I am the loathsome sap who loves Valentine’s Day. I buy heart-shaped sprinkles; I bring Tweety Bird valentines to the office; I wear pink. Most importantly, I bake caramel Boyfriend Brownies.

Boyfriend-Brownies-{Caramel Brownies}-Recipe

My purchase of cupid-printed cupcake liners, assorted truffles, and shiny greeting cards fuels a Hallmark holiday that probably does more harm than good for the average woman’s self-esteem, right along with her date’s wallet.

I simply cannot help myself.

To those familiar with my mental age, insatiable desire to prepare theme meals, or acute chocolate dependency (aka Chocolate Beet Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze), my weakness for Valentine’s Day comes as no surprise.

Hate me for loving Valentine’s Day? Eat a caramel boyfriend brownie.

Boyfriend-Brownies-{Caramel Brownies}-Recipe

The Best Chewy Chocolate Caramel Brownies

These caramel brownies are simultaneously the most superb and the most awful item to enter your life.

We’re talking first devouring caramel boyfriend brownies, then in a brief fit of self control, hiding the remainder from ourselves, only to wind up desperately licking our fingers as we scrape shards of buttery, dried caramel from the tight corners of our pan.

It’s that kind of awful. And by awful, I mean awesome.

Boyfriend-Brownies-{Caramel Brownies}-Recipe-

Boyfriend brownies have been the sweet star of my Valentine’s Day since high school.

Back when, I had no idea what to purchase for my fledging-boyfriend’s V-Day gift, so I baked myCaramel brownies were born.

The finished product was such a raging success with the BF that, had I known just how well they would be received, I would have demanded a dinner-upgrade. Olive Garden perhaps?

Boyfriend-Brownies-{Caramel Brownies}-Recipe

Flash forward 365 days: New year; new boyfriend; same issue. I had no clue what to choose for his Valentine’s gift. Da-dun! **Cue Superman music** caramel brownies to the rescue!

Same recipe; same triumphant success. We went to Red Lobster. I privately christened caramel brownies with a new name: Boyfriend brownies, my V-Day hit.

Every Valentine’s Day since, I have made my caramel boyfriend brownies, independent of my relationship status.

Even without a date—and I have spent far more Valentine evenings drinking Shiraz and watching bad action movies with the girls than at dinner with a BF—caramel brownies are reason enough to welcome Valentine’s Day.

Boyfriend-Brownies-{Caramel Brownies}-Recipe-

How to Make Caramel Brownies from Scratch

A few important recipe notes to ensure your chewy chocolate caramel brownies are a pan of gooey perfection:

  • This recipe calls for cake mix. In my current life, I typically shy away from recipes that call for boxed mixes, because I find comfort in measuring and understanding each ingredient. In high school when I first baked caramel boyfriend brownies, I could have cared less. One bite and neither will you.
  • Make sure to use German Chocolate mix! No Devil’s Food. No Triple Chocolate Fudge (note: this is the only time you will ever hear me forbid triple chocolate anything). German chocolate cake is lighter in flavor, so once you’ve piled on the chocolate chips and bubbly caramel, the brownies will still be irresponsibly decadent, without being excessively rich: a recipe for dangerous consumption.
Boyfriend-Brownies-{Caramel Brownies}-Recipe-
  • My high school version of the recipe calls for store-bought caramels. I find store-bought caramels to be over-priced and intolerably annoying to unwrap, so this time around, I made my own caramel instead. Homemade caramel sounds high-maintenance, but I promise that you can make caramel with more success than you ever imagined. Plus, making your own caramel will leave you feeling like an empowered, sugar-transforming wizard. My fingers tingled just writing that.
  • If you don’t mind dealing with annoying plastic wrappers or care about being a sugar wizard: I have included directions for the store-bought caramel approach as well.
  • You must, must, must let the brownies cool as directed, or they will be a disaster to cut. Waiting is torture, and disasters can be beautiful—just don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Boyfriend-Brownies-{Caramel Brownies}-Recipe

More Dreamy Brownie Recipes

Boyfriend-Brownies-{Caramel Brownies}-Recipe-

Final selling point: the last boy for whom I baked caramel boyfriend brownies married me. Bake them for certain; share them with caution.

And demand Olive Garden.

Boyfriend Brownies (Caramel Brownies) Recipe. Fabulous and fudgy, it's the perfect sweet treat to end a romantic dinner!

Boyfriend Brownies {Caramel Brownies}

5 from 1 vote
A sticky layer of caramel, flowing over melty chocolate chips, and squished between two layers of German chocolate brownie. Similar recipes have been called knock-you-naked brownies; whatever you name them, Boyfriend Brownies are irresistible. For the center layer, you can purchase store-bought caramels or make your own. I have included ingredients and directions for both.

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 1 hr 55 mins

Servings: 16 2-inch square brownies


  • 1 box German Chocolate cake mix (18.5 ounces, I recommend Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick, melted)
  • 1/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

If Making Caramel:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature and cut into chunks
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup evaporated milk (buy the small, 5-ounce can)

If Buying Caramel:

  • 1 bag caramels (14 ounces) unwrapped
  • 1/3 cup evaporated milk (buy the big, 14-ounce can)


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Liberally coat an 8×8 inch (or 9×9 inch) square pan with cooking spray. Line with parchment paper, leaving some paper hanging out over the sides. Coat again with cooking spray.
  • In a medium bowl, beat together the cake mix, 1/3 cup evaporated milk, and melted butter. Press half of the mixture into the bottom of your prepared pan. Bake for 8 minutes, then remove from oven
  • To make caramel: Place the granulated sugar in the bottom of a dry, medium-sized sauce pan over medium heat. Heat until the sugar melts, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon to break up any chunks. Once the sugar has melted (about 5 minutes), remove from heat and stir in the remaining 4 tablespoons butter and kosher salt. Continue to stir, melting as much butter as you can, then add the additional 1/4 cup evaporated milk. Return pan to heat. Cook and stir on high until caramel is bubbly and slightly darker in color, stirring to melt any sugar clumps that have solidified. Be careful not to touch the caramel as it will be very hot. Nice work!
  • If using store-bought caramels: Place the unwrapped caramels over a double boiler on medium heat. Add remaining 1/3 cup evaporated milk. Stir together gently until caramels are melted.
  • Once the first layer of the brownie has baked, remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Pour the melted caramel over the top.
  • Break remaining half of the brownie batter strategically over the top of the caramel (it’s ok if some caramel peeks through). Return to oven and bake 25-30 additional minutes, until the top of the brownie looks relatively set.
  • Let brownies cool in pan to room temperature on a rack, then refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Using parchment paper, lift brownies from pan. Slice and serve.

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Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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    1. Thanks Sally! These brownies earned their name thanks to significant others, but they are equally tasty when shared with friends or eaten standing alone over my kitchen sink (guilty!)

  1. hahahahaha…share them with caution. love that…after reading your title i couldn’t wait to read this post….as always made me laugh. hope you had a happy valentine’s day!

  2. My boyfriend LOVES caramel brownies!!!
    He has me make them sparingly because they are so incredible that we can eat the entire pan : )

  3. Love this post! I’m bookmarking the recipe. I’ve been making the same treat every Valentine’s Day for the last few years, too (Nutella fudge), whether or not I’m single, and sharing them with everyone. And like you, I’m a sucker for the holiday!

  4. Yummy! Your description on foodgawker made me laugh. I remembered a friend who made a chocolate dessert and called it.. sex in a pan. lol

  5. Ok. I don’t have a boyfriend and I am not waiting to till Valentine’s Day to make these. I do have a husband and he loves brownies anytime of the year so guess what he’s getting this weekend for dessert?

    1. No boyfriend or special occasion needed to dive headlong into a pan of these gooey good brownies Lisa! Your husband is going to love you for making them (and if you are anything like me, you will be glad for an accomplice to help you demolish the pan!) Hope you enjoy them as much as we do. Thanks for your comment!

    1. Chimmy, that makes me SO happy to hear! They are one of our favorite recipes, and I’m thrilled that you love them too. Thanks for sharing your review and have a wonderful day!

  6. This has always been known as Caramel Nut Brownies, so was confused at the name! Great treat regardless what you call it!

    1. Agree that these would be amazing by any name Betty! I didn’t use nuts, but I think that addition sounds completely delicious. Peanuts would be like Snickers!!

    1. Hi Valerie! I’ve never actually read the Pioneer Woman’s version, but she could have a similar one. This is actually based off of a recipe I received from a friend’s mom in middle school. She called hers “Snickers Brownies,” and I’m not sure where she got the recipe originally. No matter where they are from though, they are d-lish!

  7. Sally, the only german chocolate cake mix boxes I can find weigh in at 15.25 oz – unfortunately downsized from the original box size. How can I adjust the recipe for this?

    1. Wendy, this is the STRANGEST thing. I started doing some research, and it looks like cake mix boxes have shrunk since I wrote this recipe years ago (can you believe it??).  Honestly, I am not sure what to tell you, since I wrote the recipe with a larger mix. Your safest bet would be to buy 2 boxes and weigh them to reach the original quantity, but I realize that is kind of a pain. The second option would be to try the recipe as is with the smaller box (I *think* it would work—the bars would just be extra super soft and buttery) OR you could try the recipe with the smaller cake mix box and slightly less liquid (maybe 1/4 cup evaporated milk instead of 1/3). I’m so sorry I can’t help you more. I had no idea this change had happened, and I haven’t tested the recipe with a smaller sized box of cake mix.

  8. Erin – sorry, in trying to leave my question my phone decided that I was asking Sally a question – i didn’t notice the autocorrect until too late. So…ERIN, how can I adjust for the smaller size cake mix boxes?

  9. Ever since I came across this recipe, i make this at least once a year, and it is always a hit! I have always bought the 15.25oz box and i just shave off a little less butter and a little less evaporated milk. It always comes out great.

    What i never knew was how to properly store these.. sometimes i leave it out, and sometimes i refrigerate it.. what is the best way to store these? When i refrigerate it, i always have to microwave it a bit, but then i throw ice cream on top.

    Thanks for this great recipe! This is forever stored in my recipe notebook!

    Side note: the first time i made these brownies for a male is now my fiance :)5 stars

    1. Karen, I’m so glad to hear that these brownies are a yearly favorite! I think either way of storing is fine, depending upon your preference. Ice cream on top sounds like a great thing to me. ;)