Brown Butter Salted Caramel Chip Cookies

Have you guys seen caramel chips popping up in your grocery stores?  The idea intrigued me so obviously I had to try them out in cookies.  Guys- THESE COOKIES.  I originally thought about putting them in a chocolate cookie, but my husband said I should go with a classic chocolate chip base all the way and I realized that was a much better idea because I wanted something mellow enough for the flavor of the chips to come through.  I knew the perfect compliment to these would be some finely chopped toasted nuts. (If you are an “ew, nuts in cookies” person, I’m telling you- chop them fine and TOAST them and it’s a total game-changer.) . The other magic ingredient is browned butter.  And lastly, I sprinkle with flaky sea salt for the ultimate sweet and salty combo.

best salted caramel cookies

I’ve seen a few different brands of caramel chips and wondered how they compared so I grabbed both Hershey’s and Ghirardelli to try them out.  Before I tell you what I think, let me say that I love this idea.  I think caramel flavored chips can be used in place of butterscotch chips in most recipes, so if you’re like me and don’t LOVE butterscotch chips, you might try these!  Normally I’m a Ghirardelli girl through and through, but I actually preferred the Hershey ones.  The Hershey’s were noticeably salty, which some people may not like, but I thought they were really yummy.  The Girardelli weren’t bad, but they tasted more like extra sweet white chocolate chips, not crazy caramell-y.

caramel chips

If you’ve never browned butter before it’s super easy and SO worth it.  Basically what happens is you melt butter in a skillet and the solids separate and brown and toast in the melted butter.  It gives this amazing nutty toasted component to anything you use it in.  You can read an easy how-to by clicking here!

how to make brown butter

You’ll mix the brown butter in with the sugars and then dry ingredients.

what to make with caramel chips

I like my nuts chopped about this fine, but it’s a personal preference.  You can buy them pre-chopped like this at the grocery store.  Just place them in a dry skillet (no oil in there or anything) and toss them around until they are golden brown on the white parts of the nuts.  They’ll smell divine.  Make sure to let them cool down before you put them in your dough.

how to toast nuts

Add them in there with your chips

salted caramel cookies

And then a little trick to getting a cook shape on your cookies is to make one large ball of dough and then break it in half and put the craggly side up.  I learned that tip from America’s Test kitchen, from their best Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe this is based off of.

how to make best cookies

It will give the tops of your finished cookies some dimension.  I sprinkle these with a flaky sea salt right as they come out of the oven so it sticks!  Maldon is my very favorite salt for baking and I just buy it on Amazon.

salted caramel chip cookies

If you can’t find those caramel chips, you could make this recipe with any chips you like.  They’d be good with white chocolate, butterscotch, cinnamon chips, or chocolate!

best chewy cookie recipe

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Brown Butter Salted Caramel Chip Cookies

4.84 from 6 votes
The perfect combo of sweet and salty, these classic cookies are kissed with sea salt, and highlighted with brown butter, toasted pecans, and caramel chips. 
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes


  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons butter browned and cooled to room temp or slightly warm
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups caramel chips
  • 1/2-3/4 cups chopped pecans toasted (see note in recipe)
  • sea salt


  • If you haven't browned your butter yet, start with that!  Click Here and follow these instructions and then set it aside to cool.  
  • You will also need to toast your pecans.  Simply place in a dry skillet on medium heat and stir often until toasted and browned.
  • Heat oven to 325 degrees. Adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions. Mix flour, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.
  • Either by hand or with electric mixer, mix butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Mix in egg, yolk, milk and vanilla.
  • *When measuring flour, lightly spoon flour into measuring cups and level with the back of a knife.  If you scoop your flour, it will be too much.  Add dry ingredients to dough. Stir in chips and nuts.
  • Scoop cookies onto baking sheet.  Bake until cookies are set around outer edges start to firm up yet centers are still soft and puffy, 10-13 minutes (dependent on size).  Sprinkle lightly with flaky sea salt right when they come out of the oven (so it sticks!)  Here is a link to my favorite brand.  Cool cookies on cookie sheets. Serve or store in an airtight container.
Author: Sara Wells
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Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    Outstanding! I followed the recipe exactly. I found Sea Salt Caramel chips at Trader Joes in a 10oz. bag which was just enough for the recipe plus a few for sampling for quality control purposes ; ). I used a #40 scoop for consistency on parchment lined baking sheets which gave me 36 cookies. I baked them on convection for 14 minutes and I let them cool completely then handed samples out to my taste testers. Definitely a keeper recipe.

  2. Great taste. I used parchment paper on the batch and the cookies stuck to the paper. Second dozen, I didn’t use the paper and much better. You do need to let them cook a touch before taking off the cookie sheet.
    Everybody loved them.

  3. 5 stars
    Just weigh the flour – mine came out to 9 oz. And be sure to measure the chips, not just dump the whole bag. You can snack on the extras

  4. These cookies are fabulous! Going to use this recipe with other chips as well just to try, love the base recipe, so sweet, salty and buttery yummy!

  5. 5 stars
    Scrumptious! Only change was I added some chocolate chips. The tip on getting the shape by rolling into balls then braking in half was great. Thanks

  6. 5 stars
    very good! just spent 15 minutes writing a detailed explanation of how this recipe worked for me and the slight changes I made, but right when I hit “post” the site reloaded “because of a problem.” Too tired to rewrite, but the upshot is you CAN use salted butter and if you like crispy-chewy cookies, bake them on higher heat, 375.

  7. I’ve made 1,000 cookie recipes and have never posted a comment before. These were outstanding. One of my new favorites. When you make them, be generous with those buttery pecans!
    At first I thought they might need chocolate or coconut but they are perfect as written. No need to add or change a thing.

  8. 5 stars
    These are the best cookies EVER! Not a big nut fan, so I omit those and these are still the best I’ve ever had! This is my 4th time making them, and the first time I encountered a runny dough. The dough thickened as the first batch was in the oven, so I think I may have not let the butter cool enough.

  9. It’s fixed now! These are AMAZING! I put in chopped up Snickers and Milky Way Dark and they caramelized on the bottom and were SOOOOOO good. thanks for a yummy recipe.

  10. Just made these! They are delish! Now to clean kitchen before family gets home they will never know not sharing!

  11. I was worried about spreading too, but I used the method you described above for shaping the cookies and they were fine. I did add mini chocolate chips to the dough and they are very good. I was hesitant to add salt on the tops, but it really adds a needed taste element. Thanks for recipe.

  12. these cookies are the PERFECT base for kitchen sink cookies! to your recipe i add 1 c dark chocolate chips, 1 c chopped pretzel sticks, 3/4 c grated unsweetened coconut, and 1/2 c old fashioned oats!

  13. You can make your cookies even better – use Kraft caramel bits – I got them in Walmart Neighborhood Market. They are real caramel and are decadent – I saw the other brands but opted for real caramel pieces!

  14. We have a nut allergy. Has anyone made these with out nuts? Would it ruin the recipe to leave the nuts out? What if I added Choco chips instead of the nuts?

  15. Made these (twice, so far) exactly as the recipe directed, and they turned out nothing short of perfect. My wife is in a Christmas cookie exchange, and these will be an easy choice as the ones she brings. They are sure to be a hit.

  16. I made these cookies and they are AMAZING. I missed the part where it said to let the browned butter come to room temp so I added it after I was done browning it. I’m not sure if that changed things but my dough was nowhere near crumbly. The chips started melting a bit and I was worried they would spread too much. They came out PERFECTLY! So so so yummy. Thank you!

  17. I made these last night and my dough seemed a little too soft, so I gradually added another 1/4 cup flour. I also let mine sit in the fridge over night. They are a little flatter than I like them, but taste great!

  18. I measured the flour by scooping and leveling but the mixture still turned out so crumbly and dry even before adding the nuts. I ended up adding 2 t of water. I still couldn’t just scoop with my cookie scoop but had to roll the dough in my hands to get the dough to stay together. I worried they wouldn’t turn out but they were amazing. So worth the extra work. It was my first time browning butter. I followed your recipe but used salted butter since I didn’t have unsalted like your recipe recommends and it turned out delicious. Thanks!

  19. Browned butter first timer here – I can’t believe what a difference in flavor it makes! These were divine! (I may have overmeasured the flour, though, because the dough was kind of crumbly/wouldn’t hold its shape very well – so just be aware of that, future cookie makers.) I grabbed the kroger brand caramel chips and I thought they tasted great (though I didn’t compare them to anything else, so take that for what it’s worth). Also, I didn’t have any sea salt for the top, so I just skipped it and the cookies still tasted delicious, just not as fancy.

    1. I’m make my these right now- second batch just popped into the oven. My dough also seemed a little short and was tough to stick together. The cookies are delicious, but I’m wondering why the crumbly dough? Never had this before with any of my cookies of dragons molar recipe.

  20. This recipe looks SO good! The funny thing is that I have started using your cookie recipe with the melted butter and browning the butter. It makes super good chocolate chip cookies! I have also done chocolate chunks, caramel filled chocolate chips and sea salt with the browned butter and that is SO dang good. For fancy sake I’ll even drizzle caramel on top with the sea salt. Oh so yummy.

  21. These look soooooooo yummy, I can’t wait to try! For this recipe, do we use salted or unsalted butter?

    1. When reading any recipe, you can always assume salted unless specified otherwise. In this recipe, to be honest you could use either!

  22. I thought this recipe sounded similar to the one I’d made from America Test Kitchen! They added a little water back into the butter after browning it. What do you think?

    1. 4 stars
      Browning butter removes about 1 1/2 tablespoons of water, that’s what the milk is for.

      I’ma try these. I make brown butter chocolate chip cookies, but the old man doesn’t like chocolate (odd as that sounds). I use a similar recipe but it’s a full cup of butter, browned, which then rechills and is creamed with the sugar. Sounds fussy but it works! I also use muscovado in place of the brown sugar, which is just a SUPER caramelly brown sugar with lots of molasses left inside, which makes the cookies a richer shade of brown as well.

      I’m in love with caramel, so great that you have this recipe! Thanks!

  23. It doesn’t look like the melted butter makes the cookies spread!? What sort of magic is this!? Haha! Definitely adding them to the list to make.

  24. You said to adjust racks to Upper and Lower middle positions. Does that mean you put two cookie sheets in at the same time? Is this for convection oven people?

    1. Yep. It just means if you are baking 2 trays at a time put them both in the middle, not on the very top or bottom.

  25. I just happened to make these last night, when I too grabbed up the ghiradelli carmel chips at the store, recently. My husband said they were the greatest cookies I’ve ever made. I thought they were really yummy too. Luckily, the kids didn’t like them as much because of the pecans. My husband and I were thrilled, more for us!!
    They can eat their halloween candy instead!
    These cookies are SOOO great for November and the Fall time. I highly recommend making them. Thanks for sharing the melted butter tip over the stove top! This will improve the recipe for sure.

  26. These look so so so good. I hope I can find those chips somewhere here, now that I can bake my heart out because electricity is backkkkkkkk!!!! 🙂
    Thanks for this recipe, these look incredible Sara! ?