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No-Bake Nanaimo Bars

  • Author: Erin
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes plus cooling time
  • Yield: One 9" pan, 16-24 bars 1x


No-Bake Nanaimo Bars - a graham cracker and coconut base is topped with a smooth custard American buttercream and finished off with a super smooth layer of dark chocolate. These are a classic bar, and this no-bake version is so so easy to make!



Chocolate Graham Cracker Base

  • 1 (14.4 ounce) box (408 grams) graham crackers, or digestive biscuits
  • 50g granulated sugar
  • 45g dutch process cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 100 grams unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • 260g unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly


  • 150g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 30g custard powder
  • 400g powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1-2 Tbsp heavy cream, as needed (see notes)

Chocolate Topping

  • 250g 70% cacao dark chocolate, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons (45 grams) neutral oil such as vegetable or canola



  1. Grease and line a 9” square baking pan with baking spray and two pieces of parchment paper which extend over the sides to give you a ‘sling’ (this helps with removing the slice easily once it is set).
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, place the graham crackers, sugar, cocoa, and salt, and pulse until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Transfer to a medium bowl, and add the coconut. Stir to combine. Add the melted butter and mix with a rubber spatula until the butter is incorporated - it should resemble wet sand.
  3. Transfer the crust mixture into the baking pan, and press down evenly with a flat bottomed glass or measuring cup until compacted and smooth. Place in the freezer for 20 minutes to firm up.


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and custard powder until combined. Add the powdered sugar, salt, and vanilla bean paste, and mix to incorporate. Beat on high speed for a minute or so. Add cream if needed to give you a thick, smooth buttercream.
  2. Scrape the filling onto the graham cracker crust, and smooth down using an offset spatula, getting the surface as smooth as possible. Chill for 30 minutes.


  1. In a heat proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt together the chocolate and the oil, stirring frequently, until smooth. Alternatively, melt together in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring well after each.
  2. Pour over the set custard filling, and tilt the pan to evenly coat. Bang the pan on the counter several times to smooth out the topping and eliminate any bubbles.
  3. Chill in the fridge until completely set, at least an hour. Remove from the pan by using the parchment paper slings. cut into slices using a sharp knife, wiping between each. Store in an airtight container.

Keywords: nanaimo bar, no-bake, slice, custard powder, bar