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Dulce de Leche Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Turn traditional chocolate chip cookies into something with a little extra pizzaz by swirling them with dulce de leche! This is a no chill cookie recipe that yields gooey and chewy cookies every time.

A stack of dulce de leche cookies with chocolate chips.

Does anyone else have a slight obsession with dulce de leche? Raise your hands, because mine is waving in the air while I’m yelling “I do! I do!”

Because my friends, dulce de leche is that good.

It’s creamy, it’s caramelized, and it’s shockingly easy to add to all of your favorite goodies. It’s all the things that home bakers dream of (an ingredient that can just jump right in and bring it all together).

And so today I’m bringing to you my recipe for dulce de leche chocolate chip cookies. My initial test runs of this recipe did not include chocolate at all, but once I had a batch with chocolate chips, I knew they had to make it into the final recipe.

And boy, am I glad I made that choice. Not only are these dulce de leche cookies ooey and gooey, but they are also chocolatey and rich. Every bite gives you a sweet, creamy pocket of dulce de leche followed by a decadent hit of chocolate that melts on the tongue almost instantly.

In short? These cookies will not disappoint, and they may not make it through the night. You’ve been forewarned, so proceed with caution!

A mound of dulce de leche cookies with a bowl of dulce de leche in the background.

INGREDIENTS

These gooey and soft dulce de leche cookies use one of my most tried and true cookie dough recipes as the base.

This is the same no-chill dough I’ve used to make butterscotch cookies, cookies and cream cookies, Lucky Charms cookies, aaaaaand these amazing Andes mint cookies. It’s safe to say I’m kind of obsessed with it.

But what’s not to like? It results in the most beautiful cookies that are soft, chewy, and require zero time in the refrigerator. I don’t know about you, but when I want cookies, I want them NOW! So allowing the dough to chill for an hour or more? Nah, that’s not for me (well, sometimes it is, but those are a cookie for another day… Literally #foodbloggerlife).

A pile of dulce de leche cookies with a bowl of dulce de leche in the background.

The best part is that the dough uses pantry staples. No fancy ingredients are found here, just simple and basic necessities you probably already have in your pantry and fridge.

You’ll need some flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, room temperature butter, brown sugar, an egg, and vanilla.

Then, to give it that special dulce de leche flair you’ll need some cinnamon, dulce de leche (of course), and some chocolate chips. Because why not add chocolate chips?

WAIT… WHY NOT USE YOUR FAVORITE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE RECIPE?

First things first! My classic chocolate chip cookie recipe is unreal good. I have had so many readers say the same, and that recipe involves a decent amount of chilling time.

While I do absolutely adore that delicious cookie, it is meant to let the traditional chocolate chip cookie flavor shine. Could I have added a hint of cinnamon and dulce de leche to that recipe? Sure. But this super simple no chill cookie lets the sweetness of the dulce de leche shine through.

The cookie base is just a vehicle for some dulce de leche filling. Can’t be mad about that, can we?

USE HOMEMADE OR STORE BOUGHT DULCE DE LECHE

When it comes to dulce de leche you have some options. I have a whole post where I go into how to make your own dulce de leche and the differences compared to store-bought dulce de leche.

My personal preference is to use a good quality brand since the texture and consistency is ideal. It can be a little trickier to get a thicker consistency with homemade, and of course, there is the time factor.

A bowl of thick dulce de leche.

One really good reason to make your own dulce de leche is if you can’t find it in your local supermarkets. I’m pretty lucky to live near a major city, so it’s easy for me to find less common ingredients. For many of my readers, this is not the case.

So if you have trouble finding special ingredients, you just might want to go the homemade route! My homemade dulce de leche recipe will show you two different methods (baking or boiling), so you can choose whichever one works best for you.

DULCE DE LECHE VS CARAMEL

One of the most common questions I hear when it comes to dulce de leche is whether it is the same as caramel. And while the two are often confused, they are not the same. Similar, but not the same.

Let me explain…

While both caramel and dulce de leche use some of the same ingredients (sugar and milk), they are considerably different. Dulce de leche is basically cooked milk with sugar, while caramel is cooked sugar with cream and butter.

So although both caramel and dulce de leche are caramelized, how they are caramelized and the ingredient proportion makes them two distinct products.

They also vary with mouthfeel and taste, with dulce de leche being sweeter, thicker, and creamier than caramel. While caramel is distinctly buttery and has a much thinner viscosity.

See? Totally different, although both are delicious. I mean, be it dulce de leche or caramel, I’m not turning my nose up at it and I’m most definitely dipping apple slices in it, that’s for sure!

Oh, and psst… If you’re looking for these cookies salted caramel style, check out my salted caramel chocolate chip cookies!

HOW TO MAKE DULCE DE LECHE COOKIES

Before you get all excited and start making your cookie dough, slow down. Make sure to line a large baking sheet with parchment (or a silicone baking mat) and preheat the oven to 350ºF (177ºC).

Then set your baking sheet aside, slap on an apron (or not, but even a small amount of dulce de leche can be stiiiiiicky!), and get ready to make some cookies!

MAKE THE COOKIE DOUGH

To get started, add all of your dry ingredients into a medium-sized bowl. That includes flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and ground cinnamon. Give everything a good whisk and set it aside.

Then grab a second medium-sized bowl and add the softened butter and brown sugar. Use a hand mixer (or you could use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment) to cream together the butter and brown sugar on medium speed.

Make sure to scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl with a silicone spatula. This ensures everything is well mixed together and there are no clumps of sugar or sections of plain butter.

Then add in the vanilla extract and the egg and beat again on medium speed until everything is well combined and the mixture is lump free.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, using 2 additions and leaving the mixer on low as you add them in. As soon as the first addition of dry ingredients is incorporated, add in the next and mix until it forms a consistent dough.

Once your cookie dough base comes together, it’s time to add in the chocolate chips. Just add them right into the bowl and fold them in using a silicone spatula.

I don’t recommend using a mixer at this point as it will strengthen the gluten structure of the dough, making for a tough cookie. Just go slowly by hand, folding everything together until the chocolate is evenly dispersed.

ADD THE DULCE DE LECHE

Now it’s time for the best part: adding the dulce de leche. This is easily my favorite step just because I get to have a little taste of that magical concoction, and it’s just so fun to see it swirling into the dough.

To add it, all you do is gather all of your cookie dough into one cohesive spot in the bowl. Then drop in 3 tablespoons (I use this #50 cookie scoop) of the dulce de leche into 3 different spots in the bowl.

As in 1 Tablespoon of dulce de leche, 3 times, in 3 different spots. Got it?

These should be evenly spaced out so that no one portion of the dough is lacking.

A base cookie dough with 3 large dollops of dulce de leche spread out.

SWIRL THE BATTER

Mix again on low just a few times so the dulce de leche forms ribbons through the batter. Stop after about 3-5 rotations.

Swirling and mixing dulce de leche into a cookie dough.

Use the same cookie scoop you used for the dulce de leche to drop rounded balls of the dough onto your prepared baking sheet. Just be aware that the dough will be sticky. This is totally ok and everything is going to firm up nicely once its baked.

Bake your cookies for 10-12 minutes (for some reason, mine are always done at exactly 11 minutes), or until the very edges are beginning to brown.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow the dulce de leche cookies to cool for about 10-15 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Once they have cooled down, you can enjoy one (or two), or store them to enjoy later.

A pile of cookies with a bowl of dulce de leche in the background.

STORING

Once your cookies have cooled to room temperature, transfer them to an airtight container. They will keep like this at room temperature for about 1 week.

If you want a longer storage time, dulce de leche cookies freeze very well. Just add them to labeled freezer bags and freeze them for up to 2 months.

When you’re ready to enjoy, just take your cookies out and thaw them at room temperature. It takes just 10 or so minutes for them to thaw, meaning you can satisfy your cookie craving in a flash. And they are so much better than any store-bought cookie I’ve ever had.

A plate of dulce de leche cookies with a bowl of dulce de leche in the background.

If you would prefer to freeze the raw cookie dough, you could totally do that too. You could either freeze rolled cookie dough (just roll it into a log with some waxed paper) or portion it into scoops. If you want to freeze portioned cookie dough, just drop scoops of dough onto a baking sheet and freeze flat. Then transfer the fully frozen cookie dough balls to a freezer bag.

When you’re ready to bake, bake your dough from frozen on a baking sheet for about 11-13 minutes. This is my favorite method because it yields that fresh baked taste that we all know and love.

WHAT IF MY DULCE DE LECHE OOZES OUT?

It’s possible for your cookies to be somewhat misshapen from some of the dulce de leche oozing out. This is actually a super quick fix (see my Instagram reel for a visual): you basically just use a spoon to gently coax the edges back into a traditional cookie shape. Works like a charm!

I don’t know about you, but half of the appeal of a gooey dulce de leche cookie is some of that oozing caramel-like goodness coming out of the cookie (you should try my peanut butter Rolo cookies if gooey caramel oozes are your style). Talk about yum!

All that being said, if you’re still having trouble with the dulce de leche oozing out, you can chill the tray of scooped cookie dough for about 10 minutes to firm up the ingredients.

An overhead shot of dulce de leche cookies with chocolate chips.

Now that I’ve got you drooling over these dulce de leche chocolate chip cookies, may I tempt you with a few of my favorite recipes featuring this special ingredient?

First, you have to try my dulce de leche cupcakes— they are just so simple to make! Then you can move on to my recipe for dulce de leche cake OR the decadent and delicious banoffee pie. Whichever one you choose, you can be sure it’s going to be delicious.

A stack of dulce de leche cookies with chocolate chips.
5 from 4 votes
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Dulce de Leche Chocolate Chip Cookies

Turn traditional chocolate chip cookies into something with a little extra pizzaz by swirling them with dulce de leche! This is a no chill cookie recipe that yields gooey and chewy cookies every time.
Prep Time10 mins
Bake Time11 mins
Total Time21 mins
Recipe Author Lynn April
Servings: 16 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons (150g) all-purpose flour be sure to measure properly
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup (57g) unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • ½ cup + 2 Tablespoons (125g) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup (128g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 Tablespoons (57g) dulce de leche divided

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF (177ºC). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
  • In a medium size bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and ground cinnamon. Set aside.
  • In a separate medium size bowl with a hand held mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar on medium speed. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula. Add the egg and vanilla extract, and beat again on medium speed until everything is combined and there are no lumps.
  • With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 2 additions, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Add the chocolate chips and mix again until evenly dispersed.
  • With a large spatula, gather the dough into one cohesive spot in the bowl. Using a cookie scoop (I use this #50 cookie scoop for all of my standard size cookies), scoop 3 individual Tablespoons of the dulce de leche into 3 distinct and separate places in the cookie dough. Mix again on low just a few times so the dulce de leche ribbons through the batter. Stop after about 3-5 rotations.
  • Use that same cookie scoop to drop rounded balls of dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Dough will be sticky. Bake for 10-12 minutes (mine always take exactly 11 minutes). Cookies may have become misshapen because of "oozing" caramel pieces. This is ok. Refer to my Instagram reel for my trick for shaping cookies after they come out of the oven. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 10-15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Cookies stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week. Cookies freeze well, up to 2 months. Rolled cookie dough can be frozen, up to 2 months. Bake frozen on baking sheet for 11-13 minutes.

Notes

Nutritional information: all nutritional values are approximate.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @freshaprilflours on Instagram or tag #freshaprilflours!
Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 133kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 134mg | Potassium: 70mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 108IU | Vitamin C: 0.003mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 1mg

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5 stars
These were simply PERFECT! The best combination, and we’ve eaten half a batch already.

5 stars
These are so delicious! So rich and fudgy I had to make a second batch:)

5 stars
You had me at dulce de leche! I just knew I had to make these for the holidays and am SOOO glad I did.

5 stars
Made this for the holidays and everyone loved it! Thank you thank you!