Caramel Oatmeal Bars

Layered bars are not a new baking sensation. They’ve been around for ages. What I love about them is how easy they are to vary. Change up the crust or the filling or the topping, and you’ve got a new sweet treat suited specifically to your tastes!

These particular bars follow a bar layering strategy that is one of my all-time favorites. A buttery, oat-y, crumbly bottom and top layer with deliciousness in between. Specifically, these have a creamy caramel layer nestled between all that oat goodness. Plus, there’s just a little bit of chocolate under all that caramel. If you like more chocolate, feel free to toss in a little extra.

Caramel Oatmeal Bars combine rich caramel with a buttery oatmeal crust and crumb topping for an irresistible treat. - Bake or Break

This is a lovely blend of flavors, as the rich caramel is mellowed a bit by the oat crust. They are still quite rich, so a small bite goes a long way. They are thick and chewy and just about perfect. These are ideal candidates for sharing. Or, maybe they’re too good for sharing.

Caramel Oatmeal Bars

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 24 2-inch bars or 48 1"x 2" bars

Caramel Oatmeal Bars


  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 & 1/4 cups unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 48 soft caramels (e.g. Kraft caramels)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a 9″x 13″ baking pan with cooking spray. Line with parchment paper, leaving about a 2-inch overhang on the short ends.

In a large bowl, stir together oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Mix in butter, using a fork or your fingers, until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Press half of mixture onto the bottom of prepared pan.

Bake until just set and starting to brown around the edges (about 20 minutes). Cool in pan on wire rack for 5 minutes.

While crust is baking, cook caramels and cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally, until caramels are melted. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Sprinkle partially baked crust with chocolate chips. Drizzle caramel mixture over chips and crust. Top with remaining crumb mixture.

Bake 20-25 minutes, or until pale golden. Cool completely in pan before cutting into bars.


Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart.

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  1. Look yummy!
    And since I like following technique vs recipes, this is perfect for my sensibility.

  2. Choc Chip Uru February 16, 2012 Reply

    These look amazing – The batter and cooked recipe will be devoured by yours truly 😀

    Choc Chip Uru
    Latest: Healthiest Natural Sugars Muesli Bars

  3. These look so good! I can’t wait to try my own version soon.

  4. Mara @ Elemental Custard February 16, 2012 Reply

    I think these look pretty darn tasty.. although swapping the caramel for something lemon would be my kriptonite.

  5. Choclette February 16, 2012 Reply

    Now these look super delicious. I’m a fan of oats in baking and with chocolate and caramel in too, I’m sold.

  6. mireia February 16, 2012 Reply

    WOOOOOOW! They look fantastic!!! Can you believe that I’ve never baked bars?? This is a great option to start with!

  7. Kimiko February 16, 2012 Reply

    This looks great! I love caramel and chocolate together! This is something my boyfriend would be a big fan of, so I need to make these soon!

  8. Tv Food and Drink February 18, 2012 Reply

    I’ll layer YOUR bar. Come over here! :)

  9. This looks so good! Can’t wait to try them.

  10. NRS February 19, 2012 Reply

    These look yummy! How do you store them? Room temp or in fridge? Thanks.

    • jennifer February 19, 2012 Reply

      They should keep at room temperature for 4-5 days.

  11. Michele February 21, 2012 Reply

    These are cooling now! Can’t wait to try them!

  12. NRS February 23, 2012 Reply

    Want to try these this weekend. Did you use cold or room temp butter? Thanks.

    • jennifer February 24, 2012 Reply

      NRS, I used slightly softened butter. Room temperature butter would melt too much if you mix with your hands.

  13. NRS February 26, 2012 Reply

    Made these today. We loved them!!! Thanks!

  14. NRS February 28, 2012 Reply

    Curious, what brand chocolate do you like in these?

    • jennifer February 29, 2012 Reply

      Guittard chocolate is my favorite I’ve found so far.

  15. Joan March 1, 2012 Reply

    Oh wow! These look so good. Definitely printing this.

  16. Karen November 13, 2013 Reply

    These look yummy! Can they be frozen for later use?

    • Author
      Jennifer McHenry November 18, 2013 Reply

      Hi, Karen. I’ve never frozen these, but I think that you should be able to freeze them.

  17. Kim February 15, 2014 Reply

    I don’t like wrapped caramels, but buy block caramel at a local cooking specialty store. How much (weight -wise) should I use?

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