Salted Caramel Pretzel Crunch Bars

salted caramel pretzel crunch bars cut into squares with a bite taken from one bar

Haaaaappy Friday!

There’s gotta be dessert on Friday, though I may have been eating way over my limit all week. I just got back from Phoenix last night. One of my fave spots was Citizen Public House in Scottsdale. They gave us a platter of nearly every single dessert on the menu and one of them happened to be a semifreddo peanut butter PUSH POP with chocolate brownie stuffed inside. Um, yes. Did you see that on my insta story or Snapchat? (Can’t remember which one I freaked out over that on!) And it was better than it even sounds.

overhead image of salted caramel pretzel crunch bars with half cut into squares

But since it’s the weekend and I know you’ll be baking (we’re kindred spirits), here’s a new dessert to try. I may have freaked out over these as much as the peanut butter push pop ordeal. Imagine that.

Think of these salted caramel pretzel crunch bars as a homemade twix bar but with crunchy pretzels stuffed inside. And the caramel is salted. And the chocolate is semi-sweet. And there’s sea salt on top. So really this is a homemade candy bar skyrocketing into the same top-notch delicious land that only apple pie and carrot cake reside in.

Here are the layers we’re working with:

2 images of shortbread crust mixture in a glass bowl with hand mixer and shortbread crust dough in a glass bowl

The shortbread-ish crust is just like shortbread, but with an egg yolk added. The egg yolk helps prevent any sandiness texture and really helps create a solid (and soft) base for the layers on top. It’s really easy and while you’re mixing, it will be super crumbly. If you get your hands in there, it will all come together like pie crust or dough. See above left (crumbly) and right (togetherness).

You’ll press broken pretzel pieces into the top of the shortbread dough and bake for about 20 minutes. This is the only bake time for these bars. Next? The salted caramel. Easily the best part of these salty sweet bars. Have you ever tried my salted caramel sauce before? I hardly talk about it. Sense the sarcasm. I love the stuff!

The salted caramel is just sugar, butter, cream, and salt. Takes a few minutes on the stove. It’s surprisingly simple; just make sure you don’t walk away from the pan while you’re *supposed* to be stirring. Your sugar will burn, smoke, resemble tar, and set off the fire alarm. This exact scene didn’t happen in my kitchen last weekend or anything.

pouring salted caramel onto layer of shortbread topped with pretzels in a glass baking dish lined with parchment paper

Feeling these pour shots!

pouring melted chocolate mixture onto salted caramel layer in a glass baking dish lined with parchment paper

The chocolate is the easiest part. Melt it with some coconut oil on the stovetop or in the microwave. The coconut oil keeps the chocolate on the softer side so the bars are easier to cut. I like to use pure chocolate baking bars (found in the baking aisle) but chocolate chips work too– see my recipe note. You can even melt down chocolate chips with a little peanut butter to truly make this the best dessert to ever grace any of our kitchens.

The one thing about this recipe? You have to wait for each layer to cool before adding the next. Hot caramel will melt the baked crust. And melted chocolate poured on hot caramel will create a mess too. You won’t be able to spread it and the two layers will morph together. Still tasty, but not what we’re going for! All I do is place the layers in the fridge for 45 minutes as I go. Do something else around the house, come back, etc. You can even start the night before– see my make ahead tip. 🙂

salted caramel pretzel crunch bars cut into squares

For clean cuts, use a super sharp knife and wipe it off with a paper towel between cuts. Slice the bars as large or small as you want. I liked a smaller bite-size version as I was testing this recipe. Because you can fit the whole thing in your mouth and grab 4 more in your hand as you exit the kitchen. This exact scene also didn’t happen last weekend or anything.

Not feeling the pretzels? Add nuts instead. I’m thinking pecans for a turtle-like dessert experience. Enjoy!

salted caramel pretzel crunch bars

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salted caramel pretzel crunch bars cut into squares with a bite taken from one bar

Salted Caramel Pretzel Crunch Bars

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours
  • Yield: 16 large or 20-24 smaller bite-size bars
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Shortbread, caramel, pretzels, and chocolate meet to create these completely addicting salted caramel pretzel crunch bars.


  • 10 Tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 Tbsp or 145g) unsalted butter, slightly soft (see important note!)*
  • 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons (141g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (240ml) salted caramel sauce (the full recipe)
  • 1 cup (50-60g) chopped pretzels
  • 6 ounces chopped semi-sweet chocolate (or 1 cup (180g) semi-sweet chocolate chips)*
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • optional: sea salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line an 8 or 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper with enough overhang on the sides to easily remove the bars from the pan. Set aside.
  2. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy – about 1 minute. Add the flour, sugar, salt, egg yolk, and vanilla extract and beat on high speed for 2 minutes until crumbly. Get your hands in there to make the dough come together. Press tightly into prepared pan. Press pretzel pieces evenly on top. Bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely before adding the caramel (I stick it in the refrigerator to speed this up).
  3. Prepare caramel and wait for it to cool until it slightly thickens. Pour/spoon over crust. Allow to cool and set completely before topping with chocolate. Again, I stick it in the refrigerator to speed it up.
  4. Melt the chocolate and coconut oil in the microwave in 15 second increments, stopping and stirring until completely melted. Pour over cooled caramel. Top with sea salt. Stick in the refrigerator to cool completely.
  5. Lift the parchment paper out of the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.


  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: There are many ways to start ahead on this recipe. You can prepare and bake the crust through step 2 a day or 2 ahead of time. Store in the refrigerator until ready for the caramel. You can also prepare the caramel a day or 2 ahead of time. Warm it just until it is spreadable (but not totally liquid), then pour over crust and allow to set. Continue with step 4. Prepared bars can be frozen up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator then bring to room temperature before enjoying.
  2. Special Tools: KitchenAid Hand Mixer | Glass Baking Dish | Aluminum Square Pan | Glass Mixing Bowls | Stainless Steel Saucepan | Copper Saucepan
  3. Butter: Butter that is too soft could ruin the crust. I always let butter sit out of the refrigerator for only about 10 minutes when making this crust. It’s still a little firm and cold, but that is what you want for a shortbread-like crust.
  4. Chocolate: If using chocolate chips in the chocolate layer, melt down with 1 teaspoon of oil so it thins out and is easy to pour and spread. Careful melting in the microwave. Stop every 15 seconds to stir until melted. You can even melt it down with 1 Tablespoon of peanut butter for an extra dose of delicious.

Keywords: salted caramel pretzel bars, salted caramel bars


  1. Hi Sally!
    Ok so i am going to make these, however, I am moving and most of my pans are packed! Anyway to make these on a cookie sheet or in cupcake tins?  if not I can just buy a new pan to hold me over 😉 thanks!

    1. You can use your cupcake pan!

  2. I made these last night and Sally, you’re right on, they are A-mazing!! I did what you said and put everything in the refrigerator in between layers and it worked beautifully. This is definitely a keeper recipe, they disappeared in about 5 seconds at work today.

  3. I made these last week, and they told me at work.. I can make them any time.. best so far of anything that I have made…..
    Can I double the recipe???

  4. AMAZINGGGG!!! just made these and they are to die for. I used olive oil instead of coconut oil and i think i made the chocolate taste funny. Any chance you have a good substitute for the coconut oil? 😀

  5. What can use instead of coconut oil?

    1. Wondering also

    2. Butter is a fine sub for the coconut oil.

  6. These are incredible! However, I find that I can’t leave these out at room temperature for too long or they start to fall apart. The caramel begins to “ooze”. Is that what happens or I am doing something wrong when preparing the caramel?

    1. Hey Catherine! I’m so excited you enjoyed the pretzel crunch bars! The caramel shouldn’t be too gooey, but warm/humid weather could prevent it from staying set.

  7. Hello
    Can I use brown sugar with the caramel instead of granulated sugar?Also can I use butter instead of coconut iil and howmany spoons . Thank you

    1. Hi Badria! Brown sugar is too moist for the caramel. The flavor and texture of the shortbread crust will change if using coconut oil instead. Keeping that in mind, it may be used as a substitute. Use the same amount.

  8. Hi!! I substituted caramel dip for the caramel…the kind you use for worked GREAT as it is up better when left out too

  9. Hi! I made this for Thanksgiving and it was a hit! I used premade salted caramel sauce as the supermarket was out of heavy cream so I couldn’t make my own. The caramel was a mess even after it was cooled in the fridge multiple times. Do you think that was the cause of the caramel leak or would it have happened anyway? Thanks so much. Will be making this again!

    1. Hi Laura! My homemade caramel is recommended for this recipe for best results. It solidifies at room temperature or in the fridge. 🙂

      1. Any chance one could make the crust without the egg yolk? I have an egg allergy person and am always looking for baked dessert recipes without eggs.

      2. Hi Hilary, For a shortbread crust without an egg you can use the crust from my lemon bars:
        Note that this lemon recipe is for a 9×13 pan so if you would like to use an 8 or 9 inch square pan simply cut this recipe in half. Enjoy!

  10. Hi, Sally!
    In order to try out this delicious recipe, I made the salted caramel bit- but the colour came out a lot darker than yours and had a sort of burnt caramel taste! What do you think went wrong? Thanks!

    1. Hi Bethan! It sounds like the caramel was over-cooked. Remove from the stove a little earlier and make sure you are whisking as it cooks.

  11. Marla Wright says:

    Another great recipe! I love your salted caramel recipe and it’s a must for this recipe! I constantly let others know about your website. I have never been disappointed. Thank you Sally!

    1. You are so sweet Marla! Thank you!! 🙂

  12. adela Uribe says:

    Hi Sally what brand of chocolate can i use for this recipe thank you

  13. Hello – Could you make these using cupcake liners and if so, how much dough would you put in each liner? Do you have to put them in the fridge for the chocolate to harden or you can just keep them on the counter. Thanks.

    1. Hi Michelle! Yes, you can use a cupcake pan instead– and yes, I recommend cupcake liners. About 1 heaping Tablespoon of crust dough in each. The chocolate can set at room temperature or in the refrigerator. It will set a little quicker in the refrigerator.

  14. I am only leary of this recipe because I hate coconut! What is the best substitute or does the coconut taste nut come through in the end product?

    1. Hi Judy, The coconut oil isn’t enough to give it a coconut flavor – but it’s enough to keep the chocolate a bit softer. You can use canola (but not olive) oil instead. Or try peanut butter if you enjoy that flavor!

      1. A refined coconut oil costs a little more, but has no coconut flavor, so that’s an option, too.

  15. Hi. Thank you so much! I made my first cupcakes from your recipes. They were a smash hit at the bake sale! I have a question about this one though. I don’t understand if the oil for the chocolate chip melting in the notes is the same as the coconut oil in the main recipe? If so is it 1 or 2 tsp total? Thanks!!

    1. I’m glad the cupcakes were a hit! For this recipe for the chocolate layer if you are chopping up 6oz chocolate bar melt it with 2 tsp of oil. However if you opt to use chocolate chips then only use 1 tsp of oil. I hope this helps!

      1. Thank you! I looooove these! These are so good. Room temp is a must for eating (I learned the roundabout way).

  16. Hi Sally. I made the bars today and they are delicious. I would like my shortbread to be thicker though, would you recommend to double the shortbread recipe? (maybe 1 1/2?). Also how long would you bake it if it was thicker. Thank you

    1. You can certainly try making 1.5 times the crust – or bake it in a smaller pan! I’m unsure of the exact bake time needed.

  17. Sally, I can always trust your recipes to deliver great flavor and these bars exceeded my expectations! The crisp crust, gooey salted caramel and chocolate bars are divine. They were a big hit with my family and friends.

  18. I made these but not too pleased. The pretzels are soggy, the crust falls apart if you cut them to put on a plate and they just need a little more flavor

  19. I just made them and the flavor is good, the caramel is a little oozy but they are incredibly sweet. So much so that I don’t think that I am going to keep them.

  20. Linda Antisavage says:

    Followed your detailed instructions exactly and every layer came out perfect. Your caramel sauce is so delicious and my bars set up beautifully. I let it sit overnight in frig after the final chocolate layer so cutting was a bit difficult in the morning. After awhile at room temperature it cut much easier. You are a wonderful teacher Sally!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      So happy you love these, Linda!

  21. Marcia Hoover says:

    I’m really looking forward to making these. Can you say whether the set caramel is hard or soft? Specifically wondering if those with fragile teeth may have a hard time eating them.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Marcia, the caramel doesn’t set too hard to bite into. It’s quite soft. Hope you love them!

  22. Do the pretzels ever get soggy when you make this? I’ve found when I dip caramels in pretzel bits the pretzels turn soggy after a few days and I wanted to make and ship them.

  23. Wondering if using Crisco shortening to melt with the chocolate bar is okay. I do that when making chocolate dips and it later helps chocolate set up nice. How much ?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Mary, see the recipe notes for our recommendation!

  24. Hey all this is a yummy recipe but it has some flaws, I followed the recipe but the caramel sauce doesn’t set enough to be out of the fridge. I put them in containers for our kids school lunch and it was a major mess. I think trying a different caramel recipe might work better. Thanks.

    1. I use Sally’s salted caramel sauce in all of my favorite dessert recipes calling for caramel. It always sets up beautifully when left to cool fully on the counter before cutting. Though I have yet to try this recipe. If you need prefer a thicker sauce, try adding less whipping cream when making the caramel. I do that when making caramel apples.

  25. Hi Sally,

    Can I melt the chocolate over a double broiler and forgo using oil or butter or will it still not be thin enough?


    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Liz, we’d still recommend using the coconut oil or butter to keep the chocolate nice and soft and easy to spread. Hope you enjoy these!

      1. Thanks Lexi! I’ll use butter I don’t have coconut oil on hand.

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