Half gooey butter cake and half snickerdoodle cookie, these cinnamon gooey butter bars are soft, full of rich flavor, and simply irresistible.

stack of cinnamon gooey butter bars

I have the most perfect cozy dessert right here! All three layers of these cinnamon gooey butter bars combine to make a deliciously rich and flavorful treat that everyone will go nuts for.

Here’s what these bars are made of:

  • Snickerdoodle-like cookie base
  • Super soft and slightly gooey cake-like center
  • Crispy lid of cinnamon sugar on top

They may look simple and unassuming, but looks aren’t everything. These cinnamon gooey butter bars are amazing! Make a batch for your next party or gathering, and I promise everyone will be asking you for the recipe.

sliced cinnamon gooey butter bars with knife

Ingredients you’ll need

Here’s everything required to make these cinnamon gooey butter bars (full recipe at the end of this article). You likely have most (or all) of these ingredients already in your kitchen!

cinnamon gooey butter bars ingredients

How to make cinnamon gooey butter bars

  1. Prepare cookie base. This recipe uses the creaming method to make both the cookie and gooey butter layers. Use an electric mixer to cream butter and sugar together, then add egg. Add dry ingredients in two additions, alternating with the milk. Dollop the dough evenly into a 9×13-inch baking pan lined with parchment paper, then use an offset spatula to spread it into an even layer. cookie base spread into baking pan
  2. Prepare gooey butter layer. This layer is very similar to the cookie base (and you can use the same bowl without washing it!). Cream butter and sugar together, then add egg. Whisk together milk, corn syrup, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with liquid ingredients. Dollop and spread batter over the top of the cookie base.
  3. Top with cinnamon sugar. Combine cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle over the batter. It may seem like a lot, but use the full amount! spreading gooey butter layer over cookie base with spatula
  4. Bake (but don’t overbake!): These bars are done when the edges have browned, but the center still jiggles slightly when the pan is gently shaken, 25-35 minutes. Error on the side of underbaking than overbaking.
  5. Cool. Let the bars cool completely to room temperature to let the gooey middle set up properly, which can take an hour or more.
  6. Slice, serve and enjoy! Use a sharp knife to cut bars into 24 squares.
cinnamon gooey bars before and after baking

The challenge to not overbake

It’s hard to know when to take things out of the oven, at least for me. I’m constantly peeking into the oven and thinking to myself “maybe just a minute or two more…” Often our fear of under baking trumps our concern of over baking and we bake things a little longer than we should.

Sometimes it’s not really noticeable, other times it is. If you bake these gooey cinnamon squares for too long, you lose the gooey layer and the best thing about them. Take these out of the oven when the cinnamon sugar is crisp, the edges have browned, but the center appears set but jiggles just slightly when the pan is gently shaken. It will firm up when it cools, I promise.

More tips for this recipe

  • You can use honey or maple syrup in place of the light corn syrup in this recipe.
  • Whole milk will provide the richest flavor, but 2% milk will also work great. I do not recommend 1% or skim milk.
  • Make sure you scrape down the bowl of the mixer often! To ensure the batter (for both the cookie and gooey butter layers) mixes and bakes evenly, stop the mixer frequently and use a flexible spatula to scrape down the whole bowl at least once during each stage of mixing— creaming the butter and sugar, adding the egg, and mixing in dry ingredients along with the wet ingredients.
  • There’s no need to wash the mixer bowl in between the cookie base and gooey butter layer. Simply scrape it out well with a spatula and you’re good to go.
  • Baking these bars in a parchment-lined pan makes it easy to lift the cooled bars out of the pan for slicing.
  • For the cleanest slices, make sure the bars have cooled completely to room temperature. Use a sharp knife to cut the bars into squares, wiping the knife clean in between each cut.
  • These bars will keep for several days at room temperature in an airtight container (if they last that long!).
closeup of cinnamon gooey butters in a stack with a bite taken

More cozy cinnamon recipes

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This recipe was originally published in March 2013 to celebrate Deb Perelman’s new cookbook, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.

Gooey Cinnamon Squares

Half gooey butter cake and half snickerdoodle cookie, these squares are irresistible.
stack of cinnamon gooey butter bars
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5 from 1 vote

Ingredients

Cookie base:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter , at room temperature (113 grams)
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar (150 grams)
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup whole or 2% milk (60 ml)
  • 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour (188 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Gooey layer:

  • ¼ cup light corn syrup (60 ml)
  • ¼ cup whole milk (60 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter , at room temperature (170 grams)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (200 grams)
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (125 grams)

Topping:

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions

To make the cookie base:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F and line a 9×13 inch baking pan with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or a bowl with a hand-held mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium high speed until pale and creamy.
  • Add the egg, mixing until incorporated, and scraping down the bowl as needed. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the milk, and mix just until combined. Spread batter into the bottom of the prepared baking pan (Mixture will be thick. Dollop spoonfuls of batter evenly into the pan, then use a spatula to spread batter to the edges).

To make the gooey layer:

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the corn syrup, milk, and vanilla.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or a bowl with a hand-held mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium high speed until pale and creamy.
  • Add the egg, mixing until incorporated, scraping the bowl down as needed. Add the flour and salt in three additions, alternating with the milk mixture, starting and ending with the flour. Spread the batter evenly over the cookie base in the baking dish (Use the dollop-and-spread method here too for easiest spreading).

To make the topping:

  • In a small bowl, combine the sugar and ground cinnamon to make the topping. Sprinkle evenly over the batter. Bake until top is golden brown, 25-30 minutes. Let bars cool completely to room temperature (the gooey layer won't set until the squares have cooled completely).
  • Let cool, then slice into 2-inch squares. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature.
Recipe adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.

Nutrition

Sodium: 83mg, Calcium: 14mg, Vitamin A: 323IU, Sugar: 19g, Fiber: 1g, Potassium: 48mg, Cholesterol: 40mg, Calories: 213kcal, Saturated Fat: 6g, Fat: 10g, Protein: 2g, Carbohydrates: 29g, Iron: 1mg
Have you tried this recipe?I’d love to hear about it! Leave a review below or take a photo and tag it on Instagram @completelydelicious with #completelydelicious.