in ,

M&M Cookie Bars Recipe

M&M’s have been a beloved treat since their introduction in 1941, quickly finding their way from candy bowls into the hearts of baking enthusiasts worldwide. The colorful, candy-coated chocolates not only add a pop of color to baked goods but also a delightful crunch that contrasts beautifully with soft, chewy textures. This versatility has made M&M’s a popular choice in baking, leading to the creation of numerous recipes, including the much-loved M&M Cookie Bars.

Cookie bars themselves have gained popularity for their simplicity and versatility. Unlike traditional cookies that require individual shaping and spacing on baking sheets, cookie bars are baked in one pan and cut into squares, making them an easy and efficient option for bakers of all levels. The combination of M&M’s with the ease of cookie bars creates a treat that is not only delicious and eye-catching but also accessible to everyone, from novice bakers to seasoned pros.

The Basics of M&M Cookie Bars

Essential Ingredients Overview

Creating M&M Cookie Bars requires a few basic ingredients that are staples in most kitchens:

  • Flour: The foundation of the bars, providing structure.
  • Sugar: Both brown and white sugar are used for sweetness and texture.
  • Butter: Adds richness and helps create a tender crumb.
  • Eggs: Bind the ingredients together and contribute to the bars’ chewiness.
  • Vanilla Extract: Enhances flavor.
  • Baking Powder: A leavening agent that makes the bars rise.
  • Salt: Balances the sweetness.
  • M&M’s: The star of the show, adding color, texture, and chocolatey goodness.

Equipment Needed

  • Mixing Bowls: For combining ingredients.
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: For accurate ingredient measurements.
  • Baking Pan: An 8×8 or 9×13 inch pan, depending on desired thickness.
  • Parchment Paper: For easy removal of the bars from the pan.
  • Oven: Preheated to the right temperature.

Step-by-Step Recipe

Preparation Steps

Start by preheating your oven to 350°F (175°C) and lining your baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the sides for easy removal. This simple step prevents sticking and ensures your cookie bars come out perfectly every time.

Mixing the Dough

In a large mixing bowl, cream together softened butter with white and brown sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. This process incorporates air into the butter, making the bars tender. Next, beat in the eggs one at a time, ensuring each is fully incorporated before adding the next, then stir in the vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing until just combined to avoid overworking the dough.

Adding M&M’s and Other Mix-ins

Fold in the M&M’s, reserving some to sprinkle on top before baking. This not only ensures an even distribution of M&M’s throughout the bars but also adds a colorful, inviting appearance. If desired, this is also the time to add any additional mix-ins like chocolate chips or chopped nuts.

Baking Tips for Perfection

Spread the dough evenly in the prepared pan and sprinkle the reserved M&M’s on top. Bake in the preheated oven until the edges are lightly golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes for an 8×8 pan or 15-20 minutes for a 9×13 pan. Let the bars cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before lifting out using the parchment paper overhang and cutting into squares.

Variations of M&M Cookie Bars

The beauty of M&M Cookie Bars lies in their adaptability. Here are some variations to try:

  • Classic vs. Festive: Use classic M&M’s for a traditional look, or opt for holiday-themed M&M’s to make festive bars for Christmas, Halloween, or Easter.
  • Incorporating Different Types of M&M’s: Experiment with peanut, peanut butter, or pretzel M&M’s for varied flavors and textures.
  • Gluten-Free and Vegan Options: Substitute gluten-free flour for all-purpose flour and use vegan butter and egg substitutes to accommodate dietary restrictions without sacrificing taste or texture.

These variations ensure that M&M Cookie Bars can be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of dietary preferences or the occasion.


Advanced Baking Tips

How to Ensure Even Baking

Even baking is crucial for the perfect texture in M&M Cookie Bars. To achieve this:

  • Rotate the baking pan halfway through the baking time to ensure even heat distribution.
  • Use an oven thermometer to verify your oven’s temperature accuracy.
  • Bake on the middle rack to avoid direct heat from the top or bottom of the oven.

Adjustments for High Altitude Baking

Baking at high altitude requires adjustments due to lower air pressure:

  • Increase the oven temperature by 25°F to help set the structure of the bars before they expand too much.
  • Reduce baking powder by 1/8 teaspoon for every teaspoon called for in the recipe to prevent over-rising and subsequent falling.
  • Add an extra 1-2 tablespoons of flour to the dough to help strengthen its structure.

Decorating and Serving Ideas

Creative Topping Ideas

Enhance your M&M Cookie Bars with these topping ideas:

  • Drizzle melted chocolate or caramel over the cooled bars for a decadent finish.
  • Add a sprinkle of sea salt on top before baking for a sweet and salty contrast.
  • Frost with a layer of buttercream or cream cheese frosting for special occasions.

Cutting and Serving Tips for Parties

  • For clean cuts, chill the bars in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before slicing. Use a sharp knife and clean it between cuts.
  • Cut into bite-sized pieces for easy party snacks or larger squares for a more substantial treat.
  • Serve on a platter with decorative picks for easy handling at gatherings.


Best Type of M&M’s for Baking?

  • Classic milk chocolate M&M’s are generally the best for baking, as they provide a balanced chocolate flavor that complements the cookie bar. However, experimenting with different varieties like peanut butter or crispy M&M’s can add unique flavors and textures.

Storage and Shelf Life Tips?

  • M&M Cookie Bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. For longer storage, layer the bars between sheets of parchment paper to prevent sticking.

Can You Freeze M&M Cookie Bars?

  • Yes, M&M Cookie Bars freeze well. Wrap individual bars in plastic wrap and then place them in a zip-top freezer bag. They can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature before serving, or warm them in the microwave for a few seconds for a just-baked taste.

M&M Cookie Bars are not just a treat; they’re a colorful, fun, and delicious way to bring a little joy into your kitchen and your life. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or new to the oven, these bars are sure to become a fast favorite for their ease and versatility. So, grab your ingredients, preheat your oven, and get ready to enjoy one of the sweetest, most satisfying desserts you’ll ever make.

M&M Cookie Bars Recipe

Indulge in the ultimate treat with these chewy and colorful M&M Cookie Bars. Perfect for any occasion, these bars are not only delicious but also easy to make. With a simple list of ingredients and a few baking tricks, you'll have a batch of these delightful bars ready in no time. Whether you're a baking novice or a seasoned pro, this recipe is sure to become a favorite.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 16 bars
Calories 280 kcal


  • Mixing bowls
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • 8x8 or 9x13 inch baking pan
  • Parchment paper
  • Oven


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup M&M's plus more for topping
  • Optional: 1/2 cup chocolate chips or chopped nuts


  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Line your baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang for easy removal.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla.
  • Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing until just combined. Fold in 1 cup of M&M's and any additional mix-ins.
  • Spread the dough evenly in the prepared pan. Sprinkle additional M&M's on top.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the edges are lightly golden. Cool in the pan on a wire rack before lifting out and cutting into bars.


  • For a festive twist, use seasonal M&M's to match the holiday or occasion.
  • If you prefer a thicker bar, use an 8x8 inch pan and adjust the baking time as needed.
  • These bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week or frozen for up to 3 months.
  • For gluten-free bars, substitute the all-purpose flour with your favorite gluten-free flour blend.
Keyword Baking, Dessert, Easy Recipe, M&M Cookie Bars, Party Snack