Recipes Desserts

Caramel Brownies

Fudgy Caramel Swirl Brownies

Simply Recipes/Alison Bickel

Surrender to your chocolate cravings and make these fudgy, caramel brownies topped with flaky sea salt. You'll be glad you did!

You might be tempted to keep such a decadent dessert all to yourself, but caramel brownies are a quintessential crowd-pleaser! Make a few batches to share as Valentine’s gifts for the loved ones in your life, package them for a bake sale or serve them up at a birthday party. Who says cake gets to have all the fun?

How to Make Caramel Brownies

Follow the basic guidelines below and you will have a rich, fudgy brownie with caramel in every bite!

  • Make homemade caramel sauce and let it cool. 
  • The batter will be thick, that's how you want it.
  • Dot the top of the batter with caramel.
  • Swirl the brownie and caramel together. 
  • Let the brownies cool to room temperature before slicing.
  • Once baked, drizzle with extra caramel and sprinkle with sea salt.
Fudgy Caramel Swirl Brownies with a glass of milk

Simply Recipes/Alison Bickel

How to Use Up Leftover Caramel Sauce

I used my favorite homemade caramel sauce recipe from the site for these brownies because it's the perfect buttery sweetness for my tastes. If you've never made caramel sauce from scratch before don't worry! Making it is easier than you think.

The trick is to have all of your ingredients nearby and use a pot that's larger than you think you'll need because the sauce will bubble up and expand. If you're pressed for time, or don't want to make it from scratch use a good quality store bought version. Mrs. Richardson’s is a favorite and the closest I've found to homemade.

Either way you will have more caramel than is required for the recipe, but really, who doesn’t need more caramel in their lives?

To use up leftover caramel:

  • Spoon it over ice cream
  • Drizzle it over cakes or pies
  • Dip apple slices in it 
  • Eat it by the spoonful
Salted Caramel Brownies

Simply Recipes/Alison Bickel

Swaps and Substitutions

This recipe is incredibly flexible. You can swap the chocolate, the cocoa and even the caramel sauce. 

  • If you don’t have unsweetened baking chocolate, then use what you have on hand, but reduce the sugar in the recipe by 1 tablespoon.
  • Use either Unsweetened Natural Cocoa Powder or Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder. Both will work just fine in this recipe.
  • Don’t have time to make your own caramel sauce? Then sub it with a high quality store bought caramel sauce.

How to Dress Up Caramel Brownies

You can add something extra to both the caramel and the brownie. 

  • To make salted caramel sauce: Add 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract to the caramel before chilling. 
  • For the brownie batter: Add half cup toasted pecans or if you want an over the top chocolate experience add a half cup chocolate chips.
The Best Salted Caramel Brownies

Simply Recipes/Alison Bickel

Make Ahead

Caramel Brownies are the perfect make ahead dessert. The caramel sauce can be made up to two weeks in advance and stored in the fridge.

  • To store the brownies: Keep them covered on your counter for 3 or 4 days or up to one week in the refrigerator. 
  • To freeze the brownies: The brownies can be frozen for up to three months, but the texture of the caramel may not be as creamy as before freezing.

How to Enjoy Caramel Brownies

To serve Caramel Brownies in an even more spectacular presentation, try them in a brownie sundae! 

Place a brownie in a dish and top it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, drizzle with warm caramel sauce. For the finishing touches add whipped cream, sugared pecans, chocolate sprinkles, and, of course, a cherry on top.

Caramel Swirl Brownies on parchment

Simply Recipes/Alison Bickel

More Crave-Worthy Brownie Recipes

Caramel Brownies

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Servings 12 serving
Yields 12 brownies
You can make the caramel sauce up to two weeks in advance or use store bought caramel. This recipe only uses about a 1/3 cup of caramel, which means you’ll have leftover caramel sauce to make sundaes!

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup caramel sauce, plus more for drizzling 
  • 1 1/4 cup (168 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (24 g) Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup (168 g) unsalted butter
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups (260 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (46 g) brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon flake salt, for topping (optional)

Method

  1. Make the caramel sauce:

    I use this caramel recipe. It comes together in about 10 minutes. Once finished, let cool to room temperature and then place in the fridge to fully chill before making the brownie batter.

  2. Prepare the pan:

    Preheat the oven to 325°F degrees. Coat an 8 x 8 square metal baking pan with cooking spray.

    Make a parchment sling by lining the pan with parchment paper and leaving an inch overhang on either side. This will make it easier to remove the brownies from the pan. Spray parchment and set aside.

    Square pan lined with parchment to make Fudgy Caramel Swirl Brownies

    Simply Recipes/Rachel Knecht

  3. Prep dry ingredients:

    In a small bowl whisk flour and cocoa to break up any cocoa clumps and set aside.

  4. Melt butter and chocolate:

    In a large pot (4 quart), set over medium low heat, add the butter and chocolate. Stir until both are melted and fully combined. Remove from heat.

    Butter and chocolate melting together to make Salted Caramel Brownies

    Simply Recipes/Rachel Knecht

    Chocolate and butter melted to make The Best Salted Caramel Brownies.

    Simply Recipes/Rachel Knecht

  5. Add sugar, salt, and vanilla:

    To the pot with the chocolate and butter add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, and vanilla. The batter will look grainy. 

    Sugar added to pot of chocolate to make Caramel Swirl Brownies.

    Simply Recipes/Rachel Knecht

    Sugar mixed into chocolate to make Fudgy Caramel Swirl Brownies

    Simply Recipes/Rachel Knecht

  6. Add eggs:

    Add eggs one at a time and stir vigorously after each addition until fully incorporated. The batter will become smooth and shiny. 

    Egg added to brownie batter to make Salted Caramel Brownies

    Simply Recipes/Rachel Knecht

    Smooth brownie batter in a pot to make The Best Salted Caramel Brownies

    Simply Recipes/Rachel Knecht

  7. Finish batter:

    Add flour and cocoa mixture to the batter. Use a spatula to stir it all together. The batter will be thick, and shiny like frosting.

    Flour and cocoa added to brownie batter to make Caramel Swirl Brownies

    Simply Recipes/Rachel Knecht

    Thick brownie batter to make Fudgy Caramel Swirl Brownies

    Simply Recipes/Rachel Knecht

  8. Transfer the batter and add the caramel:

    Scrape batter into the prepared baking dish. Smooth the top with your spatula, if necessary. Measure out about 1/3 cup of caramel sauce into a dish. Your caramel should be able to drizzle off the end of your spoon in thick ribbons. If it’s too cool and thick to drizzle then zap it in the microwave for a few seconds until it is.

    Using a spoon create nine dollops of caramel evenly over the top of the brownie. I prefer to dip my spoon slightly below the surface of the brownie when adding the caramel just to incorporated it a little better. 

    Brownie batter in pan to make Salted Caramel Brownies

    Simply Recipes/Rachel Knecht

    Caramel dolloped on brownie batter for Caramel Swirl Brownies

    Simply Recipes/Rachel Knecht

  9. Swirl in caramel:

    Use a knife swirl the caramel into “S” shapes throughout the batter. The batter is thick, so you are just swirling the very top layer. Leave some pockets of caramel. Sprinkle with flake salt, if using.

    Fudgy Caramel Swirl Brownies in a pan

    Simply Recipes/Rachel Knecht

    Salted Caramel Brownies in a pan

    Simply Recipes/Rachel Knecht

  10. Bake:

    Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the brownies reach an internal temperature of 210°F. A toothpick won’t come out clean because of the caramel that melts into the batter and the fudgy nature of these brownies.

    When baked, the center stays very soft but shouldn’t be wet to the touch. The caramel will look melted and not very visible, but don’t worry, it will firm up as it cools.

    If you have a glass baking dish, you may need to add 10 to 15 minute to the cook time.

    Baked caramel brownies

    Simply Recipes/Rachel Knecht

  11. Drizzle with more caramel and enjoy:

    Let brownies cool in the pan on a wire cooling rack to until room temperature. Drizzle with 3 to 4 tablespoons of additional caramel and another light sprinkle of sea salt. Serve.