If you’re cooking for a crowd, be it a bake sale, birthday party, or summer BBQ, nothing is easier than putting out a few great dessert bar recipes.
Making cookies and cakes can be so much fun, but they’re also a lot of work. That’s why I love dessert bars!
One pan, a few tasty layers, and a sharp knife are all you’ll need to make a whole platter full of sweet treats.
This list has brownies, blondies, lemon bars, oat bars, bars with fruity fillings, or chocolate or nuts, and of course, plenty of peanut butter.
These recipes are dangerously easy and crazy addictive.
The worst part is waiting for them to cool down because I guarantee you’ll want to dive right in!
I couldn’t stop at 10, or 20, or even 30!
So, preheat the oven now because once you’ve made through all 33 of these delicious dessert bar recipes, you’ll want to start baking asap!
30+ Best Dessert Bar Recipe Ideas
As much as I love a big piece of fudgy brownie, I just go weak in the knees at the first bite of a thick and chewy blondie.
They’re possibly my favorite sweet treat around, and the thicker, the better!
So when you start adding in tasty extras, needless to say, my willpower goes out the window.
And what could be better than the rich flavor of Oreo?
This recipe also includes chopped-up Hershey Cookies n’ Cream candy bars, which add a lovely sweet creaminess.
Dates are sweet and sticky, with a natural caramel flavor.
They’re used a lot as a source of sweetness in desserts and will add a chewy candy-like texture to your dessert bars.
Because dates are so sweet, there’s no added sugar in the filling for this recipe.
Instead, just gently cook them down with water, lemon juice, lemon zest, and cornstarch until it’s thick and smooth.
I’ve been a baker and pastry chef for a long time now, but I’m more than happy to turn to a boxed brownie mix when I’m in a rush.
They’re always fudgy, chocolatey, and pretty close to perfect.
Ghirardelli Brownie mix is so rich and flavorful; you’d be hard-pressed to know the difference between these and homemade.
The crust for this recipe is a lovely, lightly spiced cinnamon shortbread, which is super tasty just by itself.
It’s also an excellent option if you have some leftover apples or pumpkin filling.
That said, this honey and brown sugar dessert bar is to die for.
You’ll more or less make a honey-flavored caramel, boiling honey, brown sugar, butter, and cream until it’s thick and smooth.
The almonds are totally optional, but I think they add some great texture to the mix.
I’m very much a dessert-lover and will fill my plate with a little bit of everything given the chance.
I’ve also been known to mix and match my desserts to make something extra special!
And cheesecake and brownies have to be at the top of my list.
Once your brownie mix is ready and in the lined baking dish, gently dollop the cheesecake mix over the top, but don’t try to spread it out!
That will just cause it to mix with the brownie, and it’ll be a little messy.
Instead, use a sharp knife or toothpick and carefully swirl it around.
Coconut macaroons are light and straightforward little cookies that need just a handful of ingredients and a little patience.
Unfortunately, they’re pretty sticky, which can make portioning them out a hassle.
To save time and energy, try these macaroon bars instead!
They have a yummy brown sugar shortbread base, which will make them so much more stable, and I adore the inclusion of butterscotch chips in the filling.
These delicious rice Krispie bars get their name from the chocolate-butterscotch layer on the top.
It’s creamy, rich, and so, so tasty!
But that’s not all! Instead of marshmallows, this recipe calls for the cereal to be mixed with peanut butter!
Chocolate, butterscotch, peanut butter, and crispy cereal? Does it get any better?
Other than mango, I think my favorite fruit has to be bananas, and if I see a banana-based recipe, I get very excited!
These are especially moreish since they’re kind of a cross between banana bread and banana blondies.
They’re thick, moist, and wonderfully chewy while still being super light.
Mini chocolate chips are the best option for this recipe because they’ll spread out more evenly. But feel free to use chocolate chunks if you prefer.
You really can’t beat the look of vibrant red cherry pie filling with a golden crust and sweet vanilla glaze.
This recipe uses a more cobbler-like base instead of a crumbly shortbread crust (which is very typical of these kinds of dessert bars).
This recipe is super versatile, and you can so easily swap out the cherry pie for something else.
Blueberries are a great option, but I’ve also used peaches and raspberries.
Rice Krispie Treats will always be a crowd-pleaser, and it’s a fun recipe to make with kids.
Is it sticky? Yes. Will you eat more than you get into the dish? Probably!
But it’s easy, fast, and better yet, no-bake! It’s perfect for a hot summer day.
Raspberries have a very pronounced and almost tart flavor, not to mention they’re stunning in a dessert.
Instead of making a thick, sweet jam, you’ll use whole raspberries for this recipe, just tossing them in a bit of sugar and flour.
As they bake, they will set up into a chunky pie-like filling.
The white chocolate drizzle is optional, but I think it really makes this dish!
The creaminess of the chocolate helps to balance the tart raspberries so well, and a little goes a long way.
I’ve been making this for years, and it never gets old.
You’ll start with a crazy easy, shortbread crust that needs to be baked until golden.
For the filling, if you don’t want to babysit the caramel, try making dulce de leche with a can of condensed milk.
Just pop it (unopened) in a slow cooker and cover it with water.
Set it to low before bed, and when you wake up, it should be dark, thick, and heavenly.
These insanely good pretzel bars need just three ingredients and about five minutes of prep.
You’ll begin with a simple layer of melted chocolate. I used a mix of dark and milk chocolate to get some flavor and color contrast.
Top that with your pretzels, and then cover the whole thing in caramel.
Finish with a final drizzle of melted chocolate and a sprinkling of sea salt.
I know you have a can of crushed pineapple in the cupboard somewhere, so why not pull it out and start baking?!
Unlike a lot of these other fruity shortbread bars, this recipe’s filling is creamy and tangy and a breeze to throw together.
Rather than making an overly sweet jam filling, you’ll whisk together crushed pineapple with eggs, flour, sugar, and sour cream.
The consistency when baked is very similar to a luscious lemon bar.
I could happily eat the filling for this with a spoon! It’s a gooey blend of melted toffee bits with condensed milk and a layer of melted chocolate on the top.
Using condensed milk will ensure the filling sets to a fudge consistency, which is perfectly sliceable and holds its shape.
The final layer of toffee bits is as much for aesthetics as it is for taste, and I think it looks fantastic.
That said, if you wanted to, you could top this with chopped nuts or pretzel, too.
Never once have I thought about melting whole Mars Bars and using them as an ingredient, but here we are.
And, boy, is it a clever little trick!
Think about it: chocolate + marshmallow filling + caramel = all kinds of yummy goodness!
Mix it with a touch of butter and gently stir in some Rice Krispies, and you’ll have such an easy and delicious twist on a classic, kid-friendly treat.
If you think banana bars are good, just wait until you try these!
The bars are some of the best banana bread you’ll ever eat. They’re moist, tender, super flavorful, and the perfect mix of dense and fluffy.
But it’s the brown butter frosting that will knock your socks off! Seriously, you’ll want this stuff on everything!
What’s the worst thing about pecan pie? The size!
Unless you have some crazy-huge pie dish, there are only so many slices you can get out of an 8/9-inch pie.
The solution? Try these delightful pecan pie bars! They have all the same gooey-sweet goodness, and you can make them in as big of a baking dish as you can find!
Plus, the shortbread crust is way more forgiving and easier to work with than pastry!
This no-bake recipe is everything you love about s’mores, without all the bugs and smoke!
Using Golden Grahams instead of Graham Crackers will still give the same flavors and make this a little lighter.
You’ll make the bulk of this in the microwave, melting the marshmallows, white chocolate, caramel sauce, and butter until smooth.
However, you do need to broil the marshmallows on top to get that toasted texture.
You’ve probably made a variation of this dessert bar before, and I’m sure it was gobbled up in no time!
The great thing about this recipe is that it’s super delicious with just these five ingredients.
You can also make it your own by adding in nuts, or peanut butter, or chopped-up caramels.
Be sure to get sweetened condensed milk for this.
After it bakes, it will turn sticky and hold everything together while giving you the most delicious creamy and sweet finish.
Macadamia nuts have a fantastic rich and buttery flavor, and though they can be a tad expensive, they’re so worth the splurge!
Plus, they’ll add a layer of extra nuttiness to these creamy coconut bars that make them truly shine.
Almonds or pecans would work too, but they won’t give you the same texture. I think walnuts would be the best alternative.
Why just make a batch of brownies when you could make a tray of these ridiculously sinful slutty brownies?
Between the cookie dough, Oreos, and fudgy brownie, it’s a three-in-one dessert, so even just a small slice would be enough.
Not that you should limit yourself!
I say, “go big or go home!” When you see just how amazing these come out, you won’t want to share.
Is there a difference between a blondie and a cookie bar? Honestly, not really.
They’re both made with similar ingredients and are both basically thick cookies.
Blondies are a touch lighter in texture usually, but it’s hardly noticeable.
One thing I’ll say about these babies is that they’re very much on the cookie end of the spectrum, with the generous amount of chocolate and M&Ms involved!
This is the perfect recipe to serve in individual skillets; that way, they can be eaten while they’re still warm and gooey.
I think I love blueberries so much because of their color.
Sure, raspberries and strawberries are eye-catching and vibrant, but I just can’t get over the deep and intense blues and purples you get when these little darlings burst.
Pair that with the light golden oat crumb, and you’ve got one helluva Insta-worthy picture!
If you only have frozen berries, be sure to thaw and drain them first, and if you want a bit of zing, try mixing in some orange zest, too.
No doubt these get their name from the fact you won’t be able to stop at just one slice… or two!
I really enjoy that the chocolate chips more or less keep their shape here, even after they’re baked!
Not only does it look terrific, but it gives these a hidden texture right in the middle.
These lemon bars are tangy, ultra-creamy, and gluten-free, to boot!
I remember the first time I tried using raw cashews to add a creamy texture to a vegan dessert, and I was blown away by how good it came out!
The trick is to thoroughly soak them and blitz them until they’re completely smooth.
Of course, that means you’ll need a decent blender or food processor and a bit of patience.
Every time I make these unbelievable peanut butter bars, I’m amazed at how good they are.
I mean, we’re talking about peanut butter blondies here, so good is a given.
But these are elevated even further by a silky smooth peanut fudge filling that gets swirled throughout.
Seriously, make double because you’ll need it!
You might think something called magic bars would need a lot of prep and fancy chef skills, but that’s so not the case here.
In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Once you have the simple graham cracker crust made up, all you’ll need to do is layer over the rest of the ingredients and bake!
I’m almost positive you have everything you need to make a batch of these tender, sweet peanut butter and banana bars.
And they really do only need bananas, peanut butter, and oats!
Feel free to add in some chocolate chips or drizzle with caramel, though. It can’t hurt, right?
Boxed cake mixes essentially have all the dry ingredients you need for a cake.
You’ll have flour, sugar, and leavening agents already included, which is why you usually only need to add some oil and eggs, and maybe water/milk.
But cookies need flour, sugar, and leavening too!
So simply by altering your extra ingredients, you can easily make these lightning-fast cookie bars.
It’s as easy as cutting out the water/milk and gently mixing in some oil and eggs.
You’ll notice right away that the batter is super thick and very much not like cake batter.
When your sweet tooth is craving a treat, these oatmeal jam bars are possibly the easiest thing to whip up from scratch.
You can use any flavor of jam you like for this recipe or even mix some up if you want.
You could also make a quick jam yourself by simmering a pot with fruit and sugar until it thickens.
Here’s another fantastic no-bake dessert bar that’s sweet and creamy and needs just a few pantry-staple ingredients.
The recipe does call for peanut butter, but if you or your family have an allergy, that could be substituted for almond butter, Nutella, or cookie butter.
You just might need to alter the amount of crumb you use to make up for the change in consistency.
I know that lemon desserts are wildly popular, and I get it: they’re sunny and sweet and wonderfully tart.
But I have a deep love for lime that goes way beyond my margarita glass! And these lime bars are my biggest weakness.
They’re made almost exactly like the lemon bars from above, making them vegan and gluten-free!
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