Quick & Easy Oatmeal Carmelitas

5 ingredients + 35 minutes = a delicious batch of soft and decadent oatmeal carmelitas, a bar cookie that’s a caramel lover’s dream!

Plate filled with oatmeal carmelitas.

I’m a caramel gal. I cast caramel the same longing looks that most folks reserve for chocolate. Creamy, gooey caramel has always called my name louder than any other form of candy. So as a caramel lover, when I tell you that today’s recipe is something special, you need to know that I am sharing one of my treasures with you.

I’m pretty sure every time someone eats an oatmeal carmelita, an angel earns its wings or God smiles, or maybe a baby is born, or something like that. Either way, I’m pretty sure it’s a big deal in Heaven ;). Oatmeal carmelita bars were first published in a Pilsbury cookbook in 1979 and are still beloved today. One bite and you’ll see why.

Fortunately, when I say this is a quick and easy oatmeal carmelitas recipe, I mean it. All you need is 5 ingredients (flour, oats, butter, brown sugar, and caramel) and 35 minutes and you’ll have a big batch of these beautiful bars. They’re soft and filled with the most irresistible ooey-gooey caramel center. Plus, the oatmeal and brown sugar crumbly topping adds to the caramelized flavor. I tell ya, a caramel lover’s dream! Let’s get started!

oatmeal carmelitas ingredients

Recipe Ingredients

  • Brown sugar (I prefer dark)
  • Old-fashioned oats (quick oats will also work)
  • Self-rising flour
  • Melted butter
  • Caramel

Place sugar, butter, flour, and oats in a large bowl.

Place everything but the caramel in a large bowl.

Stir ingredients together until well-blended.

Stir that together real good until it’s well blended.

Now get a pinch of it to taste because it is WONDERFUL!

Place half of the oatmeal mixture in the bottom on a greased pan.

Pat half of this oat mixture into the bottom of a greased 9×13 pan.

Pour caramel over the oatmeal mix.

Take your caramel sauce and BLOP caramel all over the top.

Spread caramel over the oatmeal.

Then spread it out to cover.

Top with the remaining oatmeal mixture.

Sprinkle the rest of your crumb mixture over the top.

Plate of Oatmeal Carmelitas.

Bake this at 350 for 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Allow them to cool pretty good before cutting so the caramel has time to set up again.

I know, this just sounds so wrong and normally I would quietly encourage you to eat one warm but trust me, that caramel is hot as tar straight out of the oven. Although it is worth a tongue burn, that would inhibit your ability to enjoy then later so I’m thinking of your safety here. 

Stack of oatmeal carmelitas.

Did you see how easy that was? Seriously! It is amazing that a bar with this much deliciousness can be done with so little effort. 


Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can also freeze them for up to 3 months. You can wait for them to thaw in the fridge or enjoy them from frozen.

Recipe Notes

  • Traditionally, I could only find the caramel in the Mexican aisle, but these days you can usually locate it in the bakery section at your local grocery store. But if you want to make your own caramel check out our recipe for homemade dulce de leche here.
  • If you want to step up the indulgence, you can spread 1 cup of semi-sweet milk chocolate chips and 3/4 cup of chopped pecans over the caramel layer. You can use any kind of chocolate (milk, white, or dark chocolate) and your favorite nuts, like walnuts.
  • For a salted caramel touch, add a pinch to the oatmeal mixture.

Check out these other delicious cookie bar recipes:

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cookie Bars

Recipe for Chocolate Chip Bars

Butter Bars From Scratch: Gooey Goodness Awaits!

Recipe for Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Ooey Gooey Cherry Bars

Easy Oatmeal Carmelitas

5 ingredients + 35 minutes = a delicious batch of soft and decadent oatmeal carmelitas, a bar cookie that's a caramel lover's dream!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: oatmeal
Servings: 36
Calories: 125kcal


  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter melted
  • 2 cans dulce de leche or caramel 14-ounce each


  • In a large bowl, stir together the first four ingredients until well blended.
    2 cups self-rising flour, 2 cups old-fashioned oats, 1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar, 1 cup butter
  • Pat half of the mixture into the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan.
  • Spread all of the caramel sauce over the top of the oat mixture until evenly covered. Sprinkle this with the remaining crumb mixture.
    2 cans dulce de leche or caramel
  • Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, or until lightly browned. Allow to cool at least slightly before serving so caramel will be set again.


If you want to make your own caramel check out our recipe for homemade dulce de leche here.


Calories: 125kcal
Tried this recipe?Mention @southernplate or tag #southernplate!


Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. ~John 14:27

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  1. OOPS! Sorry Christy I made a boo-boo with my last blogger. However, I just wanted to say Thank You for all of the wonderful Apple Recipes that you posted. And I am looking forward to try these delicious Quick & Easy Oatmeal Carmelitas, especially for the Holidays when my grand children will visit. Thank So Much, Stay Sweet!

  2. Wow, do these look delicious! Christy, like you, I’ve always been a caramel fan, (it’s my thing, not chocolate). I’ve been meaning to pick up that caramel because we want to try your recipe for the Samoa Brownies, but I still haven’t gotten around to it. This recipe might come first. Although, my mother will probably beat me to it since upon getting your email newsletter today with this recipe, she emailed me, “OMG, OMG, OMG. Look at today’s Carmelita’s! I’m going to gain a lot of weight.” Ha ha, Mom and I both love your recipes, Christy! Thanks!!

  3. My oh my! I’m definitely a caramel gal too. These look like the Ultimate treat! Pinning until I can find an excuse to make them…and share of course…(snickers) =)

  4. Thanks for the Bible verse at the bottom. I really needed to read that verse at this exact moment! I have been troubled by some things going on in my son’s Kindergarten class. To say the least, I am not happy and I’m looking at options other than public school.
    This recipe looks delicious, and my son always loves helping out in the kitchen–especially with sweet treats!

  5. I’ve been making these for over 30 years and were a Christmas must have at our house. This is the first time I’ve seen anyone else share this so I’m excited. We add chocolate chips pecans and coconut to make them extra decadent..they also freeze well:) I’m excited to try them with the canned caramel ..no more having to unwrap all of those little squares:)

      1. Christy – I had to laugh out loud a your comment about unwrapping the caramels – I make Rolo brownies – using whatever brownie mix I have on hand – I bake them like the recipe says, but pull them out of the oven about 7 minutes early – then, I put the Rolo candies on them – a bag of Rolo’s will cover a 8×10 pan of brownies, then I pop them in the oven for maybe 5 minutes, pull them out, spread the Rolos over them…..at any rate, once when I was telling a lady how to make them, she asked if you had to UNWRAP the candy before you put them on the brownies!!!!! I laughed….and told her that as long as she wanted to eat tin foil, she could leave them wrapped! By the way, she was totally serious when she asked the question!

  6. I’m with you about carmels Christy. I love “Bullseyes”-the carmels with the creamy white center. I’m pretty sure I’ll be making these Sunday afternoon after church-even though I have declared that my day off and there is no cooking on my part. I’ll just consider it a treat for me. Thanks for sharing your treasured recipe.

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