These delicious homemade cookie bars with vanilla pudding make a fun spring or Easter treat. Use spring-colored M&Ms or any color you'd like!
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Simple dessert recipes like these vanilla cookie bars are great to have on hand for a class party or other holiday celebration.
Is there an easier way to make cookie bars?
Of course there is! If you don't want to make them from scratch like in this recipe, just try my M&M Cake Mix Cookie Bars. They only use 5 ingredients, and you can change the flavor of the cookie by choosing another flavor of cake mix.
What do I need to make vanilla cookie bars?
Even though these are homemade, instead of from a mix, you'll see that these are basic baking ingredients that you typically keep in your pantry.
- baking soda
- brown sugar
- granulated sugar
- instant vanilla pudding (the 3.4oz box is perfect)
- vanilla extract
- pastel M&Ms
This recipe fits perfectly in a 9×9 square baking pan. If you'd like to make a larger batch, just double the recipe and use a 9×13 rectangular baking pan instead. You'll need to adjust the baking time since they'll be taller than the original recipe. See my note in the recipe card below.
If you line the pan with foil or parchment paper before baking, then it is super easy to lift the square out of the pan. Then, they're easy to cut after they cool.
Can these cookie bars be frozen?
These vanilla cookie bars are a great make-ahead recipe that you can pull from the freezer next time you have unexpected guests or an impromptu party. They'll last in the freezer for up to 3 months (though they've never lasted that long at my house!).
- Bake and cool the bars completely, then cut into squares for serving.
- Place into a zipper freezer bag, separating the bars using foil or parchment paper so they don't stick to each other.
- Take the bag out and thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
- Before serving, lay out on a platter and let them come to room temperature.
What are some ways to change up this cookie bar recipe?
These vanilla cookie bars can easily be themed for a sports team, birthday party or another holiday just by changing up the M&Ms color. I love easy recipes like this to make a quick treat for a potluck or party.
More easy dessert recipes
Printable cookie bar recipe:
- 1 cup butter (room temperature)
- 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 3.4oz box vanilla instant pudding
- 3 cups flour
- 1 bag Easter M&Ms
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Prepare a 9x9 square baking pan with foil, parchment paper or nonstick cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, mix together the butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla extract.
- In another bowl, combine the baking soda, salt, pudding mix, and flour.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix well.
- Spread the batter evenly into the baking pan, and sprinkle the M&Ms on top of the batter.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until edges are pulling away from the sides and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and let cool in pan completely before slicing into 9 squares.
If planning to use a 9x13 rectangular pan, double the recipe and bake for 40 minutes instead.
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Rubbermaid Spoon-Shaped Spatula, 9 1/2 in, White
Gorilla Grip Original Mixing Bowls Set of 2, Slip Resistant Bottom
Reynolds Kitchens Pop-Up Parchment Paper Sheets
Farberware Nonstick Bakeware 9-Inch Square Cake Pan
Gorilla Grip Premium Silicone Non Slip Oven Mitt Set of 2
Wilton Perfect Results Cooling Rack, 3 Tier, Non-Stick
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 564Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 97mgSodium: 773mgCarbohydrates: 76gFiber: 1gSugar: 41gProtein: 7g