Old fashioned banana nut bread: My mama’s favorite recipe

Last updated on December 17th, 2021

If my mother could be remembered for anything, it would be for her amazing food, especially her old fashioned banana nut bread. Mom was always puttering around in the kitchen – creating, experimenting or crafting something good to eat. Some of my earliest childhood memories involve young me standing in the kitchen with the smells of my mother’s fresh home made food wafting around me like a warm embrace.

sliced banana nut bread

Passing down a legacy

My mother passed away five years ago. My siblings pulled me aside and handed me a tattered, old cookbook that my mother asked be “passed down” to me that I had long forgotten about in the years since my childhood. This cookbook was the Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook from 1956, nearly unrecognizable, given its well-worn state.

Betty Crocker's Picture Cookbook
Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook
Revised and Enlarged, printed 1956

The book remained tucked away on a back closet shelf since my mother’s funeral, until two weeks ago. It has taken me some time to process not just my mother’s death, but her life as well; who who she was, how profoundly her death affected me, and how that influenced who I eventually became as a result.

My mother wasn’t just a great cook, she was also an artist and photographer. She was passionate about photography and could always be found with a camera in her hand. I’ve spent the better part of my adult life discovering and exploring my own passion within the world of photography. As I’ve eventually made my way into the world of food photography, my passion for food and cooking that food fully ripened, seamlessly merging the two big passions of my mother’s into one singular passion of my own: Food Photography.

Ultimately I’m here to share my food crafting experiences, and experiments, and yes – food photography that comes as a result.

Tips & Tricks for Old Fashioned Banana Nut Bread

After more than 64 years, this old recipe from this old, worn book needs very little adaptation to the modern cooking trends. Also, we aren’t eating the same species of bananas as our parents and grandparents. The flavor has changed dramatically, and yet, this recipe holds its own.

This recipe is very simple. It doesn’t call for any cinnamon, brown sugar, or butter. Heck, it doesn’t even call for vanilla, however that is the one modification that I made; adding a teaspoon of vanilla to the liquid part of the mix. It does require old-fashioned shortening. It’s so easy a kid could make it. I did, when I was a kid!

This recipe is adapted from the aforementioned Betty Crocker Big Picture Cookbook from 1956.

Related Recipes

banana nut bread

My Mama’s Old Fashioned Banana Nut Bread

Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: banana, oven
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 422kcal
The banana nut bread recipe my mama used to make. This classic, simple recipe has withstood the test of time for more than sixty years, virtually unchanged.
Print Recipe


Supplies Needed

  • 9 x 5 x 3 inch bread loaf pan(s)
  • 1 medium mixing bowl
  • 1 large mixing bowl
  • 1 metal whisk
  • 1 rubber spatula

Cooking Components

  • 3 cups Flour, sifted
  • 1 cups Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Shortening, softened
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 2 Ripe Bananas
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 3 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 3/4 cups Chopped Nuts* (see notes)


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Grease your 9 x 5 x 3 inch baking pan.
  • Cream together the sugar, shortening, and the egg in large mixing bowl until combined.
  • Add milk, bananas and vanilla to the sugar mixture.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in medium mixing bowl until combined.
  • Slowly stir the flour mixture into the sugar mixture, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula, to mix thoroughly.
  • Fold nuts into the batter.
  • Pour batter into the baking pan, and let stand, or “rest” for 20 minutes.
  • Bake for 65 – 70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.


  • Most recipes will say that the nuts are optional and you’re indeed free to omit the nuts if you’d like. I’ve tried this recipe without and it’s just not the same. Your mileage may vary.
  • Nutrition

    Calories: 422kcal | Carbohydrates: 71g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 472mg | Potassium: 254mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 31g | Vitamin A: 100IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 145mg | Iron: 3mg

    Did you know?

    We don’t eat the same bananas our parents and grandparents ate generations before us.
    Sometime in the early 1950’s the Gros Michel – or “Big Mike” species of bananas started dying off, only to be replaced with the less flavorful but more ubiquitous Cavendish variety that we commonly see in most grocery stores today.
    Isn’t that bananas?!

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