Rocky Road Banana Bread

Shake up your banana bread with chocolate chips, walnuts, and marshmallows – this Rocky Road Banana Bread is an unexpected, delicious, chocolatey hit!

loaf of rocky road banana bread in the loaf pan on an orange pink and white dish towel

Last week, I shared this maple glazed banana bread recipe and a little story about how my neighbor accidentally had 28 bunches of bananas delivered via Peapod.  As you can probably imagine, one loaf of maple glazed banana bread did not make a dent in my newfound banana stash.

And thus I bring you the next dessert in our Banana Overload series: Rocky Road Banana Bread!

The idea for rocky road banana bread actually stemmed from a discussion in my lab at work.  I don’t know how we got on the subject, but no one could agree on what actually went into Rocky Road (the ice cream version).

A little Wikipedia search led us to discover that rocky road on its own is actually a type of candy, and the ingredients differ by country of origin.  Who knew?!

But after all this talk about Rocky Road, it only seemed appropriate to bring some Rocky Road Banana Bread into the lab! For this particular version, I went with chocolate chips, marshmallows, and walnuts, but of course, you can adjust the ingredients to fit your own version of “rocky road.”

Another loaf of this also came along for our week at the shore, and it entirely disappeared in the first day.  I’m not sure if everyone got the “rocky road” association, versus a chocolate banana bread with nuts and gooey melted marshmallows.  But regardless, everyone loved it and it’s a delicious twist on a classic quick bread, and one you should definitely try!

slices of rocky road banana bread arranged on a white serving dish

What is Rocky Road?

If you live anywhere other than the US, rocky road is apparently a kind of breakable candy, made from ground up cookies, melted chocolate, and marshmallows.  I’ve never actually had it, but I picture it kind of like a chocolate bark: take all your ingredients, mix them up, and spread them on a pan to cool.  (Looking for an authentic rocky road recipe? Try this one from BBC Good Food.)

The actual ingredients differ by country, although the idea is the same.  According to Wikipedia, the Bahrain version of rocky road is made from chocolate, Nutella, and pistachio — I’m pretty sure I have to try this out ASAP!  Meanwhile, in Australia, they mix in some glace cherries and coconut, too.

Here in America, rocky road is an ice cream flavor.  It usually consists of chocolate ice cream with walnuts and chopped marshmallows, and sometimes bits of solid chocolate, too.

Armed with my newfound knowledge of what goes into American rocky road, I decided I needed to make some sort of rocky road themed baked good.

My first thought was a bundt cake for my Bundt Cake of the Month series.  But then several bunches of bananas (literally) showed up at my door, and Rocky Road Banana Bread seemed like the obvious choice!

side view of an uncut loaf of rocky road banana bread

Chocolate Banana Bread with Marshmallows

To start, we’re going to need some ripe bananas.  Why ripe?  It’s time for my favorite subject… kitchen chemistry!

Kitchen Chemistry

The ripeness of a banana changes the pH of your batter, so it’s important to use under-ripe or over-ripe bananas, as the recipe suggests!  A slightly-green to normal banana has a pH around 4.6.  The pH of an overripe banana, however, has a pH of 6.5 or higher.  The pH of batter is important in terms of leavening (baking soda vs baking powder)!

I made this a chocolate banana bread by swapping out some of the flour for cocoa powder.  I also went with brown sugar for a little extra richness and moisture.

And then the most important part: mixing in some chocolate chips, walnuts, and marshmallows!  I had whole marshmallows on hand, so I cut these smaller, but miniature marshmallows would be even easier.

Don’t forget to set aside some extra mix-ins to top your rocky road banana bread!

loaf of chocolate rocky road banana bread topped with marshmallows and walnuts
  • Loaf Pan: This recipe is written for a metal 8.5 x 4.5-inch loaf pan.
  • Stand Mixer: You can use either a stand mixer or hand mixer to make the batter, but this stand mixer is my favorite tool in the kitchen!
  • Beater Blade: I always use a Beater Blade with my stand mixer to automatically scrape down the sides of the bowl and ensure proper mixing.
  • Cooling Rack: These cooling racks are sturdy enough to support the bread still in the pan, but fold down flat for storage.
  • Natural Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: Using high-quality cocoa powder results in a richer chocolate flavor and better overall texture.
one slice of rocky road banana bread on a yellow plate

Tips and Tricks for Rocky Road Banana Bread

  1. Make sure your butter and eggs are at room temperature. This ensures everything will properly mix together.
  2. Use brown sugar – not granulated sugar – to keep the rocky road banana bread extra moist.
  3. Ripe bananas are key! If your bananas aren’t ripe enough, wait another day or two.
  4. Use high-quality natural unsweetened cocoa powder, not Dutch process cocoa powder. The addition of baking soda neutralizes the acid in the unsweetened cocoa powder.
  5. To ensure the bread is fully cooked, insert a tester in two or three locations — sometimes what looks like batter is really just a melted chocolate chip!
overhead photo of a slice of chocolate banana bread on a yellow plate

More Chocolate Quick Breads:

Rocky Road Banana Bread: Shake up your banana bread with chocolate chips, walnuts, and marshmallows. An unexpected, delicious, chocolatey hit! #bunsenburnerbakery #bananabread #quickbread #rockyroad

Rocky Road Banana Bread

Yield: 1 loaf
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Shake up your banana bread with chocolate chips, walnuts, and marshmallows, reminiscent of the flavor of classic rocky road ice cream.


  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, cool room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (107 grams) packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 large ripe bananas (250-280 grams mashed banana)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (180 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (42 grams) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (85 grams) chocolate chips + more for topping
  • 1/2 cup (57 grams) chopped walnuts + more for topping
  • 1 cup (43 grams) chopped marshmallows + more for topping


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Grease and flour an 8.5 x 4.5-inch loaf pan.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add in the eggs, one at a time, continuing to mix after each addition. Add in the bananas and vanilla extract, continuing to mix until no lumps of bananas remain.
  3. Slowly add in the dry ingredients, mixing just until no streaks of flour remain in the batter. Fold in the chocolate chips, walnuts, and marshmallows.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then invert into a wire rack and cool completely before slicing.


Rocky road banana bread can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days, refrigerated for a week, or frozen for up to 3 months.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 286Total Fat: 14gCarbohydrates: 38gSugar: 18gProtein: 5g

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Rocky Road Banana Bread: Shake up your banana bread with chocolate chips, walnuts, and marshmallows. An unexpected, delicious, chocolatey hit!