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Food blogger, Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella. shares a recipe for the best Nanaimo bars. You will love this layered bar recipe that is a no bake dessert.

The BEST Nanaimo Bars - No Bake Dessert

5 from 28 votes
Course: Dessert, Gluten Free, Sweets
Cuisine: Canadian
Keyword: Bars
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Chilling: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 16
Calories: 378kcal
Author: Bella Bucchiotti
There is nothing quite like the best Nanaimo bars. If you’ve tried this classic Canadian dessert you’ll understand! This no bake dessert is a layered bar recipe bursting with flavours. These are bars that freeze well, making them perfect for summer or Christmas.
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  • 1/2 Cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1/4 Cup sugar
  • 5 Tablespoon cocoa powder unsweetened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 3/4 Cup graham cracker crumbs use gluten free for a gluten free bar
  • 1 Cup sweetened coconut flaked
  • 1/2 Cup almonds   very finely chopped
  • 1/2 Cup unsalted butter softened
  • 3 Tablespoon heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoon custard powder
  • 2 Cups icing sugar 
  • 8 Ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  • 4 Teaspoon unsalted butter


  • In the top of a double boiler, combine 1/2 cup butter, sugar and the cocoa powder. Stir occasionally until melted and smooth. 
  • Beat in the egg (if required, temper the egg so not to curdle), stirring until thick for about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in the graham cracker crumbs, coconut and the finely chopped almonds. (Note: you can also grind in a food processor. The finer they are chopped the better the bottom layer presses into the pan).  
  • Press very firmly and evenly into the bottom of an ungreased 8x8 inch pan. 
  • For the middle layer, cream together 1/2 cup butter, heavy cream and the custard powder until light and fluffy. Mix in the icing sugar until smooth.  
  • Spread over the bottom layer in the pan. Chill to let this layer set. Make sure it is completely chilled before moving to the next step. 
  • While the second layer is chilling, melt the semisweet chocolate and butter in a double boiler or over low heat. The chocolate on top tends to crack when you cut the bars if you melt in the microwave.  
  • Spread over the chilled bars. Score through the top chocolate layer as soon as it starts to set to avoid cracking later. Let the chocolate set before cutting into 1 or 2” squares. I find that the cuts are cleaner when you cut the bars slightly chilled with a warm knife. Clean between each cut for the best presentation. 


Calories: 378kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 49mg | Sodium: 87mg | Potassium: 231mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 451IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 2mg
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The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.