Learn how to make your own Cookie Bars with just a box of cake mix and 4 simple ingredients! These cake mix cookie bars are ultra-moist with a soft, tender crumb that just melts-in-your-mouth! Overflowing with melty-rich chocolate chips and reminiscent of those famous giant cookie cakes at the mall, you will fall in love with this easy cookie bar recipe!
You can customize this delicious dessert recipe by using your favorite cake mix and cookie mix-ins (think: sprinkles, M&M’s, caramels, or chocolate chips and more)! Continue to read on for tips and tricks for making the easiest cake bars with cake mix! And don’t miss the comprehensive step-by-step photos in the middle of the post!
Hi, friends! I hope you are a lover of all things cookie-related, because today I’m sharing the recipe for the best cake mix cookie bars. These yummy white cake mix bars feature all the same goodness found in traditional chocolate chip cookies, just super-sized into bar form! If you are planning a celebration or simply want to have sweet treats on hand for when the sugar craving strikes, these cake bars fit the bill.
If you have boxes of cake mixes sitting in your pantry (like me!), this is the perfect time to take them out and make a delicious cookie treat! So, grab your apron and let’s start baking!
Cake Mix Cookie Bars: recipe overview
This simple cookie bar recipe is made of white cake (or any cake mix!) along with instant pudding mix, eggs, vanilla extract, and oil. These easy cookie bars feature a super tender, soft and chewy texture that just melts in your mouth like butter! Made with plenty of gooey, melty chocolate baking chips and a generous sprinkling of flaky sea salt, these chocolate chip cookie bars are irresistibly delicious!
And (because it gets better!), these cookie cake bars are so incredibly simple to make at home! You only need 5 basic ingredients and there’s no need for chilling the cookie dough or rolling the dough into individual cookies!
So, if you are looking for a lazy cookie recipe that’s just as easy as it is irresistibly delicious, then these cookie cake bars are for you!
Why you’ll love this cake mix dessert
- 5 simple ingredients! You need just 5 easy-to-find ingredients along with 2 pantry staples (water and oil) to make the best bar cookies from cake mix!
- So easy to make! Making cookie cake bars at home is as easy as 1, 2, 3 – simply mix the ingredients, add to a baking dish and bake!
- Fool-proof cookie recipe! Making a cookie bar cake is so much easier than making cookies – there’s no chilling the dough, no rolling cookie dough balls and cake mix cookie bars don’t spread!
- Basic kitchen gear! There’s no fancy kitchen equipment needed for this easy cookie recipe!
- Ultra soft and tender! Using a box of cake mix and a box of pudding mix creates chocolate chip bars that are delightfully soft, chewy and tender!
- Customizable! This of this recipe as more of a guide to creating YOUR perfect bar recipe! Follow the recipe as is or get creative. Try adding in a teaspoon of espresso powder for chocolate chip bars that wow! Or use white chocolate chips, crushed white Oreo’s, and sprinkles to create next level funfetti bars! This is your cookie bar adventure!
- Perfect portable size! Who doesn’t love a portable, indulgent chocolate chip treat!?
- Any occasion! These bars are a hit with EVERYONE! And, no one ever believes these cookies bars are from cake mix!! Since these soft and chewy cookie bars are easy to transport, they’re perfect for special occasions, such as birthday parties, bridal showers, bake sales, potlucks and more! However, they’re easy enough to make for after school and late night snacking!
Cookie bar ingredients
This bar dessert recipe requires just a handful of pantry ingredients, such as a box of cake mix and pudding mix! Below are all the ingredients you need to make this cookie bar recipe! (Scroll down for variations!)
Ingredients you need for cake mix bars
- Cake Mix: You need one (15.25-ounce) box of cake mix for this recipe. For classic chocolate chip cookie bars, I recommend using white cake mix; however you can use yellow. Or you can use any flavor cake mix you love and get creative! (See below for yummy cookie bar flavors and variations!)
- Pudding Mix: Adding one 3.4-ounce box of instant pudding mix (the powder only), gives these bar cookies from cake mix a homemade, buttery taste and deliciously extra soft and chewy texture! You can use any flavor of pudding you like – just make sure it’s instant!
- Water: 1/4 cup of water helps make the cookie batter wet enough for chemical magic to happen in the dough!
- Substitution: For more flavor you can substitute milk!
- Oil: 3/4 cup of vegetable oil adds moisture and creates rich tasting cake bars!
- Eggs: Two large eggs bind all the ingredients together and help provide structure.
- Extract: I recommend use vanilla extract for chocolate chips bars; but, you can use any flavor extract you love! Use pure extract (versus artificial) for the best flavor.
- Baking Chips: You can use your favorite baking chips, morsels and chunks in these easy cake mix cookie bars!
Variations: 6 delicious cookie bar flavors!
Aside from how ease of making cake mix bars (and their delicious taste), you will also love how easy it is to customize this simple bar recipe! From classic chocolate chip to rich dark chocolate and festive Christmas candy cane cookie bars, the sky’s the limit when it comes to yummy cookie bar cake flavors! Below are a few delicious cake mix cookie flavor variations!
- Funfetti Cookie Bars– swap the white cake mix and use colorful funfetti mix instead! You can mix some white chocolate chips and sprinkles to make it super fun! This is ideal for a children’s party!
- Double Chocolate Cookie Bars– double up on the chocolatey goodness by using a chocolate cake mix instead!
- Yellow Cake Cookie Bars with M&Ms– these will give you the holiday feels! You can even sprinkle the dough with cinnamon to give it a more festive flavor!
- Red Velvet with White Chocolate– this is perfect for Valentine’s day! Sweet, romantic, and made with love!
- Lemon Cookie Bars– For those who love the tangy freshness of lemons! A lemon-based cookie cake dough topped with homemade lemon glaze sounds heavenly!
- Fruity Vanilla Pudding Cookie Bars- Make a simple vanilla cookie bar dough and amp it up by adding some fresh fruits and berries!
How to make cookie bars with cake mix
- Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Grease an 9x13x2-inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside. (Tip: Line the greased pan with parchment paper if you want to be able to lift the cookie bars out of the pan as one whole!)
- Mix wet ingredients: In a large bowl with a hand-held mixer or a stand mixer, combine the wet ingredients on medium speed until combined.
- Add the dry ingredients: To the bowl, add the cake mix and pudding mix. Beat on low until almost combined. (The batter should be thick!)
- Add mix-ins: For chocolate chip cookie bars, add in 3/4 cup of chocolate chips along with 1/2 cup of chocolate chunks, and fold to combine. (Tip: Simple swap out the chocolate for your favorite flavor of baking morsels, chopped candy, etc. to create your own custom dessert bars!)
- Add cookie dough to pan: Pour the batter into the baking dish. Use a rubber spatula to spread and smooth the cookie batter. Sprinkle remaining chocolate chips and chunks evenly over the top of the cookie bar dough. (Tip: If using, sprinkles or sanding sugar, scatter them evenly over the top of the dough now.)
- Bake: For soft and chewy cookie bars, bake for 24-28 minutes, or until edges are golden.
- Cool: Let the cookie bars cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes. (Tip: For sliceable cookie bars with clean cuts, after 1 hour transfer the pan to the refrigerator. Let the ‘cookie cake’ chill for 2 hours before slicing and serving.)
- Serve: If you used parchment paper, gently lift the whole cookie cake up and out of the pan. Slice, serve and enjoy!
Tips when making this Cake Mix Dessert
- Line the pan: I recommend lining your cake pan with parchment paper so you can easily lift the cookie out of the pan, as an entire cookie cake. Your parchment paper should be a few inches longer than the baking dish so there is some paper hanging over the sides.
- Don’t over-mix: Do not over-mix the cake mix cookie dough, or your cookie bars will turn out tough and dry. Just mix until no large dry spots are visible. A few small lumps are fine.
- Press dough: The dough will be sticky, so grease your spatula with a bit of oil when spreading, pressing and smoothing it into the cake pan.
- Cake pan: This recipe uses a 9x13x2-inch rectangular cake pan. It is important to remember that the cooking time will vary if you use a different size baking dish or cake pan. This will affect how thin or thick your bars are going to be. So, make sure that you adjust your baking time accordingly.
- Cool cookie bars: Unless you want a molten cake, do not remove the cookie bar from the baking pan right away! It will still be soft and pliant right out the oven. Let it cool for 30 minutes if you like ultra-soft cookies or for 1+ hours to room temperature for soft and chewy cookie bars.
- Perfect cookie cake bars: For sliceable cookie bars with clean cuts, transfer the pan to the refrigerator after 1 hour. Let the cookie “cake” chill for 2 hours before slicing and serving!
Cookie Bars: Frequently asked questions
- Can I make the dough ahead of time and freeze it? Yes, you can! Homemade cookie doughs can be frozen for at least three months. Just make sure to keep it tightly wrapped in freezer bags. You can thaw it overnight in the fridge before baking.
- Do I need to use a particular cake mix brand? No, you don’t. You can use your fave brand to make these Cake Mix Cookie Bars.
- Can I make this gluten-free? As long as you use gluten-free cake and instant pudding mix, you can enjoy these cookie bars free of gluten.
- Can I use a block of chocolate instead? Absolutely! If you do not have chocolate chips, you can use any chocolate bar or block and simply chop them into chunks or smaller pieces.
Best ways to serve cake mix cookie bars
There are three different ways to serve this easy cake mix bars recipe: Warm, fresh from the oven as a molten cake; as a whole soft and chewy cookie cake; or slice and serve as chocolate chip cookie bars!
- Warm from the oven: Some taste testers prefer this recipe still warm, while the chocolate chips are still gooey and the cookie cake is ultra-soft and buttery! It can get messy, so this serving option is best for those who don’t mind a bit of chocolatey mess! Let the cake mix cookie cake cool slightly, about 5 minutes, before enjoying straight from the pan. To make it even more special, I recommend topping your warm white cake mix cookie with a couple scoops vanilla ice cream or dollops of cool whip! Cookie bar al a mode, anyone?
- Giant Cookie Cake: To serve as a lazy cookie cake or cookie pizza (like the famous cookie cakes at the mall!), make sure you line the cake pan with parchment paper. Let the dessert cool completely in the pan before lifting up on the parchment paper to remove the cake. Decorate with your favorite color of buttercream frosting, slice into squares and enjoy!
- Cookie Bars: For lazy cookie bars, follow the instructions above – lining the pan with parchment and removing the cookie cake bars from the pan. Cut the whole cookie cake into bars by dividing it into 8 rows by 6 rows, then serve!
- Chilled cookie bars: Store your cake mix dessert bars in the refrigerator for a cold cookie treat on hot summer days!
Storing cake mix bars
Cake mix chocolate chip bars store and freeze beautifully! Because of their cake mix and pudding base, these bars stay tender, soft and chewy for days! Before storing make sure your bar cookies are completely cool to room temperature. (Placing warm desserts in sealed containers while still warm will produce moisture that will affect the texture of the bars. It can also lead to early spoilage, which isn’t good.)
Storage tips: If you make various flavors of cake mix bars, make sure you store the different flavors separately. Also, since chewy cookie bars tend to stick together, layer a sheet of parchment or wax paper between the bars.
- Room temperature storage: Store your cake mix dessert bars in an airtight container in a cool, dry spot in your kitchen. To keep cookies soft and chewy, add a slice of bread to the container. Cookies will stay fresh for up to 5 days.
- Storing in the refrigerator: If you prefer a chilled cookie, you can store homemade bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Freezer: For easy grab-and-go snacking, individually wrap the bars in a layer of plastic wrap before storing them in an airtight container or freezer-safe storage bag. Chocolate chip bars will keep for up to a couple months.
Reheating cookie bars
Nothing beats a slightly warm from the oven, soft and chewy cookie bar! Good news – with a little proper reheating, you can get those leftover bar cookies to taste just as good! The important tip to remember: you are just rewarming them, not baking them again!
- Preheat oven to 325-350 degrees Fahrenheit (Depending upon if your oven runs hot or cold).
- Place cookie bars in a single layer on a baking sheet.
- Reheat in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until just warm and chewy.
This cake mix cookie bars recipe is seriously good, it should come with a deliciousness warning! Enjoy every chocolate chip bar that you can, or create your own delicious flavor, and don’t forget to share!
More recipes using cake mix!
Are you looking for more super delicious, yet super simple cake mix recipes? Try these easy dessert recipes next!
- Cake Bites Recipe (Step-by-step guide to making the best cake pops at home!)
- Easy Lemon Crinkle Cookies (Soft and superbly-lemony cookies made from cake mix!)
Craving MORE? Follow all the deliciousness on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram!
Cookie bars from cake mix recipe👇
Cake Mix Cookie Bars Recipe
- 1 Large Sheet Cake Pan (9x13x2-inch Baking Dish)
- 1 Large Bowl with a Hand-Held Mixer OR a Stand Mixer
- 1 Rubber Spatula
- 2 Large Eggs – at room temperature
- ¾ Cup Vegetable Oil
- ¼ Cup Water (or milk)
- 1 ½ tsp Pure Vanilla Extract (SEE NOTES)
- 1 (15.25-ounce) Box White Cake Mix (or Yellow Cake Mix)
- 1 (3.4-ounce) Box Instant Pudding Mix - (powder mix only!)
- ¾ Cup Semi Chocolate Chips – DIVIDED (6 ounces total) (or your favorite baking morsels!)
- 1 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips – DIVIDED (8 ounces) (or your favorite mix-ins!)
- Sanding Sugar or Sprinkles OPTIONAL!
- Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Grease an 9x13x2-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. (Note: Line the greased pan with parchment paper if you want to be able to lift the cookie bars out of the pan as one whole cookie cake!)
- Mix wet ingredients: In a large bowl with a hand-held mixer or a stand mixer, combine the water, oil, eggs, and extract. Beat on medium until well combined.
- Add the dry ingredients: Add the cake mix and pudding mix to the bowl. Beat on LOW until almost combined. (Tip: Don't overbeat the cookie dough, the batter should be thick!)
- Add mix-ins: Add ½ cup of semi chocolate and ¾ cup of the dark chocolate. Gently fold until just combined. (Tip: Simply swap out the chocolate for your favorite flavor of baking morsels, chopped candy, etc. to create your own custom dessert bars!)
- Add cookie dough batter to pan: Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Use a rubber spatula to spread and smooth the batter. Add remaining chips: Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips evenly over the top of the batter. (Tip: If using, sprinkles or sanding sugar, generously dust the top of the cookie cake now, before baking!)
- Bake: Bake for 24-28 minutes, or until edges are golden. (SEE NOTES)
- Cool: Remove the baking pan from the oven and place on a wire rack. Let the cookie bars cool for at least 30 minutes (for ultra-soft cookie bars) or for 1+ hours to room temperature (for regular soft and chewy cookie bars).
- Chill (optional): If you want to slice your cookie cake into clean bars, I recommend chilling the cookie cake! After the cookie cake has cooled on the counter for 1 hour, transfer the pan to the refrigerator and continue to chill for 2 hours before slicing.
- Serve: If you used parchment paper to line your baking pan, use your hands to grab on the side of the paper and gently lift the cookie cake up and out of the pan. Serve whole as a large cookie cake decorated with icing. Or slice and serve as bars! For 48 cookie bars, cut into 8 rows by 6 rows. Enjoy!
- Make Your Own! You can easily customize this recipe by using your favorite flavor of boxed cake mix along with your favorite extract, pudding mix and cookie mix-ins, such as flavored baking morsels, sprinkles, M&Ms, caramels, crushed Oreo's and more! If you are looking for inspiration, I've included a bunch of cookie bar flavor ideas in the post above! (Make sure you use INSTANT pudding mix!)
- Extracts: If using a different stronger flavor extract, such as lemon or peppermint, you may want to reduce the amount to ¾-1 teaspoon.
- Baking Time: For ultra-soft and moist cookie bars (ooey-gooey in texture), bake for 24-26 minutes, or until the edges are just golden. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes, depending how soft you want them!
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MaryAnn | The Beach House Kitchen says
Genius Chey! These are perfect for all our summer parties. I’m always looking for delicious, easy recipes to please our guests at the beach and these look like the ticket!
These look seriously tasty, Chey! Love how easy they are to put together and that there are literally endless options.
They look splendid loaded with chocolate chips!