Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
5 Dec

Almond Banana Pancakes

Try as we might, many of us find the temptation of pancakes too hard to resist. Maybe it’s the sweet, buttery aroma of the batter on the griddle or the soft doughy texture, or that eating something with the word “cake” in it for breakfast just feels so deliciously naughty. But it doesn’t have to be. There are decent Primal substitutes. Pancakes made with almond meal or coconut flour are a good option, but can be pretty heavy and, for some, overly filling. And then there’s this dish sent in by Jack Etherington for the Primal Cookbook Challenge. His Almond Banana Pancakes contain just three ingredients: banana, egg and almond butter. You can whip up a batch in five minutes flat and top the pancakes with a pat of butter, a scoop of nut butter, or fresh berries.

Almond Banana Pancakes are slightly delicate so you’ll want to keep the size fairly small and wait until the edges are nicely browned before flipping them. This shouldn’t deter you from trying the recipe – the delicate texture of Almond Banana Pancakes is the very thing that makes them so irresistible. If you’ve tried pancakes made from almond or coconut flour and find them slightly grainy, you’ll really love the silky, airy texture of these cakes. The flavor is sinfully close to banana bread; add a little vanilla and cinnamon to the batter if you really want to get decadent.

As is evident from the comment board of last week’s recipe, this (very similar) recipe may be too carb-centric for some of you. For those that are no-carbers or are restricting carbs for weight loss purposes this recipe might not fit into your personal Primal plans. For others it might be part of your 20%. And for others that are extra active or have already achieved your preferred body composition this recipe might be a perfect fit. In any case, remember that the Primal Blueprint is primarily about guiding principles. It’s up to each of us to adapt recipes and fitness choices within the context of the PB as it relates to our personal goals and circumstances. Enjoy!



Mash the bananas, add the egg and mix well.

Stir in the almond butter, adding more than a tablespoon if you want a more pancake-like texture.

Warm butter in a pan and pour batter into small cakes.

Brown on each side and serve warm.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. I”m a new Grok in training, but I’m headed to the Grokery Store as we speak to pick up these recipe ingredients!

    Jeff P wrote on December 5th, 2009
    • “Grokery Store” – Love that!

      maba wrote on December 5th, 2009
    • HAHAH Grokery store!!

      Helen wrote on April 10th, 2013
    • Made these today to bring to a pancake breakfast. Yummy and great with sausage and eggs.

      Jodi wrote on January 11th, 2015
  2. I’m drooling!!!!

    Jaja..Grokery Store, love it!

    iisierra wrote on December 5th, 2009
  3. These look amazing! I’m going to try them this weekend for sure!

    Del Mar Mel wrote on December 5th, 2009
  4. I *just* finished making and eating these. This recipe made 9 “normal” sized cakes (about 4″ across). Make sure to cook them on lowish heat so that they have time to firm up but not burn before turning (and be gentle when turning!).

    I didn’t have any decent fresh fruit so I tried them as follows:

    1. plain (pretty darn good on their own – “plain” is a misnomer for these things)

    2. with butter (very tasty – probably my preferred mode)

    3. with a bit of honey (not too much – very good)

    4. with maple syrup (not too Primal, but I’m Canadian, eh, and I just shoveled the driveway from our first blizzard of the year so I earned the treat). Just don’t use too much as the pancakes are already sweet from the bananas.

    Out of the nine “primal cakes” (PCs) my wife had 3 and was full up. I of course ate the other 6 and was more than full!

    Good call on these PCs! What’s for breakfast tomorrow?

    Chris wrote on December 5th, 2009
  5. Mark I find it TRAGIC you had to put the disclaimer at the end.

    Yes, for the most part they are more carb dense than I’m currently eating, but PB is not just about me!

    This is a great recipe. Do us all a favor and don’t and disclaimers anymore. The people who bitch will be PB fly-by-nighters anyway.

    Grok wrote on December 5th, 2009
    • Excuse me, but I’m one of those “people who bitch.” I have to. I’m a diabetic. And I’m no fly-by-nighter, so pardon me for needing Primal food that won’t spike my sugars through the roof.

      While these look amazing, I can’t have them. Bananas spike me like almost nothing else will.

      Griff wrote on December 6th, 2009
      • clearly, if you have serious health problems such as diabetes you have to be vigilant with what you consume. However, almond meal/flour also makes great pancakes with just almond meal/flour(I make my own using blanched almonds processed in my cuisinart), a pinch of sea salt, eggs (i use 3-4 eggs per cup of almond flour), melted butter or coconut oil and a dash of milk or coconut milk. no banana or fruit required!

        emily wrote on December 6th, 2009
        • You don’t have to use bananas, I crushed up almonds with dried cranberries to give more of a consistency, and used apples not bananas. My mother and her father were both diabetic so I do carefully watch my sugar intake. My guess is other fruits work as well. Adding dried fruit to the nuts really helps add more of a consistency to the pancakes.

          Karen wrote on March 10th, 2013
      • Since a premise of the primal diet is low-carb eating, it makes sense to let readers know when a recipe is “borderline” for sugars and carbs. Maybe I missed some of the comments but I don’t recall anyone complaining about the previous recipe; I thought people were just pointing out that it was a lot of sugars. Not all of us who limit our carbs are doing so by choice and not all of us are doing so to meet body composition goals–some of us find it medically necessary to follow this diet 100 percent of the time and use this site as a resource to do so. Like Mark says, we all have to adapt the plan to meet our needs. Information about the macronutrient content of the recipes helps us all make our own decisions (and ideally we don’t deride the decisions and requirements of others). I think this recipe would be a great alternative for people tempted to eat wheat. I might make them for my husband. But it’s not for me, either. One resource that helped me figure out which fruits are too sugar laden for me was the table on the paleo diet page:

        I was able to look at the “total metabolic sugars” column on this chart for the fruits that work for me–and not–and then deduce which others might be OK. It saved me some painful experimentation and I found some new fruits that worked. I hope that helps.

        DThalman wrote on December 6th, 2009
      • So Griff… You’re saying you need Mark to add a disclaimer to everything he posts that’s not low-carb so you don’t spike your sugars? You’ve got be smarter than that if you found PB in the first place.

        There are A LOT of hardcore athletes who also follow this website. Many of who welcome recipes like these (especially post morning workout).

        If it doesn’t fit your lifestyle/needs pass… but quit bitchin! There are plenty of VLC recipe ideas on this site for low-carbers like you and me.

        Grok wrote on December 6th, 2009
        • No, Grok, I’m not saying that I need him to add a disclaimer. But I am wishing that I could see more Primal recipes that are diabetic-friendly.

          And as I’m as much a user on this site as you are, I’ll continue to speak my mind on this topic until Mark tells me I need to shut my mouth.

          Griff wrote on December 6th, 2009
        • The fact that there is this kind of talk in this kind of blog proves that we still have a very long way to go.

          Diana wrote on July 15th, 2014
      • I too wonder…I am allergic to bananas. What could we use instead?

        camille wrote on December 31st, 2009
        • finely shredded apples work well too. i didn’t measure the exact amount, probably a cup and a half or so. just keep adding it until the consistency is right. hope you like them.

          jack wrote on January 18th, 2010
        • How about pumpkin? :) Mmm….

          Kim wrote on February 22nd, 2010
        • Sweet potatoes make awesome pancakes. Pretty much the same composition, though I add a little almond flour. Tip: if they’re too gooey to flip without destroying, throw them under the broiler for a second to set the top, then flip!

          Michelann wrote on February 13th, 2015
      • you can replace the bananas with canned pumpkin and your spike will be minimal, if at all.

        jodi wrote on April 20th, 2011
        • LOVE that pumpkin idea!

          Robin wrote on August 18th, 2011
  6. I made them too, and agree with Chris about cooking them on low heat. We devoured them with butter (from grass-fed cows of course) and some grass-fed beef hot dogs on the side.

    Aaron Blaisdell wrote on December 5th, 2009
    • I tried these and it seemed like they would never get done. My date for breakfast had finished his eggos while I was still waiting to flip the first side. Finally just scrambled it! Next cake I added almond flour and that helped. Takes a very long time to cook though.

      susan wrote on September 11th, 2011
  7. Speaking of breakfasts I have been enjoying and wondering about eating raw oat grouts. They are a part of many raw diet “allowable” foods. Apparantly they have a very low glyceamic index and trace amounts of vitamins and minerals as well as small amounts of zinc and iron. I have been making a breakfast of these oats (soaked) and add nuts, seeds, berries, raisins, and add almond milk as a cereal breakfast.
    Would you consider this part of a trsnsition diet off grains or a useful part of the Primal diet.
    Thanks for your feedback!

    Neal Aronowitz wrote on December 5th, 2009
  8. Grok, some of us simply are not at the point in our journey where we can afford high-carb treats like this. That being said, I love reading these recipes and looking forward to when I can still remain primal, but can afford the extra carbs in bananas and almond butter. Meanwhile, please try not to judge too harshly. We’re all on a journey here, some are simply further along. It was disheartening to read your words that those who complain will likely not be here for the long term. I’m not complaining; I simply cannot afford such indulgences at my current point in my (very personal) journey.

    Sharonll wrote on December 5th, 2009
    • But you’re probably smart enough to realize that scarfing down bananas for breakfast isn’t the best idea if you’re “counting carbs.” And you don’t need a disclaimer to know that.

      FlyNavyWife wrote on December 6th, 2009
      • Exactly my point FyNavyWife. See the comment I added above.

        “disheartening to read your words that those who complain will likely not be here for the long term”

        Usually the complainers are here today, goons (oops… “gone”) tomorrow. They get all gung-ho on what “is/isn’t paleo” B.S. (none of this is). Next thing you know, they’re gone.

        If you’re here long term you’ll know that there are enough regularly added options to suit everyone following the Primal Blueprint. Or… usually (just like on this recipe) someone will offer a lower-carb substitute.

        Grok wrote on December 6th, 2009
  9. Hey Mark,

    Do you make your own almond butter? I found a decent deal on amazon for 48 ounces of almond butter for $20. I can probably pick up a processor and make my own for a bit cheaper. Most recipes call for an external oil to make the butter smoother. Would you recommend Olive or Coconut? Thanks for the thoughts.


    Alex wrote on December 5th, 2009
    • I’ve made my own in the past but now I usually purchase it from Trader Joe’s. You can get 16 oz. of Raw Almond Butter for around $5-6 here in Los Angeles.

      Mark Sisson wrote on December 5th, 2009
  10. mmm making this tomorrow am for the hubs and i sounds so good! may add a little cinnamon to mine :)

    misathemeb wrote on December 5th, 2009
  11. I’m so making these. I have some ripe bananas that need to be used up soon.

    maba wrote on December 5th, 2009
  12. Great looking recipe! I will make these next week for sure…

    mikecheliak wrote on December 5th, 2009
  13. I wish it was indicated to cook these at a lower heat. I made kinda of a porridge out of it instead but it was really good, too!

    katbarnett16 wrote on December 5th, 2009
  14. Way to “Grok it” Jack! I’ve made a very similar recipe before using bananas, sweet potatoes,or pumpkin, and coconut oil as my “butter.” I really love the creativity of all these cookbook recipes.

    Trying to turn your life completely around takes a lot of adapting, on your part. Is this recipe high in carbs? Maybe, or maybe not, depending on how you adapt it to your nutritional goals.

    Is it 100% better than tall stack of chocolate chip pancakes topped w/ chocolate syrup and sugar coated strawberries? You’re damn right it is!

    No matter what kind of comments you get from posting this, just know that this recipe could literally save someone’s life.

    Well done dude.

    Doug wrote on December 5th, 2009
    • Ooo–thrilled to read the pumpkin idea–I’m totally going to adapt it this way so I can do it w/ fewer carbs…


      FairyRae2 wrote on December 5th, 2009
  15. Those babies are a thing of beauty. Can’t do the bananas (too carby & hi gi for me) but wow…jealous!!

    marci wrote on December 5th, 2009
  16. I’ve always had a ‘banana problem’ even before I went Primal – I just new that eating one would leave me hungry and skittish on sugar. So as a treat these sound great, but not as a regular item in my diet (I know you pointed out the carbs issue already, but these are just my thoughts!).

    PrimalK wrote on December 6th, 2009
  17. So simple and effective. I make a buckwheat version usually, but this is something I’m definitely going to start making!

    George wrote on December 6th, 2009
  18. By the way for all the “high carb” and “high GI”, the almond butter and egg yolk bring the GI waaaaay down.

    Stop over-thinking smart eating.

    George wrote on December 6th, 2009
    • Yes mixing fat with carbs brings the GI down…but mashing and cooking food tends to bring it up, since it makes the food easier (and quicker) to digest. It’s hard to say how much, since GI/GL is not an exact sciene and foods react differently in our guts and elicit different insulin responses for different individuals.It may that the person who commented earlier is not “overthinking” it; it may be that she really truly knows how her body will react. Some readers here really are protective about their bananas, esp. the guys. :) I’m glad we have this forum so we can debate such esoteric diet issues–thanks to Mark for providing this for us!

      DThalman wrote on December 7th, 2009
  19. These were so good! Definitely delicate, though. I added vanilla and cinnamon as suggested.

    Ursula wrote on December 6th, 2009
  20. I’ve been making something similar for a few years now:

    4 bananas
    8 to 10 eggs
    1 cup almond meal
    1 tspn cinnamon

    Blend and cook on a skillet with coconut oil.

    This makes a good number but with 3 kids not much is left at the end of the meal…

    Craig Miles wrote on December 6th, 2009
    • I was just thinking the same thing! I’d do an exchange of one banana for some almond flour. Might make it a bit more “cake-like”. Can’t wait for the weekend to try this! Yum.

      noliah wrote on September 4th, 2012
    • I thought we shouldnt be heating almond/almond flours due to free radicals?

      fred kaoud wrote on March 9th, 2014
  21. Just tried these this morning. Love em.

    Coop wrote on December 7th, 2009
  22. To those with banana issues–use 4 eggs like I just did. That will make the GL per pancake even lower. I used a blinis pan and made 20 cakes. And had them for dinner now with my two young’uns, daughters, 2 and 5.

    More eggs… that is the answer to most dietary problems 😉

    Michael wrote on December 7th, 2009
  23. Hello! Newbie here! Tried this recipe today. I didn’t have any bananas so I used a boiled yam that was in the frig. Added some cinnamon and nutmeg. Tasted pretty good. My son didn’t like it though only because he doesn’t like yams.

    Pamela wrote on December 7th, 2009
  24. I just tried them and I used double the almond butter (purchased from TJs) and it tasted great – fluffy and perfect sweetness. I cheated an used real maple syrup though, but they taste great plain

    a-dawg wrote on December 8th, 2009
  25. Why only one egg?

    Lisa wrote on December 13th, 2009
  26. Thank you for the recipe. I have had trouble adjusting to eating paleo, but this will be great post-workout.

    Josiah wrote on December 14th, 2009
  27. I think this recipe needs at least two eggs. First attempt didn’t work so well. They fell apart too easily. Any other suggestions?

    Lars wrote on December 15th, 2009
    • make a flour out of flaxseed and chopped nuts. this will help hold everything together.

      Doug wrote on December 15th, 2009
  28. I tried these with just one banana and they’re great – make about two nicely-sized pancakes. However, I wanted to try something lower-carb and came up with something that, to me, is even tastier and fluffier with way fewer calories (more room for bacon!). Doug alluded to a similar modification up above.

    Try making these with two heaping tablespoons of pumpkin (canned) and a small touch of stevia (I used one packet, should be equivalent to about a teaspoon of the powder). So:

    Two tablespoons almond butter
    One egg
    Two big heaping tablespoons of pumpkin
    A touch of stevia for sweetness (use whatever sweetener you prefer)

    I also add a little bit of sea salt, cinnamon, and vanilla extract, all to taste.

    I also make a topping of 1/2 cup (or more) frozen blueberries, 2 teaspoons butter, and 1 teaspoon honey all melted together at low heat. Add a couple shakes of salt from a salt shaker to make it even better.

    This has been my breakfast of choice for the last week or so.

    I hope this helps some of the folks who are looking for something lower-carb!

    Clay wrote on December 17th, 2009
    • Thank you Clay, I’m gonna try your pumpkin variation tomorrow! I’m still trying to kick my sugar addiction so this should be a good low carb treat 😀

      Robin wrote on August 20th, 2011
    • Clay !

      Thank you for sharing this. They were DELICIOUS. I made a fresh blueberry compote as well. Tons of protein and fat to start the day off right ! :)

      Jes wrote on February 16th, 2012
  29. Waiting for my bananas to ripen up exactly for this recipe. Hoping the almond butter makes it til then hahaha.

    RogerDeRok wrote on December 21st, 2009
  30. Will be making these tonight for our traditional annual Christmas Eve pancake dinner. Looking forward to it.

    Heath wrote on December 24th, 2009
  31. Just made these…kind of messed up the first two…but with a little trial and error…the others turned out great.

    Phil-SC wrote on December 27th, 2009
  32. These are excellent! I went with an extra egg and some cinnamon and ground cloves. I like them with butter, or with a little pureed berry “syrup” (any combination of berries blended with a little water; sometimes a few kale leaves thrown in too).

    My nephews and mother loved them as well, and they all subsist on high-carb grain-based diets.

    Lauren wrote on December 31st, 2009
  33. These sound great – but I can’t keep egg yolks down. Do you think egg whites would work instead?

    Mary wrote on January 4th, 2010
    • Definitely. I used egg whites in these (I had a carton about to expire) and they were fine. A little more delicate than if you had the binding-power of the yolk but still delicious and fluffy.

      Amy wrote on April 22nd, 2010
  34. The best recipe I have tried in years! I read the “too much carb” comments with mixed feelings. I understand for those that are diabetic, or are trying to lose weight these might be a little high on the GI scale. And I do realize that the PB diet is very low carb centric. However, there are a lot of us PBers who are more focused on the no grains/processed food aspects for whom this is a perfect occasional treat. BTW on the John Stewart show last night he interviewed an author who stated that the average American gets 20% of their calories from HFCS and eats 240lbs of sugar a year! Sure puts eating the odd banana from time to time into perspective!

    Paolo wrote on January 5th, 2010
  35. Does anybody know a good alternative to almond flour? I’m allergic to all nuts including coconut. Thanks

    Z wrote on January 6th, 2010
    • Bummer!

      You might have to go for flax meal or maybe settle for some other gluten free or sprouted flour. Check out the local health food store or Bob’s Red Mill website for alternatives.

      Grok wrote on January 6th, 2010
    • Just starting to read through this site, so please excuse the fact that this a response 6 months after the questions, hehe :)

      I have a friend who is allergic to all nuts (though I don’t know about coconuts) and he uses sunflower seed butter. We have it in Andronico’s here… which makes me assume it would be in a store like Whole Foods as well. Hope that helps!

      danielle wrote on June 10th, 2010

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