Prepare for ooey gooey bliss: my 7 layer bars recipe is the only cookie bar dessert you’ll ever need again!
Well, that’s not entirely true, is it? Because who in their right mind would turn down a recipe for cookies? No one, that’s who.
So, I guess I should say that my 7 layer bars recipe is the ULTIMATE cookie bar dessert. Part chocolate chip cookies. Part oatmeal cookies. Part chewy, gooey, chocolatey heaven. This treat will have you saying “Mmfmm,” which is “DELICIOUS” with your mouth full.
From the first layer all the way to the seventh, my 7 layer bars recipe defines Seventh Heaven!
- One pan! Minimal mess!
- Triple threat: Crunchy, buttery, and sweet all in one.
- Holiday festive feel in every bite.
- Perfect party fare!
How To Make 7 Layer Bars Recipe
7 layer bars are so easy to make. I like to keep the ingredients on hand for a lazy Sunday or rainy afternoon, just to whip up. Preheat your oven, and toss the butter into a 9×13 baking dish. Place it in the oven until melted completely. Give it a swirl and add your crushed Grahams. This is where you’ll create the crust.
Once you’ve got your crust, sprinkle with chocolate chips and follow up with butterscotch chips. Eyeball it, and then maybe sprinkle just another handful or so of each. Yum. Add your chopped pecans and coconut, and then cover all that deliciousness in the mother of all dessert ingredients: sweetened condensed milk.
Pop it in the oven until the top is golden brown (20-30 minutes) and cool completely.
My 7 layer bars recipe is actually deceiving by name. I try my best not to lie to you, but in this case, the small fib in the name is totally worth it — because while you do construct seven separate layers in the dish’s preparation, the final bar melds together into one solid, delicious mass of outright yum.
Trust me: deception never tasted so good.
Seven layers. Seven ingredients. One perfect bite of dessert!
Gluten Free? No problem! The simplicity of my 7 layer bars recipe lends itself amazingly well to becoming 7 layer bars gluten free! Simply swap the graham crackers for your favorite gluten-free brand. I, personally, have even found these gluten-free animal crackers as delicious substitutes. I can’t even tell the difference!
What’s in a Nut: No pecans? No problem! For this dish, the type of nut isn’t imperative to the outcome, so feel free to swap pecans with a similar nut, like walnuts.
Dairy-Free and Fabulous: Looking to lighten up my 7 layer bars recipe? You can actually swap out the condensed milk for a dairy-free alternative — though be warned that the taste will be less rich. And be sure to use dairy-free chocolate chips and butterscotch chips as well!
White Chocolate Chips: Add them! They make a great play on flavor and a fun visual when the bars are sliced and served. Sprinkle them on when you add the chocolate and butterscotch chips.
Sweetened Condensed Milk: While I tend to side with my grandma when it comes to her passion for this glorious ingredient, you can make 7 layer bars without condensed milk. If you’re feeling a little vegan, you can use a banana puree to sub for sweetened condensed milk. Crazy, I know!
Puree three bananas in your blender, pour them over the crust but do so before you add your toppings. Bake and let chill overnight.
If you’re not feeling so adventurous, the internet is full of homemade recipes for sweetened condensed milk. It can be made by combining milk, sugar and occasionally vanilla extract and simmering until combined and thick.
However, it can be time-consuming for a dessert meant to be fast and easy. It’s your call, dear readers, but I’m still siding with Gram.
My 7 layer bars recipe is simple to make, simple to eat — and, you guessed it, simple to store!
If you baked your bars in a sheet tray that comes with a lid, feel free to store your bars in that container. I recommend putting it in the fridge, as room temp tends to make your bars a bit TOO gooey (yes, there is such a thing!). Especially in warmer climates, the chocolate can melt at room temp. To keep your bars as delicious as possible, pick the fridge!
Like most cookies, your 7 layer bars will be yummy in the fridge for up to four months.
Can You Freeze This?
Yes! I’ve had no problems freezing my 7 layer bars, and they’ve been known to keep for up to a year! Though who could let something so delicious sit around for that long?
To give your bars the best umph after freezing them, I recommend popping them into a toaster oven to crisp them up a bit and liven that coconut back to its former glory.
Make Ahead Tips
Honestly, my 7 layer bars recipe is quick and simple that I don’t recommend making any part of it ahead. Once you start this recipe, it’ll be done and ready for consumption in less than 40 minutes. This whole dish is a make-ahead lover’s dream!
How Long Can You Keep This?
Well, how strong is your willpower?
Kidding. Sort of. Not really, because these bars are so dang delicious!
But if you do have leftovers, you can store them at room temperature (in a sealed container!) for no more than two months. Normal cookies can last longer, true, but this recipe is so ooey-gooey that I don’t like to leave it sitting for too long.
My 7 layer bars recipe is really just an introductory recipe to the wonderful world of cookie bars! Read on for alterations that will get your tastebuds dancing.
Can I Use Almonds Instead?
Can I Add Peanut Butter?
YUM! Peanut butter oatmeal bars are some of my favorites, if only because I can rationalize that they’re healthy. Protein, amiright? Or give no bake peanut butter bars a try if you’re in a real hurry with no oven access.
Missing that chocolatey goodness? Combine all these elements into peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. A mouthful to say, a delicious mouthful to eat!
Can I Add Lemon Flavor?
Lemon, coconut, nuts, chocolate — no matter the other ingredients, lemon bars are heavenly! You can even try lemon cheesecake bars if you especially love that citrus tang but want to up it with some cream cheese. Or lemon blueberry bars for even more fruit pop!
Can I Add M & M Cookies In This Recipe?
The marriage of M&Ms with my 7 layer bars recipe is a delicious, child-friendly dessert known to birthday parties everywhere as monster cookies, or monster cookie bars.
Messy, gooey, vicious-looking but scrumptious, these bars are closely related to chocolate chip M&M cookies, only much easier to make in sheet-pan form.
What Other Cookie Bars Can I Make With Coconut?
I adore coconut! The chewiness. The tropical zest. The way it pairs so perfectly with just about any flavor. Some of my other favorite coconut-y bars are lemon coconut bars, for that acidic kick to get the coconut into a spunky high gear, and a twist on a classic: coconut cream pie bars.
But a staple has to be coconut bars, a delicious celebration of the nutty, full-bodied flavor we all love!
7 Layer Bars
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup butterscotch chips
- 1 cup pecans Chopped
- 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 1/3 cups shredded coconut
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Add butter to a 9X13 inch baking dish then place in the preheated oven until butter is completely melted.
- Swirl the pan to spread the butter. Add graham cracker crumbs and mix them together to combine evenly. Spread the crumb mixture evenly in the baking dish and press it firmly
- Sprinkle the graham cracker layer with the chocolate chips, then the butterscotch chips, then pecans, then the coconut.
- Pour the condensed milk evenly over the top of all the layers.
- Bake in preheated oven 25-30 minutes, until the top is nicely golden brown. Cool completely before cutting into serving pieces.
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Cookie bars are dangerously easy to make. In less than an hour, you can have a whole dessert medley on your plate. No one should have that much power.
But want more? Yeah, I know you do:
- Coconut Cookie Sandwiches – The only thing better than one cookie is two.
- Orange Creamsicle Cookies – The iconic orange flavor in a cookie!
- Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cookies – Berries and chocolate, oh my!
- Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies – This flavor doesn’t monkey around!
- Lemon White Chocolate Chip Cookies – Classy, sophisticated, delicious.
Whether you make my 7 layer bars recipe as is or shake things up with your own twists, I think we can all agree: this is some good eats! And I defy any party-goer not to smile when they see a tray of these delights at the next gathering.
What’s your favorite layer? Let me know in the comments!