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If you have a sweet tooth, you’re going to love this recipe! I have a distinct memory of the first time I tasted a Carmelita bar, it was April, 1995. A cookie bar like this one is not easily forgotten. One bite of these oatmeal carmelitas and I was hooked.

oatmeal carmelitas.

They have a crust similar to a buttery oatmeal cookie, followed by a gooey caramel layer with chocolate chips and nuts. These chewy bars are a little bit of heaven, and are my favorite dessert bar.Fortunately my friend Marla quickly admitted that it wasn’t her recipe, but a Pillsbury Bake-Off winner’s recipe from the 60’s. While I still have the original recipe she gave me pre-Google, I know longer know the name of the original creator of the recipe, and the Pillsbury website doesn’t list her name either. 

holding carmelita.

Ingredients for carmelita bars:

I’ve adapted this recipe slightly adding more of both nuts and chocolate chips. This is a super easy recipe that makes 36 bars. For cookie trays I like to cut them into smaller pieces because they are so rich!

carmelita crust.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups quick oats (not steel-cut!)
  • 1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 10 ounces unsalted butter
carmelita filling ingredients.


  • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup caramel sauce, either homemade caramel sauce, or store-bought.
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts

How to make oatmeal carmelitas

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13 by 9″ baking pan. I like to use parchment paper for easy removal.
  • Combine flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, salt and butter in a mixing bowl and mix at low speed until crumbly. Save 1/2 of the oatmeal mixture for the top of the bars.
crust ingredients.
  • Press half of the oat mixture into the bottom of the pan.
pressing the crust.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F. for 10 minutes.
baked crust.
  • Meanwhile in a small bowl mix caramel sauce and 3 Tablespoons flour until well mixed.
mixing caramel and flour.
  • Remove crust from the oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips and chopped walnuts. 
sprinkling with nuts and chocolate.
  • Drizzle with caramel mixture.
topping with caramel.
  • Sprinkle remaining half of oatmeal mixture over the top.
sprinkle with oat topping.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown.
finished bars on wire rack.
  • Cool one hour, then refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours or until filling is set. Cut into 36 bars.
  • For an extra decadent dessert, serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! 

How to store oatmeal carmelitas

This is a pretty sturdy cookie bar and will travel well if you’re planning on packing these and mailing them! They store well at room temperature in an airtight container for a week. 

closeup carmelitas.


It goes without saying that you can vary this recipe by switching the walnuts for pecans or the semi-sweet for dark chocolate or milk chocolate chips. Sprinkle the top with a pinch of sea salt for a sweet and salty twist.

Looking for other cookie bar recipes?

​Here are some more delicious recipes for dessert bars!

7 Layer or magic cookie bars is another vintage cookie bar recipe.

Meyer Lemon Bars

Australian Crunch Bars

Scottish Matrimonial Bars (Date Squares)


oatmeal carmelitas.

Oatmeal Carmelitas

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies, (This recipe is as old as I can remember. It’s my mom’s recipe from the 60’s)
4.93 from 13 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Cookie
Cuisine American
Servings 36 servings
Calories 202 kcal






  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13" by 9" baking pan or line with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl or mixer, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda and salt on low speed until crumbly. Reserve half of the oat mixture for the topping.
  • Press half the oat mixture into the bottom of prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees F. for 10 minutes. While crust is baking, prepare caramel mixture.

Caramel mixture

  • Mix caramel and 3 tablespoons flour until well blended.

Finishing the bars

  • Remove partially baked crust from the oven. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and chopped walnuts. Drizzle with caramel sauce. Top with remaining oatmeal mixture.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for between 18 and 22 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • Cool at room temperature about 1 hour. Refrigerate 1 to 2 hours to set filling. Remove from fridge and cut into 36 bars. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature.


  • use caramel ice cream topping as some caramel sauces are quite thin.
  • Substitute pecans for walnuts.
  • Store in an air-tight container for up to a week.


Serving: 1pieceCalories: 202kcalCarbohydrates: 25gProtein: 2gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 140mgPotassium: 89mgFiber: 1gSugar: 15gVitamin A: 206IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 22mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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  1. Do you think you could use a Gluten Free flour (i.e. the all purpose or Rice Flour) that is available in lieu of the regular flour ? Have you tried it?

    1. Sandy, I would use a gluten free flour mixture. I think you need a blend of flours to get the right flavor and texture. I have a #GF blend on my site, I’ll add the link.

  2. 4 stars
    The way you’ve captured the layers of chocolate, caramel, and oats in your photos is mouthwatering! Thank you for sharing this recipe—I’m already imagining the aroma wafting through my kitchen as I bake these Carmelitas.

4.93 from 13 votes (10 ratings without comment)

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