With it’s melt in the mouth shortbread biscuit base, thick caramel layer and chocolate top, this caramel slice recipe – also known as Millionaires shortbread – is a classic bakery treat that is sure to become a favourite bake.
This easy caramel slice recipe is a sweet treat that is a popular choice at a cafe or bakery. At home I love baking slices, as they are often simpler to make than cupcakes, and you can slice them into large or small squares or slices, depending on how many people to need it to feed!
If you enjoy baking easy sweet slices too, this no bake Maltesers slice is a very popular recipe, as is this chocolate hedgehog slice which also uses condensed milk. For something without chocolate, this almond slice is a personal favouriote.
What is Caramel Slice?
An Australian bakery favourite, the caramel slice has three layers: a biscuit base, thick caramel layer, topped with melted chocolate. Also known as Millionaires shortbread (especially if you are from the UK!), caramel squares, caramel shortbread and chocolate caramel bars, it is called caramel slice in Australia and New Zealand. There are many variations of this popular bake, some recipes require baking after the caramel layer is added, others have different ratios of caramel to base, some using coconut in the biscuit.
Why we love this recipe
- The biscuit base is tender with a delicious crunch, like shortbread.
- The simple caramel made from condensed milk doesn’t require a thermometer to make.
- This caramel slice recipe is made without coconut.
- Easy to make – prepare the biscuit base and press into the tin, make the caramel, top with chocolate.
- Eggless recipe – like my eggless banana bread and lemon biscuits, this is an egg free recipe.
Ingredient notes and substitutions
Please scroll down to the recipe card at the end of the post for ingredient quantities.
- Plain flour – all purpose flour.
- Butter – I like to use unsalted butter in this recipe, and then I can add a generous pinch of salt to the caramel. If you use salted butter you may want to add less salt to the caramel.
- Caster sugar – caster sugar is used in both the shortbread biscuit base and to make the caramel layer.
- Condensed milk – sweetened condensed milk, not half fat. Nestle sweetened condensed milk in Australia, Nestle Carnation condensed milk in the UK. You can also use supermarket own brand sweetened condensed milk.
- Golden syrup – this is used to add flavour and colour to the caramel layer. You can use a little honey instead, although it will taste different.
- Salt – I like to add a generous pinch of salt to the caramel after is has cooked to make it more of a salted caramel slice.
- Dark chocolate – a dark chocolate (70% cocoa) goes well with the sweet slice, but you could use milk chocolate instead or a combination of the two.
How to make caramel slice from scratch
Please scroll down to the recipe card at the end of the post for the full recipe.
Make the shortbread base.
- Mix the flour with sugar. Rub in the butter and knead lightly – just enough to bring the dough together. TIP: Make sure your butter is at room temperature.
- Tip into the lined baking tin – it will be crumbly.
- Press down with your hands into the corners of the tin in an even layer. Place into the preheated oven and bake until lightly golden. Leave to cool while you make the caramel.
- To make the caramel layer: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan.Add the caster sugar, golden syrup and condensed milk.
- Stir well to combine – it will look a little separated at first (see the fist image below), but keep stirring and it will come together.
- Stir over a low heat for around 10 minutes, until it’s a deep brown colour (see second image below). Take the pan off the heat and stir in a pinch of salt. TIP: it’s important you stir the caramel constantly to prevent it from catching on the bottom of the pan and burning.
- Pour over the cooked biscuit base, cool, then put in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.
- Melt the chocolate in a ban Marie (a heatproof bowl sat over a pan of barely simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water) or in microwave. Pour the chocolate over the cooled caramel.
- Working quickly, spread the chocolate out to the sides of the tin using a spoon or spatula.
- Place in the fridge for an hour, then cut into squares using a hot sharp knife.
- Return to the fridge to cool completely.
- Store in the fridge.
You need to use full fat condensed milk, using half fat (skim) condensed milk will mean the caramel slice won’t set. Also, make sure that you have cooked the caramel layer long enough – this can take around 10 minutes.
Many recipes include oil to help prevent the chocolate layer from splitting. I find you don’t need it and personally prefer the texture without using oil.
No, I find the caramel is thick and set enough without the need to bake it.
You may have cooked the caramel on too high a heat – you need to cook the caramel on a medium heat, otherwise it can catch at the bottom of the pan. It can take up to 10 minutes for it to thicken and take on a golden caramel colour. And keep stirring the caramel! It can stick to the bottom of the pan easily.
My recipe tips
- Lining the tin: line the tin so that the baking paper / baking parchment hangs over the sides of the tin, or if using a deep tin, so it reaches the top of the tin. This not only helps prevent the caramel layer from sticking to the tin, but it helps you life the slice out when set.
- Place the caramel topped shortbread in the fridge for an hour to cool the caramel before pouring over the melted chocolate, otherwise you risk ending up with the two mixed together rather than seperate layers.
- Cutting into neat slices: once the melted chocolate has been added, place in the fridge for 1 hour. It’s so much easier to neatly cut chocolate that hasn’t set hard. Using a hot sharp knife – I find a sharp bread knife is very good! – dip the knife in hot water, carefully wipe dry and cut into the slice. Dip the knife in the hot water ever so often, remembering to dry with a tea towel or paper towel before cutting into the slice. Once you have cut the caramel shortbread in to squares, place back in the fridge to cool and set completely.
- I recommend you use a kitchen scale rather than cups for this recipe.
Fridge: Store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Freeze: To freeze caramel slice, cool completely then wrap well. Thaw in the fridge overnight.
- Milk chocolate – I like to use a dark 70% chocolate as I have done for these images, but I also make it with a mixture of milk chocolate and dark chocolate. Although it’s worth noting that this is a rich slice, so using sweeter milk chocolate will make it very rich.
- White Chocolate – you could use ¼- ⅓ white chocolate and ¾ – ⅔ dark or milk chocolate and swirl or feather a pattern in the top of the squares.
Small Batch Caramel Slice
If you don’t want to make a full batch of caramel slice, or have half a tin of condensed milk leftover from another recipe, you can easily make this recipe into a small batch caramel slice / millionaires shortbread:
Small batch caramel
- 60g (¼ c) butter
- 2 Tablespoons caster sugar
- ¾ Tablespoons golden syrup
- 199g (½ a tin) condensed milk
- Pinch salt
Small batch biscuit base
- 115g (¾ c) plain flour
- 35g caster sugar
- 75g butter, softened
- 100g milk or dark chocolate
Notes on making a small batch of caramel slice / millionaires shortbread:
- Use a 24cm x 13cm / 9.5 x 5 inch tin.
- Bake the shortbread base for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown.
- Cook the caramel for around 8-10 minutes.
Why not try…
You may also like these other easy slices and tray bake recipes:
- 20cm x 27 cm (8 inch x 10 inch) baking tin
- 120g (½ c) butter
- 4 Tablespoons caster sugar
- 1 ½ Tablespoons golden syrup
- 398g tin condensed milk
- Pinch salt
- 230g (1 ½ c) plain flour
- 70g caster sugar
- 150g (5.3 oz) butter, softened
- 200g (7 oz) milk or dark chocolate
- Preheat the oven to 160˚C fan / 180˚C / 320˚F convection / 356˚F.
- Line a 20cm x 27 cm (8 inch x 10 inch) baking tin with baking paper / baking parchment.
To make the base
- Mix the flour with sugar. Rub in the butter lightly with your fingertips until it starts to come together. Using your hand bring the dough together then tip into the lined tin and press out to the edges of the tin with your hand.
- Flatten the top then place into the preheated oven and bake for 15-17 minutes until lightly golden. Leave to cool while you make the caramel.
To make the caramel
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan.
- Add the caster sugar, golden syrup and condensed milk to the melted butter and stir well to combine. Cook over a low heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring, until the caramel is a golden brown and become thicker. Take off the heat and add a pinch of salt. Leave to cool slightly for 3-5 minutes.
- Pour the slightly cooled caramel over the shortbread base, using a spoon or spatula to spread all the way to the edges. Leave to cool for 15-20 minutes, then put in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.
- Melt the chocolate in a ban Marie (a heatproof bowl sat over a pan of barely simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water) or in microwave.
- Pour the melted chocolate over the cooled caramel. Working quickly, spread the chocolate out to the sides of the tin using a spoon or spatula.
- Place in the fridge for an hour then cut into squares:
- Using a hot sharp knife – I find a sharp bread knife is very good! – dip the knife in hot water, carefully wipe dry and cut into the slice. Dip the knife in the hot water ever so often, remembering to dry with a tea towel or paper towel before cutting into the slice.
- Once you have cut the caramel shortbread in to squares, place back in the fridge to cool and set completely.
- Store in the fridge.