Caramel Cookie Bars

Before I get to these delicious little cookie bars, I just have to say how overwhelmed and loved I felt after reading all of your comments (and even more individual emails that were sent) after my post on Friday.

Thank you for allowing me to break from food for a day and go down that personal road. Not only were your comments heartfelt and so, so uplifting, but I was in complete wonder at the number of people who are going through similar (and definitely more challenging and traumatic!) situations, not to mention those of you who have family members and friends dealing with skin cancer on varying levels.

Thank you for sharing. You’ll never really know how much it means to me. I was in tears as I read about so many of you fighting a brave battle and was so excited to hear from those of you who committed to take better care of your skin in the sun. After a lot of requests, I’ll be putting together a list of my suncare recommendations (and thanks to so many of you who shared yours as well, I’ll be trying some new things, too!). Anyway, thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.


On to these fabulous little cookie bars.

Caramel Cookie Bars

Simple as can be, these bars are exactly what they say they are: a delicious oatmeal, caramel, chocolate cookie in bar form. On the thin, cookie-ish side of things, these layered bars are completely irresistible.

I cut them in itty bitty squares (maybe 1-inch by 1-inch), and it was a very bad decision. If you’ve had experience with bite-size desserts, you’ll know it’s waaaaay too easy to mindlessly eat about 45 of them in one sitting.

Or not?

Perhaps you have more self-control than I. Good for you (I’m not bitter about that, not at all, nope, not me).

I detailed this in the notes below, but this recipe doubles great for a crowd when baked in a large, rimmed baking sheet (like the 11X17-inch or so size). But whatever you do, don’t go crazy and make a double batch if it’s only you and your cat. You’ll hate me. And if it’s ok with you, I’d rather we stay on speaking terms. Thanks.

Caramel Cookie Bars

One Year Ago: Fudgy Chocolate Chip Yogurt Cake
Two Years Ago: Perfected Yellow Cake
Three Years Ago: Hawaiian Fried Rice

Chocolate Chip Caramel Cookie Bars

Yield: Makes a 9X13-inch pan of bars

Chocolate Chip Caramel Cookie Bars

This recipe doubles beautifully for a large, rimmed cookie sheet (the 11X17-inch or so size). I haven't used quick oats in this recipe but I suspect they'll work just fine.


  • 1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces) butter, softened
  • 1 cup (7.5 ounces) light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups (7.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups (5.25 ounces) old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup caramel sauce (I use Trader Joe's caramel sauce or this homemade version)
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet, bittersweet or milk chocolate chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9X13-inch aluminum baking pan with foil (helps with cleanup) and lightly grease with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl with an electric handheld mixer or in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the softened butter and brown sugar until well-mixed. Add the flour, oats, salt and baking soda and mix until combined.
  3. Press about 2/3 of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 10-11 minutes until lightly golden and puffy.
  4. Pour the caramel sauce evenly over the top. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the caramel. Finish by crumbling the remaining cookie mixture on top.
  5. Bake for another 12-13 minutes until the edges are golden and the caramel is bubbling.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool completely in the pan before cutting into squares.

Recipe Source: adapted slightly from Hilary by way of her sister-in-law, Hollie (I cut the recipe in half, altered a few of the ingredients, added weights, etc)

33 Responses to Chocolate Chip Caramel Cookie Bars

  1. Holly says:

    I, too, struggled with the same problem that Emily and Annie did. I didn’t use the Trader Joe’s brand. I wish I had read the comments prior to making this recipe! 🙁 The recipe should probably specify that no other caramel sauce will suffice.

  2. Annie says:

    I had the same problem as Emily with the over gooeyness of the caramel. I used one cup for a single batch and they were super delicious but super messy and not easily served. I’ll definitely make them again using less caramel though, they were amazing!

  3. Emily says:

    I tried making these tonight and I had major problems…the bars never really seemed to set up even after they had cooled, and they were too soggy to cut. (Delicious, but impossible to share…) The cookie part seemed to turn out right; the problem was clearly the caramel. I halved the recipe and baked it in an 8×8 pan. Should I have used less than a 1/2 cup of caramel sauce when halving the recipe? I also thought maybe the caramel I used (generic Kroger brand, not Trader Joe’s) was too runny. Any ideas where I went wrong? I usually never have problems with your recipes and I was surprised to mess up on such a simple recipe!

    • Mel says:

      Darn, Emily! I’m sorry these didn’t work out for you. It sounds like the culprit was the caramel sauce and I’m guessing different brands probably have varying consistencies. Sorry about that!

  4. Valerie says:

    These were so delicious that I had to give them all away – fast! Everyone loved them.

  5. Jodee says:

    I made these on Saturday for the first time for a family party (I knew I was safe since it was your recipe ) and to say they were a hit is an extreme understatement! They received rave reviews and my second batch is currently in the oven for a family night treat! I love easy show stopping desserts!! Thanks Mel!

  6. Stephanie V says:

    These were absolutely delicious!!!
    I’ve never left a comment before but want to say I turn to your blog ALL the time for anything! I’ve made many dinners and baked treats from here and they are never disappointing! Thanks Mel!!! Keep the recipes coming, despite your hectic schedule!
    P.s. Your face experience sounded awful! Can’t believe how good it healed. I am not one to sit in the sun, however I get spots removed by my doctor occasionally, who sends them off to the lab! So far so good!

  7. Katie says:

    We’ve been making these bars a few times at our house recently.
    They are perfect and easy. Thank you so much for sharing!
    I added this recipe with links back to your site on one my recent blog posts.

  8. LauraT says:

    As these are eggless, do you think they would work in a skillet? I may have to do some experimenting….Thanks for helping me feed my family with deliciousness!

  9. A says:

    I used Trader Joe’s dulce de leche in lieu of the caramel because I’ve been looking for a reason to get it out of my pantry. Now I want to go buy some more jars of dulce de leche because these bars were delish. My co-workers loved them. Thanks for another winner!!

  10. Cindy Hansen says:

    I’m glad I only had one stick of butter and had to half the recipe. I would have eaten way too many of these! Halfing the recipe in an 8 X 8 pan worked really well.

  11. Megan says:

    Your oatmeal caramel chocolate bars are one of my all-time favorite desserts. How do these compare? is it just the caramel sauce that is different?

    • Mel says:

      These are just a little thinner – more cookie-ish, I guess? They also aren’t quite as chocolatey and the caramel layer is more subtle instead of chewy. The recipes are similar enough that if you love the older one, I’d stick with it.

  12. Melina says:

    Made these for our church potluck last night and they were a hit!! Thanks Mel

  13. Jill F says:

    Mel, I made these last night and had to bring them to work to avoid eating the entire pan. They are DELICIOUS. The best caramel/choc/oatmeal concoction I’ve ever had. “Bar” none (see what I did there)? 😉 And…the Trader Joe’s caramel – to die for! The fact that it comes in a 10 oz jar and your recipe uses 8 oz is genius! That extra 2 oz sure was yummy. Thanks for all your wonderful recipes! Your site has been such a blessing to me and my family.

  14. Ruth says:

    Hi Mel. I love your website. We use a lot of your recipes and your website is my go to for new recipes or inspirations. I have a question: Could I use dulce de leche in place of the caramel?

  15. Kelly H says:

    I love these and have been making them for years from a recipe in the Pilsbury Bakeoff Cookbook called Oatmeal Carmelitas. It calls for jarred caramel mixed with a tablespoon of flour, but the last few years I’ve been making them with your caramel recipe from the Caramel Apple Cheesecake recipe. Adding egg would take away from the wonderful crumbly awesomeness that is this cookie bar.

  16. Holly W says:

    We love these! At our house they are called Oatmeal Carmelitas. Yum!

  17. Alizabeth says:

    What if I want to add eggs? Is there any reason, other than allergies, you don’t have them? I used an egg-less cookie recipe once and they were awful, so I’m hesitant. But other than that, I need these! Are they egg-less because they are in bar form?

  18. Jan S. says:

    I don’t dare make this whole recipe so I’m making half tonight. Neither my hubby nor I have a whole lot of self control so we might be safe with half. Oh, who am I kidding?

  19. Hyo says:

    So so good! These are kinda like Carmelitas. Thank you.

  20. Dani says:

    Thank you, thank you for posting an egg-free recipe. My little guy has food allergies and I’m always looking for yummy treats that he can take along to birthday parties and other events. These will be perfect! Thanks again.

  21. Bryn says:

    OH my goodness….last night I was looking at your recipe for strawberry shortcake and saw this recipe in the comments section and searched through the blog looking to see if you’d made them yet! So very weird!!! Can’t wait to try them

  22. Heather says:

    We love these bars! My oldest requests them for his birthday cake. We like to call them “devil cookies” because they are very, very bad for us. There have been a couple times where we have sprinkled in a few toffee chips with the chocolate chips to add another level of yumminess. Thanks for sharing!

  23. Paige says:

    These cookies look amazing! I’ve never really made cookie bars like this before, but I think I’m going to try making them for family home evening tonight!

  24. SallyBR says:

    These are dangerous. anything with choc chip AND caramel is a serious problem….

    maybe the recipe should come with a warning? or a disclaimer? We are not responsible for changes in your waistline… 😉

  25. We just made cookie bars yesterday. I wish we would have thought to add chocolate chips. Mmm….

  26. Sheila H. says:

    Since I have no self control with sweets, these will have to be bookmarked for Father’s Day weekend and shared with a large group. They look really good and I will be counting the days.

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