Favorite M&M Bars

Definitely My Favorite M&M Bars — And I’ve Tried a Lot

Graduation is around the corner. And if you’re looking for recipes that use school colors, these M&M Bars (technically, M&Ms Bars, but I named them wrong the first time) are perfect.

Favorite M&M Bars

Unfortunately, I didn’t consider these for graduation until after I’d baked a batch and discovered the colored M&Ms really did stand out. So unless I can find someone graduating from clown school, this batch will be for the family. The next batch will be for Fuzz’s fifth grade graduation party and will be made with the colors of the local junior high — burnt orange and black. Lovely.

Some M&M bars are too dry, others too cakey. These were dense, firm and still soft. I think the key to their texture might be a combination of not beating too much air into the batter, using just enough flour, and adding a bit of sour cream. For the party, I’ll definitely go for the full version adapted from the Washington Post. If you’d like to give the bars a test drive for your family, here’s the 8 inch pan version.

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M&M Bars
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
The best M&M bar recipe ever!
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 16
  • 1 cup plus 6 tablespoons (6.2 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable shortening, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (slightly rounded)
  • 1 large egg plus 2 generous tablespoons lightly beaten egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 slightly rounded tablespoon regular sour cream
  • 1 cup M&Ms or M&Ms and dark chocolate chip mixed to make 1 cup.
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8 inch square metal pan with nonstick foil or parchment.
  2. Sift or just stir together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. Combine the butter and shortening in a mixing bowl and beat with a handheld mixer until creamy. Scrape sides of the bowl. Add both sugars; beat on low, then on medium speed for about until light and fluffy.
  4. In a second bowl, mix together the eggs, vanilla and sour cream. With mixer on low or by hand, gradually add the egg mixture to batter in three parts.
  5. Stir in the flour mixture, followed by the M&Ms. Transfer the dough to the pan, patting it in evenly and smoothing the surface. Bake for 22 minutes uncovered (at which point it should brown, but a little jiggly in the center), then lay a sheet of foil loosely over the top and with a sheet of foil and bake for about 4 more minutes or until middle no longer jiggles.
  6. Cool for 1 hour at room temperature, then transfer to the refrigerator and finish cooling in the refrigerator. Lift from pan, set on a cutting board, cut into 16 squares.
Coordinate the colors and match them to an event.

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  1. Jennifer says

    Those look delicious. I wonder how they’d work with the pretzel m&m’s? My kids love those.

  2. says

    Ditto on the Clown School! I know a lot of family and a few friends that graduated from it!! Oh, and the bars sound good! So much easier than making cookies!

  3. says

    My favorite during my younger years. Its great to see this transformed into more delicious treats. =)

  4. says

    Those bars sound really good! It’s hard to find a nice base for a bar cookie that is dense and moist but not a brownie, and those look perfect. Lol-ing on the clown school comments!
    Interesting school colors–my school colors were blue and white (yawn), then cardinal red and black, then crimson. I’m kind of intrigued by different colors, but then it can be tough to show school pride if your school is a garish shade of green and gold. I always felt a bit sorry for NYU teams, with their purple and white–it’s hard to be known as the ‘Fighting Violets’

  5. says

    I am making goodies for a company picnic Kevin’s dept. is having soon. These would be good. I’ll probably make a number of different kinds of bars or something.

  6. Shani says

    In the oven now. Can’t wait to see how they come out; bringing them to a dinner party tonight. True Americana!

    Wish there were a way to use less bowls (3, plus measuring out the 2 tbs of egg)

  7. says

    Shani, I know what you mean about the bowls! I think this recipe would be fine made with one bowl. I haven’t tried it yet, but you could probably just cream the sugar and butter in the first bowl, put the egg, sour cream and vanilla on top and mix it with a fork, then mix it in, then stir in the baking powder and salt, followed by the flour. This recipe was adapted from a very successful one in the Washington Post and I didn’t want to tamper with it. Now that I’ve made it a few times, I’m ready to start tampering!

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