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.

Recipe Science

  • The combination of oats and flour provides a chewy texture and adds structural integrity, preventing them from becoming too soft.
  • Browning butter enhances the flavor of cowboy cookie dough by creating toffee and butterscotch notes, adding complexity.
  • The browned butter’s higher temperature helps dissolve sugar more efficiently for cookies with a chewy texture with crispy edges.

Why It Works

If you’re a fan of chewy 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.

Ingredients You’ll Need

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).

Ingredient Substitutions

This recipe for cowboy cookies is easy to customize! Try these tasty options:

  • Make the Cookies 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.
  • Sugar: For a less intense molasses flavor, use light brown sugar.
  • Spices: Add my pumpkin pie spice, which consists of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and cloves. You can also add them individually. Cardamom adds a sweet floral note.
  • Flavoring: Bump up the nutty flavors with almond or coconut extract.
  • Chocolate: Add different types of chocolate, such as dark or white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, or chop bars into chunks. Press M&M candies on top after baking for a colorful decoration.
  • Nuts: Instead of chopped pecans, add almonds, peanuts, walnuts, or cashews.
  • Fruit: Remove some chocolate chips and add dried fruits like raisins, cranberries, or cherries.

How to Make Cowboy Cookies

Step 1: Preheat the Oven 

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

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

Step 2: Mix the Dry Ingredients

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.

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

Step 3: Make Brown Butter

Melt the butter on the stovetop in a frying pan, it only takes a few minutes.

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

Keep a close eye on the transformation because it can burn quickly! Right when the butter turns brown, transfer it to a large bowl.

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

Two egg yolks in a bowl with brown sugar.

Step 4: Make the Dough 

In the bowl with the warm browned butter, add brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vegetable oil. Whisk them together until smooth. Whisk in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract.

Spatula mixing flour and wet cookie batter in a bowl.

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. Fold in the flour mixture.

Cookie dough batter formed in a bowl after mixing with a blue spatula.

After mixing, the resulting cookie dough batter will be a dense, golden mixture that feels like a thick fudge.

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

Step 5: Stir in Oats and Mix-ins 

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.

Cowboy cookie dough balls lined up on a paper lined sheet pan.

Step 6: Portion the Dough

For large cookies, portion the dough into 3 tablespoon-sized balls, pressing them together with your hands. Each ball should be about 2 ounces or 60 grams in size.

Person using the back of a measuring cup to flatten the cookie dough balls on a sheet pan.

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.

Flattened, raw cookie dough pieces lined up on a sheet pan.

Tips for Perfect Execution: 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.

Step 7: Bake the Cookies

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

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

Step 8: Cool the Cookies

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is in cowboy cookies?

Cowboy cookies typically include a blend of wholesome ingredients such as old-fashioned rolled oats, semi-sweet chocolate chips, chopped pecans, and sweetened shredded coconut. These hearty cookies embody a rustic charm and robust flavor profile, evoking a sense of nostalgia with each bite.

Why is it called 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.

If you tried this Cowboy Cookies Recipe, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it went in the 📝 comments below!

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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5 from 5 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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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.