Caramel Swirl Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

The best banana bread recipe studded with chocolate chips and a gooey sweet swirl of easy homemade caramel sauce inside.

Caramel Swirl Chocolate Chip Banana Bread by sallysbakingaddiction.com

Besides peanut butter, there is quite nothing that pairs with chocolate better than caramel. Sticky sweet caramel and luscious chocolate join forces in this incredibly moist, sweet, dense loaf. I created this bread for the sole purpose of using my near-death bananas.

When it comes to the bananas used in banana bread, I like to say the browner the better. Almost too brown/black to eat. Bananas that make you step back and question, “are these really ok to eat?” The answer is: yes, they are. Mushy and thick and practically rotten bananas are the secret to an unbeatable moist, dense, and sweet banana bread.

A good banana bread recipe is priceless, but you’ve come to the right place.

I typically use the same base recipe for my banana breads. The result is always a true banana bread taste, with an incredible soft, “oh-my-god-it’s-melting-in-my-mouth” texture. And today we’ve got a river of caramel flowing through it and studs of melty chocolate chips.

Caramel Swirl Chocolate Chip Banana Bread by sallysbakingaddiction.com

Making your new favorite banana bread is SO simple. I mean, you’re going to think you did something wrong by the time you pop it into the oven. But no, you didn’t. Simple, straight forward, and approachable recipes are the bread (no pun intended!) and butter of my website.

The batter only takes 5 minutes to throw together. To start, you’ll need flour, baking soda, salt, and ground cinnamon. Always cinnamon. I can never get enough of it. The flour I use is white-whole-wheat. All-purpose flour may be substituted, but the white-whole-wheat makes me feel healthy eating this. 😉

For the wet ingredients: only 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 stick of butter, eggs, 3 mashed very ripe bananas, yogurt, and vanilla extract. I love how this recipe does not call for an obscene amount of sugar and butter. The super ripe bananas provide natural sweetness and the presence of yogurt replaces the need for more butter. I used 0% vanilla Chobani as the yogurt, but any plain or vanilla yogurt will do here.

Caramel Swirl Chocolate Chip Banana Bread-4

Gently mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. I never use an electric mixer to mix the two together. Always a whisk or rubber spatula. While you’ll need a mixer to cream the butter, put that darn thing away in the next step.

For mixing the wet and dry ingredients, I like to say less is more. Mix the two together *as little as possible,* just enough to get all of the flour pockets out. Overmixing will give you tough, rubbery banana bread. Eww… I think I’ll pass on that.

And finally, gently mix in the chocolate chips. I used Nestle dark chocolate morsels because they are my weakness, but milk chocolate or semi-sweet will be just fine.

Oh! The caramel. Let’s not forget about that…

Caramel Dipped Pretzels

It’s practically the same caramel recipe I used in my Loaded Caramel Dipped Pretzels. I say practically because I used more heavy cream today than before – I wanted a thinner caramel sauce for the banana bread’s center. Also, please note that the photo you see above from my pretzel post is more than you’ll make in the recipe I post below. 😉

Ok, are you ready for how easy this homemade caramel sauce is? It’s easier than making the banana bread batter! Get out a saucepan, heat some soft caramel candies and heavy cream over medium-low heat, and stir it around until the caramels are melted. That’s it. You’re done. Now it’s time to add the caramel to the batter.

Pour half of your banana bread batter into your loaf pan. Layer it with the easy homemade caramel sauce. Top with the remaining batter. Grab a knife and swirl the caramel sauce around. Sprinkle with a few more chocolate chips to complete the outfit:

Caramel Swirl Chocolate Chip Banana Bread by sallysbakingaddiction.com

The bread takes anywhere from 45-55 minutes. I covered the loaf with aluminum foil about halfway through the baking process to avoid the top from browning too much. Some of the caramel will bubble up the edges and in the corners. You’ll know the banana bread is done in the oven when you insert a toothpick in the middle and it comes out clean (with maybe some caramel on it). 😉

Besides seeing a few spots of caramel sauce on the top of the bread, unsuspecting bread taste-testers will be pleasantly surprised to find a melty, gooey river of caramel sauce inside.

Hidden caramel swirls? What a treat!

Caramel Swirl Chocolate Chip Banana Bread by sallysbakingaddiction.com

Perhaps a little too decadent for breakfast but let me tell ya… I didn’t mind waking up to a piece of this beauty last weekend. Just wait until you taste the caramelized edges where the caramel bubbled up the edges during bake time. Whoa. Heaven.

May I even suggest a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top? You didn’t hear that from me.

Caramel Swirl Chocolate Chip Banana Bread by sallysbakingaddiction.com

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Caramel Swirl Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 1 loaf
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

The best banana bread recipe studded with chocolate chips and a gooey sweet swirl of easy homemade caramel sauce inside.


Ingredients

Bread

  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 and 1/2 cups mashed very ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
  • 1/3 cup plain or vanilla yogurt (I used vanilla Greek yogurt)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips*

Easy Caramel Sauce

  • 25 soft caramel candies, unwrapped
  • 3 Tablespoons heavy cream

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Make the bread: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside. In a separate large bowl, beat the brown sugar and butter with a stand or handheld mixer on medium speed until well blended – about 1 minute. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides as needed. With a spoon, whisk, or spatula, stir in the mashed banana, yogurt, and vanilla. Slowly add in the dry ingredients. Do NOT overmix. Batter will be thick. Fold in the chocolate chips, leaving a few aside to sprinkle on top of the bread.
  3. Make the caramel sauce: In a medium saucepan, stir caramels and heavy cream over medium-low heat just until caramels are melted. Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 1 minute.
  4. Spoon half of the banana bread batter into prepared loaf pan. Drop spoonfuls of caramel sauce on top. Cover with the remaining batter. With a knife, swirl the batter around allowing some of the caramel to come up to the top. If caramel sticks to the knife, just scrape it off and put back on top the batter if desired. Sprinkle the top with the few chocolate chips that you set aside.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes uncovered. Remove from oven and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for an additional 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes in the pan on a wire rack. Remove from pan by running a sharp knife around the sides to get any caramel off. Cool completely on the wire rack. Bread stays fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for 7 days.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: This banana bread, like most, tastes best the next day after the flavors have melded together. You’ll love it!
  2. Chocolate Chips: You can also use milk chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Keywords: caramel banana bread

126 Comments

  1. Love that you used yogurt in this! I know what my 3 rotting bananas on my counter are going to be used in 🙂

  2. I’m happy I’m not the only one who uses (almost) rotten bananas! I actually have to cut away the ends because they’re moldy. Maybe that’s not advisable but it’s how I roll. 🙂

    And caramel?! In banana bread? Whaaat. It looks perfect! So gooey and naughty. 😉

    1. Erin, I rot the bananas forever! That’s how I roll too. =) They are so soft and the peel just falls off. I love baking banana bread with VERY spotty brown bananas!

  3. I just know I will have to make few loaves because there is no way one will be enough! Love the caramel swirl! We are stuck in the house for few days due to the Winter storm and there will be lots of baking going on. Adding this bread to the list 🙂

  4. Love the caramel swirl and honestly so thrilled to not see a PB-Banana recipe. It’s basically torture when those come about since we can’t have it in the house anymore. Chocolate and caramel ftw 🙂

  5. Love this banana bread Sally! Great minds think alike as I’ve got banana nutella cupcakes to post tomorrow 🙂 I had one banana left, so decided to put it in the freezer to try making a peanut butter banana smoothie one day this week 🙂 My favourite banana bread recipe uses yoghurt as well, love the texture it gives!

    1. Joy, that is TOO funny! I love banana and nutella together!! And the pb banana smoothie sounds incredible. I make those sometimes too!

  6. Banana bread is my favorite quick bread! I buy bananas just to rot them too, ha ha.

    My family loves my go-to recipe and are not too happy when I try to make a new version. Chocolate chips? Yay for me, they say no. Nuts? Sure I say, they say no. Naysayers be damned, I bet they couldn’t resist caramel in their banana bread. (I still have to make your raspberry version, raspberries are my most favorite berry in the world! And if the family doesn’t like it then more for me, mwahaha!!)

    1. Chocolate chips and nuts sound spectacular. In fact, I love a good banana nut bread Anna! Oh the raspberry version – words can’t even describe how much I love that one. I think it’s my all time favorite EVER! And more for you indeed =)

  7. Oh my gosh, I love the caramel swirl in the middle! There is nothing better than taking a bite into some ooey gooey caramel! I also swear by any bread that has chocolate chips in it, from banana to zucchini!

  8. Oh wow, this banana bread is one of a kind – special, seriously, it’s making me drool so badly. Chocolate, CARAMEL and banana?! Wow.

  9. Sally, this looks HEAVENLY! Looks like I need to head out to the store and buy some bananas right.this.second.

  10. For “normal” banana nut bread I always stick with Martha Stewart’s recipe. It is pretty similar to your base, I think. For exciting varieties, I like your raspberry and dark chocolate chip banana bread and your banana muffins with cinnamon chocolate chip streusel. Joy the Baker’s cookbook has a banana bread with bourbon in it, pretty great! I also love Sunny Anderson’s Sunny Morning Muffins, and I think you would too! They have strawberries, blueberries, one banana, walnuts, lemon zest, cinnamon and nutmeg. They’re great!!

    1. Oh my goodness Lizzie, I need to try a bourbon banana bread!! Wow. That sounds incredible. And those sunny morning muffins too. So many berries and flavors. I need to get my hands on that recipe!

  11. I too buy bananas for the sole purpose of seeing them turn brown so I can use them in recipes. And a river of caramel running through the center of the bread is a treat indeed. I didn’t know you could make banana bread look so decadent and scrumptious, but you definitely did with that caramel. I’m half surprised it is not a river of peanut butter, but I’m sure you are already are making up that recipe as I type this. 🙂

    1. Elaine… oh my gosh… a river of peanut butter!!!! I’m not already making that but I certainly wish I was right now!! I need to buy more bananas. 😉 Love your thinking girl!

  12. Oh dear I really should stop reading your blog…you give too many amazing ideas! This sounds positively DELIGHTFUL.

  13. Oh Sally, thanks for this great recipe! After an awful, tiring, busy-as-heck day, I didn’t think I’d have the time to relax and check my blogroll 😉 but I’m so glad I did! This is gorgeous and sounds so delicious. Bananas are the only fruit I don’t like…but I LOVE banana bread! Caramel makes everything better too. I’m thinking of a butterscotch sauce also…yum. 😀

    1. Hey Caley! So sorry you had such a bad day! Keep your chin up, maybe tomorrow will be brighter for ya. And WHOA butterscotch sauce!!! Now why didn’t I ever think of that?!

  14. No I didn’t know it was Natl B.B. Day! Wow, that’s awesome b/c I have like 10 recipes for it. Lol

    Your bread is gorgeous. That swirl of caramel…oh boy. It’s like a sweet, brown river running through. Better you than me, unwrapping all those caramels. I once made a 30 caramel recipe and wanted to quit before I started. lol The last thing I made like that was the Little Debbie Star Crunch bars and smartened up and used those caramel bits for the first time.

    Anyway, the barely melted choc chips, the caramel river, the nearly rotten 🙂 bananas…yes, this is a keeper!

    1. I knew you would LOVE this Averie!! I thought of you, especially with all that caramel! Oh and you need to celebrate banana bread day. I mean you’re like the queen of it!

  15. I have to laugh about the ripe bananas! I have them in my cupboard and my Husband always want to throw them out. I tell him no, I’m making banana bread. His face is always priceless because he grosses out at the thought of a terribly over ripe banana. You are sooooooo right, it is perfect to use in banana bread. Speaking of banana bread, yours looks amazing! I love the caramel in it! So perfect!!! Love the recipe!!

    1. lol I think I creep out anyone who comes to my apartment with how brown the bananas are. and they are SO fragrant! I love making banana bread. 🙂 Thanks Jennifer!

  16. As delicious as this looks, I’m so glad I don’t like banana bread! Give me a day to breathe;). Just to let you know, I just made your monster cookies, chocolate chip cookies, blueberry muffins, AND the peanut butter saltine toffee for our ‘Fat Friday’ at work tomorrow!

    1. yum! so many of my favorites. I hope you guys enjoy Fat Friday! I need to incorporate something like that. Another excuse to bake!

  17. Thanks Colleen! Yes, having a “master” recipe to doll up in every which way is like finding gold! Especially with cookies 😉

  18. I have an idea! You could send me a few slices of this to celebrate on Saturday 😉 Btw, I made your giant death by chocolate cookie–in loooooove!

  19. Okay, we need to talk about that piece of banana bread in the front of most of the pictures. More specifically, that little spot where there is no bread, but a small hole filled entirely with caramel. I would eat all around the outside of this piece so I could save that little spot for last. Maybe it makes me a freak, but I am obsessed with that little caramel pocket!

  20. Yummm. I made some banana chocolate chip muffins the other day that I’ll be blogging about soon, but I wish I’d thought to put caramel in them! That sounds SO good. I’ll have to try this!

  21. Guilty as charged I only buy bananas to see them rot to a ugly brown/black color as well. A non baker would look at them and be disgusted at the thought of using them! Not us!

    I absolutely love caramel and bananas. I have done a salted caramel banana bread but have not added chocolate chips too it, yet! Ha! I love banana bread for breakfast, mid morning snack, lunch, afternoon pick me up, dinner and midnight snack! LOL Banana bread is amazing at a chocolate fondue night as well, banana bread dipped in melted chocolate is SOOO good!

    1. Salted caramel banana bread sounds amazing Elizabeth! I feel like banana bread is acceptable any time of day. This one is more decadent than most, but that didn’t stop me. =)

  22. i first have to say i am so happy to see you used caramel candies…i’ve tried making homemade carmel a few times and wahwah…failure at its finest…and i have a bag of caramels that need using up that i’ve had since the fall. now i so not patiently wait for some of my bananas to get nice and brown and soft then this banana bread will be smelling up kitchen wonderfully…we love all varieties of banana bread. can’t wait to try!

    1. Caramel candies make an impeccable caramel sauce that is so easy to work with. And not to mention… it’s so easy to make! I love all banana bread varieties too =)

  23. I love that you keep track of the food holidays, I can never keep up with them! Banana bread was on my brain today and when I saw you posted this recipe, I went straight to my kitchen to make it. Holly Crap! It’s amazing. The caramel swirl is such a sweet surprise. I’ll be shocked if it last till morning.

    1. You made it already! That’s fantastic Nicole, thank you so much for letting me know! I’m glad you love it. It’s one of my favorite banana bread recipes yet.

  24. Whenever I have bananas and I start thinking “hmmm…maybe I can’t use it anymore” is when I get the best banana bread. I have to remind myself whenever in doubt. My favorite banana bread recipe is one from Molly over at Orangette. I found it in her book and it also uses yogurt and is just divine with chocoalte chips- and the riper the bananas, the more sublime it turns out. Yours looks like an amazing version!

    1. If you think a banana is too dark to eat, then yes… when in doubt… make banana bread! That’s what I always do. 🙂 Thank you Monica!

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