These Ooey Gooey Bars are so simple to make, always a crowd favorite, and melt-in-your-mouth delicious! With cake mix, butter, cream cheese, and powdered sugar in the ingredients, you cannot go wrong. The hardest part will be waiting for them to cool!
Originally posted July 2012, updated April 2022
Ooey Gooey Bars
Today I'm going to share a super easy recipe with you. Why? Because it's the day after a holiday - and we all need an easy day after a holiday.
Also, this recipe is a family favorite.
If we remember at the last minute we need to take a dessert to church - we make these bars.
If we are having guests and need a no-fuss dessert - we make these bars.
And if my older sons are coming over and I want to make something they love? Yup, you guessed it. We make these Ooey Gooey Butter Bars.
And what makes this recipe even more appealing? It's super-duper easy and anybody can make it. My kids make it all the time!
Plus, you probably have the ingredients on hand (or you should... 😉).
Make these today. Or this weekend. Or for your next potluck - you'll be everybody's hero!
This recipe has been around forever with my family. And it has at least a dozen different names and as many variations.
But whatever you call it - or whatever small alterations you make... the bottom line is, Gooey Butter Bars are the bomb!! I could bake a pan of these and eat the entire dish with a spoon! One taste of them and you'll be hooked!
When Paula Deen made these Gooey Butter Cake Bars popular, she really did us all a favor! Cake mix (yum!)... cream cheese (more yum!)... butter (um, helloooo?... YUM!)... and sugar (of course)!
Let me give you a few more details...
- Cake Mix - Yellow Cake Mix is the popular choice, but I've also used Butter Cake Mix and had great results! Want to change things up? Try a Lemon Cake Mix or Chocolate Cake Mix for fun variations!
- Melted Butter - I always use salted butter. Unsalted butter would work just as well, but you may want to add a pinch of salt to the cake batter.
- Eggs - large eggs are great for this recipe. Also, always use eggs at room temperature - they bake better that way!
- Cream Cheese - regular cream cheese is the best choice here. I would not recommend substituting the low-fat version.
- Powdered Sugar
- Vanilla Extract - vanilla extract always amps up the flavor of any dish. Make homemade vanilla extract for an even better experience!
How to Make Ooey Gooey Bars
Prepare the bottom layer:
- You will not bake the first layer, but we still need to preheat an oven to 325°F.
- Prepare a 9x13 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
- For the crust, mix the first 3 ingredients together in a large bowl with a fork until mixed together as thoroughly as possible. The texture of the mixture will be, well, dry and clumpy.
- Dump into the dish, spread out and press down with your hands. Cover the bottom and if you want, you can go slightly up the sides of the dish (sometimes I do, sometimes I don't)
Prepare the Ooey Gooey Cream Cheese Layer:
- First, for the cream cheese layer, thoroughly mix the softened cream cheese, eggs, and vanilla.
- Then set aside about ¼ cup of the powdered sugar. Slowly add in the rest of the powdered sugar while mixing (and I mean slowly, else you'll end up with a huge cloud of powdered sugar all over your kitchen!) When you're done mixing, the cream cheese mixture should be nice and smooth.
- Pour the gooey cake batter over the crust in the 9"x13" dish.
- Bake at 325° for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. It'll be so light and flaky too... yum!!
- Remove from the oven and let stand to cool; the top will appear all puffy, but will settle upon cooling. After about 10 minutes or so, sprinkle the remaining powdered sugar over the top.
- Cool completely before serving. Personally, I like these still a little warm, but my friends also like to chill them in the refrigerator and eat them cold. Either way - they're plain deliciousness!!
Pro Tips for Ooey Gooey Butter Cake Bars
- Wait for these to cool before cutting into squares/bars. Otherwise, they'll tear easily.
- Do not overcook the bars or you will not have the ooey gooey texture for the top layer. As soon as they're golden brown, remove them from the oven!
- Spray your pan with non-stick spray, or better yet, use a disposable pan for easy cleanup!
- You can use butter cake mix or vanilla cake mix if you don't have yellow cake mix on hand.
Okay - if I'm being honest here, the trick to enjoying them the most is eating these bars straight out of the pan while they're still warm. 😁 Okay... there are no tricks. But seriously, let them cool then enjoy them while they're fresh and they are amazing! OR eat them at room temp if you like. OR refrigerate them and eat them cold.
They're perfect for dessert, finger foods, parties, potlucks, or an after-school snack!
Ooey Gooey Butter Cake Bars are rich, sweet, two-layer bars that have a crust made from cake mix, butter, and eggs and are topped with a sweet cream cheese layer that is baked until it's flakey, beautiful, and delicious!
Gooey butter cake is believed to have been created in the 1930s in St. Louis, Missouri, and was primarily a local dish until Paula Deen made it famous. The original cake was from scratch and did not include any cream cheese.
The other super popular variation (like mine) includes cream cheese and store-bought yellow cake mix. This variation seems to stem from the St. Louis Convention u0026 Visitors Commission and is sometimes called St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake Bars.
While I almost always refrigerate these bars if we don't eat them all the first day, this cake can safely be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days. If you want to do this, be sure to store it in an airtight container OR cover the bars with aluminum foil or plastic wrap to help keep them from drying out.
More names for Ooey Gooey Bars
- Ooey Gooey Butter Bars
- Gooey Butter Bars
- Gooey Butter Cake Recipe
- Ooey Gooey Butter Cake Bars
- Butter Bars
- Ooey Gooey Bars Recipe
- Paula Deen's Ooey Gooey Butter Cake
- Neiman Marcus Bars
- Texas Gold Bars
- Chess Bars