Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars

4.72 from 7 votes

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A slice of a oatmeal chocolate chip bar.
Watch the Platter Talk Guys put these together, on Good Day Wisconsin. Click the photo above to be connected to the link.

This Boat Bars Dessert Recipe in an easy and dreamy baked treat, created by my late mother-in-law, years ago. In many ways, these boat bars are a reflection of the lady behind them. Guaranteed to bring a smile to your face, everyone loves these delicious and uncomplicated Boat Bars.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars

Ingredients in a stand mixer.
©Platter Talk

One of the magical things about food is how it is capable of taking us back to another time and place.

A paper recipe for dessert bars.

When I asked for this recipe, I was sent this tangible memory, a photo taken from the church cookbook. This was about as close as possible to getting the recipe directly from Janette, who has been gone for over a decade now.

A close up of a pan of dessert bars.
©Platter Talk

These Boat Bars were nearly synonymous with Jeanette.  Her kitchen knew no strangers and if you ever walked into it, chances are very high that there was a pot of brats on the stove and a pan of Boat Bars.

oatmeal chocolate bars in a pan
©Platter Talk

You’re probably wondering why these are called Boat Bars. Although I know the answer, it’s one that I won’t divulge. It’s only proper for certain things to remain within the circle of family and loved ones. For the purpose of this post, the origin of this recipe’s name is not relevant.

oatmeal bars on a plate
©Platter Talk

One bite of these and you will instantly realize what is relevant: Their taste.

a close up a of oatmeal chocolate bar.
©Platter Talk

These Boat Bars feature a chewy, chocolate texture. They go together quickly and they have a tendency to disappear even faster.

chocolate bars on a platter

Make these today and you’ll have just a small idea of how special the lady was behind these boat bars.

A close up of chocolate dessert bars.

Other deliciously sweet treats

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars

4.72 from 7 votes
Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars are an addictive and easy cookie bar recipe with few ingredients. Recipe from my wonderful, late mother-in-law, Jeanette Fetzer Heyroth.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Yield: 24 Bars


for the crust

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 teaspoon salt

for the filling

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk, 14 oz
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut or crushed nuts


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In large bowl (or stand mixer) cream butter, sugar and salt.
  • Add oatmeal and flour, a little at a time until thoroughly mixed and crumbly.
  • Meanwhile, using large skillet over low heat, stir milk and chocolate chips together until smooth and chocolatey.
  • Add coconut or nuts.
  • Spray a 9 x 13" baking pan with non-stick coating.
  • Using 2/3 of crust mixture, press evenly into bottom of pan.
  • Evenly spread chocolate mixture over crust.
  • Use reserved 1/3 crust mixture and sprinkle evenly over top. Press gently.
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown on top.
  • Allow to cool completely on wire rack before cutting. (Good luck with the waiting part. You're going to need it.)


If you don't care for coconut, you can leave it out of this recipe.
Crush toasted nuts, of any kind, are a great alternative topping.


Calories: 206kcal, Carbohydrates: 27g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 18mg, Sodium: 166mg, Potassium: 35mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 19g, Vitamin A: 211IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 29mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: All American
Tried this recipe?Mention @plattertalk or tag #plattertalk!

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Meet the Platter Talk Guys

Dan & Scott split their time between Wisconsin and Southwest Florida and are dads to six boys. Good food runs through their veins, and they love showing others how to cook easy recipes.

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  1. I love that you included one of your family recipes. When I first saw the title “boat cookies”, I just thought you meant really big cookies 🙂 Can’t wait to enjoy these.

  2. The first thing I thought was, “what are boat bars?”. I completely agree that some things should stay within the family. We have a chicken salad recipe that is top secret in our family. These treats looks so decadent with the coconut and chocolate. Right up my alley!

    1. Thanks for the comments and of course for understanding! These are so simple and yes, so wonderful; we appreciate you stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment.

  3. 5 stars
    These so remind me of MY Grandmother! Wow, memory lane simply seeing “shortening” in the recipe. These look fantastic, my kinda dessert!

    1. Shortening! Love it, Kevin. As you alluded, that usually means simple, good taste, and great memories. Thanks so much for stopping by.

  4. Ahh… but it was the name that caught my eye!! But at least I feel as though I got to know a little bit of Jeanette through these fabulous bars. I have a teenage college boy who I have a feeling could clear a plate of these in a flash. A keeper!

  5. I think this was meant to be. I have all the ingredients and my youngest dd has been in a baking mood lately. This will make the perfect recipe to bake today. BTW- is this regular oats, not quick cook…correct?

  6. These look so yummy, Dan! What a great family recipe; I can understand why it’s so treasured as the bars look incredible. I love the shredded coconut too <3

    1. Hi Marilyn, I’ve made these bars with both amounts of salt, and with no salt at all; I prefer just a tad more than the original recipe, to help accent the chocolate. It’s great to hear from you and thanks for the question.