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Caramel Pretzel Thumbprint Cookies

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If you’re a fan of all things sweet and savory, do I have a cookie for you! Caramel Pretzel Thumbprint Cookies have it ALL going on, and you’re going to LOVE them!

A holly berry plate filled with Caramel Pretzel Thumbprint Cookies along with a ready, set, bake text graphic.

I originally shared this recipe in 2012. I’ve recently updated this post with additional information, including a recipe card complete with nutritional information, but the recipe itself has remained unchanged.

**Please Note – The printable recipe card with detailed instructions, complete ingredient measurements, and nutritional information for making Pretzel Thumbprint Cookies with Salted Caramel is available at the end of this post. OR you can hit the “jump to recipe” button (found above) to be taken directly to the recipe. 


A vertical overhead closeup of Caramel Pretzel Thumbprint Cookies with a sprinkling of finishing salt.

The ingredient list:

**Note – The following lists of ingredients plus kitchen tools and equipment contain affiliate links (highlighted in blue) for your consideration and shopping convenience. #CommissionsEarned

Kitchen tools and equipment needed:

How this recipe came to be:

I found this recipe in the December 2012 edition of Food Network Magazine and I immediately knew I had to make them. They did not disappoint. They’re so, so, so good!

I didn’t follow their directions exactly (big shocker) but I think they turned out pretty exceptional if I do say so myself.

Not just for Christmas…

These pretzel thumbprint cookies are so seriously good that you don’t need to save them for making just around the holidays.

I know they’d be welcomed year-round by one and all!!!

Yes. Wrap it well in plastic wrap and you can freeze it for up to 2 months.

When ready to bake, thaw the dough completely and continue on with the recipe (coating with pretzel pieces, baking, adding the caramel, etc.) as written.

Can the dolce de leche be swapped with something else for these cookies?

You bet. A dollop of your favorite flavor of jam or jelly will also work wonderfully well.

*Iced Gingerbread Trees and Snowflake Cookies (shown below, and featured in the video)

The simple white royal icing design for these Gingerbread Trees and Snowflake cookies really stands out against the brown of the gingerbread. They’re stunning AND delicious!!

A large white platter filled with iced Gingerbread Trees and Snowflake Cookies with nonpareils and royal icing.

*Santa’s Favorite Sugar Cookies (not shown)

A slightly crispy outside and an ever so slightly chewy center with a colorful sugar coating is what makes Santa’s Favorite Sugar Cookies so enticing.

*Peppermint Shortbread Cookies Dipped in Chocolate (shown below)

These Peppermint Shortbread Cookies will be the star of any cookie platter. They’re all dressed up and ready to party!

A red glass plate filled with red and green Peppermint Shortbread Cookies dipped in Chocolate.

*Christmas Cookies Recipe Roundup (not shown)

Let the holiday baking commence!! This week’s theme of Friday’s Featured Foodie Feastings showcases a Christmas cookie recipe roundup that will keep you baking all season long! If THAT doesn’t make your sweet tooth happy, I don’t know what will!

*Caramel Pretzel Thumbprint Cookies (shown below) THIS IS THE PLACE!!

A vertical closeup along with a title text overlay graphic for Caramel Pretzel Thumbprint Cookies.

Below is the printable recipe card along with the exact ingredient measurements and nutritional information for making today’s delicious sweet and salty thumbprint cookies.

If you’ve made this recipe, or are excited to make this recipe, I’d appreciate it if you’d take a moment to leave it a star rating in the recipe card, along with a comment if you’re so inclined. Thank you. 🙂

A holiday holly berry plate filled with Caramel Pretzel Thumbprint Cookies.


Renee – Kudos Kitchen
If you’re a fan of all things sweet and savory, do I have a cookie for you! Caramel Pretzel Thumbprint Cookies have it ALL going on, and you’re going to LOVE them!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Christmas cookies, Dessert – Cookies
Servings 24 servings
Calories 84 kcal


  • 1 ½ cups broken pretzel sticks
  • 2 sticks (16 tablespoons) butter at room temperature (I use salted)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 egg yolks reserve the whites for another use.
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 can (13 ounces) dulce de leche
  • extra salt for finishing, optional I used kosher


  • -Add the pretzel sticks into a zip lock bag and crush them into coarse crumbs. Set aside.
  • -Preheat your oven to 350-degrees Fahrenheit.
  • -In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar on high speed until fluffy (approximately 3 minutes).
  • -Blend in the egg yolks, honey, and vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl to thoroughly incorporate.
  • -At low speed, blend in the flour and salt until you have a semi-firm dough that you can roll into balls the size of walnuts.
  • -Place the crushed pretzels in a small bowl and once you've rolled the cookie dough into balls. Roll the cookie balls into the crushed pretzels (you may need to gently press the pretzels into the dough to get them to stick).
  • -Place the pretzel cookie balls evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet (12 per sheet), leaving a few inches between each ball.
  • -Gently press your thumb into the center of each cookie to form a small well.
  • -Bake the cookies for approximately 18-20 minutes, rotating the cookie sheets halfway through baking.
  • -Remove from the oven and, if needed, use a teaspoon to re-indent the well in the center of each cookie while they’re still warm and pliable.
  • -Allow the cookies to cool completely on a wire rack.
  • -Once fully cooled, add a dollop of dulce de leche into the center well of each cookie.
  • -Sprinkle lightly with salt (optional) and you're ready to serve.


These cookies can be frozen after baking in an air-tight container for up to 2 months.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 84kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 2gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 94mgPotassium: 19mgFiber: 1gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 24IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 4mgIron: 1mg
Keyword caramel pretzel thumbprint cookies, sweet and salty thumbprint cookies, thumbprint cookies
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Thank you so much for visiting me here today in my Kudos Kitchen! 

I sincerely hope you’ve enjoyed today’s sweet and salty thumbprint cookie recipe as much as I’ve enjoyed bringing it to you!

Kudos Kitchen by Renee – Bringing you easy, economical, and delicious dishes to feed the people you love!

Until we eat again, I hope you have a delicious day!!

Should you have any questions or comments regarding this recipe or anything else you’ve seen on my site, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. It is always my distinct pleasure to get back with a reply just as soon as I possibly can!

Kudos Kitchen by Renee – Bringing you easy, economical, and delicious dishes to feed the people you love!

Until we eat again, I hope you have a delicious day!!

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Recipe Rating


Monday 6th of December 2021

Thumbprints are my favorite cookie ever! Love the salty sweet combo in these for a twist on the classic jam filling.


Monday 6th of December 2021

Glad you like them, Gina!


Monday 6th of December 2021

I love added pretzels in these cookies. I have to bake them for Christmas. Yum! Can't wait.


Monday 6th of December 2021

You're going to love them, Natalie!


Friday 21st of December 2012

I'm loving that generous dollop of dulce de leche you put on these cookies. I'd eat these year round for sure!