Salted Caramel Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies - Handle the Heat
Filed Under: Chocolate | Cookies | Dessert

Salted Caramel Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies

By Tessa Arias
April 4th, 2014
5 from 2 votes
5 from 2 votes

Salted Caramel Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies are a scrumptious twist on chocolate chip cookies that your whole family will adore.

Yield: 24 cookies

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook: 15 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: Caramel stuffed inside milk chocolate chip cookies that already have a strong butterscotch flavor, and all topped with sea salt? Plus a hint of cinnamon? Out of this world.
Texture: The edges are crisp, the inside is ultra ooey and gooey and sticky, and the cookies are chewy throughout. This is the cookie texture motherload.
Ease: Easy peasy. What you need here is PATIENCE because I promise the 24-72 hour chill for the dough is SO worth it. DO IT!!!!
Appearance: Perfect.
Pros: My all time favorite cookie recipe with a fun twist.
Cons: None.
Would I make this again? Absolutely I made extra dough, portioned it into balls, and popped them in the freezer to enjoy whenever I want!

Holy crap you guys. I just got caught up on The Good Wife. That was cathartic, to say the least. I should have never let myself fall behind on watching because the shocker of this season was totally spoiled for me on basically every social media site and even entertainment news sites.

Salted Caramel Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies

I accidentally saw the spoiler in the HEADLINE of articles about the show. Like, really guys? Can we not put spoilers in the TITLE?! Especially when shows air throughout different timezones. Also especially in this modern age of DVR. Oh well, at least I knew to brace myself when I did finally watch. I won’t say much more in case you’re a few episodes behind. Man, I love good TV.

Almost as much as I love a good chocolate chip cookie. Nice transition there huh? Seriously though, sometimes when I’m brainstorming recipes to make and share with you all I find myself just wanting to make cookies and brownies all day long because they’re my forever favorites. Just recently I was attempting to force myself to try to bake something far from that realm of treats but I thought why? Variety schmariety. I like what I like and that’s half the reason you read this blog, right? Hopefully.

Hopefully you like cookies because I’ve got a pretty kickass recipe today. There’s caramel, but don’t worry you’re not making it from scratch because we’re cheating today. There’s milk chocolate chips because sometimes only milk chocolate will do. There’s fancy fleur de sel (sea salt). And there’s even cinnamon! I wanted to include the cinnamon part in the recipe title but then it got to be too long. I love the warm surprise the cinnamon adds, but you can totally omit it if it’s not your thing. Whatever you do, plan to make these soon.

The dough is based off my Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe (which took many batches to develop – I make these sacrifices for you!) and all the ingredients and methods are written very intentionally and purposefully into the recipe to make, well, the ULTIMATE chocolate chip cookie. Just know the dough needs at least a 24 hour chill period. Before you start complaining, yes you can skip this but you don’t want to. The flavor and the texture of the baked cookies will improve exponentially the longer the dough is chilled. Trust me!

By the way, these are big cookies because that’s the way I like ’em and because that way we can stuff the caramel inside. I like to use a large 3-Tablespoon spring-loaded cookie scoop.

Salted Caramel Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies

Why use a cookie scoop?

Using a stainless steel spring-loaded cookie scoop when portioning out cookie dough is one of the KEYS to beautiful, uniform, evenly-shaped and evenly-baked cookies. My cookie scoop is one of my most frequently used kitchen gadgets. A spring-loaded scoop saves you *so much time* in forming the balls of dough. When using a scoop, you ensure each ball is evenly sized so the cookies bake evenly, meaning you don’t have any small overbaked cookies or large underbaked cookies. Learn more about Cookie Scoops and how to use them here!

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5 from 2 votes

How to make
Salted Caramel Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: 24 cookies
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Inactive Time 1 day
Total Time: 1 day 35 minutes
Salted Caramel Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies are a scrumptious twist on chocolate chip cookies that your whole family will adore.


  • 1 1/2 cups (6.61 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups (5.6 ounces) bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 2 cups (1 11.5-ounce package) milk chocolate chips
  • 24 square caramel candies, unwrapped
  • Fleur de sel, for sprinkling


  1. In a medium bowl combine the flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and the yolk, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add in the vanilla. Gradually beat in the flour mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours but no more than 72 hours. Remove the dough from the fridge and let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before shaping.
  3. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line baking sheets with nonstick baking mats or parchment paper.
  4. Divide dough into 3-tablespoon sized balls and drop onto prepared baking sheets. Take a ball of dough and divide it into two. Flatten each piece and place a caramel candy in between. Shape the dough around the candy to seal. Slightly flatten then sprinkle with the fleur de sel. Repeat for each ball of dough.
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks. Let cool until warm before serving. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds or in a 350°F for 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

Recipe by Tessa of Handle the Heat, based off this recipe
Course : Dessert
Cuisine : American
Tessa Arias
Author: Tessa Arias

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Find Tessa on  

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    Maria Elena — October 13, 2022 at 8:43 am

    Any brands for the caramel that you recommend and that would melt better? I find sometimes even Kraft bite caramels just don’t do the trick. They don’t melt well.

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — October 14, 2022 at 10:18 am

      Hi Maria Elena! I’m sorry, but we have really only experimented with Kraft caramels! I would recommend experimenting with any other brand you’re able to find, and see what you prefer!! Good luck and happy baking 🙂

    • #
      Melinda — October 20, 2022 at 5:10 pm

      Werthers soft caramels are a great choice.

  2. #
    Amber — December 1, 2021 at 4:14 am

    I’m kind of a purist when it comes to baking and prefer not to use store bought caramels …. Do you think subbing your homemade caramel sauce in these would work, maybe?

    • #
      Emily — December 1, 2021 at 11:13 am

      Hi Amber! While we haven’t tried it, our homemade caramel sauce might be a bit too liquidy for this recipe, unfortunately, and may seep out of the cookies. You’ll want to find a thicker but slightly soft caramel substitute. Please let us know how it goes if you give this recipe a try 🙂

  3. #
    Charlie — November 4, 2021 at 4:39 pm

    Absolutely AMAZING! I baked some of them after refrigerating for only 12 hours because I was in a time crunch and they were perfect. However, the ones that I let sit for 72 hours had a much more complex flavor. I also put the salt on after baking for the second batch and it worked out the same!

    • #
      Emily — November 5, 2021 at 9:38 am

      So glad you enjoyed this recipe, Charlie! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. #
    Carol — September 21, 2020 at 11:12 am

    Could you use caramel chips?

  5. #
    Claudia — May 6, 2020 at 10:51 am

    Hi! The dough was chilled 24 hrs and right now I cooked the cookies and they were beautiful but when I took them out of the oven the deflated jaja. Why did this happen?

  6. #
    Claudia — April 25, 2020 at 8:05 pm

    Hi! I made the Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies and the cookie came out really great. But the caramel didnt . In some cookies it spilled from the bottom and the caramel was not soft nor chewy. Whats the secret for the cookie to come out with a soft filled caramel center?
    I also tried putting the dough balls in the freezer. Help!!! ☺️

  7. #
    Stephanie — July 6, 2016 at 8:43 pm

    Making this recipe for the second time (my husband RAVES about them) and I’m wondering how you would recommend freezing the dough? In scoops? Caramels in or out? Just as a big hunk of dough? Thanks in advance!

  8. #
    Jesseca — April 14, 2016 at 8:11 am

    I think I got a cavity just looking at these photos! I’m a sucker for salted caramel and can’t wait to whip up a batch of these cookies! Happy I stumbled onto your site and excited to follow along!

  9. #
    Paul — April 28, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    I found those regular caramel candies dont bake good. They are nice and melted once you pull them out of the oven but they get hard pretty quickly after cooling and when you bite in expecting soft chewyness you dont get it. I tried baking with the whole candy and with cutting it up in to 4 pieces and it gets hard again after baking every time.

  10. #
    Tina — January 9, 2015 at 10:47 am

    The idea behind chilling is two-fold. It allows the flour to absorb more of the moisture, thus improving texture and the chilling allows time for the flavors to meld. The basic recipe reminds me in some ways of Alton Brown’s The Chewy, which is my all time favorite chocolate chip recipe.

  11. #
    Kiera C — December 20, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    Do I HAVE to chill 24 hrs?

    • #
      Tessa — December 20, 2014 at 4:35 pm

      Please read the post: “Just know the dough needs at least a 24 hour chill period. Before you start complaining, yes you can skip this but you don’t want to. The flavor and the texture of the baked cookies will improve exponentially the longer the dough is chilled. Trust me!”

  12. #
    Joyce — September 15, 2014 at 8:19 am

    Could you please tell me how much butter is in a stick? I’m not familiar with “butter in sticks” (living in the Netherlands) so I would love to have an answer to my question. I really want to try tis recipe!

    • #
      Mary Beth Hawkins — October 3, 2019 at 6:47 am

      In the US 1 stick of butter = 8 Tablespoons

  13. #
    Pat — September 5, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    These look great, I’m making them now. I’m pretty new to baking and I was wondering what the purpose of refrigerating the dough for 24 hours is? Thanks!

  14. #
    Susan C — July 12, 2014 at 12:43 am

    Tessa, these were delicious! She took them to a party and they were very popular. Thanks so much. We’ll be making these again and again.

  15. #
    Susan C — July 10, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    These sound delicious and the photo looks beautiful. The dough is currently chilling in the fridge :o) ! One comment and one question, though. First, it’s not necessary to preheat the oven when you are beginning to mix the dough, as there is quite the lag time til cooking. And the question: when do you add the vanilla?

    I am pointing these out, not to be picky or critical, but because my daughter, who is just learning to bake, is the one who is making these. She is not that experienced yet, and she only noticed the vanilla didn’t get put in when she was putting away all the ingredients I had gotten out for her. If I hadn’t done that step, she would have just taken the ingredients out of the cupboard as the instructions called for them, and then the vanilla would have been missed and the cookies would not be as yummy. (We hand mixed it in afterwards – we had already licked the beaters). So, anyway, you may want to edit your instructions. Thank you! We are looking forward to the final result!

    • #
      Tessa — July 10, 2014 at 2:27 pm

      Thanks for pointing that out, it’s been edited. I hope you and your daughter enjoy!

  16. #
    dina — April 20, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    they look delicious!

  17. #
    Judy Goldberg — April 18, 2014 at 11:21 am

    What is bread flour? I can’t wait to make these cookies and send some to my daughter at college for finals!

    • #
      Tessa — April 18, 2014 at 9:54 pm

      Bread flour has a higher protein content than all-purpose flour, making it great for breads and for cookies when you want to add a chewy texture. You can find it at most grocery stores right next to the regular flour. I usually buy the King Arthur brand of bread flour. Sometimes other brands are labeled as “better for bread.” Good luck to your daughter with her finals!

  18. #
    Gaby — April 4, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    These are some seriously delicious cookies! Love the salted caramel, love!

  19. #
    Liz @ Tip Top Shape — April 4, 2014 at 9:47 am

    OH I love these!!!

    It’s a bummer the big Good Wife twist was spoiled for you! While I do love all the media attention following things when I’ve seen something on time (I can’t even tell you how many HIMYM articles I read after the finale) it does suck when you haven’t watched the episode. Tumblr is the worst, though. I’ve had so many twists in shows spoiled on that website!

    • #
      Tessa — April 6, 2014 at 4:53 pm

      Tumblr IS the worst for spoilers isn’t it!? It’s also the land of lost sources and no credit/citations.

  20. #
    Chloe @ foodlikecake — April 4, 2014 at 4:30 am

    Yum! These look amazing!

  21. #
    Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness — April 4, 2014 at 3:45 am

    I actually haven’t watched “The Good Wife,” but I’ve heard it’s awesome
    But, not as awesome as these cookies! (I copied your transition skills)
    There can never be enough cookies and brownies..,I am the same as you, I just want to bake those! Pinned

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