These Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies take the traditional CCC to the next level with caramel bits and chocolate chips mixed into the batter and sprinkled on top! They're topped with flaky sea salt when they come out of the oven for a delicious salted caramel flavor! If you start now, you can have the best gooey chocolate chip cookies with caramel in 30 minutes or less - no chilling is required!
The soft caramel in these chocolate chip caramel cookies gets extra melty when baked, so I love to eat these while they are still warm out of the oven. Not too warm though, or the hot caramel may burn your mouth!
If you're like me and are always looking for a great new chocolate chip cookie recipe, try this recipe using Werther's caramels (the soft ones)! The cookie dough has a classic brown sugar flavor with slightly crisp edges and a chewy, gooey center.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- This caramel cookie recipe uses caramel and chocolate in two ways for extra decadence.
- They are simple to make in under 30 minutes.
- These sea salt caramel chocolate chip cookies are chewy with pools of gooey caramel and chocolate.
- It's a fun spin on my popular Classic Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe!
- Unsalted butter - make sure it is at room temperature before starting this recipe.
- Brown sugar creates the classic chocolate chip cookie dough flavor. You can use dark or light brown sugar, but I prefer using light.
- Vanilla extract - pure vanilla extract gives the best flavor, but you can also use imitation vanilla in a pinch.
- Use good quality chocolate chips. I recommend bittersweet or semi sweet chocolate chips to offset some of the sweetness, but you can also use white or milk chocolate chips (or a combination of many). For extra melty puddles, use chocolate chunks!
- Soft caramels are the key ingredient in these cookies. Werther's soft caramels are perfect - just make sure you don't accidentally get the hard caramels. Hard caramel candy will not melt as well in this recipe.
- I love adding flaky sea salt when the cookies are hot out of the oven. It creates a great salty-sweet flavor in these salted caramel chocolate chip cookies!
See recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
Substitutions & Variations
- Make these into jumbo bakery style cookies by using a large cookie scoop and adding a few minutes to the bake time.
- Leave off the flaky sea salt if that's not your thing.
- Add chopped nuts, like walnut or pecans, for an extra crunch. Crushed pretzels also make for a delicious mix-in!
- For a warm, nutty flavor, brown the butter in a pan over medium-low heat and let it cool until it solidifies before mixing it with the brown sugar.
This recipe has not been tested with other substitutions or variations. If you replace or add any ingredients, please let us know how it turned out in the comments below!
How To Make Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies
Step 1: In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the all purpose flour, baking soda, and salt.
Step 2: In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer (with paddle), cream the unsalted butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg and vanilla.
Step 3: Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just a couple of flour streaks remain.
Step 4: Fold the chocolate chips into the cookie dough until evenly distributed.
Step 5: Fold a soft caramel into an even square and press it into the center of a cookie dough ball (about 3-4 teaspoons of dough). Press the dough around the caramel so it's completely covered and roll it into a smooth ball.
Step 6: Place caramel-filled dough balls onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and top with small caramel pieces. Bake at 350°F just until the edges begin to tan. Scoot the cookies using a biscuit cutter and top with flaky sea salt. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Expert Baking Tips
- Want to speed up bringing the egg and butter to room temperature? Place your uncracked egg in a cup of warm water. Microwave the butter in 5 second intervals while rotating it each time. Just be careful not to get the butter too soft!
- Pull apart the soft caramels into small pieces to press onto the top of the dough balls before baking.
- Lining your cookie sheet is really important because the caramels become very sticky when baked. Use parchment paper or a silicone mat and your cookies will come off cleanly!
- "Scooting" your cookies means to take a biscuit cutter or round cookie cutter that is slightly larger than your cookies, placing it around one cookie, and "scooting" it in a circular motion while the cookie is hot out of the oven. This shapes your cookie into a perfect circle!
No. Caramel sauce will melt too much when baked. Soft caramels melt but are thick enough that they don't disappear into the cookies.
No - this is just a fun step that creates a perfectly round cookie. If you don't have a biscuit or cookie cutter or don't want to scoot the cookies, they will still taste delicious!
Nope! While you can refrigerate the dough overnight and bake the cookies the next day, it isn't required.
This could be from over-measuring the flour or over-baking the cookies. I always recommend using a food scale to weigh the flour in grams (see "metric" tab in recipe card below). However, if you're using measuring cups, do not pack the flour into them - carefully spoon it into them and level it off with a straight edge.
This is likely from your butter being too warm and soft before getting started.
Store caramel chocolate chip cookies in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Add a slice of bread to the container (without touching the cookies) to keep them extra soft!
Store fully cooled cookies in a freezer bag or airtight container for up to 3 months. You can also scoop and freeze raw dough balls for up to 1 month. Just place them on the baking sheet while the oven is preheating.
Gooey Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper or a silicone baking mat
- Mixing bowls
- Measuring spoons
- Hand mixer or stand mixer with paddle recommended
- Wire cooling rack
- 1⅔ cups all-purpose flour weighed in grams or spooned and leveled
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- ¾ cup light brown sugar packed
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or your preferred flavor
- 24 soft caramel candies 1 for each cookie, plus more for topping
- flaky sea salt optional, for topping
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
- In a large bowl, cream together the softened butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes on medium speed). Mix in the egg and vanilla extract.
- Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ones until only a few flour streaks remain. Scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary. Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Scoop 3-4 teaspoons of dough and press a caramel into the center of it. Press the dough around the caramel so it's completely covered, roll into a smooth ball, and place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat for all cookie dough balls, keeping them 2-3 inches apart on the sheet.
- Break up extra caramels into small pieces and press them onto the tops of the cookie dough balls. Bake on the middle rack until the edges just start to tan (7-10 minutes).
- Sprinkle flaky sea salt on top of the hot cookies and transfer them to a wire rack after 5-10 minutes.