbook

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Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C) and place a rack in the center of the oven. Butter and flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan, tapping out any excess flour.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. 

Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating for 1 minute between additions. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the bananas, lemon juice, and bourbon and beat with the paddle until well incorporated. The mixture may look curdled, but that’s okay.

Turn the mixer to low, add the flour mixture all at once, and beat until almost completely incorporated. Stop the mixer, add the walnuts and chocolate, and stir by hand with a spatula or wooden spoon just until incorporated. Spoon the mixture into the prepared loaf pan.

Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a skewer inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. 

Let the loaf cool in the pan for 20 minutes before inverting it onto a wire rack and letting it cool completely, if you can manage to keep your hands off it. The banana bread will keep, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, for up to 5 days at room temperature. [Editor’s Note: Hah! Good luck making it last 5 days let alone 5 hours…] Originally published October 5, 2012.

Print RecipeBuy the Joy the Baker Cookbook cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Recipe Testers' Reviews

Based on the fact that I can’t seem to stop slicing slivers off of the still-warm loaf (just to “even it out”), I’m going to say this chocolate-bourbon banana bread is a keeper. The recipe works as written–its only inaccuracy is that this has wayyyy more in common with cake than any banana bread I’ve ever eaten. Not that that’s a bad thing. Whatever you want to call it, it’s a tender, springy thing whose sweetness is nicely cut by the chocolate (the darker, the better) and walnuts, and whose top crust is worth eating all on its own.

I would have liked more bourbon flavor, and despite such a great texture, it was, surprisingly, just a touch dry. If I make it again, I’ll use really overripe bananas and maybe a spoonful of applesauce. I forgot to flour the pan but the loaf still came out easily. And the bread was still pretty goopy at 45 minutes, so I used the full hour.

This is not your grandmother’s banana bread, but I do thank Joy the Baker’s Mommom for the bones of this one. Joy’s addition of bourbon to the batter is a brilliant move. Don’t let it scare you! Think of it as a subtle(ish) flavoring agent–like vanilla extract, only more spirited.

The batter looks a little curdled after beating in the lemon and the bourbon, but once you mix in the dry ingredients, everything looks as it should. I used bittersweet chocolate chips, mostly because that’s what I had in the pantry. I really like this banana bread because it’s a little more substantial. It’s still moist and tender but it’s got heft to it.


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  1. Enjoyed this very much! It’s a decadent treat, and totally worth the calories, ha! I’m not a fan of bourbon, so I used my preferred choice: double rye. Not sure if the liquor added a discernible taste to the loaf though. Substitutions, I omitted the sugar and increased sweets to 1/3 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips and 1/3 cup of raisins. Baked at 350, loosely covered with foil for 45min then uncovered for 20 min. Thank you for the inspo! Would definitely recommend this recipe.

    1. Thanks, Vanny! We’re delighted that you love this, and love that you were able to make some substitutions to make it perfect for you.

  2. I loved the look of the recipe for Chocolate, Bourbon, Banana Bread. I even made a double batch it seemed so like a winner. Sad to say, although dense, moist and looking beautiful out of the oven, the taste a blah… Itonly tasted of the chocolate bits and the texture of the chopped walnuts. Virtually no banana flavour and the bourbon had zero effect. I usually make mini loaves to give to friends, so I gave 5 loaves to friends and thus far not a word of anything good or bad. That is totally unheard of, so I think the response is like mine – ho hum… Sadly

    1. So surprised and sad to hear how this turned out for you. I’ve made this several times, always following the recipe, weighing ingredients, using great bourbon and 72% dark chocolate. Maybe the mini loaf pans had some effect?

    2. Gary, I’m so sorry to hear that this didn’t turn out as well as you’d hoped. Perhaps cutting back on the chocolate a bit might let the banana flavor shine? We hope the next recipe you try is a success!

  3. This is by far the best banana bread recipe ever! I topped it off with a glaze of more bourbon and powdered sugar. Now that my children are grown, this is my last banana bread recipe.

    1. Jayka, love hearing you love this as much as we do. I, too, have sworn off all other recipes after trying this one…and I am absolutely trying your glaze next time! Thanks for sharing that trick…!

  4. Made this yesterday in an 8 x 4 inch Williams-Sonoma loaf pan and it came out beautifully. Because I mashed slightly defrosted frozen bananas, my final batter was cold and so it took about 15 minutes longer to bake through. We enjoyed it while still warm for dessert after dinner. While I have my own banana bread recipe I’ve been perfecting for years, this one is a unique departure—more like a cake with all the lovely dark chocolate and nuts running through it.

    a loaf of chocolate-bourbon-spiked banana bread sliced open to revel chocolate speckled interior

    1. It is more like cake, isn’t it, Roni? And no complaints here! So glad this recipe makes you happy (and gives you a lovely used for those frozen bananas!). Looking forward to hearing which recipe on the site you try next. Wishing you and yours all the magic of the season…!

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