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

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.
Amazingly Sweet Magic Cookie Bars!

More Delicious Bars


Garbage Bars

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
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. I made these recently. I used chocolate graham crackers for the crust. I used semisweet and peanut butterchips, and broken pecans. I left out the coconut (son-in-law doesn’t like coconut) but will sub quick oats next time.

  2. Way too sweet . . . Not a healthy choice. Something with oats and less sugar would be a much better choice

    1. Hi Jane! I don’t know if you noticed, but I am not a “healthy” focused food blogger. If you don’t like sweets, sorry to say that this website won’t make you happy.

  3. Hi Amanda, I just came on here to check the ingredients because in your cookbook (which I love) it calls for “four 14 ounce cans sweetened condensed milk” and I knew that couldn’t be right. Oops!

    1. I know. 😭 I’m so sorry. It is a typo and will be fixed if there is another printing. So glad you checked!

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