These Easy Pretzel Caramel Cookies are a fun twist on the traditional chocolate chip cookie!! They are loaded with salty, crunchy pretzels, luscious chocolate chips, stuffed and topped with gooey soft caramel, and finished off with a light sprinkle of flaky sea salt. Soft and chewy with buttery rich crisp edges and melt in your mouth chewy centers, they are the perfect blend of sweet and salty down to the last bite!!
Craving something a little salty and a little sweet? Then get ready to sink your teeth into these decadent, flavor packed pretzel caramel cookies that will satisfy all of your tastebuds!! Featuring a brown sugar dough filled with crunchy pretzels, chocolate chips, and a gooey caramel center, these cookies take the classic chocolate chip cookie to the next level with their uniquely contrasting textures and flavor.
The star of this cookie has to be the buttery, soft caramels that melt as the cookie bakes giving you that gooey caramel pull when eaten fresh out of the oven. The extra little sprinkle of sea salt on top takes these cookies from good to gourmet and adds a delicious salted caramel flavor, creating the perfect balance of salty sweet!! Made using a basic chocolate chip cookie dough recipe, these dangerously addictive cookies are easy to whip up and are sure to become your new fall favorite dessert!!
Why You’ll Love These Pretzel Caramel Cookies
- Easy to make – These caramel chocolate chip cookies are simple to make and only take 20 minutes to whip up.
- Sweet and salty – Crunchy, salty pretzels, rich semisweet chocolate, gooey caramel, and a touch of flaky sea salt creates the perfect blend of sweet and salty and a unique contrast in flavors.
- Perfect texture – These soft and buttery cookies have slightly crisp edges with a chewy, gooey caramel center.
- Fun twist – This gooey salted caramel cookie recipe is a unique fun twist on the classic chocolate chip cookie!!
You’ll need the following ingredients to make these Easy Pretzel Caramel Cookies:
Here are a few notes on the key ingredients used to make these delicious Salted Caramel Pretzel Cookies:
- Mini Pretzels – Pretzels add such a great crunch and really punch up the salty sweet flavor. You can crush the pretzels either by hand or place them in a ziplock bag and crush them with a rolling pin. Be sure to only lightly crush the pretzels until you have small pieces (not crumbs) that will be able to fit inside and on top of the cookie dough balls.
- Soft caramels – I recommend using Werther’s Soft Caramels for this recipe. Be sure to get soft caramels not hard caramels. Hard caramel candy will not melt as well or create a gooey center. You can use any brand of soft caramels as long as they are soft enough to fold in half. Kraft caramels however are too hard and do not melt as well.
- Chocolate chips – I recommend using high quality semisweet, bittersweet, or dark chocolate chips to balance out some of the sweetness. If you would rather use milk or white chocolate chips, try using a combination of the sweeter chocolate chips with either bittersweet or dark chocolate chips. You can also use a chopped chocolate bar for those melty chocolate pools.
- Brown sugar – Brown sugar is essential for not only creating that classic chocolate chip cookie flavor but for also giving these cookies the perfect chewy texture. I used light brown sugar here but feel free to use dark brown sugar if that is all you have.
- Flaky sea salt – Topping the cookies with a pinch of flaky sea salt after they come out of the oven balances the sweetness of these caramel pretzel chocolate chip cookies perfectly!!
See the recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
Substitutions and Variations
These Caramel Stuffed Cookies are easily adaptable and can be made to include whatever you may be craving. Caramel and pretzels not your jam? That’s ok!! All you need is this perfect chocolate chip cookie base and your favorite mix ins to satisfy your tastebuds.
- Add nuts. Level up the crunch by adding toasted walnuts or pecans instead of pretzels.
- Change up your mix-ins. For a fun twist, use toffee bits or butterscotch chips in place of the soft caramels. You can also add shredded coconut!! When substituting mix-ins, be sure to only add up to 3 cups. Adding more than 3 cups will cause the dough to not hold together.
- Leave out the flaky sea salt. If you are not a fan of flaky sea salt, you can leave it off.
- Brown the butter. To make these cookies even more flavorful, brown the butter and allow it cool and solidify before mixing the dough.
This recipe has not been tested with other substitutions or variations. If you happen to try any from the list above of add your own spin with new ingredients, please let us know how it turned out in the comments below!!
Top tip: To save time, you can fold your caramels in half prior to removing the cookie dough from the fridge. After folding the caramels, I like to leave them in their wrappers so they do not stick to anything. Doing this extra step will ensure your cookie dough remains cold while you are rolling your cookie dough balls.
How to Make Caramel Pretzel Cookies – Step by Step Instructions
This easy cookie recipe uses the basic ingredients needed to make classic chocolate chip cookies. With a few staple pantry ingredients and my foolproof step by step instructions below, you’ll be sinking your teeth into these gooey cookies in no time!! Here’s how to make and bake these pretzel caramel cookies:
Step 1: Whisk together the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and kosher salt.
Step 2: Mix together the butter and sugars. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the unsalted butter and both sugars together until light and fluffy.
Step 3: Mix in the eggs and vanilla extract. Add in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in vanilla extract with second egg.
Step 4: Add the dry ingredients. Add the flour mixture in 2 additions and mix on low speed until just a few flour streaks remain.
Step 5: Fold in chocolate chips and chill. With a rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate chips and pretzels until just combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Step 6: Stuff the cookies. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and scoop dough by 2 1/2 tablespoons. Using your hands, flatten the dough balls. Fold soft caramels in half and shape into an even square. Press caramel into the center of each cookie dough ball.
Step 7: Shape cookie dough balls. Fold the dough over the caramel and roll into a smooth ball. If your dough starts to feel sticky or too soft after rolling, place the cookie dough balls on a wax lined plate and chill for 10 to 15 minutes to firm them back up. The dough needs to be cold to prevent the cookies from spreading.
Step 8: Bake and top the cookies. Place the caramel filled dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the edges just began to brown. Top cookies with extra chocolate chips, crushed pretzel pieces, small caramel pieces, and flaky sea salt. Allow cookies to rest on baking sheet for 10 minutes then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
Expert Baking Tips
- Properly measure your flour. For best results, I recommend weighing your flour. If you do not have a food scale, start by first fluffing your flour. Next, spoon the flour into a measuring cup and level it off using the back of a butterknife. Avoid directly scooping into the flour with a measuring cup. This will add more flour into the recipe resulting in dry and crumbly cookies.
- Line your baking sheet with parchment paper. It is very important to line your baking sheet with parchment paper and not bake the cookies directly on the pan. The caramel becomes very sticky when baked and will cause the cookies to stick to the cookie sheet if it is not lined correctly. Also, it is best to use parchment paper and not a silicon baking mat as the cookies may stick to the mat.
- Reshape or “scoot” the cookies. Due to the the amount of add-ins, the cookies may spread and lose their shape while baking. If this happens, use a biscuit cutter or any other circular object that is larger than your cookies and place it around or on top of your cookie. Gently “scoot” the biscuit cutter in a circular motion until your cookies are the perfect circle. You want to do this as soon as the cookies come out of the oven as the cookies will continue to harden as they cool.
- Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet 10 to 15 minutes after baking. Because we are slightly underbaking these caramel cookies, the extra time on the cookie sheet allows the cookies to continue to bake a little while longer before moving them to the cooling rack. If a little caramel has escaped from the bottom of your cookies, no need to worry. Just give them a few extra minutes on the baking sheet while they cool. This will help keep the caramel inside.
- Underbake the cookies. These taste best when they are slightly underbaked, creating the perfect soft and chewy texture.
Yes!! Because this is a soft dough, it must be chilled for two hours prior to baking. Chilling also prevents the caramel from leaking out of the cookie. If you do not chill the dough, they will loose their shape and the caramel will melt out of the cookie while baking.
Chilling the dough and using parchment paper will help prevent your cookies from spreading. Also, be sure to use room temperature butter. If your butter is too warm and soft prior to mixing, it will cause your cookies to spread.
I do not recommend using homemade caramel candy or caramel sauce in place of the soft caramels. Homemade caramel sauce and candy will melt too much and cause the cookies to loose their shape while baking. Soft caramels are thick enough and will hold in the center and not melt into the cookies.
This cookie dough can definitely be made ahead of time and baked later. After mixing the dough, allow it to chill for at least 30 minutes then, remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll into cookie dough balls. Place the dough balls in an air tight container or ziplock bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
Store the cooled pretzel caramel chocolate chip cookies in an airtight container or ziplock bag for up to 3 days. I recommend microwaving the cookies for 10 to 20 seconds to get that fresh out the oven taste.
To freeze the unbaked caramel cookie dough, simply roll the dough into balls and place them into a freezer safe bag. Freeze up to 3 months. When ready to bake, allow the cookie dough balls to sit out at room temperature as the oven preheats. Add a minute or two of baking time if needed.
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Easy Pretzel Caramel Cookies
- 2 1/2 (313g) cups All purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon Baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 (227g) cup Unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 (220g) cup Light brown sugar packed
- 1/2 (100g) cup Granulated sugar
- 2 large Eggs room temperature
- 1 tablespoon Vanilla extract
- 1 cup Mini pretzel twists crushed, plus more for topping
- 2 (340g) cups Semisweet chocolate chips plus more for topping
- 27 Soft caramels (Werther's preferred) 1 to stuff each cookie, plus more for topping
- flaky sea salt optional, for topping
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.2 1/2 (313g) cups All purpose flour, 1 teaspoon Baking soda, 3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, approximately 3 minutes. (Alternatively you can do this in a large bowl with an electric hand mixer). Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Beat in one egg and vanilla extract until combined. Beat in remaining egg.1 (227g) cup Unsalted butter, 1 (220g) cup Light brown sugar, 1/2 (100g) cup Granulated sugar, 2 large Eggs, 1 tablespoon Vanilla extract
- With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in 2 additions, mixing until just combined and only a few streaks remain. Remove the mixing bowl from the stand mixer and fold in the pretzels and chocolate chips using a rubber spatula. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.1 cup Mini pretzel twists, 2 (340g) cups Semisweet chocolate chips
- Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the chilled dough from the fridge and scoop the dough by 2 1/2 tablespoons. If you have a kitchen scale, the dough balls should weigh 1.7 oz or 47 g. Flatten the cookie dough ball with your hand and press 1 folded soft caramel in the center. Roll the cookie dough into a smooth ball. Repeat for the rest of the cookie dough balls.27 Soft caramels (Werther's preferred)
- Place 4 cookie dough balls per baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. The edges should be a light golden brown and the middle slightly under done. They will continue to harden as they cool. Top cookies with chocolate chips, crushed pretzels, small caramel pieces, and flaky sea salt.flaky sea salt
- Allow cookies to sit on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. They are best serves slightly warm.