Vegan Nanaimo Bars

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on December 16, 2010



Today, I am grappling with two concerning questions…

1) How is it only 8 days until Christmas?

2) Where did 2010 go? I was just getting used to writing 2010 and now it is almost 2011!

Am I the only one who is a bit freaked out by this?


I can finally say that TODAY is the the very last day to vote in the entire Project Food Blog contest! Rejoice. Tomorrow the result is announced at 3pm EST. I think I shall hide under my desk with a blanket over my head.

Today, it is indeed hip to be square.




It’s time for Part two of the vegan Nanaimo Bars! For Part 1, see how to make the Vegan Graham Crackers.


Vegan Nanaimo Bars

Classic Vanilla, Mint Chip, and Pomegranate-Almond Variations

Adapted from a family recipe as well as Joyce Hardcastle, 1986.

Classic Vanilla

Bottom Layer

  • 1/2 cup vegan butter (or regular butter)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 5 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp warm water, mixed)
  • 1 and ¼ cup vegan graham crackers or store bought, processed into a crumb
  • 1/4 cup almonds, processed fine
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut


Middle layer

  • 1/2 cup vegan butter (or regular butter)
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk, full-fat (not light)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp vanilla custard powder
  • 2 cups icing/confectioner’s sugar, sifted


Top layer

  • 4 oz non-dairy dark chocolate or semi-sweet plus 2 tbsp vegan butter (or regular butter)
  • Shredded coconut, to garnish (optional)



1. Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment paper and grease with butter on all sides. Leave a
few inches of parchment hanging on the two ends so you can easily lift it up out of the pan when

2. Middle layer: I prefer to begin making the middle layer because it will be ready when your
bottom layer is pressed into the pan. In a small bowl, mix together the 2 tbsp of coconut milk and 1 tsp of vanilla with the 2 tbsp custard powder. Stir until smooth.
With an electric mixer, beat the butter in a large bowl until smooth and creamy. Now add in the
custard, coconut milk, and vanilla mixture and beat for a few minutes.
Gradually, add in the icing sugar and beat for about 3-5 minutes until light and fluffy. Set aside.
3. Bottom layer: In a small bowl mix the flax egg together (1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp warm
water). Set aside for a few minutes to allow it to thicken up. In a saucepan, whisk together the
butter, sugar, and sifted cocoa powder. Heat on medium to low and stir frequently until smooth.
Now add in the gelled up flax egg and stir well. It will have a strange gel-like consistency now,
but have no fear! Stir for a minute or so.
Now remove from heat and stir in the coconut, processed almonds, and graham wafer crumbs.
Stir well and then mix with your hands.
Press this mixture into your prepared pan, ensuring that you press it down very firmly and as
evenly as possibly. I used a pastry roller to smooth it out, but this is not necessary.

4. Take your middle layer frosting and spread over top of the bottom layer. Smooth it out as
evenly as possible. Place in the freezer until firm, about 45 mins.

5. Top Layer: Melt your chocolate and butter in a double boiler or carefully in the microwave.
Stir well until smooth and all clumps are gone. Remove the pan from freezer and spread the
chocolate quickly over the top. Sprinkle coconut on top if desired. Smooth out as much as
possible and then place back in the freezer for about 1 hour until set. Once set you can transfer it
to the fridge to keep until ready or you can place it on the counter for about 10 minutes before
cutting it into squares. Makes about 16 small squares.

Note: Middle layer gets very soft at room temperature. Please keep in the fridge until serving and
always cut when chilled.

For the Mint Chip and Pomegranate Almond flavours please see this pdf:

You start by mixing your coconut milk, vanilla extract, and custard powder together in a small bowl.

With a mixer beat the Earth Balance/butter until smooth, and then add in this coconut milk/custard mixture. Mix well and gradually add in the sifted icing sugar.



Your middle layer should look like this…if making Classic vanilla.


and like this if making the Mint Chip…


and like this if you are making the Pomegranate Almond…


Now set middle layer aside and make the base layer.

In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the butter, sugar, and sifted cocoa powder.


Now add in the flax egg.


It will sort of gel up a bit and change in consistency. This is totally normal. At least, that’s what I tell myself.


Now remove from heat and grab your coconut, processed almonds, and graham wafer crumbs.

I used homemade Vegan Graham Crackers and processed them in a food processor.


Process your almonds…


and grab your coconut.


Add all three to the saucepan mixture and stir well. When it gets too thick get in there with your hands and squeeze it all together.


Grab your 8 inch by 8 inch lined pan and dump the base layer mixture into the pan.


Press it down as much and as evenly as you can. I also used my pastry roller to smooth it out. The goal is to make it level!


Now grab your middle layer filling that you so conveniently prepared in advance and scoop it onto the base layer.

Smooth it out….


[Note: Above photo is Mint Chip filling]

Vanilla filling will look like this:



Now melt your Earth Balance/butter and chocolate together in a double boiler or bowl in the microwave and spread it all over the top of the middle layer:


It will look a bit like this:




Now place in the freezer to set for about 45 mins-1 hour.

That’ll do.


Let it sit on the counter for about 10 minutes before cutting into squares. Serve chilled (because the filling melts at room temperature).


Now prepare yourself for a life long addiction to the Nanaimo bar goodness! I need a support group.

Let's get social! Follow Angela on Instagram @ohsheglows, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Google+

Previous Posts

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Page 3 of 3«123
Jessica March 25, 2013 at 9:05 pm

Hello! I would like to make these bars for Easter this weekend. I have purchased all the ingredients but I cannot find “custard powder”. I have looked so far at No Frills and Soberys. Do you know where I might find some?? (I live in Toronto)



Angela (Oh She Glows) March 26, 2013 at 4:12 pm

Hey Jessica, It can often be under the name of vanilla pudding mix too. That will work just the same I think :) good luck!


RonNasty64 December 8, 2013 at 5:18 pm

Real Canadian Superstore… Just bought some last week.


Lise-Anne August 13, 2013 at 9:35 pm

Any idea what I could replace the nuts with to make it nut free? My first thought was oats, but I won’t be able to use those either… Do you think I could just use a bit more of the graham and coconut to make up for the loss of nuts?

Thanks in advance – these look delicious and I’d love to give them a try!


Angela (Oh She Glows) August 15, 2013 at 10:21 am

Hey Lise-Anne, I would sub the ground almonds with more graham cracker crumbs. Hope this helps!


Lise August 23, 2013 at 8:55 am

Thank you so very much for sharing your recipes! It’s been years since I’ve had Nanaimo bars, and these were everything I remembered them to be. Amazing. Swapped out the nuts for more graham, and you were right, it worked out just perfectly :)


Leigh December 3, 2013 at 4:01 am

I am beyond thrilled to make these bars… It’s a yearly tradition in our house to have these bars at the holidays.

I imagine you could make a mocha like flavour with the addition of some (good tasting) instant coffee powder and maybe even some coffee liqueur for the adults? I don’t even like coffee so I won’t be trying to make it. NO WAY will I have Nanaimo bars in my house I can’t eat. Peanut butter flavour on the other hand I might try to create!

You should promote this post to the top for Holiday Treats 2013…

Yay Angela – Nanaimo bars!!


RonNasty64 December 8, 2013 at 5:20 pm

I made these 2 weeks ago and I thought they were soft because I ran out of custard powder. I’m taking a batch to work this week, so I hope they freeze well.


allyne December 12, 2013 at 9:12 pm

Was wondering if I could sub coconut oil instead of the butter?


Roxanne December 23, 2013 at 12:43 am

Do you know how to make a nut-free version of this? Thanks! :)


Micol May 30, 2014 at 3:43 pm

I just made the Classic Vanilla..oh dear lord, they are amazing!!!! Thanks for this awesome recipe!!!


Syd December 9, 2014 at 10:17 am

I made these a few days ago to bring to my work. I work at a gluten free seafood restaurant and one of the staff is celiac. I’m the only vegan who works there so I thought I’d make these and wow them. I substituted everything for gluten free and they turned out perfect. They were gone in a day (only 8 people work there, including myself) and everyone wants the recipe! Success! Thank you!


Leah December 17, 2014 at 4:38 pm

I didn’t have any pomegranate but I made the pomegranate one and used acai juice instead!! I highly recommend it because it turned out DELICIOUS!


meghann December 30, 2014 at 2:32 pm

These look amazing! My husband loves nanaimo bars and I’ve been looking for a vegan (and gf) recipe. He’s allergic to coconut though. I don’t suppose another milk (almond, soy) would work instead of the coconut milk, do you think?


Paula December 17, 2015 at 10:22 pm

I have to say, I’m the teeniest bit disappointed with this recipe! By teensiest I mean that I am still happy with it, but not 5 star worthy. I guess this is also from 2010 so I should account for that, but literally every recipe I’ve made from your blog I have followed to a T and LOVED and made over and over and bragged about to my friends about. I don’t want to come across as unsatisfied because I must say that I am still absolutely THRILLED with the fact that you’ve created a vegan nanaimo bar <3 <3 <3 (where the flavours are amazing!), however the top layer of chocolate is just….. meh. I had a really hard time spreading the chocolate, and whilst i was going as quick as possible i found it was bunching up and didn't even cover the whole surface of the bars! Usually your write ups are so spot-on that I know what to expect (gel consistency of flax egg etc.) but I felt a bit different with this one.

Just a little feedback! Thank you for every recipe you post. I am currently eating the DIY Burrito bowl and baking the Raspberry Almond Thumbprint cookies. (I'm seriously obsessed with your blog Angela!)


Michelle December 29, 2015 at 9:12 pm

I’m hoping to try this recipe for New Years Eve :)
Do you think I could sub the sugar and icing sugar? Probably not with any of the liquid sweeteners like maple or honey… Have you tried it with coconut sugar… Would it work to powder it for the icing sugar?


Ev September 10, 2016 at 4:00 am

Wonderful photos! I dream of having a beautiful blog like yours one day~•*❤️


Brooke November 23, 2016 at 6:16 pm

Doesn’t the custard powder contain evaporated milk?


Catherine Rivard December 6, 2016 at 11:08 am

Nanaimo bars are a Christmas classic in my family, but the sugar loaded middle layer put me off. So, I tried to use a dairy free cranberry custard (cranberries puree, maple syrup and almond milk with cornstarch) as the middle layer : much less sugar, a bit of tartness and pink color! I like it better this way


Amy December 10, 2016 at 12:08 am

Not sure what I did wrong, but the middle layer was WAY too sugary!


Meagan December 13, 2016 at 12:50 pm

Question, is there any way to make this without so much icing sugar? Too much of that gives me a headache. Thanks.


Margaret December 16, 2016 at 9:10 pm

These were fun to make, but I find that they turned out waaaaay too sweet for my liking. Any suggestions?


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: