Salted Caramel Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Super soft-baked chocolate chip cookies with salted caramel and pecans. One of the best chocolate chip cookies of all time!

Deliciously soft salted caramel pecan chocolate chip cookies! Cookie recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Perhaps it’s the memories of my childhood milk and cookie snack time or my never-ending love for a classic chocolate chip cookie. Maybe it’s the unparalleled and addictive smell wafting from the kitchen as they bake or the endless add-ins you can throw into a cookie dough.

I’m in love with baking cookies, especially this time of year.

Soft-baked salted caramel pecan chocolate chip cookies! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to Make Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

The dough for today’s cookies is the same dough as my Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies. Cornstarch, my secret weapon in cookie recipes, makes a silent appearance yet again. I’ve told you before and I’ll tell you again, I swear by cornstarch in my chocolate chip cookies!

  • Adding cornstarch to your cookie dough will produce softer-than-ever cookies! It doesn’t impact the flavor at all. One bite of your tender cookie and you’ll wonder why you haven’t added cornstarch to your chocolate chip cookies this whole time.

Deliciously soft salted caramel pecan chocolate chip cookies! Cookie recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Salted Caramel Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

I added a little something salty and sweet to my sweet chocolate chip cookies the other day: a sprinkle of sea salt, a bit of caramel, some delicious pecans. Just like your favorite turtle candy! My mom and I always shared a small bag of turtles during Christmas. Biting into one always brings me back home, and I wanted to capture that same nostalgia in today’s cookie.

You’re going to overload the chocolate chip cookies, super-chunk style. I used store-bought caramel squares, salted pecans, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and a generous sprinkle of sea salt on top.

  • Important tip: do not add the caramels to the cookie dough. Rather, cut the caramels into 4 pieces and stick them into the tops of your cookie dough balls before baking. Doing so will prevent caramel from burning into a burnt caramel river all over your cookie sheet.

Sure enough to be one of your favorite cookies this holiday season, these overstuffed, super-chunky, double-chewy, soft-baked cookies will please anyone and everyone. I mean, who can pass up a cookie? Especially a cookie looking this good?!

Chocolate chip cookie dough ball

Deliciously soft salted caramel pecan chocolate chip cookies! Cookie recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Why Chill Cookie Dough?

  1. The colder the dough, the less the cookies are likely to over-spread into greasy puddles. You’ll have thicker, sturdier, and more solid cookies.
  2. Chilling cookie dough ensures a heightened flavor as well. All the flavors in your cookie recipe will get friendly with one another during the chill time. Whenever I make cookies, I try to plan ahead and chill the cookie dough overnight.

After chilling, let your cookie dough sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes (or more, depending on how long the dough has chilled) before rolling into balls and baking. Your cookie dough may be a solid rock, so letting it slightly loosen up helps. The dough will still be much more solid than it was pre-chilling.

Salted Caramel Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

You won't get enough of these irresistible salted chocolate chip cookies with gooey caramel and pecans!

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks or 170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (180g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup (71g) chopped unsalted or salted pecans
  • 16 wrapped caramels, cut into 4 or 5 pieces each
  • sea salt for sprinkling

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together until fluffy and light in color. Mix in egg and vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. On low speed, slowly mix into the wet ingredients until combined. The cookie dough will be thick. Add the chocolate chips and pecans, then mix until evenly distributed. Cover dough tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour and up to 4 days. Chilling is mandatory for this cookie dough so the cookies don't over-spread.
  3. Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.) Set aside.
  4. The cookie dough will be slightly crumbly, but will come together as you roll into individual balls with your hands. Roll balls of dough, about 1.5 Tablespoons of dough each, and arrange 3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Press a few pieces of caramel onto the tops of the cookies and sprinkle each with sea salt.
  5. Bake for 10-11 minutes, until barely golden brown around the edges. The centers will look soft.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make ahead tip: 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 4 days. Allow to come to room temperature then continue with step 3. 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.

Recipe Notes:

  1. I used salted raw pecans. You can use unsalted, roasted, and/or whichever pecans you love most.
  2. Do not place dough onto warm cookie sheets; allow sheets to cool between batches.
  3. Be sure to check out my top 5 cookie baking tips AND these are my 10 must-have cookie baking tools.

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe. Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pay me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction.

141 Comments

All Comments

  1. Also, adding a box of instant vanilla pudding causes cookies to be soft (even if you leave them in a few minutes too long) and thick!

  2. OMG These look amazing! I am going to try to make these as soon as possible. Also I would LOVE to share some of our cupcake wrappers with you if you’d like to test them out on your upcoming cupcake recipes. Just send me a note.

    Thanks so much!

  3. Hi Sally, have you ever put these cookies in the freezer to save for later? I can never eat as many cookies as I bake, so that’s what I usually do. I’m not sure how the caramel would hold up in the freezer. What do you think?

  4. Sally,

    What happened to the plain Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip cookie recipe? I think the original post was also published via Culinary Chat. I can’t find it anywhere. Any help would be appreciated! 

      1. Thanks for the reply! It was the one with the caramel bits pressed into the top  before baking & sea salt sprinkled on top after baking. I had requests for it from my husband’s Marines for Thanksgiving 🙂 I just used this recipe, minus the nuts. 

  5. I noticed you state to drop 1 TBsp of cookie dough. My husband wants bigger cookies than that. If I did 2 TBsp how much longer do you think I should bake them?
    We are die hard fans of your Pumpkin Snickerdoodles, Chocolate Chip Cookies and Strawberry Short Cake Cupcakes. I can’t wait to try these!

    1. The recipes are completely different 🙂 These are much softer, the others are chewier, these use softened butter (as opposed to melted) and the ratios of ingredients are slightly different. Let me know if you try them!

  6. Just made these after seeing them as the face for your recent post on preventing spreading! Tip for others: I do not know if my caramels had a much lower melting point than others, but even after putting caramels on just before baking (instead of in the dough), they literally cried me a river and melted! So, for my second batch, I put the caramel on right after, to take advantage of the residual each to adhere the caramel bits to the cookie. This is a much more controllable approach!

  7. Hi Sally! These cookies look soooo very yummy, i had to literally stop working and copy/paste this recipe of yours. But i’m kind of confused as i’m thinking twice about adding the cornstarch… one question — is it okay if i skip it? I will sound a bit strange here, but everytime i make a cookie recipe with cornstarch in it, i ended up not liking the texture so much, weird i know!

  8. What brand of caramels did you use? Mined melted all over the the cookie sheet, even though I pressed them on top of the cookies instead of mixing them in.

      1. Thanks so much! I’m definitely going to be making them again….they were delicious even though they were melty. Next time I will use the correct caramels 😉

  9. Hmm. Did you use Kraft brand caramels? They hold their shape a little better than other brands. You can also try the Kraft baking bits (the little balls).

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Reviews

  1. I just finished baking these delicious cookies! Seriously, they are amazing. So glad I doubled the recipe. Friday night’s are always homemade pizza night at our house. These cookies are going to be a great dessert.

  2. I made these tonight (left out nuts since ppl have allergies) for our work FriendsGiving. I’ve had two cookies fresh from the oven and want MORE! My toddler loves them too. I must say everything I have made by Sally has been spot on! If I’ve made a recipe and see that someone has left a negative review saying it turned out badly- sorry, but it’s not the recipe it’s you!

  3. Hi Sally…I made this cookies today and even though I did use the Kraft Caramels, I also ended up with puddles of caramel goo all over the baking tray! I made the recipe exactly as written, made stacks instead of balls, pressed the caramel pieces around the top and refrigerated overnight. By the time I got to baking the 3rd tray, I had flattened the cookies a little and repositioned the caramel pieces to be closer together at the very top of the cookie. They stayed on the cookie but did not hold their shape, they were still little puddles.

Questions

  1. What kind of caramels did you use in these, Kraft caramels or Werthers? I thought the flavor might be better with Werthers, but I wasn’t sure if they were too soft.

  2. How did you get your caramels to not melt? I pressed mine into the top just like you said but they were much melting than yours looks!

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