The BEST Banana Bars

The BEST Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting is the perfect sweet treat! Use those ripe bananas for something other than banana bread!

This soft banana cake is baked in half sheet pan and is sweet, moist and full of delicious banana flavor with a smooth cream cheese frosting!

Perfect piece of soft banana cake with cream cheese frosting and half sheet pan of cake

What type of pan is needed for Banana Bars?

You will need a half sheet pan to make these banana bars. It measures about 18×13 inches on the outside of the pan, and is about 1 inch high.

A jelly roll pan is a tiny bit smaller and the cake may bake out of the pan, so if you are using a jelly roll pan you can leave out a bit of the cake batter if it looks like the pan is too full.

A half sheet pan is the perfect size for this recipe and the bananas bars bake up perfectly.

Banana bars cake in a half sheet pan that is freshly baked wihtout frosting.

How ripe do the bananas need to be for Banana Bars?

You will need to use ripe-really ripe bananas for this recipe!

Did you know that the more ripe/black and spotted your bananas are the more strong of a banana taste they have? Not to mention they mash up much easier for baking!

So let those bananas sit out for a few days and do not throw them away (or make banana bread)- make The BEST Banana Cake (Bars)!

Really ripe bananas that are almost all black that are used to make banana cake/bars.

You will just peel the bananas and mash them up.

smashed banana for baking

Making the cake batter for the Banana Bars

These Banana Bars are so easy to make! You end up with a soft and fluffy banana cake!

I prefer to use my stand mixer but you can easily your just a bowl and hand mix these cake ingredients.

TIP: DO NOT over-mix your cake batter! It will end up a little more dense if you do! The cake batter itself will seem more dense and even a little stretchy (only way I can think to describe it) and will be smooth. You don’t want super smooth batter! You want to mix the batter well enough the ingredients get mixed in but then you need to stop mixing! Mix it just until the flour has disappeared!

If you are using a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment and cream together the butter and sugar.

Butter and sugar in a stand mixer to cream together for a cake batter.
Butter and sugar creamed together in a mixing bowl.

Next, add the vanilla, eggs and sour cream. Mix it until its fully incorporated.

Vanilla, eggs, and sour cream added to creamed butter and sugar to make a cake batter

Side note:The sour cream seems weird, but I promise it doesn’t make the cake taste weird it just makes it super soft! (Try my Super Soft Sugar Cookies that are made with sour cream- you won’t be sorry!)

Then, add the baking soda and salt and mix it in to the batter.

Salt and baking soda added to cake batter befor adding flour

Next, add your flour and mix it just until the flour disappears. This will hopefully help so you don’t over-mix the cake batter. The cake batter should not be super smooth.

Flour added to cake batter in a mixing bowl.

Finally, add the mashed bananas and gently fold them into the cake batter, being careful to now mix it a lot.

Mashed ripe bananas added to cake batter to make banana bars
Fully mixed and made banana cake batter

Pour the batter into a greased sheet pan. Spread it evenly in the pan (you can tap the pan gently on the center to spread it out evenly.

Cake batter being poured into a greased half sheet pan.
Banana cake batter in a half sheet pan ready to be baked.

Baking Banana Bars

Place the pan on the center rack in your oven.

The cake is done when the edges of the cake are golden brown and pulling away from the edges of the pan. A toothpick will come out mostly clean when poked in the center of the cake when it is done.

Take the cake out of the oven when it is done and let it cool completely while you make the frosting.

Banana bars cake in a half sheet pan that is freshly baked wihtout frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

All you need for the perfect cream cheese frosting is softened butter, softened cream cheese, vanilla extract and powdered sugar.

Using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, a hand mixer or by hand. Add all of the ingredients together and mix well!

TIP: Make sure the cream cheese and butter is fully softened. I let mine sit out on my counter for a good hour or more. If they are not fully softened your frosting will be lumpy- still yummy but lumpy!

Cream Cheese Frosting on a whisk attachment.

Once the cake bars have cooled completely you can frost the banana cake.

I place scoops of the frosting all over the top of the cake and then gently spread the frosting out. Be careful when frosting the cake. Going back and forth cam make the top part of the cake lift off, so be gentle.

Scoops of cream cheese frosting on top of a banana cake ready to be spread out and frost the cake.
A butter knife being used to frost the banana cake bars.

You can make the frosting look as fancy as you like!

Frosted Banana cake Bars in a half sheet pan.
A full photo above the banana cake bars frosted with cream cheese frosting.

After the cake is frosted, you can cut it into as many pieces as you like!

A piece of banana cake bars being serviced on a spatula that shows the cake and frosting
Bite of soft banana cake with cream cheese frosting
Banana Bars soft banana cake with cream cheese frosting held in hand for a yummy snack

For another recipe to use those ripe bananas (that isn’t banana bread) try my Soft Banana Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting (they do not disappoint!).

For another delicious treat, try my Carrot Cake Bars in a sheet pan (this one is totally healthy too since it is made with real carrots…ha!). Also, try my Lemon Sheet Cake, Sheet Pan Apple Spice Cake, Sheet Pan Brownies with cream cheese frosting or Sheet Pan Apple Pie.

If you liked this recipe please take the time to leave a comment and a star rating below! Also, don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram!



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Pieces of banana bars cake stacked on top of each other.

The BEST Banana Bars

The BEST Banana Bars you will ever eat! Sweet, moist and full of delicious banana flavor with a smooth cream cheese frosting!
Makes 1 half sheet pan of Banana Bars
4.34 from 27 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 20 servings (approx.)

Equipment

  • half sheet pan

Ingredients

Banana Bars

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 medium bananas – ripe (the more ripe the better),mashed – with no lumps (Should be a little over 1 cup)

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened/room temperature 1 block of cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened 1 stick of butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 to 3 cups powdered sugar add as much as you like to get it as thick as you like

Instructions

Banana Bars

  • Preheat oven to 375°F and grease your half sheet pan.
  • In a mixer, beat the sugar and butter together until smooth.
  • Add in eggs, sour cream and vanilla. Mix it just until it’s incorporated.
  • Add in flour, baking soda, and salt. Do not overmix it- just mix it until the flour disappears.
  • Add in mashed bananas and genlty fold into the cake batter. DO NOT OVERMIX IT! The cake batter will be lumpy!
  • Pour batter into the half sheet pan. Bake 20-25 minutes. The edges should start to brown and pull away from the corners of the pan. You will know it is done when you poke a toothpick in the center of the cake and it comes out clean.
    You can make the frosting while the bars bake, or are cooling.
  • Cool cake/bars completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • In a mixer, add all of the frosting ingredients and mix until smooth. Make sure your butter and cream cheese are softened completely or your frosting will be lumpy!
  • Frost the Banana Bars after they have cooled completely. Cut into bars and enjoy!

Nutrition information is automatically calculated and should only be used as an approximation.

Serving: 1Slice/piece | Calories: 312kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 233mg | Potassium: 117mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 546IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 1mg

Pinterest banana bars

48 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I love this recipe every way – I have made it with icing and it is the best, I’ve also just ate it plain as a breakfast treat and added cranberries next up is chocolate chips! Thank you!

    • Beth, The Butcher's Wife

      I love that you love it!!!! This makes me so happy! Cranberries sound so delicious…. I’m definitely going to be trying that! And chocolate chips will be so yummy too…. Both are genius additions!
      Thank you so much for trying the recipe and for taking the time to comment!!!
      And you have the best name ever (from one Beth to another)!!!
      ❤️😘

  2. 5 stars
    I added blueberries and lemon juice/zest to the icing and it was excellent! Lots of raves from the friends.

    • Beth, The Butcher's Wife

      Hi Lisa! Blueberries sound heavenly with the lemon! I am for sure going to try it! I’m glad it got raves from friends! Thank you so much for trying it and commenting!❤️

  3. 5 stars
    Didn’t have enough sour cream so I used mayonnaise and Omgoodness it was delicious. Will make these again

    • Beth, The Butcher's Wife

      That sounds like a genius replacement! I have never tried it but I have heard it works well!!! Thank you for trying the recipe and commenting! I am so happy you stopped by the blog! 🩷

  4. 4 stars
    My daughter made these. Sooo much better than banana bread!! I was looking for the nutrition information. Did I miss that. Can you send it to me? Thank you.

    • Beth, The Butcher's Wife

      Hi Cindy!!! I am so glad your tried them and liked them! I agree they are so much better than banana bread! ❤️
      I don’t have nutritional info at this time…I work on the blog in my free time and haven’t got around to that but I know there are websites that you can put a URL/link in and they convert it for you…like this one: https://whisk.com/recipe-nutrition-calculator/

  5. 5 stars
    Made these today and they were fabulous! A big hit with everyone. Will definitely be making these often. I was nervous as my baking sheet was a little smaller than called for but it worked perfectly. Thank you for this DELICIOUS recipe.

    • Beth, The Butcher's Wife

      Stacey, I’m so excited to hear you liked the Banana Bars and they were a hit!!! Thank you for trying them!🥰❤️😘

  6. I’ve made this recipe three times. The first was perfect but the subsequent two just didn’t rise. I followed your recipe precisely the third time just in case I missed something but still it didn’t rise. Any ideas?

    • Beth, The Butcher's Wife

      Hi Rod! I’m sorry to hear they haven’t turned out as good the last few times! Here are some things to check…. Make sure your baking soda is fresh …. If it’s older and close to expiring that could be the culprit! Also make sure your butter is soft, not melted, this will make it so they aren’t fluffy! Also make sure your bananas are super ripe! Make sure your sour cream is full fat not light or reduced fat (it needs the fat for baking)! Hopefully that will help! Let me know if you try them again how they turn out! Good luck! Thanks for trying the recipe!☺️

  7. Could I make these as a Bundt cake? I want to make it now and freeze it for use at Thanksgiving and a sheet cake is harder too freeze.
    Could you recommend any modifications I might need to make for a Bundt cake.
    The first time I made these everyone raved! Thank you for the best banana recipe I’ve ever tasted.
    Barb

    • Beth, The Butcher's Wife

      Hello! I am so happy to hear you love the banana bars recipe!!! As for making it into a bundt cake, I have never tried it but I would probably lower the baking temp to 350 and give it a good 35-45 minute baking time, but start checking it at 35 minutes so it doesn’t get overdone! Depending on the size of your Bundt you may have a little extra cake batter…just don’t overfill your Bundt pan! Please please let me know how it turns out and have a great Thanksgiving!❤️

  8. How do you store leftovers?

    • Beth, The Butcher's Wife

      Hi Adrienne! I just cover my pan and leave it on the counter! I don’t ever refrigerate anything with cream cheese frosting and we’ve never gotten sick yet….but if that worries you just cover it up tightly and put it in the fridge! 😊

  9. Hi love the recipe just wondering if I can add raisins and walnuts if so how much
    Thank you

    • Beth, The Butcher's Wife

      Hi Jackie! I’m so happy to hear you love it! You absolutely can add raisins and walnuts…. I would add at least a cup of each … but more or less to your liking! ❤️

  10. 4 stars
    Made this yesterday and absolutely love it! Sooo tasty and easy to make.
    Mine came out more dense like a banana bread rather than a fluffy cake though. Just wondering if you knew what I could have done wrong?
    Regardless its still amazing and I will be making it again for sure!
    Thank you 🙂

    • Beth, The Butcher's Wife

      Hi Kiera! I’m so glad you loved them! I’m sorry to hear it was not fluffy!!! If the cake is over baked or over-mixed it definitely will be more dense…also if your baking soda is older it can leave a cake not fluffy! Always make sure your butter is softened (at room temp) and measure the flour accurately as too much flour will definitely leave it dense! Try those tips and let me know how it turns out next time! Thank you so much for stopping by the blog and trying the recipe!!! And thank you for reaching out….I hope we can get it figured out!☺️😘

  11. Marie I Miller

    I made these and my co workers raved about them. They are the best I have ever tasted also and I will be making them many more times.

    • Beth, The Butcher's Wife

      I’m so happy to hear they were a hit!! Thanks for taking the time to comment and thank you for trying the recipe!❤️😘

  12. 5 stars
    I made this but misread the pan size and made it in a quarter sheet cake pan. Took a little longer but I think it turned out great. We’ll see when my coworkers are treated to it tomorrow! Frosting is the bomb!

    • Beth, The Butcher's Wife

      I’m so glad they turned out great in a quarter sheet pan! Let me know how the coworkers like it (they are lucky to work with you)….and the frosting is so yummy!! Thanks for stopping by the blog and for trying my recipe and for taking the time to comment! Enjoy the treat at work!😘😘

      • Hi there! I made this as dessert for Father’s Day prime rib dinner and it’s cooling now and the frosting is in the mixer. How do I store it? I’m thinking the refrigerator but afraid it may dry out?

        • Beth, The Butcher's Wife

          Hi Shalana! I am so excited you made them!!! I don’t ever put our banana bars in the fridge and we have never got sick! But if you are worried about the frosting you can!!! Let me know how you like them!❤️😘

  13. 5 stars
    These turned out really good! It was my first time making the cream cheese icing so next time I’ll add more powdered sugar and more vanilla (I ran out of vanilla). Yummy, bringing them into work tomorrow

    • Beth, The Butcher's Wife

      Hi Emily! Yay!!!! I’m so glad you tried them and they turned out good! The frosting can take a time or two to get it just how you like it! The bars are yummy and are perfect for work since they feed so many! Let me know how everyone likes them! Thank you for stopping by the blog and taking time to comment!! I hope they are a hit at work!🤗😘

  14. Nancy Howell

    The cake turned out great. I did add roasted walnuts.

    • Beth, The Butcher's Wife

      Nancy I am so happy to hear it turned out great!!!! The roasted walnuts sound so tasty and like the perfect addition! Thank you so much for trying the recipe and taking the time to comment!!! I love hear from people that have tried my recipes!!! Thank you so much!❤️😘

  15. Can I use lard or shortening instead of butter?

    • Beth, The Butcher's Wife

      Hi Crystal! I have used shortening to replace butter in baking and you end up with basically the same results…you just miss out on some of the butter flavor! Just swap out the butter for shortening and use the same amount! As for lard, I have never used it in cakes so I have no advice or experience with it! Let me know how it turns out! Happy Baking!❤️

  16. 5 stars
    I must review this recipe- I have made it once a week for 14 weeks! My family & neighbors can’t get enough of it!!! It turns out perfectly every time. It is my “go to” dessert. I can’t give enough stars for this… the title is perfect!!!!

    • Beth, The Butcher's Wife

      Jackie!!!! Thank you so very much!!! You’re sweet comment and review made my day!!!! I am so happy these have become a favorite at your house (and in your neighborhood)! And I really love that you have made them every week for 14 weeks…I think I need to be your neighbor!❤️They really are the BEST and I’m so glad you agree! (Try my Banana Cookies too… I can’t promise they are on the same level as the Banana Bars but they come pretty close!)
      Happy Baking!❤️😘

  17. 5 stars
    This recipe is so amazing …. I use a 9 x 13 pan and I cooked it like five minutes longer it was fine. I’ve never had a banana recipe so delicious!

    • Beth, The Butcher's Wife

      Hi Maribel! I am so happy to hear that they turned out so great! They are so delicious and my go to recipe for using my over ripe bananas…thank you so much for the comment!❤️😘

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  20. These were just fabulous. I shared with a few of my neighbors who just raved about this cake/bar. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful recipe.

    • Beth, The Butcher's Wife

      Nancy! Hearing this made my day! I am so glad you like the Banana Bars and that you shared them with your neighbors who also liked them! I need a neighbor like you! Thanks for making my recipe and the sweet comment! ❤️😘

  21. Farrah Garrison

    I did try the 9×13. It started to brown but I covered with foil and it was fine. Next time I will do at 350. I loved this recipe ❤️. It tastes like Trader Joe’s banana cake but even better. That cream cheese frosting is the bee’s knees!!

    • Beth, The Butcher's Wife

      Farrah I am so happy to hear you loved it! It’s a favorite at our house and that frosting is so yummy I could eat it with a spoon! Thanks for the sweet comment and for trying the recipe! ❤️😘

  22. 5 stars
    Another awesome recipe. I was able to find a jelly roll pan. Your banana recipes are my go to when I have ripe bananas!

    • Beth, The Butcher's Wife

      Beth (have I told you that you have the best name 😉)… I am so so happy to hear you found a pan and loved the banana bars!!! I never ever make banana bread… the bars or cookies are my go to every time! Thanks for the sweet comment … if you try more recipes let me know!❤️😘

  23. Can I make these in a 9×13 dish?

    • Beth, The Butcher's Wife

      Hi Beth! I haven’t tried it but I can’t see why it wouldn’t work! They will probably just need to cook longer because they will be thicker! Let me know how it turns out! 🤗

  24. Can these be made in a 9×13 dish?

    • Beth, The Butcher's Wife

      I have never tried it… I can’t see why not… just plan on it needing longer to bake since it will be thicker! I’ll be interested to see how it turns out so let me know!🤗

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