Caramel Cookie Bars

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You’ll love these incredible salted Caramel Cookie Bars — buttery shortbread bars with a creamy caramel filling and a sprinkle of sea salt.

Some other favorite caramel-filled treats: caramel oatmeal cookies, carmelitas, and caramel stuffed cookies.

Stack of Caramel Cookie Bars.

Why We’re Obsessed With Caramel Cookie Bars

  1. Flavor Balance: They offer a perfect mix of sweet caramel and a hint of sea salt.
  2. Versatility: Enjoyable with or without sea salt, catering to different tastes.
  3. Party Favorite: Universally appealing and is always a hit at social gatherings.

Making Caramel Cookie Bars from start to finish.


  • Butter: Provides richness and moisture to the cookie base.
  • Sugar & Powdered Sugar: Sweetens and softens the cookie base.
  • Vanilla: Enhances flavor in your caramel cookie bars.
  • White Flour: Forms the structure and texture of the cookie base.
  • Caramels: Creates the chewy, sweet caramel layer.
  • Heavy Cream: Makes the caramel layer smooth and creamy.
  • Maldon Sea Salt (optional): Adds crunch and contrast to the sweetness.


Caramels to Use: Werther’s® Soft Caramels are recommended for their great flavor, easy melting, and suitability for these bars. You’ll need about 3 and 1/2 bags (each 4.5 ounces) for the recipe.

How To Make Caramel Cookie Bars

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare a 9×13-inch pan.
  2. Mix butter, sugars, vanilla, salt, and flour; press half into pan.
  3. Bake base for 25 minutes.
  4. Melt caramels with cream, spread over base.
  5. Crumble remaining dough on top, bake 25-30 minutes.
  6. Cool, cut, optionally add sea salt, and serve.

Overhead image of Caramel Cookie Bars, ready to eat with milk and caramels on the side.

Tips For Success

  1. Use Heavy Cream not half and half or milk: It’s essential for the caramel to set correctly.
  2. Measure Flour Accurately: Spoon flour into the measuring cup and level it off, to avoid dense caramel cookie bars.
  3. Line Pan with Parchment Paper: For easy cleanup and to prevent sticking.
  4. Softened Butter: Use room temperature butter, not melted, for proper creaming with sugars.

More Delicious Desserts:

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Caramel Cookie Bars

5 from 7 votes
You'll love incredible salted Caramel Cookie Bars -- buttery shortbread bars with a creamy caramel filling and a sprinkle of sea salt
Stack of Caramel Cookie Bars.
Print Recipe

Caramel Cookie Bars

Stack of Caramel Cookie Bars.
5 from 7 votes
You'll love incredible salted Caramel Cookie Bars -- buttery shortbread bars with a creamy caramel filling and a sprinkle of sea salt
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword caramel cookie bars, cookie bars
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 24 bars
Chelsea Lords
Calories 456kcal


  • 2 cups unsalted butter softened (NOT melted)
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla bean paste (or 1 full tablespoon pure vanilla extract) (or 1 full tablespoon pure vanilla extract)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 4 cups white flour
  • 14 ounces unwrapped caramels (I recommend Werther's SOFT caramels)
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Maldon sea salt for topping (optional)


  • PREP: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 degrees C) and prepare a 9-by-13-inch baking pan by lining with parchment paper, leaving enough of an overhang for easy removal. Set pan aside.
  • COOKIE BASE: Add butter (softened, but not melted), white sugar, and powdered sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla and salt; mix until just combined. Add in all the flour and mix until just combined and a soft dough forms. Do not overmix.
  • BAKE: Press just a little over half of the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan. (Refrigerate the rest, tightly covered, until it is time to use it). Bake for 25 minutes or until the edges are lightly golden. Remove from the oven.
  • CARAMELS: While the base is baking, combine the unwrapped caramels and heavy whipping cream in a medium-sized pot over medium-low heat. Gently stir until melted and smooth, about 5-8 minutes; pour over the cookie bar. Use a spoon to spread the caramel gently to cover the cookie base. Remove the reserved cookie dough from the fridge and crumble the remaining dough into bits and sprinkle it over the caramel.
  • BAKE AGAIN: Return the pan to the oven for an additional 25-30 minutes or until lightly golden brown around the edges; be careful to not overbake. Cool completely at room temperature and then cut into small squares. Store leftovers, tightly wrapped, in the fridge. (We like these best cold!) Sprinkle sea salt on top of bars right before enjoying, if desired.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 24g | Calories: 456kcal | Carbohydrates: 68g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 94mg | Potassium: 85mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin A: 548IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 2mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.


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Recipe Rating


  1. Just stumbled upon your very awesome blog! It’s so bright and colourful and mouth-watering! Also, these look like pure cookie bar bliss.

  2. 5 stars
    I love the caramelly goodness–butter + vanilla + caramel are a completely perfect combination of flavors (not to mention SALT! :P)

  3. 5 stars
    I just wanted to leave a note that I made this recipe for my work Christmas party cookie competition and won! Thank you – people really love this recipe.

  4. Have you had the caramel shortbread bars at Epcot in Germany in the Werther’s shop? These sound like the recipe and I can’t wait to try one.

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