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Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Kitchen Sink Cookies - A Panera Copycat Recipe

Sweet, salty, crunchy and soft, these kitchen sink cookies have it all.  Full of caramel, chocolate and even bits of pretzel. They are based off the popular Panera cookies and they are delicious.

close up stack of copycat panera kitchen sink cookies with pretzels, chocolate chips and caramel

     These chewy cookies are loaded with all of the good stuff. They are sweet and salty, chewy and crunchy.  They are based of the Panera kitchen sink cookies. Enjoy them with a glass of milk or a cup of coffee.  Whip up a batch today and see for yourself just how good they are!

     It is that time of year. The festive Christmas decorations are put away.

    The cozy glow of the tree is gone. It is still dark and freezing outside and the holiday cheer isn't there to make it tolerable.

    The Christmas cookies have been gone for at least a week. Sad stories all the way around!

     Some good friends of ours were blessed with a baby girl a few days after Christmas and they were feeling up for visitors. I had plans to make them a pan of baked ziti they could heat when they were ready.

scoops of kitchen sink cookies on silicone mat lined baking sheet

      Of course they would need a sweet treat as well.  I love to bring cookies to new parents because they don't take a plate or silverware. They are perfect to grab and go and easy to eat with one hand.

     A couple of weeks ago I thought I'd be perfectly happy not seeing another cookie for a few months. After baking and decorating all of the sugar cookies, gingerbread men, peanut butter blossoms, peppermint mocha shortbread cookies and the like it seemed like a break was in order. But it turns out I was happy to be digging out the cookie sheets at the first hint of an excuse!

kitchen sink cookies cooling on wire rack

     As cold as it's been, turning to baking for that warm and cozy feeling was definitely welcome. I wanted to make something easy and far away from the holiday flavors.

    Plus they had to be made from ingredients I had in the house. These sweet and salty drop cookies were just the thing.

      Little Dude and I had these whipped up in no time. He loved crunching up the pretzel bits. I loved starting with melted butter, so I didn't have to plan ahead and soften anything.

      The results were delicious. They had a nice buttery flavor and texture with crisp edges and soft centers.

hand holding a kitchen sink cookies with bits of pretzel, chocolate and caramel

    The chewy of the caramel, crunch of the pretzel and creamy chocolate were delicious together. Of course that sweet and salty combination is always a winner too!

     We took half of the batch to our friends and I got to soak up some baby cuddles and watch the boys play. They seemed to go over well there.

stack of kitchen sink cookies in front of bottle of milk

   We took the other half to my parents' house where everyone enjoyed them, but one brother liked them particularly well and nearly finished them off!

     If you are looking to change up your cookie routine, these are a fun way to do it! The pretzel bits are definitely unexpected and fun. What are your favorite off the beaten path cookie stir-ins?

inside of a kitchen sink cookie with melted chocolate chips

Tips and tricks for making great cookies:

If you don't have caramel bits you can chop caramel candies or use caramel or butterscotch baking chips.

Using melted butter means the dough comes together really easily. It also makes for yummy chewy cookies.

You can scoop and bake the dough right after you mix it up. For a more developed flavor, chill it overnight or up to a couple o days before baking.

sketch of ingredients needed to make kitchen sink cookies

Storing your cookies

To store, put in airtight container at room temperature for up to a couple of weeks. To keep them extra soft, put a slice of sandwich bread in the container.

You can put baked cookies in a freezer bag and freeze for up to three months.

You can also freeze balls of cookie dough for several hours on a cookie sheet. Once they are frozen, place the balls of dough in a freezer bag. When ready, pull a few balls of dough out of the freezer and bake them from frozen. Just add a minute or two to the bake time.

Why are they called "kitchen sink" cookies?

Because they have everything but the kitchen sink in them! It's as if you walked around the kitchen and through in a handful of everything you could find. 
    If you are a fan of loaded cookies, you may also like buttery cuppa cookies.  They are a crispy cookies loaded with all of the good stuff.

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    sweet and salty cookies, panera kitchen sink cookies, garbage cookies
    Kitchen Sink Cookies how easy these fun cookies are to make
    Yield: 30 servings
    Kitchen Sink Cookies

    Kitchen Sink Cookies

    Sweet, salty, crunchy and soft, these kitchen sink cookies have it all. Full of caramel, chocolate and even bits of pretzel. They are based off the popular Panera cookies and they are delicious.
    Prep time: 15 MCook time: 30 MTotal time: 45 M


    • 1 cup butter, melted
    • 2 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 1/2 cups flour
    • 2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 3/4 cup bits of broken pretzels
    • 1 cup caramel bits
    • 1 cup chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet)
    • Flaky sea salt for sprinkling


    1. Preheat your oven to 350 and prepare cookie sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper
    2. Beat together the melted butter, sugars and vanilla until the butter is cooled and the mixture is lightened a bit.
    3. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until incorporated.
    4. Stir in the flour, baking powder and salt until just incorporated.
    5. Fold in the broken pretzels, caramel bits and chocolate chips.
    6. Using a large cookie scoop (about 3 Tablespoons), scoop onto prepared cookie sheets. Leave at least 2 inches between cookies. Flatten slightly and top with a few additional chocolate chips, pretzel or caramel bits if desired. Sprinkle with a tiny bit of sea salt.
    7. Bake for about 10 minutes. The edges should be just starting to take on color and the centers should still be soft and puffy looking. Cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool.
    8. Best served warmed with a glass of milk or cup of coffee.
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    Did you make this recipe?
    Tag @carleecooks on instagram and hashtag it #cookingwithcarlee
    Created using The Recipes Generator

    Sweet, salty, crunchy and soft, these kitchen sink cookies have it all. Full of caramel, chocolate and even bits of pretzel. They are based off the Panera kitchen sink cookies.


    1. Carlee, I am in heaven here. I've been hunting for a new cookie recipe and these are getting made this weekend, I can taste the goodness now! xo

    2. That brother you mentioned that about finished off the cookies-here's how that story ends: I asked him to save 2 cookies so that Pops and Chloe could enjoy one more the next day. He came back and ate them for breakfast. If anyone ever wants to do something special for Clint (or most anyone else) you could bake them these cookies.

    3. Yummy! I have pinning these for later!

    4. Oh!! My!! these are a perfect little sweet treat. These are a must try for me. I just love those littler caramel bits for cookies. Thanks Carlee :)

      1. The caramels bits definitely make it so easy! I hope you enjoy them!

    5. These cookies look amazing! I was eating some chocolate the other day and alternating with pretzels, just to get that sweet salty taste goin' on (yes, I just admitted that, ha ha :). I can get it all in one with this recipe-and with caramel! Mmm...

      1. That sounds like my kind of snack! I hope you love these <3

    6. We will love this yummy cookie, I NEED one right now!Thanks so much for sharing your post with us at Full Plate Thursday this week. Hope you have a great day and come back soon!
      Miz Helen

    7. These look nothing short of AMAZING! Thanks for linking up at Friday Frenzy Link Party. PINNED!

    8. Hi Carlee, the name of these did make me laugh and I am so glad they aren't made with the orts in the kitchen sink!... Where were you when I had my two, I'd have quite happily let you move in if you came bearing goodies like these cookies. Two weeks ago I thought I'd never be able to face another sweet thing, but how wrong I was!


      1. It doesn't take long to be ready again, does it? I tell you what.. have another and I'll bring cookies! ;-)

    9. My daughter would love these! This will be fun to make for her. I dont like making cookies though, cause it never seems to end!!!! lol! Thanks for sharing at celebrate 365

      1. It can get to be a lot if you are doing dozens of cookies! Luckily these don't take too long to rotate through.

    10. I love "kitchen sink" recipes. They always make me feel like I'm rescuing ingredients that would otherwise go to waste!

      1. I love that part too. Plus some of those strange mixes that result end up being new favorites!

    11. Oh my! These look incredible. I love Panera, these are happening soon! <3

    12. Droooling!!! These look amazing!

    13. I tried these for the first time recently at Panera and loved them - it's that sweet and salty thing. :-) Bonus points? This is an awesome recipe to clean out the pantry!

      1. Sweet and salty gets me every time. It is a good way to use up the bits that are laying around too. Win, win!

    14. I've not had this cookie at Panera but I love sweet and salty combos. Going into the "to try" file for sure!

    15. Yum! an interesting combination but they look good!

      1. We are big fans of sweet and salty, so it didn't take much convincing here! Thank you!

    16. It's like a chocolate dipped pretzel and a cookie had a baby! Amazing!

    17. Hey, this is for your readers: I’ve made these and they are fabulous! Everyone make them! So good! And you have a GREAT DAY!!

    18. I think these look delicious. Can't wait to try this recipe for my family.

    19. Can I use a different kind of caramel I have caramel chews that are soft that I was going to cut up and put in there

      1. That should work just fine! The bits just save a little work is all 😊

    20. Would you change anything for high altitude? Would toffee bits work in substitution for caramel?

      1. Toffee bits or butterscotch chips would both be great substitutions for the caramel. Even peanut butter chips would be delicious, but give a slightly different vibe. I've never baked at a high altitude, but it's my understanding you should bake them at 375 F and check them 8-9 minutes in. Let me know how it goes!


    Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. I love reading your ideas!