Saddle up, partner–we’re making Cowboy Cookies! Full of flavor and texture, this recipe combines coconut, pecans, oats, and chocolate to make one unique cookie, no horse or lasso required. Recipe includes a how-to video!
If you’re not familiar with them, cowboy cookies are a beefed up version of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies; they’re hearty, chewy, and have a LOT of flavor and texture. Like most cookies, these are sweet, but they’re robust and not too sweet. Best of all, these cowboy cookies are so quick and easy to make.
With an oatmeal cookie base and a generous handful of mix-ins (coconut, chocolate, and pecans) cowboy cookies have enough texture to compete with kitchen sink cookies and a flavor that’s almost reminiscent of seven layer bars. They truly have the best elements of the most popular cookies out there, so I’m confident they’ll be a hit for you too!
So, what actually makes a cowboy cookie, anyway?
What You Need
These are just a few of the key ingredients that give these cowboy cookies their hearty texture and flavor:
- Butter. You’ll need one cup of unsalted butter that’s been softened to room temperature.
- Sugar. I like a combination of dark brown sugar and granulated sugar for chewy, flavorful cookies.
- Vanilla. If you’ve got a batch of homemade vanilla handy, use it now!
- Cinnamon. Ground cinnamon adds a subtle and almost unexpected undertone that suits the cookies well, but you can always leave it out if desired.
- Oats. I use rolled (“old fashioned”) oats, not instant, for best results. Instant oats could make the cookies dry, so I don’t recommend using those.
- Coconut. Use sweetened shredded coconut; I don’t recommend using unsweetened coconut.
- Pecans. I recommend adding nuts, but if you need to leave them out for allergy reasons you can do so with no other changes needed!
- Chocolate chips. You can use semisweet or milk chocolate chips–or a blend of the two, which is my favorite!
SAM’S TIP: If your dough is very sticky and difficult to work with, or your cookies are spreading too much, cover the dough and place it in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes. If your butter is too soft or your kitchen is too warm, it can make the dough too greasy and hard to manage–letting it chill will solve this!
Remember, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make Cowboy Cookies
- Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then stir in eggs and vanilla extract.
- Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then gradually stir them into the wet ingredients until everything is nicely combined. You want a nice cohesive dough!
- Add your mix-ins and stir them in with a spatula until they’re evenly distributed.
- Drop dough by large scoops onto a parchment-lined baking sheet… I like to briefly roll the dough between my palms to help make them uniform in appearance, it’s messy but usually worth it! Then bake until edges are golden brown and let cookies cool.
SAM’S TIP: Take your cookies out of the oven when the edges are turning light golden brown. The centers will probably appear slightly under-baked; this is fine! They’ll finish cooking on the baking sheet and will have a soft, chewy texture when cooled.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are several theories about where cowboy cookies get their name; one is that they were like an energy bar for cowboys working in the old west. This could very well be true, since cowboy cookies are certainly satiating, portable, and long-lasting.
While that theory can’t exactly be proved, another more credible explanation is that during the time the cookies became popular, Americans were quite fascinated by cowboys and the wild west.
Regardless of how they got their name, you don’t have to be a cowboy or even like cowboys to enjoy these cookies! 😄
Yes! You can freeze them baked or unbaked. If baking from frozen, they’ll just need an extra minute or two (or three!) in the oven.
This can happen if you substituted instant oats or unsweetened coconut, or if you over-measured your flour. Make sure you know how to measure your flour properly, so this doesn’t happen in the future!
Let’s bake together! I’ll be walking you through all the steps in my written recipe and video below! If you try this recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram, and you can also find me on YouTube and Facebook
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature (226g)
- 1 cup dark brown sugar firmly packed (200g)
- ½ cup granulated sugar (100g
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (250g)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon table salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon optional
- 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (212g)
- 1 ½ cups sweetened shredded coconut (123g)
- 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans (115g)
- 1 ½ cups semisweet or milk chocolate chips or a blend of the two! (255g)
- Preheat oven to 350F (175C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine butter and sugars and use an electric mixer (or you may use a stand mixer) to cream together until thoroughly combined and light and fluffy.
- Add eggs and vanilla extract and stir until thoroughly combined.
- In a separate bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon until thoroughly combined.
- Gradually stir dry ingredients into wet (either using mixer on low-speed or by hand) until ingredients are thoroughly combined.
- Add oats, coconut, pecans, and chocolate chips and use a spatula to stir together until ingredients are evenly distributed.
- Drop cookie dough by heaping 2 Tablespoon-sized scoop onto prepared baking sheet, and, if desired, use your hands to round into a ball (the dough will be a bit sticky, but this will make rounder, more uniform looking cookies). Space cookies at least 2” apart.
- Transfer to 350F (175C) preheated oven and bake for 12-14 minutes and edges of cookies are light golden brown. Centers may seem slightly underbaked still, this is fine, allow cookies to cool completely on baking sheet where they will finish baking but still be soft and chewy.
OatsI recommend whole oats for this recipe for the best texture. Substituting instant oats could make the cookies dry.
CoconutI have only made this recipe using sweetened shredded coconut. While unsweetened coconut may work, I don’t really recommend it as the cookies will be less sweet and I would expect them to be more dry and prone to crumbling as well.
Making in AdvanceThe cookie dough may be made up to 5 days in advance of baking and stored tightly covered in the refrigerator.
StoringAfter baking, cookies will stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.