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7 Layer Bars, also called Magic Bars, are a delicious combination of graham cracker crust, coconut, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, sweetened condensed milk, and walnuts. The sweetened condensed milk caramelizes on top, melds the flavors, and pulls all the layers together!

stacked 7 layer bars close up.

In High School, my friend Blair and I would sneak out and risk getting detention to buy Seven Layer Bars from a local bakery. Imagine my excitement when I found my Great-Grandmother RoRo’s recipe for them! To save you from getting detention, I’m sharing her recipe with you today!

When I was just starting out as a pastry chef in New York City, I made bite sized magic bars as a petit fours, and they disappeared faster than we could assemble them! These easy bars are among my most treasured culinary memories, joined by butterscotch brownies, Mom’s soft gingerbread cookies, and the best fudgy brownies that taste like box mix!

Why These are the Best 7 Layer Bars

  • The perfect blend of flavors. No one layer overpowers the others. This is the perfect ratio of chocolate, butterscotch, coconut, graham and walnuts!
  • Incredibly easy. It doesn’t get much easier than these bars. Simple mix the crust, layer and bake!
  • Easily customizable. Swap in your favorite nuts, peanut butter chips, or even caramel for a delightful twist. Perhaps substitute chocolate sandwich cookies for the graham cracker crumbs! There are almost infinite options!
single 7 layer bar with toasted coconut.
Seven Layer Bars Stacked.
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What are 7 Layer Bars?

Also called Magic Bars or Hello Dolly Bars, 7 Layer Bars are seven ingredients stacked and then baked. The seven layers are graham crackers, butter, coconut, chocolate, butterscotch, sweetened condensed milk, and traditionally walnuts.

Professional Tips for Making Magic Bars

  • Ensure the graham cracker crust is properly combined. This is the base for the whole bars, so be sure to squeeze the crumbs with melted butter until they hold a clump.
  • Keep your condensed milk moving. The key to adding the sweetened condensed milk is to keep it moving. You want the milk to be evenly distributed not pooled in one spot, and you want it to be evenly distributed.
  • Bake until lightly browned. Baking the bars melds the flavors and makes the bars sliceable. It also toasts the nuts on top just a little, and caramelizes the sweetened condensed milk.
  • Cool before slicing. It is tempting just dig in, but cooling sets the bars and allows for easier slicing. For perfect slices, cool then refrigerate 30-45 minutes.


  • Salted Butter: I typically use unsalted butter for baking to control salt amount. However, this recipe is old school, and so salted butter has made a rare appearance!
  • Graham Cracker Crumbs: For recipes like this one and my baked graham cracker crust, I like to buy pre-ground graham cracker crumbs. You can also crush 16 full sheets of graham crackers instead.
  • Shredded Coconut: I usually use unsweetened shredded coconut for this recipe but sweetened also works.
  • Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips: I am picky about my semi-sweet chocolate chips. I want them to be just sweet enough, but not cloying. I also want them to have a quality texture. Sometimes the additives that allow chips to keep their shape negatively impact their taste and mouthfeel.
  • Butterscotch Chips: Butterscotch chips add a flavor very similar to caramel.
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk: Sweetened condensed milk adds sweetness without adding moisture. It helps keep the bars together while giving extra richness.
  • Walnuts: Lightly chopped, un-toasted walnuts add a more subtle nut flavor to the mix. They offer a little crunch and earthiness.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

Substitutions & Variations

  • Make it chocolate: Swap out chocolate graham crackers or Oreo cookie crumbs for the graham crackers for an easy chocolate cookie base.
  • Omit or change the layers: Try peanut butter chips instead of butterscotch; use a mixture of different types of chocolate chips; or add a sprinkle of cinnamon chips.
  • Make it vegan: Use melted coconut oil instead of butter in the crust and use vegan chocolate chips for a simple vegan cookie bar.
  • Make bite-sized seven layer bars: Make mini bars like I did at the restaurant! Use mini chocolate chips and butterscotch chips to make sure all the flavors are in every bite.

What are the 7 layers in 7 layer bars?

  • Graham cracker crumbs
  • Butter
  • Chocolate chips
  • Butterscotch chips
  • Walnuts (or pecans)
  • Coconut
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk
sliced 7 layer bars on blue surface.

How to Make 7 Layer Bars

Use these instructions to make the perfect magic bars every time! Further details can be found in the recipe card below!

Prepare ingredients: 

Step 1:Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a pan with criss-crossed parchment paper to more easily remove your bars after baking.

Step 2: Mix melted butter (I melt it in the microwave) with graham cracker crumbs. Evenly press the buttered crumbs into the bottom of a 13x9x2” baking dish. You can use your hands or the back of a spoon.

I like to be sure all the crumbs are hydrated with the butter so they clump together and then crumble. This will ensure nice, sliceable bars.

Assemble & bake:

Step 3: Sprinkle the coconut on top of the graham cracker crust then add the chocolate chips over the coconut.

Step 4: Distribute the butterscotch chips over the chocolate chips followed by the chopped walnuts.

Step 5: Pour sweetened condensed milk over the entire surface.

Keep the sweetened condensed milk moving to keep it from pooling. I like to do it in a ‘sine wave’ or wavy pattern, and then I go back and fill in the gaps.

Step 6:  Bake at 325°F for 20-30 minutes or until the edges and center are beginning to brown. Cool on a rack.

After removing the 7 layer bars from the oven, use a paring knife to loosen the sides of the bars from the pan, or they will be impossible to remove.

Step 7: Once they are completely cooled, cut them into bars with a knife and store in a sealed container. Enjoy!

Chef Lindsey’s Recipe Tip

Refrigerating 7 layer bars for just 30-45 minutes before slicing will give you the cleanest, most perfect squares. It will also allow you to cut smaller bars than you might otherwise be able to.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to store 7 layer bars?

Store baked bars for 5 days at room temperature, 10 days refrigerated or up to 3 months frozen. If storing longer than a week, I prefer to store them frozen.

Will this recipe multiply?

You are only limited by the size of your baking pan, and how many pans and ovens you have. I’ve made these for a restaurant & bakery to great success, sometimes making 300 bars at a time!

Are magic bars good for shipping?

These easy cookie bars ship wonderfully! They stay fresh for up to 10 days and are stable when well packaged.Package them with tissue paper as padding so they don’t crash about in the tin.

Why are my magic bars runny?

The sweetened condensed milk needs to be baked in order to set the squares. Bake them long enough for the sweetened condensed milk to caramelize and brown. It adds flavor along with structure! The chocolate and butterscotch chips also melt and hold the bars together once cooled and sliced.

unsliced pan of baked 7 layer bars.

If you tried this recipe and loved it please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it goes in the comments below. I love hearing from you; your comments make my day!

Featured Image
4.99 from 52 ratings

7 Layer Bars (Magic Bars)

7 Layer Bars aka Magic Bars are a simple yet decadent combination of graham cracker crust, coconut, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, sweetened condensed milk, & nuts. The sweetened condensed milk caramelizes on the top and melds the flavors and pulls all the layers together!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings: 24 Bars



  • Preheat oven to 325°F.
  • Melt butter in a microwavable bowl and mix with graham cracker crumbs. Press buttered crumbs into the bottom of a 13”x9”x2” baking dish.
  • Sprinkle the coconut on top of the graham cracker crust. Sprinkle chocolate chips followed by the butterscotch chips.
  • Lastly, sprinkle the nuts over the surface. I prefer fewer nuts, but that is another magical element to these bars: you can easily modify them to your tastes!
  • Pour sweetened condensed milk over entire surface. My only advice here is to keep the can moving so the milk doesn’t pool. I create a pattern like a sine wave and then go back across in the same pattern but filling in the gaps. I apologize for the math analogy…I just couldn’t refrain.
  • Bake at 325°F for 20-30 minutes or until the edges are just beginning to brown. Immediately after removing the 7- layer bars from the oven loosen the sides of the bars from the pan, or they will be impossible to remove. Cool on a rack.
  • Once they are completely cooled, cut them into bars with a knife and store in a sealed container.



Yield – 13 x 9 inch pan.
Presentation – Refrigerate 30-45 minutes for easier and cleaner slicing!
Technique – When pouring the sweetened condensed milk, pour continuously in a wave pattern to keep it from pooling.
Variations – Try different flavors of chips, caramel sauce or using chocolate cookies for the crust.
Storage – Store baked bars for 5 days at room temperature, 10 days refrigerated or up to 3 months frozen. If storing longer than a week, I prefer to store them frozen.


Calories: 300kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 148mg | Potassium: 207mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 181IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 72mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Calories: 300
Like this? Leave a comment below!

Before You Go

I hope you enjoyed this professional chef tested recipe. Check out our other delicious Brownies and Bars Recipes or peruse all our Christmas cookie recipes!

Hi, I’m Chef Lindsey!

I am the baker, recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind Chef Lindsey Farr. I believe in delicious homemade food and the power of dessert!

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Recipe Rating


    1. Hi Jonny! That’s a great question! For this particular recipe, the amounts are very much baker’s choice. As long as you have enough of each ingredient to make the graham cracker crust for the bottom, you can experiment with the other layers. Your amounts don’t need to be right on, but the closer they are to the provided measurements the closer they’ll be to what I made in the images. Please report back, and happy baking!

  1. I followed the recipe which says to sprinkle the coconut on top of the graham cracker crust, but in the video that is not the order. I did it according to the recipe, will these still turn out?

    1. Hi Dixie! That’s a great point, but they will absolutely turn out delish in that order as well. Enjoy! <3

  2. 5 stars
    These bars are one of my favorite desserts ever! Truly the best chewy and gooey textures and delicious flavors!

  3. 5 stars
    I can see why you call these magical.
    My hubby wasn’t sure all the flavours would go together. He kind of turned his nose up at the idea of these. Then he tried one! And I had to keep reminding him “but you didn’t want any” to try and stop him eating my share as well as his own 😂

    I used to sneak out of school with my friend Rach, but it wasn’t for magic bars it was for Chinese roast pork 😂😂

  4. 5 stars
    This was my first time making 7-layer bars and they were amazing! I can’t believe how easy (and tasty!) there were. Will definitely make them again soon. Thanks!