The Best Banana Walnut Bread

chocolate chip walnut banana bread

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You know that phrase people use; it’s the little things in life? Well, this banana walnut bread with a cuppa coffee in the morning is one of those little things in life! Oh my, how I love this bread! It will turn you into a morning person, believe me. 

My husband calls it BNB (his play on banana nut bread and TNT… he’s so cute!). But cute or not, I have to watch him because he will eat me out of banana bread. I can’t blame him, though. Because this banana bread is filled with walnuts, mini chocolate chips, and a crunchy cinnamon and brown sugar topping that is just perfect. So maybe I should call it chocolate chip walnut banana bread with cinnamon. Chocolate should definitely get top billing!

Before I found this recipe, I could not make a loaf of decent banana bread to save my life. I tried so many banana bread recipes, and none of them ended well. They always came out hard, not moist and crumbly like a good banana bread should be.  

banana bread with crumb topping

The Secret To Moist Banana Bread

It wasn’t until I had little kids that I found out what the secret to perfect banana bread was in the April 2006 issue of Family Fun magazine. I know I’m a late bloomer. What can I tell you? The recipe was called Unbeatable Banana Bread… and that’s the secret to moist banana bread. You don’t beat the dough! That’s it! 

You use a mixer to beat the sugar, butter, and eggs until creamy, but then fold in the dry ingredients and the mashed banana with a wooden spoon or spatula. You also add sour cream to the mashed bananas. It makes the bread so moist! I’ve substituted whole milk Greek yogurt for the sour cream, and it works, too. 

I’ve been making this recipe for 15 years (geez! I’m getting old!!), and it comes out perfect every time. I’ve altered the recipe a bit, and sometimes I add a little more banana, sometimes less, depending on what I have on hand. It’s a very forgiving recipe. I even made it with the wrong flour once (bread flour instead of all-purpose), and it still was great. 

ripe bananas for banana bread

Bananas To Use

The bananas need to be ripe for this recipe. So, I usually use bananas that have become too soft and brown to eat. Those are the best! You need at least two bananas, and three would be even better. 

If you want banana bread NOW and don’t have ripe bananas, you can try this little trick from Serious Eats that takes only 30 minutes. Full disclosure, I have not tried it, but they provide a thorough and scientific explanation for why it works. So, the next time I’m craving banana bread with unripe bananas on the counter, I’m going to try this. 

Banana Bread Makes The Perfect Gift

I often make this banana bread for Christmas to give away to my neighbors. It also makes a lovely hostess or thank you gift! This recipe makes a nice big loaf or two small loaves. If I’m making just one bread, I’ll use a large loaf pan affiliate link. But if I’m making as gifts, I’ll use a small loaf pan affiliate link so I can get two banana breads per recipe. For Christmas, I usually buy the foil loaf pans (8 x 4) and can make two per recipe. I have to give them out right away, or my family may be tempted to eat them!

cinnamon banana bread

The Little Extras That Make This BNB the Best

I always add mini chocolate chips and walnuts to this recipe. I can’t even imagine banana bread without the walnuts and chocolate! I’ve played with the idea of adding raisins instead of chocolate. I’m too much of a chocoholic to go that route. But one day, I’m going to try this recipe with rum-soaked raisins and walnuts. I’ll let you know how that turns out. 

It’s essential to use the mini chips. The regular chocolate chips are a little too much chocolate… and they stay hard in the dough, which is not the right vibe. Some may not want to put chocolate chips in theirs at all. It’s OK, I won’t judge. 

One of the changes I made to the original Family Fun recipe was adding a cinnamon topping. I used to make this bread with my kids when they were little, and their favorite part was adding the cinnamon sugar topping. It’s super simple, and it gives it a sweet, crunchy finish that pairs well with the chocolate.

bean train food for thought

I loved reading Family Fun when my kids were little. I had a subscription to the magazine for years. We made recipes together and arts and crafts projects and even got birthday party inspiration from this magazine.

But times change. My kids grew up, and we entered a stage that didn’t involve all this cuteness. They became teenagers, and I no longer had a use for Family Fun magazine. I gotta tell you it was a sad day when I canceled my subscription.

Life is a process, and we may want to stay in the stage we feel comfortable in a little longer. But the next phase may be better than we can imagine. I won’t say I loved the teenage years. We had a hard transition with it. But discomfort is a part of life, and it’s a necessary part of growth. 

My kids are adults now, and I love the relationship I share with them. We still cook together, but now we’ve added cocktail recipes to the mix. Talk about changes! 

I would encourage you to embrace change in your life and see it as a healthy part of growth. And if you don’t love the stage you’re in right now, have a little patience and think about what this time of discomfort is producing. It’s worth going through a difficult transition to continue to grow and become of fullest of expression of you. 

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The Best Banana Walnut Bread

  • Author: Sandi Abbott
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 70
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 10 1x
  • Category: Baking
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


This banana walnut bread recipe is super moist and flavorful. Filled with chocolate chips and walnuts and topped with a layer of cinnamon and brown sugar for the perfect crunchy sweetness in every bite! It’s heavenly in the morning with a cup of coffee!



½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick, softened)

½ cup white sugar

½ cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs at room temperature

2 cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

2-3 ripened bananas (at least 1 cup mashed)

½ cup sour cream

2 tablespoons brown sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ cup mini chocolate chips

½ cup chopped walnuts


Prep: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour a loaf pan. Alternatively, butter the loaf pan and line it with parchment paper. 

Butter, Sugar, and Eggs: Cream the butter and sugars until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add one egg and beat for about one minute. Scrape down the sides and add the second egg, beating for one minute. Scrape down the sides with a spatula. Add the vanilla and mix until combined. 

Mashed Bananas and Sour Cream: Mash the bananas with a fork and fold in the sour cream until it’s combined. 

Dry Ingredients: Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon to a bowl and mix with a fork until combined. To measure the flour, scoop spoonfuls of flour into a measuring cup and then level off with a knife. 

Combining: Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the creamed butter mixture and fold gently. Add ½ the mashed banana and fold gently. Alternate adding the flour and banana mixtures until everything is combined. Do this with a wooden spoon or spatula, and don’t overmix. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Banana Bread Topping: Combine the 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and ½ teaspoon of cinnamon. Sprinkle the mixture on top of the dough.

Bake: Place in the oven and bake for about 60 – 70 minutes, rotating the loaf pan halfway through. To check for doneness, insert a knife or toothpick in the center of the bread. It should come out slightly moist with the chocolate chips a just a hint of batter (you don’t want to overbake). I usually cook for an hour, and that’s enough. 


Make sure to use mini chocolate chips if you’re adding. The regular-sized chips make the bread too chocolaty, and the pieces stay hard, which detracts from the moist feel you want in banana bread. 

If you don’t have sour cream, you can use whole milk Greek yogurt instead. 

I usually use a large loaf pan affiliate link (9.25 x 5.25) and the nutrition information is based on this size. However, I like to use the small loaf pan affiliate link if I want to make two loaves to give as gifts. 


  • Serving Size: slice

Keywords: banana bread, banana nut bread, banana walnut bread, cinnamon banana bread, banana bread walnut recipe, banana bred with sour cream, how to make banana bread

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