Banana Bars with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

January 17, 2012

These fluffy Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting are so simple to make, and the whole family will love them! The cinnamon cream cheese frosting perfectly complements the sweetness of the bananas. I’m warning you now, these are addicting! 

three banana bars with cream cheese frosting on a white plateBanana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Say goodbye to banana bread, because after trying these banana bars, this may likely be the only recipe you’re going to want to use those prime, overripe, generously speckled bananas for. I’m pretty sure I could have finished the whole pan on my own!

These bars are so amazingly moist, with the perfect combination of flavors. You get tons of banana flavor (notice there’s nearly equal portions of banana to flour) with a pinch of warm cinnamon flavor.

Then you get just a hint of richness from the sour cream and cream cheese along with the perfect balance of sweetness, then to finish an ever so slightly salty crunch from the pecans.

I love the simplicity of this banana bars recipe. I created it to be a one bowl recipe (granted, you’ll have to wash the bowl to make the frosting). All you have to do is toss all the ingredients into one mixing bowl, stir for 2 minutes and bake, bada bing bada boom! Love it.

I thought about creating this recipe to be a sheet pan size, but good thing I didn’t because I would have had a very hard time restraining myself from being engorged by these banana bars.

Banana Bars Ingredients

For the banana bars, you’ll need:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Granulated sugar
  • Baking powder and baking soda
  • Salt
  • Sour cream
  • Vegetable oil
  • Applesauce
  • Egg
  • Bananas
  • Chopped pecans

And for the homemade cream cheese frosting, you’ll need:

  • Cream cheese
  • Butter
  • Vanilla extract
  • Cinnamon
  • Powdered sugar

banana bar with cream cheese frosting on a dark red plate

How to Make Banana Bars

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Combine all ingredients (except pecans and cream cheese frosting) in a large bowl and mix until combined.
  • Bake in 13×9-inch pan for 25 minutes.
  • While the banana bars cool, make the cream cheese frosting.
  • Frost the bars when completely cool.

Can I Use a Sour Cream Substitute in These Bars?

Without having tested it myself, I can’t say for sure whether a sour cream substitute would work in this recipe. But you may be able to achieve the same results with plain Greek yogurt.

Can I Make These Bars in a Smaller Pan?

Yes, you can also make these banana bars with cream cheese frosting in a 9×9-inch pan (you’ll need to increase the cook time, though!). three banana bars stacked on a plate

Tips for the Best Banana Bars

  • For thicker, cake-like bars, either bake these in a 9×9-inch pan or make 1.5 the recipe and bake in a 13×9-inch pan.
  • Use overripe, almost black bananas for the richest flavor.
  • If you don’t have applesauce on hand, you can add extra vegetable oil to this recipe instead.

More Banana Desserts You’ll Love:

Banana Bars with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

5 from 3 votes

The perfect recipe for overripe bananas! These banana bars are so easy to make, and the cream cheese frosting just makes them sing.

Servings: 16
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp applesauce (or 2 additional Tbsp vegetable oil)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup mashed overripe bananas (about 2 large bananas)
  • 1 recipe Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting , recipe follows
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 3 oz . cream cheese , softened
  • 3 Tbsp butter , softened
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Combine all ingredients (except frosting and pecans) in a large mixing bowl, mix with an electric mixer on low speed for 2 minutes. Pour mixture into a buttered 13x9* baking dish and spread evenly into pan. 

  3. Bake 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool completely, about 1 hour (I'd recommend covering with saran wrap after cooling 20 minutes to help retain moisture). 

  4. Frost with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting and sprinkle optional chopped nuts evenly over top. Cut into bars.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl, mix until smooth and fluffy 1-2 minutes.

Recipe Notes

*A few people have commented below mentioning that these bars seem a bit thin. If you want a thicker, more cake like bar then either make 1.5 the recipe in a 13x9 pan, or do just 1 of the recipe in a 9x9 pan and bake a bit longer. I personally like the thinness (it makes them more bar-like) so I make them just as listed, but make them according to what you prefer.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Banana Bars
Author: Jaclyn

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64 Comments

  • Jess

    Absolutely love this recipe. Super simple and delish. This has become a favorite in our house along with so many other recipes from cooking classy. Admittedly, I may favor other fresh fruits in the kids weekday lunches on purpose to ensure we have some bananas left over on the weekend to make this ;)

  • NJTMOM

    This is a delicious recipe. My family prefers thicker cake like treats so I baked these in a glass 8×8 Pyrex in my convection oven for 35 minutes.My bananas were super ripe so I cut the sugar down to 1/2 cup so the cake wouldn’t taste overly sweet. I only had light sour cream on hand as well. It tasted fantastic! My only small critique is that the recipe assumes certain baking knowledge or experience. If you are a novice, this recipe may be difficult to follow. For example, listing the specific steps to make basic cream cheese frosting would be really helpful to beginners.
    I served the cake for dessert tonight and it’s almost gone! Thanks for another great use for over ripe bananas.

  • teresa

    Ohhhhhhhh my this was wonderful! I wanted something sweet and moist a I had banana’s that were going past brown quick! I didn’t have any sour cream so I used a 6oz cup of vanilla yogurt I had on hand!!! I also sprinkled the top of my batter in the pan with a cinnamon/sugar mix before baking!!! I put plastic wrap over it and allowed it to sweat a little in front of the AC….when it was almost cool I topped it with some leftover cream cheese icing in my fridge that I sat at room temperature. I served myself a slice of banana bar and a scoop of salted caramel ice cream!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was great!!!

  • Rachel Page

    Looks delicious! I love all kinds of cakes with bananas, they are so yummy!

  • Lauren

    Hey, just wanted to say I’ve made these for a party and everyone went nuts for them. I doubled the recipe, and they came really thick.

  • Melissa

    Hi, I would love to make this, however applesauce is not very common in Asia! Could i substitute it with olive oil instead?