Banana Bars with Browned Butter Icing

Banana Bars with Browned Butter Icing combine sweet, banana bread-like bars with a sweet, nutty tasting icing made with browned butter. - Bake or Break

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 combine sweet, banana bread-like bars with a sweet, nutty tasting icing made with browned butter. - Bake or Break

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, but it’s not necessarily required.

Find more ways to bake with bananas in my Bananas Collection.

Banana Bars with Browned Butter Icing

Yield: 35 2-inch squares

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes


For the bars:

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

For the icing:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk*
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


To make the bars:

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

To make the icing:

  1. Place butter in a medium saucepan. Melt 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 butter. Add remaining sugar and milk in 2-3 more portions, working quickly to mix well.
  3. Quickly spread icing evenly over warm bars. Allow 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.