Carrot Cake Mix Bar Cookies are like a magic cookie bar, but with carrot cake. A simple carrot cake mix base is topped with pineapple, pecans, white chocolate chips, coconut, and a gooey layer of sweetened condensed milk cream cheese filling for a quick and decadent dessert.
This post was updated on 3/25/22 with revised photos, techniques, and tips.
7-layer bars, magic bars, Hello Dolly bars … whatever you call them, I’m obsessed. So I decided to turn a box of cake mix into this great recipe for 7-layer gooey cake bars.
They have all the things you might typically find in a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting AND a 7-layer bar.
These Carrot Cake Mix Bars are addictively delicious with sweet and spicy flavors, and tons of textures from dried fruit, toasted coconut, and crunchy nuts, baked to a super gooey cookie bar perfection.
If you love carrot cake. AND you love magic cookie bars. AND you love easy desserts, you’re in for an extra special sweet treat. So, next time you need an easy dessert recipe for the holidays, a bake sale, or need to satisfy your sweet tooth, make a pan of these chewy cookie bars.
And if you’re into magic cookie bars like I am, check out my Blueberry Magic Cookie Bars and 7-Layer Pumpkin Bars. (See what I mean? Obsessed.)
You’re going to love these
Insanely delicious recipe. The cream cheese sweetened condensed milk holds all the layers together and makes these cookie bars gooey and decadent.
Quick dessert. These delicious cream cheese bars come together quickly. Just mix up the cake layer, add the toppings, and bake.
Super easy recipe. It only takes a few minutes to assemble these cake mix cookies. This would also be a fun one for the kids to help make!
These easy cake mix cookie bars come together with simple ingredients that are easy to find.
Carrot cake mix. I have used both Betty Crocker and Duncan Hines cake mixes and both work well in this cookie bar recipe.
Butter. Use softened butter for this recipe. If you forget, cut it into slices and let it sit out at room temperature 30 minutes.
Dried pineapple. Dried pineapple tastes delicious with carrot cake and adds chewy texture to these cookie bars. Cut it into small pieces for even distribution throughout the bars.
Pecans. Any kind of nuts will work. I just like pecans :).
White chocolate chips. White chocolate adds buttery flavor and goes perfectly with the cream cheese sweetened condensed milk. Peanut butter chips, butterscotch chips, or toffee bits would also be delicious.
Cream cheese. Use cream cheese from a block, not the kind in a tub.
Sweetened condensed milk. I always prefer Eagle Brand over store brands because it has a thicker consistency.
Sweetened coconut. I prefer to bake with Baker’s Angel Flake sweetened coconut because it’s so moist and tender.
Step by step instructions
Preheat the oven to 350. Spray a 9 x 13 pan with nonstick cooking spray. I use this glass pan.
With a hand mixer or stand mixer, combine cake mix, egg, and softened butter in a large bowl until thoroughly combined into a thick batter.
Pat the cake mixture evenly into the prepared pan.
You may need to use the back of a silicone spatula sprayed with cooking spray or dip your fingers in water to get it to spread more easily into the baking pan.
In a medium bowl, whip the softened cream cheese at medium speed until it’s smooth and creamy. Add the can of sweetened condensed milk to cream cheese and mix until combined.
Layer pineapple, pecans, and white chocolate chips on top of the cake batter.
Pour the cream cheese layer over the top. Carefully spread it, if necessary, to ensure even coverage over the layers.
Place the coconut on top in an even layer. Use a fork to gently press it into the cream cheese mixture.
Bake for approximately 30-40 minutes or until the coconut is golden brown.
Place the baking dish on a wire rack to cool the cookie bars completely. Cut into small squares, serve, and enjoy!
Store leftover bars in an airtight container or in the pan covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator. You can also freeze them in an airtight container with parchment paper or wax paper between the layers.
If the cake mix is too sticky to pat into the pan, dip your fingers in water or coat a spatula with cooking spray to help you out.
Use softened butter and cream cheese for these delicious bars.
If the dried pineapple is in large chunks, chop it into small pieces.
If you have a boxed cake mix in the pantry and are looking for a simple recipe idea, turn it into a 7-layer bar. Mix the cake mix with one egg and one stick of softened butter with an electric mixer and pat it into a pan. Then top it will layers of chocolate chips, nuts, coconut, and sweetened condensed milk.
Carrot cake typically has warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, so it’s fair to say that carrot cake is a type of spice cake. The folks at BonAppetit agree.
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Carrot Cake Mix Bar Cookies
- 1 box carrot cake mix
- 1 egg
- 1 stick butter, softened
- ½ cup dried pineapple, chopped
- ½ cup pecans, chopped
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 2 cups sweetened coconut
- Preheat the oven to 350. Spray 9 x 13 pan with nonstick cooking spray. I use a glass pan.
- With a hand mixer or stand mixer, combine cake mix, egg, and softened butter in a large bowl until thoroughly combined into a thick batter.
- Pat the cake mixture evenly into the prepared pan. You may need to use the back of a silicone spatula sprayed with cooking spray or dip your fingers in water to get it to spread more easily into the baking pan.
- In a medium bowl, whip the softened cream cheese at medium speed until it’s smooth and creamy. Add the can of sweetened condensed milk to cream cheese and mix until combined.
- Layer pineapple, pecans, and white chocolate chips on top of the cake batter.
- Pour the cream cheese layer over the top. Carefully spread it, if necessary, to ensure even coverage over the layers.
- Place the coconut on top in an even layer, pressing it gently into the cream cheese mixture.
- Bake for approximately 30-40 minutes or until the coconut is golden brown.
- Place the baking dish on a wire rack to cool the cookie bars completely. Cut into small squares, serve, and enjoy!
- Store leftover bars in an airtight container or in the pan covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator. You can also freeze them in an airtight container with parchment paper or wax paper between the layers.
Melodie McClure says
Can you use canned pineapple if you drain it well and press to remove most of the liquid.
Cara Lanz says
Hi, Melodie! I've never tried that substitution, but it's an awesome idea! I would think it would work if, like you said, you drain the pineapple really well. I'd also use paper towels to pat it dry. Please let me know if you try it and how it goes, I'd love to share this substitution on the blog post! Cara 🙂
Would these be good to mail to a friend?
Cara Lanz says
Hi, Ann, what a sweet idea! I've never tried shipping them. These bars are quite thick and substantial and hold together best when very cold. The topping gets nice and gooey as they warm up. So if they're packed well and kept very cold, I would think they should stand up to being mailed. I would probably send them as a full slab in a sturdy disposable pan vs. individual bars. Let me know when you end up doing and how it goes!
This is one of the most delicious desserts I have ever made.
Cara Lanz says
Thank you so much Abigail! I'm so glad you loved it :). Cara