Salted Caramel Cookies Recipe (2024)

By Erin Jeanne McDowell

Salted Caramel Cookies Recipe (1)

Total Time
1 hour 20 minutes, plus chilling
Read community notes

These soft and buttery cookies get dressed up with a thin layer of salted caramel and a dusting of flaky sea salt for good measure. Using store-bought caramels makes the process especially easy and ensures that the coating has some satisfying chew to it. Be sure to err on the side of under-baking the cookies, so they remain soft and tender.

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Yield:20 cookies

    For the Cookies

    • ¾cup/170 grams unsalted butter (1½ sticks), at room temperature
    • 1cup/220 grams light brown sugar
    • 1large egg
    • teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 2cups/255 grams all-purpose flour
    • ¾teaspoon baking soda
    • ½teaspoon fine sea salt

    For the Caramel

    • 8ounces/225 grams store-bought soft caramels, unwrapped
    • 2tablespoons heavy cream
    • Flaky sea salt

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (20 servings)

202 calories; 9 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 2 grams monounsaturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 29 grams carbohydrates; 0 grams dietary fiber; 18 grams sugars; 2 grams protein; 112 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Salted Caramel Cookies Recipe (2)


  1. Step


    Position oven racks near the center and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

  2. Step


    In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until well combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

  3. Step


    Add the flour, baking soda and fine sea salt and mix until fully incorporated. Scrape the dough out of the bowl and divide it in half. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap, patting into a 1-inch-thick disk. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

  4. Scoop the dough into 1½-tablespoon-size portions (you should have about 20). Using your hands, roll the dough into balls and place on the baking sheets, staggering dough and leaving about 2½ inches between pieces.

  5. Step


    Wipe the bottom of a glass with a damp towel and use it to press the cookies flat (they should be about ⅓-inch thick).

  6. Step


    Bake the cookies, rotating the sheets halfway through baking, until the edges are golden brown, 9 to 11 minutes. Let cool completely.

  7. Step


    Place the unwrapped caramels and cream in a microwave-safe bowl or liquid measuring cup. Microwave the mixture for 30 to 45 seconds and stir well. Continue to microwave in 15-second increments until the caramels are fully melted and smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. (You could also do this on the stovetop in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.)

  8. Step


    Once the cookies have cooled completely, spoon a generous teaspoon of caramel into the center of each cookie. Spread the caramel evenly over the surface, leaving a ¼-inch uncoated edge. Sprinkle flaky sea salt on top.

  9. Step


    If the caramel becomes too thick as you work, reheat in the microwave in 15-second increments, stirring in between, or over medium-low heat on the stovetop, until fluid.

  10. Step


    Let the cookies cool at room temperature until the caramel sets, about 15 minutes, before serving.



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Cooking Notes

Delicious Cookies!

This recipe makes a delicious batch of cookies. I would say, however, I had a bit of difficulty pressing the cookies down with a damp glass as stated in the recipe. My wife suggested I use a piece of parchment paper between the bottom of the glass and the cookie. This worked extremely well.


SO much easier to roll the dough into a log (about 2.5 in in diameter), wrap in parchment or wax paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Then slice dough into 1/4 inch discs and place on cookie sheet spaced as noted above. Super simple, uniform circles.

comment in the midst of baking

this is a general comment on recipes, but this one in particular - for the sake of energy efficiency, shouldn’t preheating the over be about the fourth step? beyond the usual ingredient prep, there’s 30 min of chilling the dough — so note that this should be plenty of time to preheat your oven after the dough is already made :-)


Instead of buying caramel candies, buy actual caramel. I know that there is a brand called "La Lechera" that sells South American style caramel in the U.S. Look for La Lechera dulce de leche. Replace the candies, and you will be all set.


These turned out very well - followed everything to a T except I didn't have time to refrigerate the dough before rolling out. Was totally fine though because the dough was not very stick & easy to work with.Might add some ginger to the dough next time!


Tip to avoid the "dough scoop/glass press" steps: roll the plastic-wrapped dough into a long, thin sausage. Place in a paper-towel cardboard roll that you cut in half lengthwise. The chilled dough will come out in a perfect circular shape which allows you to slice it up in perfectly even sizes.


Do not stack these on a plate! You will be sorry :\

Denver test kitchen

Like another baker, I used parchment paper between the glass and dough and it worked great. I assumed the only reason to divide and roll the dough was to help it cool faster, so I just left the dough in the mixing bowl overnight to avoid the hassle. At Denver altitude I tried a sheet at 11 min and one at 12.5. Liked the 11 min one better for the softer texture.


Can anyone suggest a caramel recipe that I could use instead of melting store-bought caramels? It seems easier to me, so I don't have to buy another ingredient, but looking to understand what the right consistency would be... Thanks!


These are delicious. But not possible to store. If you are making these to serve all of them at once, they work fine. Next time I will make each cookie smaller, then frost with caramel and salt on the underside of the cookie, and then put together as a sandwich. Then I think I can store them.


I made several batches of these to give in my annual Christmas cookie boxes for friends and family. I HAD to resolve the no stack issue. I crushed roasted, salted peanuts and added them to the top and they turned into salted caramel Payday cookies, simply delicious AND stackable!


Just eat them! Problem solved! (I know; could lead to other problems, but . . .)


These cookies were easy to make and delicious! WARNING, They cannot be stacked, even after hours of cooling. The caramel never fully hardenes.


How do you store these cookies so caramel doesn’t slid off the sides?


Just made a double batch. The caramels made a lovely glaze, actually my first cookie glaze. Of note: those caramels are seasonal, I had a hard time finding them.


Made these yesterday for the holidays. Absolutely delicious and very easy. "Cheater's" caramel is still great. My only note is they spread more than the picture. Next time I would try chilling the dough for a bit after pressing them with a glass to try to retain the shape and maybe chilling the glass first too. Other than that, no notes.


Would it ruin the recipe to sprinkle a bit of crushed pretzel on top to prevent cookies from sticking together?


These are AMAZING- the texture of the cookie is just perfect and I love the caramel isn’t too sticky on the teeth. Made it twice and it’s fantastic, great to impress!

Sue in Iowa

Two comments- please include a warning in the recipe that stacking is out of the question. Made them for a church function and had to make something else at the last minute. Second, I made them with gluten free flour and they spread like crazy. Were they supposed to be four inches wide?


So disappointed! The caramel hardened quickly after going on cooled cookies - inedible! Looked great & the cookie base is delicious, lightly sweet with great flavor


Salted caramel is always good, but the cookie was just “meh”. A lot easier to just eat a salted caramel. Also, they really remained sticky, so couldn’t stack them. I wouldn’t make these, again.


If you need to stack the cookies for storage/delivery, nonstick parchment paper keeps the caramel from sticking!


I made this today, using the trick of making a roll to slice the cookies, it worked very well. They are small and I think using them as a sandwich cookie will be my final plan as they made way more than 20 and the caramel is too sticky to store easily. I used a jar of cajeta (goat’s milk caramel) and they are very tasty and all are enjoying these little cookies!


I didn't have caramel, so I substituted with French Onion Soup as they are the same color. I had to put it in the blender to get the onions blended, but overall it worked fine. At the party, one lady said that her cookie had a flavor she couldn't quite place, but other than that, everything went smoothly. Delicious, and I will make it this way every time!

Betsy Bailey

So far, batting .1,000 with every cookie recipe! These are next! Stay tuned for review! I Can't wait!!!


These are delicious!! Made my own caramel sauce from scratch from another NYT Cooking recipe!! This recipe is a keeper!!


This is a very simple recipe and agreeing with previous comments, so many extra unnecessary steps. Wonderful tasting cookie. Refrigerate yes, split into two? No. After accidentally dropping a batch into the oven unpressed, in ball form, It cooked and spread just and nice if not better than the pressed. I found 9 minutes absolute max when cooling on pan. Individually plastic wrapped candies? There is a wide variety of good quality caramel in a jar. And yes, don’t preheat your oven in step 1.


Used the Cling covered log refrigerator method to shape the cookies.Used Werther's Caramels (I can't imagine that my making the caramel can compare to these)Gorgeous looking and delicious! But (as so many others say) they can't be stacked over each other because they stick terribly.


Added a layer of melted chocolate over the caramel once it cooled. Perfection!


I made several batches of these to give in my annual Christmas cookie boxes for friends and family. I HAD to resolve the no stack issue. I crushed roasted, salted peanuts and added them to the top and they turned into salted caramel Payday cookies, simply delicious AND stackable!

Betsy Bailey

Oooo! Peanuts sound yummy! Paydays are my favorite candy bar!!!

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Salted Caramel Cookies Recipe (2024)


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