Chewy, gooey, and loaded with caramel, oats, and chocolate chips, these vegan carmelitas are easy to make and impossible to resist!
If you’ve never had carmelitas before, you’re in for a treat!
These gooey bars are a perfect combination of caramel, chocolate chips, and chewy oats. They’re an easy recipe to make and absolutely everyone loves them. (I mean, how could you not?!)
While I love a vegan chocolate cake for dessert, carmelitas are more like a brownie because they’re a handheld treat you don’t need a plate and fork to enjoy. This makes them ideal for potlucks, school lunches, and any time you need a grab-and-go dessert.
Why You’ll Love This Carmelitas Recipe
Here are some of the reasons you’ll want to add these carmelitas to your must-make list:
- Vegan. Most caramel isn’t vegan, which means it’s one of those ingredients you miss out on a lot when you switch to a plant-based diet. But these vegan carmelitas are made with vegan caramel!
- Delicious. The combination of gooey caramel, chewy oats, and rich chocolate is divine. You can’t go wrong with carmelitas.
- Easy. This recipe only takes a few minutes to mix together, then you just pop it in the oven. The hardest part is waiting for them to be ready to eat!
- Make-Ahead Friendly. When you need a treat you can make in advance, carmelitas are ideal.
Notes on Ingredients
Scroll down to the recipe card to find the ingredient quantities and recipe instructions.
- Vegan caramels – You’ll need chewy caramels for this recipe.
- Full-fat coconut milk – Use the kind that comes in a can, not a carton.
- Vegan butter – Store-bought or homemade vegan butter.
- Brown sugar
- Old-fashioned rolled oats – Don’t use quick cooking or steel-cut oats. Old-fashioned oats have just the right texture for carmelitas.
- Baking soda
- Vanilla extract – Vanilla enhances the caramel flavour.
- Bittersweet chocolate chips – Make sure the brand you buy is vegan.
Where Can I Find Vegan Caramels?
I use Cocomels for this recipe, which you can find at most natural food stores or order online. I haven’t tested other brands of vegan caramels in this recipe, but as long as they’re soft and chewy, they should work.
How to Make Carmelitas
Making carmelitas is a cinch! Here’s what you’ll need to do.
Prepare. Preheat your oven to 350ºF and line an 8×8-inch pan with parchment paper.
Make the caramel mixture. Combine the caramels and coconut milk in a medium saucepan set over medium-low heat. Stir constantly until the caramels melt and the mixture is smooth.
Make the oat mixture. Stir together the melted butter, brown sugar, flour, oats, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
Bake the base. Press half of the oat mixture into the lined pan, forming an even layer. Bake for 10 minutes.
Assemble. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the bottom layer, then pour the caramel on top. Crumble the rest of the oat mixture over the caramel.
Bake again. Return the pan to the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned.
Cool. Let the carmelitas cool completely before slicing, ideally overnight.
Tips for Success
Follow these additional tips and your vegan carmelitas will turn out perfect:
- Press the base firmly. This is important because it will keep your carmelitas from crumbling when you slice and serve them.
- Remove them from the pan, then slice. Use the parchment paper to lift the bars out of the pan and transfer them to a cutting board. Then use a large chef’s knife to make firm, quick cuts. You can use a ruler and mark where you want to cut if you’d like to make sure all your bars are uniform in size.
- Make sure the caramel is set. If the caramel is still gooey when you cut, you’ll end up with a mess! If you don’t have much time, you can refrigerate the carmelitas to speed up the cooling.
These carmelitas have endless variations. Here are some of my favorites:
- Add chopped nuts to the crust, topping, or the caramel layer. Pecans or walnuts would work especially well.
- Sprinkle toasted coconut flakes over the caramel before adding the topping.
- Use white chocolate chips instead of bittersweet for a sweeter flavor.
How to Store
Store your vegan carmelitas in an airtight container at room temperature for 4 to 5 days. They’ll last a few days longer in the refrigerator, but if you store them that way, you’ll want to let them come to room temperature before you eat them.
Can I Freeze This Recipe?
Yes, you can freeze these carmelitas. Simply wrap the individual bars in plastic wrap and put them into an airtight container or freezer bag. When you’re ready to eat them, let the bars thaw at room temperature.
More Vegan Sweets and Treats
- Vegan Carrot Cupcakes
- Air Fryer Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Vegan Sugar Cookie Bars
- Peanut Butter Cake
- Buttery Vegan Spritz Cookies
Enjoy friends! If you make this carmelitas recipe please snap a photo and tag #jessicainthekitchen on Instagram! We’d also love it if you would leave a comment below, and give the recipe a rating! Thanks so much!
- 10 ounces vegan caramels, I used this one https://cocomels.com/products/original-cocomels-3-5-oz
- ½ cup full-fat coconut milk, from the can (280g)
- ¾ cup vegan butter melted, 1 1/2 stick, 170g
- ¾ cup brown sugar, 150g
- 1 cup flour, 125g
- 1 ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats, 135g
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (170g)
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Line an 8×8-inch pan with parchment paper.
- Combine caramels and coconut milk in a medium saucepan, heat over medium-low heat. Stirring continuously until the caramels melt and the mixture gets smooth.
- Combine melted butter, brown sugar, flour, oats, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Stir to combine.
- Add half of the mixture to the lined pan and press with a spoon to make an even layer.
- Bake for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, remove the bottom crust from the oven. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly on top of the hot crust.
- Pour caramel sauce over the chocolate.
- Crumble the rest of the crust mixture over the caramel.
- Return to the oven and bake for 15 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and bubbles slightly.
- Allow the carmelitas to completely cool and caramel to set up before slicing. It’s best to leave them overnight at room temperature. You can put it in the fridge to speed the cooling process.
Disclaimer: Although jessicainthekitchen.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Jessicainthekitchen.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.