Banana Bars with Browned Butter Icing

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

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 35 2-inch squares

Banana Bars with Browned Butter Icing


    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:

Preheat oven to 375°. Grease a 10"x 15" sheet pan and dust with flour.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Beat butter, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, mixing well. Mix in sour cream and bananas.

Gradually add flour mixture, mixing just until combined. Stir in pecans.

Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly.

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:

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.

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.

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.

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  1. What a great way to change it up a bit when using up ripe bananas. Love it!

  2. Oh, yum! I wish I had some of that now. I’d eat it for breakfast!

  3. sara February 18, 2013 Reply

    Yum, these look so good! It’s been WAY too long since I’ve baked anything with bananas…my boyfriend keeps eating them up too fast! :) I will have to snag some to try this! :)

  4. Ooooh mama I want these. Off to buy bananas to overripen!

  5. M.C. Phillips February 18, 2013 Reply

    These look wonderful! Great idea- I NEVER throw out bananas either.

  6. Kate February 18, 2013 Reply

    Wow, I should definitely try this out.
    Though I’m kind of cautious with baking soda, since I don’t like the taste it might give.. is it possible to replace it with baking powder?

  7. Marla February 18, 2013 Reply

    I’ve been craving something that sounds just like this! Great idea too. It really changes it up a little and I needed that, since I have trouble throwing away bananas too.:)

  8. jennifer February 18, 2013 Reply

    Kate, you shouldn’t taste any baking soda. You need baking soda instead of baking powder because of the acidity of the sour cream.

  9. Oh. My. Word. I can not even begin to tell you how excited I am that you used a recipe from my blog [and others, of course]!! I think I’ve commented several times before telling you that you are my baking blog idol, bar none. When I first started blogging your blog was one of the first I stumbled upon and I fell in love from the first click. My first recipe was actually a recipe from your blog!

    Anyways, I hope these bars stood up to your standards. I personally love these and that brown butter icing is so yummy! Hope you enjoyed!! :)

  10. Holiday Baker Man February 19, 2013 Reply

    Perfect for weekend coffee! Thanks!

  11. Joan February 19, 2013 Reply

    These are *bananas* delicious! Very moist, and the toasted pecans add a lovely texture and flavor. Love love love the brown butter (anything, really) icing! Thank you for sharing!

  12. vanillasugarblog February 19, 2013 Reply

    I want to make these just for the edge pieces!

  13. Jenny @ BAKE February 20, 2013 Reply

    these bars look delicious! I love how quickly they cook!

  14. ruthy @ omeletta February 21, 2013 Reply

    Banana bread is my weakness, and these bars look fantastic- but the browned butter icing! #swoon.

  15. Laura February 22, 2013 Reply

    Made these and when I brought them to work to share a nurse on my unit (I am a doc) was unequivocal: the frosting is “sinful”.

    Amazing recipe…easy and baked up moist and so very three boys love me a little more this week!

    Just discovered this site and am delighted; my husband cooks all our meals and is a gourmand of sorts so I am relegated to the baking and never without mouths to feed am thrilled to try more like these to prove my merit in the kitchen next to hubby’s superstar cookery!

  16. وصفات طبخ November 5, 2013 Reply

    Adorable for parties

  17. Sh May 18, 2014 Reply

    Made these today…5 stars…great!

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