20 Ways To Kick Banana Bread Up A Notch

20 Ways To Kick Banana Bread Up A Notch

Everyone and their mom knows how to make good banana bread—not everyone knows how to make theirs stand out, though! From fresh blueberries to experimenting with different flours and extracts, here are 20 ways to take your loaf to the next level. 

1. Nuts

Nuts are a pretty common staple in today’s banana bread, but this reminder goes out to anyone who’s never tried them before! Crushed or candied nuts make terrific additions to even the simplest recipes, and good places to start are almonds, walnuts, or pecans. 

Anfal-Shamsudeen-1K2S5-Ivdnc-UnsplashPhoto by Anfal Shamsudeen on Unsplash

2. Chopped Pineapple

Tropical twists on banana bread are all the rave—and there’s no place like pineapple to start. Crushed pineapple works wonders, but make sure you drain the added juices to avoid any extra flour. 

Nvr-Endng-Anupam-1Co3Sclodia-UnsplashPhoto by Nvr Endng Anupam on Unsplash

3. Various Spices

Nutmeg and cinnamon are well-known additions (and for good reason!), however, there’s no reason you can’t branch out further with things like allspice or cardamom. Warm spices pair well with your favorite recipe, so don’t be afraid to explore.

Glen-Carrie-Qvtongzrr7O-UnsplashPhoto by Glen Carrie on Unsplash

4. Cookie Butter

Cookie butter is pretty much exactly what it sounds like, and it makes for one heck of a banana bread addition. Essentially spreadable cookie dough, this creamy classic tastes exactly like a gingersnap cookie and transforms bread into something truly magical. 

No-Revisions-Yreyliw5Pdc-UnsplashPhoto by No Revisions on Unsplash


5. Applesauce

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a healthier alternative, swap out traditional ingredients for applesauce and whole wheat flour instead. Caught without applesauce? Greek yogurt works great, too! Even better, you won’t lose the flavor. 

Jeff-Siepman-Msspsnkv1Ym-UnsplashPhoto by Jeff Siepman on Unsplash

6. Chocolate Chips

Chocolate chips are a banana bread must. You don’t need more than a cup or so—with an extra handful to sprinkle on top—and if chocolate chips aren’t your thing, white chips are just around the corner. 

Priscilla-Du-Preez-Nl113Dhieps-UnsplashPhoto by Priscilla Du Preez 🇨🇦 on Unsplash

7. Cranberries

Cranberry lovers already know about the joys of this tart ingredient, but those unfamiliar are in for a truly delicious extra. Toss in 1 and 1/2 cups of fresh cranberries and watch your banana bread recipe thrive. 

Rasa-Kasparaviciene-0Tfxokhft14-UnsplashPhoto by Rasa Kasparaviciene on Unsplash

8. Different Flours

The world is so much bigger than all-purpose or whole wheat flour—cake, sweet rice, almond, and even banana flour are just a few available options to make that recipe your own. The good news is that banana bread is easy to make, so you can experiment with various flours to discover which one you like best.

Immo-Wegmann-8Cyl4Wgzsq4-UnsplashPhoto by Immo Wegmann on Unsplash

9. Citrus Zest

Who said you couldn’t add a little citrus to your bread? Lemon or orange zest gives this classic dessert the kick it needs, and there are several ways to incorporate the taste. Citrus juice or even icing provides the tangy twist you’re looking for.

Glen-Carrie-L-W1Xsbubsu-UnsplashPhoto by Glen Carrie on Unsplash

10. Coconut

Pineapple may not be your thing, but coconut is another good way to bring tropical flavors to that banana bread slice. One of the best things about it, too, is its versatility, allowing you to play with exactly how much you add—you can start with coconut flour, shredded coconut, or coconut oil. 

Louis-Hansel-Wumxebwve64-UnsplashPhoto by Louis Hansel on Unsplash


11. Rum 

For an adult spin on things, toss in a dash of spiced rum. About a 1/4 cup is all it takes to get those cheeks flushed, but you’re left with a moist loaf packed with flavor. You can also make a delicious rum glaze!

Evangelina-Silina-Dcrpmris9Yc-UnsplashPhoto by Evangelina Silina on Unsplash

12. Cocoa Powder

Chocolate chips are great, but sometimes we want a lot of chocolate, and that’s where cocoa powder comes in. Unsweetened cocoa is best to ensure you’re not smacked in the face with sugar, and you’ll only need a 1/4 cup or so.

Indivar-Kaushik-Pehnl7Yfmfy-UnsplashPhoto by Indivar Kaushik on Unsplash

13. Cream Cheese

A creamy, dreamy banana bread loaf is only possible with a healthy serving of cream cheese. Pour half the batter into a pan and add dollops throughout for a decadent filling people won’t get enough of.

Whitney-Wright-Qkxelxih5T8-UnsplashPhoto by Whitney Wright on Unsplash

14. Seeds

Sunflower and poppy seeds are two of our favorite banana bread additions! Neither overpowers the loaf, sunflower seeds add a great crunch, and poppy seeds bring an unparalleled je ne sais quoi to the recipe. 

Cody-Chan-C0E3Rpldkxg-UnsplashPhoto by Cody Chan on Unsplash

15. Dates

Not everyone is on board with dates, but you might feel better about them once they make an appearance in your bread. Not only do they add a natural sweetness, but dates also make a healthier alternative.

Teo-Do-Rio-Elnlinyc588-UnsplashPhoto by Teo Do Rio on Unsplash

16. Cinnamon Chips

For your next load, ditch the cinnamon powder for cinnamon chips. You won’t sacrifice any flavor and there’s just something different about a slice loaded with little spiced drops of heaven. 

No-Revisions-Qwk6-Fr9P3I-UnsplashPhoto by No Revisions on Unsplash


17. Various Extracts

It seems blasphemous to turn away from vanilla extract, but we’re merely suggesting you broaden your horizons! Maple and almond pair wonderfully, too, so don’t be shy about trying new things. 

Foodie-Flavours-Osrpgxeegnu-UnsplashPhoto by Foodie Flavours on Unsplash

18. Ginger

Ginger tends to divide people and though we’re all for differences of opinion, we think the nay-sayers might change their minds with this one. Crystallized ginger kicks up banana bread in ways you can’t get anywhere else, so don’t knock it before you try it. 

Engin-Akyurt-Pj8Qdxcumts-UnsplashPhoto by engin akyurt on Unsplash

19. Brown Butter

It’s pretty standard to add butter to banana bread, but browning it beforehand is where recipes really shine. Doing so gives a kind of toasty flavor to the loaf and makes yours stand out from the rest. 

Sorin-Gheorghita-Nnrdjlahshi-UnsplashPhoto by Sorin Gheorghita on Unsplash

20. Blueberries

Let’s face it: blueberries belong in our pastries. Whether it’s muffins or cakes or even our breakfast, we can’t get enough of the little guys—and we’re not stopping now! One cup is all it takes to crank it up a notch. 

Joanna-Kosinska-4Qujjbj3Srs-UnsplashPhoto by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash