Magic Cookie Bars are an ooey-gooey treat made with a graham cracker crust and loaded with a variety of candy chips, all topped with a layer of coconut. Try my Chocolate Chip Caramel Bars for another sweet treat.

Magic Cookie Bars
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These are traditionally called Magin Bars and 7-Layer Bars, but we have been known to call them “garbage bars” because I usually empty out my pantry to make them. The bars are based on a recipe from my Mother-in-Law’s church cookbook and have been around for many, many years!

Garbage Bars Recipe

Variations for Magic Bars

  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Magic Bars: Use chocolate chip cookie dough instead of graham cracker crust.
  • Lemon Magic Bars: Use a lemon cookie crust and add lemon zest to the coconut filling.
  • Peanut Butter Magic Bars: Use a peanut butter cookie crust and add chopped peanuts to the coconut filling.
  • Caramel Magic Bars: Drizzle caramel sauce over the top of the bars before baking.
  • Mint Magic Bars: Use mint chocolate cookies for the crust and add peppermint extract to the coconut filling.
  • Berry Magic Bars: Spread a layer of your favorite berry jam or preserve over the crust before adding the coconut filling.

And there are many more variations you can experiment with depending on your preferences!

Just a few ingredients for Special Magic Cookie Bars!

Storing, Freezing, and Thawing Instructions for Magic Bars


  1. Allow the bars to cool completely before storing them.
  2. Place the bars in an airtight container or wrap them tightly in plastic wrap.
  3. Store the bars in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.


  1. Allow the bars to cool completely before freezing them.
  2. Cut the bars into individual servings, this makes it easier to thaw only what you need.
  3. Wrap the individual bars tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
  4. Place the wrapped bars in an airtight container or a resealable plastic bag and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  5. Be sure to label and date.


  1. Remove the desired number of bars from the freezer and allow them to thaw at room temperature for about 30 minutes or in the refrigerator for several hours.
  2. You can also thaw them quickly by wrapping them in a damp paper towel and microwaving them on the defrost setting for 1-2 minutes.
Stack of Magic Bars.

More Delicious Bars

5 from 4 votes

Garbage Bars

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
The bars are based off a recipe from my Mother-in-Law’s church cookbook and are called Magic Cookie Bars and they have been around for many, many years!


  • 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 1 can (15 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • ½ cup peanut butter chips
  • ½ cup milk chocolate chips, or semi-sweet
  • ½ cup white chocolate chips
  • ½ cup butterscotch chips
  • 1 cup coconut flakes or sweetened shredded coconut, (you can use up to 1 ½ cups)


  • Heat oven to 350°F.
  • Melt butter in the microwave or small saucepan over low heat. Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs over the bottom of a 9×13 pan then pour butter over the crumbs. Flatten out crumbs with a fork and make sure butter is evenly incorporated.
  • Evenly pour two cups of morsels* over the graham cracker crust.
  • Pour condensed milk over morsels.
  • Cover with coconut flakes. (Or shredded coconut)
  • Bake 25 minutes. Edges will be brown and center should not jiggle.


You can use any combination of morsels that you have available. 

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Meet Amanda Rettke

Amanda Rettke is the creator of I Am Baker, and the bestselling author of Surprise Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion – With a Little Something Extra Inside.Over the course of her 15+ year blogging adventure, she has been featured in and collaborated with the Food Network, New York Times, LA Times, Country Living Magazine, People Magazine, Epicurious, Brides, Romantic Homes, life:beautiful, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Mail, Star Tribune, The Globe and Mail, DailyCandy, YumSugar, The Knot, The Kitchn, and Parade, to name a few.

Reader Comments

  1. You people should know you can add or subtract whatever you want to a recipe you might like it & someone else may not ther is no recipe police coming to get you if you change something & if you don’t like it be kind with your comments not everyone’s taste is the same

  2. I cut this recipe in half and got 8 DELICIOUS bars in a 4×6 pan. Ty for the recipe I love the variation for a magic cookie bar.

  3. I have made so many of your wonderful recipes. If I see a post from you I can’t bring myself to scroll past it. Gotta check it out.
    Thank you for some great recipes.

  4. These cookie bars are very rich, the recipe is very easy to play with. I’ve been making them for years! In fact, back in the 70’s and 80″s they were called “Hello Dolly Bars”! So delicious!!!

  5. The recipe in the book is wrong. It asked for 4-14 oz cans sweetened condensed milk. I I think it’s hilarious that the book I purchased is wrong and this one is right.

    1. Yes, that is a big huge I AM SO SORRY error in the book. I don’t know how it got by 5 separate professional sets of eyes, but it did. Very sorry about that.

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