Close view of homemade mint chocolate bars stacked on a plate, three distinct layers in each bar.

Prepare to delight your taste buds with a twist on the classic Canadian Nanaimo bars โ€“ the irresistible, no-bake mint chocolate bars! Inspired by the beloved Nanaimo bars, these treats take the rich and creamy layers of the original but infuse them with a delightful minty freshness. If you’re a fan of mint and chocolate, you’re in for a real treat. 

Where did this mint chocolate bars recipe come from?

These mint chocolate bars are inspired by the Canadian Nanaimo bars. These 1950s cookie bars originate from, you guessed it, Nanaimo, British Columbia. But they spread in popularity all over the Great White North and today are considered โ€œCanadaโ€™s Favourite Confection.โ€ 

Homemade mint nanaimo bars cut and stacked on a white plate.

What are the layers in Nanaimo bars?

The traditional Nanaimo bar consists of three layers. The bottom is a graham cracker, pecan, chocolate, and coconut crust that reminds me of a souped-up cheesecake crust. The middle layer is pretty much just vanilla-flavored frosting (awesome, right?). And the top layer is a simple chocolate ganache. Amazing. So amazing, in fact, that my classic Nanaimo bar recipe won Best in Show in my office cookie and bar contest a few years back. 

For these mint chocolate bars, we kept the graham cracker crust and the chocolate ganache top layer. But we replaced the middle vanilla layer with a mint chocolate chip filling. The combo of mint and chocolate in this is spectacular! And the green food coloring is an added dose of festivity. We are in love with these bars. 

Is that raw egg in the crust?

Kind of? The egg gets tempered with hot, melted chocolate, so it will be partially cooked. But if undercooked eggs make you shudder from a food safety perspective, you can absolutely use pasteurized eggs instead.

Overhead of no-bake chocolate crust pressed into the bottom of a square baking pan lined with parchment paper.
Four squares of homemade mint nanaimo bars plated on a white dish.

How do I store these mint chocolate bars?

This no-bake dessert can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. They also freeze beautifully! Cut them into squares and wrap each one in plastic wrap. Store in a zip-top bag or freezer-safe food storage container. Let the frozen bars sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving.

Want more Christmas cookie recipes like this one?

We have over 25 tried-and-true Christmas cookie recipes for you, including our 4-ingredient peanut butter blossoms, the easiest sugar cookie cut-outs, and melt-in-your-mouth lemon snowdrops.

Close view of homemade mint chocolate bars stacked on a plate, three distinct layers in each bar.

Mint Chocolate Chip Nanaimo Bars

Yield: 24 small squares
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

These no-bake mint chocolate bars are a delightful holiday treat inspired by a classic Canadian dessert. These rich bars are perfect for satisfying a holiday sweet tooth.

Ingredients

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 cup instant vanilla pudding powder OR vanilla custard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • Green food coloring (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 1-ounce squares semisweet baking chocolate

Instructions

  1. Line an 8x8 square baking dish with parchment paper, set aside.
For the Bottom Layer:
  1. Combine butter, sugar, and cocoa in a large saucepan over low heat. Stir frequently until butter is melted and sugar and cocoa are dissolved. Remove from heat.
  2. Temper the egg by taking a few spoonfuls of the chocolate mixture and whisking it into the egg. Add the egg and vanilla to the remaining chocolate mixture in the saucepan, whisking quickly until egg is well-incorporated. Don't worry if the chocolate starts to seize up, just stop stirring when egg is mixed in.
  3. Add in the coconut, graham cracker crumbs, and pecans. Stir until all is coated in chocolate.
  4. Dump out mixture into prepared pan and press down firmly using damp hands to form a crust. Place in fridge while preparing middle layer.
For the Middle Layer:
  1. In a stand mixer, cream butter on medium speed until smooth and pale yellow.
  2. Add in confectioner's sugar, one cup at a time, until well combined.
  3. Add milk and mix on medium until mixture is smooth. Add in vanilla pudding or custard powder and peppermint extract. Mix until smooth. Add in chocolate chips and food coloring (if using) and mix until evenly distributed.
  4. Spread middle layer on top of chilled bottom later evenly using a spatula. Place in fridge while preparing last layer.
For the Top Layer:
  1. In a double broiler (or a heatproof bowl over 1" of simmering water in a saucepan) melt butter and chocolate squares until smooth. Remove from heat.
  2. Pour chocolate and butter mixture over top of middle layer and spread with a spatula. Return bars to fridge to cool completely. After cooled, use a sharp knife to cut into small squares.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1 small square
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 229Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 108mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 2gSugar: 16gProtein: 2g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

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25 Comments

  1. cass, i just made these – and they are B O M B BOMB! i am bringing them to our office “top chef” dessert contest tomorrow and i know that everyone will LOVE them. (and if they don’t then i’ll eat the rest !! )

  2. As I’m a Vancouverite Canadian living in California, you’re making me very homesick! How delicious. America is certainly missing out!

    That and pierogies. I don’t know how those are not popular here either. Potatoes and cheese. Right??

  3. This Canadian lives in Nanaimo, and LOVES Nanaimo Bars!! They have been my favourite treat since I was a kid ๐Ÿ˜€ I love the minty ones!! Thank you for the recipe!

      1. haha, they ARE sold everywhere! At Starbucks, Tim Horton’s, and all raw/vegan restaurants nearby. (Unfortunately?), they seem to stick with just the one traditional flavour, but I love any Nanaimo bar ๐Ÿ™‚ My mom makes the minty ones!

  4. Haha, yes I know these because I’m Canadian. Although, I never liked them as a kid either. I love them now, in small portions though. I love the mint chocolate chip variation, they look so yummy ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. It’s so crazy how tastes change, isn’t it? I had that happen recently with sauerkraut! I hated it as a kid and just tried it again. I don’t love it, but I definitely can see it’s benefits in small amounts.

  5. I have never had a Nanaimo Bar before – but it looks like something I would absolutely love. I really love the mint – chocolate combination and I think it’s definitely under appreciated during the holiday’s.

  6. Hi! I’m a new reader (I linked over from Daily Garnish) and I’m loving your blog. As a Canadian, this post makes me especially happy. I grew up in Ottawa and I am currently living in Vancouver, so yes, I’ve had a nanaimo bar or two :). Love your take with the mint chocolate chip!

    In the theme of sharing great Canadian desserts, how about a butter tart recipe sometime? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. You know, I’ve never made a butter tart! Actually, I’m not sure I’ve even ever had one. The Canadian husband tells me that they are almost exactly like pecan pies, but without the pecans. Definitely an awesome idea. ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Oooh, you should definitely try one! I like them with raisins instead of nuts, so that makes them less like pecan pie. So good!

  7. Being Canadian, I have had my fair share of nanaimo bars…I didn’t even realize they were a distinctly Canadian food until a few years ago. One of my grandmothers was a master holiday baker and I LOVED her mint nanaimo bars. I missed them so much every Christmas after she was gone.

  8. perhaps this is a ridiculous question….once this is cooled and cut into squares does it need to be stored in the fridge? just wondering if this would be appropriate for sitting out on a dessert buffet for a few hours or if it would get all melty and messy. thanks, as always, for the great recipes!

    1. They do get a little soft, but not so much that they are inedible. I usually keep them in the fridge until time to serve, and then they can hang out on the buffet for a few hours.

  9. This Canadian loves Nanaimo bars too! As a kid I used to eat them one layer at a time and always saved the middle for last ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve never made them though and prefer to wait until one shows up on a plate of cookies at Christmas time – then I snatch it up as quickly as possible!