Filed under: Cookies
October 20, 2021

Caramel Apple Cookies

Cookies that taste like caramel apples?! These are packed with oats, and freeze dried apples to get that wonderful apple flavor and in the center a big puddle of chewy salted caramel. The only cookies I will insist you make this season. 

4.67 from 15 votes
Yield: 16
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Cookies that taste like caramel apples?! These are packed with oats, and freeze dried apples to get that wonderful apple flavor and in the center a big puddle of chewy salted caramel. The only cookies I will insist you make this season. 


Caramel Apple Cookies 

Inspired by these amazing cookies we had at a local orchard, these cookies are .. dare I say.. better? Mine are smaller and you’ll sadly be having them at home rather than atop a gorgeous orchard mountain but mine are much chewier and have a big puddle of caramel in the center. That homemade touch, if you will. 

To make these I built off my one yolk oatmeal cookies (nobody ever makes those as is, doubled is always necessary because they are gone in a flash) and incorporated freeze dried apples and swapped quick cooking oats for rolled oats. Once scooped, smush a chewy caramel in the center and shape the dough around it so it doesn’t seep out in the oven. These are good right out of the oven (don’t burn your tongue!), 10 minutes later or days later. They are SO CHEWY and full of flavor. 

How to make Recipe for Caramel Apple Cookies, the quick guide 

  • Beat butter & sugar 
  • Beat in the yolks, soda and flavorings 
  • Fold in the oats, flour and apples. 
  • Portion the cookies and shape the balls of dough around a caramel.
  • Bake! 

Ingredients for Recipe for Caramel Apple Cookies 

Butter: Should be at room temperature so it beats well with the sugar and absolutely don’t use salted butter here. Controlling the salt level is important! 

Brown sugar: Light brown is what I used (sometimes dark brown can throw off the spread because of it’s higher molasses content but it could work). 

Baking soda: Not to be confused with baking powder. 

Vanilla: For flavor, don’t skip it. 

Rolled Oats: Old Fashioned Rolled oats are flat disks, and are unlike quick cooking which has undergone more processing so you don’t see the whole ‘groat’ that has been flattened. 

All purpose flour: Any protein level should be fine, I used KAF’s AP in mine. 

Egg yolks: Large yolks from large eggs. If you use smaller egg yolks the texture will change. 

Freeze dried apples: These will come in pouches near the nut isle of the grocery store. It doesn’t matter what kind of apples you use, 

Caramels: Soft, chewy caramels. Avoid the very popular brand that makes these in square shape and opt for something a bit more rectangular and tastier. 

Salt: adjust this based on whether or not your caramels are salted. Less if they are, more if they are not. Fine sea salt is my go to. 


FAQ on Caramel Apple Cookies 

Where can I get freeze-dried apples? 

Almost any grocery store will have them; check near the nuts. These are the ones I used. 

How do I chop the apples? 

This is an important question: chop them pretty fine I’d say. Some of it will become ‘apple dust’ and some will be about as small as a black bean. All of it should go in the dough to flavor it and get the right texture. 

What kind of caramels should I use? 

Soft, chewy caramels. You can get them salted or unsalted. If yours are salted like mine, keep the salt level low as I have. If yours are not and you’d like a saltier taste, you can double the amount of salt in the recipe and add flaked sea salt on top. These are the ones I used (TJ’s sells the exact same ones in a transparent tub like this). 

Can I use a different kind of oat? 

I’d advise against it. Different oats absorb moisture so quick cooking versus rolled oats tend to behave differently and I can’t guarantee a good spread and texture. Definitely don’t use steel-cut! 

How can I make the dough and store it to bake later? 

Once shaped with the caramel, flash freeze the dough balls on a plate (about 10 minutes) then transfer them to a ziplock bag and store them in the freezer (they’ll last months). When it’s time to bake them, either let the dough come to room temperature or add a couple more minutes to bake time.

Caramel Apple Cookies

Chewy oatmeal cookies made to taste like a caramel apple.
caramel apple cookies
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Yields: 16
4.67 from 15 votes


  • ½ cup or 113g butter unsalted and softened
  • cup or 135g light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup or 100g old fashioned rolled oats
  • 100g all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 22g freeze dried apples ground into a powder
  • Chewy sea salt caramels


  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Beat together the butter and brown sugar for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  • Add the egg yolks and beat for a few minutes. Add the salt, soda, cinnamon, vanilla and oats and beat to combine.
  • Fold in the flour and freeze dried apples.
  • Scoop onto a cookie sheet, about 2 tablespoons of dough for each cookie.
  • Press a chewy caramel candy in the center (smush it if it’s long) and cup & turn the cookie dough between your hands so that it stands tall and mostly covers the caramel (leave some peeking out the top).
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden at the edges.

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Recipe Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    These taste like warm apple crisp, but in a portable cookie form- yum!! They make a great addition to a holiday cookie box! Unlike other websites, recipes from Sam always come out looking exactly like the pictures and tasting amazing – you can tell she puts so much time and care in testing the recipes and including detailed instructions, ingredient weights, and baking tips.

    • Renee!! Thank you for the sweetest words, I’m so glad you loved the cookies and have had a good experience with other recipes on the site. It’s extremely helpful, and I am so appreciative to know that the details and everything are working for someone. Thank you so much!

  2. 5 stars
    Came out exactly like in the pictures! I used the gram measurements to make it so, and I was really pleased with how chewy and full of flavor the cookies were. I used quick oats cause that’s all I had and I was worried it would come out too thick and dry but that didn’t happen so if that’s all you have i would still make it. Thanks for the recipe!

  3. 5 stars
    So good. So so good. I made my own salted caramels which were larger than the recommended store bought ones. The dough was stickier and harder to manipulate than the tutorial but the cookies still turned out fine. These cookies are chewy apple perfection. Already planning on making another batch!

  4. 2 stars
    I made these cookies for a teacher potluck and I can’t bring myself to take them. They’re terrible. They taste okay but they spread SO bad, even after refrigerating the dough balls overnight, that they’re just a huge ugly mess. I followed the recipe to a T, even added the cinnamon despite the instructions not including that step, and this was easily the most frustrating, sloppy batch of cookies I’ve ever made. I wish I’d tried the recipe before making a batch for a school event because now I have to go buy a box of cookies from the grocery store before I go in to school.

    • Katie, I’m really sorry they didn’t work out for you. I’d offer that cookies often spread if: the butter was over measured or too warm and melty, or if the flour was under measured. Sometimes low-protein flours will cause cookies to spread, or if they are baked right onto the cookie sheet.

  5. 3 stars
    I’m not sure what I did wrong, but these didn’t turn out right. I went by the cup measurements as opposed to the weight measurements for the ingredients, so maybe that was the problem. The cookies didn’t spread at all in the oven, they remained ball-shaped. I also couldn’t taste the apple. They tasted okay, but they didn’t seem right. Maybe I’ll give them another try– any advice?

    • Maddie, sorry to hear it. It could be the cup measurement (especially for the flour) and in this cookie case, it could be the oats: if you used instant oats, for example, they act a bit like flour and soak up some of the moisture in the dough.

  6. 5 stars
    These were incredible! My first pan of eight cookies had about three that went a little too crazy with the caramel spreading,, so on the second pan, I made it so there was just a tiny gap on the top and put them in the freezer for 10 minutes before throwing in the oven. They turned out perfectly and just like your photos! I live in AZ so we tend to keep our thermostats at 78-80 degrees since it’s so hot outside, so I think that could have been a factor in them spreading a little too crazy. These cookies are dangerously good.

    Have you noticed a difference in using parchment vs silpats for cookies? That was the one thing I did differently from your instructions.

    Also, I don’t think it mentions in the instructions to add the cinnamon.

  7. 5 stars
    This was a hit at my holiday party. We did a cookie share and these were the fave!! Sam does such an excellent job explaining step by step!! Great cookie recipe for all your upcoming fall festivities.

  8. 5 stars
    This recipe say open as a browser tab for months before I finally made them, and they instantly became my partner’s favourite cookies ever, and I’ve made them several more times. Swapped out flour for GF 1:1 and I promise you cannot tell. ??

  9. 5 stars
    I absolutely adored these cookies! They were quick to make, and turned out beautifully! The use of freeze dried apples, was a marvellous idea- and proved not too difficult to source at the supermarket. Which was a pleasant surprise! I will be making these again soon 🙂

  10. 5 stars
    Yum!!!! These are FANTASTIC. I had a lot of fun baking these. They took a bit longer in the oven, but so worth it. Great texture— slightly crisp on the outside, chewy and delicious on the inside. The freeze-dried apples lend a great flavor. Next time, I might add some cinnamon or other spices just to up the flavor. Will definitely make these again!!

  11. 5 stars
    Delicious! My cookies didn’t spread quite like the ones in the photos, but I suspect that’s because my oven was too hot. Not to worry, though — they are still fantastic. Will definitely be making again!

  12. 5 stars
    Oh. My. Goodness. These might be one of the best things I’ve ever baked, and I bake a ton. The cookies have a delicious buttery taste and a perfectly chewy texture. I love the idea of using freeze dried apples. My only disappointment is that I have to hand them over for the school bake sale tomorrow!!

    My local stores didn’t have the recommended caramels in stock, so I had to go with a store bought square caramel option. I can attest to the fact that these didn’t melt in the way I wanted them to. Not surprising given the note in the recipe! I ended up wrapping the whole caramel in the cookie so it was more like a stuffed cookie, and that worked just fine, but it wasn’t as aesthetically pleasing. No matter — still one of the best cookies ever. Run, don’t walk, to make these.

    • 5 stars
      5 stars! I added maybe 8 additional grams of apple and some apple pie spices. I also used brown sugar and took some liberties with the instructions (mixed all the dry ingredients together and incorporated with the wet ingredients at the end). And it still turned out fabulously!!! Chewy and delicious. I used Werthers Chewy and Werthers Soft and they both melted just fine. Only thing was that the apple flavor wasn’t super strong with the vanilla and spices. But still yummy!

  13. 5 stars
    These were the perfect fall treat! Came together really quickly & simply (no fussy steps or dough-chilling required to get great texture) but still feel unique/special to share with others. I added some apple pie spice blend to really go for the fall vibes of the cookie – and I bet they’d be great with pecans too if you’re the type of person who likes a nutty cookie. Plan to make again because of how simple but tasty they are (and because I get to snack on – excuse me, “taste test, – caramels while I make them…)