Sinful Caramel Brownies

5 / 5 (1 review)

This recipe keeps things nice and simple with the use of a cake mix and store-bought caramels. Yay for simple! No one will even guess they were made from a cake mix! It is really quite easy to whip up these sinful brownies, but you do need to plan ahead for the cooling and refrigeration time. Make them the night before or the morning of.

Make sure you have a tall, cold glass of milk ready!

caramel brownies batter and ingredients


Just mix the 4 brownie ingredients together until it combines into a thick batter, similar to cookie dough. Easy peasy.

caramel brownies diy double boiler melting caramels

Since I don’t have a double boiler, I melted the caramel and evaporated milk together in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of boiling water. But I’ve even just melted it in a saucepan over low heat before too. I bet you could get away with the microwave route if you select a lower power and stir often.

caramel brownies caramel layer with chocolate chips

While melting the caramels, do a partial bake of that bottom brownie layer. Then pour the caramel over the baked brownie. Sprinkle on the chocolate chips.

caramel brownies before baking

I chose to use the method from the cheesecake chocolate chip bars to make the top brownie layer. Just take small amounts, around a tablespoon or two in size, and flatten it in your hands. Then place each disc of batter on top of the caramel layer until the top is covered and the batter is used up.

divine caramel brownies

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I just used a greased pan without the foil sling for this batch and it worked fine. I didn’t want to cut the brownies while they were in my nice pan though, so I turned them out onto a plate and then again onto a cutting board so they were right-side-up. Next time I will use the sling method to make it even easier.

I have made these in an 8×8 pan as well, but I much prefer the thickness of the brownies baked in the 9×9. If you’re a real brownie-lover, you should probably invest in a 9×9 pan anyway!

I couldn’t find a Duncan Hines German Chocolate cake mix at my store, so I just used the Swiss Chocolate. But I have heard that German Chocolate cake mix is the best choice!

Pioneer Woman recommends generously sifting a 1/4 cup of powdered sugar over the top before serving, but these are already so sweet, I just figured I didn’t need it. Let me know if I’m missing out!

Adapted from Pioneer Woman.

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Sinful Caramel Brownies

5 / 5 (1 review)
Prep Time: 10-15 mins | Cook Time: 35-40 mins
Yield: 9x9 pan, 16 bars | Serves: 16


  • 1 box Duncan Hines German Chocolate cake mix
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk (additional)
  • 60 caramels, unwrapped
  • 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a 9x9 square baking pan with foil, allowing ends to hang over the edge of the pan. Spray foil with cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, pecans, 1/3 cup evaporated milk, and melted butter. Stir together until incorporated. The batter will be thick.
  4. Press half of the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about 8-10 minutes. Remove the pan from oven and set aside.
  5. In a double boiler or heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of boiling water, melt the caramels with 1/2 cup of evaporated milk. (You can also do this in the microwave, stirring often.) When melted and combined, pour the caramel over the brownie base. Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the caramel layer, if desired.
  6. With the remaining half of brownie batter, use your hands to flatten small amounts at a time into discs, about 1/8-inch thick. Place the discs of batter over the caramel layer until you have covered the top.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for at least a few hours.
  8. Cover with 1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar, if desired. Using the foil, lift brownies out of the pan and cut them into 16 bars and serve.
Ingredients: Cake Mix, Caramel, Chocolate
Meal Type: Desserts, Mother's Day, Super Bowl Party, Egg Free, Meatless
Categories: Brownies and Bars, Oven

Comments & Reviews

  • Jennifer D.

    Getting ready to make these. Think we will be skipping the refrigerate for several hours part. πŸ˜‰

  • Nikoa

    I wonder if you could just bake the bottom batch of brownie, and the top batch separately, pour caramel over the bottom batch and just lay the top batch on top? Or does the caramel need to be baked too?

    • Melanie

      I don’t think it is necessary for the caramel to be baked. But I wonder if baking the top brownie layer separately would make it difficult to assemble because the brownies are a bit crumbly and crusty. Let me know how it goes if you try it!

  • RenΓ©e

    These Caramel Brownies are divine. I’m looking forward to trying them!

  • Melissa

    I have been making these bars for YEARS (omitting the pecans) and a secret I learned is after you bake the bottom layer and pour the caramel and chocolate chips over the top…put it in the freezer for about 15-20 minutes. This way when you go to put the top layer of cake mix on top, the caramel layer is hard enough you don’t have to worry about smearing πŸ˜‰

  • Jay Riordan

    Do you think in the interest of ease for me I could just swirl the caramel mixture throughout my Ghirardelli triple chocolate brownie mix, that way I would only bake once as per directions on box, and get caramel mixed throughout brownies? Would the proportions remain the same? I had sinful brownies once in Pittsburgh PA some 40 years ago and have been looking for a way to duplicate them. Yours look great, and very close to what I remember. Thanks

    • Melanie

      You know, I’m not sure! I haven’t tried that method myself. I think proportions would be about the same because most brownie mixes can be made in a 9×9 pan. Let us know how it goes if you try it! Otherwise, these brownies are pretty simple since they involve a cake mix and just a few other ingredients, so this recipe is worth a try too! πŸ™‚

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