These banana cupcakes with cream cheese frosting have the perfect banana flavor and a moist, fluffy cupcake crumb. There’s a hint of cinnamon in the frosting with pairs perfectly with the sweet and mellow banana bread flavor.
**This post was updated March 8, 2022 with new photos, recipe tips and a slightly updated recipe**
These banana cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting are the best thing to bake with brown bananas. They have a delicious banana bread flavor with hints of brown sugar, vanilla and cinnamon – but they’re lighter and fluffier in texture without being too dense. The cream cheese frosting on top is tangy and creamy with a hint of cinnamon that complements that banana flavor perfectly.
They’re the perfect cupcake recipe if you don’t want anything overly sweet, but they’re absolutely packed with flavor.
The Best Banana Cupcake Recipe
The cupcake flavor will remind you of banana bread, but they still have the texture of a cupcake. I was worried that they’d either be too heavy or they’d only have a slight banana taste. But this recipe balances both perfectly.
Here’s the rundown of the recipe. I’ve included tips and photos below for clarification. The measurements and instructions (without tips and photos) are in the recipe card when you scroll down.
- Beat together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar until fluffy. This gives that light and fluffy cupcake texture.
- Then mix in the eggs and vanilla extract. As always, the eggs should be room temperature to ensure easier mixing.
- Mix the mashed bananas into the batter. You only need a few stirs by hand here. For this recipe, you’ll need ¾ cup mashed bananas. This means you’ll likely need 2 large bananas, or about 3 small to medium bananas. Mash the bananas first, then measure out ¾ cup.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Doing this first ensures that the baking powder is evenly distributed throughout the batter, which makes the cupcakes rise better.
- With the mixer on low – mix in ½ of the dry ingredients. Stop mixing as soon as the flour mixture is almost combined. The batter may look a little grainy before mixing in the dry ingredients. This is expected and totally ok.
- Then whisk in the milk. As always, your milk should be room temperature before whisking it into the batter. I typically do this step by hand to ensure that I don’t overmix the batter. You can do it with the mixer if you prefer, just make sure it’s on a low speed and stop mixing as soon as the milk is incorporated.
- Last but not least, mix in the rest of the dry ingredients. Stop mixing as soon as they’re incorporated. Over mixing the batter can make the cupcakes tough. Below you can see the batter before and after the last addition of dry ingredients was incorporated.
- Spoon the batter into your lined muffin pan and we’re ready to bake. They’ll bake for about 18-22 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. The cupcake liners should be filled about ¾ full. I got 12 cupcakes in total, but you may end up with up to 14 cupcakes.
Pro Tip: For the best banana flavor, always use brown bananas. Brown bananas are sweeter and softer. They’re much easier to mash and provide way more flavor. You can either mash your bananas with a masher, 2 forks or your electric mixer. If there’s still some lumps of banana pieces, that’s ok. Make sure to cut out any bruises before mashing the bananas.
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
To finish it all off – cinnamon cream cheese frosting! It’s tangy, creamy and absolutely addictive. You’ll notice that it’s a little softer than classic American buttercream. Mine was thick enough to pipe with a star tip (I used a 1M), but you may prefer to use a round tip or a knife if your frosting seems thin.
When making cream cheese frosting, always use real butter and full-fat cream cheese. The butter should be room temperature or slightly below before getting started, but it should look slimy or like it’s starting to melt. Use brick-style cream cheese. Anything that comes in a tub or is labeled spreadable is too thin for making frosting.
The addition of cinnamon really takes the flavor to the next level – but if you’re more of a purist, you could leave it out.
These banana cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting truly have the best banana bread flavor and the perfect cupcake crumb that’s moist and tender. The cinnamon cream cheese frosting really takes them to the next level for the perfect banana treat.
For more banana recipes, be sure to try:
Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
- muffin tin
- muffin papers
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- ½ cup brown sugar packed
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¾ cup mashed bananas about 2-3 very ripe bananas
- 1 and ⅔ cups all-purpose flour spooned and leveled
- 1 and ¾ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup buttermilk milk room temperature - see recipe substitution
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
- ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 4 oz block-style cream cheese room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 3-4 cups powdered sugar sifted
- 1 tablespoon cream if needed
- banana chips to decorate, optional
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a muffin tin with muffin papers.
- In a large bowl beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
- Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract until the mixture looks even.
- Turn down the mixer to low and mix in the mashed bananas.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
- With the mixer on a low speed, beat about ½ of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture.
- Then whisk in the milk. You can either do this by hand or with the mixer on a low speed.
- Mix in the rest of the flour mixture. Stop mixing as soon as the dry ingredients are combined.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling each about ⅔ to ¾ full. You'll likely end up with 12-14 cupcakes.
- Bake 1 muffin tin at a time in the middle of your oven. They'll bake for about 17-20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool the cupcakes in the pan for at least 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to continue cooling.
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
- In large bowl beat butter until fluffy.
- Add in the cream cheese (cut into chunks) and beat until combined.
- Turn off the mixer and add in 2 cups powdered sugar, the cinnamon and vanilla extract. Beat together, starting with the mixer on a low speed.
- Beat in the rest of the powdered sugar about ½ cup at a time, until the desired sweetness is reached.
- If the icing is too thick, beat in a tablespoon or two of cream.
- Frost the cupcakes either using a piping bag (I used a 1M tip) or frosting with a knife. Optionally, sprinkle a little extra cinnamon on top of each cupcake and top with a banana chip.
- Flour: Always measure flour properly. If using measuring cups, be sure to use dry measuring cups (not a kitchen glass, mug or liquid measuring cup). Whisk the flour first, then spoon into the dry measuring cup and level off the top.
- Bananas: You'll likely need 2-3 brown bananas to get ¾ cup of mashed bananas.
- Buttermilk: If you don't have buttermilk on hand, add 1 teaspoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice to a liquid measuring cup. Then pour milk to the ½ cup line. Stir the mixture, then let it sit for 5 minutes before using.
- Storage: Unfrosted cupcakes can be baked and cooled, then frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge. Cupcakes can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 1 day, or in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- Nutrition: Details provided are an estimate only and based on 1 cupcake with frosting, assuming the recipe yields 12 equal-sized cupcakes.