These Carmelitas are a buttery, brown sugar and oats bar with a chocolate chip layer, nuts, and caramel inside. These can easily be doubled and are one of our favortie desserts that are always a crowd pleaser.

Carmelitas stacked


About a month ago I was at my mother-in-law’s house visiting and she was going through all of her old recipes to keep or throw away. That’s kind of my ultimate dream; treasure hunting at its finest. The worse the actual recipe card looks the more intrigued I am.

Heavily used handwritten recipes with lots of  spills and stains on them are absolute gold. You know what I’m talking about?

I stumbled on this Carmelitas recipe from my mother-in-law’s friend. You can tell it was old because it uses margarine. When was that big? The 80’s?

I substituted butter for the margarine because, hello butter. You can have these in the oven in less than five minutes. You guys they are buttery, sweet, gooey, chocolatey, and a little bit salty with the oats, nuts, and creamy caramel. Our favorite dessert bar!

Carmelitas stacked


I know us bakers are trained that baked goods without eggs usually turn into hockey pucks. Guess what? You do not need an egg in these Carmelita Bars. They’re still very tender and you won’t miss it at all in this easy recipe. 

Carmelitas stacked


  • Since there’s a lot of sweetness going on with the brown sugar and caramel, I think that semi-sweet chocolate chips are perfect but milk chocolate chips are too sweet. Which is also why we add a pinch of salt to the dough to balance out all the sweetness.
  • Rolled oats vs quick oats: Quick Oats are finer so they will make your crumble thicker because they are able to stick together like a dough unlike rolled oats. Rolled oats are good too because they have more of a defined texture. It really just comes down to personal preference and you can’t lose either way in these oatmeal carmelitas.
  • You can add a little vanilla extract to the cookie base.
  • Most recipes for carmelitas use melted caramel squares mixed with heavy cream as the center. They taste fine when warm but if they’re at room temperature or cold you can break your tooth trying to bite through the caramel layer which is why we are using caramel topping instead for a soft caramel layer.
  • Can I double this? Yes! You can easily make a double batch and bake in a 9×13 baking dish.
  • To cut these Carmelitas into perfect squares, cool completely. You can speed the process up by placing in the fridge.


Carmelitas stacked


4.34 from 12 votes
These Carmelitas are a buttery, brown sugar and oats bar with chocolate chips, nuts, and caramel inside. These are a great dessert for a crowd!
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
Servings: 9 servings


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats, (also works with old-fashioned oats)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, (6 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, (optional)

Caramel Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping, (see note)
  • 3 tablespoons flour


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 8" or 9" square baking dish or line with parchment pan. An 8" dish will yield slightly thicker bars.
  • In a large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, oats, sugar, melted butter, baking soda, and salt. Mix to form crumbs. Put aside a rounded 1/2 cup of the mixture. Press remaining crumbs in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes. 
  • Sprinkle chocolate chips and nuts (if using) in an even layer over baked mixture. For the caramel sauce recipe: In a small bowl, mix 3 tablespoons flour with caramel mixture and drizzle caramel filling over chocolate chips and nuts. 
  • Sprinkle remaining oat mixture on top trying to cover most of the caramel. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle with some kosher salt if desired. Cool completely before cutting. You can speed these up by placing the bars in the fridge. Serve and store bars at room temperature in an airtight container.


This can be doubled and baked in a 9x13 baking dish.
I've also made these without adding flour to the caramel mixture. Depending how thick your caramel sauce is you may not have to add the flour.
Source: My mother-in-law's friend Peggy Rothmeier.
Cuisine: American
Course: Dessert