Old Fashioned 7 Layer Bars Recipe

Old Fashioned 7 Layer Bars Recipe

This Old Fashioned 7 Layer Bars Recipe (aka Hello Dollies) is a family favorite. They’re a simple yet delicious bar cookie that just takes a few minutes to make. Some of the best recipes are made from a shortlist of ingredients.


Why are Old Fashion 7 Layer Bars so popular?

These cookies are very versatile and can be made with a variety of ingredients. Most of the time you don’t have to run to the grocery store to just make or adapt this recipe. Generally, there’s something in your pantry that will make this recipe work for you. So what is shared with you today is just the base recipe. Please modify or adapt this recipe for your needs. 

Also, this recipe is kid-friendly too. It’s not a technical recipe. This means you don’t even have to use measuring cups to create a delicious cookie bar that people will enjoy. You can have a lot of fun in the kitchen just by using your hands and getting the family involved with this cookie recipe.

How to Make the Crust

Start with graham crackers crumbs to make 7 layer bars recipe. You can use graham crackers and crush them in a plastic storage bag or food processor. Or you can purchase the graham cracker crumbs already crushed for you (generally you can locate that in the baking section by the graham cracker pie plates).

Melt the butter and mix thoroughly with the graham cracker crumbs. Now, some recipes will ask you to add sugar to this base. But it makes the cookie too sweet for me. Besides, you’ll get lots of other sweetness from the other ingredients so I don’t recommend adding more sugar.

Instead of a graham cracker crust, you can substitute the crackers for shortbread cookies too. I recommend using less butter or baking for a long time in the oven just to firm up the base of the shortbread.

Ingredients for the old fashon 7 layered cookie bars


This is my favorite part of the Old Fashioned 7 Layer Bars recipe! It’s not technical. It doesn’t require special ingredients or baking equipment. Just because the recipe has measured out ingredients doesn’t mean you have to follow it exactly. This type of recipe gives merely recommended or suggested measurements of the ingredients. 

So you go to your pantry and you’re missing some chocolate chips – don’t worry about it. 

If don’t have a whole cup of pecans – don’t worry about it!

What if you have almonds instead of butterscotch chips? Yes please add those as you wish to this recipe. Even if you’re missing coconut you can use almonds, dried fruit, or white chocolate chips instead. It just depends are your taste buds.

However, the star of this recipe is sweetened condensed milk. Generally, you’ll want to have this ingredient handy. There are some alternatives to sweetened condensed milk or making it from scratch at home. I haven’t had a chance to test these options out yet. But they look promising.


Baking Up Old Fashioned 7 Layer Bars

Sometimes when I’m making this recipe I don’t have a 13×9 baking dish, so I use an 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish instead. This is a great substitution for creating a thicker cookie (which can taste even more heavenly).


Bake at 350F for about 25 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and the center is slightly bubbly. Remove from the oven and let it cool for about 15 minutes.

1st Layer of 7 layered cookie bars
Graham Crackers & Butter
2nd Layer of 7 layered cookie bars
Sweetened Condensed Milk & Coconut
Top layer 7 layered cookie bars
Chocolate & Pecans

Time to Eat

When you cut into the Old Fashioned 7 Layer Bars they will be gooey. It will be hard for you to resist to licking the sides of your knife. Be careful – don’t cut yourself! You wouldn’t think these cookies could be dangerous but they are hahaha!

Once my daughter made a whole pan of these cookie bars just for herself and proceeded to eat the whole thing.

You can store these cookies in a sealed plastic container for up to seven days – they never last that long in our home.

Why call them Hello Dolly Bars?

The origin of the name for these cookies is somewhat a mystery. It’s rumored the name was inspired by the musical “Hello, Dolly!” according to Southern Living Magazine. But whatever the start of these old fashioned 7 layer bars, you’ll be happy to make them for your loved ones at home.  

Stacked Old Fashioned 7 Layer Cookie Bars
Old Fashioned 7 Layered Cookie Bars

Old Fashion 7 Layer Cookie Bars

aka "Holly Dolly"
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 24 cookies
Calories 220 kcal


  • 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs (approx. 12 graham crackers)
  • ½ cup butter, melted (1 stick)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 cup shredded coconut flakes
  • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk (1 can)


  • Preheat over to 350°F and prepare a 13x9-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray and/or parchment paper.
  • Melt butter and crush graham crackers using a food processor or plastic food storage bag.
  • Stir together butter and crumbs. Spread evenly over the bottom of the prepared baking pan, pressing firmly.
  • Sprinkle chocolate chips, chopped pecans, and coconut evenly across the crust. Drizzle sweetened condensed milk evenly over the top.
  • Bake 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Let cool completely. Cut into bars and dig in.


Increase baking time 5-10 minutes if using 8x8 baking pan.
Store loosely covered at room temperature.
Keyword bars, cookies

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