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How to Cut Perfect Bars Every Time

Updated June 3, 2019
Looking to take your bars up a notch? Check out these creative cuts for an easy way to elevate your freshly baked treats!

Whether you make simple brownies or layered works of art, your bars will look even more special cut into interesting shapes. Bars can be difficult to cut—so check out our helpful hints for making your bars beautiful!

Preparing bars for cutting

  • Line the baking pan: Fit a large piece of aluminum foil into the bottom of the pan and up over the sides, extending about 4 inches to create "handles." Grease as directed by the recipe. Fill with batter and bake as directed.
  • Cool baked bars completely: If you try to cut bars that are still warm, they'll crumble and fall apart before you get them out of the pan. No one wants to put a gooey mess on display, so be patient and use a cooling rack to help them along.
  • Freeze the cooled bars: Cover and freeze your bars for at least 2 hours, or overnight, to firm them up. Using the aluminum foil "handles," lift the complete pan of frozen bar cookies onto a cutting board.
  • Invert the bars: Some types of cookie bars—such as, Chocolate Caramel-Revel Bars and Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies—feature surfaces that aren't easily smashed or ruined. These bars can be inverted onto a cookie sheet, so the foil can be removed. Flip the inverted bars right side up onto the cutting board for the next step. Frost, if desired, before cutting.

Simply stunning shapes

Be sure to measure for accuracy—cutting all the bars exactly the same size helps make them look like they came from a fancy bakery.

How to cut squares or rectangles

cutting bars into squares

1.  Measure with a ruler to get the exact number of bars you want. Using a sturdy paring knife, lightly score the ends of the bars to correlate with your desired measurements. For example, score every 2 inches along the two short sides and every 4 inches along the two long sides.

2.  Prepare your chef's knife for cutting by coating with cooking spray and then wiping it clean with a paper towel. This step will help prevent the knife from sticking to the bars as you cut.

Cutting bars into rectangles

3.  Line up the chef's knife with the score marks, starting from the middle of the complete block of bars. Extend the knife across the surface of the bars to the other side. Firmly press knife down through the bars and gently drag the knife out of the end closest to you. Repeat this step as many times as needed. With each pass, wipe the chef's knife clean with a damp cloth. Coat with cooking spray and wipe clean again. (Yes, it's time-consuming, but we promise the results will make it worthwhile!)

How to cut triangles

cutting bars into triangles

Cut bars as directed above to create rectangles or squares. Cut the rectangular and square bars in half diagonally to create triangles. Try cutting our Triple Chip Cookie Bars into triangles for an impressive finishing touch.

How to cut diamonds

cutting bars into diamonds

When cutting your bars into diamonds, we recommend starting with a recipe that’s made in a 13x9-inch pan. This size makes cutting diamonds so much easier.

  1. To make precise and accurate cuts, insert three toothpicks, evenly spaced, along all four sides of the cooled bars.
  2. Cut diagonally across the bars beginning in one corner—the lower left corner is an easy place to make your first cut—and cutting from one toothpick to the next closest on the perpendicular side. Continue making cuts across the bars moving from left to right.
  3. When you’ve cut all the way across, begin cutting from the corner above where you started—if you started in the lower-left, begin the second set of cuts from the upper-left corner—and keep cutting in line with the toothpicks moving from left to right.

Try this method out with our wow-worthy Salted Toffee Bars.

Styling tip: When cutting a bar cookie with a crumble or delicate topping, like our Peach Melba Bars, use a paring knife coated with cooking spray to "saw" through the top layer. Then, finish the job with the chef's knife technique described above.

Styling tip for cutting peach melba bars with a coated paring knife.

More pretty shapes for bars

  • Thin cookie sticks:
    1. Measure 1-inch intervals along either the short or long end of the pan of bar cookies.
    2. Cut through the bars using the chef's knife technique described above to create long 1-inch strips.
    3. Working from the short end, cut 3-inch rows to create "sticks."

  • Long and sweet slivers: Follow the instructions for rectangular bars above. Then, working from the short end of each bar, simply cut it in half to create two rows of long, thin bars.
  • Circles, stars and other simple shapes: Choose a sturdy metal cookie cutter—at least 1-inch deep—with a simple shape, such as circles or stars. Cutters with intricate designs will not release bars completely after cutting.
    1. Coat the cutter(s) with cooking spray and then wipe clean with a paper towel.
    2. Firmly and quickly press the cutter down through the pan of bar cookies.
    3. Gently cut away the outer scraps using a paring knife.
    4. Slide a spatula under the cutter and lift the shape out to a flat, clean surface. Remove the cutter.

  • Transferring bars after cutting: So you're done cutting the bar cookies into pretty shapes, now what? Use a thin, but sturdy, metal spatula that’s square or rectangular shaped. The closer it is in size to the bar cookies, the better it will work. Make sure the spatula features straight, squared-off edges. Alternately, use two thin, flat icing spatulas to help support each bar. With the right tool, it’s easy to transfer your bars to a platter or gift box.
  • Presenting your bars: When layering bars, make sure the tops of the bars are suitable for stacking. If so, separate each layer with parchment or waxed paper.