Nanaimo Bars (no bake dessert)

5 from 2 votes

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These Nanaimo Bars are the richest, creamiest, most decadent dessert ever. Try one bite and you are going to be hooked!

Three Nanaimo Bars stacked on a plate
Featured with this Recipes
  1. Ingredients in Nanaimo Bars
  2. Nanaimo Bars Origins
  3. Frequently Asked Questions
  4. Other Decadent Desserts You’ll Love
  5. How to Make Nanaimo Bars
  6. Nanaimo Bars (no bake dessert) Recipe

These Coconut Pecan Nanaimo Bars are the richest, creamiest, most decadent dessert ever — you are going to LOVE them. The bottom crust is like a thick, no bake cookie with coconut and pecan pieces, the middle layer is a creamy custard filling, and the top is a smooth chocolate ganache.

Ingredients in Nanaimo Bars

Bottom Layer

  • Salted Butter
  • Brown Sugar
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Egg
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • Sweetened Shredded Coconut
  • Pecans – you can also use other nuts like walnuts or almonds.


  • Salted Butter
  • Heavy Cream
  • White Chocolate Instant Pudding Mix – the original recipe uses vanilla custard powder, but pudding mix is a little easier to find. You can also use instant vanilla pudding mix.
  • Powdered Sugar – also called confectioners’ sugar.

Top Layer

  • Semisweet Chocolate Chips
  • Salted Butter
all the ingredients for Nanaimo Bars on the counter

Nanaimo Bars Origins

Nanaimo Bars are a traditional, no-bake, Canadian recipe. They were created in a small cafe in Nanaimo, British Columbia. I got this recipe from my friend, Shannon, who was also my roommate in college. She made these for me and our other roommates one weekend and our whole apartment was hooked! If we saw her come home from the grocery store with the ingredients for these bars, our mouths would immediately start watering. She won over not only our hearts, but the hearts of many of our friends and neighbors — she was practically famous for them, and now you can be too!

Three Nanaimo Bars on a plate with a bite taken out of one

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Nanaimo Bars called in the USA?

Similar treats have popped up in the USA like the New York Slice, the London Fog Bar, and the Prayer Bar.

Why are Nanaimo Bars so good?

I think it comes down to the fact that this bar has a little bit of everything you want in a dessert – great smooth texture, a little crunch, some chocolate, some salty flavor, and not too cloyingly sweet.

How do I store leftovers?

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

Read Next: 33+ Easy Dessert Ideas (with Pictures + Simple Recipes)

Other Decadent Desserts You’ll Love

If you love these Coconut Pecan Nanaimo Bars, try some of our other rich, chocolatey, and downright decadent dessert recipes!

How to Make Nanaimo Bars

Three Nanaimo Bars stacked on a plate

Nanaimo Bars (no bake dessert)

5 from 2 votes
These Nanaimo Bars are the richest, creamiest dessert ever. One bite and you are going to be hooked!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Freezing Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 18



  • 8×8 pan


Bottom layer:

  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (I put 13 graham crackers in the blender for about 2 minutes)
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans


Top layer:


  • Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and add in brown sugar and cocoa powder. Whisk until combined. Slowly pour in beaten egg while whisking to combine. Return to medium heat and cook for 1-2 minutes or until mixture has thickened. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Add the graham cracker crumbs, coconut, and pecans and mix until coated. Press mixture into a greased 8×8 pan. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 20 minutes.
    Base layer of nanaimo bars in a pan
  • In a large bowl, mix together butter, heavy cream, and pudding mix until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in powdered sugar and mix for about 1 minute. Spread the mixture evenly over the graham cracker base. Cover and freeze for 15 minutes.
    Frosting layer in a pan
  • Melt chocolate chips and butter together in a glass bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Spread evenly over filling layer. Cover and freeze for 10 minutes.
    A pan of Nanaimo Bars
  • Cut into squares and enjoy!
    Three Nanaimo Bars stacked on a plate


  • To get 18 slices, use a sharp knife to cut bars into 9 squares (three evenly spaced cuts going horizontally and then vertically). Then cut each of those squares in half. 
  • You can also use an 11×17 pan for thinner bars. 
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. 

Nutrition Information

Calories: 295kcalCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 2gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.4gCholesterol: 39mgSodium: 162mgPotassium: 108mgFiber: 2gSugar: 25gVitamin A: 368IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 24mgIron: 1mg

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About the author

Echo Blickenstaff

Echo lives in Pleasant Grove, Utah with her husband, Todd, who works in advertising, and her four kids: two girls and two boys. She deploys her accounting degree as the blog’s resident problem solver. In her time outside the kitchen, Echo loves to get away from the phones and busy schedules and spend quality time with the family. Anywhere’s great – but getting out into nature in the mountains or on the beach – is the best kind of getaway.

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  1. Little bit of trivia for you, Nanaimo Bars were created by a lady who lives in Nanaimo, British Columbia which is located on Vancouver Island. 2 hour drive and I’m there!

  2. The original recipe calls for “Birds” custard powder
    2 tbs. Birds custard powder
    1/4 cup salted butter
    2 tbs. hot water
    2 cups powdered sugar
    Beat well and spread over base.

    1. If you don’t have an 11 x 7 pan, you can use an 8 x 8 or 9 x 9, the bars will just be a little thicker, so you’d probably want to cut them in smaller squares to serve. Hope this helps!

  3. This is really close to my recipe, only I use vanilla pudding, I’ll have to try white chocolate. My son served a mission in Canada and loved it there. I also use almonds instead of pecans.

  4. Love them myself, but several friends of mine have coconut allergies. Can you suggest a substitute? Nothing I’ve tried has worked. Maybe sliced almonds?

    1. I would increase the graham crackers to 2 1/4 cups to 2 1/2 cups and leave out the coconut. Make sure that the consistency will hold together when squeezed between your fingers.