The Best Banana Bread You’ll Ever Have (with Bourbon and Chocolate Chunks)

My mom used to make banana bread when we were growing up. We’d smell it in the kitchen, and I’d request tastes right when it came out of the oven, when the bananas were soft, mushy and a little too hot. The memory alone makes me homesick for Michigan! Well, luckily, the fabulous Joy the Baker has agreed to share her #1 banana bread recipe with us today, and (record scratch) it includes bourbon and chocolate chunks. As she says, it’s “bonkers delicious.” Here’s the recipe…

The Best Banana Bread You’ll Ever Have (With Bourbon and Chocolate Chunks)
By Joy the Baker, from the new Joy the Baker Cookbook

I’m convinced this is the best banana bread to ever grace the world. I know this to be true because it’s the bread my grandmother has been making for the past 60 years. With 60 years of love and tweaking, it’s buttery and moist with plenty of ripe banana flavor–pretty much perfect. Slice by slice, I promise you’ll devour at least half of this loaf within hours of it coming out of the oven.

My grandmother’s recipe was only *close* to perfection because she hadn’t added my two favorite ingredients: bourbon and dark chocolate chunks. With a hint of booze and chocolate, this banana is transformed from great to unbeatable.

Recipe: The Best Banana Bread
Makes 1 loaf

You’ll need:
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 ½ cups mashed ripe bananas (from about 3 bananas)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons bourbon
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chunks

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour an 8×4-inch or 9×5-inch loaf pan. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt.

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

Add eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute between each addition. Stop the mixer, scrape down sides of the bowl, and add bananas, lemon juice and bourbon. Beat until well incorporated.

Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture all at once. Beat until almost incorporated. Stop the mixer and remove the bowl. Add the walnuts and chocolate chips and incorporate the last of the ingredients with a spatula.

Batter will be thick. Spoon the mixture into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and allow loaf to cool in the pan for 20 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Serve with milky coffee and enjoy!

Banana bread will keep for up to 5 days, well wrapped, at room temperature.

Delicious! Thank you so much, Joy!

P.S. More best recipes

(Photos by Joy from Joy the Baker. Thanks to Shoko for her help with this series)

  1. This looks delicious …

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  3. Ree says...

    I thought it might be bland. No brown sugar, molasses, nutmeg, cinnamon, or even browning of the butter. I took a chance since the reviews were so positive. Big mistake! This was horrible; One-note, and very bland. No personality at all.
    I just wasted a bunch of good ingredients. I should have stuck to our favorite–Joy’s ‘Brown Butter Banana Bread.’

    • Ree says...

      I just decided I’ll attempt to salvage it by using it to make french toast. Hope that helps anyone who might make this bread, feel the way I do about it and stumble across my review afterwards.

    • Grace says...

      Thanks!! You have saved me. :)

  4. Jo- I hope you did lots of research on this!!! It is honestly the BEST banana bread recipe- never fails and so moist- every time! I love love it

  5. Just made it. Awesome. Baked it for 48 min. Very moist, nice depth of flavor, which I credit to the bourbon. Followed the recipe exactly. So glad I tried this after having a failure with the Nutella Swirl Banana bread (which called for 1 1/2 teas salt…way too much). This recipe is a winner!

  6. My mom just unloaded about 30 bananas on me. This is the recipe I will try first yhing in the morning

  7. My mom just unloaded about 30 bananas on me. This is the recipe I will try first yhing in the morning

  8. Jo, I made this recipe of yours and followed all measurements and ingredients except for the bourbon which i did not have, so substituted brandy instead, it came out DELICIOUS!!! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe and making my Banana Bread world so much better!!

  9. I used coconut oil instead of butter (1:1 ratio) and it was DIVINE! It added the lightest, sweet flavor and the tiny hint of bourbon was perfect. Definitely adding this to my recipe collection!

  10. I made this and it was good. I used molasses instead of white sugar.

  11. As soon as I added the bourbon my mixture curdled. Any ideas why this would have happened?

  12. Can you use Jack Daniels?

  13. I tried this recipe and couldn’t taste the bourbon and I thought the bread was pretty dry. It had a good taste, but I need a moist bread. Did anyone else have this problem or was it a problem with my baking?

  14. I am NOT a fan of bananas, so can this be made w/o them?

    • Susan says...

      You might try pumpkin or shredded zucchini.

  15. this is the best banana bread I’ve ever made. Its one of my very favorite things.ravioles aux cepes

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  17. I just made this today. I don’t have a stand mixer, but I have a food processor with a dough setting. It worked great, and the bread is AMAZING! It truly is the best banana bread I’ve ever had! We will definitely make this again and again. Easy and scrumptious!

  18. Lovely lovey recipe- I was looking for a banana bread recipe and stumbled upon this.As I Made one, and blogged it too, but this one makes me want to try again!! Thanks for sharing.

  19. So I realize this is six months later, but I just made this bread last night- I didn’t have any bourbon, so I used 1/2 bourbon vanilla extract and 1/2 amaretto- wow! You can definitely taste it but it’s soooo good. Also used chocolate chips rather than chocolate chunks- I’m quite pleased with the result :) Thanks for this ‘Best’ Food Series, Joanna!

  20. Banana Bread recipe> is a very easy to make at home and simple method. Especially kids like this recipe and very delicious.

  21. Oh my, something went awfully wrong with my bread. I used the suggested 8×4 pan…which was way too small. Everything bubbled over and then the top became brown and crisp and finished while the inside was still molten. I’ve been trying to save it now (foil, rotating the pan, extreme swearing) and I hope it can be salvaged…

    • MK says...

      same thing happened to me – def go with the larger pan!

  22. Can´t wait to try this one, looks delicious :)

  23. Anonymous says...

    nice opinion.. thanks for sharing..

  24. So excited to see Joy over here! Way to go Joy! Can’t wait to try this :)

  25. Ohmygoodness, I can’t wait to make this!

  26. You had me at bourbon+chocolate. This recipe sounds divine, I can’t wait to make up a loaf.

  27. Jo! I must admit I was a little like “yeah, whatever, surely this can’t be the best banana bread recipe ever”. But wholey moley, it was freakin amazing!
    And SO filling. Unfortunately I can’t stop eating it, and neither can my husband, so our bellies are filling up with this delicious goodness. Thanks for sharing.

  28. Sarah(cologne Germany) says...

    I tried the recipe right after reading the post and it’s sooo good! thank you so much for sharing it!

  29. Sandra DK says...

    … it’s in the oven this very minute! Looks sooo good! Had to translate the recipe into Danish measurements … cross my fingers I did it right – based on the smell coming from my kitchen I did! ;) *YUM* Thanks!

  30. This is a must try! Thanks!

  31. OMG – banana bread is one of my favorite things, as are bourbon and chocolate, so I’m pretty sure this will be my new favorite recipe. I just put a batch in the oven, and the batter tasted like what a Chunky Monkey-bourbon milkshake might taste like – heaven!

  32. Oh, that looks so yummy!! I love this series. looking forward to the next recipe!!!

  33. I absolutely must try this. I love Joy the Baker, and this recipe looks devine!!!! Thank you to both of you!

  34. Joanna, Can I just say that I am loving this cooking series! One of my resolutions this year is to re-learn the basics, really well. I’m already hooked on your “best egg sandwich” recipe/technique. Some ingredients are hard to come by in Cambodia though…

  35. Chez Pim’s banana bread to me is the best recipe I have tried. Her ratio of ingredients is just perfect. Only 1/3 cup butter and 3/4 cup sugar.

  36. You had me at bourbon :)

  37. Aw, Joy the Baker cracks me up! Thanks for featuring her.

  38. This banana bread looks amazing! I’m going to make this right away. :-)

    Thanks for posting it!

    Grandma Kat

  39. yay! i LOVE banana bread, so fun hearing different recipes!! and I adore Joy the Baker:) xoxo

  40. i love this recipe, it reminds me of my grandmas! Jo, if ever you’re looking for the best proper British toad in the hole recipe then do give me a shout! Dom x

  41. Wow, this sounds amazing! Thanks for sharing :) xoxo, morgan

  42. Hi that sounds delicious, I reckon you could replace the bourbon with rum. What do you think?

  43. It looks very yummy! I have to try it! Thank you! :)

  44. Any suggestions for high altitude? I live in Denver and it really affects my baking! I know there are standard substitutions to make but each recipe is different. Would love to hear thoughts as I am still new in the kitchen…..Thanks!

  45. Yum!! Thanks for sharing the recipe with us! :-)

  46. i don’t know if this can beat my mom’s banana bread, it’s pretty amazing!

  47. this sounds too good to be true!

  48. Bourbon AND bananas? Oh my! I’ve been looking for a new banana bread recipe (mine has started to become dry).

    mon amy

  49. Hi Joanna! Will you be attending Joy’s book signing at The Brooklyn Kitchen on the 31st? It would be downright lovely to shake hands with not one, but two of my favorite bloggers. :)

  50. Oh Joy, so much love for you! I love that you featured her Joanna- you both are such awesome ladies :).

  51. Have you ever tried Mark Bittman’s recipe for banana bread = AMAZING. With coconut! Yum.

    But this too sounds divine. I can’t wait to try it.

  52. I Love Banana Bread

  53. Looks delicious! Banana bread is the best and always reminds me of my mom! I’ll have her try this recipe too!

  54. My boys and I were going to make my grandma’s banana bread today. I grew up putting chocolate chips in out batter and we make muffins. I will have to try with the bourbon. Delicious! Thanks for sharing!

  55. This looks fantastic! The second I read bourbon I knew it must be a Joy the Baker recipe. Love LOVE this series!

  56. looks amazing and you’ve introduced me to a baking blog-fabulous!

    I love banana bread, Bourbon and Chocolate, whats not to like about putting them all together!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Louise xo

  58. That is on my Sunday bake list. Bourbon & chocolate are for sure in my pantry:)

  59. “bonkers delicious” huh- how could it not be with a special sauce (liquor!) and my fave chocolate!! thanx a yummy bunch for sharing!

  60. Oh wow! I am definitely making this, this coming weekend. We are big bourbon fans so this is right up our alley. Thanks for sharing!

  61. wow, i can’t wait to make this!

  62. Yummy! Banana bread is one of my favorite comfort foods from childhood, and this version sounds amazing!

    Katherine @ thistle handmade

  63. I really love your posts and the things you find. You also always seem to find the foods I also love i.e. choc. chip banana bread and choc. chip cookies!!

  64. We put rum in our banana bread. Bourbon sounds delish!

  65. oh this sounds good!
    i’ve started adding coconut to mine, i guess the caribbean is taking over! of course i always put chocolate chips and walnuts in there too. but will have to try this one with bourbon, yummy!

  66. kirsten, thanks for your sweet note. yes, absolutely, pin away! :)

  67. This sounds seriously amazing! I’m going to have to try. I really love this series, so far, I’ve tried the chunky chocolate chip cookie recipe which was a hit and I’m going to do the spaghetti sauce next!! Thanks for this!

  68. I’ve always found Joy to be such a kindred soul. Her recipes use waaaay too much refined sugar for me, but I love her anyway, for phrases like “bonkers delicious.”

  69. oh, this reminds me of the banana bread i used to make as a little girl. i’d follow the recipe from my mom’s tattered, red-covered, betty crocker cookbook. banana bread = nostalgia for sure.

  70. im a sucker for banana bread & almost DONT wait to make this cause i know ill eat it all =) but i think i will make it and bring it to work so i can watch everyone enjoy. thanks for sharing!!


  71. I have been experimenting with beans to make bread with. they turn out tasty, they just don’t rise much. I will try this recipe with my beans substitution and see how it turns out.

  72. Holy moly, this looks amazing! I grew up in the South where banana bread and bourbon were staples but I’m ashamed to say I’ve never mixed them together. I can’t wait to try this recipe!!

  73. Oh boy, I SO have to try this take on banana bread:) And it includes bourbon and chocolate chunks? I’m totally sold:) Yum! Wish you both a lovely day. xo

  74. Banana bread always reminds me of my awesome college roommate because her mom used to send us two loaves every couple months and we would devour them! Nothing beats homemade banana bread!

    I’ll have to try this new recipe out for a change of pace…

  75. Anonymous says...

    I have to try this! I thought I had THE best recipe (It’s from the NY Times Cookbook) but yes… it can only be CLOSE to perfection because it lacks booze and chocolate. (Maybe I’ll make this recipe AND the other recipe, adding the bourbon and chocolate to the other recipe, too, and see how I fare?)

  76. This looks delicious – will definitely have to add this recipe to the to-bake list.

  77. I”M FROM MICHIGAN TOO… and I remember the exact same thing with my Mom. Banana bread with chocolate? That is awesome. Thanks for sharing!


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  78. Ahhhh! I needed this today :) My little one and I are about to start cracking eggs. :) Thank you!

  79. Banana bread will keep for up to 5 days? No, no it will not. Banana bread will be consumed, polished off, and scarfed down immediately :)

  80. This looks glorious. I want to add it to my pinterest board, but wanted to make sure that’s cool from your perspective before I do so. So, are you okay with folks pinning the images (with direct linking back to your posts)?

  81. looks so good!

  82. Oh my this looks so yummy. I’d like it with milky coffee. :)

  83. my two favorite bloggers together! awesome :)!

  84. that recipe sounds stellar! joy is awesome, i love her recipes and she’s hilarious! :)