Cowboy Cookies

5 from 5 votes
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Yeehaw! Saddle up and get ready to satisfy your sweet tooth with this irresistible Cowboy Cookies recipe! Packed with a Western twist, these hearty treats are loaded with chocolate chips, chewy oats, coconut, and crunchy pecans.

For more sweet treats, try my pecan sandies, monster cookies, and peanut butter cookies.

Cowboy cookies on a white plate with a glass of milk in the background.

If you’re a fan of classic chocolate chip cookies but looking for something more interesting, you have come to the right place. These cowboy cookies are next-level! Once you try my version, you’ll see why they’re so popular. The great thing about this recipe is you don’t need a stand mixer, just a whisk and spatula!

I start with my oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe for the base and then pile in the mix-ins for an exciting and hearty texture. The old-fashioned oats make the dough more rustic as they bake into large bakery-style treats.

Recipe ingredients

Ingredients needed to make this cowboy cookie recipe.
  • Flour: Use all-purpose flour as the moderate protein level will give structure and hold the oat mixture together.
  • Oats: Use old-fashioned rolled oats, as their chewiness adds a hearty texture.
  • Leavening Agents: Baking soda creates crisp edges and helps the cookies spread just enough while keeping them thick. A whole egg and extra egg yolks help with binding, richness, and rise.
  • Fat: I use two types of fat: browned butter for flavor and vegetable oil for chew.
  • Sugar: Dark brown sugar adds a molasses note and keeps the cookies from drying out. Granulated sugar bumps up the sweetness level and creates crisp edges.
  • Flavoring: Ground cinnamon, vanilla, and kosher salt elevate the baked flavor and aromas.
  • Mix-ins: The base also has sweetened shredded coconut and chopped pecans.

See the recipe card below for all ingredients and measurements (US and metric).

Step 1: The cookie dough does not need to be chilled before baking. Therefore, preheat the oven when you start making the dough. Place the rack in the middle position and set the oven to 375 degrees.

Prepare the dry ingredients

Bowl of flour, baking powder, and salt that has been whisked together.

Step 2: Mix the baking powder with flour and salt to ensure it is evenly dispersed. This will yield an even rise and spread of the cookies. Set it aside while you brown the butter.

Brown the butter

Piece of butter melting in the center of a frying pan.

Melt the butter.

Melted butter with browned milk solids at the bottom of the pan.

Milk solids form in the pan.

Step 3: Want to know my secret for the most flavorful cookie? Brown the butter! Just melt butter until the milk solids turn golden brown. This adds a fantastic toffee flavor and smell.

It only takes a few minutes on the stovetop for the transformation, so keep a close eye on it because it can burn quickly! Right when the butter turns brown, transfer it to a large bowl.

Step 4: In the bowl with the warm browned butter, add brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vegetable oil. Whisk them together until smooth. It may seem like a lot of oil, but trust me, the oats will become coated in them, and it will keep the cookies tender.

Whisk in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract. Fold in the flour mixture; the result will be a dense, golden mixture that feels like a thick fudge.

Add the oats and mix-ins

Bowl of cookie dough batter with oats, chocolate chips, and chopped pecans.

Step 5: Once the cookie dough base is prepared, add in the tasty mix-ins. Use a spatula to stir the old-fashioned oats, shredded coconut, chocolate chips, and chopped pecans. The base is very thick, so stir until well combined.

Step 6: For large cookies, portion the dough into 3 tablespoon-sized balls, pressing them together with your hands. This is about 2 ounces or 60 grams in size. The oats will prevent the cookies from spreading, so flatten the balls with the back of a large measuring cup.

The cookie dough should be about 2 ½ inches wide and ½ inch thick. Place them at least 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. They will spread to about 4 inches in size. This is an excellent time to add a few more chocolate chips and pecans on top.

Bake the cookies

Freshly baked cowboy cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment papper.

Step 7: Bake at 375ºF (191ºC) one tray at a time on the middle rack until the edges set and are lightly browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. Rotate halfway through for even cooking.

Step 8: Remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow the cookies to gently finish on the sheet pan for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Flavor variations

Now that you know how to make cowboy cookies, it’s easy to customize the recipe! Try these tasty options:

  • Flour: Use gluten flour and oats for a gluten-free version.
  • Sugar: For a less intense molasses flavor, use light brown sugar.
  • Spices: Instead of just cinnamon, add nutmeg, ginger, or cardamom. I also like to use pumpkin pie spice for a fall-inspired twist.
  • Flavoring: Bump up the nutty flavors with almond or coconut extract.
  • Chocolate: Use milk chocolate, semi-sweet, dark, or white chocolate chips. Add chunks of chocolate for a more rustic appearance.
  • Nuts: Instead of pecans, add almonds, peanuts, walnuts, or cashews.
  • Fruit: Remove some chocolate chips and add dried fruits like raisins, cranberries, or cherries.

Frequently asked questions

What is the origin of cowboy cookies?

The cowboy cookie has various origins; some say from the Old West or Texas. It became especially famous during the 2000 presidential election. The First Lady, Laura Bush, won the Family Circle Magazine bake-off against Tipper Gore’s ginger snaps with her cowboy cookie recipe.

Can I make the cookies smaller or larger than the recommended size?

The 2-ounce cookies bake up into large cookies, about 4 inches in diameter. This yields 15 to 16 cookies. You can make smaller cookies by portioning the dough to 1-ounce size (1 ½ tablespoons). Keep an eye on the back time as they will cook quicker.

Can I freeze the cookie dough or baked cookies?

Yes! The unbaked dough or baked cookies can be stored in a freezer-safe bag or container for up to 2 months. Defrost to room temperature before baking or eating.

Rustic looking cowboy cookies with exposed chocolate chips and chopped pecans.

To make gluten-free cowboy cookies

It’s easy to make the cookie dough gluten-free. Oats are naturally gluten-free but may be processed with other ingredients that are not. Check the package label to ensure there is no cross-contamination. I recommend using Bob’s Red Mill or King Arthur gluten-free flour instead of all-purpose wheat flour.

Cowboy Cookies

If you're looking for a crowd-pleasing treat that's full of flavor and has a touch of rustic charm, you've gotta try my famous cowboy cookies recipe.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Servings 16 servings
Course Dessert
Cuisine American

Ingredients  

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¾ cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • ¾ cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup chopped pecans

Instructions 

  • Preheat the Oven – Set the oven rack to the center position and preheat to 375ºF (191ºC). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Mix the Dry Ingredients – In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set it aside.
  • Make Brown Butter – Heat the butter in an 8-inch skillet over medium-high heat, swirling to melt evenly. Stir and cook, scraping the bottom of the pan with a spatula, until butter is golden brown and nutty in aroma, 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Make the Dough – Transfer browned butter to a large bowl, scraping all of the bits from the pan. Stir in cinnamon. Add the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and oil. Whisk together until combined. Whisk in eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla until smooth. Use a spatula to fold the flour mixture into the butter mixture until combined.
  • Stir in Oats and Mix-ins – Stir in oats, coconut, chocolate chips, and pecans until well combined. The dough will be stiff in texture.
  • Portion the Dough – Divide the dough into 3 tablespoons (2 ounces or 60 grams) sized pieces. Roll into a tight ball and place 2" apart, about 8 cookies per pan. Use the bottom of a measuring cup or ramekin to press each dough ball into 2 ½" wide cookies. Reform edges into a circle if needed.
  • Bake – Bake one sheet at a time. The edges should be set, lightly browned on the surface, and the centers soft but not wet, for about 8 to 10 minutes. Rotate halfway through baking.
  • Cool – Let the cookies sit for 5 minutes, and then transfer them to a wire rack. Cool completely before serving.

Recipe Video

YouTube video

Notes

  • Make it Gluten-Free: Substitute gluten-free flour for all-purpose flour, and make sure the rolled oats are certified gluten-free. I recommend Bob’s Redmill 1:1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour.
  • Make Ahead: The unbaked cookie dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 2 months. Bake when the dough is at room temperature. 
  • Storing: Store in an airtight container for up to 7 days. Freeze for up to 2 months, and bring to room temperature.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 16 servings
Calories 237kcal (12%)Carbohydrates 35g (12%)Protein 3g (6%)Fat 10g (15%)Saturated Fat 5g (25%)Polyunsaturated Fat 1gMonounsaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0.1gCholesterol 19mg (6%)Sodium 123mg (5%)Potassium 122mg (3%)Fiber 2g (8%)Sugar 20g (22%)Vitamin A 109IU (2%)Vitamin C 0.1mgCalcium 24mg (2%)Iron 1mg (6%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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2 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Kit B says

    We loved these–I did cut the sugar down just a tad, but otherwise kept them as is. Delicious! Made two batches in 1 week.