This soft and delicious vegan chocolate chip banana bread is a perfectly sweetened dessert or snack. It’s a dairy free and eggless classic that’s easy to make and even easier to enjoy!
With loads of banana flavor and a tender texture, this loaf won’t last long. Scale-up the recipe and make a double-batch; you’ll thank me later!
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Is Banana Bread Vegan?
Unless it’s specifically labeled as vegan, most banana bread recipes (or store-bought/ restaurant options) are not vegan. These recipes typically include eggs and dairy.
However, it’s incredibly simple to replace the eggs and dairy in banana loaf with vegan alternatives. Banana itself is an ideal egg replacement in some baking recipes. As for dairy, simply make a quick and easy vegan buttermilk alternative using any plant-based milk you enjoy.
To make a chocolate chip banana bread, you’ll also need vegan chocolate chips. These shouldn’t be too hard to find if you look for semi-sweet or dark chocolate. Always read the ingredients as not all semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips are vegan.
New vegan chocolate alternatives come out all the time; you may even find a vegan “milk” chocolate!
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Ingredients
The ingredient list for this banana bread is simple and uses pantry items you’ll already have on hand!
- Plant-based milk: Some plant-based milk helps create a buttermilk alternative for this recipe. I use unsweetened soy milk which makes for the richest, thickest buttermilk; but any type of plant-based milk should work just fine.
- Apple cider vinegar: Adding vinegar to plant-based milk creates a quick and easy vegan buttermilk alternative. Most banana bread recipes use buttermilk or sour cream for a rich texture and some tang to balance out the sweetness. White vinegar can work as well.
- Banana: Obviously you’ll need some banana for this recipe! It’s best to use overripe bananas (ones that have lots of brown spots). Your bananas can be fresh or frozen, but if using frozen, make sure to thaw them completely before using. I typically thaw bananas in a microwave.
- Brown sugar: Added brown sugar creates a delicious banana loaf. I don’t find this recipe overly sweet compared to some other banana breads, but you’ll certainly want to use some sugar.
- Vegetable oil: Oil adds moisture needed to create a soft and tender loaf. Any type of neutral-flavored oil should work.
- Vanilla extract: Add flavor with some vanilla extract; an essential for almost all baking recipes!
- Whole wheat and all-purpose flour: I use half whole wheat, half all-purpose flour for this recipe. Whole wheat flour adds a slight nutty flavor and creates a denser loaf; one that’s still soft and tender, just not super fluffy. You can use 100% all-purpose flour if you want an ultra-soft and super fluffy loaf. Don’t use exclusively whole wheat flour as your loaf will become very dense and chewy.
- Baking powder and baking soda: These ingredients help the loaf rise and become fluffier.
- Cinnamon: This is optional, but I like ground cinnamon in my banana bread!
- Chocolate chips: Any type of vegan chocolate chips can work for this recipe. I typically use semi-sweet chocolate because it’s easiest for me to find.
How to Make Vegan Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
This recipe is simple to make and requires very little work. Just remember to not over-mix the batter or you may end up with a tough and chewy loaf.
Step 1: Mix Wet Ingredients
The first step is to prepare a vegan buttermilk alternative by whisking together plant-based milk with vinegar in a large mixing bowl. Buttermilk is a great way to create a rich loaf, and the tang from vinegar helps balance out sweetness from your bananas.
In a separate bowl, mash your bananas. I use a fork but a potato masher also works well. If you use frozen bananas, make sure they’re completely thawed and no longer cold before using.
With your bananas mashed, measure 1 cup (265 g) and add this to the large mixing bowl with buttermilk in it.
Then, add the remaining wet ingredients: brown sugar, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Whisk until everything is evenly combined.
Step 2: Stir in Dry Ingredients
Most baking recipes require you to mix dry ingredients separately before being adding them to liquid ingredients. While you can do this, I’ve yet to have an issue adding the dry ingredients directly into the wet mixture. I do this to prevent creating more dirty dishes.
Add the whole wheat and all-purpose flour, baking powder and soda, a pinch of salt and cinnamon. Stir this mixture until it’s mostly combined, then add the chocolate chips.
Stir again until the chocolate chips are evenly mixed through the batter and no clumps of dry ingredients are visible. At this point, stop stirring (don’t over-mix the batter).
Step 3: Bake
Grease a loaf pan using some vegan butter, margarine or a non-stick cooking spray. Scoop your banana bread batter into the loaf pan then spread into an even layer. It’s a thick batter so be sure to spread it flat.
Bake in an oven preheated to 350 °F for 40 minutes. When done, the top should be a dark golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.
Once out of your oven, let cool in the pan for a few minutes before carefully transferring to a wire cooling rack.
Cool your banana loaf completely before storing in an airtight container.
Vegan Banana Loaf Variations
While I’m a big fan of a classic banana bread, there’s lots of ways to make this recipe your own. In addition to (or instead of) chocolate chips, walnuts are a delicious addition.
Any nut or large seed, like pumpkin seeds, are delicious mixed into the loaf or sprinkled on top before baking.
You could also add up to ⅓ cup of dried fruit to the mix. Raisins, cranberry and coconut would be tasty additions.
Adding a crumble or streusel topping before baking is another tasty variation worth trying.
You can also get creative with how you serve the bread. I spread some vegan butter onto a slice, but peanut butter is a perfect pairing with chocolate and banana.
If you want a sweeter dessert, why not glaze or add icing to the loaf?! Vanilla or chocolate buttercream (vegan of course) would be great additions. Or go all-out and drizzle with a vegan chocolate ganache.
How to Refrigerate and Freeze Banana Bread
Let the banana bread cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container. You can store this loaf on your countertop for up to 2 days or refrigerate for up to a week.
You can also freeze this banana bread in a freezer-safe bag or container for up to 4 months. Once frozen, thaw in your fridge overnight or use a microwave to defrost pieces as needed.
This recipe is delicious served warm. I love microwaving a slice for 5-10 seconds before eating to melt the chocolate chips again. Add some vegan butter to your slice for a truly decadent treat!
If you make this recipe, please rate and comment below to help others benefit from your experience!
Vegan Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
- 2 Mixing bowls (medium and large)
- Mixing spoon (large)
- ¼ cup plant-based milk
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup mashed banana (about 3 medium or 2 large) (265 g)
- ½ cup brown sugar , lightly packed (80 g)
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup whole wheat flour (95 g)
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour (95 g)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¾ cup chocolate chips (155 g)
Step 1: Mix Wet Ingredients
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk plant-based milk and apple cider vinegar. Set aside.¼ cup plant-based milk, 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- In a separate, medium-sized bowl, mash bananas using a fork or potato masher. Once mashed, measure the amount you'll need.1 cup mashed banana
- Add your mashed banana to the buttermilk bowl along with the brown sugar, vegetable oil and vanilla extract.½ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Whisk until well combined.
Step 2: Stir in Dry Ingredients
- Add whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon to the wet ingredients.¾ cup whole wheat flour, ¾ cup all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda, 1 pinch salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Stir until mostly combined, then add chocolate chips.¾ cup chocolate chips
- Continue stirring until the mixture is just-mixed; meaning there are no obvious clumps of dry or wet ingredients in the bowl. At this point, stop mixing as this batter can be over-mixed.
Step 3: Bake
- Grease a loaf pan with vegan butter or margarine (or a non-stick cooking spray).
- Add your thick banana batter to the loaf pan, then spread it into an even layer.
- Bake in an oven preheated to 350 °F for 40 minutes. The loaf should be a dark golden brown when done and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf should come out clean.
- Let the loaf cool for a few minutes before carefully removing from its pan and onto a wire cooling rack.
- Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
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About Nicole Stevens
Nicole is a vegan Registered Dietitian (RD) and founder of Lettuce Veg Out.
She helps people thrive on a vegan diet with balanced recipes and easy-to-understand nutrition science.