Salted Caramel Pretzel Cupcakes

Do not. I repeat. Do not make these cupcakes.

They are way. too. good.

And will make you want to devour an entire pan without coming up for air or sharing a single crumb with your loved ones. Which, in turn, could lead to fights. Or a separation. Or even a nasty breakup.

Which is precisely why I didn’t post these on Valentine’s Day. Call me a closet romantic.

These cupcakes also make me want to send several thousand love letters to the loverly Blake over at Life is Cake (Eat it up). She is the one who turned me on to these bad boys. And turn me on, she did.

These cupcakes are the perfect combination of salty and sweet.

So perfect, that I think it has officially blown away my love for all things chocolate and peanut butter. And makes me want to write in all caps, italics, and bold.


Who knew that sea salt would mellow out the sugary sweet caramel in the most perfect way. Or make it so that you could eat an entire plateful without being sent into a sugar coma. Or reduce you to a quivering mess the minute the salty caramel-y sweetness hit your lips.


Sorry, what?

I got distracted.

Yields 12

Salted Caramel Pretzel Cupcakes

15 minPrep Time

20 minCook Time

35 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe


    For the cupcakes
  • 1 stick Earth Balance (or other vegan margarine), room temperature
  • 2/3 cup raw sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp caramel extract
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup crushed pretzel pieces
  • For the frosting
  • 5 tbs Earth Balance (or vegan buttery spread)
  • 3 tbs Spectrum vegetable shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp caramel extract
  • splash almond milk
  • 1/4 cup pretzel pieces
  • sea salt


    Make the cupcakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the Earth Balance and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Beat in the caramel extract.
  5. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  6. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and almond milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  7. Stir in the pretzel pieces.
  8. Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 17-20 minutes or just until set and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. (Always check a few minutes before the stated baking time. Do not over bake or the cupcakes will be dry.)
  9. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
  10. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost with icing.*
  11. Make the frosting:
  12. Cream Earth Balance and Spectrum (vegetable shortening) together with hand mixer.
  13. Add powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time
  14. Add caramel extract
  15. Add splash of almond milk to achieve desired texture (smooth and light).
  16. Putting it all together:
  17. Once cupcakes are completely cool, frost with the caramel frosting.
  18. Top with pretzel pieces.
  19. Crack {or sprinkle} your favorite sea salt on top. (I used Pink Himalayan)

Allergen Information

Nightshade free, dairy free, and soy free.



* Do not be an impatient fool like me, and start to frost them before they are completely cool. The frosting turns into a puddle and will not stay on the actual cupcake. See Exhibit A.

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More about Emily Levenson

Emily Levenson is a meditation encourager, mama, and Pittsburgh enthusiast. She recently launched a podcast called Nourish + Flourish and is a co-pilot at Propelle.


  1. Reply They look amazing! You are my hero for pulling these off in a vegan recipe.
    1. Reply <3 These are definitely going to be party staples in our house. I can guarantee that!
    2. Reply THEY ARE THE BEST CUPCAKES EVER. Seriously, thank you for the recipe idea!!
  2. Reply I'm totally making these next week.
    1. Reply Please do! And then send me a few. ;-)
  3. Reply OH GOSH. I wish these could travel to California.
  4. Reply So confused. Your recipe calls for pretzels in the cupcakes, but the directions don't say when to throw them in... And says to add vanilla extract, suppose you mean the Caramel? Guess I'm winging it hah
    1. Reply doh. forgot to include that. pretzel crumbs in with batter, didn't matter when you add in. and sub caramel extract wherever it says vanilla! I'll update the recipe soon. thanks for catching that.
      1. Reply Awesome! Thanks so much! I did wing it, and they turned out amazing!!
        1. Reply so glad you enjoyed them!
      2. Reply Where can I find caramel extract? I have looked at my local grocery stores but have had no luck
        1. Reply I inherited my bottle, so not sure I can be of much help there. I will say, you can always get something on Amazon. Seems like they have quite a few options when it comes to caramel extract.
  5. Reply How long can these keep for?
  6. Reply And how many can this make? Medium ones. .
    1. Reply Vic - I would say that the cupcakes will last for a few days once frosted (they can get a bit soggy, though that's any cupcake). And it should make a dozen at least.
      1. Reply Thanks:))

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