This Nanaimo Bars Recipe is the perfect no bake chocolate dessert that looks gorgeous, tastes amazing and you can make ahead of time to keep in the fridge or freeze!
How perfect is that?
This post was originally published on January 24, 2017 and updated on February 9, 2021.
Some of my favorite Nanaimo Bar recipes include Anna Olson’s on Food Network Canada, and the City of Nanaimo, British Columbia has a great recipe too!
Where do Nanaimo Bars come from? Well, Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada in about 1953 and we’ve been in love with them ever since.
Mom’s recipe card actually says Chocolate Squares, and that makes sense because that was the original name for Nanaimo Bars! And it’s a no-bake recipe, just like our Maple Fudge Toffee Bars or Apple Pie Lasagna.
This delicious concoction of chocolate, coconut, walnuts and butter cream is often served up in Diners and Coffee Shops everywhere to enjoy with that special latte.
Potlucks are another popular event where my Nanaimo Bars will make an appearance!
And let’s not forget Starbucks, where you can get your Nanaimo Bar fix with your favorite cup of Joe.
This recipe was given to my Mom by the organist at our Church. We loved them so much and would beg Mom to make them.
We didn’t know they were called Nanaimo Bars back then, so we just called them ‘Miss Hume Squares’ cause that was her name! Crazy, right?
To this day I just can’t resist one, and they are often included on the dessert tray at meetings and conferences.
Nanaimo Bars freeze really well. But we’ve never been able to keep them around long enough!
Yes, this recipe doesn’t use custard powder.
Absolutely! The same recipe will work for both the mini pie pan or a 9″ square pan.
Nanaimo Bars are often cut into really large squares, and really, you only need a small piece to enjoy that amazing sweetness.
And you don’t bite into a Nanaimo bar, you put the whole thing in your mouth and bite down! All of that crunchy base and creamy custard and chocolate topping just kind of explode inside, with a nice little sugar rush to boot!
This recipe doesn’t use custard powder, but everything else is the same, including cocoa, graham cracker crumbs, coconut and confectioner’s sugar.
I like how you make the recipe in layers, the bottom layer includes all the crunchy chocolate-y goodness, and includes rolled oats, graham crackers, walnuts and coconuts.
The custard filling layer is full of sweet butter and confectioners sugar and then there’s that delicious layer of dark melted chocolate!
This is also a great recipe that is very easy to convert to vegan or gluten free nanaimo bars!
Just thinking about biting into that chocolate glaze, and creamy butter frosting, well my mouth is watering!
The classic Nanaimo Bar recipe has a creamy yellow custard filling, but the mint green fillings are very popular too, especially during the holidays, like Christmas or St. Patrick’s Day! Just a few drops of green food colouring and you’re all set.
I love the ease of cookie bar recipes too, but this time I wanted to make a very fancy dessert, so I used a Wilton Mini Pie Pan instead!
We’re having some of our family over for brunch tomorrow, and I always make something sweet for the gang, it’s kind of expected!
You will love it and there’s a great printable checklist inside just for you!
TIPS TO MAKE THE PERFECT NANAIMO BARS
- Make sure you follow the recipe exactly
- Take the time you need to chill the layers before you put it all together
- Sift the powdered (icing) sugar!
- Melt the chocolate over boiling water. Resist the urge to use a microwave to melt the chocolate.
- Got a great idea to change the recipe? Go for it!
- I love reading about adjustments, changes you make to create your own special treat. I know I say follow the recipe exactly, but you might want to use a different extract than vanilla – or add green food colouring to the custard!
I’m so excited to bake this with you, so let’s get out all of the ingredients you will need, and your baking equipment. If you aren’t sure about what baking equipment you might need, please check out my post How To Set Up A Baker’s Pantry.
Ingredients to make Nanaimo Bars
- butter (unsalted or salted – whatever you have on hand)
- semi-sweet chocolate
- rolled oats
- desiccated coconut
- powdered(icing) sugar
- whole milk (or light 5% cream)
Putting the Nanaimo Bar Mini Pies Together
- Spread the custard evenly over the bottom layer mixture.
- Smooth with a spatula
- Spread the Chocolate Topping over the Icing.
- Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve (at least 2 hours)
When you are ready to serve your Nanaimo Bar Pies, I would suggest you cut them in halves or thirds , because it is incredibly sweet!
Now wasn’t that an easy recipe to make? I really enjoyed baking this ultimate sweet treat with you, and look forward to spending more time together here on the blog!
I would love to hear about your Nanaimo Bars so please let me know in the comments, rate the recipe if you like, and send me a picture!
I’m sure your friends will ask you for the recipe when you serve these amazing bars to them, so make sure you pin it for later!
- 1/2 cup butter, unsalted
- 2 oz semi-sweet chocolate (notes below)
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
- 3 tbsp butter, softened, unsalted
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, or mint extract!
- pinch of salt
- 2 cups icing sugar, sifted
- 2 - 2 1/2 tbsp whole milk, warm
- 2 squares semi-sweet chocolate
- 1 tbsp butter, melted
- Butter or Grease a 9" pie plate
- Melt butter and chocolate in a saucepan over hot water
- Remove from heat and stir in sugar, vanilla, egg, rolled oats, coconut and walnuts
- Press mixture into each section of the mini pie pan as per the video
- Cover and chill while mixing the next step.
- Mix softened butter, vanilla, and salt until smooth and creamy
- Blend in icing sugar alternatively with the cream until everything is blended and the icing is very smooth and spreading consistency.
- Chill the frosting while getting the Topping ready.
- Melt semi-sweet chocolate and butter, stir until smooth
Putting it all together
- Spread the Icing evenly over the Base Mixture.
- Smooth with a spatula
- Spread the Chocolate Topping over the Icing.
- Cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve (at least 2 hours)
If you think this mini pie idea is too messy, you can go ahead and just make your amazing Nanaimo Bars in a 9 X 9 square pan. Easy Peasy.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 443Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 56mgSodium: 100mgCarbohydrates: 51gFiber: 3gSugar: 41gProtein: 4g
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