Rich and moist, these Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting are an indulgent way to use up your overripe bananas! They are a step above banana bread for a decadent but easy banana dessert.
I love these easy banana bars because they’re one of the few baked recipes with bananas where the main focus is…banana. Too often we combine banana with ingredients that take over and you lose the true banana flavor. In this recipe, the bananas are the star.
When you’re working with a subtle flavor like banana and you want to keep the focus on it, it’s important to work with flavors that compliment rather than over-power. In this case, we’re using minimal spices in the bars and pairing it with a rich, creamy icing with just a hint of cinnamon.
The end result is an easy banana dessert that takes like a true indulgence! They taste similar to a light and fluffy banana cake or banana bread.
If you can keep these in your home for longer than a few hours, these do store well in both the fridge and freezer. In fact, I think the cream cheese frosting is even better when it’s been included! The texture changes to something similar to a gooey fudge brownie, making these feel even more decadent.
What You’ll Need
There are two parts to this recipe – the bars and the frosting. I’ve split the ingredients up based on which part of the recipe you need them for.
For the Banana Bars
- All-purpose flour – I haven’t tried these with any other types of flour.
- Baking soda – Works as the leavening agent.
- Kosher salt – Just a pinch.
- Butter – Unsalted is best.
- Granulated sugar – Adds a bit of sweetness to the bars.
- Large eggs – Allow them to come to room temperature before using.
- Vanilla Greek yogurt – Helps the bars stay moist and adds a bit of protein.
- Vanilla extract – Just a splash for flavor.
- Mashed ripe bananas – 3 medium ripe bananas is the perfect amount.
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
- Cream cheese – Regular or low-fat cream cheese both work.
- Butter – Allow it to soften before using adding to avoid clumps in the frosting.
- Powdered sugar – Creates the sweet, smooth texture.
- Vanilla extract – A splash for extra flavor.
- Ground cinnamon – Optional but adds a tasty warm flavor.
- Heavy cream – Fluffs up the icing.
How to Make Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting
Making this tasty dessert is so easy. The hands-on time is just a few minutes, though you will need a few hours to let them cool before adding the frosting.
- Prepare oven and baking dish. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat the pan with baking spray.
- Mix dry ingredients. Whisk flour, baking soda and salt together.
- Mix wet ingredients. Cream butter and sugar for 2-3 minutes, until smooth. Beat in eggs. Add yogurt and vanilla. Stir until combined.
- Combine wet and dry ingredients. Mix until blended.
- Add banana. Fold in the mashed banana until just combined.
- Bake and cool. Transfer to the baking pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire wrack.
- Make the cream cheese frosting. Beat cream cheese and butter until well combined. Add powdered sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. Then add heavy cream and beat 2 minutes, until fluffy.
- Frost and serve. Frost the banana bars, cut into squares and serve.
Tips for Success
Ready to make the best banana bars? These easy tips will help you!
- Ripen your unripe bananas. If you don’t have any ripe bananas, you can speed up the process by baking or microwaving your bananas. You bake them at 300 degrees for 15 minutes or until the skin is black or microwave for 10 second intervals until it’s the appropriate texture,
- Thaw frozen bananas. If you’re using ripe bananas you’ve kept in the freezer, allow them to thaw before using in this recipe. Don’t worry if they don’t look super appealing – bananas that have been frozen never look great but always taste good!
- Make sure frosting ingredients are room temperature. The butter and cream cheese should be completely softened before mixing. Otherwise, the icing may end up with lumps.
- Make bars in advance and add the frosting later. The banana bars can be made in advance and left to sit on the counter or in the fridge for a day or so, until ready to serve. Add the frosting as close to serving time as possible.
I think it’s easiest to serve these straight from the pan and if I’m taking them anywhere, I just take them in the pan. Toothpicks can be used to stop the plastic wrap from falling on the frosting.
Sometimes I top these with a few slices of fresh banana before serving. You can also top them with chopped walnuts, caramel sauce, chocolate chips or even berries.
I think these are even better when they’re cold, so I often pop them in the fridge for a few hours before serving, if I have the time.
How to Store Leftovers
Unfrosted banana bars can sit at room temperature for up to 3 days. Once you add the cream cheese icing, however, they need to go in the fridge.
These will store in the fridge for at least 4 days. Be sure to cover them with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, or move them to an airtight container.
Can I Freeze Banana Bars?
You can freeze these frosted or unfrosted. Either way, allow them to cool completely and then wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Place in an airtight container in the freezer. Allow to thaw before enjoying. They will last up to 3 months in the freezer.
More Easy Banana Recipes:
- Best Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
- Peanut Butter Banana Waffles
- Banana Blueberry Oatmeal Cups
- Chocolate Chunk Strawberry Banana Bread
- Blueberry Banana Bread
Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting
For the Banana Bars
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas, (about 3 medium bananas)
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened, (regular or low fat)
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 2-3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
Make the Banana Bars
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a 15-inch jelly rollpan with baking spray and set aside.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
- In a separate large bowl, cream butter and sugar until smooth, 2 to 3minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each. Add yogurt and vanilla, stirring until combined.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing until blended.
- Fold in the mashed banana until just combined.
- Transfer to the prepared baking pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the bars to cool in the pan on a wire rack.
Make the Cream Cheese Frosting
- In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until well combined and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Add powdered sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon (if using), blending until smooth. Add heavy cream and beat another 2 minutes until fluffy.
- Frost bars, slice into squares, and serve.