Coconut Bars are an easy dessert recipe that’s a favorite for a coconut lover! A buttery shortbread crust with soft coconut filling (think a soft magic bars) that’s irresistibly good!
These coconut bars are decadent dessert bars! Imagine the consistency of classic lemon bars but with coconut flavor and shredded coconut in the filling. They are slightly softer than hello dolly bars or magic bars but can be hand held for eating or eaten with a fork.
As far as cookie bar recipes go, they are easy to make. The crust is baked then the filling added on top of the crust and baked again for a soft tasty dessert. We’ve included ways to change them up too.
This great recipe is perfect for special occasions and Christmas cookies too!
Recipe Ingredients Notes
All purpose flour. Regular or gluten-free measure-for-measure flour blend can be used. We use and recommend Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour for gluten-free baked goods.
Unsalted butter. It will be used each in the crust and the filling. It will be melted for both.
Shredded coconut. You’ll use a blend of sweetened shredded coconut and unsweetened shredded coconut. This delivers the coconut flavor without making the bars overly sweet and too rich to enjoy.
Sweetened condensed milk. You’ll use one 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk. This is a sweetened canned milk product found with baking supplies at the grocery store.
How to make Coconut Bars – Step-by-Step
STEP 1. Preparation
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray (photo 1). OPTIONAL: Line the pan with parchment paper for easier removal.
STEP 2. Make the crust
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, and salt (photo 2). Using a spoon or spatula, stir in the melted butter until well combined (photo 3). Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan (photo 4).
Bake for 15 minutes, until the bottom is golden brown (photo 5). Cool for 10 minutes.
STEP 3. Make the filling
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sweetened condensed milk, flour, brown sugar, melted butter, almond extract, vanilla extract, and salt (photo 6).
Fold in half of the sweetened and unsweetened coconut (photo 7). Spoon the coconut mixture over the cooled crust (photos 8-9). Sprinkle the remaining coconut over the top (photo 10).
STEP 4. Bake and Cool
Bake for 25-30 minutes baking time, until the top is lightly golden brown (photo 11).
Cool completely before removing the bars to cut into bar shapes (photo 12). Don’t cut the chewy bars when warm.
Here are some different ways to change them up!
Add mini chocolate chips. Add ½ cup mini chocolate chips to batter and another ½ cup mini chocolate chips on top before baking. The combination of chocolate and coconut gives a Mounds bar type flavor.
Add almonds. Add ½ cup almond pieces, slivers, or slices to the top. *
Dried cranberries. Add ½ cup chopped dried sweetened cranberries to the batter and another ½ cup chopped dried cranberries to the top.
Adding parchment paper the overhangs the sides of the baking pan allows easily removing the bars from the pan to cut them. This is a great trick for brownies too. Once they cool completely lift them out and cut the bars on a level surface.
How to Store
Store in an airtight container at room temperature (up to 4 days) or in the refrigerator (up to 1 week). They will become more solid if chilled.
If storing in layers (instead of a single layer) add a piece of parchment paper or wax paper between the layers.
More recipes you’ll love!
- 2 cups all-purpose flour regular or gluten-free measure-for-measure flour blend
- 1 cup light brown sugar packed
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter melted
- 3 eggs
- 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- ½ cup all-purpose flour regular or gluten-free measure-for-measure flour blend
- ¼ cup light brown sugar packed
- ¼ cup unsalted butter melted
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
- 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish with non-stick food spray. Line the pan with parchment paper (with some overhanging the sides of the pan) for easier removal (optional).
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, and salt.
- Using a spoon or spatula, stir in the melted butter until well combined.
- Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes, until the bottom is golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sweetened condensed milk, flour, brown sugar, melted butter, almond extract, vanilla extract, and salt. Fold in half of the sweetened and unsweetened coconut.
- Pour the mixture over the cooled crust. Sprinkle the remaining coconut over the top.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the top is lightly golden brown.
- Cool completely before removing the bars from the pan to cut them (if having lined the pan with parchment paper) or cutting them in the pan. Don’t cut warm.