Combine my TikTok viral chocolate chip cookie bars with my viral kitchen sink cookies for the ultimate, EASY cookie bars! Add whatever mix-ins you like; caramel, chocolate chips, pretzels, and more!
Christmas version! For a festive holiday version, swap half the chocolate chips for red & green M&M’s and then add about 2 tablespoons of sprinkles to the dough!
Why I Love These Kitchen Sink Bars
- Soft & chewy: If you love my viral chocolate chip cookie bars, you’ll love these kitchen sink bars! The texture is soft & chewy and the pretzels & caramel add the perfect sweet and salty flavor.
- No scooping required: I love bar cookie recipes because they’re much quicker to make than individual cookies (but hey, my kitchen sink cookies are pretty delicious too!).
- Perfect for holiday platters! Add festive m&m’s and sprinkles and cut them into 48 bite-sized pieces for the perfect cookie platter addition!
Make them holiday-themed!
For a festive holiday version, use ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate, ½ cup holiday m&m’s, ½ cup chopped pretzels, ½ chopped caramels, and 2 tablespoons of sprinkles (+ a few extra toppings to press on top before baking!).
Jump down to the full recipe card for the ingredient amounts and condensed recipe instructions.
- Caramel: I used Kraft caramel and tore them into small pieces (I also love Werther’s caramels but be sure they’re the “soft” ones and not the “chewy” version or they’ll be too hard). You can also use the Kraft bits but I find they don’t melt as well in cookies.
- Semi-Chocolate Chips: Panera uses a mix of both semi-sweet and milk chocolate chips but you can add whatever you like. I also like chopping at least half of the chocolate chips so that you have those small chocolate pieces in every bite (this also helps give the cookie that darker signature color!).
- Pretzels: Any crunchy, salty pretzels will work! I usually use Rolls Gold “Tiny Twists”.
- Unsalted Butter: Use real butter here, not margarine. To get that signature flat vs. puffy cookie, we’re melting the butter until it’s pretty hot & then slightly flattening the top of the scooped cookies.
- Sea salt (optional): Panera tops theirs with flaky salt, which is totally optional! My pretzels were already salty, so I left it off.
How to Make Kitchen Sink Bars
Jump down to the full recipe card for the ingredient amounts and printable recipe instructions.
Step 1: Chop & Prep Mix-Ins
Place semi-sweet chocolate chips (½ cup), milk chocolate chips (½ cup), 10 caramels, and pretzels (½ cup) on a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to chop half of the chocolate chips into smaller shards and slivers. Next, chop the caramel (I cut each into 6 pieces) and pretzels.
Tip: I recommend 1½ – 2 cups of total mix-ins, so feel free to add more or less of each item as you wish!
Step 2: Mix Dough
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×13 pan with nonstick cooking spray and cover with parchment paper (optional but recommended for easy removal).
- In a medium bowl, mix together melted, unsalted butter (¾ cup), light brown sugar (¾ cup), and granulated sugar (½ cup) and mix until combined.
- Add in 1 large egg, 1 extra egg yolk, vanilla extract (2 teaspoons), baking soda (1 teaspoon), baking powder (¼ teaspoon), and salt (½ teaspoon). Mix.
- Add all-purpose (2 – 2 1/4 cups, see “notes section” in the recipe card below regarding flour amounts), chopped & whole chocolate chips, pretzels, and caramel. Stir until combined.
Tip: Adding the mix-ins at the same as the flour will help the chips be evenly distributed and prevent them from falling to the bottom of the bowl.
Step 3: Press Cookie Dough Into Pan
Press cookie dough into a greased, parchment-lined 9×13″ pan. Once smooth, sprinkle extra chocolate chips and pretzels on top. If you see any chocolate chips stuck together or on the edge of the pan, relocate them. This will help create clean edges when cut!
Tip: Using the parchment sling will allow you to lift the cooled bars out of the pan so that you can use a large knife to make clean, downward cuts.
Step 4: Bake
Bake at 350°F for 16-18 minutes or until cookie bars are lightly golden brown (do not overbake, you want to underbake slightly for a gooey cookie). Allow the cookie bars to cool completely before cutting into squares/bars.
Step 5: Chill & Cut
To achieve clean cuts, I like to put the cooled bars in the freezer about 30 minutes to firm up the chocolate. Then, use a large knife to cut into 12-24 squares, wiping the knife off every few cuts to avoid smearing any chocolate.
Tip: Dipping the knife in a cup of hot water & then drying it before slicing can also help create clean cuts.
Tips & Variations
- Christmas version! For a festive holiday version, swap half the chocolate chips for red & green M&M’s and then add about 2 tablespoons of sprinkles to the dough!
- Use any mix-ins: Use whatever flavor of chocolate chips or candy mix-ins you’d like! These would be good with white chocolate, peanut butter, or even butterscotch chips!
- Sprinkle with sea salt: To make them taste even more like Panera’s kitchen sink cookies, feel free to sprinkle some flaky sea salt on top!
Frequently Asked Questions:
Store in an airtight container for 3-5 days or freeze for up to 1-2 months. Note the pretzels will soften with time, so if you want ensure the pretzels stay a little crunchy, I would make them the same day or 1 day before you plan to eat.
To freeze, cool the bars completely before placing them into an airtight container or freezer bag for storage. They will keep in the freezer for 1-2 months.
Panera’s kitchens sink cookies use a mix of semi-sweet and milk chocolate chips but you can also use all one flavor, if you’d like! Dark, milk, white chocolate chips would all taste delicious in these bars, as well. Or you can also add m&m’s inside for a fun festive touch.
I used Kraft caramel and tore them into small pieces (I also love Werther’s caramels but be sure they’re the “soft” ones and not the “chewy” version or they’ll be too hard). You can also use the Kraft bits but I find they don’t melt as well in cookies.
I sure do! Check out some of my other tried-and-true bar cookie recipes:
S’more Cookie Bars
Double Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars
Did you make this recipe? If so, will you do me a huge favor and leave a review and rating letting me know how you liked this recipe? This helps my small business thrive so I can continue providing free recipes and high-quality content for you.
Kitchen Sink Cookie Bars
These easy kitchen sink cookie bars are thick, soft, gooey, and chewy – a true crowd favorite! They are made in one bowl, all mixed up by hand, with no machines required!
- ¾ cup unsalted butter (not margarine) 1 ½ sticks, you will be melting this
- ¾ cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg + 1 yolk (i.e. 1 whole egg + 1 extra egg yolk)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour *see notes section below, you can add an extra 1/4 cup flour if your dough is too runny
Mix-Ins (2 cups total)
- ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup milk chocolate chips for holiday version, swap for m&m's and add 2 tablespoons inside the dough, if desired
- ½ cup pretzels, broken
- ½ cup chewy caramels, chopped I use Kraft or Werther's Soft
Before you begin! If you make this, will you do me a huge favor and leave a review and rating letting me know how you liked this recipe? This helps my small business thrive so I can continue providing free recipes and high-quality content for you.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, melt unsalted butter (¾ cup, 1 ½ sticks) for 20-30 seconds until JUST melted. (If your butter is steaming, let it cool down for a few minutes. Butter that is too hot can result in greasy bars and/or will cause the eggs to cook.)
Add in light brown sugar (¾ cup) and granlated sugar (½ cup) use a spatula to stir until combined (* do not use a mixer!). Add in egg, extra egg yolk and vanilla extract (2 teaspoons). Mix until combined.
Stir in baking soda (1 teaspoon), baking powder (¼ teaspoon), and salt (1/2 teaspoon).
Add in all-purpose flour (2 cups*) and mix until all the flour disappears into the dough.
Add mix-ins of choice. I used the following: semi-sweet chocolate chips (½ cup), milk chocolate chips (½ cup), pretzel pieces (½ cup), and caramel pieces (½ cup).
Press dough into a greased or parchment-lined metal 9×13" pan until smooth. If desired, press on a few extra mix-ins to the top for aesthetics.
Bake at 350°F for 16-18 minutes until edges and top are lightly golden brown and center no longer looks wet; some ovens may need up to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and place entire pan on a cooling rack.
Allow the cookie bars to cool completely before removing from pan. Slice into 24 squares, then enjoy! To keep fresh, cover pan with saran wrap or place bars in airtight continer for up to 3 days (after that they start to dry out). See notes below for freezing tips.
Last Step! Please leave a review and rating letting me know how you liked this recipe! This helps my small business thrive so I can continue providing free recipes and high-quality content for you.
*Flour: If your dough is super runny even after sitting for a few minutes, you can add an additional 1/4 cup of flour.
Chocolate chips: While I use a blend of semi-sweet and milk chocolate chips, you can also use dark, white chocolate, peanut butter, etc!
To freeze: To freeze, cool the bars completely before placing them into an airtight container or freezer bag for storage. These will keep in freezer for 1-2 months.
Nazia D says
Absolutely amazing I also did the reesse cup but added walnuts. Will be a family favorite forever.
Thank you so much for leaving a review, Nazia! I really appreciate it!
Kathryn F says
I love how easy these are to whip up and customize! I just used what I already had in the kitchen. I got many compliments on these!
Twas delicious and easy to make! Love making the bars!
So glad you enjoyed this recipe, Sasha! Thank you for leaving a review!
It’s so good !! If you are thinking of making it you should !!
hayley zimms says
I LOVED HOW SIMPLE THIS WAS. one. bowl. thats it. my type of clean up. the bake was so short and sweet and THESE TASTE LIKE MAGIC. HIGHLY RECOMMEND. MAKE IT NOW.
Ahhh I’m so glad you loved this recipe, Hayley! Anything to avoid extra dishes, right?! Thank you so much for leaving a review, I really appreciate it!