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M&M Cookie Bars are the ultimate cookie bar dessert made with cake mix, pudding mix, and colorful M&M candies. They are rich, perfectly sweetened, and have a soft and chewy texture with crisp edges. Perfect for any occasion or holiday by using holiday themed chocolate candies!
M&M Cookie Bars
Colorful M&M Cookie Bars are extra special because they’re made with cake mix and pudding mix which gives them an extra sweet and decadent flavor. These will be a new family favorite because they are everything you want in a soft cookie. This is an easy dessert to make with only 6 ingredients and you can add any of your favorite mix-ins.
Cookie bars are such a perfect treat to whip up because you don’t have to do any rolling, scooping or decorating like you would with cookies. Eat these bars just as they are or splurge and add a scoop or two of ice cream on top!
Cake mix is one of my favorite ingredients to use because they make any recipe so easy and delicious. We use yellow cake mix which gives the chewy cookie bars a custardy flavor but you could also use white or vanilla cake mix. Funfetti cake mix could also be used if you wanted to add even more color for fun or a celebration.
If you love Chocolate Chip Cookies, try my Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars that are quicker to make!
Why You’ll Love These M&M Cookie Bars
- Cake Mix: The secret ingredient that makes these bars so delicious. The cake mix has everything you need such as flour and sugar which makes it so easy. You could also use vanilla or white cake mix if needed.
- Vanilla pudding mix: This adds the rich and sweet vanilla flavor.
- Vegetable or canola oil: Binds the ingredients and gives the cookies a soft and chewy consistency. You could also use cooled and melted butter to make these bars extra buttery.
- Eggs: We use large eggs which helps bind the cookie dough together.
- M&M’s: The star ingredient! Use any candy coated chocolates that you wish. The M&M’s make these cookie bars so colorful, fun, and adds a crunchy chocolaty flavor. Use different flavors such as caramel stuffed, peanut butter, mint, coffee, and pretzel.
how to make m&M cookie bars
Prepare baking dish: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9×13 glass baking dish with non stick cooking spray or parchment paper and set aside.
Mix ingredients: In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment or an electric hand mixer in a large mixing bowl, stir together the cake mix, pudding mix, water, oil and eggs until combined and almost smooth.
Add M&M’s: Fold in 1 cup of the M&M’s. Be sure not to over mix otherwise the colors will start to bleed.
Add batter to pan: Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and evenly spread with a spatula. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup M&M’s and lightly press down.
Bake: Bake the cookie bars for 25-30 minutes or until tops are a light golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let the bars cool for a few minutes and then cut into bars, enjoy!
- Chocolate cookie bars: Use chocolate cake mix instead of yellow cake mix for a chocolate cake flavor.
- You can cut the bars into 24 smaller squares or 12 large squares. You can also cut them into rectangular bars or triangles.
- Chocolate drizzle: Add a chocolate or peanut butter drizzle to the top of the bars once they’ve cooled.
- Seasonal M&M candies: Switch up the color of these M&M Bars depending on the holiday season. This is the perfect dessert to any holiday cookie tray!
- Sprinkles: Make this for a birthday or celebration by adding 1 cup of sprinkles to the cookie dough! If you love cookies over cake, make this into a birthday cake by adding frosting to the top and candles.
- Chocolate chips: Milk chocolate, dark chocolate, semi-sweet, and white chocolate chips make great additions.
- Reese’s pieces or peanut butter M&M’s.
- Chopped up candy bars: Add any of your favorite bars.
- Add Crunch: Add a handful of your favorite chopped nuts to the cookie dough or to the top of the bars. Great nut options for these cookie bars are chopped almonds, peanuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, and pecans.
- Ensure these cookie bars stay soft: Place a slice of regular white bread in with the cookie bars when storing them. The cookies will absorb moisture from the bread, keeping them soft longer. Be sure to use white bread if possible so it won’t transfer any other flavors.
- Use a sharp knife to cut the bars.
- If you want more M&M’s in each bite, use mini M&M’s.
- If you want to add more chocolate flavor, add a 2-3 tablespoons of cocoa powder to the cake mix mixture and add milk chocolate chips or semi-sweet chocolate chips to the cookie dough.
- Be sure not to over-mix the dough, this will prevent the bars from being soft and tender.
- Do not over-bake these bars: You want the edges to be slightly browned, but not too much.
- Refrigerate the cookie bars for a few minutes before cutting the bars to get perfect cut bars.
other cake mix recipes
leftovers & storage
To Store: Cookie bars are always best when they are fresh but you can store any leftovers in the same baking pan, transfer to an airtight container, or large ziplock bag. They will keep fresh for 5 days or you can store them in the refrigerator for up to a week.
To Freeze: You can also freeze any leftover bars for up to 3 months. For best results, let the cookies bars defrost at room temperature when ready to eat. The best way to enjoy them is when they are at room temperature or slightly warmed.
more cookie bar recipes
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M&M Cookie Bars
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9×13 glass baking dish with non stick cooking spray or parchment paper and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment or an electric hand mixer in a large mixing bowl, stir together the cake mix, pudding mix, water, oil and eggs until combined and almost smooth.
- Fold in 1 cup of the M&M's. Be sure not to over mix otherwise the colors will start to bleed.
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and evenly spread with a spatula. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup M&M's and lightly press down. Bake the cookie bars for 25-30 minutes or until tops are a light golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let the bars cool for a few minutes and then cut into bars, enjoy!