Anything with nuts and caramel I’m pretty much in love with, and these Turtle Brownies are no exception. The richness of the chocolate, gooey-ness of the caramel, crunchiness of the nuts, and the fudginess of the brownie is the most delicious combination. Serving them warm out of the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream will knock your socks off! I have made these many many times, and each time they’re reached with rave reviews. Best of all, they’re super easy to make–in the oven in about 10 minutes!
Easy Turtle Brownies Recipe
These fudgy brownies are perfect for home, to give as gifts, or to take to an event or gathering. They’re one of our favorite desserts, and we often choose them for our Sunday Night Treat or to serve to guests.
Best of all, they’re so simple to make, and no one will ever guess you’re using a German chocolate cake mix. No eggs, flour, salt, or sugar needed! It takes just minutes to whip these up, and you’ll love how much they taste just like turtle candy. I’ve made plenty of brownies from scratch, and I have a fabulous homemade caramel pecan sauce. I do love to make many recipes that are completely homemade, but I also am all about quick and easy recipes that save a few steps along the way. This is one of those semi-homemade recipes that utilizes pantry ingredients like Kraft caramels and a cake mix. It’s perfect when you need something quick, but still want to impress!
Ingredients for Turtle Brownies
Here are the ingredients you’ll need:
- German chocolate cake mx
- Evaporated milk
- Chopped pecans
- Kraft caramels (or Caramel Bits)
- Chocolate chips
*If you have nut allergies at your house, you can definitely leave out the nuts, and they’ll be amazing Caramel Brownies!
How to Make Turtle Brownies
My favorite German chocolate cake mix is Duncan Hines, but you can use any brand you have on hand. Combine the unprepared cake mix, melted butter, evaporated milk, and 1 cup nuts together in a large bowl, and stir well. Sometimes I omit the nuts in the brownie part of the recipe, and just use them on top, and it’s really a personal preference. If you do that, you’ll only need one total cup of pecans, rather than two.
I like to line my baking pan with parchment paper before spraying it, because it makes it so much easier to remove the brownies and then cut them after baking. This is an optional step, but just make sure to grease the pan well, because caramel is sticky! Only half the batter goes into the pan for this first step, and then into the oven for a short, initial baking time. Those few minutes are the perfect time to mix up your caramel sauce!
You can use either the traditional wrapped Kraft caramels, or Kraft caramel bits. Both will work, and both come in 11 oz. packages. which makes it easy. In a microwave-safe bowl )I use a glass measuring cup), melt the caramels and evaporated milk and stir smooth. Start with a minute, then add more time in 30-second intervals as needed. If you prefer the stovetop, you can also do this in a small saucepan over medium heat, making sure to stir often so it doesn’t burn. You really only need it heated through enough to thoroughly combine the evaporated milk and caramel so it resembles a sauce.
Once the brownies are out of the oven, pour the caramel sauce over the top, making sure to get to all the corners. Next come the chocolate chips! Pssst…I usually use more than 6 oz., which is about half of a regular-sized bag. You can’t go wrong with the entire bag, right? I prefer milk chocolate, but semi-sweet chocolate chips are great too. (Or even chocolate chunks!)
This is where the other half of the batter comes into play. I’ve done this part a couple of different ways–both work, and taste just the same, so it’s really what you like. You can either drop walnut-sized balls of the remaining batter evenly across the top, or you can do much tinier-sized pieces. Just this week when I made them I used the smaller pieces, which I think is my preference.
The final piece is 1 cup of chopped pecans (or more) sprinkled on top as the finish. Now you’re ready to bake, and once they come out of the oven, make sure to cool them completely to room temperature before cutting. I’m not saying you can’t eat them sooner…I can never wait!
How to Store Turtle Brownies
Once the brownies are cooled and cut, place them in an airtight container lined with wax paper or parchment paper. Store in the refrigerator, and bring back to room temperature or slightly warm brownies before serving.
These can be pretty gooey, so if you’re serving or plating, use a sturdy platter or plate. I like to put them on a cute plate, then slide the plate into a large, clear treat bag. Tie with cute ribbon, and you’re set!
- 6 oz. chocolate chips
- 1 cup pecans, chopped
- Stir together the German Chocolate cake mix, 1/3 c. evaporated milk, 3/4 c. melted butter and 1 c. chopped nuts. Spoon half of the mixture into a 9×13 baking pan that's lined with parchment paper and sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 6 minutes. Cool slightly.Melt the caramels (Kraft caramels or caramel bits) and 1/3 c. evaporated milk in a microwave-safe bowl. Start with about 1 minute, then add more time as necessary, in 30-second intervals. Whisk until thoroughly smooth. Pour over the brownies, and drizzle it to each corner, spreading it evenly across the top.Sprinkle 6 oz. chocolate chips on top of caramel mixture, then drop remaining brownie batter in walnut-sized balls (or smaller pieces) close together over the brownies. Finish with 1 cup of chopped nuts sprinkled over the top.Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes. Check with a toothpick to make sure it's ready Cool to room temperature, then lift out the parchment paper and cut brownies into to squares.
**Originally posted 2012, updated July 2022.