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Camp Cooking: Magic Layer Pie

This Magic Layer Pie, which is adapted from the new, revised edition of my camping cookbook, Campfire Cuisine, is super easy to make—you just layer the ingredients into the pan and go—and only requires a frying pan, with a lid or foil to cover it, and a camp stove (it would work equally well on your stovetop at home). It’s sure to delight campers of all persuasions.

campfire 7-layer bar pie

It’s officially camping season and all around me, throngs of outdoor adventurers are readying their camping gear and pondering whether to head for the mountains or the desert, the coast or the woods. Me? I’m already planning the menu. Don’t get me wrong, I love the outdoors as much as the next guy, but for me, the food is the highlight of any camping—or life—adventure. And that sentiment goes doubly for dessert.

There is just something deeply satisfying about sweet treats—gooey, toasty s’mores oozing with chocolate, fresh summer peaches baked over a fire with a rousing shot of rum, piping hot bananas baked with brown sugar and cinnamon—eaten under a sky lit up by millions of stars, breathing fresh air scented by tall trees, rich earth, and a crackling campfire.

What I’ve learned in my years of cooking at camp sites is that the food doesn’t need to be elaborate to delectable. This Magic Layer Pie is a perfect example. It’s a skillet-cooked version of that elementary school bake sale staple known as Seven-Layer Bars—layers of graham cracker crumbs, butter, sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips, shredded coconut, and chopped pecans all baked together into oozy deliciousness.

Yield: 8 to 10

Magic Layer Pie

Magic Layer Pie

This stovetop version of the bake sale staple Seven-Layer Bars, may be a bit messier than the original, but it is every bit as delicious. Be sure to allow the pie to cool completely before serving. This recipe was adapted from my book Campfire Cuisine.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup shredded, sweetened coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans


  1. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Lower the heat to low and add the graham cracker crumbs. Using a spoon or fork, mix the crumbs with the melted butter to moisten them, then spread them out in an even layer covering the entire bottom of the pan.
  2. Next, add the rest of the ingredients to the pan in layers, starting with the sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips, coconut, and pecans. Spread out each ingredient as you add it to form fairly uniform layers.
  3. Cover tightly with a lid or aluminum foil and cook over low heat for 25 to 30 minutes, until the sweetened condensed milk has thickened. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool completely. Cut into wedges and serve.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 580Total Fat 33gSaturated Fat 15gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 16gCholesterol 38mgSodium 235mgCarbohydrates 70gFiber 4gSugar 57gProtein 9g


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By on July 1st, 2013

About Robin Donovan

Hi, I’m Robin! I am a full-time food blogger, recipe developer, and cookbook author. I spend my days cooking, writing about, and photographing food.

I’m the author of more than 40 cookbooks, including Ramen for Beginners, 5 Ingredient Cooking for Two, Sushi at Home, The Baking Cookbook for Teens, and the bestselling Campfire Cuisine.

My food writing has also been featured in major print and online pubications including Cooking Light, Fitness, San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle, and other popular publications.

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