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Thick and hearty Healthy Cowboy Cookies are packed with oats, dark chocolate chips, shredded coconut, and chopped pecans. This sweet treat is filled with delicious flavor and texture, satisfying any sweet tooth.

Top view of 7 baked cookies on a round plate.
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Often referred to as Laura Bush’s Cowboy cookies, this recipe for cowboy cookies allows plenty of mix-ins and a hearty texture so that each bite will leave you wanting more. These cookies bake up thick, chewy, and perfectly soft, and they’re loaded with chocolate, coconut, and pecans. Whip them up for an after-school snack, a special treat, or for your holiday cookie tray.

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • So easy to make: This cookie recipe is quick and easy to make. You won’t even need a mixer!
  • Great mix-ins: The oats, chocolate chips, coconut, and pecans create a rich, satisfying flavor combination with wonderful texture.
  • Perfect for any occasion: Cowboy cookies are a great dessert to enjoy any time of year, but especially in the fall with the tasty warm flavors. They’re also unique and pleasing enough to make for Christmas cookie exchanges during the holidays!
Hand holding a cookie that has been cut in half.

Ingredients needed

This cowboy cookie recipe is made with a simple list of ingredients. Most everything you’ll need is common baking ingredients. Just be sure to keep chocolate chips, coconut, and pecans stocked because you’ll want to make these often! Here’s the list:

  • Instant/quick oats: Adds the perfect amount of texture.
  • Flour: For the base of the cookie, use whole wheat flour, gluten-free flour or all-purpose flour.
  • Baking powder: For proper baking.
  • Ground cinnamon: A pop of warm flavor! The addition of cinnamon to cowboy cookies was the idea of former first lady Laura Bush’s idea.
  • Salt: Balances the sweetness.
  • Coconut oil: Adds the perfect amount of moisture.
  • Egg: For structure and stability.
  • Milk: To give the cookie dough the perfect consistency, you’ll need just 2 tbsp almond milk or another preferred milk.
  • Sweetener: Use honey, agave or maple syrup to perfectly sweeten these cookies.
  • Vanilla extract: For depth of flavor.
  • Chocolate chips: We like mini dark chocolate chips in this recipe, but semi-sweet chocolate chips are also a great option. The mini chocolate chips are best because they will disperse throughout the dough for chocolate in every bite.
  • Shredded coconut: Use sweetened or unsweetened shredded coconut or coconut flakes, it’s up to you!
  • Chopped pecans: Adds a delicious nutty crunch!
Flour, oats, pecans, chocolate chips and sugar divided into bowls.

How to make this recipe

This cowboy cookies recipe is quick and easy to make! For best results, we recommend chilling the dough for about 30 minutes. Here’s the simple process:

  1. Prep: Preheat the oven to 350°F, and then line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, or stand mixer, add the oats, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Mix to combine.
  1. Combine wet ingredients: In another bowl, add the coconut oil, egg, almond milk, honey, and vanilla. Stir thoroughly to combine.
  1. Stir wet and dry ingredients together: Next, add the flour and oat mixture into the bowl with the liquid mixture. Using a spatula mix until they are incorporated.
  1. Add mix-ins: Add in the chocolate chips, shredded coconut, and chopped pecans. Mix to combine and then place the dough in the fridge to chill for about 30 minutes.
  1. Scoop dough balls: Scoop out even-sized cookie dough balls and place them on the prepared sheet pan. Using a spoon or your fingers press down on each slightly. Should make about 12 to 14 cookies. At this point, you may top the cookies with more chocolate chips if you like.
  1. Bake: Place in oven and bake at 350°F for 10-12 minutes or until slightly golden brown.
  2. Cool and enjoy: Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for about 10-15 minutes before serving. Enjoy.

Recipe tips

  • Toasting the coconut and pecans: This is an extra step but it adds a delicious depth of flavor. Place coconut flakes and pecans onto a baking sheet in a 325°F oven for 5-10 minutes, tossing once. Remove from the oven as soon as you smell the coconut and nuts to prevent burning.
  • Bake on parchment: To ensure even baking and nice, thick cookies that don’t spread, we recommend baking on parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  • Cookie thickness: Once you place the dough on the pan, you can press it down with your fingers or a spoon before baking for a thinner cookie. If you like your cookies to be more on the thick side, do not flatten the dough.
  • Gluten-free cookies: It’s easy to make these gluten-free by using oats and flour that are labeled as certified gluten-free.
  • Double the recipe: This recipe makes about 14 cookies. If you’re feeding a crowd or serving these during the holidays, consider doubling the recipe.
side shot of baked cowboy cookies on parchment paper

Frequently asked questions

What are in cowboy cookies?

Cowboy cookies are a type of oatmeal cookie made super flavorful and hearty with the addition of chocolate chips, shredded coconut, and pecans.

Why is it called a cowboy cookie?

There are several different origin stories as to where this cookie comes from, and no one seems to know for sure. Some believe that they were like an energy bars enjoyed by frontiersmen of the Old West. Others claim the name was given because they originated in Texas, a state synonymous with cowboys. Whatever the case, these are cookie perfection with subtle sweetness, a bit of salty, and just enough chew complemented by crunchy nuts.

Can you freeze the cowboy cookie dough?

Yes! We recommend going ahead and forming the dough into balls. Then, freeze them on a baking sheet until firm, about 30 minutes. Transfer the frozen cookie dough balls to a freezer bag or freezer-safe container. Freeze the dough for up to 3 months. Bake frozen cookie dough balls for an extra minute, no need to thaw. You may also roll the dough into a log form and freeze it that way in a ziplock bag.

hand grabbing a single cookie from a plate full of cookies

Variations

We love this cowboy cookie recipe as written, but feel free to get creative and experiment with your favorite ingredients! Here are some options:

  • Different baking chips: You can substitute dark chocolate chips with white chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate chips, milk chocolate chips, or even peanut butter chips.
  • Nuts: Any type of nut can be substituted for the pecans. I would recommend trying walnuts or pistachios for a fun twist!
  • Other options: You can try other add-ins as well such as toffee bits or dried cranberries.
  • Coconut: If you’re not really a fan of coconut, feel free to omit it entirely or add some different mix-ins.

Storage recommendations

  • To store: These can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for several days, then stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 to 7 days.
  • To freeze: Allow the cookies to completely cool, and then transfer them to an airtight container lined with wax or parchment paper or a freezer-safe bag before storing them in the freezer for up to 2 months. Once ready to eat, simply thaw at room temperature.
Cowboy cookies on parchment paper.
top view of baked cowboy cookies on a parchment paper

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5 from 2 votes

Healthy Cowboy Cookies

By: Rena
Servings: 14 cookies
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Chill time: 30 minutes
Total: 55 minutes
top view of 7 baked cookies on a round plate
Thick and hearty Healthy Cowboy Cookies are packed with oats, dark chocolate chips, shredded coconut, and chopped pecans. This sweet treat is filled with delicious flavor and texture, satisfying any sweet tooth.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup instant oats
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour, GF flour or all-purpose works
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp almond milk, or 2% milk
  • ½ cup honey, agave or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup mini dark chocolate chips + plus more to top
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F, and then line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, add the oats, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Mix to combine.
  • In another bowl, add the coconut oil, egg, almond milk, honey, and vanilla. Stir thoroughly to combine.
  • Next, add the flour and oat mixture into the bowl with the liquid mixture. Using a spatula mix until they are incorporated.
  • Add in the chocolate chips, shredded coconut, and chopped pecans. Mix to combine and then place the dough in the fridge to chill for about 30 minutes.
  • Scoop out even-sized cookie dough balls and place them on the prepared sheet pan. Using a spoon or your fingers press down on each slightly. Should make about 12 to 14 cookies.
  • At this point, you may top the cookies with more chocolate chips if you like.
  • Bake at 350°F for 10-12 minutes or until slightly golden brown.
  • Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for about 10-15 minutes before serving. Enjoy.

Notes

    • To store: These can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for several days, then stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 to 7 days.
    • To freeze: Allow the cookies to completely cool, and then transfer them to an airtight container lined with wax or parchment paper or freezer-safe bag before storing them in the freezer for up to 2 months. Once ready to eat, simply thaw at room temperature.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookieCalories: 134kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 3gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.001gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 103mgPotassium: 90mgFiber: 2gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 22IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 48mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @healthyfitnessmeals or tag #healthyfitnessmeals!

About Rena Awada

Hi, I’m Rena! Welcome to my blog. I am here to help you prepare delicious, light, fresh meals that your whole family will love!

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