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Pineapple Coconut Chess Bars

Perfectly gooey with the delightful combination of crushed pineapple and flaked coconut these Pineapple Coconut Chess Bars are the perfect handheld sweet treat that everyone will love.


Easy Pineapple Coconut Chess Bars Recipe

What’s the difference between chess bars and gooey butter cake? In short, very little. The only variation of note is, often chess bars have a bit more mix-in ingredients in the filling than a standard gooey butter cake. Gooey butter cakes made this way have been rotating through Southern kitchens for eons. Made with a cake mix foundation and transformed into a variety of flavor combinations, they remain a Southern dessert favorite for potlucks and holiday parties. Chess bars are the same concept and they use many of the very same ingredients as well as the technique for assembling the layers. This recipe is for chess bars  or another name, chess squares. No matter what they’re called, it all spells delicious.  

Pineapple Coconut Chess Bars

How to Make the Best Pineapple Coconut Chess Bars Recipe

This chess bar recipe features gooey squares of  island inspired deliciousness. The beauty of this kind of dessert is, that bakers of all skill levels can make them since they require only simple ingredients to make. The only challenge is not to over bake them. When chess bars are done, they will still have a “jiggle in the middle” when gently shaken. As they cool, they’ll setup and should be allowed to cool completely before you attempt to cut into bars.

  • Ingredients you’ll need to make Pineapple Coconut Chess Bars: One box yellow cake mix, butter, large eggs, cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla extract crushed pineapple and sweetened flaked coconut.
  • You’ll need a large mixing bowl and a hand mixer or a stand mixer to combine the ingredients together. It wouldn’t be effective to try and do it by hand or using a whisk.
  • It’s important to fully drain the crushed pineapple before adding to the filling.
  • This bar recipe starts with a cake mix, eggs and melted butter base. Use a mixer to combine them together then press the cake mixture onto the bottom of the prepared baking dish or pan.
  • Use a mixer, either a stand mixer or a hand mixer to blend the cream cheese, powdered sugar, eggs, melted butter. (yes there’s more!) Mix in the crushed pineapple and coconut by hand. Pour this over the cake mix bottom layer already pressed into the pan. While baking, the two layers magically combine to form gooey chess bars.
  • It’s important not to overbake. When the center still has a little movement when the pan is gently shaken, that’s a sign that they’re done.
  • Store leftover pineapple coconut chess bars chilled in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Pineapple Coconut Chess Bars

Other Southern Style Chess Bars Recipes to Make

Whether you call them chess bars or gooey butter cake the end result is always delicious. More gooey butter cake recipes you may like to try:


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5 from 4 votes

Pineapple Coconut Chess Bars

Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Cooling Time3 hours
Total Time4 hours 5 minutes
Course: Cakes, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pineapple-coconut-chess-bars
Servings: 30 servings
Calories: 178kcal
Author: Melissa Sperka


  • 1 15.25 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup butter melted separately
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 8 oz cream cheese softened
  • 2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 8 oz cans crushed pineapple well drained
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spritz a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside. 
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer orr with an electric hand mixer, beat together the cake, mix, 1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter and 1 large egg. Press onto the bottom of the baking dish.
  • In the same mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese, powdered sugar. remaining 1/2 cup of melted butter and vanilla. Add 3 large eggs. Continue to beat for 2 minutes until creamy and fluffy. Mix in the crushed pineapple and flaked coconut by hand. Pour over the cake mix crust.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the center still "jiggles" when gently shaken. Cool in pan on a cooling rack to room temperature before cutting into bars.
  • Store leftovers chilled or upo to 5 days.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 178kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 49mg | Sodium: 200mg | Potassium: 39mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 225IU | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @melissassk or tag #melissassk!



  1. Melissa I made this recipe and followed the directions with the exception of the pineapple as I used a 20 oz can. The cake did not rise like yours and it was very liquify.

    1. I can only guess that the additional pineapple wasn’t dry enough. Otherwise, it should have held together without issue. Next time, use the correct amount and squeeze every drop of liquid out that’s possible.

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