Soft, chewy, sweet, and salty, these Kitchen Sink Cookies are filled with fabulous textures and flavors. Just like the Panera kitchen sink cookie recipe, this version is loaded with semi sweet chocolate, pretzel bits, and chewy caramel.
Of course, you don’t have to stop there. You can add any mix-ins that you want. A delicious way to clean out your pantry!
Why are they called Kitchen Sink Cookies?
The term “everything but the kitchen sink” became a popular slang term during World War II. An advertisement in Life magazine in January of 1944 stated: “Out for blood, our Navy throws everything but the kitchen sink at Jap vessels, warships and transports alike.”
Now the term refers to just about everything imaginable. Since these cookies are full of tasty ingredients not usually found in chocolate chip cookies, they are called “kitchen sink cookies” or “everything cookies”.
Panera Bread has made the cookies popular, and now there are versions of them everywhere.
I don’t actually have a Panera near my house, so if I want one of these delectable cookies, I have to whip them up at home. But it’s definitely worth it. They are so good warm!
HOW TO MAKE PANERA KITCHEN SINK COOKIE AT HOME
- PREP – Soften your butter till it is almost melted. Yes, for this recipe it’s ok to soften in the microwave. Cut or tear your caramels into small pieces. (I like to make mine round.) Break or cut your pretzels into chunks. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- WET INGREDIENTS -In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars for 3-4 minutes at medium high speed. Beat in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla.
- DRY INGREDIENTS – Measure your flour into the bowl and make a small well on top. Add the baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir them into the flour, then gently stir the dry and wet ingredients together.
- MIX-INS – Add the chocolate chips, caramel bits, and pretzel pieces. Stir just until combined, don’t overmix.
- FORM – Scoop about two tablespoons of dough, and roll into balls (about 2 ounces each). Place on silicone or parchment lined cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. If desired, sprinkle each ball with flaky sea salt. For bakery style cookies, press additional chips, pretzels, and caramel bits on top of the dough.
- BAKE – Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes, or until the bottoms and edges are light brown. For soft and chewy cookies, don’t overbake. They will continue to cook on the hot pan even after you remove them from the oven.
- COOL – Let cookies sit on the pan for about 5 minutes, then remove to cooling racks to let them cool completely.
- Use a silicone pan liner! They are the bomb. The caramel in these cookies is so sticky that I’ve even struggled with parchment. It will work in a pinch, but I recommend spraying it with non stick spray.
- You can use the prepackaged caramel bits, but for extra gooey caramel, I like using Werther’s soft caramels.
- If your dough is too sticky to roll the cookies into balls, your butter may have been too soft. You can chill the dough for a few minutes if needed.
- Want to make the dough ahead of time? Add everything but the pretzel pieces. They are best added right before baking.
How to store leftover cookies? We like these cookies best the same day, because the pretzels are still crunchy. But they are still very tasty later in the week. You can store them at room temperature for 3-5 days in airtight containers.
You can also freeze the cookies for 3-4 months. I like to freeze my cookies in freezer ziplock bags so I can squeeze the air out of the bag as we eat them. They seem to stay more fresh that way.
CAN I FREEZE THE COOKIE DOUGH?
While I am a huge fan of freezing cookie dough, I wasn’t thrilled with the results with kitchen sink cookies. The pretzels absorb the moisture in the dough, so the pretzels get soft while the cookies get dry.
They aren’t terrible, but just not quite as good. I recommend baking and freezing the cookies instead. But you might not mind it, so you could try freezing one cookie dough ball for a few days, and trying it out!
- I have also made these with browned butter, and that adds an incredible depth of flavor!
- The original Panera kitchen sink cookie is sprinkled with flaky sea salt. While I love that extra salt on top, my family doesn’t, so I don’t add it. But you should certainly give it a try.
- Instead of making large 4 inch cookies, you can use just a tablespoon of dough and bake the cookies for only 8-9 minutes. You will get about 44 regular sized cookies. I actually made half of mine large and half of them small.
- Go crazy with the mix-ins! Add white, butterscotch, milk, or peanut butter baking chips. You can also try adding toffee bits, crushed potato chips, crushed Fritos, crisp rice cereal, chopped malt balls, nuts, or just about anything that sounds good to you.
LOOKING FOR EVEN MORE COOKIE RECIPES? HERE YA GO!
- Cowboy Cookie Recipe
- Snickers Cookies
- Biscoff Cookie Recipe
- Easy Lemon Cookies
- Gingerbread Man Cookies
- Cinnamon Chip Cookies
- Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Almond Sugar Cookies
KITCHEN SINK COOKIE RECIPE
- 1 cup salted butter, very soft
- 1 cup brown sugar (I used light.)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup pretzel pieces
- 1/2 cup caramel pieces (I used Werther's caramels.)
- Optional - flaky sea salt
- Soften butter until it is very soft. If you need to heat it in the microwave for a few seconds, that's fine.
- Cut caramels into pea sized pieces; set aside. (Soft caramels work the best!) Break pretzels into small chunks.
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, brown sugar, and sugar till very creamy, 3-4 minutes.
- Beat in egg, yolk, and vanilla extract.
- Add flour to the bowl and make a well on top. Add the baking soda, baking powder, and salt to the well, whisk a bit. Stir the dry ingredients in just till barely combined.
- Stir in the chocolate chips, pretzel pieces, and caramel bits.
- Scoop about 2 tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball. Repeat till all dough is formed. Place cookie dough balls at least 2" apart on baking sheets lined with silicone liners or parchment. If desired, sprinkle with sea salt.
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom and edges. Don't overbake!
- While cookies are hot, if the caramel has leaked out, you can press it back into the side of the cookie with a metal spatula.
- Let cookies cool on pans for about 5 minutes, then remove to cooling racks to cool completely.
You can use the premade caramel baking bits, but I prefer to use Werther's soft caramels, they are more gooey.
I definitely recommend silicone liners for these cookies, the caramel is very sticky and will make a mess on your cookie sheet!
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 271Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 39mgSodium: 222mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 1gSugar: 23gProtein: 3g