The base of the banana loaf was from one of my grandma’s favorite cookbooks. She had given the recipe her top-notch four “x” rating and it has been our go-to recipe ever since we first made it. We added a bunch of fresh orange zest, finely grated with a microplane zester, and then whisked in some complimentary spices to the flour. Add a bit of orange bitters for a special pizazz and some chocolate chips because, like bacon, they tend to make just about everything better. The end result was extraordinarily delicious.

Orange Chocolate Pound Cake on a baking sheet

Lately we have been gardening fools, geeked out over little projects and garden clean-up days. Our souls feeling rejuvenated as the garden get cleaned up and prepare for Winter citrus to explode in the garden.  We’ll photograph with a client in our studio from 7 until 4 and then come home and stretch out every last ounce of daylight in the garden with the birds, bugs and plants. Sometimes working even longer with the help of our headlamps. Our hands have gotten sore and blistered. Muscles have ached a bit. But it is all worth it.

Orange Spiced Chocolate Banana Bread on a baking sheet

Video Orange Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Recipe

Baskets of fresh citrus fruit on

Garden Oranges for Banana Bread

Yes, it is a beautiful time in Southern California and the rock stars of the show are the citrus. This is the triple-play time of year for so many of our citrus. Much of the fruit is getting close or perfectly ripe. The branches are sending out a ton of new growth. And the flowers are going absolutely crazy, filling the air with their sweetness and the lacing the ground with their fallen petals.

Back in the kitchen, not wanting to waste a speck of the citrus glory, we’ll often zest the oranges before juicing them. There is so much goodness in the rinds. And when we had a load of leftover “hero” bananas after shooting nearly 60 banana recipes for a client, we came up with this gem of a loaf. An orange-spiced chocolate chip banana bread.

Tips for making Chocolate Banana Bread Recipe

  • Bananas: Start with really ripe bananas. They give a better sweetness and moistness to the banana bread over semi-ripe banana. If you need to expedite ripening the bananas, put them in a paper bag for a day or two.
  • Orange: The fresher the oranges, the better the zest will be. The oils in citrus zest start to dry out after being picked, so if you can get your hands on some freshly picked oranges, the zest will be amazing!
  • Orange bitters give the loaf a extra little kick of flavor. Use it if you have them, but don’t worry if you don’t have any orange bitters. The banana bread is still excellent without the orange bitters.
  • Chocolate: Use chocolate chips, chunks, or whatever you like. We prefer a nice dark chocolate chip. Or leave out the chocolate completely you prefer.
  • Butter: Use salted butter or unsalted butter, whichever you have on hand. If using unsalted butter, add a touch more salt to the recipe.
  • Salt: If using table salt instead of kosher salt, reduce the salt amount slightly.
  • Make sure the butter and sugar are well creamed together enough. It doesn’t happen often to us when we use a stand mixer, but will sometime when using a hand mixer. The batter won’t be aerated enough, making it too dense and not allowing it to bake all the way through the center.
  • If it is the first time baking the banana bread in a particular oven, check the doneness of the loaf after 45 minutes. Poke it with a toothpick and see if it comes out clean (unless you hit a big chocolate bit, in which case try a different spot).
  • Lining the loaf pan with parchment will make taking the finished loaf out of the pan so much easier. We highly recommend using it if you have some. It doesn’t even need to line the whole pan, just a wide strip about the length of the pan and going up two sides is perfect. Make sure to leave it high enough to grab onto after the loaf bakes.
Orange Chocolate Pound Cake Recipe @whiteonrice

Orange-Spiced Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

For best results use really ripe bananas. As in, too ripe to eat but not yet funky enough to throw out. They'll make the loaf more moist and sweet compared to a loaf made with bananas which are just "eating" ripe. 
The orange bitters in the recipe give the loaf a little extra pop of flavor, but if you don't happen to have any in the house, the recipe is still great without it. If you happen to have fresh tangerines, their zest is an amazing substitute for the orange zest in this recipe.
Makes one 4.5 x 8.5-inch loaf.
4.95 from 18 votes


  • 1 1/4 cups (160 g) All-purpose Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) freshly grated Nutmeg
  • 1 cup (200 g) Sugar
  • 1/2 cup (114 g) Butter , (1 stick) softened
  • 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) fresh Orange Zest finely zested (@ 2 large oranges worth)
  • 3 very ripe Bananas or 2 large ripe bananas (about 1 1/2 cups when mashed)
  • 2 Eggs , beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) Orange Bitters optional
  • 1 cup (180 g) Chocolate Chips or chunks



  • Preheat oven to 350ºF/175°C. Lightly grease or spray with cooking spray a 4.5"x8.5" loaf pan. For easier removal of the loaf, line the bottom of the loaf pan with parchment paper and then lightly grease or spray the parchment.
    Loaf pan lined with parchment
  • Whisk or sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg until well blended. Set aside.
    Whisked flour and spices in bowl
  • In a large bowl or mixer, cream together sugar, butter and orange zest until light and fluffy (make sure they are well creamed together – if not fluffy enough, the center may sink after the loaf is baked.)
    Butter, sugar, and orange zest creamed together
  • Add bananas and mix together until bananas are mashed and well blended into the butter mixture. Beat in eggs and orange bitters (if using) until combined.
    Bananas and eggs creamed into the butter mix
  • Stir flour mixture into banana mixture until just combined. Be careful not to over mix. Stir in the chocolate chips.
    Batter mixed together
  • Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan.
    Batter in loaf pan
  • Bake for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean (chocolate on the toothpick doesn't count).
    The house should be filled with the scent of fresh banana bread.
  • Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing the loaf from the pan. Loosen the edges, then pop loose the bottom. 


Cooking Tip: If you find the center isn’t cooking through all the way and sinks after removing it from the oven, it is usually caused by one or two things. 
  • The butter and sugar wasn’t creamed together well enough. It doesn’t happen often to us when we use a stand mixer, but sometimes when using a hand mixer, the butter and sugar aren’t creamed together enough. The batter then won’t be aerated enough, making it too dense and not allowing it to bake all the way through the center. 
  • Your oven it too hot. Especially older ovens will fall out of calibration. Use an oven temperature gauge to see if your oven is baking at the correct temperature. 


Nutrition Information per Serving

Calories: 363kcal, Carbohydrates: 55g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 60mg, Sodium: 253mg, Potassium: 198mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 37g, Vitamin A: 402IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 35mg, Iron: 1mg

Can you freeze leftover orange banana bread?

These definitely freezer great. Just wrap them in plastic wrap very tightly after they have cooled. We will always make these in smaller loaves, then freeze them. When ever we want some orange banana bread, we’ll thaw a small loaf. It’s perfect for the two of us. Or you can cook one loaf then cut it in half or thirds and freeze in smaller portions.

Other types of citrus to replace orange zest

A reader used mandarins and it gave great flavor. So mandarin zest is a great alternative to using orange zest. What a perfect mandarin banana bread to share and devour!