Caramel Corn Chocolate Chip Cookies

Caramel corn is one of my favorite snacks. Sweet and caramely with a bit of saltiness and plenty of crunch.

It’s really good on it’s own, but it’s even better baked into chocolate chip cookies.

Caramel Corn Chocolate Chip Cookies

I was looking around my pantry and noticed a bag of caramel corn that I had forgotten about. I opened it, shoved three handfuls in my mouth as fast as I could, and was about to demolish the whole bag when I thought there had to be something better to do with it than just shoveling it in fast and mindlessly. So I decided to bake it into cookies.

There are so many things people bake into cookies and if you spend time on Pinterest, you’ll see pretzels, cereal, candy bars, and even bacon finds its way into cookies. So why not caramel corn. I’ve already done Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookies and I’ve baked potato chips into Compost Cookies, and now caramel corn has its turn.

Caramel Corn Chocolate Chip Cookies

To make them I adapted two of my favorite dough bases, the Chocolate Chip and Chunk Cookies and the Sugar-Doodle Vanilla Cookies. I knew that making the Chocolate Chunk recipe would produce a boatload of cookies because the caramel corn bulks up the dough dramatically, but I didn’t need a boatload. However, I do love the cornstarch in those cookies because it softens and tenderizes the dough for a Soft-Batch style cookie.

The Sugar-Doodles have an incredible vanilla-based flavor, against a sweet, creamy, soft and tender dough base. The issue with that dough base is it’s so soft and tender, great for more delicate cookies like Cranberry and White Chocolate Chip Cookies. But for gobs of chunky caramel corn and chocolate chips galore, I created a slightly sturdier dough that’s fit to hold a ridiculous amount of add-ins.

Sometimes I enjoy simplistic and plain cookies like the Sugar-Doodles or Brown Sugar Maple Cookies, where the dough itself is the cookie, and the buttery, soft, sweet, flavorful dough is the focus. Other times, I like enough add-ins and over-stuffage that not one more morsel will fit. This was one of those times.

Caramel Corn Chocolate Chip Cookies

The dough comes together quickly and easily. Begin by creaming together butter, an egg, sugars, vanilla, and beat until light and fluffy. It’s important to really aerate this dough and get is as fluffed as you can because there’s not much of it in relation to the add-ins that will be incorporated later. What dough there is must be nice and fluffy.

Add the flour, cornstarch, optional salt, and beat momentarily to incorporate.  Cornstarch is both a softening agent and a thickener. Think of gravy or pudding, which are both thick yet soft and use cornstarch. Just a tiny amount does wonders for cookies and helped to create my favorite Chocolate Chunk Cookies and helped here, too. There’s not much flour in comparison to most cookie recipes, and the dough will be a little on the soft and sticky side, but firms up after the add-ins are added.

I didn’t salt the batter because the caramel corn is already slightly salty, and I didn’t want to over-do it. You can always finish these with a sprinkling of coarse salt after baking to really accentuate the salty-and-sweet effect.

Caramel Corn Chocolate Chip Cookies

Add the caramel corn, chocolate chips, and beat for just a couple seconds to incorporat, but don’t overmix and break those pretty kernels. Using a medium cookie scoop (or use your hands and roll the dough into tightly packed balls), form mounds weighing 1.40 to 1.50 ounces each, about two heaping tablespoons each; I made 20 cookies. The mounds will look large because the caramel corn bulks the dough without adding much mass so they look bigger raw than they bake into.

It’ll seem that there are more add-ins than dough, and that there’s no way all this caramel corn and chocolate chips will stay bound together with this paltry amount of dough, but they do. Using your hands as necessary, press all the caramel corn and chocolate chips in, and firmly squeeze the mounds of dough, or roll them between your hands as necessary to get everything to stick together. Slightly flatten the mounds so they don’t stay too domed and puffed while baking, just don’t over-flatten.

The dough must be chilled before baking, so place mounds on a large plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 5 days, before baking. Unbaked cookie dough can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future as desired.

Caramel Corn Chocolate Chip Cookies

Preheat oven to 350F, line two baking sheets with Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mats, place dough on trays spaced 2 inches apart, and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until edges are set and tops are barely set. Even if they’re pale, glossy, and slightly under-baked in the center, this is okay and they’ll firm up as they cool. Watch them closely after 7 minutes, and I recommend the lower end of the baking range, and not exceeding 10 minutes.

Baking too long results in cookies that become too crisp and hard, with caramel corn and undersides that will become too browned. The cookies shown in the photos were baked for 8 to 9 minutes depending on the batch (I preferred the 8 minute cookies), with trays rotated halfway through baking. They were quite glossy and translucent at 8 to 9 minutes, but I pulled them out anyway and as they cooled, the warm dough shrank down and clung tightly to chunks of caramel corn.

Caramel Corn Chocolate Chip Cookies

I brought the cookies to my daughter’s birthday party and men, women, toddlers, teenagers, and strangers from a neighboring party in the park came over to our table requesting cookies. Word got out in the park about them and they were a hot item, even seeming to trump the birthday cakes from either party. Although I made a strawberry cake with strawberry frosting and sprinkles per my princess’ request that wasn’t too shabby.

People would take a bite of a cookie, lock eyes with someone else who was eating one, and were proclaiming things like ohmygodthesearesogood. I love bringing food to parties and watching people’s honest reactions when they don’t know who made what and I observe those reactions like a fly on the wall.

Caramel Corn Chocolate Chip Cookies

They’re sweet with a little bit of saltiness from the caramel corn, although not a true sweet-and-salty treat. But you can make them that way with a finishing sprinkle of coarse sea salt. As it bakes, the caramel corn turns from crunchy and crisp into soft and chewy. The caramel sauce that coats the corn melts off a bit, creating puddles of caramel amidst chocolate.

The edges are chewy and the center is either chewy if you bite into a piece of caramel corn or squishy and gooey if it’s chocolate. Some bites are all of the above.

Caramel Corn Chocolate Chip Cookies

The idea of stuffing as much chocolate as possible into cookie dough is something I did with the New York Times Chocolate Chips Cookies and repeated it here. Chocolate oozes everywhere and is a rich, dark, flood that blankets the pieces of caramel corn and contrasts beautifully against the buttery, vanilla-twinged dough.

My new favorite way to eat caramel corn.

Caramel Corn Chocolate Chip Cookies

Print Recipe

Caramel Corn Chocolate Chip Cookies

Caramel Corn is a favorite snack that I can devour by the handful. It's even better when it's baked into chocolate chip cookies. The cookie dough is sweetly perfumed with vanilla and brown sugar, and the addition of cornstarch helps the cookies stay soft and chewy, and they stay soft for days.The cookies are loaded to the max with caramel corn and chocolate chips, providing plenty of chewy texture. The cookies have a slight sweet-and-salty vibe from the caramel corn and biting into a softened and chewy piece of caramel corn that's engulfed in chocolate is my kind of cookie.

Yield: about 20 medium-sized cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch salt, optional and to taste (some caramel corn is already well-salted, something to consider before salting the dough)
  • 3 cups caramel corn
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


  1. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, sugars, egg, vanilla, and beat on medium-high to high speed to cream them. Beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the flour, cornstarch, optional salt, and beat to just incorporate; don't overmix. Add the caramel corn, chocolate chips, and beat momentarily to incorporate or fold in by hand, making sure not to overmix and break the caramel corn.
  2. Using a medium cooking scoop (or use your hands and roll the dough into tightly packed balls), form mounds weighing 1.40 to 1.50 ounces each, about two heaping tablespoons (I made 20 mounds). Mounds will look large because the caramel corn bulks the dough without adding much mass. It will appear that there are more add-ins than dough and that it will all hardly hold; this is normal and okay. Use your hands to press the add-ins into the dough, firmly squeezing the mounds together in your hands and rolling them between your palms as necessary to get everything to stick together.
  3. Slightly flatten the mounds so they don't stay too domed and puffed while baking, just don't over-flatten. Place them on a large plate, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours, or up to 5 days, before baking.
  4. Preheat oven to 350F, line 2 baking sheets with Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mats, and place dough on mounds, spaced 2 inches apart (8 per tray). Bake for 8 to10 minutes, until edges are set and tops are barely set, even if pale, glossy, and slightly underbaked in the center. Watch them closely after 7 minutes and I recommend not baking longer than 10 minutes, and erring on the lower end of the baking range. Cookies firm up as they cool, and baking too long will results in cookies that become too crisp and hard, or have overly browned caramel corn pieces or undersides (The cookies shown in the photos were baked for 8 to 9 minutes depending on the batch, with trays rotated at the 4-minute mark, and have chewy edges, soft centers, and gooey chocolate).
  5. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheets for 5 to 10 minutes before removing and transferring to a rack to finish cooling. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Alternatively, unbaked cookie dough can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.

Related Recipes:

Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookies – Everything but the kitchen sink is tossed into these cookies: Cornflakes, potato chips, pretzels, marshmallows, and chocolate chips. The recipe comes from a popular cookbook and I’m glad I tried them to see what all the hype was about

Compost Cookies – Potato chips, butterscotch and chocolate chips, and so much more is added to these cookies with a salty ‘n sweet, crunchy and chewy profile

Chocolate Chip and Chunk Cookies – My favorite recipe for pure, unadulterated, perfect chocolate chip cookies. They’re soft, chewy, tender, moist, stay soft for days, are a snap to make, and have two kinds of chocolate in every bite. I wrote extensively about why I love them and if you need a solid, fuss-free, and straightforward recipe for chocolate chip cookies that yields fabulous results, try these

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies – One of my favorite cookie recipes on my site. Chewy, filled with texture, and combines three of my favorite cookies in one – chocolate chip, oatmeal, and peanut butter – and very easy to make, no mixer required

New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies (from Jacques Torres) – I learned many valuable lessons when making these cookies, including using bread flour, making larger cookies, and stuffing in more chocolate than I thought was possible. Fresh from the oven, I love these cookies, and although I don’t consider them my ‘perfect’ cookie and there are a few reasons why (and wrote extensively in the post) fresh from the oven, they’re wonderful

Vanilla Cake Batter and White Chocolate Chip Caramel Corn – – I love the flavor of cake batter, especially when it’s baked into air-popped popcorn, creating a rich, buttery, cake batter flavor-infused caramel corn

Caramel and Chocolate Gooey Bars (GF with Vegan adaptation) – Caramels and gooey chocolate oozing everywhere are part of why I like these texture-filled and easy bars, made with oats to give them extra chewiness

Seven Minute Microwave Caramels (no-bake, gluten-free) – The recipe sounds too good to be true but it works and produces my favorite caramels of all time. No candy thermometer required and hassle-free

Do you like Caramel Corn?

Best thing you’ve ever tried baked into a cookie? Anything you’d like to try?

Happy Fat Tuesday. I think caramel corn cookies scream celebration and party cookies.

Thanks for the $100 Giftcard and Special K Prize-Pack Giveaway entries


  1. I LOVE caramel popcorn. Thats the only popcorn I grew up knowing. Its the only kind you could buy in movie theaters in Germany. North American salty and savory kinds were quite a shocker to us but I even got used to those. Now on our travels in SE Asia we come across caramel popcorn at the movies again. I love it and incorporating it into cookies just sounds divine! :D

    • Some N. American caramel corn and/or popcorn is especially salty-and-sweet; others not as much. It sort of depends on the brand with just how savory/salty it goes. I prefer mine to be more sweet, with just a hint of salty.

  2. I don’t think I’ll be able to stop thinking about these cookies all day Averie! The way you described them – as being chewy, soft, chocolatey, somewhat sweet and salty, with melty caramel disbursed through the cookie as it bakes… wow. I love caramel corn so much but never once thought about adding it to cookies. I would have finished off the whole bag instead of doing what you did. lightbulb moment you had! The amount of chips and caramel corn you stuffed into these cookies is unbelievable. I’ve never used so many add-ins and you know how much I love texture and “stuff” in my baked goods. These are truly a cookie I’d love! Plus, they are so beautiful with the caramel corn poking out through out every corner. Skylar’s party sounds like such a wonderful time for the little princess. And I love that she requested and all pink and strawberry cake. A girl after my own heart!

    I almost died when I read about how you like to stay quiet and watch people like a fly on the wall enjoying your cookies I did that SAME THING on SAturday night with a batch of peanut butter chocolate cookies I made. “These are SO good”, “Why aren’t there more?”, “Who ate all of those amazing cookies?”… it’s so entertaining. ;)

    • The things that come out of their mouths! Like…some people were saying OMG where did these come from? Like…did they think I bought them from a bakery? And then they’d take a bite, ponder, take another bite, smile. Gorge. Repeat. And then I’d walk up and say, that’s caramel corn baked in there. I made them. You MADE THESE? Yes. It’s CARAMEL CORN?! Yes, really. It was just so…entertaining. I wish I could do it with every single recipe I ever post/write!

      You would love love love these. The amt of batter/dough is so skimpy compared to the add-ins and I made it so that it’s soft and not a super-rising dough, so that when they cool, they dough collapses and clings to the popcorn and chips. I was quite happy with the way the stars all aligned. Everything about them screams your palette, too!

  3. I can always count on you to have a fantastically, creative cookie idea! I can imagine that caramel corn in chocolate chips would be addictive-ly perfect! The sweet and salty combo never fails. :)

  4. These look very inviting Averie! I love sweet and salty combinations, and I bet these are amazing. how fun to watch people’s reactions!!

  5. What a great creative mind you have to imagine and then construct these cookies. The photos are awesome.

  6. Whoa! What a great cookie combo, Averie! Love it!

  7. hello! I found your site, I’m a Italian food blogger , this recipe is fantastic! kisses

  8. This is two days in a row that you have something I haven’t tried before. I’ve never used popcorn/caramel corn in my baking. I have to admit, I didn’t like caramel corn as a child, but I absolutely love it now! A few years back, I had a boss bring in brownies topped with caramel corn when I had an overnight shift, and the day shift was about to leave. I was hoping they would eat all of it, so I wouldn’t have to have the brownies staring at me all night! I’m guessing these will be just as addictive! Once again, this is going on the list, which is getting waaaay too long with me to keep up with!

    FYI, here’s my version of the carrot loaf you made a few weeks back, it was amazing!

    • The brownies sound great! And so glad the carrot cake was a success. And yes, grate by hand. Takes 3 whole minutes…and a hugely improved result. One of those things that is totally worth the time involved!

  9. I don’t normally like popcorn but I am addicted to caramel popcorn. Why hadn’t I thought of this? Caramel popcorn already goes perfectly with chocolate, so this is a brilliant idea – bravo! I can’t wait to try this!

  10. Now THAT’S a cookie! Forget the dough, just give me the add ins ;-)

  11. Watching people eat your baked goods is so fun and entertaining…the best is when you finally admit you made them and everyone just gapes! Makes me laugh every time! I love that you added the caramel corn to your cookies…I made caramel corn pb cookies a while ago and I have to admit it was probably the best cookie I ever had. I love how many mixins you always stuff your cookies with! Love that texture!

    • I missed those cookies on your site! I need to go check those out. And yes, the ‘everyone gapes’ phenomenon. No one can ever believe that you made it. I always wonder where they think it came from…like a bakery? Or what? But the candid reactions are the best!

  12. I absolutely love caramel corn too, one of my favorite candies! I love the idea of putting it in cookies, genius…and I’m sure delicious too! :)

  13. This is such a wonderful idea! I’ve made cookies with cornmeal, but never had I put popped corn into a cookie. I can only imagine the deep caramel flavor that comes from baking the already caramelized popcorn! The texture sounds amazing, too!

  14. Oh my…whaaaaat?! You are kidding me!! I stepped into COOKIE HEAVEN! Averie, these are going to make a certain someone (yes, me!) very very freakin’ happy! Brilliant!

  15. Um, I LOVE this one, Averie!! Caramel corn is so addictive and I can only imagine the addictive factor goes up about a million when you bake them into cookies! Pinning this to try – seems like another great one for my class! :)

  16. I can imagine these have nice crunch from the caramel corn. And the cornstarch again – love how puffy it makes the cookies! I will need to try these!

  17. Oh, lord, do I love these! And the PHOTOS… winner, winner, chicken dinner! OK, maybe not a chicken dinner, but, seriously, these cookies are just so gorgeous and sound so incredibly satisfying. I really like all of the things that you add in for a nice flavor and crunch, and I like how little flour you use with just a bit of cornstarch. Another lovely recipe, Averie!

    • Thanks, Meagan! They remind me of a Tosi recipe in some ways, but so much thicker, puffier, less spready and more gooey. Without 17 hours of pre-planning :) I’m sure you know what I mean. And thanks for the photo compliments!

  18. Whoa. You just, whoa.

    I love that you were eating caramel corn like any normal person would do when you thought to bake with them, like a normal person…wouldn’t. Which is why you have this awesome food blog, I suppose. Thinking outside the box!

    The description of these cookies and the picutes….I’m drooling.

  19. I love the mix of sweet and salty in these cookies, fab!

  20. These look SO good! Have you seen the Kettlecorn cookies at Trader Joe’s They are so amazing, but need a bit of chocolate ;) So I’m so excited that you made these. It reminds me of the decadent chocolate drizzled caramel/kettlecorn that I’ve been trying to avoid at the store!

  21. OMG Caramel Corn. I don’t think I can process any more information today, this is the best idea I can possibly hear. My mom is so super obsessed with caramel corn, I’m going to have to match a batch for her (or make several batches, incase the first batch doesn’t make it out of my house…)

  22. Looks delicious!! I recently made the Buttered Popcorn Cookies from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, and they were tasty too. I’d highly recommend them :)

  23. Seriously?? You just had to do this to me didn’t you?? I LOVE caramel corn…and in a chocolate chip cookie? Now that just sounds heavenly :).

  24. I adore caramel corn, and I don’t just eat it, I SHOVEL it. So suffice it to say this cookie has got my number. Big time.

  25. Holy crap I need these cookies.

  26. Averie, what a wonderful idea for a cookie! These look SO stinking moist and chewy. I would give my right arm to be sitting in your kitchen with a cappuccino and a plate of these cookies!

  27. I love these ooey gooey cookies, Averie! Caramel corn is such a great addition!

  28. What a great idea! Two of my favorites married in this treat!!! Nice!

  29. What a fantastic, creative and delicious cookie recipe. I love salty and sweet together which you’ve covered amazingly in your recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  30. These cookies definitely look “stuffed to the gills” with all sorts of good things–and I do love a little salt with my sweet! Such a creative use for caramel corn! I haven’t ever thought to try baking it into something–I thought it might get soggy. Your description of how it just softens up has totally changed that perception…and your photos really show how well the kernels keep their shape. Yep–my kinda cookie!! I fondly remember making the compost cookies–it was fun rummaging around for odds and ends to throw in. Love the story about Skylar’s party–it is such a satisfying feeling to know something you made is a hit in a totally unbiased situation like that!

    • A afternoon comment from you today! Hope your day was good!

      II was worried about the popcorn in cookies ages ago but tried it in awhile back to discover it gets sort of chewy, not soggy. The compost cookies…oh gosh, that’s right. You made those! I promise you this dough base, Paula, is so much better :) You will LOVE this one! And the fly on the wall situation was great at the party!

  31. WHAT THE WHAAAAAT!? Craziness. I want these cookies so badly!!

  32. One of my favorite things about baking is to share the sugary love. It doesn’t surprise me people reacted the way they did when they took a bite out of one of these cookies. Caramel corn is a genius addition.

  33. I commend you for stopping at 3 handfuls. I probably would have just registered the bag was in my hand at that point. ;) These cookies are amazing! I really, really want a chocolate chip cookie right now. :)

  34. OH MY GOOOOOOOOOODNESS, Averie! These cookies look insanely dangerous to be around… how could you NOT eat the entire batch?! Brilliant!

  35. I’m a caramel corn addict too. I always wondered if it could be baked into treats like this. Clearly it can with great results. I love when people love a recipe. I brought some leftover salted caramels to my fish mongers today and they went crazy for them.

  36. Very nice cookies girl!

  37. I love how you think! These look to-die-for delicious.

  38. Caramel corn in cookies? Yum! I bet these are sweet, crunchy, and delicious!

  39. Oh Averie. Your cookies are just too good. I do make a microwave caramel corn that I love but I guess now I’ll have to double the recipe!

  40. What a fun cookie! I would never of thought of adding caramel corn to cookies! Genius!!!

  41. While I won’t be making these for myself (corn allergy – boo!) I can totally see why the peeps at the park were dying over your ingenious creation! I mean, has anyone ever thought of something that unique before? I have never heard of caramel corn baked into a cookie and although 2 of us in our household cannot eat corn, there is one young man who LOVES caramel corn – as in, one of his favorite, all-time treats. I showed Simmy this post and told him you baked them for Skylar’s party and he said “Wow. What a cool mom.” :-D Then he went digging into the pantry for a cookie!!

    I will definitely make these for this boy this weekend. It’s not his fault we are all allergic to corn! ;-)

    • Oh corn allergy update – someone wrote in yesterday saying that when I call for cornstarch in cookies, she used tapioca starch due to an allergy and had great results with it. I bet you could get the same effect here with a carmael-ish flavored rice cake rather than caramel corn. Just a thought. And thanks to Sim for the cool mom props :)

    • Great tips, Averie! Thank you! :-)

  42. yum!! this had me drooling.

  43. I do like caramel corn … the best thing I’ve ever had baked into a cookie would be another cookie (oreo), but these look even better than that!

  44. Averie, here is the link. Microwave caramel corn and I think it is very good. Let me know what you think.
    I think it was like my third post!

  45. Okay, I really have no words for these, Averie! They’re incredible. I LOVE caramel corn–or kettle corn. Or, um, any kind of sweet and salty treat :) throwing them into cookies is SO brilliant. I love that it makes the caramel corn more chewy and adds that extra element of sweetness and saltiness, and of course, the wow factor. No wonder the whole park was swarming you for cookies!

  46. Averie, I don’t even know what just happened. I think I read some words in there, but my brain couldn’t process because I can’t stop thinking about how amazing these look!! Such a creative idea to put caramel corn in the dough (and I bet it holds it’s crunch way better than regular popcorn would)!

  47. Dude, caramel corn is my weakness! And throwing them in these cookies is just pure genius! Although now I’m going to have to make them and eat every last cookie until they’re all gone!

  48. Those look AMAZING! My hubs is a popcorn fanatic and would love these :-) I think my favorite cookie combo thus far is oatmeal white chocolate cranberry cookies…which I believe you’ve already perfected!!

  49. These are so fun, Averie! Love how gooey and chocolaty they look.

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