The Best 7 Layer Bars
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The Best 7 Layer Bars

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When I started dating Mark his mother made the best 7 layer bars in the world. I’m guessing it was a church-shared recipe because everyone was making them back in the 1960s and 1970s. These bars were called “Magic Bars” by my mother-in-law, as I remember.

But other people called them “7 Layer Bars” and even “Hello Dolly Bars.”

They are a combination of graham crackers, butter, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, coconut, and chopped pecans. The nice thing about this recipe is that you can add more nuts, skip the butterscotch chips, and use milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Yes, it’s that easy! These are soft, chewy, moist, and easy to transport to neighborhood parties or church activities. Oh, and don’t forget the family reunions, these are always so popular.

I’m so grateful for family members who have shared their recipes over the years. I thought my mom was the best cook in the world. When I started dating Mark, I learned his mom was equally as good when it came to cooking wonderful foods, particularly when it came to delicious desserts. She tried to have a treat for her kids when they came home from school and for most meals. I’m not sure how Mark was able to stay as slim as he was when we met.

The Best 7 Layer Bars

The Best 7 Layer Bars

My other favorite recipes, Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars and The Best Banana Bread & Muffins

Kitchen Items You May Need

  • Enamel ware 9 by 13-inch Pan
  • Parchment paper (please do not use wax paper)
  • Food Processor or a bag to crush the graham crackers
  • Can opener for sweetened condensed milk
  • Food chopper for nuts, or use a sharp knife
  • Danish Whisk
Read More of My Articles  Best Chocolate Cake Ever

The Best 7 Layer Bars



Step One

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grab a 9 by 13 inch baking pan and line it with parchment paper. I used clothespins to hold the paper in place. I will remove them before baking the mixture. Set the pan aside.

Line the pan with parchment paper

Step Two

I was going to process my graham crackers in a food processor, but then I thought there are a lot of people who don’t have one. So I decided I shouldn’t make a mess with the processor and grabbed a gallon size freezer bag and rolled or crushed them with my good old rolling pin.

Crush the graham crackers

Step Three

Combine the graham crackers with the melted butter. 

Add the butter with the graham crackers

Step Four

Combine the butter and the crushed graham crackers until mixed through.

The Best 7 Layer Bars

Step Five

Spread the mixture evenly onto the parchment paper. Press down as needed.

Press the crumb mixture into the pan

Step Six

Spread the chocolate chips and then the butterscotch chips evenly over the graham cracker crust.


Chocolate and Butterscotch Chips

Step Seven

The next layer is coconut. Oh, I wish you could smell how yummy this is right now!

Sprinkle with Coconut

Step Eight

Now spread the pecans all over this coconut layer. This is where we can remove the clothespins that are holding the parchment in place.

The Best 7 Layer Bars

Step Nine

Pour the sweetened condensed milk evenly over the top of the different layers. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. After baking, remove the pan from the oven and let cool completely.

The Best 7 Layer Bars

Finished Product

The Best 7 Layer Bars

The Best 7 Layer Bars Recipe

5 from 3 votes
The Best 7 Layer Bars
The Best 7 Layer Bars
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
40 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 10 people
Author: Linda Loosli
  • 1-1/2 cups graham crackers finely crumbled
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1 cup shredded sweet coconut
  • 1/2-1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 -14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grab a 9 by 13 -inch baking pan and line it with parchment paper. Set the pan aside. I processed my graham crackers in a food processor but you can place them in a bag and use a rolling pin to crush them as well. Combine the graham crackers with the melted butter. Spread the mixture evenly onto the parchment paper. Press down as needed. Spread the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, coconut, and pecans evenly on top of the graham cracker crust, one layer at a time. Pour the sweetened condensed milk evenly over the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. After baking, remove the pan from the oven and let cool completely.

Is it okay to use different flavored chips?

I have made these with Reeses’ peanut butter chips. Then I used chopped peanuts in place of pecans, they were delicious!

Read More of My Articles  Basic Muffin Recipe

Can I substitute different nuts?

I think my mother-in-law used walnuts in hers and they were tasty. I would add whatever kind of nuts you have on hand.

How do I store these after they are baked?

I store mine in a Tupperware-type container, or sometimes just a freezer bag. I leave them on the counter for about 3 days. If there are any left, I store them in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Can I store these in the refrigerator?

Yes, you can, just keep them tightly covered so they don’t dry out. I actually like mine stored in the refrigerator, they seem to be less crumbly.

Can I freeze these 7 layer bars after baking them?

You can freeze them for sure. I like to cut them into serving sizes and tightly wrap them in plastic wrap before placing them in a freezer bag. They will store for up to 3 months in your freezer. Thaw them on your countertop overnight, they will be perfect for that morning snack.

Final Word

It’s so fun to drag out old recipes and make them once again. These 7 layer bars are so easy to make and we usually always have the ingredients in our pantry. Of course, the butter would be in the refrigerator. I love making easy recipes.

I try to make meals and desserts that include ingredients that have a healthy touch. It’s how I justify these delicious foods when sharing the recipe. Today it’s the nuts that not only add flavor and a special texture, but hopefully add to our daily requirements for healthy foods with a touch of fiber.

As with so many of the other desserts I’m made and shared as I write these posts, Mark is taking these bars to a church youth activity tonight. The kids look forward to him attending since he tries to bring treats almost every time they meet. Could be that’s why he seems so popular with them. LOL

Let me know if you have made this recipe or something similar. It’s all about cooking from scratch, desserts count, too! May God Bless this world, Linda

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  1. 5 stars
    Hey Linda! Oh yum! These sound awesome!

    I have an unrelated question, I thought of yesterday. If you have your food storage in 5 gallon buckets with a tight seal, like Gamma lids, can they be stored under the house? I don’t know why I haven’t thought of that before. Our house at the back, the highest off the ground, is in the back of the house close to the access door. It’s cool and dry.

    1. Hi Deborah, thank you for the 5 stars! Hmmm, I have some buckets in my garage with fuel, charcoal, briquettes, wood pieces, and lump charcoal. No breakage, no cracks, and we have had them for over 12 years in 110 degrees in the summer. They are in an enclosed garage. Not sure if this helps you. Linda

  2. This recipe brought back memories! Starting Thanksgiving night the kids and I would bake cookies for Christmas. They of course would eat the defective ones – how they could tell one defective cutout from another I don’t know! The 7 Layer bars were the first variety we baked. Somehow along the years I lost the recipe and forgot about it, thanks for jogging my memory. This year when I send my son Mexican Wedding Cookies, I will slip some of these in the

    1. Hi Linda, oh my gosh, the Mexican Wedding Cookies! I LOVE those! I love your tradition of making cookies on Thanksgiving. The defective ones, oh I LOVE that! I have the giggles over the defective ones! BEST comment ever! Linda

  3. Linda, could you please send me your email address? I found some info, that you might be interested in. I hope you have my email address.

  4. Love this recipe! I have always had to melt the butter in the pan but I will try your method the next time I make them. It makes it much easier. Thank you!

  5. How fun! Just made these for a family gathering they disappeared fast. Two granddaughter s helped make them at Thanksgiving and requested them for this gathering. Showed them the original recipe from the Eagle Brand milk can and told them it was older than their dad! The only difference from yours is the condensed milk went on over the crust then the other ingredients. I’ve done it both ways not a lot of difference, but I warm my milk in a pan with hot water….spreads easier. Thanks for all your great information!

    1. Hi Jeanne, oh my gosh, now that you say that, I think that’s what my mother-in-law did with the sweetened condensed milk. I do not remember her pouring it over the top. I think she poured it over the crust! I like the idea of warming up the milk as well! I love this! Linda

  6. 5 stars
    Like Linda, I had lost this recipe somewhere along all the moves I have made!

    I saw the link for the Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars. When I was a teen, my sister and I made something similar called Congo Bars – I have no idea where the name came from!! It didn’t have the pudding in it but everything else about the recipe sounds like the one we made. They were so good.

    1. Hi Leanne, thank you for the 5 stars! You know I vaguely remember something called Congo Bars! I need to think about that! I like bars of any kind! They are so easy to make! And freeze! Linda

  7. 5 stars
    I have made these many times. But I always used vanilla wafers instead of graham crackers. Everyone loves them.

    1. Hi Susan, thank you for the 5 stars!! Vanilla wafers? Oh my gosh, now I need to make it again after I pick up a box of vanilla wafers! Thanks for the tip!! I love it! Linda

  8. These Bars sound fantastic. I will use walnuts, peanuts or cashews as I am allergic to all other nots and since I don’t care for butterscotch I think I will use dark chocolate, white chocolate and milk chocolate chips in the butterscotch chips.

    In our house when it comes to food everything revolves around mom’s allergies. Sad but true. There are some things that I can’t even stand the smell of

    1. Hi Jackie, what’s nice is this recipe is so flexible anyone can change it up! I would love to try dark chocolate and white chocolate! YUM!!! Allergies are critical! Linda

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