Citrus Is The Secret Ingredient That Makes Banana Bread Burst With Flavor

Banana bread is a well-loved, easy-to-make baked good. A simple, classic take on the bread is always welcome, but there are plenty of variations to choose from. From chocolate chip banana bread to the cinnamon variety, many of the twists on this sweet treat only make it even sweeter, which some may find overwhelming. Fortunately, there's one ingredient that will majorly upgrade your banana bread that you probably haven't tried before. It's all about balancing one fruity taste with another.

Citrus is a great way to add bite and balance to a sweet dish. Ripe bananas are best suited for banana bread, and the riper the banana, the sweeter it is. Especially when paired with other sweet ingredients, these bananas share a similar flavor profile with other naturally sweet flavors like honey and vanilla. Balancing flavors is an art and a science all on its own, but one easy way to balance something overly sweet is with some acidity. Consequently, a bit of juice or zest from your favorite citrus fruit is the perfect way to take your banana bread to the next level.

Oranges add depth to banana bread

The most common (and often easiest) way to add zesty citrus to a recipe is by tossing in lemon juice. A touch of this ingredient may not affect the taste of your banana bread much, but it will add acidity and a touch of tartness to your bananas' flavor. That said, while lemon juice is the simplest choice, orange is likely the best.

Orange extract or zest can give your citrus addition a heavier hand. Orange pairs wonderfully with richer flavors, making it an ideal addition if you're adding chocolate chips to your bread and want to deepen its complexity. After all, everyone knows what a classic combo orange and chocolate makes. You can also add orange juice to your wet batter while mixing it — just make sure not to go overboard, or you might end up with orange bread with a hint of banana. In addition to adding zest, extract, or juice throughout, don't be afraid to add a bit of zest or orange peel on top of your banana bread with some powdered sugar. In the same way that orange flavor adds depth and acidity to your bread's taste, the orange hue will add a little something extra to your run-of-the-mill bread.