Let’s talk about bars.

No, not that kind of bars! I am not a drinking woman.

The dessert kind!

Some call them “squares.” Some call them “treats.” In the Midwest, we dub pretty much any dessert in square form a “bar.”

We have Rice Krispy Bars, cookie bars, oatmeal bars, cheesecake bars, lemon bars…

And these banana bars.

Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

My mom’s been making them for as long as I can remember and I think it originally came from a magazine–possibly Taste of Home or one of its sister publications.

These bars are cake-like but moist, made with fresh bananas and smothered in sweet cream cheese frosting. They’re like banana bread, only better. And frosted.

It’s difficult to argue that frosting makes everything better, no?

Midwesterners tend to take any kind of produce that needs to be used up (such as bananas, as demonstrated here), grind or mash it up, add a bunch of sugar, bake it into bars, and cover the bars with frosting. Voila! No wasted produce, and better yet, dessert. Zucchini bars and pumpkin bars are also staples depending on the time of year. I like them all–I don’t discriminate!

Banana bars are my favorite, though. Maybe it’s because the bananas themselves are naturally sweet, and we all know how much I like my sweets! :) The cream cheese is a perfect compliment to these cakey squares, and you can always double the recipe for an extra-thick cream cheese layer if you’re feeling indulgent.

Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Instead of making extra frosting, I usually take the time to whip up my frosting on high speed until it’s very fluffy and light. This leads to the illusion of more frosting, when really it’s the same amount, just with a little more air inside.

These bars scream summer to me and they make a ton, so they’re perfect for picnics! Grab your sunglasses and a pan of these…Memorial Day, here we come!

Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Serving Size: 1 bar

Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting


  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 RIPE bananas, mashed
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), at room temperature
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 15x10x1-inch jelly roll pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk flour, baking soda and salt together. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium speed. Add eggs, bananas and vanilla; mix well. Add dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just combined.
  4. Spread batter into prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let bars cool for one hour.
  6. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and cream cheese on high speed until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Add powdered sugar in one-cup increments, continuing to beat on high speed until combined. Add vanilla and mix well.
  7. When frosting is light and airy, spread over bars with a spatula.
  8. Cut into squares and serve.
  9. Store covered with aluminum foil at room temperature for up to five days.


If you don't have a stand mixer, you can use a regular hand mixer. For the frosting, be sure to whip it on the highest possible speed so it gets nice and fluffy!


Banana Bars Nutrition


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Comments (2)

May 6, 2014

I so wish I had a whole pan of this right now in front of me because believe me it really wouldn’t last that long :) This looks so good, the British are the same, we will chuck anything fruit or veg into a cake and call it healthy, even though it has been drowned in sugar! I love this recipe so much.

May 6, 2014

Glad to hear that the British share my standards for “health food”! :)

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