Crack Pie Bars

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Milk Bar's Famous Crack Pie made into bars

These innocent little Crack Pie Bars are based on the famous Milk Bar Crack Pie ~ but mine are so much quicker and easier to make.  And don’t worry, they’re equally as addictive!

A more user friendly version of the famous Crack Pie --- easier to make, but no less addictive!

Crack Pie Bars, modeled after the famous Milk Bar Crack Pie, only soooo much easier!

These Crack Pie Bars are unassuming looking little bars, to say the least, but they pack an addictive secret.

They’re inspired by NYC eatery Milk Bar’s famous Crack Pie, which caused quite a stir when it debuted several years ago.  I’ve made that pie and I can tell you that the recipe is almost absurdly complicated, so even though the restaurant posts it on their website, you hardly ever see it done.  

I’ve winnowed it down to a more manageable process for you, without losing any of that infamous charm.  If you’ve never had it, it’s a little tough to describe…the experience is chewy, toffee-sweet, wet-moist…sticky, silky, and yes, addictive.  To be honest I wouldn’t recommend making the pie, it’s more trouble than it’s worth, but these pie bars are a solid go for it, if only to see the look on your family’s/friends’/guests’ faces when you tell them what’s for dessert.

Crack Pie Bars are patterend after Milk Bar's famous Crack Pie --- only they're so much easier to make!

I know the suspense is killing you, what makes these so darned amazing? 

Well, they’re a perfect storm of buttery sweet taste and sensuous ‘mouth feel’, for one thing.  It’s what we’re all programmed to crave, it’s in our dna, so no use resisting.  They’re a little different than your ordinary sweet dessert, too.  None of the usual suspects…no chocolate, or caramel, or marshmallow — they’re kind of a hipster version of chess pie, and chess pie, if you’re not familiar, is a kind of pecan-less pecan pie.  Only the crust in this case is  made from crushed oatmeal cookies.  I told you it was tough to describe, you’ll just have to whip up a batch to see for yourself.

A stack of irresistible Crack Pie Bars!

I can attest that these truly are impossible to resist, I just ate 3 full squares, one quarter inch sliver at a time…at least I got my exercise going back and forth from the kitchen.

An easier version of Milk Bar's famous Crack Pie

If you try these, let me know what you think — do they live up to the hype?

Crack Pie Bars are utterly addictive


Reader Rave ~

“Thank you SO SO SO much for this recipe. I LOVE crack pie but hate the hassle of making it. This recipe is not only easier but way more reliably turns out well — plus, everything tastes better in bar form anyway. I’ve made it several times and everyone always loves them! Thank you again for making it way easier/I may even say yummier to get my crack pie fix :)”  ~ Darcy

Note: Recipe adapted from Milk Bar

An easier version of Milk Bar's famous Crack Pie
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3.19 from 144 votes

Crack Pie Bars

These innocent little Crack Pie Bars are based on the famous Milk Bar Crack Pie ~ they're much easier to make, but equally as addictive!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes



  • approximately 15 oatmeal cookies to make 1 1/2 cups crumbs, look for plain cookies without raisins.
  • 3 Tbsp melted butter
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar


  • 1/2 cup 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar do not pack
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp milk powder
  • 2 Tbsp corn starch
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 4 egg yolks well broken up with a fork


  • powdered sugar


  • Set oven to 350F
  • Lightly spray a 9x9 square baking pan. You can line it with parchment for easy removal later for cutting, but this is optional.
  • First make the crust. I crushed my cookies in my food processor. I wanted them to be super fine. You can do them any way you like, as long as you end up with 1 1/2 cups finely crushed cookies.
  • Mix the crumbs with the melted butter and sugar and blend well. I do this right in the processor.
  • Pat the crust firmly into the bottom of your pan.
  • To make the filling,, cream the butter and sugars together until well combined. Work out any lumps in the brown sugar as you go.
  • Blend in the rest of the ingredients and mix until everything is well incorporated.
  • Pour the filling over the crust and bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 325F and open the door until it gets there.
  • Close the oven door again and bake for another 10-15 minutes until the filling is golden and no longer very jiggly. (It can be a little jiggly in the center, but not all over)
  • Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature, and then refrigerate until completely chilled. Dust with powdered sugar, slice into small squares and enjoy.


crack pie bars pin


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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    April 6, 2020 at 11:40 am

    These look delicious, thank you for sharing!

  • Reply
    Timberly Edmonds
    March 12, 2020 at 4:42 am

    Making this now powder milk is $10 at the store near me i found coconut powder milk for 99¢ going to try to double it let u know hoe it goes

  • Reply
    December 18, 2019 at 4:05 pm

    Can’t wait to try this, but wasn’t able to find oatmeal cookies without raisins at the store. I’ll try ordering online but was wondering if you suggest iced or not, and crunchy or soft? Some name brands would also be helpful for my search. Thanks so much!

    • Reply
      December 18, 2019 at 4:32 pm

      The ideal cookies would be crunchy Cynthia, and not iced. But I say use what you can find, even if they have raisins.

      • Reply
        December 21, 2019 at 12:10 am

        Awesome, thanks so much!

  • Reply
    Ellise Peake
    August 27, 2019 at 7:58 pm

    Love your comments… hilarious! I’m a long time baker and look forward to trying these. They remind me of shoo fly pie without the molasses. I will let you know how it works out.

    • Reply
      August 28, 2019 at 6:13 am

      Have fun Ellise!

  • Reply
    August 22, 2019 at 1:24 pm

    Do you put all the cookie mixture on the bottom? Will it bake up through the liquid to form a top crust?

  • Reply
    Amie Powers
    January 30, 2019 at 1:30 am

    I’m curious if anyone has tried to double the recipe? The small pan disappears so fast at my house, haha!!

    • Reply
      January 30, 2019 at 6:53 am

      I haven’t tried Amie, I’ve always found this amount to be all I can take!

  • Reply
    Amie Powers
    January 26, 2019 at 9:58 pm

    Hi! Tonight I made this recipe for the second time in a week because my family loved them, but when I made the filling it was thick, almost like cookie dough minus the flour. I noticed you said “pour the filling”, I had to spoon it out and spread it. Also, my final product didn’t quite have the layering yours does and it came out of the oven very runny , any thoughts on why it could be different? It still tasted amazing and I will continue to make it, the first batch was gone in one day! Thanks!

  • Reply
    Brenda L Baker
    December 23, 2018 at 3:41 pm

    Both you and Christina Tosi put a tiny amount of milk powder in your respective recipes. I don’t want to spend $10 on a small box, just for a couple of TB here and there. What does the milk powder accomplish, and can something else be substituted? Thanks.

    • Reply
      December 23, 2018 at 4:01 pm

      I would just leave it out if you don’t already have it Brenda.

    • Reply
      August 18, 2019 at 4:04 pm

      Hello Brenda. I grab a pouch of powdered milk at the Dollar Tree rather than buying the big box at the Kroger or Aldi. I believe it’s Carnation brand.

  • Reply
    November 17, 2018 at 9:57 am

    What brand of milk powder did you use?

    • Reply
      November 17, 2018 at 10:27 am

      I probably used Carnation, that’s what’s generally available here.

  • Reply
    May 27, 2018 at 6:04 pm

    These turned out great, except the sides came out very high. Any tips on how to prevent that in the future?

    • Reply
      May 27, 2018 at 6:26 pm

      It’s hard to say, Laurie, but my bars were a little higher on the side, too. Maybe you whipped more air into the batter than I did? Possibly your oven ran a little hot, so it rose quicker on the sides, not sure. Also glass and dark aluminum pans tend to cook more quickly and could be the problem.

  • Reply
    Beth M
    January 4, 2018 at 9:48 pm

    These are good enough, but not “crack”-level great. Very heavy flavor of brown sugar. If you are familiar with the St Louis “gooey butter bars,” these taste somewhat like brown sugar versions of those with a cookie crust. They are VERY rich. I wanted to drink about 3 glasses of milk after one small bar. I had to bake longer than directions stated. I found the requirement to reduce temp from 350 to 325 while baking a bit of trouble, as my oven doesn’t measure those type of reductions that quickly. My crust came out very crunchy and high to the sides, and the finished product didn’t look quite like pictured. Overall, these are about 3.5 stars in my book. People like the gooey bars better.

    • Reply
      Beth M
      January 4, 2018 at 9:50 pm

      P.S. I used Archway soft oatmeal cookies, which seemed to work pretty well for crust

    • Reply
      January 5, 2018 at 4:14 am

      I haven’t had the St Louis bars, but they sound like something fun to do for the blog, thanks Beth!

      • Reply
        Beth M
        January 5, 2018 at 6:03 am

        The gooey butter bars are also easy to make. Most recipes, like Paula Dean’s, use cake mixes. I make a lemon version with lemon cake mix, a bit of extra zest and extract in filling layer, and mix in powdered lemon juice with powdered sugar to give the coating extra tang and tartness. People really REALLY like them. I think these crack bars were just a bit too rich for me. I prefer tart/sweet things. Glad I found your site.

        • Reply
          January 5, 2018 at 10:54 am

          Oh, I forgot Paula Dean was famous for gooey bars, they do sound good!

  • Reply
    December 8, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    I don’t know what happened but mines turned out so runny and I did everything exactly as the recipe stated. Trying to bake it a bit longer to see if that helps

    • Reply
      December 8, 2017 at 3:38 pm

      Could your oven be slightly off temperature, Reena? It’s super common for ovens to run hotter or colder than the gauge says.

  • Reply
    November 29, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    Hi Sue,
    Love these bars really easy to make i subbed the oatmeal cookies for shortbread cookie crust instead, just a simple easy recipe worked out quite well. Thanks for the Recipe.

    • Reply
      November 29, 2017 at 8:05 pm

      Thanks Helen, it’s good to know about the shortbread crust 🙂

  • Reply
    December 7, 2016 at 5:20 am

    What is milk powder?

    • Reply
      December 7, 2016 at 8:21 am

      Powdered milk is just dehydrated milk, Mary ~ all supermarkets carry it.

  • Reply
    October 25, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    Thank you SO SO SO much for this recipe. I LOVE crack pie but hate the hassle of making it. This recipe is not only easier but way more reliably turns out well — plus, everything tastes better in bar form anyway. I’ve made it several times and everyone always loves them! Thank you again for making it way easier/I may even say yummier to get my crack pie fix 🙂

    • Reply
      October 25, 2016 at 8:23 pm

      Yay! I’m thrilled to hear this Darcy!

  • Reply
    May 31, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    Just tried this recipe. Used Dad’s oatmeal cookies so we will see how this works….just wondering, how runny should the filling be? Mine wasn’t runny at all so I just added more cream to thin out.

  • Reply
    November 16, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    I’ve got my first batch in the oven …made the crust with vanilla, oat almond granola that tastes like oatmeal cookies ..Hope it works…Will let you know

  • Reply
    September 13, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    I remember the Crack Pie sensation, and promised myself I’d make it. Obviously, I never got around to it. Thank you for making this much simpler. Crust made from oatmeal cookie? I’m in! This looks ooey gooey– and that is something I absolutely love. I’m not sure if I should thank you, but thank you anyway!

  • Reply
    September 3, 2015 at 8:15 am

    My daughter and son-in-law order crack pie at a local resto all the they would love these!

  • Reply
    Julie Blanner
    August 25, 2015 at 4:22 am

    I love crack pie, but I think everything is better in a bar. I can’t wait to try these!

  • Reply
    Justine | Cooking and Beer
    August 24, 2015 at 11:05 pm

    Oh my goodness, I am obsessed with crack pie! Love the idea of transforming it into a bar!

  • Reply
    Amanda @ Cookie Named Desire
    August 24, 2015 at 6:31 am

    i love crack pie, but never really emanated the hassle of making it. Turning it into bar form really makes it so much easier to throw together and grab a slice and go!

  • Reply
    August 24, 2015 at 6:11 am

    while i’ve neither made nor eaten the pie, i never thought it looked particularly incredible. these look absolutely scrumptious, though, so i definitely think i’d prefer to take this route!

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    August 24, 2015 at 5:49 am

    I have made the famous crack pie several times. It is one of my absolute favourite sweet treats 🙂 That said, it is a process, so I’m loving your scaled back process for these bars. Will definitely be trying these!

  • Reply
    August 24, 2015 at 4:35 am

    I agree with you—I’ve made crack pie, and though tasty, it’s a heck of a lot of work! Your bars look outstanding AND much easier 🙂

  • Reply
    Valerie | From Valerie's Kitchen
    August 23, 2015 at 8:04 pm

    Well, I’m sold. I need to try these. I love the idea of making a crust with crushed oatmeal cookies. So simple but, I bet, totally delicious!

  • Reply
    August 23, 2015 at 11:54 am

    Sorry but I’m having a heck of a time reading the recipe and the comments.
    On my tablet the Target band is blocking places but scrolling up/down doesn’t move it to read. Step 2 was blocked then suddenky it jumped to blocking step 6.

    Very Very Frustrating!

    • Reply
      August 23, 2015 at 3:10 pm

      SO sorry, I’m trying to work with my ad company to minimize problems, but it’s not easy, I can imagine how frustrating it is having an ad jumping in front of you when you’re just trying to get the recipe — calling my company now!

  • Reply
    August 23, 2015 at 8:03 am

    Found the cookies! Pie is in the oven…… well, I should say “bars” – I used the recipe from Momofuku for the filling, and your crust method

    we shall see…

    • Reply
      August 23, 2015 at 8:11 am

      Good compromise!

      • Reply
        August 23, 2015 at 9:18 am

        Sue, I got a big, big disaster…. 🙁 not sure what went wrong, but instead of two nice layers, everything baked into a single, very oily and dark golden thing. I am afraid the cookies I used were probably not appropriate

        I will have to revisit this recipe either trying to find the cookies you used or going from scratch – I thought the cookies I got were a bit on the dark side, but it said plain oatmeal so… I thought it would work

        oh, well – I am not giving up, will see if I can repeat it sometime later this week

        will report back….

        • Reply
          August 23, 2015 at 2:12 pm

          Ok, some of it was operator error… I had two screens open in the computer and did not pay attention to the amount of cookie crumb, wrote down in my draft piece of paper 1 cup instead of 1.5 cups… 🙁 That probably did not help at all! Plus, the fact that my cookies from the store were also different explains the problem…..

          hey, there is always next time – I considered re-doing it today but ran out of energy 😉

        • Reply
          August 23, 2015 at 3:11 pm

          I wonder if the cornstarch works better than the dried corn stuff??

          • SallyBR
            August 23, 2015 at 4:30 pm

            I did not think about that point… You are right, probably better to stick with cornstarch.

            I was talking to Phil and he remembers Mother’s Cookies from many years ago when he had his kids living with him – he says the cookies I used are totally different. So putting it all together, I think it explains my problems.

            no big deal – I am very curious about this recipe and will try it again….

            thanks for all your help! Sorry I’m filling your comments with my replies… 😉

  • Reply
    Toni | BoulderLocavore
    August 23, 2015 at 7:46 am

    These do look dangerous, in a good way! I’ve never made ‘crack’ of any sort and appreciated your tips on the oh-so-popular pie. A great treat to usher in fall.

  • Reply
    Trici @ Saving room for dessert
    August 23, 2015 at 6:55 am

    These sound dangerous and delicious Sue! You do bars so well! That oatmeal cookie crust sounds wonderful!

  • Reply
    Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious
    August 23, 2015 at 6:12 am

    Love your description of how you ate the 3 squares. I have been known to “just even up the edge a little bit.”

  • Reply
    Andi @ The Weary Chef
    August 22, 2015 at 8:31 pm

    I haven’t heard of or tried the pie, but I love that you made a simplified version. These bars look so good!!

  • Reply
    August 22, 2015 at 9:30 am

    Dear Sue, these bars look and sound like a magnificent treat. Next time I indulge, I’m making these bars. xo, Catherine

  • Reply
    Paula @ Vintage Kitchen
    August 22, 2015 at 8:32 am

    I think it’s time for me to bake something with the word crack in it. I might as well start with these scrumptious bars!

    • Reply
      August 22, 2015 at 9:03 pm

      🙂 Makes sense to me!

  • Reply
    Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    August 21, 2015 at 7:37 pm

    These are my dream bars, those layers are perfection!

  • Reply
    victoria mcauliffe
    August 21, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    Oh boy,got this while at work showed the guys. Sue they love it when they see me checking one of your recipes all 63 of them know the next day will be great!! You’ve got them spoiled and I have to work with them…but they did enjoy the pumpkin bread with maple frosting the other day. Thanks for keeping my guys happy makes work so much easier. Ya know I guess that old saying “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” it works cause they keep work for me!!Thanks

    • Reply
      August 21, 2015 at 5:35 pm

      Wow, that’s hysterical! Say hi to ‘the guys’ for me 🙂

  • Reply
    [email protected]'s+Recipes
    August 21, 2015 at 11:38 am

    These bars look incredibly moist and delicious!

  • Reply
    August 21, 2015 at 11:32 am

    This looks waaaaaaay more reasonable than the long recipe in the book. I, too, have some freeze dried corn purchased for recipes in that book and might sub it in as well. I’m looking forward to trying this recipe!

    • Reply
      August 21, 2015 at 5:36 pm

      Let me know what you think, I’ve tried both and these have the same flavor, just a little bit easier to make! I’m curious about the dried corn, one of you readers will have to try it and let me know!

  • Reply
    August 21, 2015 at 11:27 am

    Oh. My.

    These sound fantastic! I think I’ll give them a whirl this weekend. Thanks!

    • Reply
      August 21, 2015 at 5:47 pm

      Let me know what you think…

  • Reply
    August 21, 2015 at 8:39 am

    oh, you are tempting me…

    you know, I even bought the dried corn kernels to use in the pie recipe, but so far haven’t mastered the courage to go for it, it is a convoluted recipe indeed.

    I see you did not use the corn addition in the bars… they look amazing!

    one other question, what kind of oatmeal cookie did you use, any favorite brand I should look for?

    • Reply
      August 21, 2015 at 8:54 am

      I substituted cornstarch, I figured it would work, and it does. What the heck is up with the dried corn kernels anyway? I used Mother’s brand cookies, they were the only plain oatmeal cookies in my store. Let me know what you think, Sally!

      • Reply
        August 21, 2015 at 10:13 am

        THanks, Sue!

        I might come up with an adaptation using the silly dried corn, as now the bag is staring at me from the pantry… 😉

        • Reply
          August 21, 2015 at 10:15 am

          Haha, can’t wait to see!

          • SallyBR
            August 22, 2015 at 6:30 pm

            Well, I am in trouble. Searched two grocery stores, and can you believe there are NO plain oatmeal cookies? Only those with raisins or icing. Interesting, because I had never even paid attention to grocery store cookies until now to get them for the recipe

            I was hoping to make this tomorrow – I might have to improvise. There is one more grocery store I can try tomorrow morning…fingers crossed…

        • Reply
          Teresa Davis
          August 21, 2015 at 11:35 am

          Dried corn kernels make a nice topping for the salad you’re going to have to make up for these delicious cookies!

          • SallyBR
            August 23, 2015 at 8:02 am