Five Layer Bars

Easy Five Layer Bars are easy, gooey, sticky sweet cookie bars. A kid-friendly dessert with chocolate chips, coconut, pecans and a graham cracker crust.

Like Classic Brownies, this old fashioned Bar Recipe is an easy dessert made with common pantry items that can feed a crowd. These chewy cookie bars are great for potlucks, parties, and bake sale treats!

Five Layer Bars


These easy magical layer bars are a dream come true for your sweet tooth! Five layers of sweetness are balanced out with a buttery graham cracker crust. You’ll love this amazing dessert that uses baking ingredients you have on hand. Anything goes in a Five Layer Bar recipe so if you’re out of a “layer”, you can easily make a swap.

The magic ingredient in Five Layer Bars is a can of sweetened condensed milk. Poured over the bars as the final layer, it is the “glue” that keeps the bars together. As the cookie bars bake the sweetened condensed milk caramelizes. The bake time isn’t long enough to turn it into Dulce de Leche but long enough to become a sticky caramel as it cools.

No sweetened condensed milk on hand? Before you rush out to the store, check out the sweetened condensed milk recipe in this post. It takes about an hour to make and cool down, but it is a great swap made with everyday ingredients. Homemade sweetened condensed milk is also great for those who need a non-dairy option that won’t break the bank.

While we all love the gooeyness of Five Layer Bars… they get real melty and sticky as the weather heats up. If you are bringing Five Layer Bars to a summer cook out, you want to keep them indoors (or in a cooler) and bring them out right before serving. These chewy cookie bars can be kept at room temperature but if it’s hot, you may want to put them in the fridge.



Tips for Five Layer Bars

  • For easier clean up, line your baking dish with parchment paper. This also helps to cut the bars. Simply lift the parchment paper to remove the bars and slice on a cutting board.
  • Don’t push the graham cracker crust in the pan too hard. If it’s too firm, the sweetened condensed milk won’t be able to seep down into the crust.
  • Cool the Five Layer Bars completely before cutting into them. The sweetened condensed milk turns into a caramel that binds everything together and gets firm as it cools.

Pan of Five Layer Bars with pieces cut out


  • Chocolate Chips: Substitute any of your favorite baking chips like dark chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, or caramel chips. You can also do a mix of chocolate chips and flavored baking chips!
  • Nuts: You can use any chopped nuts you have on hand. Try walnuts, almonds, and peanuts, or if you have a jar of roasted mixed nuts, those work too!
  • Cookie Crust: Instead of graham crackers, use vanilla wafers, cake mix, gingersnaps, or Oreo cookies for the crust on these cookie bars.
  • Dried Fruit: Mix in dried cranberries, pineapples, apricots, or cherries for an easy 6th layer that packs a chewy fruity punch.

Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk the sugar and milk until combined.
  2. bring the milk mixture to a low simmer over medium heat, whisking often.
  3. Turn down to low heat and simmer until mixture has reduced by half.
  4. Once reduced, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
  5. Cool completely before storing in a glass jar and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Note: You can use any non-dairy milk for vegan Sweetened Condensed Milk. Try this recipe with coconut milk!



  • Serve: Place Fiver Layer Bars in a plastic bag, or cover pan with plastic wrap, and keep at room temperature for up to 3 days.
  • Store: Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container, with parchment paper between layers, for up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature before serving.
  • Freeze: Use parchment paper between layers to keep Five Layer Bars from sticking. Freeze for up to 3 months and defrost on the counter to serve.

Five Layer Bars before baking

Pin this recipe now to remember it later

Pin Recipe

Easy Five Layer Bars

Easy Five Layer Bars are easy, gooey, sticky sweet cookie bars. A kid-friendly dessert with chocolate chips, coconut, pecans and a graham cracker crust.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword Five Layer Bars
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 24 servings
Calories 195 kcal
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs , 16 full crackers
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter , melted
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup pecans , chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
  • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9x13 baking pan with baking spray.

  2. Combine the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter in a bowl and mix until the graham cracker crumbs are moistened.

  3. Press the crust gently into your baking pan then layer on the chocolate chips, pecans and coconut.

  4. Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the layers and bake for 30 minutes.

  5. Let the bars cool completely before slicing (keep your squares small to prevent breaking).

Nutrition Facts
Easy Five Layer Bars
Amount Per Serving
Calories 195 Calories from Fat 108
% Daily Value*
Fat 12g18%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Cholesterol 16mg5%
Sodium 78mg3%
Potassium 138mg4%
Carbohydrates 20g7%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 15g17%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 166IU3%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 60mg6%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Easy Five Layer Bars collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


Leave a comment & rating

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. I need a sugar free version. So could I use Splenda in place of the sugar for both the Homemade condensed milk and in the recipe as well? Maybe you could include some sugar free alternatives?