Gluten Free Nanaimo Bars - A Canadian favorite made gluten free - from

Gluten Free Nanaimo Bars

Nanaimo Bars are a traditional Canadian favorite! Unfortunately the traditional recipe contains gluten in the crust. This is one of my variations on a gluten free Nanaimo Bar using raw cashews as the base of the crust. I’m working on a nut free version as well. 
One of my favorite desserts as a little kid was Nanaimo Bars. I had no idea what a Nanaimo was (it’s a city in the Canadian Province British Columbia), I just knew that these bars were the most wonderful thing I’d ever tasted. The crust is sticky, chocolaty and coconuty, the filling is a light fluffy, creamy, whipped vanilla icing/filling/amazingness and the top is hardened melted chocolate. You can’t really get any better than this flavor and texture combination. And they’re RICH! This is NOT a low sugar treat! I made these in a regular sized muffin tin and honestly, they’re rich enough to share. (funny how no one did share..)
Why did I make “bars” in a muffin tin instead of the traditional bake pan? Because of some excellent advice I learned from Anti Wheat Girl’s Awesome Holiday Handbook. “Offer to bring a gluten free dish




Caps and emphasis mine because this was absolutely new advice for me. Brilliant. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made a gluten free dish and right before I can stop them, someone cuts into it with a knife used to cut the chocolate cake, or scoops up a bit with the same spoon used for the gluten filled chicken pot pie. It’s so much easier to just have little individual sized “bars” instead of a pan that could get contaminated. AND I can hide mine away in the corner to make sure I actually get some dessert (and make sure no one sprinkles crumbs all over it by accident) This is only one of the tips in  Anti Wheat Girl’s Awesome Holiday Handbook You can read the whole handbook by CLICKING HERE.
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Gluten Free Nanaimo Bars



  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups ground cashews or almond meal
  • 1 1/2c coconut


  1. Melt butter, sugar and cocoa over medium low heat and remove from heat.
  2. Lightly beat egg in a small bowl.
  3. Whisk in 3 or 4 spoonfuls of the warm chocolate mixture, a spoonful at a time to temper the egg.
  4. Whisk egg into the chocolate mixture and keep whisking until the mixture is thickened and shiny.
  5. Stir in the cashew meal and coconut until you have a thick and sticky dough.



  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 2T heavy cream
  • 2T corn or potato starch
  • 2tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups icing sugar


  1. Beat all ingredients together with an electric mixer on high until light and fluffy.


  • Chocolate candy coating – melted.


  1. Form dough into 24 equal balls, place in muffin tins and flatten to form the bottom layer.
  2. Drop spoonfuls of filling onto crust and spread out with the back of a spoon.
  3. Top with melted chocolate and spread chocolate to cover the icing.

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Gluten Free Nanaimo Bars - A Canadian favorite made gluten free - from Follow Me on Pinterest

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Gluten Free Nanaimo Bars from Follow Me on Pinterest

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Looking for more individual sized Holiday Desserts? How about Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake in a Jar?
{click the picture to get the recipe}

Gluten Free Tiny Cherry Tarts made with Pillsbury Pie and Pastry Dough from Follow Me on Pinterest

Another individual sized dessert! Perfect for the holiday dessert tray!
Gluten Free Tiny Cherry Tarts
{click the picture for the recipe}

Link Parties:

This post is linked up with Vegetarian Mamma’s Gluten Free Fridays Gluten Free Homemaker’s Gluten Free Wednesdays, Poor and Gluten Free Waste Not Want Not Wednesday, The Tasty Alternative’s Allergy Free Wednesdays

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11 thoughts on “Gluten Free Nanaimo Bars

  1. gfhomemaker says:

    These look delicious! I shared them on my Facebook page, and they’ve been a big hit there. Thanks for linking up at Gluten-Free Wednesdays.

  2. DIANE says:

    How many does this recipe make? It just says to use a muffin tin but not number of cups to fill.

  3. Loni Demaine says:

    I am just looking for a little clarification – it looks to me that the crust contains egg and you do not cook it. Does this mean it contains raw egg when you are all done? Thanks.

    • jodi stewart says:

      Hi Loni, the egg cooks because of the heat of the melted butter. The cooked egg protein is what causes the crust to thicken. You need to temper the egg (add a little bit of the melted butter mixture to the beaten egg before you pour the egg into the melted butter) because the heat from the butter will scramble it. I hope that clears things up! 🙂

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