Enjoy two quick bread favorites in one with this pumpkin banana bread. Bananas and pumpkin puree combine in a tender, warmly-spiced loaf dotted with chocolate chips throughout. Everything comes together in two bowls!
When you already have a go-to banana bread recipe (naturally-sweetened banana bread) and a go-to pumpkin bread recipe (naturally-sweetened pumpkin bread), it’s only a matter of time before they combine.
Here’s pumpkin banana bread.
With a few tweaks (most notably a bump in sweetness with brown sugar and chocolate), you get the best of both worlds in a seasonally-spiced and warmly-flavored loaf.
Why This Recipe Works
- The combination of mashed banana, pumpkin puree, oil, AND maple syrup all ensures this pumpkin banana bread remains moist and tender until the last slice is eaten.
- Keeping a few simple tips in mind, you can reliably achieve a nicely-rounded quick bread loaf without worry of it sinking.
- Chocolate chips! Chocolate and banana is a beautiful pairing, but so is the less-popular pumpkin and chocolate (hello, pumpkin swirl brownies). Chocolate ties this bread together to be an ultra cozy fall treat.
- Bananas: Very overripe bananas with lots of brown spotting (or are brown entirely) are perfect for baking recipes like this pumpkin banana bread. This is because the banana starches convert to sugar as they ripen, leading to more sweetness. Two large bananas will yield approximately one cup of mashed banana.
- Pumpkin: Since we’re adding sweeteners, this recipe uses 100% pure pumpkin puree, which is not sweet at all. Take care if buying a can from the store as they look awfully similar to canned pumpkin pie mix (and are next to one another on the shelf), which is already sweetened and seasoned. That would be overkill for this recipe.
- Maple syrup: I *love* maple flavor and pumpkin together so I always go with pure maple syrup to sweeten quick breads. An equal amount of honey will also work if you prefer.
- Oil: Your preferred neutral-flavored cooking oil will likely work here, including canola, vegetable, corn, or melted coconut oil/butter (measuring it out after melting).
- Pumpkin pie spice: I’ve listed out the individual spices in the recipe card below, but do feel free to substitute in pre-made pumpkin pie spice for the amounts listed if that’s more convenient.
- Chocolate: Semisweet or dark chocolate work well with these flavors, though any kind you like is fine. Chips work or you can chop up your own chocolate for chunks.
- Add the bananas to a medium mixing bowl.
- Mash the bananas well, either by hand using a whisk or with an electric mixer. Some lumps will likely remain and that’s okay. Aim for there to be one cup of mashed banana.
- Add pumpkin puree, eggs, canola oil (or baking oil of your choice), maple syrup, brown sugar, and vanilla extract to the bowl with the mashed banana.
- Whisk well to combine all of the ingredients until they are smooth (or as smooth as possible given the mashed banana). Doing this by hand is just fine.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves evenly. Pour the combined dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients.
- With a spatula or spoon, stir the wet and dry ingredients together until just combined. Be careful not to over-mix as this can cause the gluten in the flour to overdevelop, leading to tough and not tender baked goods.
- Stir chocolate chips into the batter.
- Pour out the batter into the prepared 9″ x 5″ loaf pan and level off the top so it’s in an even layer. Optional: Press additional chocolate chips into the top surface for a “prettier” presentation.
- Bake at 325°F/163°C for 60-75 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Leave the pumpkin banana bread to cool in its loaf pan for 10 minutes, then carefully loosen the sides and transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing and serving.
- If using chocolate chips, considering very roughly chopping them before folding them into the batter. Getting them into some smaller pieces will help ensure they don’t sink to the bottom of a baked good while it bakes. <– This is a tip I always do now.
- To help your pumpkin banana bread rise well, grease the bottom and only the first inch or two up from the bottom of the sides. This allows those areas to release cleanly while the batter can get a better grip on the sides of the pan while it bakes and rise tall.
- To prevent a sunken quick bread center, don’t open the oven door during at least the first two-thirds of the bake time, ideally longer. Cool air entering the oven will disrupt the rising process and can cause the center to lag behind. Use the oven light to check on its progress (or peek through the door window with a flashlight if your oven light is out like mine is!).
- This recipe was made and tested in a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan. If using an 8″ x 4″ loaf pan, keep an eye on it as it bakes and increase the bake time as needed, as a thicker loaf may require extra time.
There are many factors that play into a sunken quick bread. Be sure you’re measuring your liquid ingredients correctly (too much can lead to a heavy batter that can’t rise), only greasing the bottom inch or two of your loaf pan, not opening the oven door while it bakes, and allowing it sufficient time to cook completely. Also make sure that your baking powder and/or baking soda aren’t expired!
Let this bread cool completely before cutting into slices and storing at room temperature. If it’s still warm when it’s stored, the heat will cause condensation to build up in its package, leading to mushiness. Line an air-tight container with a layer of paper towels, place the quick bread on top, then lay another layer of paper towels pressed against the top surface. These will absorb excess moisture that develops (change out as needed).
Let it cool fully, then wrap the loaf snugly and completely in plastic wrap. Place the wrapped bread in an air-tight bag or container, pressing out all the excess air if using a bag. Freeze for up to several months for optimum freshness.
If you’ve enjoyed this recipe, I’d love for you to leave a star rating in the recipe card and/or a comment review below!
Pumpkin Banana Bread
- 2 large overripe bananas (about 1 cup mashed)
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 large eggs
- ⅓ cup canola oil or other neutral cooking oil (see note)
- ⅓ cup pure maple syrup
- ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- ⅔ cup roughly chopped chocolate chips or chunks
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease just the bottom and first 1-2 inches up from the bottom of the sides of a 9" x 5" loaf pan and set aside.
- Add banana to a medium mixing bowl and mash well using a whisk or an electric mixer.
- Add the pumpkin, eggs, oil, maple syrup, brown sugar, and vanilla extract and whisk very well to combine, until smooth.
- In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves.
- Add the mixed dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients and stir by hand until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Pour out batter into the prepared loaf pan, leveling off the top with a spatula or spoon into an evenly layer. Lightly press a few extra chocolate chips into the surface of the bread (optional).
- Bake for 60-75 minutes, or until the center has risen and set, the edges are golden-brown, and a long, thin tester inserted into the middle of the bread comes out clean.
- Let the pumpkin banana bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then carefully loosen the edges using a paring knife or thin spatula and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing and serving.
- Resist the urge to open the oven door while this bread is cooking as this can hinder the rise process, instead using your oven light to peek through the oven door window to check on its progress.
- If the bread is at risk of over-browning before it’s done baking, loosely tent a sheet of aluminum foil over top of the loaf and continue baking until done.
- If using a slightly smaller loaf pan (such as 8 1/2″ x 4″), the taller loaf may require a bit of extra bake time.
Nutritional information is provided as an estimate. As it can vary due to many factors (brands used, quantities, etc.), we cannot guarantee its accuracy.
This recipe and blog post text has been updated in August 2021 from its initial publish date in November 2014.