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BEST Nanaimo Bars Recipe

  • Author: Lily Ernst
  • Prep Time: 25 min
  • Cook Time: 20 min
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 16-32


These classic Nanaimo bars have a fudgy chocolate and coconut cookie base, a creamy custard buttercream filling, and a smooth chocolate ganache on top. Every bite is like a taste of heaven that will keep you coming back for more!



  • ½ cup (113g) unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup (50g) sugar
  • 5 tbsp (30g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 ¾ cup (180g) graham cracker crumbs
  • ½ cup (50g) pecans, finely chopped
  • 1 cup (85g) unsweetened finely shredded coconut


  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 tbsp custard powder
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups (375g) powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp heavy cream (plus 1-2 tsp only if needed)

Top layer:

  • 6oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3 tbsp heavy cream


  1. Butter and line a 9×9″ square pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on two sides for easy removal. Set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan of very gently simmering water. Whisk in the sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Remove from heat and slowly add in the egg while whisking vigorously. Return to heat and cook for 1-2 more minutes until the mixture is smooth and resembles hot fudge.
  3. Add in the graham cracker crumbs, shredded coconut, and chopped nuts.
  4. Stir until well combined. The mixture might appear dry at first, but keep mixing and it will come together.
  5. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Press it firmly and evenly into the bottom of the pan and place in the fridge to chill while preparing the next layer.
  6. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, custard powder, and vanilla until combined. Mix in 1 cup of powdered sugar along with 1 tablespoon of cream at a time, mixing in between until smooth. Add 1-2 more teaspoons of cream, ONLY if needed, to reach a thick and spreadable consistency.
  7. Spread the buttercream evenly on top of the base layer using an offset spatula. Place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to firm up while preparing the next layer.
  8. Melt the chocolate with the cream in a medium heatproof bowl over a saucepan of very gently simmering water, stirring frequently, until completely melted and smooth.
  9. Pour over the cold buttercream and quickly spread it all over using an offset spatula. Place back in the fridge until ready to cut into squares. See expert tips on how to cut below.


How to cut: 

After you spread the chocolate ganache on top, place in the fridge for about 20-30 minutes for the chocolate to be almost set. Using a thin, sharp knife, score along the chocolate, creating lines where you are going to cut the bars. Just score through the chocolate and not the buttercream layer. Place back in the fridge for another 30 minutes or until completely firm, then cut along the lines all the way through the bars, pressing downwards. Wipe the knife clean between each cut for perfect slices.

How to store:

Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to a week or freeze them in a heavy-duty ziplock bag or freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.

  • Category: dessert
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: Canadian

Keywords: Nanaimo bar recipe