Gluten-Free, Vegan Nanaimo Bars

If you’re from British Columbia or the American Northwest, chances are you know and love these no-bake bars! They’re a classic Canadian dessert named after the city of Nanaimo in BC, Canada.

Of course no one in my family could enjoy these scrumptious squares once we adopted a dairy-free, gluten-free lifestyle. Rejoice now for an adapted version of this beloved layered treat!

The melt-in-your-mouth creamy custard layer is the perfect juxtaposition to the crisp chocolate topping and crumbly, crunchy base. Mmm!

The distinctive layered look and heavenly taste continuously invite you in for more. Trust me on this one. One minute the plate in full and the next it is empty.

Bring some Nanaimo Bars to your next potluck, party or get-together and your guests (and their tummies) will thank you!

The recipe looks complex since it has multiple layers, but it’s easier than you would expect and so delicious it’s worth the effort!



For Bottom Layer:

For Middle Layer:

  • 1/2 cup vegan butter substitute
  • 3 tbsp coconut cream
  • 2 tbsp custard powder (I used Bird’s Custard Powder (dairy-free, egg-free)
  • 2 cup powdered sugar

For Top Layer:


For Bottom Layer:

  1. Combine butter, caster sugar and cocoa powder in the top of a double boiler. Stirring until smooth and completely melted.
  2. Whisk in one egg, stirring continuously until thick, roughly 3 minutes, then remove from heat.
  3. Mix in graham cracker crumbs, shredded coconut and chopped almonds.
  4. In an ungreased 8x8 inch pan, press the mixture into the bottom. Set aside.
  5. Clean top pot of double boiler.

For Middle Layer:

  1. In medium bowl, combine butter, coconut cream and custard powder until creamed smoothly together.
  2. Add in powdered sugar and whisk until smooth.
  3. Spread mixture over the bottom layer in the pan. Allow to set in the fridge while making the top layer.

For Top Layer:

  1. In the top of the double boiler, melt the baking chocolate and butter until melted and smooth.
  2. Spread chocolate evenly over the middle layer.
  3. Transfer to fridge until completely cooled.
  4. Cut into squares before serving.