Carmelitas are easy to make bars that feature chocolate, chewy oats, and plenty of homemade caramel! These layered bars are delightfully indulgent and perfect for serving to the caramel lovers in your life. Warning – they’re pretty addictive, and you can never have just one… But I dare you to try!
The best desserts in life are a little bit messy. Carmelitas are made with so much gooey caramel that they might make a little bit of a sticky mess with your fingers, but isn’t that the best telltale sign that they’re truly scrumptious? These chewy oatmeal bars feature the perfect ratio of chocolate chips and caramel to really satisfy your sweet tooth.
Carmelitas are truly irresistible. These dessert bars combine layers of luscious caramel, rich chocolate, and buttery oats into thick, chewy dessert bar that explodes with flavor bite after bite. The velvety caramel pairs oh-so-perfectly with the indulgent chocolate, while the crumbly oat crust adds a delightful textural contrast.
Why You’ll Love This
- So. Much. CARAMEL! As the name suggests, these sweet dessert bars are filled with the best amount of soft and smooth caramel sauce. They’re definitely worth drooling over!
- The consistency is key. Gooey caramel sauce isn’t the only dreamy consistency here. There’s also buttery crust and chewy oats to enjoy in every bite. It’s honestly hard to say what the best part is… Even though I’m always inclined to say the caramel of course.
- Budget-friendly recipe. These cookie bars are made with a short (and sweet!) list of inexpensive kitchen staples that you may already have on hand.
Ingredients You’ll Need
Here is a list of ingredients you will need to make homemade carmelitas. Make sure to scroll down to view the full recipe for exact measurements.
- Salted butter
- Brown sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Oats (can be rolled or old fashioned)
- Baking soda
- Caramel squares
- Heavy cream
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips
How To Make Carmelitas
Here‘s a quick look at how to make easy carmelitas. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post for the full recipe.
Prepare. Preheat your oven to 350°F and line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper.
Make the oat mixture. Melt the butter in the microwave, then whisk in the brown sugar and vanilla. Stir in the flour, oats, baking soda and ¼ teaspoon salt. Use a pastry cutter or fork to crumble it together well.
Bake. Press half of the oat mixture into the pan and bake for 10 minutes.
Make the caramel sauce. This is best to do while the crust is baking. Stir together the caramels, cream, and ¼ teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Microwave for 1 minute and stir again. Heat again for 1 minute and stir until the caramel is smooth.
Assemble the layers. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the baked crust. Pour caramel sauce over the chocolate chips. Top it all off with the remaining crust mixture.
Bake again. Bake the carmelitas for 15 minutes.
Cool, then slice. Place the pan on a wire rack and allow to fully cool to room temperature prior to slicing.
Recipe Tips, Substitutions, and Variations
There aren’t many substitutions I can offer with this dessert recipe, but here are just a couple that you may want to try:
- Switch up the chocolate chips. I like to use semi-sweet chocolate chips for the perfect balance of rich chocolate flavor and sugary sweetness. You can use milk or dark chocolate if preferred.
- Add a little salt. If you’re a salted caramel fan, feel free to add a light sprinkle of flaky sea salt to your carmelitas! The combination of rich caramel and flaky salt is bound to make your mouth water.
- Double the recipe. If you’re serving these caramel bars to a crowd, you may just want to double this batch! Double all of the ingredients accordingly and either use two 8×8 pans or one 9×13 pan.
- Use parchment paper. These bars are STICKY. Lining your baking pan with parchment paper means easier clean up for you! Plus, it makes life a lot easier when you’re lifting the dessert from the pan.
- Allow the carmelitas to fully cool. The hot caramel sauce will all run out if you try to slice the bars while they’re still warm from the oven. If you leave them at room temperature, you will probably have to allow them to set overnight. Or you may place the baking pan in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
- Use baking caramel. Try your best to avoid the annoyance of unwrapping a ton of individual caramels! Check the baking aisle of your local grocery store and see if they have caramel squares that are already unwrapped and ready to bake with.
Storage and Reheating Instructions
Carmelitas will stay fresh for about 4 days when stored in an airtight container at room temperature. No need to refrigerate!
More Easy Dessert Bars Recipes
Satisfy your sweet tooth with some of (or ALL) of these easy sweet bar recipes!
- Golden Graham S’mores Bars
- Strawberry Blondies
- Triple Berry Cheesecake Bars
- Oatmeal and Chocolate Cookie Bars
- ¾ cup salted butter, melted
- ⅔ cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cup flour
- 1 ¼ cup rolled oats or old fashioned oats
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt, divided in half
- 40 caramel squares
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- 1 ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F (177 °C). Line and grease an 8X8 inch baking pan. (I use parchment paper because the caramel mixture is very sticky and can make the squares very difficult to remove.)
- Melt the butter in a large microwave safe bowl. Once this is melted, whisk in the brown sugar and vanilla.
- Stir in the flour, oats, baking soda and ¼ teaspoon salt. I like to use a pastry cutter to crumble it together well. You may also use a fork.
- Press about half of this mixture into the prepared baking pan. Bake this for 10 minutes.
- While this is baking, prepare the filling. Place the caramels, cream, and ¼ teaspoon salt into a large microwave-safe bowl. Stir them together. Heat on high power for 1 minutes. Stir again. Heat again for 1 minute and stir until the mixture is smooth. (Only heat as needed to get the mixture smooth otherwise it may seize.)
- When the crust is finished baking, evenly sprinkle the chocolate chips over it.
- Then pour the caramel sauce over the chocolate layer.
- Next, cover this with the remaining crust mixture. (Use your hand to sprinkle it on and then just tap it down lightly.)
- Place the baking pan back in the oven and bake for another 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Remove the pan to a wire rack and then allow to cool completely before slicing. (The caramel will all run out if you try to slice the bars while hot.) If you leave them at room temperature, you will probably have to allow them to set overnight. Or you may place the baking pan in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.
The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.