Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Cookies

Decadent dark chocolate cookies stuffed with caramel and topped with sea salt. Totally worth every bite!

Dark chocolate cookies with sea salt and caramel on a yellow plate

When Nestlé Toll House approached me last month to be apart of their Dark Pinspirations SweepstakesI nearly fell off my chair! You see, today’s cookies were in a Nestle baking contest with some other great talent! If you like dark chocolate, you have to check out the other recipes in the contest.

Update: My cookies won the contest! Yep, the cookies you see here are worth $5,000 and won the Nestle Baking Contest. I can’t thank you all enough for voting! I call them my $5,000 cookies. 😉

Dark chocolate cookies with sea salt and caramel on silpat

Making them is so easy.

The chocolate cookie recipe is quite simple and standard. I use extra cocoa powder to make them even more fudgy. The more chocolate, the better. I stuff the cookies with chocolate coated caramel candies and Nestlé® Toll House® Dark Chocolate Morsels and top each of them with sea salt before throwing into the oven.

I love those Dark Chocolate Morsels and have been using them left and right in my recent recipes. I’ll link up to some dark chocolate recipes at the bottom of this post for you.

stack of salted caramel dark chocolate cookies with caramel in the middle

To make the chocolate cookies, start with some room temperature butter. Beat the butter in the mixing bowl with a stand or hand mixer for about 20 seconds on medium speed before adding any sugar. This gets it nice and creamed. Add 1/2 cup of white sugar and 1/2 cup of dark brown sugar. The brown sugar does not have to be packed and you may use light brown sugar instead. I prefer dark brown sugar because it has a richer, more robust flavor than light brown.

Add 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Beat the mixture and scrape down the sides of your mixing bowl with a spatula as needed. The wet ingredients are ready, so set them aside. Moving onto the dry ingredients…

Dark chocolate cookies with sea salt and caramel on a silpat

I like to sift the dry ingredients together. Unsweetened cocoa powder can be quite lumpy and you don’t want any dry pockets of it in your cookies, so sifting it with the flour, baking soda, and salt just makes it easier to incorporate into the dough.

Once your dry ingredients are thoroughly mixed, add them slowly to the wet ingredients. I like to take a measuring cup and add about 1/2 cup of dry ingredients at a time with the mixer running on low. This allows the dry and wet to be mixed together easily and prevents a huge powdery explosion all over my kitchen!

Don’t forget the last two crucial ingredients. The cookie dough is quite thick, so you need *some* liquid to thin it out again. Use 2 Tablespoons of milk, no more! Any more will make your dough VERY sticky and unmanageable. Trust me, I’ve tried. After the milk is mixed in by hand, add the 1.5 cups of Nestlé® Toll House® Dark Chocolate Morsels. I like a lot of morsels in every bite.

Chill the dough for at least 1-2 hours. Two hours is preferred. The longer you chill the dough, the less sticky it will be – making it much easier to handle in the next step. I even chill mine for 4 hours when I have the time.

Dark chocolate cookies with sea salt and caramel

Now comes the fun part! Grab 18 chocolate coated caramel candies or regular soft caramel candies (I prefer to use Rolos). Take 2 Tablespoons of chilled dough and split in half. Roll each into a ball with your hands. Stick a caramel into 1 ball, sort of like a cradle. I have a picture of how I do this in this similar cookie recipe. Top the caramel with the other ball of dough and seal down the sides so that the caramel is securely stuffed inside.

Top the cookie with a sprinkle of sea salt. I love salty sweet cookies! Chocolate, caramel, and salt are a winning combination and taste remarkable in this thick, soft cookie recipe.

Now it’s time to bake. About 12-13 minutes in the oven. The chocolate cookies are rather large and they will appear undone and very soft when you remove them from the oven. That is OK, I promise. The cookies will continue to bake as they cool on the cookie sheet.

I always slightly underbake cookies so that they remain soft. These chocolate cookies keep beautifully, and even get even softer on day 2. And remained soft for 7 whole days. They only lasted that long because I forgot about one lonesome cookie in my cookie jar. 😉

Just wait until you try one fresh out of the oven!

Dark chocolate cookies with sea salt and caramel on a teal plate

Now let’s look at the selling points here:

  • Caramel oozing everywhere.
  • Melty dark chocolate.
  • Fudge brownie-like interior.
  • Sea salt on top to accentuate the sweetness.
  • Heavenly!

Thick cookies, chewy exterior, soft-baked consistency. All of my cookie requirements! I know you are going to love these chocolate cookies. And they are surprisingly easy to make.

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stack of dark chocolate cookies with sea salt and caramel with caramel showing

Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Cookies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 13 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 16-18 cookies
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Decadent dark chocolate cookies stuffed with caramel and topped with sea salt. Totally worth every bite!


  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 2/3 cup (58g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) milk
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (270g) Nestlé® Toll House® Dark Chocolate Morsels
  • 1617 chocolate coated caramels, such as Rolos
  • coarse sea salt


  1. Using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium speed for about 20 seconds. Add the sugars with the mixer running on medium speed. Cream it all together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  2. In a separate medium size bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together. Slowly add to the wet ingredients. Stir in the milk, then fold in the dark chocolate morsels. The dough will be thick and very sticky. Chill for at least 1-2 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Set aside.
  4. Take 2 Tablespoons of chilled dough and split in half and roll each into a ball with your hands. Stick a caramel into 1 ball of dough. Top the caramel with the other ball of dough and seal down the sides so that the caramel is securely stuffed inside. Repeat with the rest of the dough and 18 caramel candies. Sprinkle each with sea salt before putting into the oven.
  5. Bake for 12-13 minutes. Cookies will appear undone and very soft. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for at least 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.


  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 1 week. You can make the cookie dough and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Allow to come to room temperature then continue with step 4. Baked cookies freeze well for up to 3 months. Unbaked cookie dough balls freeze well for up to 3 months. Bake frozen cookie dough balls for an extra minute, no need to thaw. Click here for my tips and tricks on freezing cookie dough.
  2. Be sure to check out my top 5 cookie baking tips AND these are my 10 must-have cookie baking tools.

Keywords: caramel chocolate cookies, salted caramel dark chocolate cookies

collage of 3 salted caramel dark chocolate cookies images


Comments are closed.

  1. HI Sally, Now that it is the holidays and there will be much baked goods, and sweat pants with stretchy waist bands, LOL, I was wanting to make smaller versions of cookies and bars, so my question is….. with these Salted Caramel Chocolate cookies I was going to put the small mini Rolos instead of the regular size and was wondering when I make them smaller what would you suggest decreasing the baking time to?  And would that time be a general rule of thumb for any cookie recipe to make smaller bite sized ones?  I think with lots of smaller treats you can sample more different ones.   Thanks!

    1. Yes! I would decrease the baking time for cookies by maybe 1-2 minutes for smaller versions.

  2. Can the dough freeze so I can prepare them now and bake them in a couple weeks?

    1. Yes! See the make ahead tip.

  3. I am so obsessed with this recipe, but one problem I keep having is the caramel seeps through the bottom layer making the bottom of the cookie incredibly sticky. This makes transferring from the cookie sheet, to the cooling rack, to the container nearly impossible and my cookies keep breaking. 🙁 They still taste delicious so it’s not a deal breaker, just wondering if you had any suggestions!

    1. I also struggled with this actually! One out of 2 cookies had the caramel leaking out so I would be interested in Sally’s answer!

      1. I had this problem with a bunch of my cookies too! I am wondering why since a few of my cookies seemed fine. Thanks Sally!! 

  4. Can I use salted caramel sauce instead of Rolos? I have loads of leftover sauce so was hoping to use it somewhere .

  5. These.are.amazing.  My new favorite cookie by far.  Thanks for being deliciously fabulous!!

  6. Hi! We just made these cookies and they were delicious! But we did add a little twist- instead of putting Rolos in, we put in Reese’s PB cups (minis). The cookies were moist on the inside with a nice outer edge, and just enough chocolate. I loved this recipe!

  7. I discovered this recipe in your cookbook that I got for Christmas (which is by the way an amazing book!!) and made those cookies for work a couple of weeks ago. Those cookies compared to the other stuff I baked were definitely a winner! My colleagues were all crazy about them and wanted to get the recipe! They were so good that I’ve myself dreamed of those cookies since I made them… Many thanks for bringing them to my life!!

  8. I’ve made these twice and both times have gotten rave reviews! Only thing is that the first time I made them I used the caramel filled Hershey’s kisses which were good but the rolos worked so much better. Thanks for the recipe!

  9. These are delicious!   I did add 3/4 cup peanut butter chips in for some of the chocolate chips because I ran out and left off the extra salt.    Amazing!!!!   Going to try them as written too.  

  10. just made these and Im so happy with them!
    I struggled to find the caramel (based in Aus) so I used a cadbury nibble. It looks like I didnt get the same amount of caramel flavour in it because th nibble didnt have lots of caramel!

    Also didn’t know exactly when it was ready? I understand you underbake slightly but because it was a dark colour, its quite hard to tell. think mine was slightly over! but still tasted delish.

  11. HI Sally! These look so great! I was wondering how they will hold if I decide to ship them to somebody? Will the caramel harden too much? Which of your cookie recipes would you recommend for a care package! Thank you <3 

    1. They’d survive the trip just fine 🙂 I also like to ship these soft oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. They’re great after several days!

  12. Hi Sally

    We don’t get Rolos here. Can I use your- Sea Salt Vanilla Caramels as a replacement. Please suggest.

  13. Rosalie Dieteman says:

    Two things my momma taught me:

    Put the sifter on an inverted canister lid or paper plate, fill with the dry ingredients. When the recipe says add the dry ingredients, sift directly into the bowl. If you like your cookies soft, put the end crust from a loaf of bread in the cookie jar or box.

  14. I’ve made this recipe several times already, they come out perfect every time!!  Everyone LOVES them!!  They are so good thanks so much for sharing this awesome recipe!!  

  15. Hi there! I love all your cookies they look and taste delicious! Just wondering what is the role of the milk in this recipes? Are the cookies too dry without it? Do they need it to spread? Im studying cookie science. 😀 Thanks so much!

  16. Would caramel chews work in place of Rolos, or does the caramel need to be coated?

    1. Chewy caramel candies will work, yes.

      1. Hi Sally I made the cookies with caramels and while the cookie dough was awesome the caramel in the middle completely hardened making that inedible unless you want to break teeth. I had only cooked for 10 min. What went wrong and have you had this happen?

      2. Hi Tara! It really depends on the type of caramel candy you’re using. Brands vary. Make sure they are very soft to begin with. If they’re old or on the harder side, they won’t soften in the oven. I like Kraft or Brach’s brand caramel squares.

  17. Hi! I haven’t made this recipe yet but I had a question before I do! Chances are, I will probably want to freeze these cookies after baking them. Does this mess up the cookie/rolo center once the baked cookie has been frozen then thawed? Or will The caramel be soft again?  Thanks 🙂 

    1. Hi Kasey! The caramel will thaw and soften, but it won’t be as gooey as it is when the cookies are fresh-baked.

  18. I love this chocolate cookie recipe as a base for other variations. My grandmother LOVES marzipan and so I’ve been making these with marzipan in the middle instead of caramel. If you like marzipan you should try it! Super tasty. Thanks for your great recipes. Also, I love that you use weight measurements, less utensils to clean!

  19. Congratulations on your win. I will be making these this weekend. They look so amazingly yummy.

  20. Do you think it would work if I mixed in some mini marshmallows and graham cracker peices to make choc s’mores cookies?

    1. Hi Esther! Marshmallows have a way of melting and completely disappearing in cookies. It’s the strangest thing! I recommend my s’mores chocolate cookies instead I also have these s’mores cookie bars. 🙂

  21. I do Keto. I can substitute most of your ingredients to a Keto replacement. But I was wondering if they will work with almond flour? What do you think?

    1. Hi Paula, I haven’t tested these with almond flour but let me know if you do!

  22. Have you tried making these as bars in a 9X9 pan?

    1. I haven’t! But a 9×9 inch pan should be the perfect size. Let me know how they turn out!

  23. Can I chill dough overnight?

    1. You sure can! See the Make ahead tip at the end of the recipe!

  24. Penny Barry says:

    Another great cookie recipe Sally. Made the dough a day in advance and rolled them into balls and refrigerated again. Some I left out the rolos and added white chocolate and peanutbutter chips to them. All are a hit. Love these and so does my granddaughter. I have 2 of your books and co workers love eating what I bake from them. Thank you!

  25. Cindy Bradshaw says:

    My dough was SO sticky and unmanageable! Can I use less milk??

  26. Hi Sally. Four people asked for your help in why the caramel filling leaked and made the cookies sticky and unmanageable. You did not address this problem but answered other concerns. I thought this was a very valid problem and felt it was very rude that you ignored every one of them. I’m very disappointed because I had the same problem.

    1. Hi Connie! It’s very difficult for me to keep up with the questions and comments on all 1,200 of my recipes (I’m only 1 person!), so I apologize this hasn’t been answered. Which brand of caramel are you using? Freezing the caramel pieces prior to stuffing them in the cookie dough ball helps.

    2. WOW …I’m new to Sally and have spent hours reading comments. If you’ve read thru the pages and pages of questions and replies you would see she HAS answered….but seriously, more to the point is I think if you look in the mirror you will see the truly rude person.

  27. Bunny Auten says:

    The flavor of the cookie was good but it spread out too much. I left the dough in the frig the required amount of time but it was very gooey.

  28. Could I use jam instead of a caramel candy? Would that bake up okay?

  29. Definitely the most requested recipe my friends ask for — absolutely! I love sending friends to your site and knowing they can trust your recipes. You’re the cookie queen!

  30. I’m having trouble finding rolos. Could I use regular wrapped caramels?

    1. Absolutely! Make sure the caramels are soft.

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I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally