Caramel Cashew Bars

filed under: Cookies on November 11, 2018

These Caramel Cashew Bars are seriously amazing. They start with a buttery foundation of crushed shortbread cookies, then topped with a sprinkling of miniature marshmallows and a layer of sweet, gooey caramel. Love treating your guests to amazing desserts? Try my Apple Crisp or easy Piggy Pie Dessert!

Caramel Cashew Bars

Cashew Bars Recipe

These bars come together pretty darn quickly, but a few tools will help make it easier. I like to use a food processor to finely grind the shortbread cookies, but you can also use a plastic bag and a rolling pin. (This works best when you have some aggression to work out!) I also utilized the caramel bits instead of unwrapping caramels. It tastes the same but saves you a LOT of time. You could make your own caramel from scratch as well. Heck, you could make your own homemade marshmallows too if you are feeling super motivated!

How to Make Caramel Bars

How to Make Caramel Cashew Bars

I like to line my pan with foil or parchment to make removal and clean up easier. I found a product at the store that is a combination of both, foil on one side and parchment on the other. It wasn’t as easy to manipulate as the foil, but it worked great! You can use either, but I do recommend choosing one as baked caramel is difficult to clean off pans.

  • Make sure you have all your ingredients out and ready to go. If you are using wrapped caramels, be sure to unwrap them all before starting.
  • Preheat your oven to 325°F.
  • Make sure your shortbread crust is ready before starting the caramel sauce.
  • Use a medium saucepan to melt caramels instead of a small saucepan.
  • Keep a close eye on the bars when you are baking for the second time as you don’t want the marshmallows to get burnt.
  • Let the bars sit for about 10 minutes before cutting as they will be very hot and very soft. (I did not let them sit in the video and they fell apart in my fork! But they still tasted AMAZING.)
  • These bars are SWEET. Be sure to serve with coffee or milk, depending on who you are serving them to. 🙂

The Best Caramel Cashew Bars

I’m kind of a sucker for those holiday baking displays in the middle of the grocery store. Come on, I can’t be the only one sucked in by the canned pumpkin pyramids! On my most recent trip, I ended up with 3 bags of cashews, 2 bags of mini marshmallows, and too many cans of pumpkin to count. Some may call it a bit of an obsession, I like to refer to it as preparedness – ya know, stocking up for Winter – kinda like a squirrel, except this nut is obsessed with cans of pumpkins!

With all these sweet holiday confections overflowing my pantry, I knew I had to find a recipe to put everything to good use.

I’m pretty sure these guys will be a superstar on any holiday dessert table you decide to offer them up on. Different enough to be memorable among the pumpkin pies and Christmas log cakes, but familiar enough to be comforting and perfect with a generous cup of hot cocoa.

5 from 1 vote
Caramel Cashew Bars
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
30 mins

These Caramel Cashew Bars start with a buttery foundation of crushed shortbread cookies, then topped with a sprinkling of miniature marshmallows and a layer of sweet, gooey caramel.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: caramel cashew bars
Servings: 24
Calories: 198 kcal
Author: Amanda Rettke
Shortbread Crust
  • 3 cups finely crushed shortbread cookies
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick or 113g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup (50g) sugar
  • 36 caramels, unwrapped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups chopped salted cashews
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows
Shortbread Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a 13x9x2 inch baking pan with foil - be sure to extend the foil a little over the edges. Spray foil with non-stick cooking spray.

  2. In a large bowl, combine cookie crumbs, butter, and sugar. Press the cookie mixture firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan creating an even layer of crust. 
  3. Bake crust in preheated oven for 15 minutes or until it starts to lightly brown around the edges. Remove pan to cooling rack.

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt caramels and cream until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and cashews. 
  2. Sprinkle the marshmallows evenly over prepared crust. Spread the caramel-cashew mixture over the marshmallows as evenly as possible.

  3. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the caramel is set. Remove to wire rack and cool completely.
  4. Once bars are cool, use the foil overhang to remove the bars from the pan and cut into squares. Cut them small, these bars are sweet! 

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

Bars can be stored arranged in a single layer in an airtight container for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

Love Ooey Gooey Treats? Try these popular recipes:

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars

Lemon Bars

Snickers Special-K Bars



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  • bubbieone says:

    These looked so good, I just had to check out her site! Just what I need……………….another fantastic site to drool over. Congrats, Jamie you did a great job, guest hosting

  • HannahBee says:

    These look really good!

  • Shannon says:

    They look amazing!! But did not see the recipe on the site.

  • Nic@diningwithastud says:

    Oh Jamie these look amazing! Would be perfect with my morning cup of tea 😉

  • Jen at The Three Little Piglets says:

    Such gorgeous photos! As always…

  • kyleen says:

    These bars look delicious! Gorgeous photos!

  • Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction says:

    Oh, I just love when my favorite blogs collide… And, these bars are the perfect result! Looks amazing!

  • susan says:

    caramel and cookie in the same place – this is getting bookmarked, for sure!

  • Kris Erickson says:

    I made these for Thankgiving and they were a hit! Thank you!

  • Blanca says:

    Hello Amanda,

    I absolutely love your Baking recipes.

    Thank you for sharing.
    Hapoy Holidays to you and your family.


  • Ann Marie Wellman says:

    By weight how much caramel do I use since mine is in block form

  • Renee Day says:

    Thank you, thank you for this recipe!! My g-son, who is like a son to me can not eat chocolate due to panicky attack’s. But loves Cashews ♥️ This is perfect!! In fact I will make these for everyone and put them in Christmas tins for our Christmas gathering 🎅🏻🎄💝

  • Carol Saucedo says:

    Will these work with store bought caramel sauce??
    These look delish and I have been wanting to ask you about using the caramel sauce in other recipes but I always forget… I was thinking if anyone would know it would be you…

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Yes, you can use store bought. 🙂

  • Ann says:

    Given the intense sweetness of marshmallows and caramel, can we reduce or eliminate sugar from crust?