Fudgy Banana Bars with Browned Butter Vanilla Glaze

Banana Bars with Vanilla Glaze — Fudgy is the only word that describes these bars! They’re the banana equivalent of moist, fudgy brownies with zero trace of cakiness.

Banana Bars with Vanilla Glaze 

Fudgy Banana Bar Recipe

These banana bars are rich, soft, supremely moist, and tooth-sinkingly dense and satisfying. If you’re looking for a fluffy slice of banana cake or banana bread, they’re not that.

They’re adapted from my Lemon Lemonies, the lemon equivalent of fudgy brownies. The dense texture of the Lemonies was so perfect and unlike anything else I had ever made. I kept thinking about them and it dawned on me that maybe I could do the same thing with bananas.

This is an easy, no-mixer recipe and the vanilla glaze makes the bars go from really darn good to out-of-this world amazing. It’s a must-make recipe! 

The secrets are browned butter and glorious specks of vanilla beans. I cannot think of two more powerfully flavorful ingredients than browned butter or vanilla beans seeds, and flavor just explodes from the glaze.

After pouring the glaze over the warm bars, it seeps down and soaks in, and makes the bars even moister and softer. The rippled appearance that’s created as it sets up enhances the homey comfort food factor.

I normally have a piece or two of what I make and give the rest to my family or re-home the leftovers with friends and neighbors, but I hoarded these bars! 

close up of Banana Bars with Vanilla Glaze on white platter

How to Make Banana Bars

In a large, microwave-safe bowl, add the white chocolate and butter, and melt. White chocolate is very prone to scorching and seizing up, so watch it carefully and don’t overheat.

Then, add the egg, sugar, and vanilla, and whisk until combined. Stir in the bananas, followed by the flour and salt. Stir everything until just combined, but do not over mix. 

Turn batter out into a greased 8×8-inch pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean.

Then, make the vanilla glaze. You’ll first need to brown the butter (I’ve listed exact instructions and tips below), then combine it with confectioners’ sugar, vanilla bean paste, and salt. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking until smooth.

Pour the browned butter vanilla glaze over the banana bars while they’re still warm, then let the bars rest, uncovered for two to three hours before slicing and serving. 

How to Brown Butter

Cook butter over medium-high heat in a small saucepan until it’s amber to brown in color. The whole process will take about 5 minutes (depending on pan size), but watch it closely so you don’t burn it.

I swirl the pan in the last minute or so to make sure I can really see the color changes. While browning the butter, it will go through stages of hissing, sputtering, and making noise until the water cooks off, at which point the browning occurs. 

Besides changing color, you’ll know the butter is fully browned once it starts smelling nutty and fragrant. Trust me, you’ll know when it’s done! 

banana bar on white plate with bite missing

Tips for the Best Banana Bars 

I used vanilla bean paste in the vanilla glaze, but scraping the seeds of a vanilla bean works too. Vanilla extract is okay, but it won’t be as intense as vanilla paste or seeds would be. Use what you have on hand — these fudgy banana bars will be delicious no matter what! 

When you’re transferring the browned butter from the saucepan to the mixing bowl, make sure to get all of the brown bits from the bottom of the pan into the bowl. Those little browned bits are full of flavor, so definitely include them in the vanilla glaze! 

As you whisk together the vanilla glaze, you may need to add additional powdered sugar or milk to reach your desired consistency. When adding extra milk or sugar, add just a little at a time to be safe! 

banana bars on white platter

More Banana Recipes: 

  • Six-Banana Banana Bread — Not sure what to do with overripe bananas you have on hand? Make this Six-Banana Banana Bread! This is the best banana bread recipe EVER — it’s so moist and flavorful! 
  • Brown Sugar Blueberry Banana Bread — Super moist blueberry banana bread made with Greek yogurt and dark brown sugar. Smear some homemade blueberry butter onto a slice of this blueberry brown sugar banana bread and prepare to fall in love! 
  • Pineapple Banana Bread — This bread is incredibly moist and is ever so slightly coconut flavored thanks to the coconut oil in the batter. You’ll definitely want seconds of this easy banana bread recipe! 
  • Banana Bread Pudding — Bread pudding meets banana bread in this EASY breakfast or brunch recipe that everyone will LOVE!
  • Six-Banana Banana Chocolate Chip Cake — Yes, 6 bananas in 1 cake means it’s super SOFT, moist, and has robust banana flavor with chocolate chips in EVERY bite!

 

Banana Bars with Browned Butter Vanilla Glaze

Banana Bars with Browned Butter Vanilla Glaze

These Banana Bars with Browned Butter Vanilla Glaze are the banana equivalent of moist, fudgy brownies with zero trace of cakiness!
Yield: 12 squares
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 33 minutes
Total Time 48 minutes

Ingredients

Bars

  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mashed banana (about 2 large or 3 small/medium ripe bananas)
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • pinch salt, optional and to taste

Glaze

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, browned
  • 1 heaping cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste*
  • pinch salt, optional and to taste
  • about 1/4 cup cream or milk, or as necessary for consistency

Instructions

Make the Bars

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a large, microwave-safe bowl add the white chocolate, butter, and heat to melt, about 2 minutes on high power. Stop to check and stir after 1 minute, and then heat in 20-second bursts, stopping to stir after each burst, until mixture can be stirred smooth. White chocolate is very prone to scorching and seizing up, so watch it carefully and don’t overheat.
  3. Wait momentarily before adding the egg so you don’t scramble it. Add the egg, sugar, vanilla, and whisk until combined.
  4. Stir in the bananas until well-combined.
  5. Add the flour, optional salt, and stir until just combined; don’t overmix.
  6. Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula.
  7. Bake for about 32 to 33 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean, or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter. In the last 15 minutes of baking, make the glaze.

Make the Glaze

  1. Brown the butter (click for tutorial). Cook butter over medium-high heat in a small saucepan until it’s amber to brown in color, about 5 minutes depending on pan size, but watch it closely so you don’t burn it. I swirl the pan in the last minute or so to make sure I can really see the color changes. Butter will go through stages of hissing, sputtering, and making noise until the water cooks off at which point the browning occurs. Butter will smell nutty and aromatic.
  2. Transfer butter, including brown bits at the bottom of the pan (they’re flavor powerhouses, keep them) from pan to large mixing bowl which stops any carryover cooking.
  3. Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla bean paste, optional salt, and slowly add the milk, whisking until smooth or beat with a handheld electric mixer. As necessary, add additional cream (or confectioners’ sugar) to reach desired glaze consistency. Glaze should be of medium thickness and easily pourable.

Assemble the Bars

  1. Evenly pour glaze over bars (they don’t have to be cooled first), smoothing it lightly with a spatula if necessary, but glaze will likely just slide into place.
  2. Allow bars to cool in pan uncovered for at least 2 to 3 hours, (or overnight and cover with a sheet of foil) before slicing and serving so glaze can set up. 
  3. Bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Notes

*Seeds from 1 large vanilla bean or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract may be substituted.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 345 Total Fat: 18g Saturated Fat: 11g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 6g Cholesterol: 55mg Sodium: 52mg Carbohydrates: 43g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 26g Protein: 4g

Even More Bars and Brownies: 

133 comments on “Fudgy Banana Bars with Browned Butter Vanilla Glaze”

  1. I made these tonight and, as anticipated, they were awesome! Even my husband loved them, who usually isn’t a fan of banana-y things. One little thing I did do differently was brown the butter that I added to the batter, in addition to that for the glaze. I poured it hot over the white chocolate chips and it was the perfect amount of heat to melt the chips, no help from the microwave needed, and then was quickly cooled enough to add the eggs – in case anyone else wants to give that a try! Thanks for the recipe, Averie!

    • I love your idea of using browned butter IN the batter itself and that it melted the white chocolate easily and in no time and what amazing flavor it must have added! I totally need to try that! Thanks for the idea and glad your husband even liked these!

  2. I made these yesterday, and they were amazing! I expected something quite rich and heavy, but to my surprise they weren’t.
    I don’t like melting chocolate in the microwave, so I used a saucepan, and then mixed everything else in in that pan. I added the sugar and vanilla first, and then the egg, no problems that way.

    I just need to say one thing, I poured the glaze over the “cake” part right out of the oven, and next time I will let it cool down a bit first. The glaze slightly separated immediately, leaving areas that taste like taking a bite out of a stick of butter.

    Other than that, perfect!

    • Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! I have never had any issues with the glaze separating but sounds like you know for your situation you should wait a bit longer next time. Glad they’re perfect for you overall!

  3. Made these tonight! Added some semi-sweet chocolate chips to the batter because I’ve been the biggest chocolate fiend lately! SO GOOD! another great recipe, Averie! <3

    • Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! The chocolate chips sound like the perfect compliment to the bananas! Thanks for trying so many of my recipes :)

  4. I made this yesterday and the flavours are great but it’s more chewy biscuit than moist brownie. The slice batter was nowhere near pourable–I had to make an effort to get it into the corners of the tray–and it pretty much held its shape while it baked. I’d really love to get the texture right because yours looks and sounds amazing! Any suggestions? Could I have added some milk to the batter to loosen it? (The glaze was as amazing as I expected, by the way!)

    • I think that you possible over-floured the dough, or your bananas just weren’t as juicy as mine, or something made your batter much more dry than mine. Therefore, if you remake, I’d add another banana, or as you said maybe a splash of milk, or reduce the flour amount so that it’s thick enough but not so thick it’s just over-the-top thick. Use your judgment on that. There are any number of tweaks that could probably help things although I haven’t tried them and only have made (and remade) this recipe as written exactly but dry batter is an easy fix, overall! Good luck!

  5. Second time making these. Made exactly as written and have no problems. While they are good the first day, they are so worth the wait the next day. It seems a lot of baked banana goods are so much better after resting overnight. This recipe is definitely a keeper, thanks!

  6. These fudgy banana bars are FABULOUS.  My only question is how anyone could possibly know they will last a week at room temperature.  There’s no way these gems last more than a few hours in my house!! 

  7. Any idea if this will work with vanilla chips instead of white chocolate?

  8. Amazing!!! These got rave reviews from my family-my brother said these were “the best thing you’ve ever made” I halved the sugar because my bananas were really ripe, and they turned out great.

  9. I made these tonight, and put a crumb base on mine and they are amazing.

    Instead of the foil, I used 5 tbsp butter softened,  1/3 cup brown sugar (packed), 1 cup four, whisked it with a fork and sprayed they pan with cooking spray and packed in 3/4 of the mix and baked it for 15 minutes. Then added the batter, and sprinkled the rest on top and baked it. Delish (I also put the glaze on. Wonderful!

    Thanks for sharing!

  10. Will the recipe work if I just leave out the white chocolate? White chocolate isn’t for me.

  11. These were very good! My glaze never set up so it has more of a browned butter sauce. Any ideas? Still fantastic and I’d definitely make it again.

  12. My new favorite way to use up overripe bananas! In fact, I’ll probably start buying more bananas than we can eat, just so some are available. Thanks for sharing this!

    • I’m so glad this is a favorite of yours! I haven’t made this in awhile but I love banana anything and this one is one of my personal faves! The density of it, and the glaze, I need to make it soon myself!

  13. These bars…there are not enough superlatives for these bars! I will never waste bananas on banana bread again, that’s for sure. This was also my first experience with brown butter glaze, and I’m telling you that the glaze alone is worth the price of admission! These bars are so good, they should be a part of the food pyramid! EXCELLENT recipe and the directions were perfect! Thank you!

  14. The taste is fabulous, and we loved the glaze, but the actual bars were a bit heavy. Do you think I could add a little bit less flour and it would still be ok? I stir much after flour, just enough to combine.

  15. Made this today with a couple mods:

    1. Added dark and milk choc chips into the mix
    2. Made a quick salted caramel sauce in the microwave and drizzled over while still warm.

    It was a huge hit with the fam and I’ll definitely be making it again soon! Yum!

  16. Can I use coconut milk in place of the cream?

  17. This recipe looks so good I think I’m drooling! Any suggestions on how to make it gluten free but just as fudgy??

  18. I followed the recipe exactly. The texture was nice, much like a dense and fudgy brownie, which I loved. The glaze was delicious! I’d totally use it for other baked goods. The flavor of the bars themselves was not great, however, in my opinion. They did have enough banana flavor but were definitely not sweet enough and tasted too floury. Kind of bland to me personally, although my son loved them. I think with some tweaks like some other added flavors- maybe adding a swirl of salted caramel topping in the batter, a dry banana or vanilla pudding mix, or cinnamon & other fall spices would make it a 5-star recipe for me. My bananas were pretty darn ripe but the bars could’ve used more sugar, I think. I would totally make it again with some added ingredients, I think it could definitely be amazing!

    Rating: 3
  19. This recipe gets a perfect 10. I used soy milk instead of cream for the glaze and it came out great. Was plenty sweet for us. Delicious! I hope it tastes as good (better?) tomorrow as it did tonight. May have to freeze some since we are leaving for vacation soon.

    Rating: 5
    • Thanks for the 5 star review and glad it gets a perfect 10! I am sure they will be just as good in the morning – banana desserts have a way of getting better the next day I find.

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