Magic Granola Cookie Bars

Magic Granola Cookie Bars are made with your favorite ready-made granola. Just five ingredients makes them an easy, quick fix!

Magic Granola Cookie Bars

Leave it to me to take something healthy like granola, and make it a little naughty. Magic Granola Cookie Bars are inspired by Magic Cookie Bars (also called 7 Layer Bars, or Hello Dollies). Heard of them? The recipe was published in the 60’s, and home bakers have been making them ever since. A big part of the recipe’s appeal is how easy it is. And also how deliciously chewy-gooey the bars are.

The inspiration recipe uses 7 layers of ingredients, that includes mix-ins like baking chips, coconut, and nuts. The most important ingredient of them all? A can of sweetened condensed milk. It holds everything together, and creates the most craveable soft, chewy texture. I wondered if a granola mix could be used in place of all those mix-ins. Because a bag of granola already has a lot of things in it – nuts, dried fruit, chocolate chips. (Depending on the variety you use.) I just had to try it, and I’m so glad I did!

Use Your Favorite Granola

Start with a box or a bag of your favorite loose granola or granola clusters. You could also use homemade granola if you have some on hand. You’ll need 3 cups, so if you’re purchasing it, get the ‘family size’ container. If you use clusters, break them up with your hands. Or, pound the bag with a rolling pin to break up the clusters before measuring. I used dark chocolate chip sea salt granola clusters, which made the baked bars taste like the best oatmeal chocolate chip cookie bar, ever!’

Next, you’ll need graham cracker crumbs and butter for the cookie base, and a can of sweetened condensed milk. I also included sweetened flake coconut. This can be optional, but it’s very tasty!

Make the Crust

Mix up the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter in a bowl and pour it into a greased 13×9 inch baking pan. Tamp the crumbs down evenly using the flat bottom of a measuring cup or glass.

Then, pour the sweetened condensed milk – directly from the can – onto the crust. Really easy so far, right? Right.

Layer on the Granola

Here’s the fun part. Because anything goes! Sprinkle on your favorite granola blend. You’ll need 3 cups. Opt for granola with simple ingredients (no corn syrup).

Layer on the Coconut

I used sweetened flake coconut but unsweet flake coconut will work also. This ingredient can be optional, but it adds another toasty layer of flavor.

Bake until Golden Brown

Place the pan in a preheated 350°F oven and bake for 25 minutes. Prepared granola has already been baked once. So it’s important to tent the bars with foil halfway through baking so it doesn’t overbrown.

Just out of the oven, and while the pan is still hot, toss on a handful of chocolate chips. I mean, if you’re feeling extra. (I usually am!)

Magic Granola Cookie Bars

Cool and Cut

Let the bars stand in the pan until cool. You can serve them directly from the pan, or turn them out as I did. However, if you plan to remove them from the pan, line it first with aluminum foil that overhangs the sides. You’ll have an easier time removing it than I did.

Magic Granola Cookie Bars

These bars are deliciously soft and gooey in the middle, with chewy edges. The chocolate chip granola mix I used made these bars taste like the best oat bars I’ve ever made!

Magic Granola Cookie Bars
Magic Granola Bars

So, did I manage to reduce the ingredients? Yes. If you don’t use the optional coconut, the whole pan uses just 4 ingredients. But I think the coconut really adds something. So, it’s worth trying!

The possibilities are endless with all the granola mixes on the market now. I think I’ll use my favorite cranberry-almond with flaxseed for my next attempt. Seeds, nuts, dried fruits, coconut, chocolate chips all do well in this recipe. There is one caveat: avoid granola mixes that include freeze dried fruit, such as strawberry and apple slices. They don’t hydrate to a nice texture, and the pieces near the top tend to burn.

This recipe is a quick bake for weeknights, or even busy weekends. There’s big payoff with little effort – *chef’s kiss!

Related Recipe: Healthy Homemade Granola

Magic Granola Cookie Bars (5 Ingredients!)

Heather Baird
Half cookie bar, half granola bar, 100% delicious! These bars start with your favorite ready-made granola mix. Choose oat-based granolas that have additions like peanuts, almonds, flaxseeds, quinoa, craisins, raisins, dried fruit, and chocolate chips. Avoid granola mixes that contain freeze-dried fruits such as strawberries and apples – the baked texture is tough and strange, and they tend to burn.
Use loose cereal-type granola or clusters. If you use clusters, break them up by hand or pound the bag with a rolling pin to break them up before measuring.
Remember that ready-made granola has been baked once already. Tent the pan with aluminum foil halfway through baking to prevent the top from overbrowning.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 24


  • 9×13 inch pan
  • aluminum foil


  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs about 12 sheets crushed fine
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted
  • 14 oz. sweetened condensed milk 1 can
  • 3 cups oat granola any variety with nuts, raisins, chips, etc.
  • 1/2 cup sweetened flake coconut optional


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 13×9 inch baking pan with aluminum foil so that it overhangs two long edges of the pan. Spray the foil with cooking spray.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Stir until well combined, or until the mixture has the appearance of wet sand. Pour the crumbs into the prepared pan; spread evenly and tamp it down with the bottom of a flat measuring cup, or the palms of your hands.
  • Pour the sweetened condensed milk evenly over the crust. Scrape out the can with a rubber spatula to get every last bit out of the can.
  • Sprinkle the oat granola over the sweetened condensed milk in an even layer. Use a rubber spatula to press the granola down into the milk layer.
  • Sprinkle the coconut evenly over the granola.
  • Bake for 25 minutes, tenting the pan with foil halfway through bake time to prevent overbrowning.
  • Cool completely in the pan. You can serve the bars directly from the pan, or after the bars have cooled completely, lift up by the edges of the foil to remove from the pan. Then, cut into 24 pieces.
  • Store the bars in an airtight container.


What to expect: These are the oat version of magic cookie bars. They have soft chewy texture with extra chewy caramelized edges. 
Optional? You decide: Sweetened flake coconut can be an optional ingredient, but it gives the bars a nice texture reminiscent of the original magic cookie bars.
Endlessly variable: honey-oat, cranberry-almond, peanut butter-flaxseed, dark chocolate-pecan.. There are hundreds of oat granola mixes out there to try, so have fun experimenting with different flavors!
Keyword chocolate chips, graham cracker crumbs, granola mix, homemade granola bars, magic cookie bars, oat granola, sweetened condensed milk, unsalted butter
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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