High-areal-capacity cathodes are needed for energy-dense solid-state batteries. Here, we demonstrate a bilayer polymer electrolyte design for cycling 3–6 mAh/cm2 NMC811 composite cathodes. The bilayer electrolyte comprises a cross-linked poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO)-based electrolyte layer and a linear-PEO-based electrolyte layer. The former provides dendritic resistance, and the latter provides a seamless interface with the cathode during cycling. Using a single layer of either membrane led to severe shorting or extremely low Coulombic efficiency (CE) in the first cycle. The general concept of a rigid dendrites-inhibiting electrolyte facing Li anode and a softer, cathode-integrated electrolyte that ensures contact with the cathodes during cycling may present a pattern for enabling high-energy-density cathodes.