Oatmeal Dulce De Leche Bars

These bars – all crumbly and buttery and sweet and sticky – are also called caramelitas.

Caramelitas are literally translated as little caramels. I have a soft spot for words that end in -ita (the suffix indicates smallness in Spanish) not only because I like cute little adorable things, but also because some of my family members call me Biancita. (Another nick name: Bey. And yes, this was way before Beyonce became famous.)

I have been thinking about making these bars for weeks, and the perfect opportunity came when my friends and I spent a day in Tanglewood, because these bars are perfect for picnics and lounging in lawns. These are chocolate-caramel-oatmeal squares, but I switched caramel for the thicker, more luxurious dulce de leche. I could call them dulce de lechitas, but Oatmeal Dulce De Leche Bars sound nicer.

I followed a recipe from Pillsbury, but modified the amounts because I found that the original recipe would result in much thinner bars. I wanted mine to be thick and dense. Each bar tastes very rich, and  I actually ended up cutting each square bar in half again after taking these photos, resulting in smaller rectangles.

The main difference between dulce de leche and caramel is that dulce de leche (or cajeta) is make from sweetened milk, while caramel is made from sugar. I prefer the thicker, creamier dulce de leche, and I always keep a jar or can in my pantry (you can also make your own if you have a can of condensed milk!) but you can easily substitute caramel sauce, or even caramel candies.

Each bite of this dulce de leche bar tastes like the intersection of an oatmeal cookie, buttery shortbread, and a crisp because of the crumble topping, mingled with thick dulce de leche and rich dark chocolate.  Each bite tastes ridiculously good.

Oatmeal Dulce De Leche Bars


3 cups all purpose flour
3 cups old-fashioned oats (quick-cooking oats would work, too)
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup heavy cream
12 oz dulce de leche
2 cups dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease a 13x9 baking pan with butter and set aside.
  3. In a big mixing bowl, combine the flour, oats, sugar, baking soda, salt, butter, and vanilla extract. Mix together until crumbly. Reserve around 1/3 of crumb mixture, and press the remaining 2/3 at the bottom of the pan. Bake for 12 minutes.
  4. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine the dulce de leche and cream and heat for one minute. Whisk together until smooth.
  5. Remove partially baked crust from oven, sprinkle with chocolate chips and walnuts, then evenly pour dulce de leche mixture on top. Sprinkle remaining crumb mixture on top, and bake for another 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely, then refrigerate for 2 hours before cutting into bars.

Looking for other dulce de leche and caramel recipes? Try my dulce de leche cheesecake, dulce de leche macaroons or mini caramel sticky buns. Lots of sticky sweet goodness!


25 Responses to “Oatmeal Dulce De Leche Bars”

  1. #
    Megan posted August 25, 2013 at 9:44 am

    I so want these for breakfast right now! And I have two jars of dulce de leche…

  2. #
    Erica @ In and Around Town posted August 25, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    YUM -love oatmeal additions. the texture is always so perfect

  3. #
    grace posted August 26, 2013 at 12:35 am

    great modifications! i have no time or patience for thin little bars, especially when the filling is as delicious as this. :)

  4. #
    Sarah | The Sugar Hit posted August 26, 2013 at 12:56 am

    These look gorgeous, kind of like a delicious turtle bar? Oatmeal and caramel is such a good combo.

  5. #
    Kumar's Kitchen posted August 26, 2013 at 2:09 am

    wow!we heart dulce de leche and these bars are to die for,scrumptious :-)

  6. #
    Shashi @ http://runninsrilankan.com posted August 26, 2013 at 7:50 am

    I adore dulce de leche and cannot wait to try these bars! They sound so incredibly mouthwatering!

  7. #
    Shannon posted August 26, 2013 at 10:08 am

    these sound amazing… i need them in my life!

  8. #
    Samantha Angela posted August 26, 2013 at 10:50 am

    I love that you love dulce de leche. I think we have very similar tastes in desserts :)
    These sound so delicious!

  9. #
    Emily @ A Cambridge Story posted August 26, 2013 at 11:11 am

    I agree with Megan – these would be fantastic for breakfast. Because they have oatmeal and all!

  10. #
    Meghan M. (@TraveleatloveMM) posted August 26, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Yum! I love crumbly oatmeal bars. The dulce de leche sounds like the perfect sweet touch.

  11. #
    Tina @ Tina's Chic Corner posted August 26, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    These bars look delicious! I love dulce de leche and chocolate together. :)

  12. #
    Michelle Collins posted August 26, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    These look like my ideal dessert!

  13. #
    Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes posted August 26, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    OMG! These look to die for!!

  14. #
    yummychunklet posted August 26, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    Wow. How decadent!

  15. #
    Joanne posted August 27, 2013 at 6:49 am

    I adore anything with dulce de leche! These are pretty droolworthy.

  16. #
    Reg posted August 27, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Hey Biancs! Will old-fashioned oats work as well? Love your recipes! Keep on posting! :-)

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted August 27, 2013 at 10:36 am

      Hey Reg! You know I actually used old-fashioned oats, and didn’t even realize the typo in the recipe until you commented so thank you! So yes, old-fashioned oats would be perfect, but quick-cooking oats would be good, as well :)

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted August 27, 2013 at 10:36 am

      Also, thanks for reading and for the nice comment :) xo

  17. #
    Nicole @ Young, Broke and Hungry posted August 27, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    I need about twenty of these bars.

  18. #
    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking posted August 30, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    These are SO decadent and delicious looking, Bianca! What a fun treat!

  19. #
    Patty posted August 31, 2013 at 12:28 am

    I so want one of these right now….they are a perfect bar cookie with everything going for them….thanks for sharing the recipe ;)

  20. #
    CCU posted August 31, 2013 at 12:41 am

    I simply adore your cookie bar, nothing quite like dulce de leche :D


  21. #
    Simply Life posted August 31, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    These bars + tanglewood sounds like my dream come true!

  22. #
    Kammie @ Sensual Appeal posted September 3, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    Oh my gosh! These bars… amazing. I love dulce de leche so much. I remember the first time I had it. My mom made it from sweetened condensed milk and I would just eat it out of the can with some butter crackers. So darn good. I bet these bars are out of this world! I’m forwarding this to my mom, she’s a huge fan just like me :)

  23. #
    Tamara Coleman posted September 14, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    YUM! YUM! :) Sign me up!

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