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Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Moist banana bars are studded with walnuts or pecans and topped with a tangy cream cheese frosting for a dessert that’s sure to please.

Three pieces of frosted banana bars arranged next to a fork on a stoneware plate.

I love bananas but I can never seem to use them up before they are way too speckled to eat with my morning Cheerios. 

Luckily, that almost always gives me an excuse to bake up something delicious with them!

From strawberry banana muffins to banana cupcakes to banana coffee cake, I’ve got you covered if you also always struggle with a never-ending supply of overly ripe bananas.

And today we’re adding these banana bars with cream cheese frosting to that list!

Hand holding a frosted banana bar up to the camera; the pan of sliced bars is visible in the background.

Perfect Banana Bars with Tangy Cream Cheese Frosting

This is such a weird time of year. We’re done with the holidays and all of the classic ingredients that come with them like cranberries and peppermint, but spring produce hasn’t popped up yet either.

This is the time of year when I lean really heavily into citrus recipes and ingredients like bananas. You know – stuff I can get any time of year, but help me bridge the gap between winter and spring. 

These banana bars with cream cheese frosting are one of the recipes I turn to this time of year.

These bars are moist with just the right amount of sweetness. They’re studded with nuts – I typically use walnuts, but pecans are amazing here, too – and finished with a tangy, luscious cream cheese frosting

Plus, they are a perfect dessert for feeding a crowd or sharing with friends and neighbors because you can cut them into any size pieces you want. 

If you’re a fan of banana nut bread, you’ll adore these banana bars!  

Fork cutting the corner from a slice of banana bar on a stoneware plate.

How to Make Banana Bars

These banana bars are easy to make, so they’re a great option when you need a last-minute dessert for a party or gathering.

Ingredients you’ll need

If you’ve got ripe bananas on hand but not enough to make Dominique Ansel’s banana bread, this is a great option because you only need 2 bananas. 

For the bars, you will need:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (from about 2 medium bananas)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Banana bar ingredients arranged on a light-colored countertop.

The bars get finished with a rich cream cheese frosting. For the frosting, you will need:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup softened unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

I typically spread the cream cheese frosting over the banana bars, but you can choose to pipe it on for a pretty look if you want. If you go that route, you may want to double the frosting since piping uses more than spreading it on will.

Bowl of cream cheese frosting next to a pan of cooled banana bars.

Helpful resources

Making this recipe

In order to get the perfect thickness to these banana bars, we will use a jelly roll pan, which measures about 15x10x1 inches. Line the pan with parchment paper and spray it with nonstick spray to prep it.

To make the batter for the banana bars, cream together the butter and sugars in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or with an electric hand mixer. This will take about 3 minutes to do.

Add the eggs one at a time, then mix in the sour cream and vanilla until well combined.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix just until combined. Stir in the mashed bananas and the chopped nuts until fully incorporated.

Spread the batter evenly into the prepared jelly roll pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the bars cool completely before topping with the frosting.

While the bars cool, make the cream cheese frosting.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or an electric hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and the butter on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes, then add the vanilla.

Turn the mixer to low and gradually add the powdered sugar. Once that is fully incorporated, turn the mixer back to medium-high speed and beat until the frosting is fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. 

Bowl of cream cheese frosting next to a pan of cooled banana bars.

Spread the frosting onto the cooled banana bars, slice, and enjoy!

Storage Tips

Store the banana bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. 

You can also freeze the bars. Place the sliced bars onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and place the entire baking sheet in the freezer.

After 1-2 hours, or when the bars and frosting are firm, wrap them in plastic wrap and store them in a zip-top freezer bag for up to a month.

Let the banana bars thaw in the refrigerator overnight before enjoying.

Sliced pan of banana bars topped with cream cheese frosting.

Recipe FAQs

Can I make these banana bars in a 9×13-inch pan?

I know not everyone has a jelly roll pan, although it is useful to have on hand for making pumpkin rolls or chocolate chip cookie bars

But if you want to make these banana bars and don’t have a jelly roll pan, you can make them in a 9×13-inch pan instead. Keep in mind that they will be thicker – more like my moist banana cake – and will need to bake longer.

I don’t like cream cheese frosting. What else can I use instead?

There are still plenty of ways you can enjoy these banana bars even without the cream cheese frosting! My brown butter frosting would be delicious on these, as would classic homemade buttercream frosting.

Can I use yogurt instead of sour cream in the bars?

If you don’t like baking with sour cream or you don’t have any on hand, yogurt will work just fine in this recipe. I typically like to bake with full-fat greek yogurt.

Two banana bars on a stoneware plate. One of the bars is propped up against the other.
Two banana bars topped with cream cheese frosting on a stoneware plate.

Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Moist banana bars are studded with walnuts or pecans and topped with a tangy cream cheese frosting for a dessert that’s sure to please.
4.50 from 2 votes
Print Pin
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Cooling Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 20

Ingredients 

  • ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup mashed bananas from about 2 medium bananas
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

For the Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter softened
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 ¾ cups confectioners’ sugar sifted

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 15x10x1-inch baking pan (jelly roll pan) with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy; about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time to the creamed mixture. Mix in sour cream and vanilla until fully incorporated into the batter.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter and sugar mixture and mix until combined. Stir in bananas and walnuts or pecans until they are fully incorporated into the batter.
  • Evenly spread batter into prepared pan. Bake in preheated over for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bars comes out clean. Remove pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • While the bars are cooling, prepare the cream cheese frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes. Mix in the vanilla. With the mixer on low, gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar and mix until fully combined. Turn mixer up to medium-high speed and beat until super fluffy; about 3-4 minutes. Use an offset spatula to frost the bars or pipe the frosting onto the bars (see note below).

Notes

If you choose to pipe the frosting, you may need to double the frosting recipe as this technique uses more frosting than simply spreading it onto the bars.
Refrigerate bars in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1bar | Calories: 285kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 53mg | Sodium: 175mg | Potassium: 126mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 469IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 1mg
The default measuring system on My Baking Addiction is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided as a courtesy; please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.
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Recipe Rating




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Sandy

Saturday 1st of August 2020

Is it possible to halve this recipe? Is so what size pan should I use?

Jamie

Sunday 9th of August 2020

Hello! I haven't attempted halving this recipe, so I am not sure of the result. If you happen to give it a try, I'd love to know how they turned out. Thanks so much for stopping by. -Jamie

glee

Sunday 19th of February 2017

..i like to try this one..can i bake it in a microwave oven?? tnx

Jamie

Sunday 19th of February 2017

Hi, Glee!I wouldn't recommend using a microwave for this recipe. A toaster oven would probably work, though. Let me know if I can help with anything else!

Haley

Tuesday 6th of May 2014

Mmmmm. I love banana anything and need to change up from my usual banana bread recipe - I'm in to these!

Indre @ cupcakesnmiracles

Monday 5th of May 2014

I just love this idea! How fat must be sour cream? We have variety from 12% to 40%.

Jamie Lothridge

Monday 5th of May 2014

Indre, any level of fat should work okay. - Jamie

Suzanne

Saturday 3rd of May 2014

In the ingredients, you put baking soda but in the recipe you put baking powder. Can you please clarify? I'm literally making it right now. It looks SO good! Thanks!!

Jamie

Sunday 4th of May 2014

Suzanne- Thanks for catching the typo - it's definitely baking soda. :) It's been fixed. -Jamie

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