I am not a baker, but I pride myself on making a mean banana bread. It doesn’t hurt that it contains chocolate chips and walnuts. (these are optional)

Years ago, my mother gave me the Needless Markups Cookbook (Neiman Marcus Pure & Simple) This was way before I knew how to cook and actually used cook books. It contained a recipe for a super simple banana bread. Even though it was super simple, I always needed to pull the book out, which explains why it was covered in smears of batter.

On my last move, I made the mistake of putting my cookbooks in a box in storage so when it came time to find a use for those speckled banana’s sitting on my counter, I didn’t know what to do! I couldn’t possibly trust myself to remember one of the easiest recipes ever written, so I Googled and to my chagrin, and this is the only time I will ever use that word, I could not find the Neiman Marcus banana bread recipe. Perhaps I should have bing’d instead.

I finally found a recipe that came close on SimplyRecipes and I would be surprised if that recipe was not a direct descendant of the original Neiman Marcus recipe.

Unfortunately, it was not close enough, so I pulled up my baking sleeves and went to work in the lab/kitchen to create the recipe I am sharing with you here.

I think I have put enough of myself into it to put my name on it.

Basic Banana Bread ingredients

Claudia’s Delicious Idiot-Proof and Semi Healthy Banana Bread

  • (I have since perfected the recipe)
  • 4 very ripe, but not totally black, bananas, smashed with a fork
  • 1/3 cup melted unsalted butter (Plugra, Kerrygold etc.)
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chops and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


Click to enlarge.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). • Mash bananas in a bowl with a potato masher until super smooth. • Add melted butter and sugar to bananas and combine until you get one creamy little banana butter mixture.  • Add in the beaten egg, and vanilla. • Mix the rest of the dry ingredients including any nuts and chocolate chips together in a separate bowl. • Fold in the wet ingredients gently until you see no more flour. Don’t overmix. The more you mix, the tougher your bread will be.

Grease a 4×8 Pyrex pan. If you have parchment paper, line the middle of the pan with a piece of parchment, this makes lifting the bread out easier. Bake for 45 minutes. Insert a wooden skewer or knife into your bread. If it comes out with lots of batter on it, put it in for another 10 to 15 minutes. Run a sharp knife along the edge of the loaf to loosen. Wait a few minutes to cool and flip over pan. Most people wait for the bread to cool, but they must not be human. Cut one slice off and taste to see how it turned out, repeat.

I have been making muffins instead now that I have kids. Line a cupcake pan with liners. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

What I love about this basic recipe is that you can get as creative as you wish with whatever you add. My girlfriend Shannon gilded the lily by using the bread I gave her to make banana bread French toast. How do you banana bread?


By |2020-06-28T15:25:52-04:00December 15th, 2010|


  1. Carrie Gray December 17, 2010 at 5:31 AM

    If you set my “Joy of Cooking” cookbook on its spine on the countertop and let it go, it will automatically open up to the “Quick Banana Bread” recipe because those particular pages are so warped, batter-drenched, and over-used. Your recipe and theirs are very similar! And both very easy to do. A great thing to have around for breakfast or snack for everyone! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Molly Smith January 5, 2011 at 9:00 PM

    I use a similar recipe where the vanilla is omitted and cinnamon is used; probably creates a similar flavor profile over all. The batter also morph’s easily into any size pan: mini-loaf, muffin, or mini-muffin. Sometimes I downscale the pan size to speed up baking time. YUM! As a side note: I also throw my overripe bananas in the freezer – in their natural casing (peel) and they bake up great once thawed. Banana bread makes me feel like a hero every time I bake it – everyone loves it so! 🙂 P.S. Cooling is for sissy’s… 🙂

  3. veggietestkitchen January 12, 2011 at 2:37 AM

    Awesome! I like the idea of adding chocolate. I tried, and failed miserably, to make banana biscotti (eggless) this year. Oh man, it was awful. I need a good vegan recipe. If I found one, I would definitely fill it up with chocolate. Great idea, thanks!

  4. Chris Robinson October 27, 2016 at 1:09 PM

    I am no cook! I cannot cook! I have never baked anything except myself in the sun when I was younger. Last night to fill the time while my partner was at the symphony I tried this recipe and was shocked at the outcome. Absolutely delicious! It looked good, smelt good and tasted good. When my partner came home we ate half of the loaf LOL.
    Thanks for a great recipe.

    Toronto, Canada.

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