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Easy Oatmeal Caramelita Bars

The perfect blend of buttery brown sugar oats, layered with melted chocolate and gooey caramel. Everyone's favorite thing to find in their lunchbox.

When you’re looking for an easy, from-scratch dessert that’s just a little different, pull out this recipe for oatmeal caramelitas. They’re a simple crumbly bar of oats and brown sugar, layered with everyone’s favorites: creamy caramel and sweet chocolate chips.

caramelitas next to black and white straws.

❤️ Why you’ll love this recipe

  • A warm and cozy dessert. Caramel, oats, and chocolate chips combine in a new way but keep all your favorite flavors.
  • Easy to make. Yes, there are layers to put in, but there’s no skill required!

This is an overview of the ingredients. You’ll find the full measurements and instructions in the printable recipe at the bottom of the page.

ingredients on tile counter.

You’ll need the following for the classic caramel dessert

  • all-purpose flour
  • quick oats (you’ll find these with the old-fashioned oats in the grocery store)
  • brown sugar
  • baking soda
  • salt
  • unsalted butter
  • sem-sweet chocolate chips
  • package of caramels (Look in the candy aisle. Packages of these tend to get smaller over the years, so check how many ounces are in each. You’ll need about 16 ounces total.)
  • heavy cream
  • Aluminum foil
  • 9 x 13 baking dish

🍴Instructions

Step One: making the oatmeal layer

foil in pan with crust pressed on top.

You’ll combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the melted butter and stir with a rubber spatula until a crumbly mixture forms. Make sure you really scrape the bottom because sometimes dry bits of oatmeal and flour will be hiding in the bottom.

The mixture will seem quite dry, not like cookie dough. But as you press it into the baking dish, it will firm up.

Step Two: candies

caramel melting and chocolate chips on top.

Place caramels in a microwave-safe bowl (a glass bowl is great if you have one) and pour cream over the top. Microwave for 5 minutes on 50% power, stirring halfway through until smooth and fully melted. They may need a few more minutes before they are perfectly smooth.

Step three

foil sling filled with bars before and after baking.

Step Four

fully baked bars cut into squares.

🥫 Storage instructions

The finished bars will keep well at room temperature, tightly wrapped for 3-4 days. They also freeze quite well and can be defrosted at room temperature or in the microwave.

🔍 FAQs

Can I make a smaller batch?

Sure! Cut the recipe in half and bake in a 9×9 or 8×8.

Are there any good flavor variations?

You can change the chocolate chips for white chocolate, but keep the caramel.

👩🏻‍🍳 Expert tips

  • Use the flat bottom of your measuring cup to press the oatmeal mixture into the baking dish
  • Make your kids unwrap the caramels! It’s sort of a pain.
  • For the neatest slices, cool bars completely before cutting into squares. Dampen a knife under cold water and wipe dry between cuts for clean edges.
  • You can make a butterscotch version of this recipe by substituting the brown sugar with white and replacing the chocolate chips with chopped butterscotch or butterscotch chips.

📘 Related Recipes

📖 Here’s the recipe

close up view of caramelitas on plate.
5 from 2 votes

Easy Oatmeal Caramelita Bars

Print Recipe
The perfect blend of buttery brown sugar oats, layered with melted chocolate and gooey caramel. Everyone's favorite thing to find in their lunchbox.
Prep Time:30 mins
Cook Time:30 mins
Total Time:1 hr
Click here to grab a free seasonal e-cookbook!

Equipment

  • Aluminum foil
  • 9 x 13 baking dish

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups quick oats not instant oatmeal!
  • 1 ½ cups brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 (12 ounce) bag chocolate chips
  • 1 ½ (11 ounce) package of caramels about 16 ounces total of caramels
  • ½ cup cream or half and half

Instructions

  • Preheat oven and prepare pan. Preheat oven to 350 with the rack in the center. Line a 13 x 9 baking dish with aluminum foil, allowing it overhang by a few inches to make a sling. Spray the foil generously with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Make the oatmeal layer. Combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the melted butter and stir with a rubber spatula until a crumbly mixture forms. Measure out 3 scant cups of the oatmeal mixture and press into the bottom of the baking dish.
  • Add the chocolate and caramel layers. Place the caramels in a microwave-safe bowl and pour the cream on top. Microwave on medium power for 5 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the mixture is smooth and fully melted. Pour the melted caramel on top of the oatmeal layer. Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top. Evenly sprinkle the remaining oat mixture on top of the chocolate chips.
  • Bake. Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan on a wire cooling rack. Lift out of the pan when fully cool using foil handles. Cut into bars and serve.

Notes

This recipe can be cut in half and baked in an 8-inch square pan. Reduce the baking time to 20 minutes.
Do not substitute jarred caramel sauce; it will not set up properly and will be too messy when you cut the bars.

Nutrition

Calories: 202kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 151mg | Potassium: 61mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 310IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: caramelitas, oatmeal caramel bars, oatmeal caramelita bars
Servings: 24 bbar
Calories: 202kcal
Author: Katie Shaw
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