Effects of NaCl, KCl, CaCl2, NaHCO3, and NH4HCO3 on the formation of glucosone, 1-deoxyglucosone, 3-deoxyglucosone, glyoxal, methylglyoxal, diacetyl, 5-hydroxymethyl-2-furfural, and 2-furfural and browning were investigated in cookies. The presence of 1.5% NaCl, 1% KCl, and 1% CaCl2 on flour basis had no effect on a-dicarbonyl compounds, except 1-deoxyglucosone increased in the presence of KCl and CaCl2. The increase in 5-hydroxymethyl-2-furfural formation in the presence of NaCl, KCl, and CaCl2 did not relate to 3-deoxyglucosone formation and pH changes. NaCl, KCl, and CaCl2 increased browning in cookies. Model reaction systems indicated that NaCl, KCl, and CaCl2 enhance browning by increasing furfurals in caramelization. NaCl, KCl, and CaCl2 decreased browning intensity in a heated glucose-glycine system. Use of CaCl2 in cookies may considerably increase furfurals but not a-dicarbonyl compounds. Sodium reduction can be obtained by replacement with potassium without sacrificing the desired consequences of caramelization in sugar-rich baked goods.