Home > Desserts > 7 Layer Bars 7 Layer Bars February 4, 2021 | 43 Comments SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Jump to Recipe This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy. A classic dessert that is always a hit — 7 Layer Bars with a thick, buttery graham cracker crust, filled with a combination of baking chips, chopped pecans, and coconut flakes. Everything gets drizzled with sweetened condensed milk, which is the secret ingredient holding everything together and giving these bars that classic gooey texture and intense sweetness. Try our other variations on these bars next time — these Easter-themed Magic Bars or these 7 Layer Pumpkin Bars. 7 Layer Bars I’ll start by telling you that this bar recipe *technically* has 8 layers, but I’m calling them “7 Layer Bars” since they are essentially the standard recipe you’ll find peppered over the internet (with my own tweaks of course!) 7 Layer Bars are another treat my mom made often growing up — especially around the holidays (her other two “famous” treats are these Carmelitas and these Rice Krispie Treats). My mom often changed out the baking chips and the nuts she’d include in her recipe. One addition that never made it in her bars? White chocolate. That’s understandable since she hates white chocolate. But for me? It’s one of my favorites! And especially when it is paired with milk chocolate. So that’s how her famous 7 layer bars came to be 8 layer bars — I added in some white chocolate and have never looked back! 🙂 What are the Layers in 7 Layer Bars? Graham Crackers. Stick to honey-flavored graham crackers for a traditional flavor, but get creative with cinnamon graham crackers for a spiced bar. Butter. I like to use unsalted butter and then add salt so I can perfectly control how much salt is in the bars. The salt content in salted butter can vary drastically so I like to remove the guesswork and use unsalted. Chocolate chips. Any chocolate chips work here, so use your favorite. We love milk chocolate, but it does make for a very sweet bar. Use dark or semi-sweet to cut down on the richness. Butterscotch chips. Butterscotch chips are a classic in 7 layer bars, but if you don’t love them use more chocolate or white chocolate chips instead. Chopped nuts. We love chopped pecans best in these bars, but here’s where you can get creative and try a different type of nut entirely. Sweetened condensed milk. This is the magic ingredient that holds everything together and makes these bars gooey and sweet. See the “quick tip” below. Coconut flakes. Be sure to get unsweetened coconut flakes so these bars aren’t over-the-top sweet. Sweetened coconut is a lot sweeter than unsweetened and we’ve already got plenty of sugar in these bars! QUICK TIP Only sweetened condensed milk works in this 7 Layer Bars recipe, so be sure not to get evaporated milk. Be sure to get the full-fat variety and avoid sugar-free cans. I personally use and love Eagle Brand’s® (not sponsored) sweetened condensed milk. How do you cut a 7 Layer Bar? I get it! These bars are gooey, a little crumbly, and overall tricky to serve. But with the tips below I’m confident you’ll have success cutting these out nicely and with a lot less frustration! Line the pan with parchment paper. These bars are nearly impossible to remove without first lining the pan. Don’t line the pan with foil or wax paper for this recipe. Leave an overhang of parchment paper to easily remove the bars and cut into them on a cutting board. These 7 Layer Bars are gooey, sticky, and melty when they’re hot. I recommend waiting for them to cool completely before cutting them. And after they’ve cooled, if they are still too soft to cut into, cover them and refrigerate for a couple of hours or until firm enough to hold together. Use a sharp chef’s knife and make decisive cuts. Run the knife under warm water, dry on a kitchen towel, and repeat for each cut. Get creative with how you cut these bars — you could even try cutting them into wedges for a fancy appearance! QUICK TIP This recipe fills a 9×13-inch pan, but these bars are so rich and sweet that you’ll want to cut them pretty small. This is nice because these bars can be fairly expensive to make — with smaller bars you’ll get more bang for your buck! These make a great treat for holiday gifting or sharing at a party with a lot of guests! How long do these bars keep? These 7 Layer Bars are best enjoyed within 3-5 days. Store any leftovers in an airtight container, separating the layers with parchment or wax paper. Do 7 Layer Bars need to be refrigerated? There is nothing about these 7 layer bars that requires refrigeration, but if you prefer them to be less gooey and more firm, store them in the fridge. If the temperature is warm where you’re at, you may want to refrigerate them. For cooler temperatures, storing these bars on the counter is just fine. We haven’t personally tried freezing and thawing these bars (there have never been leftovers!), but here’s an article to read for tips on freezing/thawing baked goods. 7 Layer Bar Tips For the crust, measure the crumbs. While it’s easiest to just count graham cracker sheets to throw them in the blender, there can be a good amount of variation from cracker to cracker and brand to brand. For a fool-proof crust, measure the crumbs instead of counting out graham cracker sheets. For the crust, blend crumbs thoroughly. To be sure there aren’t large chunks of graham cracker in the crust (which will affect how nicely you can cut these bars), thoroughly blend the graham crackers until they are in fine crumbs. Add any large chunks back into the blender to continue the process. Depending on the type of blender you have, you may want to blend crackers in batches. Add coconut on top. The reason I put the coconut on top of the sweetened condensed milk (as opposed to underneath it), is because I love the texture and taste of it this way! The coconut gets nice and toasted in the oven and even a tiny bit crunchy — yum! Add your favorites. Feel free to get creative with your bars. As long as quantities remain consistent, add your favorite combination of baking chips and/or nuts. You could even replace some of the chocolate chips with caramel bits for a fun flavor twist, Use good chocolate. Good chocolate chips make a world of difference for flavor. While you don’t need to buy the most expensive brands, I’d avoid the cheapest ones since they do have a more waxy flavor. Magic Cookie Bars FAQs1Do you have to refrigerate Magic Cookie Bars?Store in the fridge if the temperature is warm where you’re at, or on the counter for cooler temperatures. There is nothing about these bars that requires refrigeration, but if you prefer them to be less gooey and firmer, store them in the fridge. 2What do you use sweetened condensed milk for?Beyond these amazing Magic Cookie Bars, here are some other recipes to use sweetened condensed milk in: Coconut Macaroons 7 Layer Bars Caramel Sauce Oreo Fudge Brownie Trifle Reese’s Fudge Strawberry Shortcake Trifle 3How do you cut Magic Cookie Bars? These bars are gooey and sticky! I recommend waiting for them to cool completely before cutting into them. If the bars are too soft/gooey to cut into, cover them and refrigerate for a couple of hours or until firm enough to cut into. Use a sharp chef’s knife and make decisive cuts. Run the knife under warm water, dry on a kitchen towel, and repeat for each cut. 4How long do Magic Cookie Bars keep?These bars are best enjoyed within 3-5 days. We haven’t personally tried freezing and thawing these bars (there have never been leftovers!), but here’s an article to read for tips on freezing/thawing baked goods. More Amazing Desserts S’mores Bars with graham cracker-flavored cereal Raspberry Jell-o Cheesecake Bars with a graham cracker crust Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies with a “secret” ingredient that makes these the best! Chocolate Peanut Butter Snack Mix with miniature Reese’s cups Cookie Bars with chocolate chips FOLLOW ALONG! Subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates, recipes and content. 7 Layer Bars 4.7 from 13 votes - Review this recipe A classic dessert that is always a hit -- 7 Layer Bars with a thick, buttery graham cracker crust, topped with a combination of baking chips, chopped pecans, and coconut flakes. Everything gets drizzled with sweetened condensed milk-- which is the secret ingredient holding everything together and giving these bars that classic gooey texture and intense sweetness. SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe 7 Layer Bars 4.7 from 13 votes - Review this recipe SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe A classic dessert that is always a hit -- 7 Layer Bars with a thick, buttery graham cracker crust, topped with a combination of baking chips, chopped pecans, and coconut flakes. Everything gets drizzled with sweetened condensed milk-- which is the secret ingredient holding everything together and giving these bars that classic gooey texture and intense sweetness. Course Dessert, Snack Cuisine American, Vegetarian Keyword 7 layer bars Prep Time 25 minutes Cook Time 25 minutes Cooling Time 1 hour Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes Servings 24 bars (One 9x13-inch Pan) Calories 394kcal Author Chelsea Cost $7.99 Ingredients2-1/2 cups (288g) graham cracker crumbs (measure when crushed into crumbs; about 20 crackers)3/4 cup (12 tbsp; 170g) unsalted butter, melted1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (or 1/4 teaspoon table salt)1 cup (175g) milk chocolate chips Note 11 cup (175g) butterscotch chips Note 21 cup (170g) white chocolate chips1 cup (108g) chopped pecans1 can (14 oz.; 396g) sweetened condensed milk Note 31 and 1/3 cups (105g) unsweetened shredded coconut InstructionsPREP: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176C). Line a 9x13-inch pan with parchment paper, leaving some overhang for easy bar removal. Don't line the pan with wax paper or foil. Melt the butter in the microwave and set aside to cool back to room temperature -- using hot butter makes the crust greasy.GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST: Coarsely break up graham crackers and add to a powerful blender (you may need to do this in batches). Pulse/blend until all crackers are fine crumbs. Measure a level 2 and 1/2 cups (288g) of the crumbs and add to a large bowl, along with the salt. Stir in the melted-but-cooled butter and mix to create a thick mixture. Press this into the prepared pan and use the bottom of a flat measuring cup to firmly form the crust into an even layer.TOP THE CRUST: Evenly layer the top with chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, white chocolate chips, and chopped pecans. Pour the sweetened condensed milk evenly over the nuts. In an even layer, sprinkle the coconut over condensed milk. Gently press down the coconut on top. (Coconut above the sweetened condensed milk allows it to get toasted and delicious!)BAKE: Bake in the preheated oven until the edges are golden brown and the sweetened condensed milk is bubbling at the edges, about 23-28 minutes. My oven is done right at 25 minutes.LET COOL AND ENJOY: Remove from the oven and allow the bars to cool completely-- about 1-2 hours. Speed up the cooling process by putting them in the fridge after they've cooled for about 20 minutes at room temperature. Use the overhang of parchment paper to remove the bars and use a sharp knife to make decisive cuts in the bars. Run the knife under warm water, dry on a kitchen towel, and repeat for each cut.STORAGE: Store any leftover bars in an airtight container separated by layers of parchment or wax paper. Store in the fridge if the temperature is warm where you're at, or on the counter for cooler temperatures. (There is nothing about these bars that requires refrigeration, but if you prefer them to be less gooey and more firm, store them in the fridge.) These bars are best enjoyed within 3-5 days. Video Recipe NotesNote 1: We love the richness and sweetness of milk chocolate, but any type of chocolate works here. If you like dark chocolate best, use dark chocolate. If you want to cut down on sweetness, use semi-sweet chocolate. Note 2: If you don't like butterscotch or white chocolate chips, use more of a type of chocolate chip you do enjoy! You could even try caramel bits instead of one of these types of chips! Just keep quantities consistent. Note 3: Only sweetened condensed milk works in this recipe, so be careful not to get evaporated milk by mistake. Be sure to get the full-fat variety and avoid sugar-free cans. I personally use and love Eagle Brand® (not sponsored). Nutrition FactsServing: 1serving | Calories: 394kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 188mg | Potassium: 221mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 247IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 87mg | Iron: 1mg We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed. DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.