It’s very nearly Ireland’s new national dish. Here are three banana bread recipes

All you have to decide is whether to go for the chocolate, pepper or peanut butter version

Vanessa Greenwood’s chocolate banana bread.

Vanessa Greenwood’s chocolate banana bread.


It’s National Banana Day, so what else would you be eating other than a freshly baked loaf of the cake that pretends it’s a bread? As its popularity hits previously unscaled heights, banana bread is rapidly challenging lamb stew and the morning fry-up for the title of Ireland’s national dish.

Here are three variations on the theme from the Irish Times recipe archive. Our baking expert Vanessa Greenwood adds chocolate to her loaf, and what’s wrong with that, doesn’t chocolate make everything better?

Lilly Higgins goes a bit off-piste with her banana bread with a topping that includes black pepper, which she says is her best ever version of this classic. And if you’re not sure about it, you’ll have plenty to taste as her recipe makes two loaves.

Donal Skehan goes the whole hog and adds peanut butter and chocolate to his banana bread recipe. “ The following recipe is extremely addictive,” he warns. “Moist banana bread with its faintly exotic flavour is delicious by itself, cut in thick, generous slices. But add chocolate and peanut butter to the mix and you are guaranteed to finish the whole loaf.”

Vanessa Greenwood’s banana bread with chocolate

Makes one


3-4 over-ripe bananas
60g soft brown sugar, plus extra for dusting banana
1 large egg
½ tsp vanilla essence
125g self raising flour, sieved
1 tsp lemon juice

Chocolate sauce

2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
20g sugar
25g water


1. Preheat your oven to 180°C fan. Line a 1lb loaf tin with parchment paper.

2. Make the chocolate sauce by combining the cocoa powder, water and sugar. Heat gently to combine, whisking out any lumps, then set aside to cool.

3. For the top of the loaf, select the least mottled banana and set aside with the skin on.

4. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric whisk to mix together the egg and sugar until thick. Stir in the vanilla essence.

5. Peel the rest of the bananas and use a fork to mash the flesh to a pulp. Add it to the egg and sugar mixture and whisk for a few seconds until fully combined.

6. In three batches, fold the sieved flour into the liquid mixture, stirring until just combined with no flour pockets remaining.

7. Peel the reserved banana and slice it in half lengthways. Roughly chop the other half and add into to the batter.

8. Spoon two thirds of the batter into the lined tin. Pour half the chocolate sauce over then cover with the remaining batter. Place the reserved banana slice cut side facing up on top of the mixture (spoon lemon juice over the cut surface of the banana along with a pinch of brown sugar to give a nice caramelised effect).

9. Bake in the preheated oven for 50-55 minutes or until risen and golden brown on top. Once baked a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean. Leave the bread in the tin to cool before slicing. Serve with any remaining chocolate sauce.

Lilly Higgins’s banana bread with a black pepper streusel topping.
Lilly Higgins’s "best-ever" banana bread

Lilly Higgins’s banana bread with black pepper streusel topping

Makes one


For the streusel
50g plain flour
40g ground almonds
40g honey
25g coconut oil

For the loaf

180g honey
250g coconut oil or butter
4 eggs
6 bananas, very ripe and mashed well
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp mixed spice
½ tsp salt
350g plain flour
Freshly ground black pepper


1. Grease and flour two 1lb loaf tins. Set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. First make the streusel by stirring all of the streusel ingredients together until it forms a smooth dough ball. Wrap the dough tightly in clingfilm and place in the fridge or freezer to firm up.

3. Cream the honey and coconut together until smooth and evenly mixed. Add the eggs one by one. Add the crushed banana and vanilla extract. Combine well.

4. Sieve the baking powder, mixed spice, salt and flour together, then add to the banana mixture. Mix until just combined. Be careful not to overmix or the bread will be tough and heavy.

5. Pour into the prepared tins or muffin cases. Crumble the cold streusel mixture over the top. Lastly sprinkle the streusel with freshly ground black pepper.

6. Bake for 55-60 minutes for the loaves or 20 minutes for the muffins. If the top of the loaves begins to brown too much, cover with a piece of foil. Leave to cool for five minutes in the tin before turning out on a rack. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Donal Skehan’s chocolate and peanut butter banana bread.
Donal Skehan’s chocolate and peanut butter banana bread.

Donal Skehan’s chocolate and peanut butter banana bread

Makes one


125g butter, plus extra for greasing
200g caster sugar
2 large free-range eggs
200g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 large ripe bananas (plus 1 extra banana split in two as garnish– optional)
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g good quality dark chocolate chips
75g smooth peanut butter, slightly warmed


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan) and grease and line a 900g loaf tin with parchment paper.

2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl with a hand-held electric mixer until light and pale.

3. Add one egg and a little flour and mix through, then repeat with the other egg, remaining flour and bicarbonate of soda until everything is mixed through and smooth.

4. Mash the bananas with the back of a fork. Add them to the bowl with the vanilla extract and chocolate chips and mix through.

5. Pour the mixture into the loaf tin and then place dollops of the peanut butter across the top. Using a skewer, swirl the peanut butter through the batter and then bake in the oven for about an hour. (If using the extra banana to garnish, press gently into the batter, ensuring it doesn’t sink to deeply.)

6. Check on it after 25 minutes. If it looks like it is browning too much, cover the top with foil and return to the oven. It is cooked when a metal skewer inserted into the centre of the loaf comes out clean.

7. Allow to cool for a few minutes in the tin and then remove and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

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