The first time I heard about salted caramel, I scrunched up my nose. Why on earth would you ruin sweet, delicious caramel with salt?

I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO WRONG IN MY LIFE. Salted caramel is the greatest, and this recipe adds a seasonal hint of maple. These pretzel bars are the perfect accompaniment to all of your favorite cozy autumnal beverages.

The ratio of caramel to pretzel is pretty open to your interpretation, but using the whole bag seemed like too much to me. Start with half the bag, then add to your preference. Heck, I might try making this without the pretzels altogether next time. The caramel is just that delicious.

Maple Caramel Pretzel Bars

  • Prep Time:30 mins
  • Cook Time:1 hr
  • Total Time:1 hr 30 mins
  • Servings:15
  • Hard


  • For cookie base:
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter softened
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • For pretzel topping:
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 16 oz bag pretzels
honey, sweet, chocolate
Photo by: Caitlyn Heter
  • Step 1

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Start with the cookie base: whip together the first butter and brown sugar.

    Gif by Caitlyn Heter
  • Step 2

    Then stir in the vanilla, the flour, and the salt until you have a crumbly dough.

    Gif by Caitlyn Heter
  • Step 3

    Line a 9x13 cake pan with parchment paper and press the dough into the bottom. Bake for 20 minutes or until the edges begin to brown.

    Gif by Caitlyn Heter
  • Step 4

    Now make the caramel goodness that goes on top: Chop the butter into small pieces and add to a large saucepan along with the brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, and salt. Cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and begins to thicken.

    Gif by Caitlyn Heter
  • Step 5

    Prepare the pretzels by gently breaking them up. Don't obliterate them - you might not use the whole bag, and leaving them somewhat intact gives you a good crunchy texture.

    Gif by Caitlyn Heter
  • Step 6

    Add the cream to the caramel mixture and clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Keep cooking, raising the heat in tiny increments as needed, until the caramel hits 240°F. As soon as that happens, remove from heat and stir in the broken up pretzels.

    Gif by Caitlyn Heter
  • Step 7

    Pour the caramel and pretzels over the cookie base that you baked in step 2. Make sure the pretzels are evenly distributed across the pan, then bake again for 15 minutes.

    Gif by Caitlyn Heter
  • Step 8

    I know they look delicious, but if you take them out of the pan too soon they'll fall apart before the caramel has a chance to solidify. Once it's cool, the caramel will be just firm enough to hold everything together without hurting your teeth to bite into (or being impossible to cut). Use a large knife to cut individual squares of the pretzels bars.

    Gif by Caitlyn Heter