Banana Bars with Browned Butter Icing

Take a break from your usual banana bread and bake these Banana Bars with Browned Butter Icing. The flavor is fantastic!

overhead view of Banana Bars with Browned Butter Icing in a half sheet pan

We are all guilty of throwing out food. Those leftovers you thought you’d eat. That mystery container well past its due date. But, I have a hard time throwing out bananas. Overripe bananas can be the beginning of far too many good things to let them go to waste.

This weekend, I found myself with several super-ripe bananas and took to the internet to find something a little different to do with them. That’s when I found these bars.

The bars themselves are essentially banana bread in flavor and texture. In this case, though, the batter is poured into a half sheet pan and baked into thin bars.

Banana Bars with Browned Butter Icing on a baking sheet

I suppose you could stop there if you want. It’s banana bread, after all. We love banana bread, right?

But, with a few more minutes of effort, you can make these really something special. In those few extra minutes, you can brown some butter, mix in some sugar and such, and make a super-extra-good icing to top off your banana bars. The icing is more than a bit on the sweet side, but it is a great complement to the banana bars.

A little advice: Before you start making the icing, have all the ingredients ready to go so you can work quickly to mix the icing. Sifting the confectioners’ sugar would be ideal for a smooth texture, but it’s not necessarily required.

If you have some bananas that need using, do yourself a favor and bake a batch of these Banana Bars with Browned Butter Icing. They may just become your favorite thing to bake with bananas!

Find more banana recipes in the Recipe Index.

More Banana Bar Recipes

Yield: 35 2-inch squares

Banana Bars with Browned Butter Icing

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Banana Bars with Browned Butter Icing are like dressed up banana bread!

overhead view of Banana Bars with Browned Butter Icing in a half sheet pan


For the bars:

  • 2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (226g) sour cream
  • 1 & 3/4 cups mashed ripe bananas (3-4 bananas)
  • 3/4 cup (148g) chopped pecans, toasted

For the icing:

  • 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter
  • 4 cups (440g) confectioners' sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk*
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


To make the bars:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 10"x 15" sheet pan and dust with flour.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla, mixing well. Mix in the sour cream and bananas.
  4. Gradually add the flour mixture, mixing just until combined. Stir in the pecans.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.
  6. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool slightly while you prepare the icing.

To make the icing:

  1. Place the butter in a medium saucepan. Melt the butter over medium heat. Continue cooking until butter foams and brown specks begin to form at the bottom of the pan.
  2. Remove from heat. Add about 1 cup of confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and about 1 tablespoon of milk. Stir into the butter. Add the remaining sugar and milk in 2-3 more portions, working quickly to mix well.
  3. Quickly spread the icing evenly over the warm bars. Allow the bars and icing to cool before cutting into bars.


*The amount of milk you'll need may vary. Use as much as you need to make the icing spreadable. It shouldn't be as thick as frosting, but thicker than a glaze. 

Recipe adapted from several sources, including Life’s Simple Measures and The Girl Who Ate Everything.

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Banana Bars with Browned Butter Icing on a baking sheet

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