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Perfect Banana Nut Muffins

Perfect Banana Nut Muffins

Nicole Criss takes inspiration from James Beard to create the perfect Banana Nut Muffin recipe.
By Nicole Criss

For years I’ve been searching for a banana bread recipe I could turn to time and again. Something I could make without ceremony, rely on like an old friend.  I never seemed to come across one I remained faithful to. Finally I reached for a cookbook I’ve had all my life, James Beard’s Beard on Bread.  It’s funny how sometimes the answers we seek are right there in front of us.

My copy of Beard’s book was my mother’s and it’s very well worn. The pages are stiff from spatter, marked here and there with her notes and the binding is coming apart. Beard made his as a loaf but I love to bake individual goodies that are easy to wrap up and take as a mobile snack. Whenever I am baking on a whim and I have no room-temperature butter, I use coconut oil. The muffins came out moist and light, puffed up nicely and had just the right amount of sweetness. I like them plain or spread with peanut or almond butter as a more filling snack.  I’m confident I’ve finally found a recipe I can call a “keeper.”

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Banana Nut Muffins

I followed Beard’s recipe with a few minor adjustments. I used coconut oil instead of butter (mainly because it was quicker) and added ground flax seed because I like to add Omega 3’s where I can. Also, because I was baking with my toddler, we used only one bowl and basically dumped and mixed. The result turned out great, but I provided Beard’s method for purists.

  • Author: Nicole Criss, adapted from James Beard's recipe in Beard on Bread
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x


  • 2 cups (198 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seed
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (114 grams) butter or (105 grams) coconut oil
  • 1 cup (190 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup (about 2) mashed very ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup (75 ml) milk
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar
  • 1/2 cup (60 grams) chopped pecans or walnuts


  1. Combine the flour with the soda and salt.
  2. Cream the butter and gradually add the sugar and mix well.
  3. Add the eggs and the bananas and blend thoroughly.
  4. Combine the milk and lemon juice, which will curdle a bit.
  5. Slowly and alternately fold in the flour mixture and milk mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
  6. Blend well after each addition.
  7. Stir in the nuts.
  8. Pour the batter into a buttered loaf pan or 12 muffin cups.
  9. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour if baking a loaf or about 25 minutes for muffins.

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View Comments (3)
  • I was looking for a muffin recipe that incorporated bananas, walnuts, and flaxseed. This was a win! I made a couple small modifications – mainly cutting the sugar down to 1/4 cup and adding 1/4 cup honey. I also substituted whole wheat flour in for 1/2 cup of the flour. Thanks for the recipe!

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