It’s amazing how it only takes four ingredients to make this moist and chewy turtle bar recipe!

Just bake some ready-made cookie dough, a can of dulce de leche, some pecans, and chocolate chips into a dessert that’s ready for any occasion!

It’s a special treat that’s super easy and fun to make.

three turtle bars stacked

Decadent Hand Held Treat!

labeled ingredients to make turtle bars

Four Ingredient Recipe

Cookie Dough – Instant cookie dough is for more than just cookies! Sugar cookie, Oreo, chocolate chips, chocolate fudge, and peanut butter cookie dough will all make tasty bar bases in this recipe!

Chocolate Chips – Buy good quality chocolate chips that won’t be outdone by the salty caramel flavors. White chocolate chips can be mixed in for a pop of color!

Dulce de Leche – Look for cans of dulce de leche with the sweetened condensed milk, because it’s basically the same thing, only cooked down until it’s caramelized. Diced and melted caramels or a homemade caramel sauce will also work, but making your own dulce de leche is a fun kitchen experiment to try and tastes so much better!

Variations – Mix it up and sprinkle the top with coconut, pretzels, M&M candies, walnuts, cashews, or peanuts if nut allergies are an issue.

How to Make Turtle Bars

A turtle bar tastes great served with an extra drizzle of caramel sauce or a squirt of whipped cream. These are so easy to make:

  1. Toast pecans (per recipe below).
  2. Press cookie dough into the casserole dish and bake until lightly browned.
  3. Heat dulce de leche and pour over the top of the cookie crust.
  4. Top with chocolate chips and pecans. Refrigerate until cold.

Tips for Success!

  • If you can’t find dulce de leche, try making the caramel sauce by removing the labels from a can of sweetened condensed milk, and submerging it in a pot of water. Bring the water to a boil and simmer for about 2-3 hours (the can works as a pressure cooker). Remove the can from the water and allow it to cool completely before opening and stirring (this step is best done the day before).
  • Don’t skip toasting the pecans in Step 1 since toasting them keeps them crunchy and intensifies their flavor. They brown super fast so keep an eye on them.

How to Store Turtle Bars

Turtle bars taste best cold, but they can be kept at room temperature in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Cut, wrap, and freeze individual portions for up to 3 months. Pop one into a backpack or briefcase and it will be thawed by lunchtime!

turtle bars on a plate for serving

Other Delish Chocolate Desserts!

Have you tried this Pecan Turtle Bars recipe? Leave a comment and rating below!

three turtle bars stacked
5 from 2 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Pecan Turtle Bars

Just four ingredients is all it takes to make this moist and chewy turtle bar recipe!
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Refrigerate 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 20 servings
Author Holly


  • 1 roll sugar cookie dough 16.5 ounces
  • 1 ¼ cups dulce de leche 13.4 ounces
  • 1 ½ cups chopped pecans
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


  • In a 10″ skillet, toast the chopped pecans over medium heat until dark brown and fragrant. Allow to cool completely.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×13-inch pan.
  • Press cookie dough evenly into bottom of the prepared pan. Bake 15-20 minutes, until lightly browned and baked through.
  • In a medium saucepan, bring dulce de leche to a boil over medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until thickened.
  • Pour thickened caramel over the baked cookie crust and spread in an even layer. Let set for 5 minutes.
  • Sprinkle the chocolate chips and pecans over top of the caramel layer.
  • Refrigerate until cold, about 1-2 hours. Cut into bars.


  • Can’t find dulce de leche at the store? Make it yourself! Remove the labels from a can of sweetened condensed milk and submerge it in a pot of water. Bring the water to a boil and simmer for about 2-3 hours. Remove the can from the hot water and allow it to cool completely. Open and stir.
  • Toasting the pecans gives them extra crunch and flavor, so don’t skip this step!
  • Store turtle bars in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days.
  • Individual portions can be wrapped, placed in a zippered bag, and frozen for up to 3 months.  
5 from 2 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 210kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 69mg | Potassium: 119mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 18IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American

REPIN this Pecan Turtle Bar Recipe

turtle bars on a serving plate with text
A stack of 3 turtle bars with text
Top image - a stack of three turtle bars. Bottom image - turtle bars prepared in a baking sheet with text



Recipes you'll love

About the author

See more posts by Holly

latest & greatest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. Since you are using an 8×8″ pan I am assuming you are not using a regular full size cake mix. What size cake mix are you using? A Jiffy brand maybe that just makes a one layer round cake?

  2. I want to make these soon for a coffee hour at church, but I have a question. Is an 8×8 pan the right size? Seems like they look in the picture to be much thinner and thought maybe a jellyroll pan…8×8 seems way too small. Am I right?

  3. I have a question … at Xmas we always get lots of chocolate .. and always more than I can eat .. so I store it in double Ziploc in my deep freeze for whatever reason.

    I am wondering if I do the cake mix, and then just rough chop/chunk the Turtles I have in the freezer once they are room temp and sprinkle the pieces over the cake mix.

    I have tried something very similar with other chocolates such as Baileys Irish Crème, Choco covered Almonds, etc and find it a bit of a time saver and a handy emergency “yummy” ingredient.

    Your thoughts would be appreciated.