Salted Caramel Oatmeal Carmelitas Recipe

If you're anything like us, you don't like to show up to a gathering empty-handed (or you just love any excuse to make your favorite treat). We've found that the most crowd-pleasing dish to bring to any group hangout is a dessert — and no offering will make you as popular as these salted caramel oatmeal carmelitas from recipe developer Kate Shungu. Shungu confirms our theory, "I love these bars for potlucks and cookouts — they disappear fast! They are also great for bake sales."

If you aren't familiar with these dessert bars, carmelitas typically consist of layers of ingredients such as oats, caramel, chocolate, and sometimes nuts. They are a rich and indulgent treat that are known for their gooey texture and sweet flavors. Imagine layers of buttery oats, gooey caramel, rich chocolate, and a touch of sea salt all harmonizing in a single dessert. Whether you're looking to impress at a gathering or are simply craving a sweet treat that hits all the right notes, these salted caramel oatmeal carmelitas are the perfect melody of comfort and extravagance.

Gather your salted caramel oatmeal carmelitas ingredients

To make these salted caramel oatmeal carmelitas, you can start by gathering your ingredients, which are flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, kosher salt, butter, vanilla, chocolate chips, heavy cream, caramels, and flaky sea salt. Now is also a good time to preheat your oven to 350 F and line a 9x13-inch baking dish with parchment paper.

If you are looking for ways to vary this recipe for a creative touch, Shungu has some tips. She tells us, "You could add sprinkles to the top crumble layer. You could also add peanuts with the chocolate chips, or M&Ms would be delicious, too."

Prepare the oat crumb mixture

Into a food processor, add the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, and kosher salt. Then, add the butter and vanilla and pulse until the crumb mixture comes together. Scoop out 2 cups of the crumb mixture and set them aside. Then, place the remaining crumb mixture into the bottom of the baking dish. Be sure to smooth it out to fully cover the surface. Add the chocolate chips on top of the crumb mixture, sprinkling them out evenly.

Melt the caramels with heavy cream

Homemade caramel sauce involves heating sugar until it melts and turns into a golden brown liquid. In this case, there's no need: Shungu makes this recipe super accessible to novices by simply melting store-bought caramels with a touch of cream. To do this, add the heavy cream to the bottom of a saucepan. Once the cream is simmering, add the unwrapped caramels. Stir until they are melted and fully incorporated into the cream, then add in the flaky sea salt to balance out the sweetness.

Layer, bake, and serve your carmelitas

Pour the caramel mixture on top of the chocolate chips and, lastly, finish building your carmelitas by pressing the remaining crumb mixture on top of the caramel, creating an even layer. Bake the creation for 15-18 minutes until they are golden brown. When the time is up, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool completely. From there, you're ready to slice them into bars (Shungu slices them in a 4x6 grid) and serve.

While these bars have quite a change in texture from when they're fresh out of the oven versus stored in the fridge, Shungu notes that they can be eaten at room temperature or chilled. "I like these bars at room temperature so the caramel is just a little gooey, but some people prefer these straight from the fridge. Try them both ways and see which you like!" she says. As for one small suggestion on how to make these carmelitas even better? "A cold glass of milk is a must!" Shungu insists.

Salted Caramel Oatmeal Carmelitas Recipe
5 from 31 ratings
Can't decide between chocolate and caramel? These gooey, chewy carmelitas let you have both.
Prep Time
Cook Time
sliced carmelita bars
Total time: 35 minutes
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1 ½ cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 ½ cups brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cup cold butter, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (12-ounce) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 (14-ounce) bag caramels, unwrapped
  • ½ teaspoon flaky sea salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and line a 9x13-inch baking dish with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, and kosher salt in a food processor. Add the butter and vanilla. Pulse until the crumbs begin to stick together.
  3. Reserve 2 cups of the crumb mixture and place the remaining crumb mixture into the prepared baking dish. Spread out evenly and pat down gently. Sprinkle the chocolate chips in an even layer on top.
  4. Pour the heavy cream into a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, then add the unwrapped caramels.
  5. Continue to cook the cream mixture, stirring frequently, until the caramels are melted. Stir in the flaky sea salt and remove from heat.
  6. Pour the caramel mixture over the chocolate chips in the pan. Top with the reserved crumb mixture in an even layer, patting it down gently.
  7. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the edges start to turn brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
  8. Cut into squares and serve.
Calories per Serving 281
Total Fat 13.6 g
Saturated Fat 7.7 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 22.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 40.2 g
Dietary Fiber 1.5 g
Total Sugars 27.6 g
Sodium 132.2 mg
Protein 3.1 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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