Whole Grain Marbled Banana Bread Recipe - Pamela Salzman Skip to content

Whole Grain Marbled Banana Bread Recipe

I had two years during a global pandemic to cook more at home than I ever thought possible.  Hubs perfected sourdough bread, which is crazy since he can’t cook anything other than toast and oatmeal.  Even though I am fairly confident in the kitchen, I was starting to gravitate towards my book Quicker Than Quick and other simple, but flavorful recipes. 

I didn’t think I needed another banana bread recipe since I was very happy with my OG Date-Sweetened Banana Bread that I first taught in October 2009! But desperate, anxious times call for chocolate.  When I decided to swirl chocolate banana bread with regular banana bread, it made me happy and gave me hope for the world!  

If you couldn’t tell, this marbled banana bread is:

  • MOIST from a full 2 cups of ripe bananas and olive oil, my new favorite fat to bake with.
  • Ultra-chocolatey with melted chocolate chips and cocoa powder.
  • Dairy-free – no butter, yogurt, or sour cream
  • EASY – swirling is easier than it looks!
  • Not too sweet, which is how I prefer my desserts.

Marbled Banana Bread Ingredients

  • Bananas: They should be spotty so that they are sweet. You need 2 cups of mashed bananas which is about 3-4 bananas.
  • Olive oil: I love oil in cakes and quick breads. Olive oil keeps the crumb moister for longer and the fruitiness of the oil is compatible with chocolate, spices and fruits.
  • Flour: I use half whole grain flour and half white flour.  I love the nutty flavor of whole grain flours and I especially love using spelt and oat flours in combination with other grain flavors.  Oat flour contributes to the moist factor and spelt is less bitter than wheat.
  • Eggs: they help bind everything together but I had success swapping in applesauce for a vegan version.
  • Vanilla extract: pure extract with no added flavors or corn syrup solids adds a richness and natural sweetness.
  • Cocoa powder: look for unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably an organic brand.
  • Chocolate chips: I try to use chocolate chips or bars that have a higher percentage of cacao, which means there’s less sugar.  Usually I buy dark or bittersweet.

How to Make Marbled Banana Bread

  1. Preheat the oven and prep your loaf pan by greasing it and lining it with parchment paper.
  2. Melt the chocolate chips and stir in cocoa powder. Set aside.
  3. Combine remaining wet ingredients (banana, oil, eggs, vanilla) AND sugar in a bowl.
  4. Combine dry ingredients (flours, leavening agents and salt) in a bowl.
  5. Add banana mixture to dry mixture and stir until just combined.
  6. Key step: remove 1 cup of the batter and stir it into the reserved chocolate mixture.
  7. Alternate both batters in the loaf pan.

Tips for Making Marbled Banana Bread

  • Use room temperature ingredients: this will help everything combine well and give the bread a tender crumb.
  • Use well-speckled bananas for the sweetest flavor.
  • Don’t make substitutions that aren’t listed if you don’t know if they’ll work.
  • When swirling the batters together, less is more.  It is possible to OVER-SWIRL, which would result in no swirl!

Substitutions for Marbled Banana Bread

  • Eggs: use 100 ml of unsweetened applesauce
  • Flours: for gluten-free, use half GF oat flour and half your favorite GF flour blend, such as King Arthur Multipurpose GF Flour + 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum.
  • Sugar: for a less refined sweetener, choose maple sugar.

If you give this recipe a try, snap a pic and tag @pamelasalzman so I can see your beautiful creations. I also really appreciate readers taking the time to leave a rating and review! Lastly, subscribe for free to my site for the latest recipes and updates.


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5.0 from 4 reviews
Whole Grain Marbled Banana Bread
Serves: 1 9 x 5 Loaf Pan
  • 3 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (about a heaping 1⁄2 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder or cacao powder
  • 1⁄2 cup unrefined olive oil or melted coconut oil + additional for greasing the pan
  • 2 cups mashed, well-speckled bananas, about 3½ large or 4 medium
  • 1⁄2 cup maple sugar or brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs or 100 grams of unsweetened applesauce (just shy of a 1⁄2 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat einkorn flour, whole wheat pastry flour, whole spelt flour, oat flour OR whole grain flour of choice*
  • 1 cup all-purpose einkorn, all-purpose wheat, OR white spelt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • 3⁄4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • Add-in ideas: 1⁄2 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts) or chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with a little oil and line with unbleached parchment paper.
  2. Place the 3 ounces of semisweet chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir occasionally until the chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and stir in the cocoa powder. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together the oil, mashed banana, sugar, eggs, and vanilla.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt + nuts, if using. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and stir until just combined.
  5. Remove 1 cup of the banana bread mixture and add it to the chocolate mixture and stir to combine.
  6. Alternate each batter in the prepared loaf pan. Take a skewer or the tip of a thin knife and swirl the batters together. Less is more here! Don’t swirl too much or you won’t end up with a marbled bread. Bake in the center of the oven for 60-75 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. If the bread is browning too quickly, tent the top with foil.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes and then remove from pan and cool on a cooling rack.
**Or use all gluten-free flour blend + 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
After two days at room temperature, wrap in plastic wrap for a few more days or wrap in foil, place in a freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight before serving.


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  1. Made this for the second time in a month, gluten free, no egg. It’s delicious, my selective 8 year old daughter loves it!

    • Oh that’s wonderful to hear! Thanks for your feedback 🙂

  2. Hi Pamela,
    This looks delicious. Is it possible to substitute nut flour or butter for wheat flour as a healthier option? And if possible, do I need to adjust other ingredients like eggs? I am gluten-free but also like to keep my sugar consumption and refined carbs down as much as possible.
    I love all your recipes!
    Your Grain free zucchini chocolate cake is a staple in my house. 🙂 I baked and tried that cake while wearing a continuous glucose monitor, and it did not affect my sugar whatsoever.
    It’s genius!
    Thank you!

  3. Made this marbled chocolate banana bread on this beautiful Palm Sunday–we LOVED it! I added chopped pecans and baked it for 70 minutes here in dry Arizona. I didn’t get much marbling on top but definitely gorgeous swirls in every slice. I will make it again. Thanks, Pamela.

    • Wonderful! Glad to hear that, Kimberly. Thank you for taking the time to leave a review.

  4. Looks really delicious! I’ve made banana bread with chocolate chips, but never marbled banana bread. I love the many variations you offer for those with dietary issues (almost everyone these days!). Thanks for what looks to be a great recipe. I will definitely be giving it a try!

    • Glad you found the substitution options helpful. Bananas and chocolate is such a delicious combination. This recipe will not disappoint!

  5. This looks amazing using two of my favorite combinations: bananas and chocolate! Definitely will try it!

    • Go for it! You’re going to love it!

  6. I see you’ve used a Pyrex loaf pan. I’m debating buying a loaf pan, is the Pyrex what you’d recommend over metal?

    • I like pyrex because it’s made of glass that won’t leach into your food and it’s easy to clean. BUT, if you’re looking for the best heat conductor, it is metal. I have a blogpost about cookware materials you can take a look at here: https://pamelasalzman.com/cookware-101/.

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I come from a large Italian-American family with 28 first cousins (on one side of the family!) where sit-down holiday dinners for 85 people are the norm (how, you might ask – organization! But more on that later …).

Some of my fondest memories are of simple family gatherings, both large and small, with long tables of bowls and platters piled high, the laughter of my cousins echoing and the comfort of tradition warming my soul.

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