The Best Turtle Brownies

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Turtle Brownies — Super fudgy brownies loaded with chocolate, pecans, and caramel! An easy, no-mixer recipe for the most INCREDIBLE BROWNIES that are LOADED with all the good stuff! Rich, decadent, and amazing! To save time, use store-bought caramel sauce.

The Best Turtle Brownies - Super fudgy and loaded with chocolate, pecans and caramel! So.crazy.good!!!

Easy Turtle Brownies Recipe

Turtles. The chocolate-covered caramel and pecan clusters that I can eat five of in 5 minutes. I love those things. But turtle-inspired brownies are even better.

These are some of the best brownies I’ve ever had. The brownies are fudgy, not at all cakey, ridiculously rich, boldly chocolaty, and loaded with texture.

There’s a salted caramel and pecan filling that’s sandwiched inside dense brownies, and there’s chocolate chips and more pecans sprinkled on top.

It’s an easy, no-mixer recipe and all my brownie recipes are very fudgy, dense, and what varies is the pan size, ratio and amount of sugars, eggs, and whether I use melted chocolate, cocoa, or a combination.

These turtle brownies were show-stoppers and without a doubt, one of the best things I’ve made this year. I’ll never be satisfied with just a plain old turtle again.

The Best Turtle Brownies - Super fudgy and loaded with chocolate, pecans and caramel! So.crazy.good!!!

Ingredients in Turtle Brownies 

To make these caramel turtle brownies, you’ll need: 

  • Unsalted butter
  • Bittersweet chocolate 
  • Eggs
  • Granulated sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Brewed coffee
  • Instant espresso granules 
  • All-purpose flour
  • Salted caramel sauce
  • Pecans 
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips

Note: Scroll down to the recipe card section of the post for the ingredients with amounts included and for more complete directions.

The Best Turtle Brownies - Super fudgy and loaded with chocolate, pecans and caramel! So.crazy.good!!!

How to Make Turtle Brownies 

This is a quick and easy turtle brownie recipe, but you MUST let the brownies cool for a few hours before slicing and serving. The caramel inside the brownies will be molten hot when taken out of the oven, and it needs quite a while to firm up and become safe to eat. The wait is worth it, promise!

Here’s an overview of how the brownies are made:

  1. You’ll first need to whisk together the brownie batter, then pour about half into a foil-lined 8×8-inch baking dish.
  2. Bake for about 15 minutes, then remove from oven and top with a layer of caramel sauce and pecans. 
  3. Pour the remaining brownie batter over the caramel layer, then sprinkle with additional pecans and chocolate chips.
  4. Return the turtle brownies to the oven and bake for another 25 minutes or so. 
  5. Once out of the oven, these pecan brownies with caramel sauce need to cool in the pan for about 3 hours.
  6. Then, they need to chill in the fridge for an additional 2 hours. After that, you can finally slice into these babies! 
The Best Turtle Brownies - Super fudgy and loaded with chocolate, pecans and caramel! So.crazy.good!!!

Recipe FAQs

Can I Double This Recipe? 

Yes, you can double this turtle brownies recipe and bake them in a 9×13-inch pan instead. Your bake time may need to be adjusted slightly, so use your best judgement. 

Can the brownies be made with a different type of nut?

To achieve the classic turtle flavor, I made these as caramel and pecan brownies. However, you can use walnuts instead noting that you won’t be using the traditional turtles ingredients.

Can the brownies be made in advance?

Absolutely! The brownies stay super fudge for up to 1 week, but I like storing them I the fridge and eating them slightly chilled. If serving to guests, I recommend making the brownies no more than 48 hours in advance for peak fudginess, however.

Can I use caramel sundae sauce in this recipe?

No, you need to use traditional caramel sauce in the turtle chocolate brownies, NOT caramel sundae sauce. Sundae sauce is runnier and thinner than regular caramel sauce.

The Best Turtle Brownies - Super fudgy and loaded with chocolate, pecans and caramel! So.crazy.good!!!

Recipe Tips

I used roasted, salted, whole pecan halves from Trader Joe’s. If your nuts are raw, toast them for 5 to 10 minutes in a 400F oven to take the raw edge off and enhance the flavor.

You can either make your own Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce, use Trader Joe’s Salted Caramel Sauce, or use another thick, rich sauce. Don’t use ice cream sundae sauce because it’s too thin. You want something really thick so it doesn’t leak and run everywhere.

The hardest part is waiting for the brownies to cool completely before slicing. There’s too much fudginess, drippy caramel, and melted chocolate to slice into until they’ve cooled completely. Slicing too early will result in a hot, gooey mess. I prefer brownies this rich to be served slightly chilled.

Storage

Turtle brownies will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 6 months. I prefer these brownies slightly chilled and store them in the fridge.

Wow, these brownies were so yummy and pretty easy to make. I took your recommendation and made your salted caramel sauce, so glad I did too!! It totally made for perfect turtle brownies! Thank you, this is definitely a keeper :) And so is the carmel sauce!!

Danielle

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4.77 from 17 votes

The Best Turtle Brownies

By Averie Sunshine
Super fudgy brownies and loaded with chocolate, pecans and caramel! An easy, no-mixer recipe that can be made with homemade or store-bought caramel sauce! 
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Cooling Time: 5 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 55 minutes
Servings: 12
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Ingredients  

Brownies

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, 1 stick
  • 6 ounces dark or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used Trader Joe’s 72% Pound Plus Bar)
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon brewed coffee, leftover or cold coffee is okay, optional but recommended
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso granules, optional but recommended
  • pinch salt, optional and to taste
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour

Filling

  • 8 ounces salted caramel sauce (use homemade, Trader Joe’s, or another favorite; plain is okay but I prefer salted caramel. Don’t use ice cream sundae sauce, it’s too thin)
  • 1 heaping cup pecans, I use roasted, salted pecan halves; toast raw nuts for 5 to 10 minutes in a 400F oven to enhance flavor

Topping

  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup pecans

Instructions 

Make the brownies:

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch square pan with high-quality aluminum foil such as Reynold’s Non-Stick (highly recommended so caramel doesn’t stick to pan) leaving overhang and spray with cooking spray, or grease and flour the pan; set aside.
  • In a large microwave-safe bowl, add the butter, chocolate, and heat on high power to melt, about 2 minutes. Stop to check and stir after 1 minute. Heat in 15-second increments until chocolate has melted and mixture can be stirred smooth. Allow mixture to cool momentarily before adding the eggs so they don’t scramble.
  • Add the eggs, sugar, vanilla, optional coffee, optional espresso granules (neither make brownies taste like coffee and both enhance and round out the chocolate flavor), optional salt, and whisk vigorously to combine.
  • Add the flour and stir until smooth and combined.
  • Turn half the batter out into prepared pan (I draw an imaginary line down the center of the batter with my spatula while it’s in the mixing bowl andeyeballing it, I pour half into pan); reserve remainder.
  • Bake for 15 to 16 minutes, or until top has just set in the center; don’t overbake because pan is going back into oven. While brownies bake, prepare the filling.

Make the Filling:

  • In a medium bowl, add caramel (microwave it for 10 seconds if your is very thick or hard to get out of the jar), pecans, and stir to combine; set aside.
  • After brownies have baked for about 15 minutes, remove pan from oven and using a spatula carefully and evenly spread the filling mixture over the brownies, taking care to not let the filling plop down in one spot because it will be difficult to spread without disturbing the brownie layer.
  • Evenly top with reserved brownie batter, smoothing it lightly with a spatula. It’s normal for it to have thickened up some.

For the Topping:

  • Evenly sprinkle the chocolate chips on top.
  • Evenly sprinkle the pecans.
  • Bake for about 24 to 25 minutes, or until center has just set and is no longer glossy. It’s a bit hard to tell when done because center is buried under chocolate chips and pecans, but if you look closely you’ll be able to determine if you’re looking at raw brownie batter or just melted chocolate chips. The toothpick test is unreliable because you’re going to hit melted chocolate chips and then gooey caramel sauce so it’s better to just eyeball it.
  • Allow brownies to cool in pan on top of a wire rack for at least 3 hours.
  • Cover with a sheet of foil to prevent fridge smells, and place pan in fridge for another 2 hours, or until sufficiently chilled for slicing.
  • Lift brownies out using foil overhang, slice, and serve.

Notes

  • Brownies will keep airtight at room temp for up to 1 week, in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 6 months. I prefer these brownies slightly chilled and store them in the fridge.

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 419kcal, Carbohydrates: 36g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 29g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 15g, Cholesterol: 53mg, Sodium: 413mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 22g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Originally posted July 12, 2014 and reposted with updated text March 1, 2024

About the Author

Welcome to AverieCooks! Here you’ll find fast and easy recipes that taste amazing and are geared for real life. Nothing fussy or complicated, just awesome tasting dishes everyone loves!

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Please note: I have only made the recipe as written, and cannot give advice or predict what will happen if you change something. If you have a question regarding changing, altering, or making substitutions to the recipe, please check out the FAQ page for more info.

Recipe Rating




Comments

  1. 5 stars
    These are the best brownies I’ve ever had! My husband says they rival the Claim Jumper chocolate cake for fudgy taste and texture. This is a recipe I will be making over and over. I bought the recommended ingredients at Trader Joe’s (love the caramel sauce- so easy to use), but couldn’t find any instant espresso. Suggestions for where to get it?

    1. Thanks for the 5 star review and I am glad they’re the best brownies you’ve ever had and that your husband loves them too!

      In terms of instant espresso, you can buy this at most regular grocery stores and it’s what I use or just order it https://rstyle.me/+hE522vcuX2CF7iOaTQBKUA I saw it on Amazon too although currently out of stock https://amzn.to/3Ir4Bqs
      Here’s another one I sometimes also see in the grocery store that is also reputable https://amzn.to/3uYGZGL

  2. I love turtles. I was looking forward to the turtle brownies. Unfortunately, the recipe calls for coffee. I do not like that taste.
    I wish that there was a turtle brownie recipe more true to the turtle candy taste.

    1. It’s optional but recommended. If you truly don’t want to use it, omit. Easy fix! The brownies are incredible!

  3. 5 stars
    These brownies are amazing! A neighbor of mine had surgery and he loves any kind of brownie…his response was; OMG, the Best brownie I’ve ever had! I opted to use your recipe for the caramel sauce…next time I will cook it a little longer to thicken just a bit more. Other than that they were amazing!

  4. 5 stars
    Make these every year for the holidays – Just finished a double batch today. Cut them bite size and use for my cookie trays – So rich and fudgy! They also freeze really well. Used vanilla as well as bourbon for the caramel sauce this time and it turned out amazing. Thanks for this recipe!

    1. Thanks for the 5 star review and glad these are on your holiday baking list every year! Glad to hear they are a hit for you!

  5. 5 stars
    Wow These brownies were so yummy and pretty easy to make. I took your recommendation and made your salted caramel sauce, so glad I did too!! It totally made for perfect turtle brownies! Thank you, this is definitely a keeper :) and so is the Carmel sauce!!

    1. Thanks for the 5 star review and I am glad you even made the homemade caramel sauce and loved the brownies!

  6. 5 stars
    These turtle brownies recipe looks so amazing and yummy at the same time. Found your post so easy to follow along when preparing them yesterday. So mesmerized by this. Thanks, Averie for sharing!

  7. Hello! I very much enjoy your recipes and commentary, and am dying to make these for the folks at work. Can I double this recipe and bake it in a 13×9 pan, and bake the brownies for the same amount of time? I am interested in this conversion for all your brownies intended to be baked in an 8×8. Is this an ok practice for them in general? Thank you

    1. Overall I would say yes but baking isn’t always an exact science and you have to use your judgment and so it’s impossible to give absolute ‘rules’.

  8. This recipe is great, thank you! I love the nuts and caramel sandwiched between the brownie layers – deliciously oozy when warm!

  9. Uh yea, sign me up. These look incredible! I have featured this scrumptious recipe in the Absolute Best Brownie Recipe Roundup over at dreamingofleaving.com… keep those yummy ideas coming :) xo

  10. Hi Averie!

    These look amazing! I’m hoping to make them for a bake sale. If I wanted to use a 9 x 13 pan, how should I modify the recipe?

    Thanks :)

  11. I love Trader Joe’s dark chocolate bars! They would go great in baking (if they ever lasted that long in my house!)

  12. These look absolutely delicious! I’m going to make them tonight and was wondering if regular caramel sauce was ok instead of salted caramel. And maybe adding some sea salt on the top?

    Fatima

  13. As I scrolled down your page of pics, I felt as though I could just reach into the screen and grab the decadent treats…great pics

  14. Can I move in with you, and eat all of the delicious food that you make?! I swear, your food always has me drooling! These turtle brownies look downright sinful! :) Pinned!

    1. I wish I had you and your kiddos to help me eat all my goodies! I would love some company :)

  15. Oh my goodness! This could be the most delicious brownie I have ever seen! I’m going to have to make these :)

  16. omg these look amazing!!! I have a party coming up and I’m thinking these need to be on that table!!! :) Awesome recipe!

  17. *squee* Look at that fudgy texture!! I’m not a huge nut fan either but turtles are in a league of their own; pecans are allowed!

    1. I know I used to be anti nuts but lately have been loving them in chocolate, rich desserts. May as well just make it richer and add a pound of nuts, right :)

  18. Ok you just took turtles to another level! These look absolutely loaded to the brim with turtle goodies! I don’t normally like nuts in brownies, but I think the fact that they are on top as well with chocolate chips and caramel would give the brownie a great texture that I’d be totally into :)

    1. I used to be anti nuts but lately have been loving them in chocolaty, rich desserts. May as well just make it richer and add a pound of nuts! :)

  19. Wow! This look like the most EPIC brownies ever!!! I would love to gobble one of these up right now.

  20. Oh my goodness these turtle brownies have me drooling! I’m making these for my very own birthday treat next month with a tall glass of milk :-)

  21. Made these last night for a world cup party, and they are indescribably delicious. I normally dislike fudge-y brownies compared to more dry, chewy ones, but these changed my mind. I used only 1/2 c of sugar (my family likes things less sweet), and the brownies turned out perfect. I really like the pecan and dark chocolate additions because they make the brownies buttery and rich tasting. I have to say mine turned out a little less pretty than yours (pshh who needs 5 hours of cooling time when they can have instant brownie gratification), but nobody minded after taking a bite.

    1. So glad these changed your mind about fudgy brownies!

      they make the brownies buttery and rich tasting. = agreed!

      instant brownie gratification = love that :) And if you’re not taking pictures of them for a food blog, who cares if they don’t look totally pristine. It matters how they taste! Thanks for trying them on the same weekend I posted them!

  22. I would be having portion control issues with a pan of these! I would eat them all!

  23. Love how intense the fudge factor is in these brownies! They look amazing! Pinned. :)

  24. Turtle brownies are the best, and yours look amazing, Averie! Your pictures definitely capture the chocolatey-caramely goodness!

  25. You are my dessert idle! Absolutely worth a longer run! But, I have to disagree with one point, no way could I wait for them to cool. I know me and I’d have a fork in them as soon as they wouldn’t burn a layer of skin off of my mouth!… Pardon me while I drool a few minutes longer!
    (Pinned)

    1. Thanks for pinning and the dessert idol compliment :) Totally worth long runs. Even no runs, these were so worth it!

  26. These brownies look so super chewy and moist and those pecans and chocolate chips on top are making them extra special!! Averie you surprise me everytime with your amazing recipes!!

  27. Omg Averie, these definitely DO look like the best. Like you, I can down (way too many) Turtles in no time…these look sooooo much better!

  28. How about some love for those of us who do like cakey brownies? Not really fond of the fiudgy kind. I know it’s heresy but there can be something too chocolatey for some people.

  29. Wow Averie, that’s some serious fudge factor going on there! Exactly the way I love my brownies. When you can confused brownies with fudge, that’s the perfect texture for me. Cakey brownies just aren’t worth eating — they should be called cake and topped with frosting! ;) It looks like you’ve definitely changed your mind about nuts in desserts after your recent pecan pie bars — these look phenomenal too!

    1. When you can confused brownies with fudge, that’s the perfect texture for me. Cakey brownies just aren’t worth eating — they should be called cake and topped with frosting! = THAT’S the BEST thing I’ve read all day! So, so true – both the fudge confusion part and the cake topped with frosting part!

  30. Mercy, all that chocolate! And after avoiding nuts like the plague, I now love the richness and texture they bring to desserts. That filling looks to die for!

  31. This looks incredible. I’m always making turtle flavored treats for my mom, and this will definitely be on my list for next time!

  32. These brownies look beyond delicious…they look awesome to a chocolate lover like me! I love this recipe and will be trying it soon. I even pinned it twice…thanks for sharing!

  33. These are seriously stunning, Averie. Love how you don’t mess around! Pinning to try soon!

  34. I am addicted to pecans… and I’ve seen so many amazing recipes including them recently! But chocolate + caramel + pecans? The best yet! Yum :)

  35. I might have to say that these are the best brownies ever! The caramel, the pecans – oh, my, goodness! Pinning it! :)

    1. Thanks for pinning and yes I honestly do have to say that not only are they the best turtle brownies, but they’re in my top 2 of fave brownies, EVER. I mean seriously I loved loved loved these things and did not donate a singular one :)

  36. Oh my gosh you filled them with caramel and pecans too. I’m bowing down to you, turtle brownie queen!!! Pinned!

    1. Oh gosh I just remembered that I think you have a turtle brownie recipe…I know you have turtle stuff for sure! Probably truffles (knowing you) and fudge and I think brownies, too! Thanks for pinning! :)

  37. I love nuts in brownies..these looks so dark and nutty can’t wait to try. I like that they make a small batch because I usually eat one or two of something and then I’m ready to move on to something else so a smaller batch always works better in our house.

    1. They work better in this house too for the exact reasons you said, coupled with at least 5 new things every.single.week, the less I have to donate, the less money and ingredients I need to spend and use :)

  38. These look fully loaded with texture and flavor! I love the filling and chocolate chips….and I’d have to share with my neighbors because these look impossible to resist. I also like chilled brownies–I think the texture is even fudgier.

    1. Paula you’ve read every post of mine and made about half of them, and these were crazy, amazing, over the top good! Best ever status, for sure. If you need a dessert for an event (because yes, you do have to either donate these or make for a party :)) but definitely put these on your rainy day, someday, list!

  39. Those brownies are looking fantastic! I can’t wait to make some to discover what they taste like as well :)