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The Nanaimo Bar is a classic Canadian dessert that’s easy to love. Our version is inspired by the traditional treat and made with easy-to-find ingredients. This no-bake, egg-free Nanaimo Bar features three delicious layers: a buttery, nutty graham cracker crust, a creamy vanilla filling, and a smooth chocolate topping. Perfect for when you want a sweet treat without the hassle of making a large batch, this smaller version is made in a small ramekin and can easily be shared. It’s rich, sweet, and incredibly satisfying.

If you’re craving delicious, single serving desserts, you’ve got to try our rich Chocolate Lava Cake, sweet Caramelized Banana Pudding, creamy Flan, or classic Boston Cream Pie.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Easy to Make: No baking required, making it a perfect dessert for any time.
  • Indulgent Treat: Typically made in a much larger pan, this “dessert for one” is made in a 10-ounce ramekin. Its rich and indulgent nature allows you to enjoy it in one, two, or even a few servings. This way, you get to savor a delicious treat without worrying about too many leftovers.
  • Simple Ingredients: Uses common pantry staples, no need for specialty items like custard powder.
  • Rich Flavor: The combination of graham cracker, coconut, and chocolate is absolutely delightful.
  • Quick Preparation: You can whip up this treat in no time, making it ideal for a last-minute dessert.
a nanaimo bar in a ramekin with the three layers of the dessert shown.

What Are Nanaimo Bars?

Nanaimo Bars are a classic dessert named after Nanaimo, a city in British Columbia, Canada. They consist of three delicious layers: a coconut crumb base, a custard filling, and a chocolate ganache topping.

This single serving Nanaimo Bar recipe is inspired by the classic but made with easy-to-find ingredients you may likely already have on hand. While it’s not an authentic Nanaimo Bar, it captures the essence with a buttery, nutty graham cracker crust, a creamy vanilla filling, and a smooth chocolate topping. Made in a 10-ounce ramekin, this no-bake, egg-free dessert is the perfect size for one or to share with someone special, providing the same delicious taste as the traditional treat in a convenient, small portion.

Ingredients

nanaimo bars ingredients on a kitchen counter.

If you have any ingredients leftover from this single serve Nanaimo Bar recipe, check out our Leftover Ingredients Recipe Finder.

For the Crust

  • Graham Cracker Crumbs: Graham cracker crumbs form the base of the crust, giving it a sweet and slightly crunchy texture. You can substitute them with digestive biscuits or similar cookies if you prefer. You can either buy pre-made graham cracker crumbs or crush 1 1/2 sheets of graham crackers using a rolling pin or a food processor. If you have leftover graham crackers, consider using them in Peanut Butter Bars, an Icebox Cake, or a no-bake Cheesecake.
  • Unsweetened Shredded Coconut: Adds texture and a hint of coconut flavor. If you prefer a sweeter taste, you can use sweetened coconut instead. Leftover coconut can be used to make a mini Italian Cream Cake or a small batch of Morning Glory Muffins.
  • Chopped Walnuts: Gives a nice crunch to the crust. You can substitute with pecans or leave them out altogether if you prefer a nut-free Nanaimo Bar. Extra walnuts can be added to Blondies, Banana Nut Bread, or Gingerbread Granola.
  • Cocoa Powder: Unsweetened cocoa powder adds a rich chocolate flavor to the crust.
  • Granulated Sugar: Sweetens the crust.
  • Melted Butter: Binds the crust together and adds richness.

For the Filling

  • Butter: Adds creaminess and structure to the filling. Ensure it’s at room temperature and softened for easy mixing.
  • Cornstarch: Our Nanaimo Bars are made without custard powder. Instead, we use cornstarch (also known as cornflour) to thicken the filling, which gives it a custard-like texture. Cornstarch is a perfect substitute for custard powder in this recipe because it’s a primary ingredient in custard powder.
  • Vanilla: Adds flavor to the filling. Pure vanilla extract provides the best taste.
  • Powdered Sugar: Also called icing sugar, it sweetens and thickens the filling, giving it a smooth texture.
  • Heavy Cream: Adds richness and smoothness to the filling. Heavy cream or heavy whipping cream are ideal choices, both having over 36% milk fat. Consider using leftover cream in Banana Pudding, a mini Tres Leches Cake, or Fettuccine Alfredo.

For the Topping

  • Chocolate: Melts to form a smooth and delicious top layer. Use good quality chocolate for the best flavor. My preference is to use semi-sweet chocolate.
  • Butter: Helps the chocolate set properly and adds a nice shine to the topping.
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How To Make A Nanaimo Bar

These step-by-step photos and instructions will help you visualize how to make this recipe. Unlike most Nanaimo Bar recipes that are made in a square baking pan, our single serving version is prepared in a 10-ounce ramekin. See the recipe box below for ingredient amounts and full instructions.

crust for nanaimo bars in a mixing bowl.
  1. Make the Base: In a bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, coconut, walnuts, cocoa powder, and sugar. Pour in the melted butter and mix until well combined.
nanaimo bar crust pressed into a ramekin.
  1. Press the Base: Lightly grease a 10-ounce ramekin. Press the mixture firmly into the ramekin using your fingertips or the back of a spoon.
nanaimo bars filling in a mixing bowl.
  1. Make the Filling: In a medium bowl, use an electric hand mixer on medium speed to beat together the softened butter, cornstarch, and vanilla. Next, add the powdered sugar and heavy cream, then continue beating until smooth and combined.
nanaimo bar filling in a ramekin.
  1. Add the Filling: Spoon the buttercream filling over the crust in the ramekin and refrigerate for about 1 hour.
chocolate ganache in a mixing bowl set over a pot of simmering water.
  1. Make the Chocolate Ganache: About 30 minutes before you remove the dessert from the fridge, start preparing the ganache. Place the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Stir frequently until the chocolate and butter are fully melted and smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat and let the ganache cool. It will thicken as it cools.
a single nanaimo bar in a white ramekin.
  1. Top with Ganache and Final Chill: After the dessert has chilled, pour and spread the ganache over the buttercream filling. Refrigerate again for about 30 minutes, or until the chocolate firms and sets.
  1. Serve: Once the dessert is set, remove it from the fridge. Let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes before serving to make it easier to scoop with a spoon. Enjoy your Nanaimo Bar!
a nanaimo bar in a ramekin with a spoon on the side.

Expert Tips

  • Butter Consistency: Use melted butter for the crust to help bind the ingredients together, and softened butter for the filling to achieve a smooth, creamy texture.
  • Pressing the Crust: Press the crust mixture firmly and evenly into the ramekin. Using the back of a spoon or your fingertips will help ensure it holds together well.
  • Ganache Preparation: Let the ganache cool until it thickens slightly before pouring it over the filling. This makes it easier to spread and helps it set better.
  • Serving Temperature: After the final chill, let the dessert sit at room temperature for a few minutes before serving. This softens the layers slightly, making it easier to enjoy with a spoon.

Storing And Freezing Nanaimo Bars

  • Storing: Keep your Nanaimo Bar in the refrigerator. It will stay fresh for up to a week when covered well.
  • Freezing: If you want to make the Nanaimo Bar ahead of time, it freezes well. Wrap the ramekin tightly in plastic wrap and place it in a freezer-safe container or in aluminum foil. It can be frozen for up to three months. To enjoy, simply thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make a small batch of Nanaimo Bars with this recipe?

Yes, you can use this recipe to make a small batch of Nanaimo Bars. Simply double the ingredient amounts and use either two 10-ounce ramekins or a 5×5 inch baking dish. If you choose the baking dish, line it with two strips of parchment paper placed perpendicularly, letting the paper hang over the sides. This will make it easy to lift the bars out and slice them into squares.

Can I make a Nanaimo Bar without nuts?

Yes, for a nut-free version simply omit the nuts from the recipe. The bars will still hold together and taste great.

What are Nanaimo Bars called in the US?

In the US, Nanaimo Bars are sometimes called New York Slice, London Smog Bar, or Georgia Street Squares.

What does a Nanaimo Bar taste like?

Nanaimo Bars are rich and decadent. They have a chocolatey, graham cracker-coconut base, a sweet creamy filling, and a layer of rich semi-sweet chocolate on top.

a nanaimo bar spooned out of a ramekin.

Ways To Use Leftover Ingredients

If you have any ingredients leftover from this recipe, check out our Leftover Ingredients Recipe Finder or you might like to consider using them in any of these single serving and small batch recipes:

If you’ve tried this individual Nanaimo Bar recipe or any recipe on One Dish Kitchen please let me know how you liked it by rating the recipe and telling me about it in the comment section below.

Also, if you take a picture please tag us on Instagram (@onedishkitchen) we’d love to see it!


Your Cooking For One Source
Because you’re worth it

Nanaimo Bar For One

4.50 from 2 votes
Prep: 30 minutes
Chill: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total: 2 hours
Servings: 4 portions
Enjoy the perfect personal indulgence with this easy, no-bake, egg-free Nanaimo Bar recipe. Savor layers of rich chocolate, creamy filling, and a delightful nutty crust.

Ingredients 
 

For the base

  • 2 tablespoons, plus 2 teaspoons graham cracker crumbs (about 1 ½ graham cracker sheets)
  • 4 teaspoons unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 ½ teaspoons finely chopped walnuts
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter -melted

For the filling

  • 3 tablespoons salted butter -softened
  • ½ tablespoon cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons heavy cream

For the topping

  • 2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate -chopped
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
Makes: 4inch round2inch height
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Instructions 

Make the base

  • In a bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, coconut, walnuts, cocoa powder, and sugar. Pour in the melted butter and mix until well combined.
  • Lightly grease a 10-ounce ramekin. Press the mixture firmly into the ramekin using your fingertips or the back of a spoon.

Make the filling

  • In a medium bowl, use an electric hand mixer on medium speed to beat together the softened butter, cornstarch, and vanilla. Next, add the powdered sugar and heavy cream, then continue beating until smooth and combined.
  • Spoon the buttercream filling over the crust in the ramekin and refrigerate for about 1 hour.

Make the topping

  • About 30 minutes before you remove the dessert from the fridge, start preparing the ganache.
    Place the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Stir frequently until the chocolate and butter are fully melted and smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat and let the ganache cool. It will thicken as it cools.
  • After the dessert has chilled, pour and spread the ganache over the buttercream filling. Refrigerate again for about 30 minutes, or until the chocolate firms and sets.
  • Once the dessert is set, remove it from the fridge. Let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes before serving to make it easier to scoop with a spoon. 

Notes

Note: This recipe makes one very large and indulgent dessert, perfect for enjoying in multiple sittings. Typically, a serving is around 2 ounces, with each serving containing approximately 300 calories. Though it’s a “dessert for one,” it yields 4 servings due to its richness and decadence.
 
 
Tips
  • Butter Consistency: Use melted butter for the crust to help bind the ingredients together, and softened butter for the filling to achieve a smooth, creamy texture.
  • Pressing the Crust: Press the crust mixture firmly and evenly into the ramekin. Using the back of a spoon or your fingertips will help ensure it holds together well.
  • Ganache Preparation: Let the ganache cool until it thickens slightly before pouring it over the filling. This makes it easier to spread and helps it set better.
  • Serving Temperature: After the final chill, let the dessert sit at room temperature for a few minutes before serving. This softens the layers slightly, making it easier to enjoy with a spoon.

Nutrition

Serving: 1portion, Calories: 358kcal, Carbohydrates: 29g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 25g, Saturated Fat: 16g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 41mg, Sodium: 165mg, Potassium: 135mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 22g, Vitamin A: 481IU, Vitamin C: 0.1mg, Calcium: 23mg, Iron: 1mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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I’m Joanie and I’m incredibly happy you’re here! Our aim is to inspire individuals with access to single serving recipes, education, and a supportive community that will enable them to enjoy the preparation of a meal that will nourish both body and soul.

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3 Comments

  1. Laura Engle says:

    I haven’t made this recipe yet, but it sounds delicious. EXCEPT: When I do make it (soon), I will be omitting the coconut. Should I change the amount of anything else in the crust?

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      You can replace the coconut with additional graham cracker crumbs or finely chopped nuts.

  2. J. Hegyi says:

    Good recipe.