Banana bread is perhaps one of the most loved recipes and a go-to for beginner and veteran bakers alike. It’s reasonably healthy, easy to prepare, and requires affordable, accessible ingredients. Fortunately, it tastes great too. A Byrdie feature on banana bread highlights it as a potential source of protein and fibre, allowing for better digestion and a healthier heart. While it’s not exactly a superfood, it’s definitely healthier than other sweet treats! That being said, make each batch of your banana bread special — here are four topping ideas to upgrade your favourite banana bread recipe.
As one of the most used toppings for a variety of pastries, nuts go remarkably well with bananas. They complement the bread’s soft and decadent texture with crunch and a nutty flavour. Walnuts and pecans are on the sweeter side, which is why they are popular choices; but do try out hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios, and macadamia nuts too.
Nuts are also a great source of omega-3, omega-6, and monosaturated fats, which are all good for the heart. They are also rich in selenium and magnesium, which are necessary for the conversion of sugar into energy. You really can’t go wrong with sprinkling crushed nuts over freshly baked banana bread.
Bananas pair really well with other berries and make for a very flavourful and healthy combination. Fresh blueberries and strawberries are great toppings alongside light maple syrup.
Dried cranberries, raisins, and apricots are also fool-proof additions to any banana bread recipe. This double cranberry banana bread recipe from Taste of Home would be a great festive dessert — berries are also loaded with antioxidants and nutrients to help boost immunity and your metabolism.
Milk chocolate chips are an all-around popular choice for desserts, but consider using dark chocolate chips instead. Besides adding a rich bittersweetness, they provide more health benefits. Health and wellness website SymptomFind explains how dark chocolate containing more than 70% cocoa increases energy levels by improving blood flow to the brain for up to three hours. Plus it’s also rich in antioxidants, which makes chocolate and banana a match made in heaven.
Dusting spices over banana bread can elevate its taste and bring out all of its flavours. A crowd favourite would be cinnamon, as it brings a wonderful kick and aroma to any simple loaf of bread. Cinnamon is also promoted by BBC Good Food as one of the best spices to help manage diabetes, reduce blood pressure, and ease digestive comfort. Other great spices to incorporate are nutmeg, allspice, and even clove. Plus, spices also work well with nuts and chocolates.
Banana bread is a fun and easy treat to make, you add a twist by trying out these topping recommendations on your next baking session. If I’ve missed any toppings that you love, let me know in the comments below. For more ways to improve bread, check out my baking tips and troubleshooting page.
Hi, I’m Gareth Busby, a baker, bread baking coach and college lecturer. I’m here to help you make better bread and learn about the baking industry.
Suite 2646 Unit 3A,
34-35 Hatton Garden,