gooey butter bar with fork

If you’ve never tried a gooey butter bar, then you’re missing out on some sweet, buttery goodness. Somewhat similar to a brownie, blondie, or lemon bar, gooey butter bars incorporate sweetness and richness in every single bite. Best of all, they’re pretty easy to make from scratch, and recipe developer Jessica Morone’s step-by-step guide will ensure that your gooey butter bars are baked to perfection.

"My favorite thing about these is how delicious they are, and also how simple they are to make," Morone says. "These bars have a cake base with a chewy, gooey layer on top of that and a crispy layer at the top," she adds. "They are like eating an extra gooey brownie, but the flavor is more buttery and vanilla instead of chocolate." And, topped off with a sprinkle of powdered sugar, these delicious bars will become your new favorite dessert recipe. Give your trusty brownie recipe a break and opt for these gooey butter bars instead — you won’t be disappointed!

Gather the ingredients to make gooey butter bars

ingredients for gooey butter bars

Before you can dive into this gooey butter bars recipe, you’ll want to make sure that you have the right ingredients. For this recipe, you’ll need all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, granulated sugar, melted butter, vanilla extract, eggs, cream cheese, and powdered sugar. "Most gooey butter bar recipes use boxed yellow cake mix for the base, but I wanted to come up with a recipe that is more from scratch, but just as easy to make," Morone explains. With an ingredient list so simple, you’ll relish in the fact that you can make such a delicious dessert from scratch!

Make the bottom cake layer

dough pressed into baking dish

Now that you have your ingredients ready to go, you can begin making this recipe. As Morone stated, the bottom layer of this dessert is cake-like, so we’ll start by prepping the dough. First things first, however, you’ll want to preheat your oven to 350 F, and either line a 9×13-inch baking dish with parchment paper or spray it with nonstick spray.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Now, in a separate large bowl, add in ½ cup melted butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and two eggs. Mix these ingredients together until they’re thoroughly combined. Then, slowly add in the flour mix until everything comes together, forming a dough. Press this dough into the bottom of your prepared baking dish, and voila — the first layer is ready to go!

Make the gooey butter layer

cream cheese filling in bowl

With the bottom layer of these bars ready to bake, you can turn your attention to the soft and gooey middle layer. Grab a large bowl and add in the softened cream cheese, the remaining two eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and ½ cup melted butter. Using a hand mixer, beat these ingredients until you have a smooth, creamy mixture. Now, add in the powdered sugar a little bit at a time, continuously beating so that it incorporates into the mix. Once you’ve added all of the powdered sugar and you have a smooth filling, pour it into the pan, right on top of the bottom layer. Be sure to spread the cream cheese filling with a spatula or spoon so that it spreads evenly to the edges of the baking dish.

Bake the gooey butter bars

gooey butter bar slices

Pop the baking dish into the oven and allow the bars to bake for 35 to 40 minutes. You’ll know they’re done when the edges are set and the top is golden brown — which, by the way, is that final "crispy" top layer that Morone mentioned. Allow the bars to cool completely, then cut them into squares, serve, and revel in the gooeyness!

Because of their richness and sweetness, Morone recommends enjoying a cup of coffee or glass of milk with these bars. Also, if you have leftovers, Morone has some tips. "These can be stored covered at room temperature for up to 2 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days," she says. "You could also freeze them once they are room temperature in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months."

Switch out your brownie recipe for this delicious, sweet, and gooey treat. This gooey butter bars recipe will become your family’s new favorite.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup butter, melted and divided
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 4 eggs, divided
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, or spray it with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, ½ cup melted butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 2 eggs until well-mixed. Slowly add in the flour mixture until fully incorporated. Press the dough flat into the bottom of the prepared pan.
  3. In a large bowl, add the cream cheese, remaining 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and ½ cup melted butter. Beat together until the mixture is creamy. Add in the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until the cream cheese mixture is smooth. Pour it over the dough in the prepared pan, spreading it evenly to the edges.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the edges are set.
  5. Cool completely, then cut the bars and serve.