Skip to content

Ooey Gooey Carmelitas

A soft and chewy brown sugar oatmeal cookie crust with a thick layer of chocolate and caramel. Take one bite of these ooey gooey carmelitas and you’ll be hooked!

I’m a sucker for anything with chocolate and caramel. And combine that with my love for brownies or cookie bars – and it’s a match made in heaven! These chocolate caramelita bars are absolutely to die for, as well as chocolate fudge caramel brownies, homemade twix bars and snickers bars.

carmelita bar with caramel oozing out

This post may contain affiliate links. Read disclosure policy.

These carmelitas take your regular chocolate chip bars to a whole new level! They’re soft and chewy like an oatmeal cookie and filled with a layer of caramel that is simply irresistible! They are super rich and are perfect for chocolate and caramel lovers.

These bars are always requested by friends and family. I got this carmelitas recipe several years ago at a cookie exchange and it is adapted from The Pillsbury bake off winner in 1967. The last batch I made, I ate a small square and sent the rest into work with my husband so I wasn’t tempted to eat the entire pan (believe me I would have). He said they were gone in about 2 seconds and everyone loved them! They are dangerously delicious.

Whether you’re looking for a Sunday treat to make for your family or a dessert to make for guests, these oatmeal carmelitas are definitely something everyone will enjoy. Make sure to grab a cold glass of milk to go with! They are seriously over the top!

making caramel for carmelitas in a pan on the stove

Let’s talk caramel

The gooey and rich caramel is the star of the show in this carmelitas recipe. There are several types of caramel you can use – check out the different options below.

  • Caramel squares or bits: This is my personal preference when making carmelitas. Simply combine a package of caramel squares (or caramel bits) in a pan with heavy cream and melt over low heat, until smooth.
  • Store-bought: To make the recipe even easier, you can use 1/2 cup store bought caramel sauce instead of heating the caramel on the stove. Just make sure to mix it with 1 1/2 Tablespoons flour to thicken it up a bit.
  • Homemade: I make homemade caramel sauce all the time. It’s so easy and takes only 3 ingredients and just 15 minutes! Even though it’s an extra step, it’s totally worth it! I’d recommend adding in a couple Tablespoons of flour to the mixture as well so that the sauce is thick enough for the bars.

pouring caramel on top of oatmeal bars with chocolate chips

How to make carmelitas

These carmelitas are so easy to make and only take one bowl and a wooden spoon! Scroll down for the printable recipe.

  1. Make the caramel. Add caramels and heavy cream in a medium-sized pan. Melt over low heat until smooth, stirring constantly. Set aside.
  2. Make the dough. In a large bowl, combine the flour, rolled oats, brown sugar, butter and baking soda. Stir until combined. Press a little more than half of the dough into the bottom of the parchment-lined pan and smooth out.
  3. Bake in oven. Bake the bottom layer in oven at 350°F for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly golden. Remove from oven.
  4. Add chocolate chips and caramel. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top of bottom layer (add nuts here too if you prefer). Then pour caramel mixture evenly over chocolate, leaving about 1/2 inch from the edge.
  5. Add top layer and bake again. Crumble the remaining dough over the top of the caramel and gently pat down. Place back in oven and bake an additional 13-17 minutes, or until lightly golden. Remove from oven and cool at least 1 hour before cutting.

oatmeal carmelita bars

Baking tips

  • Line your baking dish with parchment paper for easier removal.
  • You can also add chopped nuts when you add the chocolate chips, if desired.
  • When pouring caramel, leave about 1/2 inch from the edge.
  • Make sure carmelitas have cooled completely before cutting.
  • To speed up the cooling process, I usually stick the bars in the fridge.

Storage:

How to store? Store at room temperature in an airtight container for about 3-5 days. They are pretty gooey, so I recommend adding a piece of parchment paper in between the different layers.

Can you freeze them? Yes, simply add bars to an airtight container or freezer bag and store in freezer for up to 3 months.

stack of gooey carmelita bars

I can never resist waiting until the carmelitas are completely cool to sneak a little bite. I mean, look at the gooey caramel and chocolate. How could you resist sneaking a bite before they’re done cooling?

More delicious cookie bars:

stack of carmelitas with caramel oozing out

Carmelitas

5 from 7 votes
A soft and chewy brown sugar oatmeal cookie crust with a thick layer of chocolate and caramel. Take one bite of these ooey gooey carmelitas and you'll be hooked!
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Let Cool: 1 hr
Total Time: 1 hr 40 mins
Servings: 25

Ingredients 

  • 11 ounce package caramels or caramel bits , unwrapped (about 35)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar , packed
  • 3/4 cup butter , melted (I used salted)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9x9" baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside
  • Combine the caramels and heavy cream in a medium-sized pan. Heat over low heat until smooth, stirring constantly. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, rolled oats, brown sugar, butter and baking soda. Stir until combined. Press a little more than half of the dough into the bottom of the pan.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly golden.
  • Remove from oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips over top. Then pour caramel mixture evenly over the chocolate (leaving about 1/2 inch from the edge). Crumble the rest of the dough over the top and gently pat down.
  • Place back in the oven and bake an additional 13-17 minutes, or until lightly golden. Remove from oven and cool at least 1 hour before cutting.

Notes

  • To make these easier, you can use 1/2 cup store bought caramel sauce instead of making the caramel (omit caramels and heavy cream), however you'll need to mix it with 1 1/2 Tablespoons flour.
  • You can also add chopped nuts when you add the chocolate chips, if desired.
  • To speed up the cooling process, I usually stick the bars in the fridge.
To store: Store at room temp in an airtight container for about 3-5 days.
Freezing: Add bars to an airtight container or freezer bag and store in freezer for up to 3 months.

Calories: 200kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 22mg | Sodium: 127mg | Potassium: 88mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 248IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Jamielyn Nye

Did you make this recipe? Don't forget to give it a star rating below!

Adapted from Pillsbury.

stack of gooey oatmeal carmelitas

Ooey gooey carmelitas recipe -a soft and chewy brown sugar oatmeal cookie crust with a thick layer of chocolate and caramel. Take one bite and you'll be hooked!

Let’s connect

Join our community of over 5 million!

Featured on

  • Taste of Home
  • Martha Stewart
  • Country Living
  • BuzzFeed
  • Yahoo
  • Food Network
  • Today