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Caramelitas Bars

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Layers of buttery oatmeal cookie sandwich a layer of caramel, pecans and chocolate chips come together for a perfect holiday treat. Caramelitas are a must have for the holidays or any time your sweet tooth begs for something special.

Stack of cookie bars with oatmeal crust and gooey caramel, chocolate and pecan centers.

If you are looking for a rich and gooey dessert, caramelitas are just the thing! They have a buttery brown sugar and oatmeal crust with a gooey caramel, chocolate and pecan center that will make your sweet tooth sing!

Cookie bars are a great way to share something special with friends and family. My aunt’s recipe for caramelitas brings together golden butterscotch oatmeal layers with rich caramel and chocolate goodness in the middle.

Ingredients ready to be made into caramelitas.

They are a Christmas must have for my aunt and cousins but are really perfect all year long.

One of the best parts about bars like these are they are relatively quick to make. You don’t have to worry about loading tray after tray of individual cookies into the oven.

Instead you get to just press the dough into a pan and build up the layers. It’s less monotony.

As you build up the layers of goodness, you know you are making something delicious. Not to mention the smell when you take them out of the oven… so good!

Tips for Making These Caramel Oatmeal Bars

To make cutting the bars easier, you’ll want to line your pan. You can use parchment or aluminum foil.

Once your bars are completely cooled, you can lift the whole batch out of the pan. Then you can cut straight across the entire length without hitting the sides of the pan.

You can cut them into quite a few smaller squares. They are rich, so you don’t need a huge slice.

Besides, you can always get a second one if you are super hungry. You know I won’t judge!

If you don’t want to line the pan, of course you don’t have to. Just spray it and cut the bars in the pan.

They will still be tasty, but the first piece may not be pretty if you try to get them out while they are warm. Of course that will give you a good excuse to go ahead and taste test, so it won’t be the end of the world!

Storing Caramelitas

Marlene suggests you store carmalettes in the refrigerator. Then she says to warm them up for a few seconds in the microwave before you eat them.

I must say the warm slightly melted chocolate chips and caramel center are amazing.  So I totally agree with her recommendation!

Cooled caramelita bars getting cut into squares.

You can also freeze them for longer storage. You will want to defrost them or warm them up in the microwave a bit before you take a bite though, that center freezes pretty hard!

Caramelitas are perfect for holiday trays for sure. They would also be amazing for summer potlucks and bbqs.

Hand holding oatmeal caramelita bar with gooey caramel, chocolate and pecan center showing.

There really isn’t a time they wouldn’t be good! If caramel, chocolate and sweet goodness are your thing, these are for you!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I freeze caramelitas?

Yes, just place wax paper between the layers of bars in an airtight container. Let them come back to room temperature or microwave them a bit before enjoying.

What type of caramels should I use?

I like using the Kraft caramel bits because you don’t have to unwrap them. You can also use soft caramel squares or a chunk of soft caramel. You don’t want to use hard caramel candies.

More Recipes You May Enjoy

If you like Marlene’s treats, you are going to love her sour cream cookies.  Her fudge frosting is also amazing on brownies or served warm as hot fudge over ice cream.

For another spin on gooey pecan treats, try making pecan dream bars. They start with a cake mix base and have condensed milk, toffee and pecans on top.

Or try making bear paw candies with caramel, cashews and chocolate. They are another tasty and cute treat!

Love this recipe? Give it a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review in the recipe card below!

Stack of cookie bars with oatmeal crust and gooey caramel, chocolate and pecan centers.


Servings: 36 Servings
Author: Carlee
These gooey bars are the perfect mix of oatmeal, pecans, chocolate and caramel. They are easy to put together and taste amazing. Warm them up in the microwave for a few seconds for an extra gooey and decadent experience.
4.89 from 18 ratings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • 22 oz. caramels or caramel bits
  • 10 Tablespoons evaporated milk
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • cups light brown sugar packed
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • cups melted butter
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped pecans


  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • Melt caramels in evaporated milk.  Cool slightly.
    22 oz. caramels or caramel bits, 10 Tablespoons evaporated milk
  • In large bowl combine the flour, oatmeal, brown sugar, baking soda, salt and melted butter. 
    2 cups all purpose flour, 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats, 1½ cups light brown sugar, 1 teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon salt, 1½ cups melted butter
  • Press half of the dough mixture into a greased or parchment lined 9×13-inch pan. 
  • Bake for 10 minutes. 
  • Gently pour caramel over bottom crust. Sprinkle chocolate chips and pecans over caramel.
    2 cups chocolate chips, 1 cup chopped pecans
  • Break remaining dough into small bits and sprinkle over the top of the goodies to make an even layer.
  • Bake 20 additional minutes.
  • Chill at least one hour before cutting into bars. 



Serving: 1ServingCalories: 278kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 3gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 187mgFiber: 1gSugar: 25g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Cooking With Carlee” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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4.89 from 18 votes (18 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating

Big Rigs 'n Lil' Cookies

Wednesday 26th of February 2020

So... when I make these, do I have to share?? These sound soo good!


Monday 2nd of March 2020

I won't tell if you don't ;-)


Saturday 15th of February 2020

Cookie bars are such a time saver when baking. And that layer of caramel in the middle sounds fabulous.


Monday 2nd of March 2020

It takes them to the next level, for sure!

Andrea Nine

Friday 7th of February 2020

Carmelita‘s are my all-time favorite bar, I have made many versions, and I think I’ve shared three of them on the blog, they melt in your mouth and I really want to try this recipe ASAP! Happy weekend girlfriend!


Wednesday 12th of February 2020

Aren't they so good? Thanks, Andrea!

Family Around the Table

Friday 7th of February 2020

These would be a perfect after school snack.


Wednesday 12th of February 2020

They would be for sure!