Classic Nanaimo Bars



20 min


1 h


16 squares

* PLUS chilling time
Classic Nanaimo Bars

Photography, Erik Putz. Food Styling, Dara Sutin. Prop Styling, Krystin Leigh Smith.

This decadent no-bake dessert bar is named after the city in British Columbia where the recipe originated, likely in the 1950s.


  • 3/4 cup graham-cracker crumbs , (77 g)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut , (60 g)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts , (40 g)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder , (20 g)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter , melted


  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar , (180 g)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter , at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp custard powder
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  • 1 170-g pkg dark chocolate , finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter


  • Line an 8 × 8-in. baking pan with parchment, leaving overhang on all sides.
  • Crust: Combine graham cracker crumbs with coconut, walnuts, cocoa and salt in a large bowl. Stir in 1/3 cup melted butter until combined. Sprinkle evenly over bottom of prepared pan, then firmly press down.
  • Filling: Beat icing sugar with 1/2 cup butter, custard powder, milk, vanilla and salt using an electric mixer on low for 1 min. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until pale and fluffy, about 3 min. Spread over cookie base and spread evenly to the edges. Refrigerate until just firm, about 30 min.
  • Topping: Microwave chocolate with 3 tbsp butter in a small bowl, stirring halfway, until smooth, 30 sec to 1 min. Pour melted chocolate over chilled custard and spread evenly to the edges. Chill until chocolate is semi-firm but easy to cut without cracking, about 20 min. Cut into 16 squares. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Squares can be refrigerated in a sealed container for up to 5 days.

Kitchen tip

Lining your baking pan with parchment will allow you to easily transfer the bars out of pan for slicing.

Nutrition (per serving)

  • Calories
  • 280,
  • Protein
  • 2 g,
  • Carbohydrates
  • 24 g,
  • Fat
  • 20 g,
  • Fibre
  • 2 g,
  • Sodium
  • 105 mg.

Buttercream Icing recipe:

Get our Buttercream Icing recipe here.

More Nanaimo bar recipes:

Get our holiday nanaimo bars recipe here.

For a less-sweet version, try our staff favourite recipe for salted-almond Nanaimo bars.

Assorted cookies on a pink background with the words in white "Find more Christmas cookie recipes"