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No Bake Caramel Crunch Bars Recipe

These no bake caramel crunch bars are delicious for dessert, an afternoon snack, or a quick pick-me-up when you need one. It’s an easy recipe that delivers tasty treats for any occasion.

plates of no bake caramel crunch bars

You need a small rectangular or square pan to make these no bake bars. This time, I used a 7” x 9” rectangular pan. Sometimes I use an 8” x 8” square pan. 

If you want to make more, you can use a larger pan. Increase the number of graham crackers to cover the bottom. You’ll also need to double the other ingredients. I prefer to make them in a small pan, unless I have company or I’m giving some away.

Chocolate Caramel Crunch Bars

These bars have chocolate drizzled on top, so I could have called them chocolate caramel crunch bars. But you can easily substitute butterscotch chips or peanut butter chips for a whole different flavor.

If this is a new recipe for you, I recommend following the directions below. After you try it the first time, you’ll probably know what you want to change or add.

no bake caramel crunch bar on a plate

People who know me know that when I follow a recipe, I don’t exactly “follow” it. I consider it a suggestion and then go about my merry way to make it my own. 

Fortunately, it usually turns out just fine … or even fabulous. However, when it doesn’t, I consider it a learning experience of what not to do again.

Tools You’ll Need

You don’t need many tools to make this delicious treat. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Baking pan or baking dish (8” x 8” or 7” x 11”)
  • Aluminum foil or parchment paper
  • 2 microwave safe bowls – one large bowl and one medium bowl
  • 2 mixing spoons
  • Microwave or double boiler

If you want to make a smaller amount, you can use a loaf pan and cut the ingredients in half.

Or you can double the ingredients and use a 13” x 9” baking pan.

For thinner bars, either use less of the ingredients or a larger pan.

I prefer aluminum foil over parchment paper because it’s easier to use foil handles to life the finished bars from the pan. 

No Bake Caramel Crunch Bars Ingredients

The ingredients list is very basic. Since I’m always whipping something up in my kitchen, I had everything I needed on hand, except the marshmallows. 

You’ll probably also notice that I use gluten-free products since I have a moderate gluten intolerance. If you don’t have this issue, you’re very fortunate because sometimes it’s difficult to find everything in a gluten-free version.

When I see gluten-free graham crackers, I stock up. Most stores in my area now carry gluten-free pretzels.

packages of gluten-free graham crackers and pretzels

These are the ingredients you’ll need for this delicious recipe:

  • Graham crackers (gluten-free or regular graham crackers)
  • Caramel bits
  • Heavy cream
  • Roasted peanut halves
  • Mini marshmallows
  • Pretzel pieces
  • Chocolate chips (semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips)
heavy cream and caramel bits
chocolate chips and peanuts
package of mini marshmallows

For exact measurements of each ingredient and full directions, go to the recipe card at the bottom of the page. You can even print out the card by using the “print” button.

I prefer dark chocolate over milk chocolate because it’s not quite as sweet. However, if you prefer more sweetness, go for the milk chocolate.

There have been times when I didn’t have chocolate chips. So I used a chocolate bar instead. If you do this, break it up before putting it in the bowl to make sure it melts evenly.

I’ve also used coconut oil when I didn’t have time to go to the grocery store for cream.

Another thing I’ve added is vanilla extract. To be honest, I couldn’t tell the difference, so I don’t usually add that any more.

When you feel adventurous, try adding other things to the top, like Rice Krispies, Trix cereal, or Cocoa Pebbles. Let the kids help you decide what to add.

How to Make No Bake Caramel Crunch Bars

This is an easy recipe to make. Basically, all you have to do is layer the ingredients, with a little bit of melting in between.

Tear a sheet of aluminum foil that’s big enough to go beyond the sides of your pan. You’ll be using this foil to lift the bars from the pan, making them easier to cut.

pan covered in foil

Place the foil in the pan. Spray nonstick cooking spray on the foil. Or coat it with butter.

Break your pretzels into small pieces, about 1/2 to 1 inch long. Set them aside.

graham crackers lining the bottom of the pan

Place whole graham crackers on the bottom of the prepared pan.

Cover the pan as well as you can with the graham crackers. You may have to cut some of them to reach the edge.

caramel bits and cream in a bowl

Combine the caramel bits and cream in a large microwave-safe bowl. Heat the mixture on high heat for 1 minute. 

Remove from the microwave and stir. Put it back and heat for 30 seconds. Stir again.

If you prefer not to use a microwave, you can put the caramel in the top of a double boiler and melt it over the lower pot filled with water. It takes longer, but it works just fine.

melted caramel in a bowl with a spoon

Repeat this step until the caramel has melted.

Pour mixture over the graham crackers.

pouring melted caramel over graham crackers

While the caramel is still soft, sprinkle the peanut halves over the caramel.

peanut halves on caramel

Next add the pretzel pieces and marshmallows.

Press these ingredients into the caramel to keep it from sliding off.

mini marshmallows and pretzel pieces added to the pan

In another microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips.

Drizzle the chocolate over the rest of the ingredients.

drizzling chocolate over the ingredients in a pan

Place the pan in the refrigerator.

Allow the bars to set for at least an hour.

chocolate drizzled over the rest of the ingredients in the pan

After the toppings have set, remove the pan from the refrigerator. Slice them into 12 squares or rectangles.

Questions About No-Bake Homemade Caramel Crunch Bars

These delicious dessert bars are super easy to make. But you still might have some questions. Hopefully, the ones listed below will answer them.

How Should You Store Caramel Crunch Bars?

If you place them in the refrigerator, they should be good for up to a week, maybe longer. Place them in an airtight container or plastic bag.

However, if you want to keep them longer, I recommend putting them in the freezer. You can keep them in the freezer for up to 3 months as long as they are in an airtight container or freezer bag.

Before you eat them, take them out of the freezer and let them rest for about 15 to 20 minutes. This gives them time to thaw. If you want to eat them at room temperature, leave them out an extra 10 minutes.

plates of caramel crunch bars

See this recipe shared at Weekend Potluck and Full Plate Thursday.

Can You Microwave Caramel Crunch Bars

I don’t recommend microwaving these dessert bars. It’s best to allow them to thaw at room temperature.

If you put them in the microwave, they’ll thaw unevenly. And some of the layers might change texture.

Do You Have to Use Graham Crackers on the Bottom?

You can use any type of square cookie or sweet cracker you prefer. I like graham crackers because they hold up well beneath the other layers, and they add just the right amount of sweetness to the bars.

More No Bake Desserts

I bake quite a bit during the winter months. However, I prefer no bake desserts when it’s warmer out. Since I live in Florida, there are quite a few more warmer months than cooler ones.

Here are some of our favorite no-bake desserts:

Peanut Butter Marshmallow Bars – Since peanut butter is one of my favorite foods, I’m partial to this one. It’s absolutely delicious and satisfies everyone’s sweet tooth at the highest level.

Microwave Scotcheroos – You’ll love the delightful blend of peanut butter, butterscotch, and chocolate. Combine those flavors with the crispy, crunchy texture, and everyone will be so happy.

Chocolate Covered Pecans – These are easy to make and absolutely wonderful to serve at any event! Bet you can’t eat just one! The hardest part about making these is to stop eating them before they’re ready.

No-Bake Pineapple Pie – This recipe from Back to My Southern roots takes one of my favorite fruits—pineapple—and puts it in a pie. So yummy!

Rum Balls – We usually enjoy these on special occasions. Serve these at your next party, and you’ll probably have requests for more in the future.

Peanut Butter Cocoa Krispie Treats – These crispy treats are delicious, especially if you enjoy flavorful bites of peanut butter and chocolate mixed together. Yum!

Berry No-Bake Cheesecake – If you like cheesecake and you enjoy the refreshing flavors of berries, you’ll love this one! It’s easy to make, impressive to look at, and absolutely delicious to eat!

Enjoy the Process of Making No Bake Caramel Crunch Bars

One thing that I think is important is to love what you’re doing. Whether it’s building a birdhouse or baking no-bake dessert bars, you can have fun with the process. 

There are so many ways to do this. One thing you can do is get the whole family involved. Put each person in charge of one part of the process. Another thing that I often do is play my favorite music and bust a few moves in the kitchen. 

pan and plate of caramel crunch bars

This is another one of my super easy recipes because that’s what I do. Yes, there are much more involved recipes that require more steps. But these caramel crunch bars come out so delicious, I figure, why make it hard? So I don’t.

My favorite way to have fun is to tweak the recipe to see if I can some up with something better. So go ahead and do whatever it takes to enjoy the process!

plate with no bake caramel crunch bar

No-Bake Caramel Crunch Bars

Yield: 12 bars
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

You'll love the blend of sweet and salty flavors in these delicious no-bake caramel crunch bars!

Ingredients

  • 8 graham cracker squares
  • One 11-ounce bag of caramel Bits
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanut halves
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup pretzel pieces
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (semi-sweet or milk chocolate)

Instructions

  1. Line a 7” x 11” or 8” x 8” pan with aluminum foil. Make sure it overlaps the edges so you can lift it out when it’s done. Spray nonstick cooking spray on the foil.
  2. Break the pretzels into 1/2 or 1 inch long pieces and put them in a bowl.
  3. Place the graham crackers in bottom of pan. Make sure the entire bottom is covered. You might have to cut some of the crackers to make them fit.
  4. Combine the caramel bits with the cream in a microwave safe bowl. Heat the mixture on high for 1 minutes. Remove from the microwave and stir. Continue this process in 30 second increments until the caramel has melted.
  5. Pour the melted caramel mixture evenly over the graham crackers.
  6. Sprinkle the peanut halves over the caramel.
  7. Place the marshmallows and pretzels evenly around the top. Gently press them down into the mixture to keep them from moving.
  8. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between.
  9. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the top of the caramel and graham cracker mixture in the pan.
  10. Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour or until the chocolate is firm.
  11. Lift the foil out of the pan. Cut into squares or rectangles.

Notes

You can substitute a tbsp coconut oil for each tbsp of cream.

If you don’t have chocolate chips, you can break up a chocolate bar and melt it.

You can use peanut butter, cashew butter, or almond butter in place of, or in addition to, the caramel.

Other things you can add to the top:

  • Rice Krispies
  • Cocoa Pebbles
  • Trix cereal
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Walnuts
Nutrition Information
Yield 12 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 176Total Fat 7gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 3mgSodium 166mgCarbohydrates 30gFiber 1gSugar 23gProtein 3g

The nutrition information is a product of online calculators. I try to provide true and accurate information, but these numbers are estimates.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Please feel free to share!

Miz Helen

Sunday 28th of August 2022

We will love your no-bake caramel crunch-bars, they look so good! We have featured your crunch bars over on Full Plate Thursday, 603 and thanks so much for sharing with us! Miz Helen

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