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Calgary Nanaimo Bars Recipe

Calgary Nanaimo Bars Recipe

This version may claim roots in Alberta, but the original was said to be dreamed up in a Nanaimo, British Columbia kitchen. They're three delicious layers of Canadian goodness. —Carol Hillier, Calgary, Alberta
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 25 min. + chilling YIELD:42 servings


  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 3/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds, optional
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons 2% milk
  • GLAZE:
  • 3 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter


  • 1. Line an 8-in. square baking pan with foil, letting ends extend over sides by 1 in. In a large heavy saucepan, combine sugar and cocoa; add butter. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until butter is melted. Whisk a small amount of hot mixture into eggs. Return all to the pan, whisking constantly. Cook and stir until mixture reaches 160°. Remove from heat.
  • 2. Stir in cracker crumbs, coconut and, if desired, almonds. Press into prepared pan. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until set.
  • 3. For filling, in a small bowl, beat confectioners' sugar, pudding mix, butter and milk until smooth; spread over crust.
  • 4. In a microwave, melt chocolate and butter; stir until smooth. Spread over top. Refrigerate until set. Using foil, lift bars out of pan. Discard foil; cut into bars. Yield: 3-1/2 dozen.

Nutritional Facts

1 bar (calculated without almonds): 116 calories, 7g fat (4g saturated fat), 21mg cholesterol, 72mg sodium, 14g carbohydrate (11g sugars, 0 fiber), 1g protein.

Reviews for Calgary Nanaimo Bars

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cindiak User ID: 221828 265471
Reviewed May. 3, 2017

"My grandma used make these all the time. This is the same recipe she gave me. To this day, it is one of my favorite cookies."

seasons4 User ID: 978190 256787
Reviewed Nov. 14, 2016

"These are definitely 5-star bars! They disappeared so fast at a church potluck! My pastor is from Canada and grew up with these goodies.

I was out of graham crackers, so I used Keebler striped shortbread cookie crumbs instead. Otherwise, I made it as written, including the chopped almonds. It was difficult to determine when the base reached 160 - my thermometer was slow, and I was afraid of overcooking it. But they turned out great."

Dawn schultz User ID: 8939005 255621
Reviewed Oct. 19, 2016

"These were a childhood Christmas favorite made by my Austrian aunt they were called vermino bars"

55322 User ID: 7676585 116691
Reviewed Oct. 22, 2014

"These bars have been part of my Minnesota family for over 50 years. Ours are named Dairy Bars due to all of the wonderful butter used in them. Growing up on a dairy farm and then marrying a farmer makes these extra special."

ranson User ID: 1158378 181864
Reviewed Aug. 4, 2014


Mom4food User ID: 4949319 139095
Reviewed Jul. 11, 2014

"These are excellent! I think the next time I make them, I will double the glaze on top."

klamgs User ID: 2752584 123243
Reviewed Jul. 10, 2014


Maluhiamoni User ID: 5737734 123242
Reviewed Jul. 4, 2014

"These are very rich but most loved them. I had a little trouble trying to figure out cooking crust (1st layer) to 160 degrees since I (& most?) do not have a candy/food thermometer. A better description of that part of the recipe should be noted. These bars are not for anyone watching the fats & sugars in their diet."

SrSuzy User ID: 7831621 197985
Reviewed Jul. 2, 2014

"What can I use in place of cocoanut .? Only thing I do not have on hand."

B.C.MOM User ID: 7166349 121617
Reviewed Jul. 2, 2014 Edited Jul. 3, 2014

"Excuse me, please, but perhaps these should also be known as 'Saskatoon' bars as everybody back home seemed to make them...and jellied salads. My Mom made them with Custard Powder, too. I don't think it matters as custard powder and vanilla pudding powder are about the same. Lea (now in B.C for 37+ years)."

3judewalls User ID: 6453619 152122
Reviewed Jul. 1, 2014

"I know these are delicious as I've had them before, but seriously, 45 servings? 42 bars? No way!"

kskmama User ID: 6409742 121616
Reviewed Jul. 1, 2014

"My mom got this recipe 40 or so years ago. We call it Napoleon Creams. I've loved them since I was a little kid. Now I have to make some. Delicious!!"

rubydoo008 User ID: 5748313 138110
Reviewed Jul. 1, 2014

"Ummm this should be British Columbia not Calgary. We use Custard Powder instead of pudding interesting mix on this one"

joanijank User ID: 6327823 197197
Reviewed Jul. 1, 2014

"I grew up in Canada.. My mum made these but instead of vanilla pudding, she did an icing of icing sugar butter and milk.. At Christmas she would add peppermint to icing.. So delish!!!"

msboop User ID: 81300 198923
Reviewed Jul. 1, 2014

"DELICIOUS, and, I am very glad to have something that doesn't call for cream cheese, EVERYTHING has cream cheese in it, so this is really nice, and TASTY"

SHOK User ID: 5616182 188130
Reviewed Jul. 1, 2014

"These are almost identical to what my mother has made for forty-some years. They've always been "Fudge Meltaways". However ours have cream cheese in the middle layer instead of vanilla pudding, which is much better, I think!"

shereeder User ID: 1853566 138107
Reviewed Jul. 1, 2014

"These bars get fantastic reviews every time I make them. So delicious."

wrenjen523 User ID: 7407554 194644
Reviewed Mar. 9, 2014

"The one person who tried them before I left brunch thought they were delicious. Unfortunately no one else tried them so I can't give them a higher star recipe, very easy to make though."

ColleenaG User ID: 1190332 123209
Reviewed Dec. 16, 2013

"Another winner! Everyone loves these bars. There is a lot of butter in the recipe so you should cut the bars small (as the recipe calls) because they are so rich. I've used pecans instead of almonds and semi-sweet chocolate chips. Very good."

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