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! 

TURTLE BROWNIES RECIPE VIDEO

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

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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 mins
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins

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Ingredients

Brownies

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Video

Notes

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

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70 Comments

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much June! They are pretty much incredible – I hope you can make them and eat them all soon!

  1. Dorothy Dunton says

    Hi Jen! You just pushed all of my sweet tooth buttons! All of those photos above contain my favorite things! Choices, choices…! 🙂

    • Jen says

      Again we have the same taste, because they are all of MY favorite things too! I hope you can make these soon – YOU deserve them 🙂

  2. Pam says

    Could one use caramel topping, like for ice cream?

    • Jen says

      Hi Pam! You can use storebought caramel ( I like Trader Joe’s) but not ice cream sundae sauce/topping because it is too thin. Hope this helps!

    • Jen says

      Thank you Whitni! I can’t wit for you to actually TASTE them! 🙂

  3. Karin B says

    How do you do this?!?! Seriously?!!? I want to break into your home (in only the nicest most non-confrontational way, of course) and eat these off your counter. They look amazing!

    • Jen says

      LOL! You crack me up Karin! I wish I could bring them right to your door – no breaking and entering necessary 🙂 I hope you can make them soon!

  4. Sarah says

    These are hands down the best brownie recipe ever! I have now made them 4 times and might never make another brownie recipe again!

    • Jen says

      YAY! I am so thrilled we share the same brownie passion and that you love these so much! Thanks Sarah!

  5. Cheryl says

    Can I use a brownie mix, then use your caramel sauce, nuts and chips?

    • Jen says

      Absolutely! That would be easy and delicious! enjoy!

  6. Anna says

    I highly recommend after making the frosting to take part of the leftover chocolate chips and melt them and add to frosting before using it. It gave a bit choclatier taste (is that a word?) and really just set it off!!! I thought the frosting was good but then I was in chocolate heaven adding that I’m not done making them but I know they’re gonna be sooooo great.

    • Jen says

      Great recommendation! You can never have too much chocolate in my opinion!

  7. Kim says

    HI! These Brownies were amazing, very rich and satisfying and different to the usual brownie. I would however just change one thing next time I make them by omitting the cinnamon. It was too overpowering for my taste, but here in Europe we are not used to cinnamon-chocolate combination. I love cinnamon in spice cakes such as carrot or pumpkin cakes and cinnamon rolls but with chocolate it was a bit too much. I did also reduce the sugar and butter for the brownies because I was getting a “sugar rush” just by looking at all the amount of butter and sugar required for the whole recipe (including the caramel sauce). I did not change the frosting amounts except by using cream instead of milk and using more to increase the viscosity of the frosting and make it more spreadable. Thank you so much for this recipe!!

    • Jen says

      I am thrilled you loved these brownies Kim and I’m glad you were able to make the changes to suit your taste!

    • Jen says

      I agree, a match made in heaven! Thanks so much Laura!

  8. Becky says

    HI I found your recipe on Pinterest. I am doing a Round Up blog post later in March for National Chocolate Caramel Day (the 19th) and am interested in including this recipe in that round up. I would like to use a picture from the post, with links back to your site/this post. I would promote it on my all my social media platforms and would share the link with you so that you could do the same if you wish. If you are not interested, I understand, I will not use your post/images without your permission.

    Thank you for your time.

    • Jen says

      Hi Becky, thank you so much for checking in first- how refreshing! You can definitely use my image with a link back to my site – thank you!

      • Becky says

        Thank you so much! I will be happy to send you the link when it’s done!

  9. Kara says

    OH MY GOODNESS!! These are SO GOOD! I love poke cake, but these brownies are even better! Everything about them is delicious. 🙂 I love the caramel recipe, too….it will definitely be my “go to” caramel recipe. It was so easy and tastes wonderful. Thanks for another great recipe!

    • Jen says

      You are so welcome Kara, thank you for making more of my recipes! So happy to hear these were even better than chocolate poke cake and that you loved the caramel recipe too! That caramel is one of my first recipes I ever posted and I love that it is still being loved 🙂

      • Kara says

        Hi! I’ve had a hard time not making these every week! Lol! I was wondering how long you think they’ll stay fresh at room temperature? (That’s if I can keep from eating them all in the first day. :)) I want to take them to a party, but need to make them in advance.

        • Jen says

          LOL! I am glad you love them so much 🙂 If you wrap them tightly, I think they would still taste fresh for up to 2 days. Hope that helps! Enjoy and have fun at your party!

          • Kara says

            Hi! I wanted to let you know that I took these to my party and they were a HUGE hit! I can’t even tell you how many times I heard, “These are the best brownies I’ve ever had!” Thanks again for a purely awesome recipe! 🙂

          • Jen says

            YAY! That is the best compliment ever – thank you!!!!

  10. Deb says

    I was unable to see the ingredients. When I went to print the recipe, the instructions printed. I would love to make these.

    • Jen says

      Hi Deb, I am SO sorry! I switched servers over the last couple days and have had some technical difficulties – like ingredients missing – ahh!!! Hopefully it will all be resolved tomorrow! Thank you for your patience!

  11. Marilyn says

    Why can’t I find the measurements for the next ngredients?

    • Jen says

      Hi Marilyn, I am not sure why you aren’t able to see the measurements – here is the recipe:
      Prep Time 15 minutes
      Cook Time 30 minutes
      Servings

      24
      -36 brownies

      INGREDIENTS
      Brownies
      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 flour
      1/2 teaspoon baking powder
      1/2 teaspoon salt
      1/4-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
      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 and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
      Brownies: Add butter, sugar and cocoa powder to stand or hand mixer and beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Add eggs to the batter one at a time, beating after each addition just until incorporated. Beat in vanilla.
      In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon then beat into batter just until combined. Add 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and 3/4 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 wooden spoon. Pour 1/2 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 1/2 cup chopped pecans, 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips and drizzle with 1/4 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.

  12. Nitya says

    Hi,
    I was wondering if I would be able to substitute the nuts for pretzels instead?
    Thanks

    • Jen says

      I think that would be delicious!

  13. Kara says

    I made these AGAIN…actually I’ve made them twice in the last two weeks. I would like to freeze some of my last batch. Do you have any suggestions for freezing them? Thank you again for this recipe….though my hips and thighs don’t thank you. Lol! 🙂 🙂

    • Jen says

      haha! well at least part of you thanks me 🙂 If you are going to defrost the whole pan, then you don’t need to cut them first. If you are wanting individually brownies, then you will want to slice them and package them separately. Either way, let them cool completely before freezing. For freezing the pan of brownies, remove the brownie slab from the pan cut in half, leaving the parchment paper on the bottom, then wrap the slab in a double layer of plastic wrap followed by foil then place each half in its own freezer bag to avoid freezer burn. To thaw the brownies, unwrap them from everything and let them stand at room temperature for 3-4 hours before cutting into squares or bars. Let me know how it goes!

      • Kailtin says

        Do these have to be refrigerated to stay good?? Looking to mail them.

        • Jen says

          Hi Kaitlin, I think they should mail great!

  14. Ashley says

    Taking a chance e that you will see this comment….i can not find regular cocoa powder, only unsweetened. What should I do?? I assume add sugar, but any idea how much?

    • Jen says

      Hi Ashley, yes, unsweetened is correct!

  15. Stephanie says

    Made these last weekend for a gathering with friends. They were amazing. So much so that I am making a batch tonight for a dessert raffle and a batch next weekend for a dessert auction. Mmmmm

    • Jen says

      I love hearing these were such a huge hit, thank you so much Stephanie!

  16. Katrena Lopes says

    Hands down the BEST brownies I have ever made or tasted!…..and I’m SUUUUUUUPER picky!! These are extremely addictive. I made some for my students, and they called them crack brownies! Lol! This is my new go to for brownies!

    • Jen says

      Wahoo! “the BEST” brownies is the ultimate compliment – or maybe “crack brownies” is- haha Thank you so much Katrena for taking the time to comment and make my day!

  17. Carmalynn Russell says

    Where is the recipe for the caramel sauce? Or did I just miss it.

    • Jen says

      You have to click where it lists “3/4 cup Recipe Easy Creamy Caramel Sauce” and it will take you to the recipe. Enjoy!

  18. 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!

  19. lloyd says

    can i use premium caramel sauce ghirardelli brand

  20. 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!

  21. mya says

    should you use salted or undated butter for these brownies?

  22. 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!

  23. 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!

  24. leuda Maria says

    Hi !! I loved your recipe.

  25. 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.

  26. 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!

  27. 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!

  28. 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!

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