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white dessert plate with a stack of 3 Oatmeal Caramel Bars

Oatmeal Caramel Bars Recipe

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These irresistible Oatmeal Caramel Bars have an oat crust and oat streusel sandwiching a gooey layer of both caramel and chocolate. This easy oat bars recipe with caramel makes the perfect dessert for any occasion!

I fell hard with my first bite of these Oatmeal Carmelitas. It took me a couple of years to track down the recipe and now it’s a favorite indulgence.

2 Oatmeal Caramel Bars stacked on a square dessert plate

Oatmeal Caramel Bars Recipe

The combination of an oatmeal brown sugar crust, oozy caramel center topped with chocolate chips, and oatmeal streusel is my idea of dessert bar cookie perfection. It was years after I first had a bite of the deliciously sweet and chocolate oatmeal bars before I finally stumbled upon the recipe.

Someone would drop off a plate of these Oatmeal Caramel Bars, AKA Oatmeal Carmelitas, for the high school’s holiday luncheon year after year. I’d sample with the other volunteers and wished someone would share the recipe. I finally discovered it was a Pillsbury Bake-Off winner from 1967, but they were made with a jar of caramel sauce. I thought melting Werther’s Original Caramels made with real cream and butter would be a much better choice, and I was right!!

overhead image of Oatmeal Caramel Bars stacked onto a dessert plate

April 5: National Caramel Day

I happen to live only minutes away from Carmel, Indiana, which is getting a temporary name change or at least pronunciation change to CAR-A-MEL for the day. That is only one part of the festivities! So if you live in the Indianapolis area, make sure to head up to Carmel’s Arts & Design District between 11 AM and 3 PM on Wednesday, April 5. There will be games, caramel treats (of course!), and prizes including a one-year supply of Werther’s Original caramels! All to celebrate National Caramel Day.

Werther’s Original will be there in full force. Caramel lovers nationwide will be sharing their preferred pronunciation with the hashtags #GreatCaramelDebate, #NationalCarmelDay, and #Werthers. Make sure to check out all their products including their newest Cocoa Creme Soft Caramels with a dreamy chocolate filling wrapped in soft Werther’s Original caramel. Products range from hard, chewy, soft, and filled caramels to sugar-free caramels and even caramel popcorn!

white dessert plate with a stack of 3 Oatmeal Caramel Bars

How Do YOU Pronounce Caramel?

I grew up using the two-syllable pronunciation, CAR-MEL, but my Father-in-Law always added the third syllable. This debate has been going on for eons. I’d love to know your opinion! Respond in the comments or tweet using one of the hashtags listed above. And make sure to follow Werther’s Original on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Plus check out the Werther’s Website for details on all their products.

How to Make Oatmeal Caramel Bars:

These Oatmeal Carmelitas are easy to make and even easier to eat. The same mixture makes the crust and the topping!

  • First, mix together the dry ingredients with the melted butter.
  • Press half the crumbs into the prepared pan. I like to line the pan with non-stick foil for easy cleanup and easy removal for cutting.
  • Melt the caramels and cream to make the filling. This can be done in a heatproof bowl in the microwave or by heating gently in a pan on the cooktop.
  • Sprinkle the crust with chocolate chips, then drizzle the caramel mixture over the crust, and add the rest of the crumbs. Gently press down on the crumbs.
  • Bake as directed and cool on a wire rack. For cleaner slices, chill before slicing into bars. Of course, if you can’t wait, dive right in!!

More Caramel Recipes to Try:


Oatmeal Caramel Bars Recipe

Oatmeal Caramel Bars Recipe

An oatmeal bar filled with gooey caramel and chocolate. Adapted from Pillsbury

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Yield 24 bars


  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups quick-cooking oatmeal
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 3 5-ounce bags of (15 ounces total) packaged caramels, unwrapped
  • 6 tablespoons cream
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Line a 9 x 13-inch pan with non-stick foil or spray the pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, oatmeal, sugar, soda and salt. Stir to blend. Add melted butter and mix until well combined. Set aside half the crumbs, about 3 cups. Press remaining crumbs into the bottom of the pan.
  3. In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine caramels and cream. Heat for about 5 minutes on 50% power, stirring a couple times during the melting process, until caramels are melted and the mixture is smooth.
  4. Sprinkle crust with chocolate chips. Drizzle with melted caramel mixture and top with reserved crumbs.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or till golden brown. Cool at least one hour before cutting (I like to refrigerate for at least an hour to get cleaner slices).

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 245Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 25mgSodium: 142mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 1gSugar: 19gProtein: 2g


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35 comments on “Oatmeal Caramel Bars Recipe”

  1. Yeah, Hilary, that’s the typical response after taking a bite…if you love the chocolate caramel combination, you’ll adore these!

  2. Oh my gosh, this recipe looks TASTY!! I love caramel and chocolate, my favorite of favorites!

  3. These look good!!!! I better have an excuse to make these for ……. or I’ll eat them all myself. Love that combo. 🙂

  4. Thanks, Patti 🙂

  5. That’s exactly how I feel, Erica!

  6. Liz, I printed this recipe. I am going to love this and so will dh. Thanks for deliciousness~!!!

  7. look absolutely delicious Lizzy !

  8. Lots of chocolate, lots of caramel…bet these are heavenly!

  9. Yep, I’d snarf down a few of these for sure:@)

  10. These make awesome snacks, Linda! Drooling……….. xoxo

  11. I really wish I lived in Indiana! A year’s supply of caramels is basically the best prize ever :). These bars look so yummy–very similar to one of my all-time favorite cookies that a neighbor used to put on Christmas cookie trays when I was growing up. So good!

  12. Am I missing the flour in the recipe? Can’t seem to find it!

  13. You know how much I adore caramel (and yes, the second syllable is always pronounced). I never thought to use these delicious treats in baking, what a great idea, Liz. The danger is what to do with the leftover caramels! I have no control what-so-ever over those wonderful treats. I really like the hard candy Werthers but the soft caramels are by far my favourites.

  14. These look so delicious, Liz. I love this brand in particular too.

  15. I’m a sucker for bar recipes. These are a must-do!

  16. Of course it is 3 syllables 😉 Wow that is a classic from 1967 but nice mordern twist. Love how they will change the name of the city for a day lol.

  17. Hi Liz, it depends, most of the time it is 3 syllables, when it’s ice cream it’s 2. Love these bars, they are perfection.

  18. Oh we do love caramel and Werther’s is the best! I need these in my life 🙂

  19. Girl — you’re killing me with all of the ooey gooey goodness. #nomnomnom

  20. Oh my goodness these look amazing!!!!

  21. Dreamy bars, Liz! Love the oatmeal and caramel pairing! 🙂

  22. Sometimes two syllables, sometimes three. I love Werther’s and I’d have to stash a few of these for safe keeping before my family devoured them

  23. All my favorite things in one dessert. These would definitely get gobbled up at my house and I’d be in the front of the line!
    I think I say caramel somewhere in between 1 and 3 syllables. I kind of slur it all together 🙂

  24. I am a two syllable person but however you say it doesn’t matter-I just call it good! These are definitely a must try!

  25. Love this post, Liz! So full of fun (and sweet) facts. Bet your rendition of the Pillsbury ’67 winner would win at the Carmel Indiana festival!

  26. These look amazing, Liz – no matter how you pronounce them!

  27. these are amazing! I love Werther’s Caramels!!

  28. Seeing these caramels reminds me of our visits to Epcot. We love the Werther’s store there! Awesome bars recipe!

  29. These look divine!! Such a delicious flavor combo! 🙂

  30. Wow…sounds addictive! 🙂

  31. I pronounce it car-a-mel. Ha! Regardless, it’s my favorite thing on this earth and these bars are amazing!

  32. These are every kind of amazing!

  33. These were a huge hit in my house!!

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