Turtle Brownies

TURTLE BROWNIES seeping with pockets of caramel, infused with pecans and chocolate chips, smothered in the BEST chocolate frosting and topped with more caramel!

These Turtle Brownies aren’t just brownies and they aren’t just Turtle Brownies, they are POKE Turtle Brownies which means they literally have holes brimming with caramel.  And this, of course, means they are the best brownies in the world, or so says everyone who tries them! 


up close of ghirardelli caramel turtle brownies with caramel drizzling down the front



Poke Turtle Brownies

These Turtle Brownies are so outrageously delicious that although I had a list of people to deliver the leftovers brownies to, they didn’t make it.   I embarrassingly will admit that Patrick and I ate the entire pan of brownies by ourselves.  The entire pan.

When I made them again for the video and managed to give the leftover Turtle Brownies to three friends, they ALL posted on their instagram stories.  One friend said, “These are the “best brownies I’ve ever tasted.”  Another friend showed a picture of the plate with one brownie left and said, “Should I save it for Paul?” (her husband)   The third friend said she would never make any other brownie recipe again.

top view of salted caramel turtle brownies sliced into squares with salted caramel drizzled on top

Yes, friends, my thoughts exactly.  Just like my Turtle Cookies, these Turtle Brownies are intoxicating.  They stay moist for forever because of the caramel IN the brownies and the silky chocolate frosting should be boxed and sold.  To top it all off, the dance of crunchy pecans, chocolate chips, and creamy caramel is texture bliss.   So just a fair warning, with one bite, you won’t be able to say no to these Turtle Brownies unless you have the will power of steel.  Pure steel.

How to Make Turtle Brownies

I wanted to create the best Turtle Brownies, so I took my favorite simple brownie recipe, added pecans and chocolate chips to the batter.

showing how to make turtle brownies by adding pecans and chocolate chips to brownie batter

Then poked holes all over the top and poured my favorite Easy Creamy Caramel (so good you will eat it with a spoon!), to sink deep into the craters so every bite is super moist and caramelicious…

showing how to make Turtle Brownies by pouring caramel over the top of the chocolate brownies

Then I spread the caramel all over the Turtle Brownies so it glides deep into the brownie pockets.

showing how to make Turtle Brownies by spreading caramel with a spatula into the poke holes

I then topped the Turtle Brownies with my favorite velvety chocolate frosting (you might never go back to any other chocolate frosting!)  and finally adorned the brownies with more chocolate chips, pecans and caramel.  INSANE!

showing how to make Turtle Brownies by drizzling caramel over the top of the brownies with nuts and chocolate chips

How to Serve Turtle Brownies

My favorite way to eat these rich, million dollar morsels is to microwave them for 10 seconds or so, just enough to warm the Turtle Brownie, liquefy the caramel and soften the chocolate frosting to melt in your mouth heaven.

How Do you Store Turtle Brownies?

Cover Turtle Brownies and store at room room temperature for up to one week.  They caramel pockets keep them nice and moist.

Can I Make Turtle Brownies Ahead of Time?

You can make just the Turtle Brownies without the extra nut/caramel topping and freeze for up to 3 months.  When ready to serve, thaw the brownies overnight in threfrigerator, then bring them to room temperature on the counter before serving.

side up close view of best Turtle Brownies with a bite taken out of a piece

Can I  Leave the Nuts Out?

If you have a nut allergy or are not a fan of nuts, then you can omit the pecans.  The brownies, however, will no longer be Turtle Brownies, just Caramel Brownies.

Can I Use Store Bought Caramel Sauce?

I highly recommend my own Caramel Sauce recipe – I think it “makes” these Turtle Brownies and only takes 5 minutes to make!   But yes, you can use store bough caramel sauce, NOT ice cream topping.  The ice cream topping will be to thin and not have the same rich, luscious results.

up close of a slice of easy Turtle Brownies with caramel, pecans and chocolate chips

Poke Turtle Brownies.  Brownies don’t get any better.

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front view of a piece of homemade Turtle Brownies with a bite taken out and caramel drizzling down the center

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©Carlsbad Cravings by CarlsbadCravings.com

Poke Turtle Brownies

Crazy moist Poke Turtle Brownies seeping with pockets of caramel, infused with pecans and chocolate chips, smothered in the BEST chocolate frosting and topped with more caramel AKA the best brownies EVER!
Servings: 24 -36 brownies
Total Time: 45 minutes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

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  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 cup butter, melted (2 sticks)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/4 cup pecans, roughly chopped, divided
  • 3/4 cup Recipe Easy Creamy Caramel Sauce
  • 1/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (may sub regular)

Chocolate Frosting

  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup (may substitute honey)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil so it overhangs slightly (so you can easily lift brownies out later) and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  • Brownies: In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
  • To a separate large bowl, whisk butter, sugar and cocoa powder together. Add eggs to the batter one at a time, beating after each addition just until incorporated. Beat in vanilla. Fold in flour mixture just until combined. Add 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and ¾ cups chopped pecans to batter and stir until just combined. Pour batter evenly into pan.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Let pan cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes then poke holes all over with the back of a chopstick or small wooden spoon. Pour ½ cup caramel over brownies and spread into holes with a spatula. Refrigerate brownies for one hour or freeze for 30 minutes to let the caramel set. Meanwhile, prepare the Chocolate Frosting.
  • Chocolate Frosting: Beat butter, cocoa, corn syrup and vanilla in small bowl until blended. Add powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons milk and beat until smooth, adding additional milk if needed to reach spreading consistency.
  • Once caramel has set, frost brownies with Chocolate Frosting (you don’t have to use all of it but I highly recommend it!). Sprinkle evenly with ½ cup chopped pecans, ¼ cup mini chocolate chips and drizzle with ¼ cup caramel.
  • You can serve immediately or refrigerate to allow frosting to set and make cutting easier. I LOVE to microwave my brownie serving for 15 seconds or so before devouring.



Don’t miss the “how to make” recipe video at the top of the post!

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Carlsbad Cravings Original with plain brownie recipe adapted from Hersheys

Reader Interactions

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  1. Judy O says

    can I use caramel flavored sweetened condensed milk instead of caramel sauce?

    • Jen says

      Hi Judy, I don’t recommend caramel flavored sweetened condensed milk – stick with caramel for the best results. Enjoy!

  2. lloyd says

    can i use premium caramel sauce ghirardelli brand

  3. Kelly robison says

    Would melting caramels work as well?

    • Jen says

      Hi Kelly, yes I think melting caramels with heavy cream would also work. Enjoy!

  4. mya says

    should you use salted or undated butter for these brownies?

  5. Holly says

    Thank you – my 14 yr old made these yesterday. We had to leave out the nuts, due to nut allergies, but they were still delicious. The caramel recipe was so easy, it’s a keeper! I’m so happy my sister told me to follow you!!

    • Jen says

      Welcome to my site Holly! That’s awesome your 14 year old made the brownies – how fun to have a baker in the family! I hope you have fun exploring my site!

  6. Marisol says

    Not having been a real fan of brownies, I approached this with some trepidation. OMG. WOW. So rich and decadent! Pinned, and will be making these again (and again)!

    • Jen says

      YAY! I’m so pleased they won you over!

  7. leuda Maria says

    Hi !! I loved your recipe.

  8. Deena says

    Hi. I love your recipe so much. Can I keep this in room temp for a week? Or should I separate the chocolate frosting? As I’m going to mail some to my friend.

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much Deena! Yes, you can keep this at room temp for a week but hotter than room temp and the frosting will start to melt.

  9. Vincent says

    I don’t typically bother to leave reviews — let me tell you, I spent all day making these, and they are easily the best and most delicious brownies I have ever had the privilege of tasting. The alterations I made were using 3 eggs instead of 4, baking them a few minutes less, and omitting cinnamon and baking powder. I also made real salted caramel despite burning it the first time. I toasted the pecans and I browned all of the butter in the recipe and used it while still melted. It pairs deliciously with the caramel. I refrigerated these brownies for an hour after pouring the caramel over, and refrigerated for another half hour after adding all the other toppings. Then I microwaved a piece. The result is fudgy, velvety, and all of the flavors meld together in a very harmonious way, but you can still pick apart all of the different components.

    Thank you for this recipe. Store bought brownies don’t hold a candle to these.

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment Vincent, I’m so pleased to hear these brownies were the best you’ve ever had! Your alternations, especially browning the butter and using salted caramel sound divine!

  10. Lori says

    These are hands down the yummiest brownies I’ve ever eaten! Thank you so much for this recipe! Easy to make and out of this world to enjoy! That home made caramel sauce will probably be a regular topping for things around here now!

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment Lori – you have great taste! I’m so pleased you loved these brownies so much!

  11. Jeney says

    The brownies tasted great but mine had to be cooked longer because middle was very gooey. Also brownie stuck to parchment paper once caramel was poured over. Thoughts on my mistakes

    • Jen says

      Hi Jeney, every oven and pan is different, so you did the right thing and baked longer as needed. When poking holes in the brownies next time, don’t poke them all the way through so the caramel will stay in the brownies and not reach the parchment. Good luck!

  12. MJ says

    Best brownies I’ve ever made AND tasted. Thank you for sharing this wonderrecipe!

    • Jen says

      Thank you for making my day MJ I’m thrilled you loved them so much!

  13. Robin says

    These are amazing! If I wanted to bake using an 8×8, what length of time would be needed?

    • Jen says

      I would try 20-22 minutes. Enjoy!

  14. Jeanne Harned says

    One word to describe these–decadent! So good. I’m guilty of trying recipes and not leaving a review–always on to the next recipe. I get sooo many good recipes from your website! Thanks for making me look good in the kitchen!

    • Jen says

      Thank you so so much! I’m happy to hear you enjoyed them! Thank you for taking the time to leave a review and trying so many of the recipes, I appreciate you!

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