Salted Vanilla Toffee Cookies

Salty and sweet vanilla cookies loaded with chunks of toffee and topped with a little sea salt. Chewy edges, soft centers, lots of buttery goodness.

salted vanilla toffee cookies

Heath bits 'o brickle pieces

To develop this recipe, I used the same base recipe as my Butter Pecan Cookies. I decided to use that recipe, sans toasted pecans, because I love the flavor of the dough. Most cookie doughs need a little something, like chocolate chips, in order to actually taste good. But this dough? It truly stands its own. It has enough butter flavor to make your extra butter bucket of popcorn jealous. And its the perfect spot for toffee, vanilla, and a sprinkle of sea salt.

Speaking of vanilla. For superior vanilla flavor, use both pure vanilla extract and a vanilla bean. Scrape the seeds from 1/2 of a vanilla bean and add it to this cookie dough. You can find vanilla beans in the spice aisle and in specialty kitchen stores. They are a little pricey, but a little goes a long way. I strongly encourage it for today’s cookies. In a pinch, an extra teaspoon of pure vanilla extract works instead.

salted vanilla toffee cookie dough balls on a silpat baking mat

stack of salted vanilla toffee cookies

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salted vanilla toffee cookies

Salted Vanilla Toffee Cookies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 3 hours, 35 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours
  • Yield: 30 cookies
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Salty and sweet vanilla cookies loaded with chunks of toffee and topped with a little sea salt. Chewy edges, soft centers, lots of buttery goodness.


  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (200g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • seeds scraped from 1/2 of a vanilla bean*
  • 2 and 1/2 cups (313g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 cups Heath English Toffee Bits ‘O Brickle*
  • sea salt, for sprinkling


  1. In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute on medium speed until completely smooth and creamy. Add the granulated sugar and brown sugar and beat on medium high speed until fluffy and light in color. Beat in eggs, vanilla, and vanilla bean seeds on high speed. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt together until combined. On low speed, slowly mix into the wet ingredients until combined. The cookie dough will be quite thick. Add the toffee bits, mix on low for about 5-10 seconds until evenly disbursed. Cover dough tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours and up to 3 days. Chilling is mandatory for this cookie dough.
  3. Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes– if the cookie dough chilled longer than 3 hours, let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. This makes the cookie dough easier to scoop and roll.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
  5. Once chilled, the dough might be slightly crumbly, but will come together if you work the dough with your hands as you roll into individual balls. Scoop and roll balls of dough, about 1 Tablespoon of dough each, into balls. Sprinkle with sea salt.
  6. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes (11 minutes for crispier cookies), until slightly golden brown around the edges. My oven has hot spots and yours may too- so be sure to rotate the pan once during bake time. The baked cookies will look extremely soft in the centers when you remove them from the oven. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet. If the cookies are too puffy, try gently pressing down on them with the back of a spoon. They will slightly deflate as you let them cool. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely. Sprinkle with additional sea salt if desired.


  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 1 week. Baked cookies freeze well – up to three months. Unbaked cookie dough balls freeze well – up to three months. Bake frozen cookie dough balls for an extra minute, no need to thaw.
  2. Vanilla Bean: For best flavor, don’t leave out the vanilla bean! You can find vanilla beans in the spice aisle and in specialty kitchen stores. They are a little pricey, but a little goes a long way. In a pinch, an extra teaspoon of pure vanilla extract works instead.
  3. Heath Baking Bits: There are actually two kinds of Heath baking bits found in the baking aisle next to the chocolate chips: Heath Milk Chocolate Toffee Bits and Heath Bits ‘O Brickle (without chocolate). For these cookies, I use the kind without chocolate. You can use either, or you can use chopped Heath candy bars or chopped homemade toffee.
  4. Adapted from Butter Pecan Cookies.

Keywords: vanilla toffee cookies, salted toffee cookies


  1. Made these cookies today & have to say the flavor is fabulous.  The addition of the sea salt adds that little something unexpected!!  These will be on my go to list from now on!

  2. Hi Sally!! I love all your recipes!! I was wondering if you think this could be baked into a giant cookie/cookie pizza? I think this would be perfect for my dad’s birthday. Hope you have a great holiday weekend! 

  3. Way too much butter in these cookies. The dough just melted in the ice and formed one giant cookie because they were SO flat. Didn’t hold any shape whatsoever. Flavour is amazing though. So next time, the butter should be cut in half.

  4. These cookies were actually an epic fail for me. I am by no means a novice baker, I’ve been baking for well over a decade. While the toffee was well incorporated throughout the dough, upon baking in all settled at the bottom of the cookie making it impossible to take off the baking sheet. It’s really disappointing too because the dough tasted great and I was really excited to try out these cookies. I don’t think I’ll be making these again. 

    1. For anyone complaining about too much butter, And the cookies spreading out too much (I’ve been making this recipe for years now), please use a Silpat cookie liner. I use the butter as she instructed and have nooooooo problems. I have also used parchment. Anyway, do try the SilPat cookie liner. You can find them at Amazon or Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

  5. Hey Sally! I made them the dough exactly how you wrote it, but the dough has been in the refrigerator longer than 3 days, can I still use the dough, for should I toss it away? 

    1. Sure can! Let it sit out on the counter for 30-45 minutes before rolling into balls.

  6. Hi Sally,
    I’m pretty experienced baker and a huge follower of your blog–have made your chocolate-chip cookies upwards of 20 times with 3 kinds of chocolate!!–and I love that all of your recipes are so consistent in results and easy to follow. However, I tried these cookies today, and the first time they spread unbelievably and I couldn’t get them off the parchment paper. I just made the dough again and stuck it in the fridge for attempt no. 2 but it still looks too soft. I know I followed the recipe–do you know what happened? I have read all the comments and lots of people have had the same problem. 

    1. Ok, the 2nd batch I made turned out exactly the same…AGGGGHHHH!!! But they look so good in your pictures! No idea what is going on.  

      1. So sorry about the frustrations! How long have you been chilling the cookie dough? Because that can make or break the cookies’ taste and appearance. How about chilling them overnight if you decide to make this cookie dough again? Do you live in a humid climate? The humidity is out of control where I live and I have to be very careful with the cookies I’m making right now. Sometimes I even add an extra 2-3 Tablespoons of flour to make the dough a little sturdier. And it really helps! You can give that a try as well.

      2. The first batch I chilled for three days…but I will try the extra flour! Or I might just add toffee bits to your chocolate chips cookie recipe since those are so delicious 🙂 Thanks for the help! Keep blogging–I look forward to every new post! 

  7. These are the best cookies I’ve ever eaten. And I am so serious when I say that. My OLD favorite were oatmeal toffee cookies made with the same Heath bit o brittle candies, but these outshine them by a landslide! I would recommend making a double batch EVERY time because they will be gone QUICKLY! I put salt on them before and after I bake them, and they are just delicious. Everyone that has tried them has asked me for the recipe, and I have directed them all to your site! Xoxo

    1. By the way, everyone complaining about the cookies spreading out, I ball the dough and then put the bowl of dough balls into the fridge between baking. If I don’t, the dough gets too sticky and I’m afraid they would run all over the place!

  8. Is it okay if I leave out to corn starch? Or any recommendations for substitutes? Thanks!

    1. You can simply leave it out.

  9. Hi Sally, I made these this weekend. I had a lot of the same problem that other readers did with runny dough. My first batch was a disaster. For the remainder of the cookies, I added 3 tbsp of flour to the dough, rolled the dough into balls, and put them in the freezer to chill. That helped the dough spread less. The bottoms of my first cookies were burnt, but that is probably because I only had a dark cookie sheet, so I turned the heat down to 325 and baked for 9 minutes. I couldn’t get the texture of them to look like your picture, but these changes helped save the rest of the cookies. And of course, they still tasted good.

  10. I made your recipe.  Spread my dough lengthwise on waxed paper, rolled in in a tube formation and chilled for 4 hours. Cut a 1/3 section off and sliced in 1/2 inch pieces, placed on parchment and baked…. they turned out PERFECT
    Saving the other section for baking next week.

    1. OOoo – thank you for mentioning this – that’s a fantastic idea. I read the recipe and decided this is what I want to make for my cookie swap this year. I always come to the comments to see what issues/successes others are having with recipes. And it’s awesome to see people comment with things that work wonderfully for them.

  11. Yum! We added these cookies on our holiday cookie list as they are so loved in our home! I agree with the vanilla bean note, and found some beautiful beans on that I used in this recipe. Thank you, thank you. These cookies are delightful!

  12. Over the past few days I have made several of the cookie recipes on this site and all have turned out perfectly. I was looking forward to trying this recipe but experienced the same problem as many others and my cookies turned out flat and greasy (although delicious). I have a theory about what went wrong with my cookies and this may be true for others. The brand of toffee bits I used is Hershey’s Chipits SKOR toffee bits (I live in Canada and this seems the mostly widely available brand). The first two ingredients listed are sugar and butter. I looked up the Heath brand and first two ingredients are sugar and palm oil…and then butter. So the SKOR brand has a higher butter content which melts into the cookie. I had about 1/3 of the dough left after baking my first batch and have now added a full 1/4 cup of four. The dough balls are now firming up in the fridge. I’m hoping for better results.

    1. UPDATE– adjusted batch somewhat better but not quite right. Sure enough I checked the SKOR website and they have a similar recipe posted, but only 1/2 cup butter to 2 1/2 cups flour. B I N G O!

  13. This dough tastes amazing BUT I followed the recipe to a tee and they are so flat and stick to the cookie sheet!  I started freezing the balls in between batches and that seemed to help w the flatness a little but they still stick.  These are for a cookie exchange and I’m serving cookies that are a hot mess.  So disappointing something is off in this recipe.  I’ve NEVER had this issue been baking for years!  Such a shame because the flavor is phenomenal.

  14. Hello Sally

    These cookies for me turned out really good. Only two things I did differently   1) I added extra flour. I live in high altitude 2) I baked a little longer

    I think I added about 2-3 tablespoons of flour. They aren’t puffy cookies. They do spread a bit. But add extra flour.

    Wow, very addicting 

  15. Hi Sally!

    So I’m currently baking these cookies and I came across an interesting conundrum.

    So some of the cookies I baked with parchment paper and some I baked with silpat mats. The ones baked with the parchment paper, even though I added the extra flour, still spread out. But the ones that I baked with the silpat mats rose nicely. Apparently I need to invest in more silpat mats.

  16. Kortni Ragan says:

    I just baked these for about the millionth time, and I think I may have added an extra up of flour by mistake. They came out kind of fluffy. Didn’t spread, were crunchy on the outside, softer in the middle. I like them better your way, where they are thinner and get that crunchy/chewy texture, but if you’re into a fluffy cookie, add an extra cup of flour!

  17. Has anyone tried this recipe with browned butter?

    1. What is browned butter? 60 years old and never heard of that.

      1. browned butter is when you cook the butter in a sauce pan and slowly cook it till it turns a pretty golden color

  18. Andrea Lankenau says:

    Hi Sally! How can I make my own toffe? I’m from Mexico and i cant find Heath English Toffee Bits ‘O Brickle!!!! pleaaaase

    1. Here is my favorite toffee recipe:

  19. Last year, I was looking for a copycat recipe for my favorite starbucks “toffeedoodle” cookie when I stumbled upon this recipe. My family adored them! Just finished baking them again for my husband’s work holiday party. Just as fabulous as I remembered! I add 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon to mine to make it more like the toffeedoodle cookie which sadly was discontinued this year! Womp womp womp. But these are a fantastic rendition with the added cinnamon. 

    To those having difficulties with spreading, chill the dough overnight. Take it out 20 mins before baking to take the chill off, but put it back in the fridge between batches. You do not want the dough to get soft or anywhere near room temp or they will spread too much during baking. I always test a few cookies to see where to time/temp needs to be for my oven/ pans. For me, rounded tbsp balls on a parchment lined sheet pan baked at 340° for 12 mins works best. Comes out slightly flatter than the cookies pictured here but we really love that chewy on the outside soft on the inside texture over fluffier cookies.

    Thanks for a solid recipe! This will be in our holiday rotation for years to come! 

  20. Hi Sally, my first batch came out absolutely perfect but the second and third seemed to really spread. Do you have any tips for making it more consistent?

  21. These are absolutely amazing. I ate six the night I baked them. I couldn’t help myself! So, so good.

  22. I have made this recipe several times and have had rave reviews every time! My work teammates request them for bake sales and birthdays. I too, ate several as I was baking them – super hard to resist!! I am not really a baker, but do follow directions well. The only real issue now is is I am having trouble finding the Heath bits without chocolate these days!!

    1. They are definitely hard to resist as they come out of the oven! 🙂

  23. Jennifer Doherty says:

    These sound delicious! I live in a hot, very humid area, do you think these would hold up outside for a picnic? I thought possibly because there’s no chocolate.

    1. Hi Jennifer! Yep, these cookies are great in hot weather since there’s no chocolate.

  24. Holy schnikes!! These are the actual best cookies I’ve ever made. They are now my and my girls’ favorite cookies. Well done!

  25. Hey Sally, I was wondering what does cornstarch do to cookies?
    My cookies are generally soft in the middle even when I bake them for 20 minutes at 180, would adding a bit of cornstarch help or worsen the situation?

    1. Hi Prateek! Cornstarch keeps cookies, like these, thick and soft.

  26. “If cookies are too puffy”?! I can’t even imagine. First, this is maybe the best tasting cookie dough of all time, but getting these cookies not to completely flatten in the oven is driving me bananas. First batch (which had been chilled for over 24 hours and popped in the freezer again right before baking) completely melted. Second batch I added over 1/4 cup of flour to the recipe. (Both times, btw, measured everything with a kitchen scale.) Still flat. Replaced my baking soda and checked my oven temperature, too. Ugh. I’d hate to cut the butter because I feel like it adds to the recipe, but this is incredibly frustrating. Maybe I’ll just eat the dough…

    1. Hi Laura! Thank you so much for trying these vanilla toffee cookies! I agree, the cookie dough is AWESOME. Let me try to help with the over-spreading issues. I published a post about this:

      Some of those tips will definitely be helpful for you. Are you at high altitude? You can reduce the butter by 1-2 Tbsp to see if that helps too.

      1. Thanks for the reply! I’ve done all the tips in your post (minus the spoon trick… save that for next time), but I’ll try reducing the butter. Going to invest in some different cookie sheets. I have the airflow sheets. I feel like cookies just spread way more in my new oven (whose temperature I double checked) than in my old oven. I’m in Los Angeles, so no altitude here.

      2. Despite the flatness they still won our office’s annual cookie competition!

  27. Baked up perfectly but I did have to add 2 mins on to the time, but that’s normal for my oven. Very tasty but a little too sweet for my personal taste. The kids however thought they were delicious. I made a 2nd batch and added chopped pecans to them to help balance the sweetness and left off the sea salt topping and they were divine! Totally going to be making these regularly from now on. Thank you for the recipe!

  28. Hello again Sally
    I started making your recipe here 2 years ago. I live in very high elevation. I made the cookies always as written. Only thing is I add 3T of extra APF. King Arthur of course. Ha.Anyway, I just had to say I have Never had a problem of spreading. I use a silpat instead of parchment paper. I just cannot wait for hours in refrigerator. After blending the batter I start baking them. I do need to say though, one time I didn’t have vanilla beans, when I thought I had. Anygway. I added additional vanilla, after researching how much vanilla to add if I didn’t have vanilla beans. They were good, BUT! There is a difference without these real bean, along with vanilla. Anyway, now I decided I just cannot make these without adding the vanilla bean. Also, do you have any idea as to how to keep the one vanilla bean fresh longer, without making the real vanilla extract? I don’t want to make extract. I just want to keep the bean fresh. I noticed they don’t last that long, then they start to get hard. Thank you! Bonnie from Markleeville, CA. Ps. This is a 10 star recipe

    1. I’m glad you enjoy this recipe, Bonnie! For fresh vanilla beans, make sure they are soft when you buy them. Store them in a completely airtight container away from heat and light at room temperature. They should last about a year!

  29. I have not yet baked these cookies but have read the reviews and noticed many reviewers had a problem with flat cookies. Your problem may be caused by your brown sugar. Dark brown has more molasses and therefore more moisture. Try light brown sugar next time. I have found this with other recipes. I prefer flat crisp cookies so always use dark brown.

  30. Read a lot of comments of the cookie spreading thin and not being chewy or tasting too buttery so I was skeptic at first when I tried the recipe. I agree the dough spread in the oven but the cookie was still amazing in taste and it was still as chewy as you’d expect it to be. For people getting crunchy cookies, bake them for less time or put the dough in the freezer. I’d say salt is a must, not an optional as the cookie is sweet and needs a balance of salt. I had to make a second batch because the first finished so fast.

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