37 Dessert Bar Recipes Perfect For A Party

From chocolate chip cookies to fruity baked cheesecakes, dessert bars can do it all.

Using just one flat pan for an even bake, dessert bars are easier to make than many traditional desserts, and just as delicious. And there are even some no-bake options!

When you’re cooking for a crowd, the dessert bar is a low stress way to add a sweet treat to the menu.

37 Dessert Bar Recipes Perfect For A Party

They’re great for birthday parties and bake sales, barbecues and potlucks, and when you need an afternoon pick me up!

Often using just one bowl, and needing just 30 minutes in the oven, a dessert bar can be a quick solution to a sugar craving.

We’ve put together a list of our favorite dessert bar recipes.

Peanuts, chocolate chips, berries, fruits, granola, even some vegetables — we have them all! Take a look at our guide, and add some dessert bars to your recipe collection.

37 Dessert Bars For Any Occasion

1. Best Brownie Recipe

Let’s start with the obvious: brownies! Brownies are perhaps the best dessert bar recipe you can make.

They’re incredibly easy, super crowd pleasers, and incredibly adaptable. No one will ever be disappointed when greeted with a tray of brownies.

We love this recipe, which makes brownies that are gooey in the middle and crisp on the outside.

They come together in just a single bowl – meaning minimal washing up – and taste better than any box mix you can find.

2. Best Blondie Recipe

Blondies are the cousin of brownies, a dessert bar recipe that is sure to please almost everyone at your party.

Each bite is soft and buttery, with the perfect amount of chewiness and a rich vanilla flavor.

We love this recipe. Not only is it easy, but it’s also adaptable. You can keep it simple, or you can add in nuts and white chocolate chips.

Make sure to melt the butter rather than creaming it: this helps give the blondies that moist texture we all love.

3. Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

There’s not much we don’t love about chocolate chip cookies, but individually scooping and rolling the dough can be a bit of a hassle. That’s what makes cookie bars so amazing.

They cut out the only part of cookies we don’t enjoy, for a delicious dessert with minimal effort.

Crisp edges with a chewy middle, the key to good cookie bars is all in the layering.

Make sure to press down your dough evenly in the pan, or you might find one half is cooked through, while the other half is raw.

4. Millionaire’s Shortbread

Millionaire’s shortbread is made up of three layers. There’s a buttery shortbread biscuit base, topped with a thick layer of caramel, and finished with a luscious pouring of chocolate.

It’s a decadent mixture of texture, which really earns the name millionaire!

Making caramel requires patience and care, but that’s the hardest part of the otherwise easy recipe.

Finish with a sprinkle of sea salt. It really brings out the sweetness of the layers.

5. Apple Almond Shortbread Bars

Buttery shortbread is the base of these apple almond bars, which are absolutely perfect for a fall celebration.

They look understated, but the combination of tangy apple and sweet shortbread is exceptional. It’s like a classic fruit tart (see also ‘33 Amazing Sweet And Savory Tart Recipes‘), but easier to make, and practically foolproof. 

If you’re planning a party, layer thinly sliced apples onto the shortbread base for an attractive finish.

For a fall snack, you can skip this step, and top with a scattering of diced apples.

6. Pecan Pie Bars

These pecan pie bars taste just like a classic pecan pie, so you might be surprised they need just 9 ingredients, and are vegan and gluten-free.

They’re ideal for a Thanksgiving treat, and because they need to cool before slicing, you can make them in advance of the big day!

Maple syrup and almond flour are used to create the buttery taste of shortbread, without the use of dairy butter.

Maple syrup and brown sugar are also used to make the warming flavors of the pie bar filling.

7. Blackberry Lemon Blondies

What to do when you’re craving a lemon bar, but you’d also love a blackberry pie? Try these blackberry lemon blondies!

They have a combination of tartness and sweetness that’s mouth watering, with bursts of blackberry throughout. 

A buttery blondie base is topped by a blackberry and lemon glaze that adds an attractive pink finish to the dessert bar.

With the gorgeous glaze, these dessert bars become an absolute showstopper.

8. Rice Krispies Treats

Rice Krispie treats are a classic dessert bar, and one of the simplest treats you can make.

You need just a few ingredients to make Rice Krispie treats, and we love how this recipe uses browned butter to add a nutty depth to the bars.

You can really experiment with Rice Krispie treats, because the recipe is so incredibly simple.

Mix in your favorite sweets, or top your dessert bars with melted chocolate. Or why not both!

Rice Krispie treats are excellent for children’s parties, but they’re pretty amazing at any age.

9. Healthy Cookie Dough Bars

Yes, it is possible to make cookie dough bars healthy! Cashew butter and stevia are used to provide these cookie dough bars with a sweet and nutty flavor, without too much sugar.

They’re also no bake bars, so they’re excellent for parties when the oven is already packed full!

Healthy desserts don’t have to be boring! These cookie dough bars are absolutely delicious, and you’d never guess that they’re low in sugar.

10. Lemon Bars

Lemon bars are an excellent choice for a spring or summer dessert.

Combining a crumbly cookie crust with sharp lemon filling, they’re bright, vibrant, and meant to be enjoyed in the sunshine.

This recipe uses a thicker cookie filling with a good layer of lemon topping.

The balance is excellent, but you can always experiment with the ratios if you prefer a little more bite to your lemon bars.

Finish with a sifting of sprinkled sugar, and enjoy at a summer potluck.

11. Salted Caramel Cheesecake Bars

“Salted caramel cheesecake bars” is a sentence to get your mouth watering!

And if you aren’t excited enough, this dessert bar recipe is incredibly easy, and needs just a few ingredients.

As a cheesecake bar, you don’t need the traditional water bath to get the light and creamy center of a traditional baked cheesecake. 

The base of this cheesecake bar is adaptable, and you can use whatever toppings you prefer. But it’s really hard to beat this simple salted caramel.

12. Blackberry Cobbler Bars

Blackberries really come to life in the oven, as the heat allows the flavors to blossom and bloom.

Wrapped in layers of cobbler dough, these blackberry cobbler bars burst with fresh fruit taste.

A simple cobbler base is covered in a layer of blackberries, which are then topped with crumbled dough.

Because the filling is so simple, you can experiment with other fruits, depending on what’s in season.

13. Golden Grahams Bars

These Golden Grahams cereal bars are a retro dessert that should never have gone out of fashion!

They’re so simple to make, and the combination of gooey marshmallows and crunchy cereal are sure to please a crowd. 

Just from looking at the 5 ingredients you need to make these cereal bars, you know the recipe is going to be a good one.

Butter, chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, vanilla, and Golden Grahams — they’re all winners.

14. Magic Cookie Bars

Magic cookie bars really are magic! They use just seven ingredients, but there is plenty of room for experimentation.

The crust is made from a combination of butter and graham cracker crumbs, which is then topped with sweetened condensed milk, and finished with a sprinkle of your favorite ingredients. 

Experiment with toppings to create your own variation of magic cookie bars.

We love to use mini peanut butter cups in place of the butterscotch chips, and switch the pecans for walnuts.

15. Coconut Caramel Pecan Bars

Coconut caramel pecan bars use just a few exceptional ingredients to create a luxury dessert bar.

The hardest part of this recipe is making your own dulce de leche. It isn’t complicated, but it does require a fair amount of patience.

Make it in advance, or save time by buying it pre-made.

The combination of pecan, coconut, and dulce de leche brings a huge amount of flavor to these bars with store cupboard ingredients.

Nail this recipe, and you’ll always have something to bring to a party or potluck.

16. Slow Cooker Salted Caramel Cookie Bars

A slow cooker is an unexpected method for making dessert bars, but once you’ve tried the results, you’ll fall in love with this easy recipe.

Using the slow cooker allows you to sit back and get on with other tasks while dessert is “baking”.

It takes several hours for the bars to finish, and you’ll love the way the slow cooker fills the house with the scent of caramel.

17. Cranberry Orange Granola Bars

A healthy take on the dessert bar, cranberry orange granola bars combine fresh and zingy flavors with warming tastes of cinnamon and oats.

As a no-bake recipe, these granola bars are great for traveling as they stay together when wrapped individually. 

These cranberry orange granola bars are special enough for dessert, but they can also be a tasty breakfast!

If you have any leftovers from your party the night before, enjoy with a cup of coffee.

18. Pumpkin Bars

Planning a Halloween party? Then you have to mix up a batch of these pumpkin bars!

They have a denser cake texture than other pumpkin bars, so you don’t need a fork to eat them.

Instead, you can grab a slice in one hand, a glass of punch in the other, and tuck in!

2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice give these bars a big punch of flavor, and the pumpkin purée keeps the bars moist and provides that sturdy structure.

Finish with a heavy helping of cream cheese frosting, and enjoy!

19. Vegan Apple Pie Bars

Because dessert bars traditionally use just a few ingredients, they tend to be great vegan desserts.

Instead of lots of complicated substitutions, a few simple changes can turn your favorite dessert into a vegan dessert bar. Like these vegan apple pie bars!

Tasting just like an apple pie, these bars are both vegan and gluten-free!

A salted caramel topping turns these into a decadent treat, but you can leave that off for a delicious dessert that’s a little simpler.

20. Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars

A one bowl recipe that is naturally gluten-free, these peanut butter banana chocolate chip oatmeal bars are going to be your new favorite dessert.

Using ripe bananas and applesauce to create a moist and chewy texture, these are a great healthy treat or a bit of an indulgent breakfast.

Fancy something a little different? Switch the mashed banana for pumpkin purée, and enjoy on a crisp fall afternoon.

21. 5 Ingredient Crockpot Chocolate Bars

5 ingredient crockpot chocolate bars are so easy, and the crowd pleasing flavors make them great holiday gifts.

Pretzels and pumpkin seeds give these dessert bars crunch, while the peanut butter, chocolate chips, and butterscotch chips melt together to form a sweet coating. 

You really cannot get this recipe wrong. It’s so simple, and the mixture of flavors are completely foolproof.

22. Almond Lemon Blueberry Pie Bars

When you have a big tub of blueberries in your fridge that you just don’t know what to do with, try a batch of these almond lemon blueberry pie bars.

They’re an easy summer dessert that look and taste impressive, and you can adapt the fruit filling for whatever berries you have on hand. 

This recipe requires some patience, but not much hands-on work.

Great for summer, as you can chill away from the kitchen while the dough chills in the fridge.

23. Pineapple Bars

How many of us have canned pineapple in the store cupboard that we don’t remember buying, and never plan to use?

Use it to make these deliciously tangy dessert bar treats! This is such a simple recipe, but the tropical flavors create something quite special.

This recipe is best made with fresh pineapple, but canned pineapple works well! If you’re a lemon bar fan, you have to try this.

24. No Bake Pumpkin Pie Bars

For the lazy cook, are there any words more appealing than “no bake”?

These no bake pumpkin pie bars use dates and coconut oil to bind the crust and filling, creating a sticky and delightful fall dessert.

Because there’s no need to turn the oven on, this recipe is an excellent choice for stressful holiday parties.

25. Peanut Marshmallow Bars

A little bit sweet, a touch of salt, and a finish of crunch makes these peanut marshmallow dessert bars a real treat.

The three layer bar consists of a shortbread cookie layer, a gooey marshmallow layer, and a peanut butter Rice Krispie layer.

Take things up a notch with a drizzle of chocolate, or leave it simple and serve as is. These dessert bars are delicious either way.

26. Caramel Apple Crisp Bars

Be careful when making these caramel apple crisp bars — they’re incredibly addictive, and you might find they quickly become the only thing you ever want to eat.

Sandwiching a layer of caramel apple filling between two layers of crunchy and crisp crumb, they’re a perfect fall dessert.

For an even more indulgent treat, we recommend serving these bars still warm from the oven, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

And maybe a drizzle of chocolate sauce, if you really want to treat yourself.

27. Caramel Frosted Zucchini Bars

Yes, you can put zucchini in a dessert bar! This popular summer vegetable adds moisture and density to the mixture, transforming a standard cake into a fudgy delight.

The caramel frosting is amazing, and once you’ve tried it, you’ll want to add a spoonful to everything.

Anyone who has grown zucchini knows it has a tendency to go wild.

This recipe is the best thing to make when you’re maybe getting tired of zoodles.

28. Vegan Carrot Cake Bars

Too many of us carrot cake lovers have been let down by store bought varieties that taste like ordinary cake with orange food coloring.

But these carrot cake bars really bring out the fresh and sweet taste of carrot, by caramelizing shredded carrots in maple syrup and sugar! 

The addition of caramelized carrots make this dessert bar super moist and incredibly flavorful.

It’s so good, you don’t even need frosting! Although, if you want to add a dollop of cream cheese drizzle, it will be next level amazing.

29. Crème Fraîche Chocolate Chunk Cookie Bars

A cookie with a twist, crème fraîche cookie bars have a custard-like finish that elevates the dessert bar to new heights. 

Crème fraîche adds a touch of tang to the cookie recipe, with a custard layer sandwiched between your traditional dough.

These cookie bars with a twist are still crowd pleasers, but with a touch of sophistication.

If you can’t get your hands on crème fraîche, substitute for mascarpone or cream cheese.

30. Vegan Walnut Brownies

Vegan brownies can be a major disappointment, but not if you follow this amazing recipe.

A naturally sweet brownie with pulsed walnuts adding a nutty dimension, they’re fudgy and chewy, and still burst with natural chocolate flavor. They’re also gluten-free!

If you’re struggling to find a simple dessert to appeal to various dietary requirements, give this recipe a go! Even non-vegans will be reaching for seconds!

31. Lemon Bar Brûlée 

It’s pretty hard to improve classic lemon bars, but this crème brûlée inspired recipe gives it a good go.

Classic lemon bars are cooled and sliced, topped with a layer of granulated sugar, and blow torched to provide that golden brown crisp. 

The best way to ensure your topping is golden and crunchy is to slice and then brown, and serve immediately.

For a dinner party, use this recipe to impress your friends with your kitchen blow torch skills.

32. S’mores Cookie Bars

S’mores cookie bars perfectly capture that feeling of sitting around a campfire, eating sticky marshmallow, toasted cookies, and melted chocolate straight from your fingers.

But unlike traditional s’mores, these dessert bars are travel-friendly and significantly less messy!

To eat, at least. This is a hands-on recipe, requiring sticky fingers and a messy, homemade finish.

33. Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispy Bars

Chocolate peanut butter crispy bars require just five ingredients, and you’re likely to have most of them in your store cupboard already!

This makes them an excellent dessert bar to whip up when you want something quick and easy. 

They’re also very adaptable! Switch honey for maple syrup, peanut butter for your preferred nut butter, and sub pecans for whatever nuts you have on hand (or leave them out altogether)!

34. Key Lime Bars

Bite into a key lime bar on a summer’s day, and you’ll be instantly transported to the coast. Or, at least, that’s what it will feel like.

The bright taste of key lime is tangy and cheerful, similar to a slice of a summer day. 

Key lime bars are a fun take on the traditional lemon bars, and are best made with fresh key limes to get that natural flavor from the zest and juice.

They have an aromatic undertone that really brings these bars to life.

35. Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Bars

You have to make the most of fresh rhubarb when it comes into season, and these strawberry rhubarb crisp bars are one of the best ways to celebrate this incredible produce.

Combined with the sweetness of strawberries, these bars taste like those sunny days when spring is turning to summer.

36. Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Bars

Three delicious chocolate layers come together to create these triple chocolate cheesecake bars, which are rich with flavor and surprisingly low effort.

A cookie crust is topped with a chocolate cheesecake filling, and finished with a glossy layer of chocolate ganache.

It’s heavenly, and so much easier to make than a traditional cheesecake.

37. Vegan Snickerdoodle Bars

Realized at the last moment you promised to bring dessert for a potluck?

We’ve all been there, and if you whip up a batch of these vegan snickerdoodle bars, no will ever guess you forgot.

This one bowl recipe comes together in just 30 minutes, and is full of cinnamon goodness. 

Using applesauce as a binding agent, these bars are vegan while still remaining deliciously moist.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is A Dessert Bar?

A dessert bar is traditionally a sweet treat baked in a flat pan and sliced.

Dessert bars are known for being relatively easy to make, as they’re cooked in a thin layer.

This allows the mixture to cook quickly and evenly. Brownies and cheesecake bars are both types of dessert bar, and no-bake options are also popular. 

Why Do You Need To Cool Dessert Bars?

Dessert bars are made to be sliced and served, but it’s essential to cool them or the bar will fall apart.

Fresh from the oven, it’s always tempting to dive into your pan of warm brownies, but if you don’t let them cool, you will find dessert bars crumble to pieces.

Wait for an hour, and you’ll be much happier with the results. 

What Flavors Are Used In Dessert Bars?

One of the reasons dessert bars are so popular is just how versatile they can be.

Fruit, chocolate, nuts, oats, spices and more can all be used to make delicious dessert bars.

A dessert bar should be made in a flat layer, and sliced into bars — other than that, you can experiment with whatever flavors you like!

Versatile dessert bars are an excellent choice when you want a delicious sweet treat that you won’t need hours to put together.

Even first-time chefs should be able to find a dessert bar recipe perfect for the occasion!

From no-bake granola to triple layer cheesecake, there’s certainly a dessert bar recipe you’ll fall in love with.

37 Dessert Bar Recipes Perfect For A Party

37 Dessert Bar Recipes Perfect For A Party

Recipe by Jenna

Cooking for a crowd? Versatile dessert bars are a low stress way to add sweet treats to a menu. Check out our guide for crowd pleasing dessert bar recipes.

Course: Dessert
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