20 Best Dessert Bar Recipes for Sharing with a Crowd

Bake one of these big-batch desserts today!

white plate of Sweet-and-Salty Scotcheroos cut into bars
Photo: Blaine Moats

Dessert bars are usually brownie-like, but they can be crunchy, gooey, and even filled with ice cream too! These easy dessert recipes are made for sharing and are easy to transport to any event. Try out these yummy recipes for your next large gathering. We're sharing classic scotcheroo bars, lemon bars, gooey butter bars, and more.

01 of 20

Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars sliced on blue and white plate
Stephen Kent Johnson

Tart and tangy lemon bars are a great fit for summer cookouts. The flaky bottom crust on these dessert bars is super simple, and it’s the best supporting player for the gooey, citrus-packed filling. Top with a dusting of powdered sugar for a little extra sweetness.

02 of 20

Cannoli Bars

Cannoli Bars cut into rectangles topped with chocolate chips and powdered sugar
Jason Donnelly

Skip the fuss of frying cannoli shells and turn them into dessert bars instead! This recipe uses a graham cracker crust to mimic the signature crunch of a cannoli, paired with paired with a creamy mascarpone and ricotta topping. Sprinkle mini chocolate chips and powdered sugar on top for an irresistible finish.

03 of 20

Dutch Letter Bars

dutch-letter-bars-RU350425
Jason Donnelly

Dutch letter pastries are usually filled with almond paste, and became a Midwest favorite after being brought to the area by Dutch immigrants. This version turns the typical S-shape pastry into a delicious dessert bar. While it has the classic almond flavor, this variation is made a little sweeter with raspberry jam.

04 of 20

Gooey Butter Bars

Gooey Butter Bars
Andy Lyons

Like their name suggests, these dessert bars have a sweet, deliciously gooey center. They have a yummy, rich, buttery flavor, but you can also dress them up with any toppings you want. This recipe uses fresh strawberries, honey, and ginger, but any fresh fruit would make a tasty topper.

05 of 20

Copycat Musketeer Bars

Copycat Musketeer Bars
Andy Lyons

Craving a candy bar? This copycat recipe turns an all-time favorite chocolate bar into the best dessert bars. Chocolate wafer cookies add a little crunch, while chocolate, malt powder, butter, and marshmallow crème make up the irresistible fluffy filling.

06 of 20

Toffee-Pumpkin Pie Bars

Toffee-Pumpkin Pie Bars
Jason Donnelly

These pumpkin dessert bars are a must-make for fall. They have all the traditional ingredients you’d expect—canned pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves, pecans—but elevated with a few extra add-ins. The ginger-crumb crust and toffee pieces on top help take plain pumpkin bars to the next level.

07 of 20

Limoncello Cheesecake Bars

Limoncello Cheesecake Bars
Carson Downing

No need to worry about the top of this cheesecake cracking—cutting it into dessert bars takes all the pressure off. Start with a classic graham cracker crust, then fill it in with luscious cheesecake flavored with limoncello. Topping with candied lemon slices is up to you, but it adds a delicious burst of citrus and makes the finished bars oh-so pretty.

08 of 20

Pistachio Gelato Brownie Bars

Pistachio Gelato Brownie Bars
Carson Downing

Part dessert bar, part brownie, and part ice cream bar, there’s no way this recipe can be anything but a hit. Speed up the process (and cut down on the ingredient list) by using a brownie mix as the base. Then, sandwich in pistachio gelato, chocolate syrup, and chopped pistachios for a sweet, crunchy, chocolatey dream.

09 of 20

Marbled Pumpkin-Chocolate Cream Cheese Bars

Marbled Pumpkin-Chocolate Cream Cheese Bars
Carson Downing

When you can’t decide between chocolate, vanilla, and pumpkin, make all three! This gorgeous dessert bar recipe combines smooth chocolate and cream cheese with cinnamon-spiced pumpkin bars. To create a stunning marbled effect, alternate spooning the chocolate and cream cheese over the pumpkin batter, then use a knife to gently swirl together.

10 of 20

No-Bake Irish Cream Pudding Bars

No-Bake Irish Cream Pudding Bars

Smooth, creamy, chocolatey no-bake dessert bars are one of the easiest (and tastiest!) treats you can make. Crushed chocolate sandwich cookies make a crunchy crust, decadent Irish cream liqueur teams up with vanilla pudding for the center, and melted chocolate adds just the right amount of bittersweet flavor. Just layer everything together, chill in the fridge, and serve.

11 of 20

Apple-Brown Butter Bars

Apple-Brown Butter Bars
Blaine Moats

Satisfy apple pie cravings without the work of perfecting a crust. These dessert bars have a sugar, flour, and almond base that creates amazing flavor without rolling out dough. Top with a filling made from sliced apples, apple jelly, and cream, plus a brush of brown butter for added richness. 

12 of 20

Honey-Roasted Peanut Butter Bars with Chocolate Ganache

Honey-Roasted Peanut Butter Bars with Chocolate Ganache
Andy Lyons

If you can’t get enough of chocolate and peanut butter, this dessert bar recipe was made with you in mind. It starts with a layer of chocolatey devils food cake, then gets topped with a light and fluffy layer of peanut butter with chopped peanuts. Pour a decadent chocolate ganache on top to mimic the chocolate covering your favorite candy cups.

13 of 20

Banana Bars with Butter-Rum Frosting

Banana Bars with Butter-Rum Frosting
Blaine Moats

Almost like banana cake but a lot easier to share, this dessert bar recipes is a great way to use up those brown bananas. The base of these bars is a little bit like an ultra-light and fluffy banana bread. Then, top it off with a generous spread of butter-rum frosting, and extra banana slices.

14 of 20

Carrot and Zucchini Bars

Carrot and Zucchini Bars
Andy Lyons

Turn extra garden goodies into a sweet treat! These dessert bars combine zucchini bread and carrot cake into one yummy, shareable summer recipe. But the real star of the show might be the citrus-cream cheese frosting (flavor it with lemon or orange peel—your choice).

15 of 20

Linzer Bars

linzer bars

Carson Downing

These dessert bars are a twist on traditional Austrian linzer tortes, shortbread pastries topped with fruit preserves, sliced nuts, and a lattice design. This recipe keeps the shortbread base and flavors it with raspberry jam and sliced almonds. Instead of a lattice, finish with a drizzle of almond glaze (although you could pipe it in a lattice if you wanted!).

16 of 20

Gooey Chocolate-Caramel Bars

Gooey Chocolate-Caramel Bars
Andy Lyons

This recipe is for the classic, brownie-like dessert bar. A full cup of brown sugar is key for getting the chewy texture just right, and a layer of sweetened condensed milk and chocolate in the center helps make them nice and gooey, too. These bars will also freeze for up to 3 months, so they’re great to make and save for an occasion when you need a last-minute dessert.

17 of 20

Gluten-Free Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Bars

stack of Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Bars
Carson Downing

Make dessert bars everyone can enjoy. This gluten-free recipe will appeal to most, especially since it’s loaded with mini chocolate chips and chocolate-covered caramel candies. Plus, everything gets mixed up in one bowl, so it’s one of the easiest dessert bars you can make!

18 of 20

Caramel Coconut Cookie Bars

Caramel Coconut Cookie Bars
Carson Downing

No matter what season it is, you can always turn to these caramel coconut dessert bars. A copycat of a popular Girl Scout cookie, these bars combine dulce de leche, coconut flakes, and chocolate chips with a cookie crust. The recipe makes 24, so there’s plenty to share (or plenty to save for later).

19 of 20

Scotcheroos

white plate of Sweet-and-Salty Scotcheroos cut into bars
Blaine Moats

The ultimate Midwestern dessert bar is right here. Gooey, crunchy scotcheroos mix rice cereal with peanut butter for the tastiest combo of sticky and sweet. Top with a super simple “frosting” made from semisweet chocolate and butterscotch chips, and these yummy bars are ready to share.

20 of 20

Chocolate Revel Bars

chocolate-revel-bars-35271
Carson Downing

An all-time favorite dessert bar recipe, these bars have layers of chocolate and crunchy oatmeal. The chocolate layer stays nice and gooey, while the oat mixture sits in dots on top. This recipe makes a whopping 75 bars, so it’s a great choice for a big family gathering or neighborhood potluck.

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