Cake Mix Cookie Bars Dessert Recipe

These cake mix cookie bars are rich and delicious, but are so easy and take just a few minutes to assemble. This treat can be served warm and gooey straight from the oven, or let them cool and serve perfect little bars.

baked cake mix cookie bars in pan

Something I would love to do at some point in my life is sort through and organize the recipes in my recipe box.

Yes…I still have a recipe box, and if you’ve followed me for even a little while, you know it’s full of cards, bits of paper, and pages torn out of magazines.

I could never give it up.

In that recipe box, is a card for “Almost Candy Bars.” The recipe card is in my handwriting, but the space for “recipe from the kitchen of” says Mom. Since my mom passed away several years ago, any reminder of her is always a good thing. I wish the card was in my mom’s handwriting, but just the fact that it was her recipe makes it very special. For this post, I renamed her recipe “cake mix cookie bars,” but all the easy ingredients are the same. It takes just a few minutes to assemble, and pop in the oven.

cake mix cookie bars ingredients

Ingredient Notes + Variations

Even though it has just six ingredients, these cake mix bars can still be adapted to your family’s tastes.

  • Any type of nut can be substituted for the walnuts. Pecans or sliced almonds would be delicious.
  • I recommend using the chocolate chips to keep the signature flavor, but the butterscotch chips can be swapped out with another variety. White chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, or caramel chips would be beautiful as well as very tasty.
  • Coconut can also be added as a topping. If your family’s tastes are divided where coconut is concerned, just sprinkle it on half of the pan.
  • I’ve never tried it, but I’m sure a yellow cake mix can be substituted for the white cake mix. Update: an OSP reader left a comment to say that she used a yellow cake mix and the bars were delicious! If anyone has tried a chocolate cake mix, please let us know in the comments!
cake mix cookie bars ingredients ready to mix

How to Make

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a large bowl, combine the box of cake mix and butter until tiny crumbs form. Use a pastry blender or your fingers.
  • Apply cooking spray to the sides of a 9 x 13 glass baking pan with nonstick spray.
  • Press the cake mix/butter mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan, smoothing it out, and making it as even as possible.
  • In layers, sprinkle the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and walnuts.
  • Drizzle the can of sweetened condensed milk over entire pan.
  • Bake for 25 minutes. Top should be golden brown when done.
  • Cool completely. Cut into bars.
cake mix cookie bars ready to bake
  • I used a 9 x 13 inch baking dish for these cookie bars, but the original recipe says to use a 10 x 15 inch pan. The bigger pan would give you a thinner bottom crust, and the sweetened condensed milk would spread out more. Both versions are delicious!
  • The exact amount of cake mix included in a box has been varying over the past vew years. It doesn’t affect this recipe. Use whatever cake mix brand you like best.
  • To serve these cake mix cookie bars warm from the oven, just scoop portions out of the pan with a large spoon. Bowls work best, and it’s delicious to add a bit of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
  • To serve the recipe as bars, make sure to let it cool completely. Use a very sharp knife to slice the pieces, and then remove them with a spatula. (Do not use a ceramic knife to cut the bars…it may break!)
squares of cake mix cookie bars

This easy dessert recipe for cake mix cookie bars are definitely a splurge, but when you make them, there are plenty to share with family and friends. I took some to my dad, and told him the story of the recipe card. He gave these cake mix cookie bars two thumbs up, and said I could make them anytime!

three cake mix cookie bars on pedestal

Shop + Source

Click the links below to be taken directly to the product listing. Every effort has been made to provide sources for the items found in this post. Where actual items were no longer available, I’ve provided similar options. If an item is out of stock but may be restocked, I left it on the list.

*Affiliate links included. See my disclosure statement. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you store these cookie bars?
Storage is easy. Place these cake mix cookie bars in an airtight container (or just cover the pan with plastic wrap) at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Can you freeze these bars?
Yes! Place the already-cut and cooled bars in a freezer safe container. Use parchment paper between the layers. Freeze for up to 2 months.

Do I have to use the whole can of sweetened condensed milk?
Definitely not. When you think it’s gooey enough, just stop pouring!

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three cake mix cookie bars on pedestal

Cake Mix Cookie Bars Dessert

These cake mix cookie bars are rich, delicious, and they take just a few minutes to assemble.
Rate this Recipe Print Recipe Pin Recipe
4.64 from 76 votes
Servings: 20 bars
Author: Ann Drake
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Cooling time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
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  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick very soft)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1 cup walnuts (chopped)
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 oz.)


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a large bowl, combine the cake mix and butter until tiny crumbs form. Use a pastry blender or your fingers.
  • Spray the sides of a 9 x 13 glass baking dish with nonstick spray.
  • Press the cake mix/butter mixture into the bottom of the pan, smoothing it out, and making it as even as possible.
  • In layers, sprinkle the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and walnuts.
  • Drizzle the can of sweetened condensed milk over entire pan.
  • Bake for 25 minutes.
  • Cool completely. Cut into bars.


Serving: 1bar | Calories: 228kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 100mg | Potassium: 152mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 209IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 69mg | Iron: 1mg
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If you make this recipe, and love it, please come back to leave a comment and a 5-star review. I would really appreciate it, and it would help me so much. Thank you!

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Recipe Rating


  1. I have done this recipe just as shown and loved it. I have also modified it to what I have in my pantry. Like using chocolate cake mix and made more of a Mississippi mud bar. I have also used a spice cake mix and used white chocolate chips as well as crushed almonds. This tasted like apple cobbler. My next adventure will be using strawberry cake mix.

  2. Mary Bronder says:

    5 stars
    I made this recipe but I used a Betty Crocker chocolate mix, I followed your directions but I used Reese’s peanut butter chips, dark chocolate chips and milk chocolate chips (no nuts) and I added coconut before drizzling the sweetened condensed milk and I have to say that they were PHENOMENAL! I’ll be making these again when my daughter, son-in-law and grand kids come up to Minnesota from Missouri! They’re Going to love them!

    1. Oh my gosh Mary…this comment made my day. Thank you so much, and a special thank you for the rating. So glad you liked the bars!

  3. 5 stars
    I used a Cinnamon Toast Crunch cake mix, substituted white chocolate chips for the for the milk chocolate and pecans for the walnuts. OH MY GOODNESS, they were so good! Tasted like a honey bun. My late sister’s favorite cookie recipe was a Double Chocolate Fudge Cookies with Candied Orange, so I substituted candied orange peel for the nuts. They reminded me of her and her cookies! 💜

  4. Susan Hinkley says:

    I have used the chocolate cake mix, coconut, and used both chocolate chips and butterscotch chips. I just used half of what is called for of both kinds. And as my mother would say “they are so good your tongue will slap your lips!”

  5. 5 stars
    Wanted something quick to make for a cookie bar and this recipe did the trick! I even added coconut to the bars-they taste amazing!

  6. Do these freeze well?

    1. Yes! Place the already-cut and cooled bars in a freezer safe container. Use parchment paper between the layers. Freeze for up to 2 months.

  7. 5 stars
    I used a German chocolate cake mix, semi sweet and dark chocolate chips and coconut! They were perfect.

  8. Susan Hinkley says:

    5 stars
    I’ve made this recipe with chocolate cake mix and it’s a chocolate lovers dream! I also use the coconut flakes, it adds so much to the chewy goodness of these cookies.

  9. Leslie in Sarasota says:

    4 stars
    Thank You for this recipe…i’m playing with it…i used a strawberry cake recipe, the chocolates & coconut, now that i know i can use cake mixes for cookie bases, the choices are endless! Thank You for your core recipe <3

    1. I just found your blog and you have so many great recipes. By the way, I am a recipe collector as well. Lol

  10. Marie Braun says:

    5 stars
    My daughter and I made these for the first time this evening and they were absolutely delicious! We didn’t have semi-sweet chocolate chips on hand, so we used dark chocolate chips instead. We also substituted salted peanuts for the walnuts because a family member has tree nut allergies. They were still amazing and so easy to make! Thank you!

  11. Abby Clark says:

    5 stars
    So easy and a hit at our church dinner!!

  12. These look easy and so good. I’ve pinned it. I too have a recipe box and a few recipes with my mother’s handwritten cards. I treasure them. After she died, my dad began to cook and I have a few of his too. She taught me to makes pies and when I do, I always think of her. I think the days of handwritten recipes are gone, like handwritten letters.

  13. Diane Wyte says:

    These look awesome and a similar recipe that Mom made! So indulgent, and in those days, I was skinny as a rail so could eat eat eat! Now they’re be a splurge and welcome gift to friends who most likely will remember them too!
    Thanks, Ann, for a recipe down memories lane!

  14. I’ve pinned the recipe, and can’t wait to try them!

  15. So glad to read that lots of us have our Mom’s tin recipe box…my Mom probably was gifted hers when she married in the late ’40s, and I treasure having something in her handwriting. I am currently working on a Winter project each evening – making journals for my children that contains not only some of Mom’s recipes but also family genealogy. Along with each recipe I am including a page entitled “What I Remember” which relates some memories about the recipe and why it is so special to me. Then I decided to write about “The Fabulous Fifties” and ‘The Swinging Sixties”….it has turned into a major project that I hope will be done by Valentine’s Day!!! (cross your fingers). Many thanks for the monthly printables you made available; I am retired and rarely sit in front of the computer anymore…and my phone was on Noah”s Ark so has no screensaver feature!! I am super excited to have these. THANKS!!!

  16. I remember a similar recipe from the early 60’s something my mom and grandmom made. I believe they were called Twice Baked Bars and had a graham cracker/butter crust. Yummy! Thanks Ann!!

  17. Terri Herman says:

    5 stars
    These look delish! Going to try soon. I have a seven layer bar that is quite similar but uses graham cracker crumbs & shredded coconut. These would be a nice bar to mix it up!

  18. I totally appreciate your comment about your recipe box. My tin box is from my high school days, so about 60 years old. My daughter asked about a recipe the other day and I told I have one from your grandmother in my recipe box that would be perfect. Memories come alive when you bring out your family recipes from the recipe box!

  19. Beth Beard says:

    I have a batch in the oven right now. You always have the best recipes! They never disappoint. Thank you for sharing ❤️

  20. Kim N (from British Columbia) says:

    This looks super simple. I am going to try it with a GF cake mix. I love your blog, your decorating talent & the recipes you share. Thank you

  21. MARY-ANN (FROM CANADA!) says:

    Ann, your cake mix dessert bars look so yummy! Thanks for the recipe. I am definitely going to make them this week! Your recipes are always so good!

  22. 5 stars
    For anyone wondering, these were delicious using a yellow cake mix. Remind me of 7 layer bars which I don’t like because I don’t care for coconut.

  23. These look easy to make and delicious! Can’t wait to try! Thanks for the recipe, Ann!

  24. 5 stars
    Thanks for this super simple recipe Ann. It has my two favorite ingredients – Quick and Easy!!!! I added coconut and pecans. Next time I would substitute the butterscotch chips for something else. ( They are just a little too sweet for me. ). My husband loves these and they are perfect for a crowd. I really enjoy your recipes and everything about your blog!

  25. 5 stars
    Yummy and so easy! Certainly going in my recipe box.

  26. 5 stars
    Ann, I loved reading that you still use a recipe box! When anyone asks what would you save if your house was on fire and you could only grab one item, my answer is always my recipe box. It contains the hand written and delicious recipes of so many beloved relatives and friends. I can get replacement pictures and have all of our “important” personal papers backed up in a bank box. There is no way I could replace Mother’s or Granny’s, just to name two, hand written notes on the recipe cards and the happy memories of my times with them.

  27. june becklin says:

    5 stars
    These look so nummy I cannot wait to try. I typically I make a similar bar using graham crackers as the base but that is not an ingredient I often have on hand…especially since we no longer have little ones under foot.
    I do however always keep a cake mix on hand and its typically white my favorite.

    Fun idea…I have three of my moms recipes framed individually in floating glass frames I purchased at Target. Grease marked and all😊
    Gosh I miss her cooking and baking.

    I also framed my grandmother’s seven minute frosting, a book plate (assuming she must have somehow put together booklets of her recipes) and a piece of her catering stationary displayed in my china hutch. She catered all over the Twin Cities…initially by streetcar but eventually her two brothers helped and did the driving. She never drove a day in her life. Miss them both so much.

  28. Like you I have handwritten recipes from family and friends that represent sweet memories gathered around a table. I organized them into a notebook so I could insert each recipe into plastic sleeves. The page style varies from full page to photo style 4×6 but it is organized and I can add to it. You could take photos and make a recipe book too preserving the handwritten aspect. Adding the cookie bar ingredients to my grocery list!

  29. I love the responses to your yummy recipe. I do not like using my iPad either- too awkward and messy when it “times out” in the middle of cooking. I am in the beginning phase of organizing family favorite recipes. I am considering using a notebook. I know you have recipe cards and pages available to print, but have you considered creating a Recipe Binder similar to your beautiful Garden Journal- with cover, binder title and possibly section tabs? I think it would be the perfect solution. Your illustrations are always so cheery and lovely- they would suit anyone’s kitchen shelf. Thank you for sharing another special recipe.

  30. Several years ago, I reorganized my recipes. It was the best thing I could have done! I was quite a process but I learned a lot! What to do with the old, handwritten cards? I gathered handwritten family favorites in my mom’s, mother-in-law’s, several grandma’s, etc. handwriting and had them color copied-stains & all! Then I mounted, matted, and framed them collage style for use as kitchen “art”. I have received many compliments on this project over the years.

  31. I have pinned so many of your recipes. I don’t have a recipe box but I have several notebooks I put recipes in. I try recipes on blogs and Pinterest and if it’s a winner I print it off. I don’t like to follow a recipe on my iPad. I’m sure that’s my age.😀
    I have several recipes in my mom’s handwriting that I cherish. She had beautiful penmanship. I didn’t inherit it. I even have recipes in both my grandmother’s handwriting.
    Now that I’m 75, I am working on a notebook of family favorites that are in one place. Simplifying at my age is the best way to go!

  32. Hi Ann! Oh yum – I just sent the recipe to my printer. My recipe box goes back to the early 70s. It is a big wooden box designed to hold some sort of military shells. I acquired it when my husband was a young lieutenant! Early favorites are stored there. Now I have probably a dozen of the white Staples notebook binders (the 2” thick kind). Even with those I turn to the computer sometimes but really don’t like to try and use a computer recipe from the screen.
    Like you i treasure those few recipes that are handwritten!

  33. Gail Martin says:

    Your recipe box just caught me by surprise. I have 3. .. one from my mom and each of my grandmothers. I also have their betty Crocker red book with tons of their hand printed recipes as well as cut outs from the paper and such. What a treasure! In mine I have included your moms pot roast as well as many others that you have posted that I have cooked. My little pocket say: Ann’s Recipes.

  34. I think I may have this same recipe. I still have my old recipe box but hardly ever look into them anymore. I made the switch to digital years ago but I would have a hard time parting with my box of recipes. I was hoping you would post a picture of your recipe box at the end of the post.