These salted caramel sugar cookies are a thick, soft, chewy sugar cookie, topped with a beautiful pool of salted caramel icing! These cookies went viral for a reason, but you’ve got to try them to believe just how good they are.

You can easily make a batch in just 20 minutes and they are perfect for cookie exchanges! When salty and sweet combine like this, it’s hard to resist.

Caramel peanut butter cookies on a baking sheet.
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When I think fall, salted caramel immediately comes to mind. Maybe it’s the candy apples my mom always gave us for a special treat as we approached the season or that my salt craving goes up as the temperature goes down, but I can’t get enough of it.

You are going to love this thick, soft, chewy sugar cookie, topped with a beautiful pool of salted caramel icing. They’re one of my favorite fall cookie recipes!

Why do I call them salted caramel sugar cookies? Because that’s how our friends and family {my market research team} described them when they took a bite.

The slightly salty brown sugar icing is the perfect compliment. So go ahead, try them for yourself and let me know what you think!

But for now, let’s talk about these Salted Caramel Sugar Cookies.

DELICIOUS! I happened to have some coarse salt on hand so I sprinkled a little on the tops! These cookies are to die for! Thanks for the recipe!

MARY
Peanut butter cookies with a caramel twist on a baking sheet.

Salted Caramel Sugar Cookies

Sugar cookies are pretty near perfect by themselves, but topped with a salted caramel icing and I’m in heaven!

Why You’ll Love Them

  • Staple Ingredients – These cookies are made with a few standard pantry staples and some staple refrigerated items that you might need to grab at the store.
  • Sweet and Salty – I’m an avid fan of sweet and salty treats, like my Fleur De Sel Caramel Sauce, and I love how this icing pairs so well with a basic sugar cookie.
  • Perfect for Cookie Exchanges – Or for gifting to your neighbors, friends and family!

These cookies are so much easier than you’d anticipate. No fussy details, just a simple thumbprint sugar cookie topped icing!

Caramel peanut butter cookies on a baking sheet next to a bowl of peanut butter.

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Butter – Salted, softened for a smooth texture.  Learn how to soften butter quickly.
  • Vegetable Oil – Two forms of oil in this recipe give them a melt in your mouth texture.
  • Brown Sugar – This ingredient gives them the caramel flavor and makes them stand out among traditional sugar cookies. Learn about the Best Brown Sugar Substitutes here.
  • Powdered Sugar – Also known as confectioner’s sugar, its fine texture is synonymous with sugar cookies. Learn how to make powdered sugar if you don’t have any on hand.
  • VanillaHomemade Vanilla or store bought, a hint adds rich flavor.
  • Eggs – Large eggs, organic when possible.
  • Flour – All purpose, no need to sift.
  • Salt – Brings out all the other flavors in baking.
  • Baking Soda – The leavening agent in these cookies that make them rise to perfection.
  • Cream of Tartar – This ingredient increases the volume while keeping them light and bright.
Peanut butter cookies on a baking sheet next to a bowl of peanut butter and sugar.

Icing Ingredients

A blend of ingredients makes a smooth, delicious pool that floods these cookies with flavor.

  • Butter
  • Milk
  • Brown Sugar
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Salt
  • Vanilla
A tray of caramel cookies next to a bowl of dipping sauce.

How to Make

An overview, visit the printable recipe card for complete ingredients and instructions.

  1. Combine Wet Ingredients – Combine butter, oil and sugar until smooth. Add in eggs and mix until just combined.
  2. Combine Dry Ingredients – In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda and cream of tartar.
  3. Mix and Chill Dough – Gradually blend dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Refrigerate dough 30 minutes and preheat oven.
  4. Make Thumbprint Cookies – On a lined cookie sheet, drop dough balls and press with a small greased glass, followed by a spoon to make a pool for the icing. Bake as directed. A sugar cookie with a measuring spoon on top.
  5. Make Icing – Cream icing ingredients into smooth combination.
  6. Fill – Using a teaspoon, fill the baked sugar cookies. A person is drizzling **caramel** over **cookies** on a baking sheet.
A person drizzling a caramel sauce on a baking sheet to create delicious caramel sugar cookies.

Tips

  • Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes before forming the cookies.
  • Let the cookies cool before icing them.
  • The caramel will harden just enough to stack, but not enough to take away that soft, chewy flavor you’ll love.
  • Bake these salted caramel sugar cookies on a parchment or silpat lined cookie sheet.
Caramel peanut butter cookies on a baking sheet next to a bowl of peanut butter.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you know when cookies are done?

The most important thing to remember when baking these salted caramel sugar cookies is to not over bake, so watch them carefully as each oven can vary slightly and you’ll be rewarded with crave-able cookies. When ready, the cookies will be set and no longer appear soft, you can test them by gently touching them with a spatula to see if they are firm.

Is salted caramel different from regular caramel?

The answer is mostly yes! While many types of caramel have a little added salt, salted caramel puts more focus on the salt. Salt acts as a flavor enhancer, balancing and layering the sweetness of caramel.

How to Store

  • Room Temperature – Store in an airtight container or plastic bag up to three days.
  • Refrigerate – Allow your salted caramel sugar cookies to cool. Cover or store in an airtight container and refrigerate up to five days.
  • Freeze – Allow to cool. Freeze up to three months. Bring cookies to room temperature to thaw.
Caramel peanut butter cookies on a baking sheet.

More Cookies

Peanut butter caramel cookies on a baking sheet with a bowl of peanut butter.
4.66 from 97 votes

Salted Caramel Sugar Cookies

Amazing salted caramel sugar cookie recipe – a soft sugar cookie base with a brown sugar caramel icing that will be the hit of your next cookie exchange!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 8 minutes
Chill Time: 30 minutes
Total: 18 minutes
Servings: 36
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Ingredients  

Icing

  • 2 tablespoons butter softened
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • ½ cup light brown sugar packed
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions 

  • In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, beat to combine butter, oil, sugar, brown sugar, water and vanilla extract until smooth. Add eggs and mix until just combined.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda and cream of tartar. Gradually blend dry ingredients into wet ingredients on low.
  • Cover and refrigerate dough 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°F and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Drop large (golf ball size) dough balls and press with a small greased glass to flatten and use the back of a spoon (or measuring spoon) to make a pool for the icing.
    A sugar cookie with a measuring spoon on top.
  • Bake 8 minutes in the center of the oven until just set. Allow to set 1 minute and transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

Icing

  • In a medium mixing bowl or stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, cream butter, milk, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla extract and salt until light, fluffy and creamy, about 4 minutes. Melt icing in a measuring cup to pour into cookie pool or use a teaspoon to fill.
    A person is drizzling **caramel** over **cookies** on a baking sheet.

Julie’s Tips

 
  • The caramel will harden just enough to stack, but not enough to take away that soft, chewy flavor you’ll love.

Video

Calories: 238kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 157mg | Potassium: 50mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 193IU | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 1mg

Estimated nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is not guaranteed.

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114 Comments

  1. Hi Julie,

    We made your cookies this weekend and couldn’t create the icing as yours appeared. We followed the steps however they were very gritty even after blending for an extended period of time. We ended up cooking on the stove and drizzling over top and it worked really well and still very tasty.

    Any ideas what we could be doing wrong?

    1. Did you try this tip included in my post? “Finally, I melt the icing in a measuring cup so that it can easily pour into the cookie pool and harden just perfect”

  2. These look beautiful, and I bet they taste great. I want to try them with chai spices, too, as I think that would be a nice variation. I think we just found our Christmas cookie!!! Thanks so much for posting : )