8 Layer Magic Bars are the perfect last minute dessert! Using common pantry staple baking ingredients this recipe comes together in a flash.
8 Layer Magic Bars
8 Layer Magic Bars is one level up from the traditional 7 layer Magic Bars. It consists of a buttery graham cracker crust topped with layers of chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, coconut, chopped nuts, crispy cereal and then finished off with a blanket of sweetened condensed milk. They are the perfect make-ahead dessert for your next party!
My Mom made these 8 layer magic bars for my family on special occasions growing up. We always knew when a holiday was coming we would get to indulge in these decadent bars. To this day she stills makes them as a sweet treat for family and friends!
I’ve been eating and sharing these bars with family and friends for years when I say you NEED to try them, I really mean it! They are a great dessert to make with the kids too. Get them to help out with layering all the goodies into these bars.
They may look like a basic layered bar with a graham cracker crust but over the years my Mom has perfected the ultimate blend of melty chocolatey, flakey coconut, crispy puffed rice cereal all covered in gooey sweetened condensed milk. Ok now I’m drooling writing this and think I’ll go make myself another batch!
What is in 8 Layer Magic Bars?
8 Layers of MAGIC
- Crushed Graham Crackers and Butter – layers 1 and 2 of these bars is the crust. You can simply pour into a baking dish the crackers crumbs and layer the butter on top. Give it a quick mix and firmly compact into the pan to form the crust.
- Chocolate Chips – any variety, milk, semi-sweet, dark, white, sugar free, you name it, works well in this recipe! The best part is you can just use the type you have on hand so you don’t need to run out and grab an ingredient.
- Butterscotch Chips – my personal favorite part of the bars! They add a deep rich flavor that is irreplaceable. I know I just said above that you can use any chocolate chips, but I would definitely make sure to use butterscotch chips for the extra flavor.
- Pecans – when it comes to baking, pecans are my favorite nut. They have a subtle yet delicious flavor but you can really use any nut you prefer in these bars.
- Shredded Coconut (unsweetened) – ok hear me out, even if you do not like coconut you should gives these bars a try at least once with coconut! The flavor is amazing and it adds a little tropical twist to the bars.
- Puffed Rice Cereal (Rice Krispies) – you may have heard of 7 layer magic bars, the 8th layer in these bars is the BEST part that I personally think is missing from 7 layer bars. The puffed rice cereal adds a light and airy crispy topping this these bars.
- Sweetened Condensed Milk – the last layer is a drizzle of sweetened condensed milks. It’s what makes the bars ooey-gooey and keeps all the layers stuck together.
How to Make 8 Layer Magic Bars
Full Printable Recipe at Bottom of Page
Check out my short video tutorial here
1 Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×13 inch baking pan with cooking spray or line with parchment paper (using parchment paper makes it easier to slice because you can lift the whole thing out). Set aside.
2 Stir the melted butter and graham cracker crumbs together. Press into the bottom of the baking pan to form the crust by pressing with your fingers, the base of a flat-bottomed cup, or back of a spoon.
3 Evenly sprinkle remaining ingredients one by one over the crust to form layers in the order listed in the ingredients. Slowly and carefully, pour the sweetened condensed milk evenly over the entire top layer of crispy cereal.
4 Bake for 25-30 minutes until edges are golden brown and the middle is set.
5 Cool 1-2 hours. If using parchment paper, carefully lift the parchment paper out of the pan and slice the bars into 24 pieces, or slice directly in the pan.
Tips and Storage
- Store in an airtight container with wax paper or parchment paper between layers. The flavor of the bars is even better the day after baking! Bars stored at room temperature will be fairly soft and are best eaten within 3 to 5 days. For firm and chewy bars, store in the fridge for up to a week.
- Make sure the bars are completely cooled before slicing. With all the gooey layers the bars will crumble if cut warm
- Sweetened Condensed Milk – the one essential ingredient in the whole recipe is sweetened condensed milk. This sticky, gooey, honey-thick condensed milk is what binds all the ingredients together. It also caramelizes in the oven, giving a sweet depth to each bite similar to dulce de leche. Make sure you read the labels and buy sweetened condensed milk, not evaporated milk—the cans look very similar.
These are my favorite 8 layer bars but they are 100% customizable, use your and your families favorite sweet treats:
- Use gingersnaps, chocolate wafers, Biscoff cookies or any other dry, crumbly cookie instead of the graham crackers
- White chocolate chips
- Peanut butter chips
- Dried fruit
- Toffee bits
- M&M candies or any other small candy
- Add a drizzle of caramel over the top
- The possibilities are ENDLESS
Looking for More Easy Desserts
- Banana Bread – one of my families favorite treats! With its super moist texture, rich banana flavor it is a must try. This recipe is so simple and only needs a few pantry staple ingredients.
- Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars – may just be the perfect 5 ingredient dessert. Creamy cheesecake bars with a chocolate chip cookie dough crust with even more cookie pieces crumbled on top.
- Maple Pecan Butter Tarts – one of the most well known and popular Canadian desserts. Not only are they so simple to make, they are incredibly delicious!
Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, may earn me a small commission.
Ultimate Eight Layer Magic Bars
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup butterscotch chips
- 1 cup pecans, chopped
- 1 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
- 2 cups puffed rice cereal, preferably, Rice Krispies
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk, 300mL
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×13 inch baking pan with cooking spray or line with parchment paper (using parchment paper makes it easier to slice). Set aside.
- Stir the melted butter and graham cracker crumbs together. Press into the bottom of the baking pan to form the crust by pressing with your fingers, the base of a flat-bottomed cup, or back of a spoon.
- Evenly sprinkle remaining ingredients one by one over the crust to form layers in the order listed in the ingredients. Slowly and carefully, pour the sweetened condensed milk evenly over the entire top layer of crispy cereal.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until edges are golden brown and the middle is set.
- Cool 1-2 hours. If using parchment paper, carefully lift the parchment paper out of the pan and slice the bars into 24 pieces, or slice directly in the pan.