Banana bread bars are moist and flavorful and land somewhere between a cake and a bread with the most amazing brown butter frosting on top! Great for breakfast or an afternoon treat with a cup of coffee, both the texture and flavor are crave-worthy!
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Banana Bread Bars
Well friends, I have found another great recipe for those over-ripe bananas! If you are like me, you do your best to get your kids to eat healthy, but many times in my house, a little brown spot on a banana is enough to keep my kids from eating it. Well, now those seemingly over ripe bananas have a great use!
This banana bread bar recipe is so delicious and filling and best of all easy to make! My kids love helping me mash the bananas! In just a little over 30 minutes, I have a full 9 x 13 pan of banana bread bars that I can cut into servings that are ready to go for busy weekdays. I love having them on hand to grab and eat on the way out the door in the mornings.
The moist, dense texture of the banana bread bar is both hearty and satisfying and the brown butter frosting is the most amazing frosting I have ever had! Somewhere between a glaze and a frosting, it is the perfect amount of sweetness that is not overpowering. This recipe is too good not to try, so stop what you are doing and go preheat your oven for this winning banana bread!
- Sugar: Adds sweetness
- Sour cream: Adds moisture without thinning the batter, adds fat for creaminess, and activates the baking soda.
- Butter: Allow to soften to room temperature on the counter while you are prepping so that it will mix in easier.
- Eggs: Stability and structure
- Bananas: Make sure the bananas are ripe by using bananas that are at least spotted or a dark brown or black color. Mash them up with a fork or a mixer.
- Vanilla extract: Brings out the flavor of the banana and add its own rich flavor.
- All purpose flour: Thickens and adds the base of the bread bars
- Baking soda: This helps the bread rise as it is baking.
- Salt: Just a pinch
- Optional: Chopped walnuts or pecans.
- Butter: The butter makes this frosting rich and smooth.
- Powdered sugar: Adds sweetness without being grainy.
- Vanilla extract: The great flavor you would expect from any great glaze.
- Milk: Thins the frosting to keep it somewhere between a regular frosting and a glaze.
Let’s Make Banana Bread Bars!
- Prep: Heat oven to 375F. Grease and flour 15×10-inch jelly roll pan.
- Make batter: In a large bowl, beat together sugar, sour cream, butter, and eggs until creamy. Blend in bananas and vanilla extract. Add flour, baking soda, salt, and blend for 1 minute. (Stir in nuts here if using.)
- Cook bars: Spread batter evenly into pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
- Make frosting: While your bars are baking, heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until boiling. Let the butter turn a delicate brown and remove from heat immediately. Add powdered sugar, vanilla extract and milk. Whisk together until smooth (it should be thicker than a glaze but thinner than frosting).
- Frost the bread bars: Using a spatula, spread the brown butter frosting over the warm bars (the frosting will be easier to spread while the bars are still warm).
Recipe Adapted From: All Recipes
Whether you are out of an ingredient or have a food sensitivity, there will be times where swapping ingredients is necessary. (Options shown below). What I would definitely not change is the 9 x 13 pan. I tried this recipe in other pans, but I find that it works best using that pan.
- Applesauce: Replace the butter in these banana bars with unsweetened applesauce by using half of the amount of applesauce as the amount of butter called for in the recipe. Or even use it as an egg substitute. Use a quarter cup of unsweetened applesauce in place of one egg. (Optional: Mix the applesauce with half a teaspoon of baking powder). If all you have on hand is sweetened applesauce, then cut down on the amount of sugar you add in.
- Vegetable Oil: You can substitute 3/4 cup of vegetable oil for every 1 cup of butter called for.
- Yogurt: Swap out the sour cream for yogurt. The yogurt will add moisture to this banana bread. In fact, you can use the two interchangeably in most baking recipes.
- Nuts: 3/4 cup of chopped nuts give a great toasty crunch to each bite of bread. Not to mention the nutrients they will add. I like to use walnuts or pecans.
- Brown Sugar: Use brown sugar instead of white sugar for a richer taste.
Moist Banana Bread Bars:
We all want our banana bread to be moist and flavorful, but not wet in the middle or gooey. Here are my tips to ensure your bread has that soft even texture you are looking for.
- Mash the bananas well: Using a fork to mash the bananas works great, but if you are having trouble getting a good mash try beating with a mixer after you have mashed them with a fork. Gradually increase from low speed to medium-high speed as the bananas break down further. This will keep the texture more even and avoid over moist areas in your bread.
- Perfect batter: Do not over mix the batter, simply stir all ingredients together until incorporated. Otherwise it will turn out too dense and rubbery. Also, avoid the urge to add extra bananas, or more liquid if you feel it is too thick.
How to Store Banana Bread Bars:
As I mentioned, I love to make these on the weekend with my kids and have them ready to grab during the week for a quick snack or breakfast. To be sure they are fresh and tasty for days, I have learned some great ways to store my bread bars.
- Wrap well: I prefer using plastic wrap, but storing in Aluminium foil, or an airtight container would also work to keep the bread bars from drying out or spoiling too quickly.
- Refrigerate: To extend the life of your banana bread by up to about a week, refrigerate it after wrapping tightly.
- Freeze: I like to keep some bread on hand in the freezer for unexpected overnight company. It will freeze well for up to 3 months. Use freezer wrap or a heavy freezer bag. I like to freeze mine in slices for easier thawing.
- Cool it! Allow your bread cool completely before storing it to prevent mold from developing faster due to the condensation of the warm bread. Take out of the pan immediately after cooking and turn upside down on a cooling rack so that the bottom does not become too moist.
More Sweet Breakfast Bread Recipes to try:
- Cinnamon Apple Bread
- Cherry Almond Bread
- Blueberry Banana Bread
- Cinnamon Swirl Cream Cheese Banana Bread
- Lemon Almond Poppyseed Quickbread
Banana Bread Bars
- 1-1/2 c. sugar
- 1 c. sour cream
- 1/2 c. butter softened
- 2 eggs
- 1-3/4 3 or 4 ripe bananas, mashed (I used 4 bananas)
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 c. all purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 c. chopped walnuts optional
Brown Butter Frosting:
- 1/2 c. butter
- 4 c. powdered sugar
- 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp. milk
- Heat oven to 375F. Grease and flour 15x10-inch jelly roll pan. For the bars, in a large bowl, beat together sugar, sour cream, butter, and eggs until creamy. Blend in bananas and vanilla extract. Add flour, baking soda, salt, and blend for 1 minute. Stir in walnuts.
- Spread batter evenly into pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
- Meanwhile, for frosting, heat butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until boiling. Let the butter turn a delicate brown and remove from heat immediately.
- Add powdered sugar, vanilla extract and milk. Whisk together until smooth (it should be thicker than a glaze but thinner than frosting). Using a spatula, spread the brown butter frosting over the warm bars (the frosting will be easier to spread while the bars are still warm).