Banana Bread Bars

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!

If you love the moist, sweet flavor of banana try my Award Winning Banana Bread or Banana Bread Crumb Cake. Be sure to follow the Recipe Critic for other latest and greatest recipes, by liking us on Facebook or following us on Pinterest!

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!

Ingredients:

  • 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.

Frosting

  • 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!

  1. Prep: Heat oven to 375F. Grease and flour 15×10-inch jelly roll pan.
  2. 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.)
  3. Cook bars: Spread batter evenly into pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
  4. 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).
  5. 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

Variations:

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:

Banana Bread Bars

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Author Alyssa Rivers
Servings 24 slices
Course Dessert, Side Dish
Cuisine American

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. Spread batter evenly into pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).

Recipe Video

Nutrition Facts
Banana Bread Bars
Amount Per Serving
Calories 374 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Fat 14g22%
Saturated Fat 7g35%
Cholesterol 40mg13%
Sodium 202mg8%
Potassium 64mg2%
Carbohydrates 60g20%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 44g49%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 331IU7%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 25mg3%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

Alyssa Rivers

I am Alyssa and the blogger behind The Recipe Critic. I started my blog in June of 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family.

Read More Posts by Alyssa

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Categories
Cookies and Treats

Comments

Leave a reply
  1. I can’t wait to make these banana bars! My question is if you changed the pan to a 9×13 what is the exact amount of cooking time??

    1. I use a 9 x 13 pan each time I a make them and I find that they still cook about the same amount of time. It tends to be towards the actual maximum time. For reference I am using a glass pan.

  2. I made these bars this afternoon. My family is bugging my to hurry up and cut them!! I tweaked the recipe a bit, I substituted Almond Milt for the regular and added an extra TBLS milk since I’m lactose intolerant. Oh I still plan on taking my Lactaid before I bite into them, but the frosting is so good.

  3. Ok help I made these this morning but it was a fail. Yes the frosting is great but I have issue with. Your bananas —-
    Is it 1 3/4 cups of mashed banana or Is it One & 3/4 of a banana mashed. Then you say 3-4 bananas. Confused.
    I put 1 3/4 cups of mashed banana and I have a flat bar with not enough flour mixture looks like a cake that had risen and then went flat and lost its air. Taste is good but need to understand how much banana?? I was going to give away to a teacher but not these

  4. I hardly ever bake, but your recipe really interested me.. Not to “beat a dead horse”,but maybe for the last time, how much butter goes into the bars and how much butter goes into the frosting! I know you said you had adjusted it,but… just to make it perfectly clear.. SOOO, the recipe says 1/2 cup of softened butter for the bars and 1/2 cup butter for the frosting..is that your final answer??(ha, ha)..Thanks so much!!

  5. I am really looking forward to trying this recipe. I have made banana bread for years, typically using a great great aunt’s recipe. My question, possibly a dumb one, is did you add the extra Tablespoon of butter to the bread recipe or the frosting? I only ask because the recipe you give is a little different than my family’s old one, not that it is a bad thing-of course.

  6. Ok I’m going to critique your critiques I followed your suggestion and used a 13 x 9 pan but you didn’t recommend lowering the temperature or baking longer since they are now thincjer. I adjusted the temp to 350 and baked 10 min longer because they were browning quickly on the sides. Hopefully this works out

  7. I made this today. The brown butter icing is sooooo good!
    I forgot the nuts n the batter so I added them To the icing instead

  8. Made the banana bread bars tonight…yum!! Thank you! Used a rounded casserole dish so had to cook it longer. No problem! Moist and cakelike. Had some leftover maple whiskey frosting in my freezer and used that and half the brown butter frosting together (I didn’t have enough powdered sugar to make the whole batch), slathered it on and it was to die for good! Had two pieces! 🙂

  9. I made it for my wife and replaced the nuts with chocolate chips because I know what my wife likes! She absolutely loved it!

  10. This is why I don’t go to Allrecipes anymore, I have had many failures. These look moist and delicious. I just used up my over ripe bananas making, and canning, banana jam. But, I’m going back to the store just to make these! Thanks!

  11. Scrolling through the comments and seeing that I am not the only one that found this recipe and the comments confusing! So many people asking about the additional butter. It seems like you modified the ingredients in the recipe but did not change the recommended pan size or bake time. The bars look and sound yummy but am I correct that the correct amounts of butter are 1/2 cup in the batter and 1/2 cup in the frosting but the correct baking instructions are 30-13 minutes in a 9×13 pan?

  12. I made them in a 9×13 pan but they turned out doughy and heavy. Too much mixing. I’ll stick to one minute next time!

    1. A jelly roll pan I like a sheet pan but smaller than a cookie sheet. Yes, the icing will take 4 cups of powdered sugar. You are welcome to adjust to your needs if you are wanting more or less frosting.

  13. I made this today using the 10X15 pan and everything turned out perfectly. Baked it for 20 minutes just as the sides slightly began to pull away from the side of the pan. I only had 2 bananas so I added some natural peanut butter( maybe a heavy half of a cup). The browned butter frosting is amazing. The banana and peanut butter together compliment each other nicely. My husband who is so sensible never has 2 helpings of a desert had 2 large pieces. Thank his is a keeper for sure. Thank you for sharing.
    Kindly
    Colleen

  14. I have made these before and my family loves them. I had over ripe bananas and decided to make it again. I didn’t have any sour cream so I used strawberry yogurt. Actually tasted really good!

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