Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Putting leftover bananas to work in the most delicious way possible! Banana Bars are delicious on their own, but the Cream Cheese Frosting puts them RIGHT over the top.

I'm a sucker for a good banana dessert.

If a restaurant has a banana option on the dessert menu, done deal. Game over. That's what I'm getting. (Exception: If the restaurant is Italian, I'm ordering Tiramisu).

And if I have leftover bananas on hand, it's a done deal. I'm making Banana Bars with cream cheese frosting.

Putting leftover bananas to work in the most delicious way possible! Banana Cake is delicious on its own, and the Cream Cheese Frosting puts it RIGHT over the top.

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Whether you have bananas in the freezer waiting for their second act (I have a story about this which I'll come back to) or you have bananas on the counter that are sliding into darkness, this recipe is your solution.

"My friend asked me if I wanted a frozen banana, I said 'No, but I want a regular banana later, so ... yeah.' " -Mitch Hedberg

Putting leftover bananas to work in the most delicious way possible! Banana Cake is delicious on its own, and the Cream Cheese Frosting puts it RIGHT over the top.

Like many food bloggers, I often find myself in a situation where I have more food than mouths to feed. When this happens, I call friends who help alleviate the "burden." Desserts are especially problematic for me because I REALLY don't want to eat an entire cake in a day.

And it sounds crazy, and you think I'm exaggerating, but that's only because you've never seen me eat. I can out-eat you. Whoever you are, I am sure that I can eat more than you can. Just ask anyone.

Or better yet, let's have lunch.

But anyway, back to this cake. I never call anyone for help with this cake. It's just too good. I can't share it. Try it: You'll see why.

Putting leftover bananas to work in the most delicious way possible! Banana Cake is delicious on its own, and the Cream Cheese Frosting puts it RIGHT over the top.

Frozen Banana tangent: My sister Monica visited me right after I had my daughter, Charlotte, about a year ago. Along with cleaning my house, doing my laundry, holding my newborn, and playing with my son (I distinctly remember being extra lazy while she was around), she peeled all my browning bananas and put them in freezer bags for me. And labeled them. It was just such a thoughtful gesture.

Many thanks to my Aunt Tammy who generously shared her recipe with me! (I am also eternally in her debt for this delicious Cowboy Caviar recipe. Yes, same Aunt Tammy.)

5 from 5 votes

Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Putting leftover bananas to work in the most delicious way possible! Banana Bars are delicious on their own, but the Cream Cheese Frosting puts them RIGHT over the top.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword banana
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 24 servings
Calories 304kcal

For the bars:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter softened (1 stick)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 medium, see notes)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the frosting:

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese softened
  • 1/2 cup butter softened (1 stick)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the bars:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 15” x 10” x 1” pan (jelly roll pan) with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  • In an electric mixer fit with the paddle attachment, or with an electric hand mixer, beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  • Add eggs and beat until incorporated. Beat in banana and vanilla until incorporated. Gradually add flour mixture and mix until uniformly combined.
  • Pour into prepared pan and bake for until a toothpick inserted comes out clean with a few crumbs attached, about 25 minutes. Cool completely, at least 30 minutes.

To make the frosting:

  • In a standing mixer fit with the paddle attachment, or with an electric hand mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.
  • Gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat well. Spread evenly over cooled bars.

Recipe Notes

How to ripen bananas:
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. 
  2. Arrange unpeeled bananas on prepared baking sheet. Bake until banana skins are completely black all over, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Cool. Scoop banana pulp from peel and mash.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 304kcal

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  1. Irene

    This looks delicious! Should salted or unsalted butter be used? Thank you – can’t wait to try it.

    1. meggan

      Hi Irene! Technically you should probably use unsalted butter for everything because salt content varies by brand of butter. However, my mom (and all my friends and relatives in Wisconsin) don’t buy unsalted butter, ever. I’ve made it with both, it’s delicious with both. I honestly can’t tell the difference. There is a pinch of salt in the recipe, but it’s not going to taste salty if you use salted butter. I hope that helps! It’s a great question. Thank you. :)

  2. Ha! I LOVE that you can (probably) eat more than me, Meggan. Next time I out-eat everyone at the table, I’ll think of you!!
    The banana cake it stunning. Stunningly simple, too. I have a bit of a battle on my hands to get to the browning bananas before my husband throws them away (!!) but this is a great idea if ever i do have some bananas needing immediate usage!5 stars

    1. Sarah

      Bake bananas in the oven at 350 for 40 minutes! Line the pan you bake them in in case they leak!

  3. Banana bread AND Mitch Hedberg quote? Great blog! and photography :)

    1. meggan

      Ha ha ha! Thanks. :) Yeah that Mitch Hedberg quote is one of my favorites and I’ve just been WAITING to pull it out. Photography – thank you! I try very hard, the struggle is real, it doesn’t come naturally, all of that. It’s a lot of practice, I take several hundred photos per week and eventually I get better, very slowly! Always room for improvement! Thanks again. :)

  4. 1. I love banana bread! 2. I could eat cream cheese frosting out of the bowl. 3. I’ve never had the two together, but it sounds like the perfect pairing! 5 stars

  5. Agreed! I wouldn’t share either ;) 5 stars

  6. Valerie Klobuchar

    Can this be made ain a 9×13 pan?

    1. meggan

      Hi Valerie, I made this cake in a 9″ x 13″ pan today. It worked out great! I ended up baking it 50 minutes total at 350 degrees. The thing you have to watch for is making sure the center is set. I know that probably sounds obvious, but there were multiple times where I thought the cake was done but the center wasn’t. The top gets browned, but it tastes perfect. I actually left the frosting off today too, and it’s like a giant pan of really great banana bread! I’ll update the recipe to reflect this info. Thanks for the question!

    2. meggan

      Hi Valerie, yes. I have made it that way. But, I think I had to bake it longer, and I do not recall exactly what that bake time was. I will test it again though and post my results. You won’t have the 50/50 cake/frosting ratio though… for better or for worse! ;)

  7. Jeff

    What a great idea! Mine usually wait out until I get the urge to make banana bread, but this looks even better! Great recipe.

  8. Great use for bananas….plus it’s frosted….I would be one happy camper with a plate of these in front of me. ;)

  9. My son will really love this. It looks really simple and delicious :)

  10. Delicious! It’s not often you see a frosted banana treat – and I love frosted treats!

  11. Love the idea of banana bars! Nice that there are not a lot of other flavors in there, just banana. Sometimes bananas are just what I crave. Saved this recipe-yum!5 stars

  12. Aleksandra

    Sounds nice!5 stars

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