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.


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!!


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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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  • 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


  • 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


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


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.


  • 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.


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

4.77 from 17 votes (12 ratings without comment)

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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


  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 I saw it on Amazon too although currently out of stock
      Here’s another one I sometimes also see in the grocery store that is also reputable

  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!