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These simple but decadent Oatmeal Fudge Bars are a mash-up of two of our favorite desserts: soft, chewy oatmeal cookie on top and bottom with a thick layer of rich chocolate fudge in the middle.
Oatmeal Fudge Bars
I don’t know what rock I’ve been living under, but apparently Starbucks has been making these oatmeal fudge bars that I grew up with and I never even knew since I hardly ever go in there. But the ones at Starbucks have got nothing on the homemade oatmeal fudge bars of my childhood.
I don’t even remember where this recipe originally came from, although possibly from a Lion House cookbook since that was my favorite when I was a kid. My mom was making these when I was growing up in the 80’s and they are one of the first dessert recipes I remember learning how to make on my own.
These oatmeal fudge bars really are the perfect combination of chewy cookie and a creamy chocolate center layer of fudge in one blissful dessert that is perfect for bake sales, potlucks, or sharing with friends since it makes a lot!
I love the hands on aspects of pressing part of the oatmeal cookie dough into the bottom of the pan and crumbling the remaining cookie dough over the top so the chocolate fudge layer can peek through.
Oatmeal fudge bars bear some similarities with carmelitas, except there is no caramel and the chocolate layer is much thicker and softer in these bars.
Even once the bars cool, the fudge layer stays soft like, well, fudge, rather than firming up.
Ingredients in oatmeal fudge bars
- Old-fashioned oats: I have only tested these bars with old-fashioned oats. Quick oats are chopped smaller and absorb more moisture than old-fashioned oats. Also, they aren’t as chewy, so I don’t recommend using them as a substitute.
- Semisweet chocolate chips
- Salted butter: If you only have unsalted butter on hand, just increase the salt in the recipe by about 1/4 teaspoon extra.
- All-purpose flour
- Brown sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Baking soda
- Sweetened condensed milk: This makes the middle layer so creamy and sweet and fudgy.
How to make oatmeal fudge bars
- Prep: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13-inch baking dish with parchment paper or a foil sling to make the bars easier to remove after baking.
- Beat wet ingredients: In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer or stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, mixing well to combine.
- Mix in dry ingredients: Add oats, flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir just until combined.
- Make fudge layer: I typically microwave this, but you can do it in a saucepan as well. Combine the chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, and butter in a medium saucepan or microwave-safe bowl. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until melted and smooth, or in the microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring between each burst, until melted. Stir in the vanilla and salt.
- Assemble: Press about 2/3 of the cookie mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan, then pour the chocolate mixture on top of the oat layer in the baking pan. Crumble the remaining oat mixture over the top of the chocolate, leaving spaces where the chocolate can peek through.
- Bake: Bake for 25-28 minutes just until golden brown on top (don’t overbake or the bars won’t stay as soft), then cool completely for at least three hours before slicing into bars and serving.
Tips for making bar recipes
- Line the pan with a parchment paper sling. This makes it super easy to lift them out for clean, easy slicing, rather than trying to cut them in the pan.
- Let them cool completely before slicing, otherwise they will be a gooey mess.
- Store leftovers covered with plastic wrap or in an airtight container on the counter or in the fridge. If kept at room temperature they will last for 3-4 days. In the fridge they will hold up a little longer, around 5-7 days.
Love chocolate and oatmeal treats? Us to!
- Chocolate Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies
- Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Nutella Brownies
- Oatmeal Rolled Sugar Cookies (these are another family favorite my mom made when I was growing up)
- Caramel Pecan Brownies
- Rocky Mountain Avalanche Bars
- Toffee Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (in the running for the best cookie of my life)
- Iced Oatmeal Cookies
- Texas Sheet Cake
Oatmeal Fudge Bars
Oatmeal Cookie Layers
- 1 cup salted butter softened
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 cups old-fashioned oats
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
- 2 Tablespoons salted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13-inch baking dish with a foil or parchment paper sling to make the bars easier to remove after baking.
- In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add eggs and vanilla, mixing well to combine.
- Add oats, flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir just until combined.
- Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan or microwave safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, and butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until melted and smooth, or in the microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring between each burst, until melted. Stir in the vanilla and salt.
- Use your hands to press about 2/3 of the cookie mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking dish, then pour the melted chocolate mixture over the top. Crumble the remaining cookie mixture over the top of the chocolate, leaving spaces where the chocolate can peek through.
- Bake for 25-28 minutes just until golden brown on top (don’t overbake or the bars won’t stay as soft), then cool completely for at least three hours before cutting and serving.