Carmelitas

These ooey gooey Oatmeal Carmelitas are loaded with caramel, chocolate chips, and oatmeal dough. Better yet, they can be prepared in 20 minutes or less!

Dessert bar recipes are perfect for feeding crowds, and this one is always a crowd pleaser! For some other crowd favorites be sure to try M&M Chocolate Bars, Easy Lemon Bars, or Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars.

A stack of carmelitas on a white dessert stand with milk on the side

Delicious Oatmeal Carmelitas

A creamy chocolate filling surrounded by chewy caramel on an oatmeal-brown sugar crust. Yum!!  Oatmeal Carmelitas are a super easy to make bar recipe and requires only a few ingredients. The best part of these by far is the gooey caramel and chocolate middle.

Sometimes you just need a bit of warm gooey-ness to warm your belly and lift your spirits. The kids especially love these as an after school treat with a nice cold glass of milk. It’s a great way to relieve the stress of the day! These are also perfect for pot lucks or gatherings, they are sure to disappear quickly!

I love all things oatmeal…it gives such a nice chew. That chew goes perfectly with the gooey caramel and oozing chocolate. Oh my! These chewy bars are just so irresistible & a perfect balance of tasty flavors.

Step by step pictures for carmelitas recipe

How to Make Carmelitas

CARAMEL. Add the caramels or caramel bits and the heavy cream to a small saucepan. Heat the caramel over low heat, stirring frequently until caramels are completely melted and smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.

CRUST. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Pour the melted butter into the bowl and mix to combine. Press half of the oat mixture into the bottom of greased 9×9 baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes (do not turn off the oven).

LAYER. Sprinkle the chocolate chips and walnuts over the baked crust, then pour the melted caramel over the top, spreading gently to cover. Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture over the top of the caramel (it’s okay if it doesn’t cover the caramel completely).

BAKE. Bake 15-20 minutes, until light brown. Remove the carmelitas from the oven and cool completely before slicing and serving.

Can I use caramel sauce? I have not personally tried baking these with a pre-made caramel sauce. I can see why some people would ask as it seems like the sauce would mimic the caramel+cream mixture that is used. If you want to try it, simply replace the “carmel and heavy cream” ingredients with a thick good quality caramel sauce.

I did see one recipe that called for ½ c caramel sauce mixed with 1-3 tbsp flour. That might give a good starting point for those adventurous bakers out there. Don’t forget to leave a comment for me (and other readers) on what you used and how it turned out.

Layering carmelita bars with caramel and topping

Recipe Notes + Tips

Just a few things to keep in mind for this recipe….

  • Some people have had better success baking them in a glass or ceramic pan versus a metal pan.
  • Size of Pan: I recommend sticking with a 9×9 pan for texture purposes, but an 8×8 can be used in a pinch. You can also double the recipe and bake in a 9×13 pan. If you use a glass or ceramic pan you may need to add a little extra bake time.
  • Cutting Tip: Be sure to line your pan with foil or parchment paper. That way, once the bars have cooled, you can lift the bars out of the pan and have extra room to slice them.
  • They REALLY need to cool all of the way before slicing. If you try to slice them while the caramel is still gooey, they will be a mess. Keep them in the pan to cool for several hours. You can use the fridge to speed up cooling time, but be careful you don’t chill them for too long otherwise the signature gooey caramel may harden.

Two oatmeal carmelitas stacked on a white plate

Variations + How to Store

Just a few ideas on how you can change these up…

  • Chocolate Chips: Dark chocolate works well in this recipe. For a sweeter chocolate use milk or white chocolate chips. You can balance out the extra sweetness by adding a pinch or two more salt.  
  • Nuts: If you decide to add chopped nuts, sprinkle them on when you add the chocolate chips. Chopped pecans, walnuts or slivered almonds would all taste great.
  • Oats: We used old fashioned/rolled oats in the recipe, but you can use quick oats. They are a finer oat and make the oat mixture more like a dough. Both types of oat works, it just comes down to your personal preference on texture. Do not use steel cut oats.

STORAGE: Bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 4 months. To prep them for the freezer, wrap the entire bar, or individual bars with plastic wrap. Then you can either wrap them again with aluminum foil, or place them in an airtight container or freezer Ziploc bag.

Close up of carmelitas on a white plate

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Carmelitas Recipe

These ooey gooey Oatmeal Carmelitas are loaded with caramel, chocolate chips, and oatmeal dough. Better yet, they can be prepared in 20 minutes or less!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 16
Calories 348 kcal
Author Lil' Luna

Ingredients

  • 1 11 ounce package caramels or caramel bits
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons butter melted
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9 x 9 baking dish or line with parchment or foil.
  • Add the caramels or caramel bits and the heavy cream to a small saucepan. Heat the caramel over low heat, stirring frequently, until the caramels are completely melted and smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Pour the melted butter into the bowl and mix to combine.
  • Press half of the oat mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Bake 10 minutes (do not turn off the oven).
  • Sprinkle the chocolate chips and walnuts over the baked crust, then pour the melted caramel over the top, spreading gently to cover. Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture over the top of the caramel (it’s okay if it doesn’t cover the caramel completely). Bake 15-20 minutes, until light brown.
  • Remove the carmelitas from the oven and cool completely before slicing and serving.

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About the Author

Kristyn Merkley

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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