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Bourbon Salted Caramel Oatmeal Cookies

These Bourbon Salted Caramel Oatmeal Cookies is a classic oatmeal cookies loaded with chocolate chips and infused with bourbon whiskey and swirls of sweet, buttery caramel. They’re soft, chewy, and hearty with perfectly crisped edges.

overhead of a pile of oatmeal cookies with chocolate chips garnished with flaky sea salt

Easy Oatmeal Cookies with Bourbon

I always have a hard time resisting any oatmeal cookies, but when I have a batch of these Bourbon Salted Caramel Oatmeal Cookies sitting around, I have pretty much no self-control.

This recipe is my very first version of my salted caramel oatmeal cookies. Since developing this recipe, I’ve used the same dough to create this butterscotch version (a house favorite) and I am also partial to this cashew cookie as well.

While I love any variation of this recipe, the original version always has my heart. These cookies are deliciously soft and chewy thanks to the oats. There’s no shortage of bourbon flavor here, they’re buttery, sweet, and salty. I couldn’t think of a better combination.

Plan ahead for this recipe, because the dough does need some time to chill in the refrigerator.

side view of six salted caramel oatmeal cookies stacked

Ingredient Notes

  • Kraft Baking Caramels – These are the only ones I’ve tested this with, but it’s equivalent to about 1 cup of the caramel bits.
  • Unsalted Butter – this should be at room temperature
  • Bourbon Whiskey – just use your favorite kind!
  • Rolled Oats – also know as old-fashioned rolled oats are the way to go.
  • Chocolate Chips– This is also delicious with butterscotch chips.
  • Flakey Sea Salt – Don’t skip this garnish!

Can I Make These Without Bourbon?

You sure can, here’s the alcohol-free version of the salted caramel oatmeal cookies.

What Kind of Oats Are Best to Use for Oatmeal Cookies?

Definitely use old-fashioned rolled oats for this oatmeal cookie recipe. Quick oats or steel-cut oats have different textures, so they will not yield the same results.

How to Make Bourbon Salted Caramel Oatmeal Cookies

  • Make the caramel: In a microwave-safe bowl, combine caramels, milk, and sea salt. Microwave in 20 second increments, stirring each time, until melted and smooth. Stir in 1 teaspoon of salt and cool completely.
  • Combine the wet ingredients: Cream together butter and sugars until fluffy, then add in the eggs, vanilla, and bourbon.
  • Add the dry ingredients: In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients, then add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, little bits at a time, until a dough forms. Add in the chocolate chips and mix until incorporated.
  • Mix in the caramel: Once the caramel is cooled, swirl it into the cookie dough. Beat until just combined.
  • Portion and chill the dough: Use a large cookie scoop to portion the dough out onto a sheet pan, sprinkle with some finishing salt and then place the cookie sheet into the fridge. Chill the dough for at least 1 hour or for up to 24 hours.
  • Bake: Transfer the chilled dough balls onto a lined baking sheet, then bake in an oven preheated to 350ºF for 11-14 minutes. Cool for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
overhead of oatmeal cookie dough balls on a baking sheet

My Best Tips for Oatmeal Cookies

  • Use old-fashioned oats.-fashioned rolled oats are what gives the cookies their thick, chewy, hearty texture.
  • Chill the dough. The cooler dough results in thicker, fluffier cookies and prevents them from spreading too much as they bake. Chill it for at least 1 hour or for at least 24 hours before baking.
  • Line the baking sheet. I recommend lining the baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. This makes it easier to remove the cookies from the pan and prevents the caramel from burning.
  • Do not use warm cookie sheets: Prepare enough cookie sheets so that you are not putting the cold cookie dough on a warm cookie sheet.

Why Cookies Spread

Even if your cookies spread a little bit, I guarantee they still taste amazing.

To fix this: You can try and fix this right when you get them out of the oven, use a round cookie cutter, two spoons or the edge of a knife and press the edges of the dough back towards the center. This has to be done right when you take them out of the oven before the edges are too brown or set.

  • The butter was too soft: It only needs about 20 minutes tops on the counter before it’s ready to go. Don’t let the butter get too soft or it can cause the cookies to spread too much.
  • Incorrectly measured ingredients: Measuring the dry ingredients matters. If possible, use a kitchen scale to measure the flour and sugar.
  • The caramel was too hot: If you add hot caramel to the cookie dough, it does melt or break down the dough a little bit and can lead to spreading.

overhead of an oatmeal cookie leaning on a tray of more cookies

Freezing Cookie Dough

To prep these cookies ahead of time, you can assemble the dough as directed, then store it in the fridge for up to 2 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. To freeze the cookie dough, portion it out onto a baking sheet and flash freeze it for 1 hour. Once it’s hardened, transfer the dough balls to a ziplock bag or airtight container and store in the freezer. Thaw these overnight in the refrigerator and bake as instructed.

How to Store Baked Cookies

Baked oatmeal cookies will last in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months. To enjoy again, thaw on the counter or warm in the microwave until heated through. I have been known to eat these straight from the freezer.

six halves of salted caramel oatmeal cookies stacked

More Oatmeal Cookie Recipes You’ll Love

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closeup of one oatmeal cookie piled on top of other oatmeal cookies

Bourbon Salted Caramel Oatmeal Cookies

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 3.8 from 6 reviews
  • Author: Julianne Dell
  • Prep Time: 90 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 42 minutes
  • Yield: 26 cookies
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These Bourbon Salted Caramel Oatmeal Cookies are a made up of classic oatmeal cookies that are loaded with chocolate chips and infused with with bourbon whiskey and swirls of sweet, buttery caramel. They’re soft, chewy, and hearty with perfectly crisped edges.


Ingredients

  • 20 Kraft caramel squares or appx 1 cup caramel bits
  • 2 teaspoons (10g) salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) milk
  • 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (220g) light brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup (143g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons (7.5ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons (45ml) bourbon
  • 3 cups (360g) all-purpose Flour
  • 2 ½ cups (250g) old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon (4g) baking soda
  • 1 bag (11oz) chocolate chips
  • Flakey sea salt for garnish
     
     

Instructions

  1. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine caramels and milk. Microwave in 20-second increments, stirring each time. Caramel will be very hot and can burn easily. Stir in 1 teaspoon salt. All the caramel to cool.
  2. Soften the butter in the microwave for 10-15 seconds. Combine the softened butter with the brown and granulated sugar. Beat on medium speed until well combined, 2-3 minutes.
  3. Next add the eggs, vanilla extract and bourbon and continue beating until well incorporated.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining dry ingredients (as well as the other tsp salt), slowly add the dry ingredients into the dough, mixing at low speed until the dough starts to form. Before the dough thickens, add the chocolate chips. Beat a couple of times until they start to incorporate.
  5. Once the caramel is cooled, add to cookie dough. Beat just until combined.
  6. Pre-scoop the dough using a large cookie scoop and place it on a sheet pan. Sprinkle with flakey sea salt. Refrigerate for at least one hour and up to 24 hours in advance. Remove each batch 10-15 minutes before baking.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet. Bake for 11-13 minutes. The center of the cookie should be slightly underbaked but not too gooey. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
 

Notes

  • Baked oatmeal cookies will last in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • I’ve updated the flour measurements after several comments about cookies spreading
  • These are also very good with butterscotch chips

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 Cookie
  • Calories: 232
  • Sugar: 18.8 g
  • Sodium: 255.7 mg
  • Fat: 8.3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 35 g
  • Fiber: 1.3 g
  • Protein: 3.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 33.6 mg

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59 thoughts on “Bourbon Salted Caramel Oatmeal Cookies”

  1. After reading some of the comments, I was wondering if you scoop and swipe your flour, or do you spoon and swipe? That can make a big difference in the amount of flour…Thanks!

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      Hi Karen, I always use a food scale to weigh my flour, based on 120g per cup. I went ahead and added an additional 1/4 cup to the flour measurements since so many seemed to have an issue with spreading

  2. Avatar photo
    Cassie Winther

    I have made these half a dozen times. Sooo good BUT always turn out flat. I bake a lot. Just tried them again. I weighed out all the dry ingredients in grams, butter was perfectly softened, refrigerated them overnight, waited 30 mins after pulling them out of the frig to bake, parchment paper, and STILL flat. They are so good, just want them to look better…any other suggestions?






    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      Hi Cassie- I added an extra 1/4 cup flour. Next time you make these, can you send me a picture? I don’t seem to have the same issue with the spreading that others are having.

  3. Question on directions. For Carmel is says combine carmels, milk and seasalt in microwave bowl, heat and then add salt. Does that mean the two tsp of salt go into the carmel sauce and none in the dough? Or is it on tsp sea salt in the Carmel sauce and 1 tsp sea salt in the dough? There is no measurement for sea salt give just salt.

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      Hi Jeanne, thanks for the question. I’ve updated the recipe to clarify. One teaspoon is used with the caramel and one with the other dry ingredients.

  4. These came out flat. I made them twice on a Silpat both times. Added 2 more Tbsps of flour, another pinch of baking powder, and refrigerated them for two hours the second time and they were still flat. Into the trash.






    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      You mentioned baking powder. Did you use baking powder or baking soda? This recipe calls for baking soda. Were they flat flat like a pancake? Could be due to mismeasuring ingredients or butter that’s too soft.

      1. I have made these several times now and can not get a handle on this recipe! They come out so flat and gooey I couldn’t get them off of the parchment paper. Most went in the trash. Im ver sad about it because the flavor is amazing. I wish they could be served. Any idea what I’ve done wrong?

  5. These sound good but I’m not a big caramel person can I substitute that with something or leave it out

  6. Avatar photo
    Cassie Winther

    I’ve made these twice before and they are a MASSIVE hit! Can I make the dough and refrigerate it overnight? Thanks!






    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      Awesome! Thank you! You sure can, you just may need to let them sit for 15-20 minutes prior to baking.

  7. I would love to make these but don’t have any bourbon or alcohol of any kind in the house. What could I use to replace it?

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      Hi John, it’s possible that either they weren’t refrigerated long enough or the ratios of the dry ingredients were off.