Table of Contents
  1. Why this recipe works.
  2. Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.
  3. Here’s how to make this recipe.
  4. These pro tips will make this recipe a success.
  5. Frequently asked questions about this recipe.
  6. You'll love these other dessert recipes.
  7. Watch how to make this recipe.
  8. Have I convinced you to make this recipe?
  9. 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.

Hand holding spatula holding up a square of chocolate chip banana bar with rest of banana bars still in pan below with bananas to the side.

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.
White marble surface filled with all ingredients needed to make banana bars including vanilla extract, bananas, brown sugar, white sugar, butter, egg, and more.

Here’s how to make this recipe.

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
Hand holding fork with bite-full of chocolate chip banana bar with piece of banana bar on white plate below.

Frequently asked questions about this recipe.

Can these bars be baked in a 9×13 baking dish?

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.

Do the chocolate chips have to be added?

No, the chocolate chips can be omitted. They can also be adjusted to personal preferences or supplemented with toasted and chopped nuts.

Can these banana bars be frozen once baked? What’s the best way to freeze them?

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.

Hand using offset spatula to spread cream cheese frosting over the top of pan of chocolate chip banana bars sitting on white marble surface.

Watch how to make this recipe.

More dessert recipes to try

Have I convinced you to make this recipe?

I hope you make this recipe and put some food on your table. Leave a comment and share a star rating so you can let others know how much you love this recipe. This helps show others that this is a recipe they, too, can make, enjoy, and love!

White plate with serving of banana bar with cream cheese frosting on top with rest of banana bars in background in metal baking pan.

Banana Bars

5 from 8 votes
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!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 15 servings

Ingredients

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

Instructions
 

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

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 471kcal
Course Bars
Cuisine American
Difficulty Intermediate
Method Baking

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Kaleb

I’m Kaleb! I'm not a chef, professional baker, landscaper, or designer, but I like to play each on Knollgate Farm. Come join me on my journey and let's learn together!

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10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Chocolate Chip Banana Bars
    Step 5
    Once the bars are cooled, “spread the on the icing”, covering the bars completely. Slice and serve.

    It is also this way on the recipe in the description of the YouTube video.

    Love your recipes and channels 🙂

  2. This is absolutely wonderful! Much better than making banana bread with ripe bananas! Will be adding this to my monthly church dessert!! Thanks Kaleb!

  3. I made your banana bars, but with a twist.
    Instead of chocolate chips I used raisins and dusted powdered sugar on top skipping your yummy, yet calorie loaded cream cheese topping!

  4. 5 stars
    Happiness is having a recipe like this. Your directions are beautifully put forward. Your pictures easy to follow. How can the end result not be perfect?? This banana bar recipe is a keeper and one to pass on ❤️

  5. 5 stars
    Just made these bars and followed your directions to the letter. They turned out great! They will certainly be made again.

  6. I would like to try this. But can I make this in advance like one day ahead? Can I put this outside at room temperature?

  7. 5 stars
    My mom (in Seattle) sent this recipe to me (a fellow Iowan) on a morning I just happened to have all ingredients on hand in perfect portion! (Seriously, our 3 brown bananas were exactly a cup and I had cream cheese and butter in exact measure in the fridge.) I got my exuberant 3.5 year old in on the action and his dad and 3 older brothers all loved the results! Sending some to work with my husband. Loved the tutorial video from Facebook. Blessings to you and yours!