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Tutu’s Hawaiian banana bread

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Banana bread muffin tops from an old Halekulani hotel recipe

My daughter Margo was digging through my old recipes which go way back to when I was a kid growing up in Honolulu. Margo ran across my mother's banana bread recipe, which I believe was originally from the Halekulani hotel. If you have not been to the Halekulani, please add it to your bucket list, if even only for a drink. I personally recommend their Mai Tai. The Halekulani is a beautiful historic hotel on Waikiki beach built a few years before the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. Both hotels offer a glimpse of gracious old Hawaii.

Click to download our free e-cookbook: 15 Recipes To Make You Look Like A Star

From recipe cards to digital files

My daughter Margo found my yellowed, typed 5"x 7" recipe card hilarious. (See photo below)  In her digital world, she had never seen a typed recipe card before. It is amazing how much things have changed in just one generation. I remember spending hours typing my recipe cards on what I thought I was a really groovy high-tech IBM Selectric typewriter. The Selectric was a huge upgrade from regular typewriters because you could correct your mistakes instead of having to start all over and type your page from the beginning. No one dreamed of "delete buttons" or "spell check." Clearly I needed spell check.

From banana bread loaf to muffin tops

Margo updated my mother's recipe and made muffin tops instead of a banana bread loaf. I agree this is a great upgrade as muffin top pans give you more surface area to brown and caramelize. Thank you Margo!

Tutu's Hawaiian banana bread




Yield 2 loaves or 25 muffin tops

An old-school banana bread recipe handed down from my mother and believed to have originated from the gracious Halekulani hotel on Waikiki beach.


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 6 ripe bananas, mashed with a fork
  • 4 well beaten eggs
  • 2.5 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 t baking soda
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or macadamia nuts


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together sugar and butter
  2. Add mashed bananas
  3. Blend wet and dry ingredients together. Do not over mix. Add nuts.
  4. Divide into two loaf pans or muffin top pans. For loaves bake 45 to 50 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. For muffin tops bake for about 15 minutes until tops are golden brown.




  1. Gail says:

    thank you so much for recipe

    1. Kim Pawell says:

      My pleasure Gail!

  2. Christine says:

    Thank you for sharing recipe. I made it and my family loves it.

    1. Kim Pawell says:

      So glad your family enjoyed it!

  3. Kimie Seaton says:

    Excellent! I made a 1/2 recipe and used regular flour as I didn’t have the cake flour on hand. Worked fine and is VERY ono.

    1. Kim Pawell says:

      So glad you enjoyed it!

  4. Wendy Carr says:

    I have been making this same banana bread for the past 20 years. I got it from a Jr. League cookbook called Private Collection I. They call it the Kona Inn Banana Bread (which is on the Big Island.) The one time I didn’t take the time to sift the cake flour (my recipe calls for sifting the dry ingredient 3 times!) my father asked me if I had made a different recipe this time! I’ve always sifted ever since. It is the best banana bread ever and so happy it’s apparently being served on multiple Hawaiian Islands! I make this as family Christmas gifts every year and everyone counts on it!

    1. Kim Pawell says:

      That is really interesting Wendy. Are the ingredients exactly the same? That is amazing. My family has been making this bread for 40 years. I’m intrigued as to where this recipe originated. Clearly somewhere in the islands.

  5. Karen Tedrick says:

    I, too, have this recipe. It is in the 1963 ‘Mrs. Hawaii Cookbook’ I found in my mother’s collection, and is entitled “Famous Kona Inn Banana Bread.” The author also states that this recipe is from Chef Max Mori of Kona Inn fame and “dictated by Chef Mori himself.”

    1. Kim Pawell says:

      Hi Karen, that is very interesting. Is it exactly the same recipe? Thank you for adding to the information on the origination of this recipe. In the old days when recipes were often passed down on handwritten index cards the origination of the recipe was often lost. I will investigate this further. Mahalo!

  6. Nancy says:

    Hi Kim, I am at my Mother in Law’s and have some over ripe bananas. I was browsing the Internet hoping to find a Hawaiian recipe similar to one I have in a cookbook published by the Honolulu newspaper. This is very similar except it calls for apple bananas. I’m making your recipe this morning.

    1. Kim Pawell says:

      Hi Nancy, I hope you enjoyed the recipe. It was something we made all of the time when I was a kid. Apple bananas are short, tart apples that are grown by many people in the islands in their yards. Occasionally you will find them at the market in Hawaii. I love them for eating but have never cooked with them. Using them in banana bread is an intriguing idea. Thanks for the tip.

  7. Marianne says:

    I have a Hawaiian banana bread recipe that my family has used since I was about 8. I don’t know where my mother got it, but it is the best most moist banana bread and the only one I like. Comparing the recipes, the only difference is the quantities and ours uses regular floor and with an emphasis on very ripe for the bananas! My sister will make it with bananas that are so ripe that they almost drip out of the peel and it comes out delicious. This is the best! Glad you have it too!

    1. Kim Pawell says:

      Thank you Marianne. I would love to see your family’s recipe if you are willing to share.

  8. Karen says:

    As a kamaaina who married into the Air Force, I am enjoying your site and recipes so much! I have been looking for my ‘local” banana bread recipe on a 3×5 card, type written, exactly like yours! Thank you so much for sharing! I like the muffin top idea, too! I am sure it is “onolicious”!

    1. Kim Pawell says:

      So glad you are enjoying our recipes and hope the banana bread recipe is as good as yours. Isn’t it funny how recipe organization has changed in our lifetime? I used to write my recipes all out by hand on cards. Then one year I got inspired and typed them all out. I guess I still type them out, but now online instead of on cards. So maybe we have come full circle!

  9. Laura says:

    Hi Kim, I just made this recipe the other day and it was fabulous! In lockdown and had some bananas that were ready to be used, so thought I would give your recipe a try. This will be my only banana bread recipe from now on. It was so good!

  10. Laura says:

    Hi Kim, I made this recipe the other day it was fantastic! This is the only banana bread recipe I will use in the future! It was that good!

  11. Kim Prickett says:

    I’m not a baker, but this was so easy and good. I made mini-loaves, planning to hand out to family. Unfortunately not everyone got a loaf, since I managed to eat an entire loaf in under 24 hours!

    1. Kim Pawell says:

      Hi Kim, I am glad you got to enjoy the banana bread, even if you got more enjoyment than you had planned!

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