Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies

Take your cookies to new levels with these super easy and tasty Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies are so good you won’t be able to eat just one! Plus, with a quick and convenient hack, there’s no fussing with homemade caramel.

Salted caramel thumbprint cookies on a wire rack

Thumbprint cookies are cute and extra flavorful! The thumbprint indentation in each cookie is the perfect spot to hold the salted caramel. These Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies are some of the tastiest I’ve ever made, not to mention the easiest!

You don’t need anything fancy to make these cookies, and you don’t even have to make the caramel from scratch. The cookies are easy and delish, and the caramel thumbprint is pretty nearly perfect.

Craving cookies? These are nut-free and school-friendly cookies that everyone in the family will love!

What Are Thumbprint Cookies?

Thumbprint cookies are cookies with a filling. The filling sits in a small well in the center of the cookie, which you create with your thumb or finger. They can be filled with jam, lemon curd, fudge, or in this case, salted caramel. These chocolate caramel thumbprint cookies are cute and different, and the flavors of the cookie complement the filling.

Salted caramel thumbprint cookies on a white plate sitting a striped napkin


  • Butter – You’ll need 1 cup of softened butter, that’s 2 sticks.
  • Granulated sugar 
  • Cocoa powder
  • Milk – Whole milk, or whatever you have on hand.
  • All-purpose flour
  • Salt
  • Baking powder – Check the expiry date; baking powder can expire.
  • Baking soda
  • Caramels – The soft kind, Werthers Originals, or even Kraft caramels work fine.
  • Heavy whipping cream
  • Coarse sea salt

You’ll Also Need

  • Baking sheet(s)
  • Parchment paper
  • Stand mixer with paddle or hand mixer

Use Store-Bought Caramels To Make The Easiest Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies

Making caramel from scratch is time-consuming and fussy, but when you use store-bought caramels, like Werthers Originals, they melt into the perfect texture for these cookies. Simply unwrap them and melt them with the heavy whipping cream to create a thick, luscious, and delicious caramel that oozes perfectly into the indentation in the cookies.

How To Make Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies

  1. Preheat your oven to 350-F degrees and prepare your baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer, until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the cocoa powder and milk, mixing well to combine.
  4. Whisk the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a separate bowl, then add it to the creamed butter and sugar mixture until well mixed.
  5. Roll the dough into small 1-inch balls and place them on the prepared baking pan.
  6. Press down in the center of each ball with your thumb to create an indentation.
  7. Bake the cookies for 9 minutes until they look dry and start to crack a bit around the top. Pull the tray out of the oven and press down on the centers with a small spoon. Let them cool.
  8. Combine the caramels and heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for a minute until smooth and creamy. Heat in 30-second intervals if the first minute wasn’t enough to melt the caramels.
  9. Spoon the melted caramel into the indent in each cookie, sprinkle the caramel with sea salt, and enjoy!
Salted caramel thumbprint cookies on a wire rack

Recipe Tips

  • Don’t overmix the cookie dough, and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure the dough is fully combined.
  • Roll the cookies between the palms of your hands – they shouldn’t be sticky – and the dough doesn’t need chilling first.
  • When making the indents in the cookie, don’t press down so far that your thumb goes right through the cookie. You want there to be a well, not a hole, in the cookie.
  • To prevent the cookies from spreading too much, always bake the cookies on a room temperature baking sheet. If it’s hot from the oven, let it cool before baking a second batch.
  • Heat the caramels at the last minute, so they’re nice and runny and easy to spoon into the cookies.
  • Hot caramel can burn if it gets on your skin; be careful! 
  • Don’t overfill the cookies with caramel. Put in just enough to fill the well.


Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies will keep in an airtight container on the counter for 4-5 days, or freeze them! Pop them into a freezer-safe plastic bag or container and freeze them for up to a month.

Salted caramel thumbprint cookies on a white plate sitting a striped napkin

Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies


  • 1 Cup butter
  • 3/4 Cup sugar
  • 1/3 Cup cocoa powder
  • 3 Tbsp milk
  • 2 Cups flour
  • 1/2 Tsp salt
  • 1 Tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 Tsp baking soda
  • 2/3 Cup caramels
  • 4 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp coarse sea salt


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place parchment paper on a baking sheet.
  • In the bowl of the stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar. Mix in cocoa powder and milk. ( you may also use a hand mixer)
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients slowly. Mix well. 
  • Roll dough into small balls 1" size and place on prepared baking sheet. Use your thumb to press down in the center of the dough balls. 
  • Bake for 9 minutes until cookies look dry and start to crack a bit around the top. Gently press down the centers again with a small teaspoon. Allow to cool. In a microwave-safe bowl combine caramels and heavy cream. Microwave 1 minute and stir well. If additional time is needed do this in 30 second increments till all melted and smooth.
  • Spoon caramel into the center of each cookie. Sprinkle sea salt over the top. Store in airtight container.

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