These are the BEST monster cookie bars! Not only are they mixed by hand and made in one bowl, but they’re also super chewy with EXTRA peanut butter! With loads of chocolate and chocolate candies, these bars live up to their monstrous name. Plus, this recipe can be made as is or gluten and/or dairy free using a few simple swaps. So everyone can enjoy these monster cookie bars!
What makes these the BEST monster cookie bars?
They’re quick, they’re easy, and they’re delicious. Done!
Ok but truly there’s so much to love about this recipe. To start, everything is mixed together by hand and all in one bowl. Bonus points if you use a kitchen scale to weigh the ingredients because then the only thing to clean is the bowl and mixing utensils!
For the monster cookie bars themselves, they bake into a super soft, rich, and chewy consistency that is irresistible. It’s all thanks to a few secret ingredients:
- Extra Peanut Butter – Yep, we aren’t messing around here. These bars are made with extra peanut butter for a rich flavor and consistency.
- Maple Syrup – Just two tablespoons of this liquid gold is all it takes to enhance the soft and chewy texture of these bars. Using a sugar in liquid form is a little baking secret I like to use in recipes like this! I even used it in my monster cookies.
- Coconut Oil – Instead of butter, these bars are made with coconut oil. It’s 100% fat which makes these bars so rich and gooey. It also makes this recipe naturally dairy free!
- Sea Salt – This isn’t traditional for monster cookie bars, but a pinch of sea salt on top takes these bars over the top. This extra bit of salt helps bring out the rich peanut butter and chocolate flavors.
How to make monster cookie bars
This is a true, traditional monster cookie bar recipe with the four main essentials:
- Peanut Butter
- Chocolate Candies
They just aren’t monster cookies without them! And they all come together in own bowl using two main steps:
- Wet Ingredients – The peanut butter, oil, maple syrup, brown sugar, sugar, vanilla, and egg are all combined in a large mixing bowl.
- Dry Ingredients – The flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt are then mixed in followed by the chocolate chips and chocolate candies.
Once combined, the dough is pressed into an 8×8 square baking dish lined with parchment paper. Make sure to allow the paper to hang over the sides so the bars can easily be lifted out later.
To make these bars extra special, I like to top them with even more chocolate chips and chocolate candies. Just sprinkle on top and press in to the surface.
These bars bake for just 30 minutes, or until the edges are a light golden brown and the center is evenly puffed. As the bars cool, the center will settle into a rich and dense texture.
Can these monster cookie bars be made into monster cookies?
Luckily, I already have a separate monster cookie recipe! So if you prefer cookies, use that recipe instead.
Can these be made gluten free?
Yes! Just swap the flour with cup for cup baking flour and make sure to use certified gluten free oats.
Can these be made dairy free?
Yes! Since the bars are made with coconut oil, the only dairy products would be the chocolate chips and chocolate candies. Those are really easy to swap out with dairy free alternatives which I linked in the recipe card.
Can these be made vegan?
I haven’t tested this, but I think it would do well as a vegan recipe. I suggest making the dairy free swaps suggested above, and then swap out the egg with a flax egg.
1 flax egg = 1 tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 2 1/2 tbsp water. Mix and let it sit for 10 minutes before use.
How to store monster cookie bars
Once the bars have cooled, store in an airtight container. They can be kept at room temperature for a couple days. If you plan on keeping these for longer (although they don’t last long in our house) store in the refrigerator for up to 6 days. Heat in the microwave for 10 seconds before eating, unless you prefer a chilled cookie bar!
For more cookie bar recipes, check out my:
- Toasted Marshmallow Peanut Butter Cookie Bars
- Almond Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
- Oatmeal Cream Pie Cookie Bars
- Gingerbread Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Make sure to tag me @butternutbakery on Instagram if you make these monster cookie bars. I love seeing my recipes come to life in YOUR kitchen! To pin this recipe and save it for later, you can use the button on the recipe card, the buttons above or below this post, or on any of the photos above. Happy baking!
Watch how to make these monster cookie bars:Print
Monster Cookie Bars
- Total Time: 50 minutes + 1 hour cooling
- Yield: 16 bars
These monster cookie bars are so chewy and made with EXTRA peanut butter! They’re also loaded with chocolate and chocolate candies and sprinkled with sea salt to bring out even more flavor. They can be made regular or gluten free and can also easily be made dairy free so everyone can enjoy!
- 1/2 cup (120g) creamy peanut butter, like classic Jif or Skippy
- 1/4 cup (50g) coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 cup (100g) light brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp pure maple syrup or honey
- 1 large egg
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp (115g) all purpose flour (reg or gluten free)
- 1 cup (100g) old fashioned rolled oats (reg or gluten free certified)
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup (120g) semisweet chocolate chips + more for sprinkling on top (swap dairy free chocolate to make this recipe dairy free)
- 3/4 cup (120g) candy coated chocolates + more for sprinkling on top (swap dairy free candies to make this recipe dairy free)
- Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling
- Preheat the oven to 350F and grease and line an 8×8 square baking dish with parchment paper. Allow the paper to hang over the sides for easy removal.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, coconut oil, brown sugar, sugar, maple syrup, egg, and vanilla.
- Add in the flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt and use a rubber spatula to stir to combine.
- With some flour still visible, add in the chocolate and chocolate candies and fold to combine.
- Press the dough into the baking pan and top with a handful each of chocolate chips and candies.
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and the center is evenly puffed.
- Sprinkle with sea salt and allow the bars to cool for about 45 minutes – 1 hour. Then slice and enjoy!
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: monster cookie bars, monster cookie bar recipe, gluten free monster cookie bars
Hands down THE best monster cookie variation I’ve ever baked – the subtle cinnamon flavors and the extra peanut butter sealed the deal for me! I also used mini chocolate chips and mini M&M’s along with melted butter instead of coconut oil due to not having that on hand, and they still turned out amazing. 🙂 do NOT skip the flaky sea salt at the end!
Yay! Thank you!!
Any chance there is an adequate swap for the coconut oil? My daughter is allergic but these couldn’t be more perfect for her! If so, please include swap measurement! Thanks in advance!
Yes you can use melted butter!
This sounds delicious!!!
Can this recipe be doubled and baked in a sheet pan?
I’m sure that would be fine! It might just need to bake for a bit longer
Oh my goodness! These are pure ecstasy.
I made these this morning (Gluten Free) and they are beyond delicious and tasty.
Thank you Jenna for yet again another outstanding recipe.
Can’t wait to try this recipe! I have an aversion to oats, is there anything I can sub for those?
Hmmm..maybe try some unsweetened shredded coconut??
These look amazing. Can you use quick oats?
Yes I think that should be ok!
I made these last night and they were perfect!
Quick, easy and oh so delicious! These are great if you are in rush as they are so easy. They don’t require icing either saving more time!
I have made Jenna’s Monster Cookies many times and they never fail to please the crowd! But I wanted something a little quicker than cookies this time and tried these bars – All I can say is WOW!! These are amazing – Texture, flavor and ease of baking…If you’re in a bit of a hurry and want a recipe you can count on, these are a go-to for me from now on 🙂