Nanaimo Bar Recipe

Have You Heard of this Canadian Treat?

During our Canadian studies for school, we decided to try to make this treat. Of course, we didn’t know a Nanaimo Bar recipe, or much about them, and set out to learn a little bit.

Nanaimo Bars are a no bake treat named after Nanaimo, British Columbia on Vancouver Island. They have 3 layers that consist of a coconut crumb base, a butter icing middle layer, and a chocolate ganache top layer. They apparently can be made without coconut (but why, lol) and the icing can be flavored to things like peanut butter, mint, mocha, and more!

There is a little controversy where these bars come from, some have even said that they were once called London Fog bars, but to Canadians, especially on the west coast, these are a staple dessert!

Anyway, the kids and I set out to make these and they were very easy, super rich, and incredibly addicting!

Nanaimo Bars

Course Dessert
Cuisine Canadian


  • 1.8 cups Butter 2 sticks and 2 Tablespoons, softened
  • 1/4 cut white sugar
  • 5 TBSP Cocoa powder unsweetened
  • 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 3 TBSP Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 2 TBSP corn starch
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 oz baking chocolate semisweet


First Layer

  1. Combine 1/2 cup butter, white sugar, and cocoa powder in a pot and on low, melting the butter and ingredients together. Stir occasionally until melted and smooth.
    canadian desserts
  2. Beat in the already beaten egg until smooth. Stir for 2-3 minutes.

  3. Take off the heat and mix in the graham crackers and coconut. 

  4. Press the mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 8x8 pan. Set aside and move onto the Second Layer!

Second Layer

  1. Cream together 1/2 cup butter, heavy cream, cornstarch, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Mix in the powdered sugar until smooth. 

  2. Spread over the first layer in the pan. Chill to set.

Third Layer

  1. While the second layer is chilling, melt the semisweet chocolate and 2 teaspoons butter together over low heat. 

  2. Spread over the chilled bars. 
  3. Let the chocolate set before cutting into squares.

Recipe Notes

The second layer is supposed to be a custard flavor and often custard powder is called, however, many people don't have custard powder at their fingertips. Some people will substitute with vanilla pudding, but I like the cornstarch and vanilla approach better, it helps fluff up the icing!

For more on our Canadian Study click here (link coming) or to see the Maple Pie we made as part of our study click here. I hope that these are a yummy addition to your recipe bank and don’t forget to share this recipe with your friends!

Bet + Fam 🙂

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