Table of Contents
- Why this recipe works.
- Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.
- Here’s how to make this recipe.
- These pro tips will make this recipe a success.
- Frequently asked questions about this recipe.
- You'll love these other dessert recipes.
- Watch how to make this recipe.
- Have I convinced you to make this recipe?
- Banana Bars Recipe
If you have too many bananas and want a quick and simple dessert, banana bars are the perfect treat to bake. Unlike banana bread, the bar form has a delicious cream cheese frosting that makes each bite sweet with a banana-forward undertone. Plus, this recipe adds chocolate chips, which is the perfect addition for a pop of decadence. You’ll love them!
Why this recipe works.
Bananas are the secret weapon in the kitchen. Mashed bananas are the beginning of pancakes, bread, and these bars. The key is to start with ripe bananas. The riper they are, the more natural sugar they have. The best flavor will come from bananas with a lot of brown compared to yellow. After mashing the bananas, the bars are simple. Sugar, butter, eggs, flour, and mashed bananas are mixed together and poured into the pan. Chocolate chips are optional, but there’s no reason to leave them out. Once baked, the pockets of chocolate mixed with the sweet banana are irresistible. Cream cheese frosting is the slightly tangy balance the bars need. The soft interior nearly melts in your mouth, bursting with banana flavor.
Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.
- Brown sugar adds a caramel-like flavor that complements the bananas
- Bananas should be ripe with numerous brown spots to show they are ready to use in baking. If you’re looking for more recipes using bananas, try my classic banana bread or ultimate banana bread.
- Vanilla extract is in most baked goods, but in particular, vanilla extract is necessary for these banana bars to strengthen the banana flavor.
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips give a texture and flavor to the bar. The semi-sweet flavor balances the sweet banana with slightly bitter chocolate.
- Cream cheese is the base of the frosting and offers a sweet-tangy frosting that gives more than just sweet notes.
Here’s how to make this recipe.
- Mix together the dry ingredients. In a large bowl, add the brown sugar, white sugar, and butter. Using a stand mixer, hand mixer, or even by hand, mix together these three ingredients until the butter is worked into the sugars. Once mixed, add the egg, vanilla extract, and mashed bananas. Mix everything together to break up the egg and bananas.
- Mix in the dry ingredients. To the bowl with the wet ingredients, add the all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix everything together, turning the hand mixer on slowly to prevent the flour from creating a mess. When a few streaks of flour remain, add in the chocolate chips and finish mixing by hand.
- Spread the batter in the pan. Add the batter to a buttered bar pan. Using an offset spatula, spread the batter out to an even layer, pushing it out to the corners of the pan.
- Bake the bars. Place the pan in the preheated 350°F oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the batter is golden on top and the edges pull away slightly from the edges of the pan. Once baked, remove the bars from the oven and let them cool completely before spreading on the frosting.
- Prepare the frosting. In a bowl, combine the room-temperature cream cheese and butter. Using a hand mixer, mix the two together until combined. Then add in the vanilla extract and powdered sugar, making sure to sift the sugar. Turn the mixer on a low speed so that the powdered sugar is contained. Mix together the frosting ingredients until well combined. Give the frosting a final mix by hand, then dollop the frosting on the cooled baked bars. Spread the frosting to an even layer, covering the entire pan. Serve immediately.
These pro tips will make this recipe a success.
- A hand mixer is a perfect appliance to use to mix together this banana bars batter. The mixture can be mixed by hand, but it can take some work to get everything to the correct texture. A stand mixer will also work but may be a bit too much power. A hand mixer is pretty much perfect.
- When choosing bananas, opt for ones that have a browner exterior. This means that the banana is riper and will have even more sugar content, leading to a better-tasting bar.
- Err on the side of under-mixing the batter rather than mixing too much. When a batter is over-mixed, it can become tough with a texture that’s less than desirable.
- While it may be an extra step, it’s best to sift the powdered sugar before adding it to the frosting. The lumps that exist in powdered sugar do not easily work out simply through mixing and may show in the frosting. Sifting ensures a creamy, luscious cream cheese frosting.
Frequently asked questions about this recipe.
Yes, this can be baked in a 9×13 baking dish, but the bars will become more like a cake. The baking time must be adjusted since it will take longer and be thicker.
No, the chocolate chips can be omitted. They can also be adjusted to personal preferences or supplemented with toasted and chopped nuts.
Yes. Once fully baked, cooled, and frosted, the bars can be cut and stored in airtight containers in the freezer. When frozen, they’ll last for 6 to 8 months.
Watch how to make this recipe.
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For the bars
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ¾ cup white granulated sugar
- ¾ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup mashed banana
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
For the frosting
- 8 oz cream cheese room temperature
- ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups powdered sugar
For the bars
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 10×15" (also known as a jelly roll pan) sheet pan and set it aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, white granulated sugar, and butter. Using a stand mixer, hand mixer, or whisk, cream the mixture until it is light and fluffy, 3 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla extract, and mashed banana. Beat the mixture until it is combined. The mixture may look curdled.½ cup light brown sugar, ¾ cup white granulated sugar, ¾ cup unsalted butter, 1 large egg, 1 cup mashed banana, 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix until the dry ingredients are just combined, but do not over-mix. Fold the chocolate chips into the batter.2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 tsp baking powder, ½ tsp kosher salt, 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Pour the batter into the prepared sheet pan and place in the preheated oven. Bake until the bars are golden and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean, 30-40 minutes. Let cool completely before icing.
- Once the bars are cooled, spread on the icing, covering the bars completely. Slice and serve.
For the frosting
- Beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract, salt, and sifted powdered sugar. Slowly mix in the sugar until it is smooth. Add more sugar to thicken or milk to thin the frosting.8 oz cream cheese, ½ cup unsalted butter, ¼ tsp kosher salt, 2 cups powdered sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract