You Haven't Met a (Chocolate!) Banana Bread Like This Yet

January 16, 2018

Does anyone really need another recipe for banana bread? (There are 230 versions, and counting, on this site alone.) Make room in the recipe box, because you need this one: banana bread made with dark chocolate in two forms, sea salt, olive oil, and tangy sour cream. It’s a pretty great thing, especially when baked in a skillet and sliced like a cake. And it’s the most delicious way I’ve found to use the endless supply of bananas on my kitchen counter.

I started putting olive oil in my banana bread several years ago, after making Melissa Clark's Lemony Olive Oil Banana Bread by way of Heidi Swanson. I liked it so much that I created this cranberry-pecan version. But every time I made it, my kids would ask for chocolate chips in place of the cranberries. At some point, I relented. They came by their love for chocolate honestly. And, I figured, while I’m at it, why not add cocoa powder to make it more chocolaty, and flaky sea salt to keep the sweetness in check? So that’s how this skillet bread came to be. I haven’t looked back.

This concoction is most charming when baked in a skillet, but a loaf pan works nicely, too. The recipe is flexible: substitute Greek yogurt for sour cream, use a combination of all-purpose and whole-grain flours, and add walnuts or almonds in place of the pecans (or omit the nuts entirely). If you don’t have cocoa powder in your pantry, replace it with an equal amount of flour. If you don’t have a chocolate bar to break into shards or a bag of chocolate chips, it’ll be good with just the cocoa. If you don’t have any chocolate whatsoever, then get yourself to the grocery store!

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And when you’re at the grocery store, and every time after that, grab the biggest bunch of bananas you see with confidence. With this foolproof recipe in your back pocket, you know they’ll never go to waste.

How do you like to use up bananas? Let us know in the comments!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • CoffeeAndBaconYum
  • margaret sandercock
    margaret sandercock
  • G
  • Elaine Eakin
    Elaine Eakin
  • FrugalCat

Written by: EmilyC

I'm a home cook. I love salads. Two things you'll always find in my refrigerator are lemons and butter, and in my pantry good quality chocolate and the makings for chocolate chip cookies.


CoffeeAndBaconYum August 23, 2023
This sounds good! I have a few questions, please:

1. Is the tangy flavor from sour cream/Greek yogurt noticeable in the baked bread? (A family member doesn’t like sour cream or yogurt.)
2. If using nonfat Greek yogurt, should something like butter be added to supply additional fat?
margaret S. February 9, 2019
I made this yesterday in my Le Creuset dutch oven. It took the maximum baking time, I supposed because the pan was so very thick. One 3.2 oz. bar of Chocolove Rich Dark chocolate, chopped, was plenty. I had 3 smallish bananas, 2 very ripe and one not as ripe. I could have used one more. The texture is fine but the banana flavor could be more pronounced and it could be a bit sweeter which is probably my fault for not using quite enough banana. It is very tasty and a very attractive cake.
G January 24, 2019
Dude. This is so ... suave.
Elaine E. July 11, 2018
I tried this recipe last weekend which got great reviews. Everyone thought it was cake and loved it! I was wondering about the weight measurement for flour. Doesn't one and a half cups of flour weigh more than 180 grams? I will definitely make this again.
FrugalCat May 22, 2018
Full fat Greek yogurt, coconut oil and walnuts. I made it in a muffin tin.
G January 24, 2019
Well hale, FG. Ya done made us fools. You da MUFFIN!!! How was they??
Melanie C. February 27, 2018
I used 2% Greek yogurt and light brown sugar and it came out great!!! Used one 8-inch cast iron pan (about 40-45 min in the oven) plus a 3.5-inch tiny cast iron pan (about 20-25 min) for the extra batter
Dvorah B. January 28, 2018
Just made this amazing Dark Chocolate Olive Oil Banana Bread. It will definitely be a recipe I will make again. I did use the Dutch Process Cocoa and 90% Chocolate bar. The Banana almost disappears using the dark chocolate bar and the Dutch Process Cocoa. I didn't use the Sour Cream but use a whole milk Greek yogurt instead. Worked perfect.
EmilyC January 30, 2018
Wonderful -- thanks for trying it!
Allison M. January 28, 2018
How do you think this would be if I replaced cacao powder and cacao nibs for the coco powder and dark chocolate?
EmilyC January 30, 2018
Hmm, I'm not sure! You might have to increase the sugar if using cacao powder versus cocoa. I've never baked with cacao powder before. Maybe someone else will weigh in!
Mandy B. January 28, 2018
Made it. It was dead easy and beyond delicious. My son who claims to hate nuts begged me to make it again. And the skillet gives it a rustic/chic/impress guests look.
tien January 22, 2018
Can i use coconut flour instead? & how much do you think i should use?
EmilyC January 22, 2018
Hi Tien -- I'm not sure, but I know that coconut flour cannot be substituted for wheat flours without making changes to the recipe. Here's an article that may help:

If you figure out how to alter the recipe to make coconut flour work, please let us know!
ST January 22, 2018
Has anyone tried making without sugar? I've been trying to cut out and have use date pastes with some success. Curious is anyone has tried this recipe without sugar.
JessieV January 22, 2018
we used almost a half cup of stevia (a natural, plant sweetener, not sugar) and 1/4 c brown sugar. i think that the date paste would be delicious but might affect the texture?
ST January 23, 2018
Thanks! I'll let you know if I try the date paste & how it turns out :-)
mainesoul January 22, 2018
Made it this morning and it disappeared very quickly. I expect to make it often just the way it is written.
EmilyC January 22, 2018
So happy to hear this! It disappears very quickly in my house, too. Thanks for your note!
JessieV January 21, 2018
we've been using almond flour in our baked goods with great success, and this looks like a perfect thing to try with it! THANK YOU!
EmilyC January 22, 2018
Please report back with results! : )
JessieV January 22, 2018
Emily - it is wonderful! I'd maybe add 2 T more almond flour next time. Also due to our daughter's dietary requirements, we used half stevia and half brown sugar. However, there is NONE LEFT - we're SO happy with this recipe and how we could adapt it! THANK YOU!
EmilyC January 22, 2018
Excellent -- thanks so much for your feedback and notes!
Nancy January 21, 2018
can you recommend a excellent unsweetened cocoa powder?
EmilyC January 21, 2018
I love Penzey’s brand! I’ve also used Hershey’s Special Dark, which is also good.
Susan F. January 21, 2018
I just took this out of the oven 1/2 hr ago. I could not wait to cut into it. So good! I had my doubts baking with olive oil. It is perfect. Made it in my cast iron pan. I think it might be 12” so it only took 22 mins.
EmilyC January 22, 2018
Wonderful! Someone else asked about a 12" pan so this is good to know!
Marci January 21, 2018
1/2 C unsweetened cocoa - Is this Cocoa powder?
EmilyC January 21, 2018
Holly N. January 21, 2018
wonder how it would work with gluten free flour?
Stacey B. January 21, 2018
Could you use coconut oil in place of the olive oil?
EmilyC January 21, 2018
It’s definitely worth a shot!
Sharifa A. January 21, 2018
THIS is the absolute very first time I've EVER seen a measurement for a cup of chocolate that was so exact: "1 cup (113g) coarsely chopped dark chocolate (equals a 4-ounce bar), or an equal amount of dark chocolate chips" Thank you for this explanation! (I probably need to start weighing amounts when I bake, instead of just measuring!)
EmilyC January 21, 2018
Ha, yes, I get frustrated when a recipe calls for a cup or two of chopped chocolate, and I don't know how many bars to buy! So that's why I added this detail! : )
Pisanella January 21, 2018
Mmm. My local supermarket usually sells big bags of “overripe “ bananas for mere pennies. I always freeze them for smoothies, but this recipe has lured me from smoothies to cake! Well, it is January!
EmilyC January 21, 2018
I like your thinking! : )