Nanaimo Bars

Nanaimo Bars

Nanaimo Bars (Nah-Nigh-Mo) are a Canadian-made dessert that combines chocolate, custard and graham cracker layers. It is a super delicious combination.

Recently, a friend asked me to make a typical Canadian treat. These were the first dessert that popped into my head that didn’t involve maple syrup. For my sister-in-laws wedding, I made copious amounts of these bars as the Canadian influence for her American wedding. They were cobbled up.

In the youtube clip below is the pronunciation of the word Nanaimo, which is a small city on Vancouver Island. These bars originate from a baker in this city, which is not far from where my husband grew up. There is an article in the Globe and Mail about the search for the Nanaimo Bars origin with result that were inconclusive.


Did I mention that these bars are no-bake?! The bottom layer of these bars are a mixture of flaked coconut, pecans (because I detest walnuts), cocoa and graham cracker crumbs. The middle layer is a custard layer. The custard powder is a bit hard to find in stores here in the US, so I had to order it on amazon (see the link below). Vanilla instant pudding could be a possible substitute. The top layer is melted semi-sweet chocolate. These bars taste best served cold because they can otherwise get a bit runny when they warm up. They freeze really well too.

Nanaimo Bars


  1. Walnuts are more common in this dessert, but I prefer pecans.
  2. If the custard layer is too thin, it will not solidify as well, therefore be generous with the powdered sugar and don’t skip chilling this layer while you melt the chocolate for the top layer.
  3. When adding the milk to the custard powder, it will give it the yellow color.
  4. Use 80z of chocolate if you would like a thicker top layer.
  5. By creating fine lines in the chocolate to outline the bars before solidifying them in the fridge, it will allow for less breakage of the chocolate when cutting later.

These bars were adapted from a recipe found on All Recipes called Nanaimo Bars I.




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  1. 1
    Ahu @ Ahu Eats

    I’ve always heard about these bars but never actually knew what was it in them. They look delicious and thank you for subbing out walnuts – I also don’t eat them. 🙂

  2. 7

    Fantastic! I tried nanaimo once from a store and it was too sweet. Thanks for this and somehow I can redo the recipe to adjust it sweetness.

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