24 Kid-Approved Lunchbox Treats
Lunchtime is the best part of the school day, and dessert is the best part of a packed lunch—do the math. Brighten your kid’s day (and make your lunch the envy of everyone in class) and slip one of these homemade treats inside.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookie Bars
They’re everything you love about a classic PB&J sandwich, but in cookie form (i.e. way better). These peanut butter and jelly bars feature a chewy peanut butter cookie layer, topped with a sweet-tart jammy layer, and finished off with a crunchy peanut butter streusel. While they would make for a perfect lunchbox treat to send with your kiddos (particularly if you’re not already packing them a PB&J sandwich), these nostalgic, deliciously balanced cookie bars are also a huge hit with the grown-up crowd. Pack them up for your next tailgate or potluck, and ready yourself for rave reviews. We went with grape jam for our bars, but feel free to use your favorite flavor instead.
Copycat Little Debbie Oatmeal Crème Pies
Is this recipe an exact replica of Little Debbie Oatmeal Crème Pies? No. These are better. Rather than thin cakes, we went for oatmeal cookies that pack an almost peanut-butter-like flavor without any nuts. The crème filling completely nails what we love about the prepackaged pies, but takes things further with an almost airy, marshmallow-based consistency. If that doesn’t convince you, preparing these at home is just as quick (if not faster) than a grocery run.
Peach-Strawberry Fruit Leather
This kid-friendly fruit snack recipe requires just 4 ingredients.
Chai Swirl Cheesecake Bars
These eye-catching dessert bars taste like your favorite chai latte, reimagined in cheesecake form. Featuring flavorful swirls of chai-infused cream cheese filling, each bite offers richly aromatic, spiced flavor set against a cool and creamy vanilla cheesecake backdrop. They’re a simple dessert to make, but undeniably impressive.
All-Time Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies
When it comes to making cookies from scratch, these crispy-chewy chocolate chip cookies represent the best of the best. Simple ingredients and easy-to-follow instructions make this a recipe you'll come back to again and again. Whip up a batch of these all-time favorite cookies and they won't last long. Pro tip: Bake 10 minutes for a softer cookie or up to 14 minutes for a crispier cookie.
After you've made these craveworthy cookies, don't forget to try our fun variations. All sorts of goodies—from crushed white-chocolate pretzels to toffee candy—can be added to the batter to create other signature cookies.
Homemade Toaster Pastries
Kids will love to help assemble these DIY toaster pastries, complete with icing and sprinkles!
Sheet Pan Oatmeal Toffee-Orange Cream Bars
These toasty-sweet, sheet pan sandwich cookies are fantastic for potlucks or tailgates—heck, whip a batch up on the weekend and enjoy for after-school snacks or dessert throughout the week. Toffee bits and cinnamon kick up the flavor of a traditional oatmeal cookie, while adding fresh orange zest to the filling adds a special touch or bright flavor to these tasty bars. Be sure the cookie is completely cool (out of the pan) before cutting it, or it will crumble. And to ensure a smooth cut, you’ll want to chill the filled cookie really well before slicing into bars.
Raspberry Crumble Bars
Gooey and crumbly bars are the perfect snack. To give these dessert bars an extra-thick layer of fruit, we added berries to the mixture. Fresh or frozen berries will work equally fine in this recipe. For the neatest squares, cool the bars completely before cutting—or refrigerate up to two hours.
Chocolate Crème-Filled Sandwich Cookies
Use this recipe to make your favorite chocolate sandwich cookies at home.
Toffee Blond Brownies
The sweet toffee bits melt during baking and give these thin, gooey brownies a crunchy topping.
Sweet and Salty Popcorn Balls
These festive Sweet and Salty Popcorn Balls are not only fun to eat, but cheap and yummy, too! To dress up these party bites, drizzle with melted semi-sweet or white chocolate.
Best Fudgy Brownies
Meet your new go-to recipe for homemade brownies. These decadent treats are extra rich and fudgy, thanks to a double hit of baking chocolate and bittersweet chocolate morsels. They’re incredibly easy to make, plus you probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry already. And while we’re definitely not above boxed brownie mixes, these homemade brownies would certainly steal the show at any party or get-together.
Junk Food Cookie Bars
The next time you're at the end of an exceptionally rough week, we'd definitely recommend whipping up a batch of these kitchen sink cookie bars. The perfect decadent balance of salty and sweet, these chewy treats are here to satisfy all junk food cravings. We loaded them up with peanut butter, chocolate chips, pretzels, Oreos, potato chips, and M&M’s, but feel free to experiment with swapping in some of your favorite snacks and flavors.
Sugar, spice, and everything nice, that's what these classic cookies are made of! If you're not already sold, these cookies are low in calories and easy to make.
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Bugle Bars
Creamy, crunchy, rich, salty, and sweet all at the same time—these no-bake, chocolate-peanut butter bars are everything. Crisp crushed Bugles (one of our staffs’ junk food favorites) make for an fun and amazingly delicious twist on a typical crumb crust. They lend the perfect hit of salty, crispy, buttery goodness in the base of this cookie bar, and topping the assembled bars with a another handful of the the whole chips is a playful touch that lets folks know what’s in store when they bite into this salty-sweet situation. These decadent cookie bars were a huge hit in the test kitchen, and recipe developer Ivy Odom notes that they would be “perfect for tailgates, school parties, or for eating in front of the TV, with wine and the rest of the bag of Bugles, after a long day at work.”
Girl Scout Cookie Layer Bars
Why pick one Girl Scout Cookie when you can have them all… in one epic dessert bar. This decadent amalgamation of Girl Scout Cookies—featuring Trefoils, Samoas, Do-si-dos, and Tagalongs—is the perfect recipe for anyone who simply can’t say no to any scout who asks. Go ahead; generosity earns you extra indulgence points, everyone knows that.
Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies
Add some color to your cookie tray with these jam-filled thumbprints. This recipe could also be your healthy alternative for the next school party.
Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and rich and delicious all the way around is how readers rate these brownie-like cookies. Need we say more?
Unicorn Snack Bars
These sweet unicorn treats are adorable enough to serve at a birthday party, but easy enough to throw together for after-school snacks during the week. Adding almonds and apple chips into the mix make these snack bars more substantial and flavorful than a plain rice cereal treat, but these ingredients are easily swapped to accommodate your favorite mix-ins or nut allergies. We added a touch of food coloring to give the bars a cheerful pink hue, but it’s A-OK to leave it out if you would prefer.
Almond Joy Cookies
Peanut Butter Candy Bar Brownies
No-Bake Chewy Granola Bars
These bars are a perfectly portable snack you can prep on Sunday and enjoy throughout the week. Wrap leftovers tightly in plastic wrap, and store in the fridge. The bars will continue to firm up as they chill.
Hello Dolly Bars
Raspberry, Sumac, and Almond Snack Cake
Featuring a delightfully crunchy almond topping along with the delicate sunny brightness of sumac, this cake is effortlessly impressive. And given how easy it is to whip up, it’s a perfect go-to recipe for any occasion that calls for a special treat. Lightly toasting the almond flour before incorporating it into the batter imbues the cake with a delicious toasty depth; however, if you’re in a hurry, rest assured, the overall success of the recipe is not incumbent on this step. Serve as-is or with lightly sweetened whipped cream.