Loaded Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

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Loaded cookie bars are soft and chewy cookie bars with all of your favorite mix-ins. This recipe is perfect for using up all the extra mix-ins like chocolate chips, nuts, and candy that are hiding in your pantry. It’s a basic bar cookie filled with an assortment of delicious add-ins, resulting in one tasty treat.

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Stack of loaded cookie bars with one in front missing on bite

Years ago, I had the revelation that you can mix and match mix-ins in cookie bars and, ever since then, I’ve gone crazy making tons of cookie bar recipes with tons of variations. So, I thought, why not share my favorite basic cookie bar recipe and let you guys decided which mix-ins you add?

So, say hello to loaded cookie bars! A choose-your-own-mix-in-adventure where you decide what special treats you want to add to your bars. Use this recipe to make cookie bars with candy, nuts, sprinkles, baking chips, or any combination of those you love!

A loaded cookie bar is usually a basic bar cookie recipe made with various add-ins, resulting in one fantastic dessert. So, think a combination of chocolate chips, baking chips, chopped candy, nuts… basically, any baking mix-ins can be added.

Why We Love This Recipe

This recipe is a great way to use up all the baking odds and ends in the pantry. Otherwise, what am I going to do with an ⅛ of a cup of white chocolate chips? And ⅓ of a cup of toffee bits? I guess you could just eat them, but these easy cookie bars are just so much better!

For the base of the cookie bar, I use my go-to blondie base. I’ve made Toffee Blondies and Nutter Butter Butterscotch Blondies with this base. It’s like a giant brown sugar-based cookie, complete with an ooey-gooey center. It is the perfect canvas for whatever loaded cookie bar you want to create! 

I love that you can make this recipe over and over and never make it the same way twice. It’s so easy to adapt, and I’ve written the recipe to make it easy for you to adjust the mix-ins based on what you have on hand.

This is also an easy one-bowl recipe! 

Overhead shot of all ingredients measured out needed to make loaded cookie bars

Ingredients

Butter: Start with unsalted butter that’s been softened.

Brown Sugar: These bars are full of brown sugar – they stay soft for days. Be sure to measure it correctly.

Eggs: Eggs help provide structure and moistness and keep them soft.

Vanilla extract: For flavor

Baking powder: Help these bars achieve that soft texture.

Salt: Omit if you’re using salted butter.

Flour: Use all-purpose flour and be sure to measure it correctly.

Mix-Ins: This is a great clean out the pantry recipe! Use up all those partial bags of candy and chocolate chips – or grab your favorites from the store.

Overhead shot of loaded cookie bars cut into squares

1. Prepare your pan: Line a 9×13” baking pan with foil and coat it with cooking spray.

2. Mix: In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar. Once it’s smooth and creamy, add the eggs and vanilla and beat until well combined. Add the baking powder, salt, and flour. Mix until the dough comes together.

3. Mix-Ins: Add two to three cups of mix-ins. I used white chocolate chips, semi-sweet chocolate chips, toffee bits, and Reese’s Pieces for this recipe. You can use your favorites – just don’t add more than three cups total.

4. Press the dough into the prepared pan. You can also sprinkle extra mix-ins on top of the dough. A quarter cup is plenty, but this is optional. I think it makes the bars look prettier.

5. Bake the bars for 25 minutes at 350°F. They will be a little jiggly in the center when they are done, which is what you want. They will set up while they cool.

6. Wait until the bars are cooled before slicing and serving. It’s hard but worth the wait! They will be so soft, chewy, and delicious.

Three loaded cookie bars stacked on top of eachother

Once you know how to make the basic recipe, there are so many options with this recipe! Here are some other mix-ins you might like to try. Check your pantry to see what you have to use up.

  • Chocolate chips: White, dark, milk, semi-sweet… use your favorite or a combo!
  • Chopped candy: Snickers, peanut butter cups, Heath bars, Reese’s Pieces, M&Ms… basically, any candy you like in a cookie will work in these bars.
  • Baking chips: Try using toffee bits, Andes candies baking chips, butterscotch, or peanut butter chips. 
  • Nuts: Chopped walnuts, macadamia nuts, almonds, and peanuts. Use them all up in this recipe!
  • Sprinkles! This one is always a favorite – if you’re like me, you might have containers of sprinkles to use up.

You can add up to three cups, so don’t be afraid to do a variety. Just mix and match flavors and textures to put your spin on this recipe.

Close up shot of three loaded cookie bars stacked on top of eachother
How long do you bake cookie bars?

At 350°F, these bars will bake in about 25 minutes, but keep an eye on them. Every oven is different, so it’s always good to go by how they look. These bars will lose the glossy sheen on top and will still be a little jiggly in the center when they’re done.

How do you know when they are done?

At 350°F, these bars will bake in about 25 minutes, but keep an eye on them. Every oven is different, so it’s always good to go by how they look. These bars will lose the glossy sheen on top and will still be a little jiggly in the center when they’re done.

Why are my cookie bars dry? 

Too much flour can make them dry, so use the spoon and level method to measure. This is the best way to measure it (unless you use a scale!). Be sure to measure the brown sugar accurately. You want the right amount, so the bars bake up soft and moist. Don’t overbake them, either. Overbaking will dry them out.

Can I use a glass pan for baking cookies?

 Yes, a glass pan is fine.

Can I freeze cookie bars?

Freeze bar cookies in an airtight container or bag, stacking between paper towels, for up to 2 months.

Ready to make a batch of these easy cookie bars? I call this recipe a double winner – you get the best soft and chewy cookie bars, and you get to clean out the pantry, too! What will you add to yours? Be sure to let me know in the comments!

Have you made this recipe?

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Loaded Cookie Bars are the perfect easy bar cookie recipe to make when you want to clean out your pantry – add any candy or nuts or chips to make your favorite soft and chewy cookie bars.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Yield 24 bars
Serving Size 1 bar

Ingredients

  • ½ cup (113g) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups (400g) brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (242g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (170g) mixed white and semi-sweet chocolate chips (see note)
  • ½ cup toffee bits (see note)
  • 1 cup Reese’s Pieces (see note)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×13” pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.
  • Cream brown sugar and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until combined. Add baking powder, salt, and flour and mix.
  • Mix in 2-3 cups of mix-ins. You can use whatever you have on hand, or whatever you like. For this pantry-clean-out recipe, I used a mixed 1 cup of white and semi-sweet chocolate chips, ½ cup toffee bits, and ¾ cup Reese’s Pieces. Stir all those into the batter.
  • Press into prepared pan (dough is sticky, spray your hands with cooking spray to avoid it sticking to your hands). Sprinkle ¼ cup Reese’s Pieces over the top. You can use about ¼ cup of anything you have for this step: M&Ms, chocolate chips, etc. It just makes them look prettier.
  • Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes. (Be careful not to overcook – the center will still be jiggly when you take these out of the oven and they will finish cooking and firming up as they cool.) Cool completely before slicing into squares.

Recipe Notes

Use between 2-3 cups of any mix-ins you like, and then sprinkle some on top before baking so they look prettier. Ideas:
  • Any kind of chips (chocolate, white chocolate, butterscotch)
  • Toffee Bits
  • M&Ms or Reese’s Pieces
  • Chopped peanut butter cups, snickers, or other candy bars
  • Chopped cookies, like Oreos
  • Nuts

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1bar | Calories: 216kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 58mg | Potassium: 91mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 197IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword cookie bar
Three loaded cookie bars with recipe title on top of image

Loaded Cookie Bars are the perfect easy bar cookie recipe to make when you want to clean out your pantry – add any candy or nuts or chips to make your favorite soft and chewy cookie bars.

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76 CommentsLeave a comment or review

  1. I’ve made this and instead of lots of “candy” type items I’ve used-up small amounts of cereal (i.e. rice krispies or flake-type). Just crush up the flakes a little, but don’t make turn them into “powder”. You can also use up some raisins, dates, dried apricots, dried cranberries, carmel corn, coconut, or even chop up some pretzels or potato chips for the sweet/salty taste. Explore and use your imagination. It’s difficult to “go wrong” with this one.

  2. So funny, my peppermint extract leaked all over a stack of cupcake liners. Then both recipes I made and baked in them, everyone thought I’d added mint to the actual recipe and LOVED it!

  3. I made these and for me, their easier to make and I like them better then cookies. Chewy and yummy. I did cut back on the sugar to 1-1/2 cups. We don’t like anything overly sweet, and with the extras I added, the sweetness was perfect. I added M & M’s, Toffee bits, Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips, and Chopped Walnuts. Thank you for this recipe!

  4. Had some heath bits, milk chocolate chips and maple sugar lurking in the corner of my cupboard. Made some great cookies on this very snowy and soon to be so frigid Sunday!

  5. These baked up an absolute TREAT! No subs, followed the instructions to the letter, and they were perfection. Thank you & Merry Christmas all the way from Shanghai!

  6. Yes. I just got a new stand mixer (early Christmas present – to help with the Christmas baking) and this will absolutely be the first thing I make with it. No scooping is awesome with a 3-month old! So excited about this recipe – thank you! 🙂

  7. Made this just now! I used some discounted chocolates i got from the store today since all the halloween candy is 50% off! Will be bringing to my co-workers tomorrow… This was my second try at your recipes! LOVED the zucchini brownies I made about 2 months ago…so rich.. this one i love because it’s so simple and probably really good (I ate a tiny end bit because i ate too many leftover trick-or-treat candies at work today…). Love love love your recipes because of its simplicity! I’m pretty sure everyone will enjoy them. And if for some reason i made a mistake i don’t know of, it’s ok because all the chocolate will probably cover it up for me 😉 Thanks for the recipe!!

  8. Yum! I love the idea of just dumping everything in a cookie. I alway have the most random stuff in my pantry.