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Thick and chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars are an easy dessert that’s perfect for any occasion. Grab a cold glass of milk and whip up a batch! These crowd-pleasing, rich and buttery treats are ideal for holiday cookie trays, kids’ lunchboxes, bake sales and parties.

Three easy chocolate chip cookie bars on a plate with milk in the background

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar Recipe

A “bar cookie” is a dessert made from a batter or stiff dough, which is pressed or poured into a dish, baked in the oven, and sliced into bars, squares or diamonds. Sometimes called “Congo Bars” or “Congo Squares,” these Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars are an example of a classic bar cookie recipe made with a buttery brown sugar cookie dough that’s studded with plenty of rich chocolate chips. They taste like a soft, thick and chewy chocolate chip cookie, but they’re so much easier to prepare! Bar cookies are a convenient way to serve a crowd because you get many squares from a single pan — no scoops or cookie cutters required.

The Best Chocolate for Chocolate Chip Cookies

These Congo Bars are loaded with chocolate chips, so it’s important to use a good quality chocolate that you love. Semi-sweet chocolate chips are one of the most popular choices for cookies and bars, thanks to their high cacao percentage and lower sugar-to-cocoa ratio. My kids love milk chocolate chips, so that’s what I used here. It’s really just a matter of personal preference. Other good options include bittersweet chocolate chips, dark chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, or even just coarsely chopped Hershey bars.

Close up front shot of a tray of Congo Bars

How to Make Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

The best chocolate chip cookie bars have a thick, soft, and chewy texture with plenty of chocolate in a rich, buttery dough. This easy recipe delivers, and I’m showing you all of the tips and tricks for a perfect batch every single time!

Ingredients for Soft Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

  • Salted butter
  • Granulated sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla extract
  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Chocolate chips
  • Optional: chopped nuts

Step 1: Prepare Dough

Use an electric mixer to cream together the butter and sugars. Add the eggs and vanilla, then slowly mix in the flour, baking soda and salt.

Process shot of making Congo Bars

Step 2: Add Chocolate Chips

Fold in about 1 ½ cups of the chocolate chips, reserving the remaining ½ cup for the top of the bars.

Overhead shot of milk chocolate chips

Step 3: Press Dough Into Pan

Spread the dough evenly in a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Top with the remaining chocolate chips, pressing them gently into the dough.

Overhead shot of chocolate chip cookie bar dough in a pan before baking

How Long to Bake Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Bake the bars in a 350 degree F oven for 25-30 minutes.

How do you know when a cookie bar is done?

The bars are done when the top is lightly browned and the bars are slightly firm to the touch. For soft and chewy bars, it’s important not to overbake them. Pull them out of the oven when the edges are set but the center is still quite soft.

Close overhead image of a 9 x 13 pan full of chocolate chip cookie bars

Storage

Allow the bar cookies to cool to room temperature, then slice into squares. Store them in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. You can also wrap the bars tightly and freeze them for up to 3 months.

For warm, gooey chocolate chip cookie bars, reheat individual bars in the microwave for 10-15 seconds — just until heated through. Serve with a cold glass of milk for a simple and delicious dessert or snack at any time of day!

A stack of the best chocolate chip cookie bar recipe cut into squares and served on a plate

Recipe Variations

  • Try different types of chocolate chips or coarsely chopped Hershey bars. Dark chocolate, white chocolate, semi-sweet, bittersweet or white chocolate chips will all work.
  • Add ¾ cup chopped nuts for an even richer, crunchier texture. Try walnuts, peanuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts or pecans.
  • Peanut butter or butterscotch chip cookie bars would also be delicious. Just use peanut butter chips or butterscotch chips.
  • Add rainbow sprinkles to the dough for a fun pop of color.
  • Coarsely chopped Heath bars would be a great flavor twist.
  • Sprinkle the tops of the bars (before baking) with flaky sea salt for a decadent salty-and-sweet combination.
  • For a smaller batch, cut the ingredients in half and prepare the bars in an 8 x 8-inch square pan.

Tips for the Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

  • The dough can be quite sticky, so I find that it’s easiest to press the dough into the pan if you spritz your fingers with cooking spray or spray a piece of plastic wrap and then press that onto the tops of the bars.
  • Keep the cookie bars soft. Be careful not to over-bake the bars or they will not have that soft, chewy texture that we all love. When you remove them from the oven, the center will still be soft and may even look slightly under-baked. That’s fine! The bars will firm up as they cool, and will be perfectly buttery and chewy!
  • Total baking time will vary depending on your oven, altitude and the type of pan that you use. I recommend a glass or light metal baking dish to prevent the edges from burning or becoming too dark too quickly.
Front shot of a tray of chewy chocolate chip cookie bars in front of a dark background

More Bar Cookies To Try

Three easy chocolate chip cookie bars on a plate with milk in the background

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Cooling Time 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 24 bars
Calories 167 kcal
Thick and chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars are an easy dessert that's perfect for any occasion!

Ingredients
  

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together butter, white sugar and brown sugar for 3 minutes. Scrape the bowl, then add the eggs and vanilla. Beat for another 3 minutes, scraping the sides as necessary.
  • Slowly add flour, baking soda and salt. Beat for 2 minutes.
  • Fold 1 ½ cups of the chocolate chips, just until combined.
  • Spread the dough evenly in the greased baking dish. Top with the remaining ½ cup of chocolate chips, pressing down gently into the dough.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is lightly brown and the bars are slightly firm to the touch. For chewy bars, do not overbake (maybe even under-bake slightly!).
  • Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool, slice into squares and serve!

Notes

Recipe slightly adapted from Table Talk cookbook.
  • The dough can be quite sticky, so I find that it’s easiest to press the dough into the pan if you spritz your fingers with cooking spray or spray a piece of saran wrap and then press that onto the tops of the bars.
  • Keep the cookie bars soft. Be careful not to over-bake the bars or they will not have that soft, chewy texture that we all love. When you remove them from the oven, the center will still be soft and may even look slightly under-baked. That’s fine! The bars will firm up as they cool, and will be perfectly buttery and chewy!
  • Total baking time will vary depending on your oven, altitude and the type of pan that you use. I recommend a glass or light metal baking dish to prevent the edges from burning or becoming too dark too quickly.

Nutrition

Serving: 1barCalories: 167kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 2gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 145mgPotassium: 29mgFiber: 1gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 256IUCalcium: 12mgIron: 1mg
Keyword: chocolate chip cookie bars, congo bars, congo squares
Course: Cookies, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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