German Chocolate Cookie Bars

4.96 from 44 votes
74 Comments

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German Chocolate Cookie Bars have a chewy chocolate cookie layer topped with gooey homemade German chocolate coconut frosting.

German Chocolate Cookie Bars cut in squares.

These German chocolate cookie bars are perfectly chewy with a crunchy, yet gooey coconut frosting topping. They are heavenly and SO EASY to make! I have probably made these German Chocolate Cookie Bars at least 5 times since the beginning of the year. You can’t go wrong with these bars. They are a new favorite at our house, so gooey and delicious. Oh and did I mention they are super EASY? I almost always have all the ingredients on hand so I make these whenever I have a sweet tooth and I don’t want to make a trip to the store.

Ingredients to make German Chocolate Cookie Bars including devil's food cake mix, milk chocolate chips, vanilla, coconut, eggs, butter, sweetened condensed milk and pecans.


Ingredients in German Chocolate Bars

  • Chocolate Cake Mix – You can use German Chocolate cake mix, Devil’s Food cake mix, or any other chocolate cake mix
  • Butter – Unsalted works best for this recipe
  • Eggs – You need one for the crust and one for the filling
  • Sweetened condensed milk
  • vanilla extract
  • Pecans
  • Shredded coconut
  • Milk chocolate chips – You can also use semi-sweet chocolate chips or dark chocolate chips.
Baked German Chocolate Cookie Bars in a baking dish.

How to Assemble German Chocolate Bars

  1. Prepare the crust according to the directions below
  2. Combine the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, egg, pecans and coconut and pour evenly over the warm crust. You can heat this mixture in a saucepan over medium heat until just hot but we have found that it works best pouring the mixture directly over the warm chocolate crust.
  3. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the top
  4. Bake until the top is a light golden brown. Cool completely before serving.

German Chocolate Cake Mix vs Devil’s Food Cake

As you will see in the recipe below you can use either a German Chocolate Cake Mix or a Devil’s Food Cake Mix. Originally we started off ALWAYS making it with German chocolate cake mix but when I was craving these and found all I had in the pantry was a Devil’s Food Cake mix I made it with that and haven’t gone back since. They were way more moist and have a richer flavor. Since I made this discovery months after we posted the first time, it was too late to change the name.. so we still call them German Chocolate Cookie bars but really we like them best when they are “Devil’s Food Cake bars with coconut topping”. Both ways are delicious so if you want to keep with the German theme, feel free to stick with it. You really can’t lose.

Mixing bowl with cake mixture. Wooden spoon on the side.

Making German Chocolate Bars From Scratch

No box cake mix? No problem! You can make the chocolate cake mix in this recipe from scratch. Here’s what you need:

  • 2 cups cake flour (all purpose flour will work fine if you don’t have cake flour)
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl. Stir well and use this cake mixture in place of the box cake mix below.

Hand picking up a German Chocolate Cookie Bar.

Variations and Additions

  • Caramel – Drizzle melted caramel over the top
  • Almonds – for more of a crunch you can use chopped almonds instead of pecans
  • Easter style – Toss the coconut in a tiny bit of green food coloring for an Easter twist. Add chocolate Cadbury Mini Eggs over the top as another fun addition.
  • Fruity – Add in some dried cherries or cranberries to the brownie batter.
  • Spice – For extra warmth in this cookie, you can add a teaspoon of ground cinnamon or nutmeg.
  • Extra chocolate – Add a handful of chocolate chips to the brownie batter for an even chewier, fudgier brownie layer.
German Chocolate Cookie Bars cut in squares. Coconut, pecans and milk chocolate chips on the side.

Tips for Storing German Chocolate Bars

To ensure you’re getting the longest shelf life from these yummy cookie bars, here are some quick tips for storage:

  • Make sure the bars are cooled completely before storing.
  • Store the bars in an airtight container or Ziplock bag at room temperature for 3-4 days.
  • You can also pop them in the refrigerator where they’ll stay fresh for about a week.
  • Freeze leftovers too! Wrap the bars tightly in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container for a couple of months. If you’re freezing more than one layer, place a piece of parchment paper in between the layers of brownies so they don’t stick together. Thaw in the refrigerator or on the counter until they’re room temperature.
Two German Chocolate Cookie Bars stacked.

You can’t go wrong with these delicious German Chocolate Cookie Bars but if you are looking for MORE delicious treats like this one, give some (or all) of these a try:

  • Caribbean Coconut Fudge Bars: These tasty bars come straight from St. John’s in the Caribbean. Chocolate and coconut is ALWAYS a winning combination! You will love all the delicious layers of these bars!
  • Coconut Lime Cheesecake Bars: Craving a taste of the islands but looking for something more on the fruity side? You have GOT to try these coconut lime cheesecake bars. One of the most popular recipes on our site!
  • Coconut Pecan Cookie Bars: These cookie bars are SO easy to whip up. No cake mix needed! Only a few easy ingredients and you’ve got yourself dessert in about 30 minutes!
  • Peanut Butter Bars: Better than your lunch lady used to make!
  • We have MANY MANY more cookie and bar recipes. Try some and let us know your favorites!
Cut German Chocolate Cookie Bars on parchment.

German Chocolate Cookie Bars

4.96 from 44 votes
German Chocolate Cookie Bars have a chewy chocolate cookie layer topped with gooey homemade german chocolate coconut frosting. 
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Dutch, German
Servings 12

Video

Equipment

  • 9×13 inch pan

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 1 box devil's food cake mix not the kind with pudding added* (or German chocolate cake mix. See notes above)
  • 1/2 cup butter melted
  • 1 large egg

Filling:

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan (I used non-stick cooking spray).
    9x13 greased dish.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the cake mix, butter and egg.
    Mixing bowl with cake mixture. Wooden spoon on the side.
  • Press into the bottom of the prepared pan. The crust should not come up the sides. Bake for 7 minutes and remove from the oven. The crust will not look done.
    Baked German Chocolate Cookie Bar base.
  • While the crust is baking, mix together the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, egg, pecans and coconut.
    Mixing bowl with coconut pecan mixture. Wooden spoon on the side.
  • Pour evenly over the warm crust and sprinkle evenly with the chocolate chips.
    Unbaked German Chocolate Cookie Bars in a baking dish.
  • Bake for 24-30 minutes, until the top is a light golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely before cutting into squares.
    Baked German Chocolate Cookie Bars in a baking dish.

Notes

  • Any kind of chocolate cake mix will work for this recipe. Or you can make your own cake mix from scratch! Use 3 ½ cups of our homemade cake mix and add 2 tablespoons cocoa powder.
  • Try drizzling a little caramel over the top to add a decadent touch
  • To freeze, place finished bars in an airtight freezer-safe container. Separate bars by wrapping individually or separating with parchment paper. 

Nutrition Information

Calories: 372kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 5gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 49mgSodium: 333mgPotassium: 191mgFiber: 2gSugar: 22gVitamin A: 300IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 77mgIron: 2.2mg

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About the author

Erica Walker

Erica lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, Jared, an attorney, and her three beautiful girls. Beyond the world of recipes, she loves adventuring with everything from kayaking, to cruising, to snowboarding and taking the family along for the thrill ride.

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Comments

  1. I’m going to make these as growing up all six of us siblings wanted our mom to make her traditional German Chocolate Cake recipe for our birthday! This recipe is easier but I bet tastes so good and yummy from the comments!

  2. 5 stars
    I’m not much on cookies, except an occasional Oreo. However, these are my all time favorite cookies, ever!!! I love these cookies!!!

  3. I am now thinking there is more to this recipe than what the instructions say. You all must be thinning the topping in order to pour it. This is a complete disaster! The topping doesn’t pour…it’s too think. The crust is not done so just squishes and tears. It is a complete loss. Now I am out a dessert for my upcoming potluck tonight. Disappointed.

    1. I am sorry this recipe didn’t turn out for you. The topping should be fairly runny due to the sweetened condensed milk. Did you use a 14 oz can?

  4. 5 stars
    I can’t believe how delicious and easy this was to make. Because we are chocolate lovers in my family I used 3/4 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips. Definitely will make again. 2/3 of the pan in freezer.

  5. 5 stars
    EVERY TIME I MAKE THIS RECIPE, IT IS A HIT!!

    FRIENDS ALWAYS WANT THE RECIPE ..

    I DO USE DEVILS FOOD CAKE MIX RATHER THAN GERMAN CHOCOLATE
    AND ALMOND EXTRACT RATHER THAN VANILLA

    DO NOT OVERBAKE .. EDGES SHOULD BE BROWN AND CENTER LIGHT LIGHT BROWN

    EITHER CAKES ARE YUMMY

    1. Wondering if these would freeze well and if so, how would you do it to get the best results? I am needing to make a very large quantity. Thanks!

      1. I haven’t tried freezing them before, but I would probably try to freeze the base and then make the topping closer to serving. Hope this helps!

    2. 4 stars
      I haven’t made these German Chocolate Cake Mix Cookie Bars yet, but plan to make them later today.
      I’m sure they are delicious, but I do feel there needs to be some clarification, as to the fact that the recipe lists them as German or Dutch origination. This is incorrect.
      German chocolate is not named after the country nor does it have anything to do with German or Dutch cuisine. German Chocolate originated in the United States and was discovered by a chocolate maker by the name of Samuel German, thus the name German Chocolate.

    3. I am baking them right now… way over 30 minutes and it still doesn’t look done. The mixture isn’t golden. They are for my husband’s birthday tonight. I’m worried they won’t turn out.🤷🏼‍♀️ Any suggestions???

      1. The top should turn a very light golden color. How did they come out? Wish your husband a very happy birthday from us!

  6. 5 stars
    Wow these look perfect! I have all the ingredients ready…so I am going to make it tomorrow. Yay!

  7. 5 stars
    Yum! My family is going to love this recipe! I can’t wait to give this a try! Looks so delicious and scrumptious!

  8. 5 stars
    Made these for a family reunion. What a hit. I used the German Chocolate cake mix and mini chocolate chips and many asked for the recipe. A definite keeper.

  9. 5 stars
    I’ve made these several times already they are easy and delicious. Secret don’t overcook. I bake on convection for 24 min. Five stars

    1. I always make birthday cookies in a large round baking stone that has a slightly raised edge. (Pampered chef large white baking stone) Would this recipe work in that? German chocolate is my husband’s favorite cake, so I thought it might be fun to try this.

  10. They are in the oven now!!!
    I am taking them to Birthday
    Social at church tonight and
    Can’t wait to try them.😊😊

  11. 5 stars
    Just finished baking these delicious cookie bars. Moist, rich, and chocolatey. I have a new addition to our yearly Christmas cookie platter. Yummy!!!

  12. My kind of baking! I used to love scratch baking when I was younger, but not so much these days. Thanks and pinned.

  13. This is not GERMAN Chocolate Bars this is Deviled Food Bars. German Chocolate cake is a type of chocolate named for a man whose last name is German. So you would need to use a GERMAN Chocolate cake mix for this to fall under that category!

    1. German chocolate is a fairly common colloquialism for desserts that have chocolate, coconut and nuts. If it makes you feel better, just buy the cake mix that says German chocolate on the label. Amazing what people find to grouse about these days . . .

  14. I made these yesterday with a German chocolate cake mix and an entire 12 oz. package of milk chocolate chips on top. WOWZA! They are GREAT. This recipe is definitely a keeper!

  15. I used German Chocolate pudding cake and it turn out a little more than golden brown and a little burnt around the edges, otherwise it was still very good. Very easy to make.

  16. Where is the German chocolate? Why call them German Chocolate Bars when there isn’t any German chocolate?

  17. After reading all comments, I am going try this. Making cookies, fudge, etc for Christmas gifts. This will be a good addition

  18. I am making these at 10:00 pm. They smell so good right now. Thanks for the recipe. Mine are taking a bit longer to cook as I used homemade sweetened condensed milk which was a bit thinner.

    1. They don’t need to be stored in the refrigerator unless you prefer to serve them cold. I think they taste best at room temperature. Thanks for asking!

  19. I made these today for my daughter to take to school for a party in her German class. I omitted the nuts due to obvious reasons (never knowing if their is a nut allergy in the bunch). Went together really quick and are baking now.

  20. Hey I am planning to make these soon, they look absolutely amazing! I have one question when I mix the cake mix with butter and eggs, do I use a mixer, or do I use a spoon

  21. I am so excited to make these but realized I bought the Devils Food with the pudding mix added. Will it ruin the recipe?

  22. I am not a cook or a baker. I wish the directions stated that the crust needed to be cooled before putting the condensed milk mixture on it. What I thought was going to be a easy delicious desert just landed in the trash. Total disaster.

    1. You are supposed to put it over the warm crust… it should be slightly undercooked. You don’t cut the bars until they are cooled or they will be too gooey.

        1. Usually 30-60 minutes. Sometimes I will put them outside on a cold day and they will cool quicker. Thanks for asking!

  23. Mmmmm these look so good, so obsessed with chocolate :/ oh and I still can’t believe I won your iPad mini giveaway, thank you so much.

  24. I’ve made something very similar to these before and they’re super good! Thanks for reminding me of this great recipe!