Salted Caramel Turtle Brownies

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How to make salted caramel turtle brownies with homemade salted caramel and one bowl brownies!! Recipe on

Sharing salted caramel turtle brownies today *in hopes* that you still have room left on your Christmas baking list.

And even if not, salted caramel turtle brownies will squeeze their salty, sweet, sticky, ooey, gooey, chocolate, fudgy selves onto your Christmas baking list anyway. Also, so there’s no confusion, turtles are those candy clusters with pecans, caramel, and chocolate. There are no actual animal turtles in today’s post.

How to make salted caramel turtle brownies with homemade salted caramel and one bowl brownies!! Recipe on

Truth is, I wanted to share these brownies earlier in December part of the cookie palooza. Only I couldn’t because I kept miserably failing at the recipe. And just the other day… another failed batch. I was ready to throw in the towel this past Tuesday, but kept imagining how perfect these calorie bombs would be on all of our cookie platters this weekend. I was motivated by dessert. Aren’t we all?

So here’s what I was doing wrong: I kept trying to bake homemade salted caramel into the brownies. Layering the caramel inside the brownies resulted in burnt edges and the caramel layer virtually disappearing. “Did you forget to put the caramel in?” No, Kevin, I didn’t. It seeped and baked right into the batter. Or it got tired of all the Christmas music I’ve been listening too and just left. Either could be possible at this point.

Failed batch 2: then I tried making the salted caramel, chilling it until relatively solid, then chopping it up to stir into the brownie batter. This just created extra steps and took too long.

And failed batch 3: chopping up soft store-bought caramels and stirring those into the batter along with chopped pecans. Less steps? Yes. Delicious? Oh gosh yes. But it’s not homemade salted caramel sauce. Store-bought caramels will never be homemade salted caramel sauce. 🙁

I tried one more time.

Here's how to make salted caramel turtle brownies! Recipe on

Here's how to make salted caramel turtle brownies! Recipe on

What if we just poured slightly cooled salted caramel ON TOP of the warm brownies. Sort of like a caramel blanket of sorts. (!!!) The salted caramel would slightly thicken as the brownies cool. Then, when cutting, the salted caramel would gently seep over the edges. This could work. And, my baking friends, this could be beautiful.

How to make salted caramel turtle brownies with homemade salted caramel and one bowl brownies!! Recipe on

Sometimes the simple lazy girl method wins the race. And I think we’re all ok with that!

Real quick, 2 things:

  1. Not a fan of nuts? That’s ok, you can leave out the pecans. The brownies will no longer be turtle-y though. Just plain ol’ salted caramel brownies. Which definitely isn’t a bad thing.
  2. The brownie base is my recent seriously fudgy brownies recipe. A one-bowl recipe! I used this particular brownie base because it makes a large 9×13 pan, perfect for large gatherings this time of year. Want to make a smaller batch? See my recipe note.

The salted caramel on top stays a little sticky so I do not recommend stacking the brownies. I do recommend slicing them a little smaller because they’re quite rich. And serving with a napkin. And maybe a warning label. And a gym membership.

How to make salted caramel turtle brownies with homemade salted caramel and one bowl brownies!! Recipe on

Salted Caramel Turtle Brownies


  • 3/4 cup (12 Tbsp; 175g) unsalted butter
  • one 4 ounce (113g) semi-sweet chocolate bar, coarsely chopped1
  • 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (95g) unsweetened natural or dutch-process cocoa powder2
  • 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (120g) Diamond of California chopped pecans
  • 1 cup (180g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup (full recipe) homemade salted caramel


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 9x13 inch pan pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the sides to lift the finished brownies/caramel out of the pan as a whole. This makes cutting easier. I recommend parchment paper because the caramel won't really stick to it.
  2. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the butter and 2 ounces of chopped chocolate. Melt in 30 second increments, whisking after each, until completely smooth. Whisk in the sugar until completely combined, then whisk in the eggs and vanilla. The batter will be light brown and a little dull looking.
  3. Add the cocoa powder, flour, salt, remaining 2 ounces of chopped chocolate, pecans, and chocolate chips. Fold it all together with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Batter will be very thick. Spread evenly into prepared pan.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes, then test the brownies with a toothpick. Insert it into the center of the pan. If it comes out with wet batter, the brownies are not done. If there are only a few moist crumbs, the brownies are done. Keep checking every 2 minutes until you have moist crumbs. My brownies take 31-32 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and pour slightly cooled salted caramel on top of hot brownies. Spread it evenly on top. If desired, and if you like very salty/sweet, sprinkle top with coarse salt. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool completely before cutting into squares. I like to stick the pan in the refrigerator to speed things up.
  6. Cover and store leftover brownies at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Make ahead tip: Brownies, with or without caramel, freeze well up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator then bring to room temperature before serving.

Recipe Notes:

  1. Chocolate bars are typically sold in 4 ounce bars. 2 ounces will be melted down into the batter and 2 ounces will be chopped up and folded into the batter. I suggest Ghirardelli, Baker's brand, or Lindt.
  2. You can use either natural or dutch-process cocoa powder. I prefer dutch-process for a smoother flavor.

Want a smaller batch? Make these chewy fudgy brownies and pour about 3/4 cup of the salted caramel on top.

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Kidding! There IS a turtle in today’s post.

(Franklin found one in the yard this summer ♥)


Merry Christmas!!

How to make salted caramel turtle brownies with homemade salted caramel and one bowl brownies!! Recipe on


All Comments

  1. Oh Sally, this is perfect! I’ve been trying and failing to add your amazing salted caramel to the brownies I make for so long now. This is an awesome idea. Thanks so much for all you do! You’re the reason I can bake at all!

  2. Omg, Sally! These brownies have my name all over them! Salted caramel, omg, a blanket of caramel, on brownies sound like the ultimate dessert!! And I seriously cannot wait to try these! And haha, I don’t know I would feel if there was an actual turtle in these brownies. But these brownies! <3

    1. I’ve gotten questions on my turtle cookies before about why they are called “turtle” cookies. So I had to preface the recipe with that haha!

  3. These are next on my list! Also, I believe you left off the “9×13” in step 1 of the instructions. Thanks for the continuous source of yum.

  4. Sorry you had so many struggles with these! I hope the final result makes you feel justified 🙂 They are beautiful and incredibly delicious, I’m sure 😀

  5. Hi….I plan on making these ….. looks so yummy. In your notes above the recipe you mention that it makes a large 9×13 pan. Altho it doesn’t say in the actual recipe directions, I assume you are using a 9×13 pan. It only says to “Line pan w/parchment paper”. I want to print it out & I want to make sure it is 9×13. Thank you so much.

  6. Here’s my advice for adding caramel to the brownies themselves. Use solid salted or plain caramels, chop them up and either mix them into the batter or layer them over half the batter and then cover them. works great. FRENCH salted caramels have a softness that blends well with the brownie texture.

  7. I feel you on the frustrations of trying to bake with homemade salted caramel sauce-been there! So glad you figured out this solution, though–that layer of thick and delicious salted caramel on top of the fudgy brownies with the tasty crunchy pecans…yum yum yum!

  8. Franklin & the turtle (wait, wasn’t that a TV show?) at the end of the post really got me, so cute! Everything you make is so gorgeous, I love the look & sound of these turtle brownies, they’d make the perfect last-minute Christmas treat. Merry Christmas, Sally!

  9. Merry Christmas, Sally! I’ve been trying to decide what dessert to take to a holiday party and of course, you save the day as usual. ☺ Turtle sundaes are my absolute favorite! In my opinion, you can never go wrong with salty sweet. Hot fudge, gooey caramel, salty pecans, what’s not to love?! ♡

  10. OMG I never thought about making brownies like this. Turtles, and all chocolate/caramel combinations, are some of my favourite Christmas chocolates. I literally don’t have any room on my baking list for Christmas 🙁 but there’s a reason my New Year’s resolution isn’t to eat less sweets – I HAVE to make these in January! P.S Such a cute pic of Franklin & the turtle. Every summer, the creek in the forest behind my house is just crawling with them 😉

  11. Hi Sally., I made you salt choc chip. And there terrible. I don’t know what I did wrong. There flat taste undercooked had to toss them in the trash. I followed your recipe to the tee. You say on your recipe that the dough will be sticky. Which it was. So I wrapped the dough in Sarah wrap. And chilled over night. When I was ready to bake them ., I took out of the refig . And waited till the over heated up until the right temp. We have a thermosstat in the over . So I no the temp was perfect. I rolled the balls just as you said. And spaced them out on the cookie sheet and cooked them for the right amount of time. But like I said the cookies never rose. And they spreaders out a little bit. But I couldn’t even pick them up with them falling apart. The only thing I can of. Is maybe the dough got too soft. My hands were covered in chocolate . More than when I cooked your chewy choc chip. I think Maybe they need more flour. 

  12. These looks divine Sally and I am so pleased after several attempts, you came up with a winner! Merry Christmas to you and your family and Happy Holiday xxx

  13. I always love your recipes! Whenever I bring anything to a party, I always come to you for help for what to make! You never let me down! 🙂 Haven’t actually tried these yet, but I made them–will try them tonight–can’t wait!! Merry Christmas!!!

  14. We had these for dessert on Christmas and they were delicious! I already had a batch of your salted caramel sauce in the fridge, so I just warmed it up a little bit and poured it over. I sent all the other leftovers home with other people, but those stayed here with us!

  15. These look beautiful! I love all your recipes because they always turn out so delicious. Can’t wait to try these. Caramel on anything tastes amazing!

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