Banana Bars are way underrated and always the first dish gone when I take them anywhere. They fluffy, moist cake (not too sweet, not too plain) with cream cheese frosting cannot be beat. This banana bars recipe is the ultimate recipe. I'd say even better than our banana bread recipe because #frosting.
Why You Will LOVE These Banana Bars
I've tried all the top rated recipes on google and Pinterest. I love banana bars that much. Some were too flat, some too dense, some just blah. It's been a disappointing journey! So I decided I needed to make my own recipe. Thick, fluffy banana bars with the ultimate cream cheese PLUS if you want gluten-free banana bars, I can tell you how to make those with this recipe too!
What Are Banana Bars?
They are similar to most banana sweet breads and desserts. A light sweet bread but baked in a half sheet cake pan and topped with frosting. When Banana is added to the batter it helps to sweeten the cake and add moisture but doesn't carry a strong banana flavor. The result is still a thick, fluffy cake with a sweet buttery flavor. Topped with a cream cheese frosting the pair is to die for.
What Do I Need For Banana Bars?
- Over-ripe bananas- over ripe bananas (banans a little squishy with brown spots) are best because they are sweeter! The starches have started to convert to sugar making them amazing for baking.
- Buttermilk- if you don have this its ok! I Make mine from home 99% of the time. You will just need milk and lemon juice.
How to Make Banana Bars
Step 1: Start mashing your bananas.
Step 2: Make your buttermilk if you are making your own.
Mix 1 ½ tablespoon of lemon juice with 1 ½ cup milk. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Since it needs to sit for about 5 minutes I like to do this as one of the first steps while I mix the other ingredients. You can also use half and half or heavy cream if in a pinch.
Step 3: Mix your dry ingredients
Mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, and powder. You do this step to make sure the rising agents are incorporated evenly throughout the batter.
Step 4: Mix together wet ingredients
Beat your butter, add in eggs and buttermilk.
Alternate adding bananas and dry ingredients into wet ingredients.
Bake your Banana Bars
Place your banana bar batter into a half sheet pan or jelly roll pan. You'll bake for 350 for 20 minutes, or until it is golden on top.
PROTIP: I like to line mine with parchment paper and lightly spray the sides with cooking oil.
How to make Gluten-Free Banana Bars
I have made these banana bars gluten free many times. To make gluten-free banana bars substitute your regular flour for cup for cup flour. I have had the most success with the brand Cup-4-Cup Gluten-free flour.
You will notice with gluten-free flour the batter texture is more gluey than creamy smooth. That is 100% normal.
Banana Bars Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe
While your cake is bake and cooling you can make your frosting.
Step 1: Start by taking your cream cheese and butter and beating them. You will want to beat them for 2-3 minutes. If using your stand mixer use your paddle attachment.
Step 2: Slowly beat in your powder sugar, vanilla and milk.
Step 3: Beat the frosting for an additional 3-5 minutes until it is smooth and fluffy in texture.
Frost Your Banana Bars with your Cream Cheese Frosting
Once your bars have cooled smooth your frosting over the cake evenly.
Serve Your Banana Bars
Slice your cake into desired sized squares. Because these bars are so dang delicious and it's a one layer cake I definitely recommend larger squares than smaller ;)
Yes! You get the satisfying cake and frosting craving fulfilled without all the hassle of a complicated cake recipe. Not to mention the cake bakes and cools much faster than a large cake.
Yes! you can divide these bars up into smaller portions and they will go a long way! Plus they're sweet fruity cake flavor is one that everyone, even the pickiest eater, loves.
The bars can sit at room temp up to three days, in the fridge 5-7 days or freeze up to 3 months. I recommend storing in an air tight container.
Looking for other similar desserts? Try these Bars
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Banana Bars Recipe
- 3 cup flour
- 1 ½ cup sugar
- 1 ½ tsp. baking soda
- 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- 3 eggs
- ¾ cup butter
- 1 ½ cup buttermilk
- 4 large mashed bananas
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 cup butter room temp
- 4 oz cream cheese room temp
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1-2 tbsp milk as needed
- 6 cups powder sugar
- Mix together dry ingredients
- In a separate bowl mix wet ingredients, omitting bananas.
- While mixing alternate adding in your dry ingredients and bananas to your wet ingredients.
- Bake at 350°F (180°C) for 20-25 min in a jelly roll or half sheet pan. Let cool before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- Cream together cream cheese and butter for about 2 minutes, until they are nice and fluffy.
- while mixing add in vanilla and powder sugar. If needed add in milk. Beat for 4-5 minutes after all ingredients are added and frosting will be nice and smooth.
- Frost cake when its cooled. Serve!