Nanaimo Bars


These Nanaimo bars are three layers but worth the effort. My son is famous for making and taking these to work. I've heard other names, but everyone knows them as Nanaimo bars here in the Northwest. They are sold on British Columbia Ferries and at coffee stands. If you can't find custard powder, I've used instant pudding mix with good results.

Prep Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
30 mins
1 8x8-inch pan

These Nanaimo bars feature three decadent layers of rich, chocolatey, nutty goodness.

What Is a Nanaimo Bar?

The Nanaimo bar is a no-bake dessert named after Nanaimo, a Canadian city in British Columbia. It consists of three layers: a coconut crumb base, a custard filling, and a chocolate ganache topping.

How to Make Nanaimo Bars

You'll find the full, step-by-step recipe below — but here's a brief overview of what you can expect when you make homemade Nanaimo bars:

1. Make the bottom layer: Melt a stick of butter, cocoa powder, and sugar in a double boiler. Beat in the egg. Remove from the heat and mix in the crumbs, coconut, and nuts. Press the mixture into the pan.
2. Make the middle layer: Beat a stick of butter, cream, and custard powder. Mix in the confectioners' sugar and spread the mixture over the bottom layer. Chill to set.
3. Make the top layer and cut: Melt the chocolate and butter together and spread over the chilled bars. Let the chocolate set, then cut into squares.

Tip: You can use instant vanilla pudding powder instead of custard powder.

How to Store Nanaimo Bars

Store the Nanaimo bars in the refrigerator for up to four days. Since they are served chilled, these bars make a great make-ahead dessert.

Can You Freeze Nanaimo Bars?

Yes! Nanaimo bars freeze quite well. Wrap them individually in storage wrap, then in a layer of aluminum foil. Freeze for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

Allrecipes Community Tips and Praise

"These were delicious," raves Rhonda. "Here's a tip for beginners: Don't add the egg to the saucepan...if it's too warm the egg will CURDLE. My mom told me to slowly beat about half of the chocolate mixture into the egg, a little at a time, so that it won't curdle from the heat."

"This was surprisingly easy to make," says nikki. "I followed the recipe using some suggestions found in the comments. One thing I tried differently was to replace the graham crackers with more nuts. I love the extra crunch it gives!"

"These are simply outstanding," according to Jamie Anderson. "Seriously, it's my new favorite dessert. Great recipe and I will definitely make these again. I didn't have custard powder so I substituted it with instant vanilla pudding mix and it went well."

Editorial contributions by Corey Williams


  • 1 cup butter, softened, divided

  • 5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

  • ¼ cup white sugar

  • 1 egg, beaten

  • 1 ¾ cups graham cracker crumbs

  • 1 cup flaked coconut

  • ½ cup finely chopped almonds (Optional)

  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream

  • 2 tablespoons custard powder

  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar

  • 4 (1 ounce) squares semisweet baking chocolate

  • 2 teaspoons butter


  1. In the top of a double boiler, combine 1/2 cup softened butter, cocoa powder, and sugar. Stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Beat in egg and stir until thick, 2 to 3 minutes.

  2. Remove from the heat and mix in graham cracker crumbs, coconut, and almonds. Press into the bottom of an ungreased 8x8-inch pan.

  3. For the middle layer, beat remaining 1/2 cup softened butter, heavy cream, and custard powder until light and fluffy. Mix in confectioners' sugar until smooth. Spread over the bottom layer in the pan. Chill to set.

  4. While the second layer is chilling, melt semisweet chocolate and 2 teaspoons butter together in the microwave or over low heat.

  5. Spread melted chocolate mixture over chilled bars. Let the chocolate set before cutting into squares.

    close up view of a Nanaimo Bar
    Katie S


The magazine version of this recipe uses instant vanilla pudding powder instead of custard powder.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

311 Calories
20g Fat
34g Carbs
3g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 16
Calories 311
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 20g 25%
Saturated Fat 11g 56%
Cholesterol 47mg 16%
Sodium 160mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 34g 12%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Total Sugars 26g
Protein 3g
Calcium 19mg 1%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 87mg 2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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