Mud Hen Bars

These sweet Mud Hen dessert bars are perfect for potlucks and parties! Everyone loves them!

I was looking for a bar treat to make for a party and stumbled across a recipe for Mud Hen Bars. The bars have a cookie crust and are topped with marshmallows and chocolate chips. Wait, there is more! The bars also have a brown sugar meringue topping. I wasn’t sure where the “Mud Hen” name came from, but I didn’t care. I was going to make the bars anyways.

First, you make a basic cookie dough crust and top it with mini marshmallows and chocolate chips. You can add chopped nuts, but I left them out since Josh is allergic and I really don’t care for nuts in my cookies and bar treats.

Next, you beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks and gently fold in the brown sugar.

You cover the bars with the meringue topping and bake for about 30 minutes. And then you impatiently wait for the bars to cool so you can can cut and devour them. Oh wait, these were for a party so I couldn’t devour them all, but I did sneak a taste. I loved the cookie base, but the best part of these bars is the brown sugar meringue topping. The topping is sweet, crackly, and melts in your mouth.

Everyone at the party loved these bars and wanted the recipe. When I told them they were Mud Hen Bars, they looked confused. I told them not to worry because I don’t know why they are called Mud Hen Bars either:) I still have no idea, but I don’t really care. All I know is that these bars are super duper delicious and that is all that matters to me!

More Bar Recipes

Mud Hen Bars

These sweet dessert bars are perfect for potlucks and parties! Everyone loves them!


  • ½ cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, divided (1 egg, 2 yolks, and 2 egg whites)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (I left these out)
  • 1 cup light brown sugar


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 pan and set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter and granulated sugar until creamy. Beat in 1 whole egg and 2 egg yolks (put aside the whites for later.) Beat in the vanilla extract.
  • In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Blend until just combined. Spread mixture into 9×13″ pan. Sprinkle with marshmallows, chocolate chips, and nuts-if using.
  • Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the brown sugar. Spread mixture evenly over marshmallows and chocolate chips. Bake for about 30 minutes or until bars are a deep golden brown. Let bars cool completely. Cut into squares and serve.


Calories: 198kcal, Carbohydrates: 28g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 31mg, Sodium: 71mg, Potassium: 88mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 20g, Vitamin A: 148IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 27mg, Iron: 1mg

Have you tried this recipe?

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I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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  1. these look sooo good, Maria!

    I just posted about some bars I made earlier today…marshmallows, white choc chips, peanut butter, 4 layers of cake and goo and frosting.

    After those bars are done, I want to make your Mud Hen bars!!!!

  2. Um hello delicious. Chocolate chips and marshmallow are our baking kryptonite – we cannot resist!

  3. These looks so yummy! I’ve never heard of “Mud Hen Bars” either–but it sure is a fun name. I’ve sometimes heard Magic Cookie Bars called “Congo Bars” too, so go figure, I guess. πŸ™‚

  4. I’ve never heard of Mud Hen Bars. I’ll have to whip these up sometime because they look so good!

  5. These sound fabulous!! I’ve come across recipes for these over the years and have never tried them…now I must!!

  6. I have never heard of these! But they look and sound fantastic! I love it! That meringue topping looks so good!

  7. Mmm! We both just posted something with meringue and I thought I didn’t like meringue, but I loved the baked Alaska I made and these look delicious, too!

  8. I’m from Toledo, OH, and our minor league baseball team is the Toledo Mud Hens. Maybe these are somehow connnected?

  9. perhaps the name is from MASH, Cpl Klinger’s Toledo Mud Hens? I’m saving this recipe for when I need something to give away, or else cut into very small pieces

  10. I just love the name πŸ™‚ And that brown sugar topping, wow!! These are going down as must try this weekend. xoxo

  11. Ive had my eye on a mud hen recipe for literally years but never got round to making them, yours look too ruddy tempting though so may have to whip out those marshmallows asap! I made some bars called walrus bars the other day, what is it about weird animal names hey! πŸ™‚

  12. These totally caught my eye on Foodgawker. I think it’s the brown sugar meringue topping, I love the way it cracks and looks so inviting!

  13. I’m pretty sure this is the greatest recipe ever invented. Oh my goodness. Heaven in every bite, I’m sure! πŸ™‚ Yum!

  14. Oooh, I love these bars! I used to make them often before going gluten-free, and had forgotten about them until now (thanks for the reminder – I’ll be adapting them soon!) – but I’ve never heard them called “mud hen bars.” What a crazy name!

  15. These are delicious! Just suffered thru the 30 minutes of cooling down time, but it was worth the wait. Absolute cookie bar heaven! Thanks for the recipe.

  16. Are these chewy or dry? Love bar cookies, but sometimes they are dry, I tried a Congo bar recipe that was too dry! I want to try this recipe, but am hoping they are moist and chewy! We tend to like our regular cookies and brownies on the under-done side.

    Worth trying!

  17. Oh WOW, these look so delicious! Lately I haven’t been able to indulge in sweets, but I think I may just make an exception for these…

  18. this is one of the most randomly composed and named bars i’ve ever seen, and frankly, i think i’m in love. what a delightful treat–thanks for bringing it to my attention!

  19. These look fabulous – they kind of remind me of blondies. I will have to make them as soon as our baking stuff arrives. The trip from Boston – Abu Dhabi via boat has been long and we’ve been without our cooking tools (pots, pants, etc) for 2 months now… Thanks for sharing!

  20. The name may be strange, but it does kinda grow on you after awhile! These definitely look like something my family would enjoy – thanks for sharing.

  21. Oo-oo-ooooo! They look fab – I’m slightly obsessed by meringue at the moment now that I’ve finally been brave enough to try making it!

  22. I made these bars for the secret recipe club (posted tomorrow) and LOVED them. Silly mane indeed but one delicious treat! I had never heard of them before either.

  23. These are wonderful…I got the recipe for Mud Hens from my Southern Plate cookbook by Chrisry Jordan. They are a big hit where ever I take them.

  24. Thanks for the recipe!! I made them last week and while they were pretty good, the cookie base didn’t cook all the way πŸ™ Next time Ill cook the base for 5 minutes (or so) then add the toppings! Very interesting texture and they are not overly sweet. Thanks for sharing!

  25. I am making these and they look AMAZING. My only problem is that I didn’t seem to have enough “stuff” to fill the pan. They are in the oven right now – hopefully they poof up – but the photos here are so beautiful and I could not make them look like that. I imagine they will taste great, though!

  26. I know where the name comes from!!! The name, ‘mud hen,’ comes from a term used to describe homely or unattractive individuals– or at least it’s the term my elderly mother used to describe them. πŸ™‚ But these bars are NOT unattractive at all!

  27. Maria, how many bars did you cut these into? I am thinking about taking them to a cookie swap, but I am not sure how tiny they can be and still be “enough” if that makes sense. Thanks for sharing the recipe and all your pictures/directions. I am looking forward to trying them!

    1. It makes a 9×13 pan. You can cut them really big for 12-16 servings or small for 24. Just depends on how big you want the pieces:)

  28. This recipe has been around for quite awhile – my grandmother(back in the 50’s) made them quite often, but without the chips and marshmallows.

  29. I live in Toledo, OH and we have a minor league baseball team named the MudHens! I am so going to make these bars on opening day!! Wait – I don’t think I can make it till April! May have to make a test batch!! They look so YUMMY!!! Thanks! Pinning the recipe right now!!!

  30. These were delicious and fun to make. I made them for a party I went to and everyone absolutely loved them. I wonder if you could make them with a brownie bottom too?

  31. Grew up eating Mud Hens in Upper Michigan. Grandma’s had nuts instead of choc and m’mallows, then coconut in the meringue. Super yummy……

  32. The Toledo Mud Hens are a minor league baseball team affiliated with the Detroit Tigers. I’m a big fan. I’ll definitely make these for opening day! πŸ™‚

  33. My daughter served these bars to our family at lunch today. Yes, I asked her to repeat the name ‘Mud Hen Bars’ several times. We all loved them. They have just the right combo of brown sugar chocolate chewiness that makes it hard to stop eating them!

  34. Butterscotch Chips and Pecans that were chopped fine and Marshmallows and we LOVED them. We may try again with Dark Chocolate Chips and Marshmallows since we do not care much for milk chocolate. As it is, the ones I made with Chopped Pecans, Butterscotch Chips and Marshmallows did not last very long so will definitely make a double Batch next time.

  35. Just made these tonight…wanted to make something different for the fam. Honestly, these are pretty bad. The ingredients just dont go well together. The “crust” is super bland with a unimpressive texture…more shortbread-like would have been tastier and better mouthfeel. The rest of the concoction was wayyy to sweet…holy moly! You would think the flavors of the crust and top would balance each other but they are just kinda gross together, and kinda gross separately. My four boys and husband will hoover just about everything I bake, but these were sadly an epic fail.

  36. I believe this recipe did come from Toledo, home to the Mud Hens. Many, many years ago, the recipe was published in the Toledo Blade, and we’ve been making them ever since!

  37. I made this for a ladies gathering. I was nervous since I had never made it before but everyone loved it so much that I was only able to try the leftover crumbs. Will be making it again. Thanks for a great recipe

  38. I had these 20 years ago, and have been looking for the recipe ever since! I had thought they were some type of s’more bar, so I could never never find them. So very happy to have found this!! Thank you!!