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Simple Hummingbird Cookie Bars (Doctored Muffin Mix)

Everyone in the south knows what hummingbird cake is, but not everyone has the time or energy to bake one. With this easy recipe you’ll get all of those flavors without all of that work! 

Simple Hummingbird Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

What is a Hummingbird Cake? 

Hummingbird cakes are rich with ingredients like bananas, coconut, pineapple, and pecans. Recipes might vary from place to place but it’s a rich cake loaded with flavor and texture. 

“Hummingbird” cakes come from a beloved southern cake recipe rich with ingredients. Some folks call it doctor bird cake. It’s a rich, moist cake.

According to Southern Living Magazine:

When the recipe was first submitted to Southern Living back in the 1970s by Mrs. L. H. Wiggins, it was layers of soft, banana-and-pineapple spiced cake, with a healthy dose of cream cheese frosting and a sprinkling of pecan halves. 

Down here in the south we know and love our Hummingbird cake!

I have a marvelous scratch cake recipe for homemade hummingbird cake if you’re in the mood for the full-on baking experience. 

This post, however, is going to shortcut all of that. This simple bars recipe has all of those flavors and textures but it starts with a couple packets of muffin mix! (This is definitely one of those easy recipes you’ll be able to use again and again!)

Can I Make Hummingbird Cake Bars out of Muffin Mix? 

You can. . .and you should! Over the past several days I’ve been baking up a variety of bars using cake mix as a base. 

Today in the store I stared at all of those yummy looking packets of muffin mix and thought, “If I can do it with a cake mix, why can’t I do it with a muffin mix?” 

The idea was appealing, especially when I clamped eyes on the banana muffin mix. I’d already decided to make these Hummingbird bars but wasn’t completely sure how to work in the bananas. 

As often happens, I pulled this recipe together on the fly. I often make things up. (Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t.) 

I’m happy to report this one worked out great! And I can’t wait to share it with you. 

Hummingbird Bar Ingredients

Simple Hummingbird Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

You will find a full printable recipe card at the bottom of this post but here’s a quick peek at what you’ll need. These are simple ingredients you can find at your local grocery store. 

  • banana muffin mix
  • ground cinnamon
  • butter (room temperature)
  • room temperature egg
  • crushed pineapple (no juice)
  • coconut pecan frosting (canned)
  • extra chopped pecans and coconut flakes for sprinkling (optional) 

How to Make Hummingbird Bars 

I just love coming up with new recipes, y’all! And this one is an easy hummingbird cake recipe that turns “cake” into “bars.”

These came together so quickly and easily! In some ways they’re like my German chocolate bars, in that they call for two cans of coconut pecan frosting (my secret ingredient for many dishes). 

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Prepare a 9×13-inch baking dish by spraying with nonstick spray and adding a piece of parchment paper. Add a little more nonstick spray on top of the paper. 

Simple Hummingbird Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

Make the Crust: 

Place both packets of dry muffin mix into the bottom of a large bowl. I use the bowl of my stand mixer with paddle attachment but if you don’t have one of those an ordinary bowl and electric mixer will do. 

Add room temperature butter and egg to the dry muffin mix. 

Simple Hummingbird Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

Mix on low until it all comes together. You’ll end up with a dough that’s similar to cookie dough. 

Press the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan. Try to get it even. 

Simple Hummingbird Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

Place in preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes. 

Simple Hummingbird Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

While crust is baking strain your crushed pineapple. 

Pour pineapple over partially cooked dough. 

Simple Hummingbird Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

Spoon frosting over the pineapple. The warmth of the dough will cause it to soften up. Now you can spread it out. 

Simple Hummingbird Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

Place back in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. 

Remove and place dish on wire rack to cool for an hour. 

Simple Hummingbird Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

Place in refrigerator for a hour. Bars are now ready to cut. 

Simple Hummingbird Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

Cut into squares.

Simple Hummingbird Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

Serve! Enjoy! Try not to eat too many!

Simple Hummingbird Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

Leftover bars should be refrigerated in an airtight container or covered in plastic wrap. You can freeze these up to two months. 

What to Expect from this Recipe

Simple Hummingbird Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

I wasn’t sure what to expect, to be quite honest. I don’t know that I’ve ever used a banana muffin mix before. 

Turns out, the banana crust was just right! Crisp on bottom, loaded with texture and banana flavor. 

The pineapple juices oozed their way down into the top part of the crust, making it sheer perfection. 

And that coconut pecan frosting on top? Well, if you made my German chocolate bars you already know what happens to canned coconut pecan frosting when it bakes. It becomes a caramelly, rich topping. And those nuts and coconut? As they bake they take on that toasted flavor. 

I love, love, love this recipe and I can’t wait to take these bars to our family’s Memorial Day gathering tomorrow. I know everyone will adore them. This is the perfect sweet treat.

Variations on this Recipe

An actual Hummingbird cake has cream cheese frosting. You could always make a simple cream cheese frosting to spread over these before cutting and serving. (They need to be completely cool.) 

Another option for the cream cheese addition would be to combine a block of whipped softened cream cheese with a can of sweetened condensed milk, then adding it to the pineapple before putting the frosting on top. This would give the bars a cream cheese layer in the center. 

If you don’t have coconut pecan frosting use a can of caramel frosting and add half a cup each of pecans and coconut. 

No muffin mix? No problem. Use a white or yellow cake mix and add two mashed bananas in place of butter. 

Cut into circles and stack as you would a traditional layer cake.

If you like, you can use over-ripe bananas in the cake portion.

Other Banana Favorites from Out of the Box Baking

I’ve got a lot of banana offerings for you! Here are some of my favorites: 

Banana Blueberry Loaf: If you’ve looking for a terrific recipe to use up those over ripe bananas, I’ve got the perfect one for you! This banana loaf pairs blueberries and bananas and adds a simple streusel topping that’s sure to please!

Banana Bread Pudding: This remarkable banana bread pudding has to be one of the most luscious, dreamy desserts I’ve ever made! And best of all, it’s one of the simplest!

Classic Banana Bread with Walnuts: If you’re looking for that classic down-home taste of a great banana bread rich with walnuts, you’ve come to the right place. In this post I’m going to give you a great go-to recipe you can whip up when you’re in a hurry.

Easy Banana Berry Cake: This Easy Banana Berry Cake is light, fluffy, and filled with the creaminess of bananas and tartness of raspberries. The addition of the luscious cream cheese drip sends it over the edge, to a whole new place! Best of all, this recipe starts with a boxed cake mix!

Follow this link for a comprehensive post listing more of my fall cookies and bars, perfect for autumn!


That’s it for this post, friends! I hope you enjoyed this delicious recipe. 

See this recipe at

Full Plate Thursday 

Weekend Potluck

The Lazy Gastronome

Busy Monday


About the Author

Janice Thompson is an author, baker, and all-around mischief maker! She has overcome a host of baking catastrophes, including a toppled wedding cake, to learn more about the baking process. Janice has published over 150 books for the Christian market but particularly enjoys writing recipes and baking devotions. To learn more about Janice or to drop her a note, visit her About the Author page.

Simple Hummingbird Bars

Simple Hummingbird Bars

Yield: 24
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Everyone in the south knows what hummingbird cake is, but not everyone has the time or energy to bake one. With this easy recipe you’ll get all of those flavors without all of that work!

Ingredients

  • 2 packets banana muffin mix
  • Cinnamon
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter (room temperature)
  • 1 egg
  • Crushed pineapple (no juice)
  • 2 cans coconut pecan frosting
  • Extra chopped pecans and coconut for sprinkling (optional)

Notes

How to Make Hummingbird Bars

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Prepare a 9x13-inch baking dish by spraying with nonstick spray and adding a piece of parchment paper. Add a little more nonstick spray on top of the paper.

Make the Crust:
Place both packets of dry muffin mix into the bottom of a mixing bowl. I use the bowl of my stand mixer with paddle attachment but if you don’t have one of those an ordinary bowl will do.
Add room temperature butter and egg to the dry muffin mix.
Mix on low until it all comes together. You’ll end up with a dough that’s similar to cookie dough.
Press the dough into the bottom of the prepared 9x13-inch dish. Try to get it even.
Place in preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes.
While crust is baking strain your crushed pineapple.
Pour pineapple over partially cooked dough.
Spoon frosting over the pineapple. The warmth of the dough will cause it to soften up. Now you can spread it out.
Place back in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove and place dish on wire rack to cool for an hour.
Place in refrigerator for a hour. Bars are now ready to cut.
Cut into squares and serve!
Leftover bars should be refrigerated in an airtight container or covered in plastic wrap. You can freeze these up to two months.

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