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7 Layer Bars, also known as Magic Bars, are 7 layers of decadent glory made with nuts, chocolate, cookies, butterscotch, and sweetened condensed milk! This 7 Layer Bar recipe is incredibly easy to make, and always a crowd-pleaser that is perfect for any occasion! Plus, they store well in the freezer for later!
My sweet tooth can’t get enough of recipes with chocolate and nuts! If you’re the same, check our Chocolate Marshmallow Almond Rocky Road Cookies for a chocolatey, nutty cookie, and if you’re more in the mood for pie, our Kentucky Chocolate Walnut Pie is amazing!
Magic Cookie Bars
Old-fashioned 7 Layer Bars have, you guessed it, SEVEN layers of deliciousness! Also known as Magic Bars, this amazing dessert is so easy to throw together and perfect for any occasion. They are ready in less than an hour. The hardest part is definitely waiting for them to cool down!
Honestly, they probably should be called “7 Ingredient Bars” because I don’t think of these so much as layers, but the name has been around for decades and it’s pretty much stuck.
I love that I can tweak this recipe for 7 layer bars to suit my taste or the taste of whoever I’m making them for. This recipe is the classic version using butterscotch chips, but I confess that I think they are even better with peanut butter chips instead.
You could also use caramel bits for an extra caramel flavor, or try subbing in dark, milk, or white chocolate chips for the butterscotch or semisweet chocolate chips. How about M&M’s? Peanut M&M’s? Toffee bits? A chopped up Hershey Bar? All of those could work too! There is no limit on these 7 layer magic bars!
For the nuts, I prefer to use walnuts, but macadamia nuts are my close second favorite (probably because of how well they go with the coconut in the bars). Peanuts, pecans, or even almonds will also work, or if you have a nut allergy, you could just leave them out or replace them with seeds like pepitas. Instead of graham crackers for the bottom crust, you could use Nilla wafers, Oreo cookies, Biscoff cookies, or other cookies, even your favorite gluten-free option.
Make these old fashioned 7 layer bars ahead of time! You can store them for almost a week on the counter (they won’t last that long, trust me) or freeze them for a special occasion down the road. It’s so handy to have treats on hand when you don’t have time to whip up something on the fly!
7 Layer Bar Ingredients
7 pantry staples ingredients make up these 7 Layer Bars. You’ll probably already have most on hand!
- Butter: The first layer of this 7 layer bar recipe is butter! Butter holds the graham crackers together and adds a delicious richness.
- Graham crackers: Graham crackers are crushed and mixed with the butter before being pressed into a tray to make a graham cracker crust. Really, you could use any cookies you have on hand like Nilla wafers or Oreos.
- Coconut flakes: I use sweetened coconut flakes, but unsweetened would work as well.
- Chocolate chips: One of the best things in life! I used semi-sweet chocolate chips, but you can use any chocolate you prefer: milk, dark white, a chopped up chocolate bar, or M&M’s.
- Butterscotch chips: The butterscotch chips add a hint of toffee/caramel flavor and melt perfectly with the chocolate chips! You could use peanut butter chips instead, or even go off script with cinnamon chips or mint chips.
- Walnuts: A little bit of crunch? Yes, please! If you’re not a fan of walnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, peanuts, or even almonds will work.
- Sweetened condensed milk: Our final layer of these 7 layer bars is sweetened condensed milk, which gets drizzled over the top and soaks down as the bars bake to hold everything together.
How to Make 7 Layer Bars
- Prep the baking sheet and heat the oven: Firstly, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and then line a 9×13-inch baking dish with a parchment paper sling. This makes it SO much easier to get the bars out and cut them afterwards.
2. Layer 1 & 2: Graham crackers and butter. For the first layer of the 7 layer bars, crush the graham crackers in a food processor until they are coarse crumbs. Add the melted butter and stir with a fork until the crumbs are moistened. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan.
3. Layer 3: Coconut: Evenly sprinkle the coconut over the graham cracker crumb layer.
4. Layers 4 & 5: butterscotch & chocolate chips. Sprinkle the chocolate chips and butterscotch chips evenly over the coconut and graham cracker layers.
5. Layer 6: Walnuts: Evenly sprinkle the chopped walnuts on top.
6. Layer 7: Sweetened Condensed Milk: Drizzle the sweetened condensed milk over everything, being sure to try to cover the entire pan evenly so not too much of the sweetened condensed milk pools in one place.
7. Bake! After all of the ingredients for the 7 layer bars are layered, bake for 25 minutes until lightly browned around the edges and the middle is just barely set. Unlike other cookies and bars, these ones are fairly forgiving and it won’t hurt to bake them a few minutes longer by accident thanks to all the moisture from the sweetened condensed milk. Let cool for at least 2 hours before cutting into bars and serving.
Do 7 Layer Bars need to be refrigerated?
No, they don’t! Any leftovers will keep on the counter at room temperature for 5-7 days in an airtight container.
Do Magic Bars freeze well?
Yes, they are a great make-ahead treat to have on hand in the freezer! To freeze 7 layer bars, cut them into squares and store them in an airtight container or Ziploc bag in the freezer for up to 2-3 months.
What is a 7 Layer Bar?
As far as I know, the original 7 layer bars recipe came right from the Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk label, right on the can. They’re also known as Magic Bars, and usually contain sweetened condensed milk, graham crackers, chocolate, butterscotch chips, coconut, and chopped nuts.
Can I add anything else into these 7 layer bars?
Yes! There are plenty of options and substitutions, and frankly, you can always add an extra layer or two if you want!
- Instead of butterscotch chips, try peanut butter chips.
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips can be replaced with any kind of chocolate chips (milk, white, dark) or a chopped up chocolate bar. You can also add in some M&M’s!
- Any finely crushed cookie will work instead of graham crackers. You could try Nilla wafers or Oreos. Even a butter cookie such as shortbread, or ginger snaps would be delicious.
- Not a fan of walnuts? Replace them with your favorite nut! Some great options would be peanuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, or pecans.
Can I make these Magic Bars gluten free?
Of course! Replace the graham crackers with gluten-free graham crackers, or your favorite gluten-free cookie. Oreos can be found gluten free as well!
Can I make these 7 layer bars vegan?
Yes! Vegan sweetened condensed milk exists, can you believe it?! So, in order to make these bars vegan, use dairy-free chocolate chips, butterscotch chips (King David Brand and Lieber’s are dairy-free), vegan cookies, and vegan sweetened condensed milk.
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- Pecan Pie Cheesecake Bars
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- 1/2 cup salted butter, melted
- 1 1/2 cups finely crushed graham cracker crumbs (11-12 full sheets)
- 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup butterscotch chips
- 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
- 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x13-inch baking dish with a parchment paper sling.
- Crush the graham crackers in a food processor until they are coarse crumbs. Add the melted butter and stir with a fork until the crumbs are moistened. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan.
- Sprinkle the coconut over the graham cracker crumb layer. Sprinkle the chocolate chips and butterscotch chops evenly over the coconut and graham cracker layers. Evenly sprinkle the walnuts on top, then pour the sweetened condensed milk over everything, being sure to try to cover the entire pan evenly and not too much of the sweetened condensed milk pool in one place.
- Bake for 25 minutes until lightly browned around the edges and the middle is just barely set. Let cool for at least 2 hours before cutting into bars and serving.
- Leftovers will keep on the counter at room temperature for 5-7 days in an airtight container or in the freezer for up to 2-3 months.