Seven Layer Bars, aka Magic Bars – Seven glorious layers of graham crackers, nuts, chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, coconut and sweetened condensed milk!
Seven Layer Bars, also known as Magic Bars, have a graham cracker crumb base and are topped with a combination of nuts, chocolate chips, white chocolate, butterscotch and coconut, and held together by sweetened condensed milk.
In other words: Sweet. Rich. Delicious.
Grab a tall glass of milk and get your oven ready!
This recipe requires very few ingredients and a minimal amount of steps, which means that it can be thrown together in no time at all. If you keep an assortment of chips and coconut in your pantry, you could whip these up any time the mood strikes. I love that the sweetened condensed milk holds these bars together so well and that you get a mouthful of chips, nuts and toasted coconut in every single bite. SO good.
Earlier this summer, I attempted to recreate a version of a chocolate caramel bar that is sold at a nearby bakery… if you can’t get enough of seven layer bars, then check out those ultimate magic bars.
(The first time I made this recipe, I did so to cross them off of my baking bucket list – I’ve made significant progress since then!)
One year ago: Slow Cooker Chocolate-Covered Peanut Clusters
Four years ago: Classic Gingerbread Cake
Seven Layer Bars
- ½ cup (113.5 g) unsalted butter, melted
- 9 whole graham crackers, crushed (about 1½ cups crumbs)
- 1 cup (99 g) finely chopped pecans, can substitute walnuts
- 1 cup (180 g) semisweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup (90 g) white chocolate chips
- ½ cup (85 g) butterscotch chips
- 1 cup (85 g) sweetened flaked coconut, toasted
- 14 ounce (396.89 ml) can sweetened condensed milk
- Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x13-inch baking pan with non-stick spray. Line the pan with two overlapping pieces of foil or parchment paper, leaving the overhang to act as handles for lifting the bars out of the pan. Spray with non-stick spray.
- Combine the melted butter and graham cracker crumbs in a small bowl. Toss with your fingers until the butter is evenly distributed. Spread the crumbs evenly over the bottom of the prepared pan (this is not meant to be a crust, so you don't need to press it flat and there will be some small bare spots along the bottom, that's okay).
- In this order, sprinkle the pecans, chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and coconut over the graham crumbs. Pour the condensed milk evenly over the entire dish.
- Bake until the top is golden brown, about 25 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours.
- Remove the bars from the pan using the foil or parchment handles and transfer to a cutting board. Using a sharp knife or bench cutter, cut into 2 by 3-inch bars.
Did you make this recipe?
Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!
[This recipe was originally published on June 17, 2009.]
Mine are just goo! I’ve made before and could cut into bars. These we had to eat with a spoon. Didn’t seem to be enough graham cracker crumbs
Butter exploded in the microwave. Thanks a lot, brown haired baker.
Nevermind, they’re fire. Thanks brown haired baker. :)
I’ve made this bar several times. I love it when others make it. But mine always turns out very not so good. Everyone else liked it. You can’t really miss out with the ingredients. But mine turns out always buttery moist for the graham cracker layer. And the outer sides get crunchy. I don’t use use nuts or coconut. And I use unsalted butter. I’d like the bottom to be dryer and not crunchy on outer layers.
love this yummy bar, sometimes i put in reeses P/nut butter mini cups in instead of choco chips.
These were so delicious. Big hit in our house!
Had this at work…great. What do you think about using cookie dough instead of graham crackers?
Ooooh that would be interesting (and delicious!)
Betty Crocker’s slice mixes work just as well.
I thought this recipe was so good that it merited a placard. Follow the website link to copy the image.
There’s a reason this recipe’s a classic: it’s irresistable! I’ve made two batches, and they’ve been eagerly gobbled up by the groups I served them two. Following the suggestions of other commenters, I used PB chips instead of butterscotch. I also used unsweetened coconut flakes; the sweetened, condensed milk is plenty sweet enough. For a final tweak, I used cinnamon graham crackers.
Can 7 layer bars be frozen?
Hi Mary, Yes, they can!
I have made these every Xmas since 1980. I’ve used many substitutions. My daughter hates peanuts & peanut butter, my husband hates coconut, and neither of them are fond of butterscotch chips. So I have used white or semisweet or milk chocolate chips, maybe 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips thrown in, toffee chips, or M&Ms. Instead of coconut, I have used crushed rice chex, or crushed frosted flakes, or rice krispies. I have used walnuts, peacans, mac nuts, or chopped almonds. (I love coconut so I have also made the original recipe occasionally) I have also changed out the graham cracker crumbs with ‘nilla wafer crumbs, or ground up “digestive biscuits” or plain animal crackers, or even chocolate cookie crumbs (when making a turtle-style bar, with caramel bits & pecans)
Actually made these for a friend and they continually raved about them. I am gifting these for Christmas in a nice Tin Box!
These bars look delicious but I am not a coconut fan..can I leave the coconut out or replace it with something else?
Hi Susan, Coconut is a pretty big piece, I don’t think you can just omit it – I would recommend replacing it with something else.
This is uncanny – I was just searching on your site last NIGHT for these bars, and couldn’t figure out why the URL wasn’t working! My students just requested these for the last day of class – I’m not a fan of butterscotch, so will use PB chips instead – have you made that substitution?
Hi Sally, I haven’t, but I can’t imagine that it wouldn’t be delicious!
These are the prettiest Seven-Layer Bars I’ve ever seen!
We love these and I often forget about them. Thanks for the reminder.
Check out this cherry version, so similar but a very different flavor!
Good and easy too.
These cookies are great for teaching kids about baking. No eggs (you have to try all the ingredients while baking..right?), no electric mixers needed and easy to can up. My then-3 year old loved the sense of accomplishment when she ‘made’ them by herself. Yes, they weren’t as pretty as yours but the smile was worth it!
I love the idea of a baking bucket list, I’m gonna have to pinch that idea!
These look amazing! Right up my street!!
Yum! Looks delicious, can’t wait to try!
xoxoBella | http://xoxobella.com
Many thanks for the recipe as well as the pictures. I just made the bars and baked them for about 30 minutes but they are not brown on the top! I sure hope they turn out okay, will let you know. I’m taking them to a potluck tomorrow (maybe). Again, thanks for the recipes. Oh yes, my oven has the correct temperature. Any suggestions? Should I have left them in longer?
Is there anything I can substitute for the coconut? Thanks!
Hi Susan, You can omit the coconut or replace it with another ingredient of your choice.
These were awesome. At first I was hesitant to pour an entire 14oz can of condensed sweetened milk on this!! So my first batch I only used about 1/2 the can–7oz instead. They turned out just fine too. But I also made one batch with all 14 oz and they were held together better but the flavors were still the same–very delicious!
Warning–!!! Wax paper is not the same as parchment. Even if you spray wax paper these bars still get stuck! I waited until they cooled and then flipped then out right side down. It was much easier to peel off the wax paper! Next time spring for real parchment paper for the nonstick!
I made these as well, and the graham cracker base was soggy for me, too. Is there way around that? They tasted very good (but also very sweet). Thank you!
Hi Kate, You might try using less butter if you found the base to be too soggy.
Hey was wondering the same thing about the soggy bottom. Mine just came out of the oven and was thinking we never toasted the gramcracker. Most recipes you do…. I guess I’ll see. Also I made these bars tonight for Super Bowl Sunday, do you think they will still taste just as good in 2 days???
Thanks love your site too!!!
Hi Rebecca, Yes, these should be just fine as long as you cover them tightly or store in an airtight container.
Can these be frozen? Thanks!!
I make these every year if I can, ever since my mom taught me how to make them. I have fond memories of bringing them to school at age 7 and sharing with friends. I think I made up my own name for them, because they asked what they were. I called them something like “ultra mega deluxe bars”. :-) I am from Georgia, so of course we always used pecans. Went to the store yesterday for my ingredients and pecans – well, I heard it was a bad year for them since we got so much rain this year, and they were $19 a pound. I may end up supplementing with walnuts! Oh, and my mom calls them seven layer bars, with semi-sweet chocolate and butterscotch chips. Oh, and to those who scoff at calling them seven layer, they actually are because butter is an ingredient!
I love thus recipe. A friend and I made them a few years ago and I finally found the recipe! So excited, I bought all the ingredients. They are so good! Now if can make them look as good as the picture i will be happy. = ) Thank you.
Made these last night. I am not the best baker, but the recipe looked simple enough. I was so happy with the results!!!!! Looks just like the picture and tastes sooo delicious. A perfect combination of flavors. Kept a few bars for myself and taking the rest to work for my coworkers to enjoy!
i followed the directions, but the graham cracker bottom is very soggy. is this normal for this recipe? i have eaten magic bars before and they have never been soggy, but have never made them myself so i am not sure what happened.
Hi Sarah, The crust bottom should not be soggy.
How do you think these would be with cinnamon chips instead of butterscotch? I ask because a) I have a bag of cinnamon chips to use; and b) it is so cold, I don’t want to run to the store just for a bag of butterscotch chips! thoughts?
Hi Sooze, It won’t taste the same, but I think that’s a perfectly good substitute!
thanks for the quick response. I’ll let you know how they turn out :)
Please specify how you would like thew two pieces of foil to be placed I overlapped them and it didn’t turn out well
Hi Franny, Here is a good little tutorial on how to line a baking pan with foil: http://www.thekitchn.com/easy-lifting-using-aluminum-fo-62733
Michelle, you’ve done it again. This is another amazing bar recipe you have here. I made it on Sunday and they’re so yummy!!! Unfortunately, I’m from Australia as well and we can’t get Butterscotch Chips. So, I made my own (unsuccessfully) and used it in this recipe. Can’t taste it. Next time, I’ll just use caramel chips instead. But thank you again. With so many tasty recipes on your website, I’m a frequent visitor. Hope Pittsburgh is far enough inland that you’re safe from Hurricane Sandy. And hoping everyone on the east coast will be safe.
I’m so glad you enjoyed the bars, even without the traditional butterscotch chips! Thank you for the well wishes; we are far enough inland that we haven’t been affected very much by the hurricane – rain and wind yesterday, but everything has seemed to calm down today. It looks like we’ll be wet for the remainder of the week though!
I made these yesterday. They are very tasty. I would love to try them with the peanut butter chips rather than the butterscotch chips next time, I think they would be better. It’s a very rich tasting bar.
I’ve used chopped up pretzels instead of nuts. They worked well and the added salt made for a yummy salty sweet combo!
I looove 7-layer bars and grew up eating them at family gatherings and miss them so!! I live in Australia and want to make them for a party this weekend so my friends here can try BUT… they dont have Graham Crackers in Australia (or peanut butter chips or funfetti and lots of other things :( ). Any recommendation what to use other than graham crackers? Would be super helpful, Aussies must experience the magic bar amazingness…thank tou!!
Hi Corinne, I’m not sure what’s readily available in Australia, but I suppose any type of cracker or cookie that you typically would use the crumbs of for things like cheesecake crusts, pie bars, etc.
I would use digestive biscuits as a substitute for the graham crackers.
Any suggestions of what to use in place of walnuts if, like me, you are allergic to nuts? I was thinking maybe cocoa nibs, any other suggestions?
I made them without any nut substitute and they were still divine, but I think that extra crunch would really take it over the top.
Hi Zainub, Would cocoa nibs stay crunchy when baked, or would they soften like chocolate chips? I’m racking my brain, I’ve thought of something like Rice Krispies or Special K, but they would probably soften when baked.
My husband is allergic to nuts, so I used pretzels for some crunch and substituted peanut butter chips for the butterscotch – they turned out great!
These turned out beautifully! Very sweet, of course, but perfect with black coffee or milk. I used semi-sweet chunks instead of chips (probably did not melt as much as the chips) which left these wonderful chocolately pockets in the bars. I also let the bars sit overnight before cutting.
Just made two batches to take to my meeting in Dallas next week. Yummy goodness!
These bars are delicious. We found that the longer you let them cool, the easier they are to cut and they don’t fall apart. We left them in the pan for nearly 24hrs before cutting and they were fantastic!
I made these for my Christmas Party baking contest and took home 2nd prize. These guys are delicious, I’ll make another batch for the co-workers who didn’t get a taste tomorrow.
I have one question, I baked these guys for about 40 minutes before they turned golden brown. I don’t normally have any oven issues. Are they suppose to be moist at all?
Thanks for helping me win today!
Congrats on your win! They should be a bit moist, yes.
My kids love these! Since I’m allergic to walnuts, I use pecans instead and they are delicious too. :)
…the “not sure why” was Not sure why we call them Hello Dollies…I know why they remind me of my childhood! lol. :)
My family calls these bars “Hello Dollies”. Not sure why but they remind me of my childhood. Oh so tastey!!!
These were THEEEEEE best 7 layer bars I’ve ever had. THE END.
Questions – can you freeze these bars? thanks
Hi Leana, Definitely!
Thank you, I just took a batch out of the oven an hour still cooling until I can cut.
I am so mad! I was planning on sending you this recipe for the ramadan competition LOL i have made it a few times in the past, and it was always a HIT!
I just wanted to say that I found this recipe on your site and made them today. They are A-MAZING! So easy and fast! My co-workers will be happy because I’m taking the leftovers to work tomorrow… I can’t afford to have them around for fear of eating the whole batch!!
My grandma makes these, and they are pretty much the ultimate dessert! I love them.. I think she may use less ingredients (making it not 7 layers) But I cannot wait to make these, everyone in my house will be thrilled!
More like seven layers of yummyness :)
SEVEN LAYER MAGIC COOKIE BARS!!!! My mom used to make these when I was little. They’re SO good! Your website is wonderful. I found it via a link my friend posted on facebook.
thank you for reminding me about this recipe. i haven’t made it in a long time. i remember using brownie mix for the bottom layer instead of graham crackers. (ghiardelli (sp) chocolate browine mix works well)
Could almonds or pecans be substituted for walnuts?
Definitely! Some people also use peanut butter chips instead of butterscotch.
I made these with my grandmother all the time growing up, and they were always a favorite of mine (plus are easy for kids!) We made ours with five layers (only chocolate chips, not white or butterscotch) and she always called them “Hello Dollies” – I don’t know where that name came from, but I’ve never heard anyone else call them that.
So funny you mention that you’ve never heard anyone else call them “Hello Dollies” because that is the only thing we called them growing up! I didn’t hear the terms “magic cookie bars” and “sever-layer bars” until much later!
I’m definitely going to make the 7 layer bars. They look so delicious.
I have made hundreds of batches of these bars after seeing on your blog.At one point I didn’t have the butterscotch chips, so I substituted with Peanut Butter Chips. AMAZING! I never use butterscotch again because everyone loved them so much more with the peanut butter. Try it!
I love these bars. I made them because my son home from college says they serve them at his dorm. I had tried a similar recipe years ago and never again because of the mess left in the pan. So I am thrilled with your use of double layer of foil, and the only thing to wash off the pan was the Pam spray! We took them to several holiday gatherings and have shared your website and recipe. Thanks!
Am going out to buy the ingredients for the seven layers now. Have investigated other websites and receipes and yours is the most appealing…great photos and good, very helpful comments that will be so useful in this fun & delicious endevour.
Will let you know how mine turn out!
It may be because I just started & don’t have the experience so … when I stirred it often I was able to get the coconut toasted better the 2nd time I made them for xmas. The second try came out better. OFF TOPIC: The best part is that now I have an appreciation for the time, skill, effort, and cost that goes into baking (and all cooking) and i no longer take a cavalier attitude when I eato something someone made. The bars are great but this realization is even better :)
So glad that you enjoyed the bars! As far as toasting the coconut – I have never stirred it, but just watch very closely to make sure it doesn’t get too dark. Would be interested to hear others’ thoughts on it though!
OK….so these just cooled….just have to say that the 8th layer was a VERY tasty idea. All the heath chips melted into a caramely sweet exlosion that can only be tamed by a tall glass of ice cold milk.
I am making htese for christmas and adding (OMG) an 8th layer…putting in some Heath pieces….
After looking at a bunch of 7-layer recipes, this was great — my first foray into baking as part of my wife’s annual cookie exchange (decided to contribute instead of solely receive the benefits :) ). One thing: the toasting of the coconut. I had lots of trouble w/ this until I found online that I should stir it every 30 seconds. Do people agree with this & should this be an update to the recipe?
you did it again! I substituted butterscotch chips for some hershey’s cinnamon chips and some peanut butter chips and added extra coconut and WOWWWWWWWW!!!!! A+ goes to you Lady!
I’m going to bake these to send to people for the holidays. But I’m going to use peanut butter chips instead of the butterscotch. I’ll let you know how they turn out.
These are so insanely easy to make and so delicious. Whenever I make them I give a few to each of my friends (a full pan would be dangerous sitting in my house) and they just love them!
I made these to bring into work today. I ended up using peanut butter chips instead of butterscotch since we are peanut butter fiends. Everyone loved them!
Ruchi M – So happy to hear that even with modifications this is a great recipe, glad you enjoyed! :)
These look terrific!! So many layers of goodness!
These look mouth waterlingly delicious!!!!
I tried a variation of this since I couldn’t get hold of all the ingredients and they were truly sinful!
Sometimes we are so on the same wavelength. I have been thinking about these in the back of my mind for weeks! I am going to have to make them very soon.
Those bars look so good! Just look at the partially melted and gooey chips!
Hi Dana – So happy to hear you enjoy my blog! Look forward to “seeing” you again soon!
Oh momma, these sing to me! And the pictures! You having me setting here in a puddle of drool! Thanks for sharing and I love your blog. I will be back.
ooey gooey heaven in bar form! sigh!
At first glance I thought those were chick peas on top! LOL thankfully no, these look so good!!!!!!!
These are one of those treats I have always wanted to make and have yet to get around to it. Your photos look great!
Niall – Thanks for the compliment on my photography!
My mom used to make these and I think the recipe was called something like “Classical Cookie”. Can’t wait to try your recipe, seven is a good number.
Wow those look amazing. Great work on the photography too, I think that is half the battle in making stuff look amazing!
These are one of my fave childhood treats – yum!
Oh my goodness gracious these look to die for:) Can’t wait to try them!
I used to make Magic Bars at work about twice a week for six years. They technically weren’t seven layer bars because we only did the crust, chopped pecans, chocolate chips, coconut, and condensed milk. They were one of our biggest sellers though and soooo good! I love the addition of butterscotch chips. That sounds delicious!
Oh MY! I think this will be the kids treat for the weekend. Looks awesome!