Cowboy Cookies

Cowboy Cookies

I’m a big fan of BIG cookies. Those dainty ones that you find on doily-lined dessert trays? They aren’t for me. The bigger, the chunkier the better. I have found quite a few that fit the bill, such as the Thick & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies (my all-time favorite), Chewy Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies and Monster Cookies, and these Cowboy Cookies meet all the requirements of the big-cookie club. First, let’s talk size. These bad boys have some serious heft and they are over 4 inches in diameter. Then, the thick, chunky factor is in full effect here. When you include oats, chocolate chips, pecans and coconut, you are certainly not lacking in flavor or texture with each and every bite. In fact, their size and heft make them perfect for satisfying  cowboy-sized cravings!

Cowboy Cookies

This recipe was submitted to a Family Circle cookie bakeoff by Laura Bush during the 2000 Presidential campaign. They went up against Tipper Gore’s ginger snaps, and these babies won hands-down. My 90-year-old Grandma is a staunch Democrat and for 8 years she never held her tongue when it came to sharing her thoughts on George Bush. I shared one of these cookies with her and when she went on and on about how delicious they were, I said, “Grandma, do you want to know where I got this recipe?” “Where?” she said. “It’s from Laura Bush – George’s wife.” She paused, thought, then said, “Hmm, well, I have to say then – she must be a very good baker.” She gave me quite the chuckle 🙂

Now, these cookies make 3 dozen massive cookies. I wouldn’t blame you if you wanted to cut the recipe in half (although you could always freeze the balls of dough or the baked cookies). This recipe scales down rather nicely except for one unfortunate ingredient – it calls for 3 eggs. Not the easiest thing to cut in half, but totally doable and I’m going to show you how!

How to Cut a Recipe in Half with an Odd Number of Eggs:

1. Take the full amount of eggs called for in the recipe (in this case, 3) and break them into a measuring cup.

3 eggs, cracked into measuring cup

2. With a fork, lightly beat the eggs so they are combined, and then note what the volume level is (in this case, a little less than 2/3 cup).

Eggs lightly beaten, a little less than 2/3 cup

3. Pour out some of the eggs until you’re at half the original amount (in this case we’re aiming for a tad less than 1/3 cup). Don’t waste the eggs! You can keep them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Save them for scrambled eggs for breakfast 🙂

Eggs, down to less than 1/3 cup

4. That’s it! Add the eggs to the recipe as instructed.

These cookies lend themselves exceptionally well to adaptions with your favorite add-ins. How would you customize them?

One year ago: Lemon-Limoncello Cupcakes

Cowboy Cookies

Yield: 3 dozen large cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes


3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups granulated sugar
1½ cups packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups sweetened, flaked coconut
2 cups (8 ounces) chopped pecans


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or line with a silicone baking mat.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in the sugars and continue to beat until light and fluffy, scraping the bowl as necessary, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture, mixing until just combined. With a wooden spoon or large rubber spatula stir in the chocolate chips, oats, coconut and pecans.

4. For each cookie, drop ¼ cup dough onto the baking sheets, spacing them about 3 inches apart. Bake until the edges are set but the middles still look light and puffy, about 12-15 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through. Cool cookies on the baking sheets.

(Recipe adapted from Laura Bush's Cowboy Cookies)


66 Responses to “Cowboy Cookies”

  1. connie on August 30, 2010 at 1:30 am

    hi ! this is my first time leaving a comment on ure blog but i have been visiting it everyday since i can’t even remember! i absolutely adore all your pics and stories! keep it up 🙂


  2. Kate on August 30, 2010 at 2:15 am

    A local restaurant makes them with Rice Krispies, white chocolate, and cranberries. Yum!!! I think I may be making these sometime this week!!!


    • Nikki on November 15th, 2012 at 9:23 am

      do u know if there is a recipe for that version it sounds delicious with the cranberries white chocolate and rice krispies or is it like substitute krispies for oatmeal chips for chips and cranberries for raisins?


      • Iris Irene on February 22nd, 2013 at 8:24 pm

        My mother used to make Ranger Cookies that are a lot like this, but use oatmeal, rice krispies and coconut. Perhaps the restaurant was making a variation on them.


  3. sana on August 30, 2010 at 2:36 am

    Yum, these have all my favorite things and I would’nt change a thing about them. I may just divide the recipe by 3 though. 1 dozen cookies are more than enough for hubby and me…


  4. Ameya on August 30, 2010 at 8:25 am

    YUM!!! A nice twist on the usual oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies-I especially love the addition of coconut! Ive got some chocolate chips I need to finish up, so I may just give these a go 🙂


  5. Maria63303 on August 30, 2010 at 9:21 am

    These look fantastic and have so many good ingredients…I’m sure they’ll taste great when I make them. Thanks!


  6. Maggy@ThreeManyCooks on August 30, 2010 at 9:22 am

    These look delicious! And I agree, the bigger, thicker and chunkier, the better 🙂


  7. Paula on August 30, 2010 at 9:28 am

    Your cookies look delicious and I love the little story about your Gramma! Sweet.


  8. Kim @ Two Good Cookies on August 30, 2010 at 9:45 am

    I love freezing cookies after they’ve been baked. I usually can’t even wait until they’ve dethawed to eat them. These will make a great addition to my arsenal. Mmmmm….


  9. Jenny Flake on August 30, 2010 at 10:09 am

    These look so awesome!


  10. foodlvr on August 30, 2010 at 10:09 am

    These look amazing. I am also a lover of monster cookies but I also love medium size cookies. I made Dorie Greenspan’s World Peace Cookies the other day. I have to blame you, and some other bloggers, for all the baking lately. My hips! I don’t even want to talk about it.

    I see myself baking these this week for my sons lunchbox. If they make them to next week!


  11. Lori @ RecipeGirl on August 30, 2010 at 10:22 am

    Love these. You have me craving cookies for breakfast!


  12. Maria on August 30, 2010 at 10:30 am

    Great cookie recipe and photos!


  13. Robyn on August 30, 2010 at 10:46 am

    love the tip on measuring partial eggs!


  14. jaclyn@todayslady on August 30, 2010 at 11:07 am

    Big cookies are the best!!!! The smaller ones are just a tease. So not satisfying! I still eat them though but would way rather a huge one!!!


  15. Priscilla - She's Cookin' on August 30, 2010 at 11:36 am

    I did not realize that Laura Bush had a recipe called Cowboy Cookies – but I’m in the same corner as your grandma. I posted a recipe for Cowboy Cookies in June that we’ve been making since my daughter was in preschool – we’ll have to make them monster size and add some coconut! These look yummy!


  16. Shaheen {The Purple Foodie} on August 30, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    Hi-five or big chewy cookies! I like extremes – either very soft and chewy or supremely crumbly and buttery.


  17. madge @ vegetariancasserolequeen on August 30, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    Yes, the coconut! Excellent addition. Coconut makes everything better!


  18. Tracy on August 30, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    I also love big, chunky cookies. These look like they would hit the spot!


  19. Michelle on August 30, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    Cowboy Cookies are already on my list for my Cookie Baskets this year. And they are good!


  20. Kelly on August 30, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    These look amazing. I’ve eaten them before but never made them. I might have to give them a try on this weekends company. I think I might add crazins to them. I love them!


  21. life and kitchen on August 30, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    I saw these on pioneer woman and was determined to make them but forgot… so now that I have been reminded I will get on the ball and get these puppies into the oven asap!


  22. Lynn @ I'll Have What She's Having on August 30, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    I don’t discriminate based on cookie size. I’ll eat almost anything in cookie form, and these look awesome! Another recipe with a great name, I’ve added this to my list of things to make! Thanks


  23. Jen @ How To: Simplify on August 30, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    What a great post! I love the tip on how to cut an odd egg measure in half! It’s so helpful! These cookies look delicious. I love all of the flavors!


  24. Joanne on August 30, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    My motto, when it comes to cookies and also to life in general, is go big or go home. Thus, I believe that means I should make and eat these cookies in mass amounts. It only seems logical.


  25. RavieNomNoms on August 30, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    Yeeehaww! Bring on the big cookies! They sounds awesome!


  26. Terri on August 30, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Thank you for sharing the recipe and story, so cute! You have made me crave cookies! Luckily I have all the ingredients so I can make a batch this week 🙂


  27. Evan Thomas on August 30, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    I’ve never halved eggs for a recipe before. Good to know how!


  28. Belinda @zomppa on August 30, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    Your grandmother is HILARIOUS! Though these cookies DO look good, like a meal in itself.


  29. Sues on August 30, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    My mom used to make these all the time when the recipe first came out, but I haven’t thought of them in YEARS!!! They were always a hit at get-togethers, no matter what people’s political affiliations were! I remember just snacking on the cookie dough. Mmmm, so good!


  30. joudie's Mood Food on August 30, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    Your grandma sounds like a laugh. How cute! These cookies do look good. Coconut and chocolate with oats…. oooh! YUMMY!


  31. Emily on August 30, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    Ok, I”m totally making these, but with a nut allergy, I wonder if I should just leave the nuts out or increase the coconut and chocolate chips to compensate… Any thoughts?


  32. foodlvr on August 30, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    My son has a nut allergy. Just up the other additions andn they should be delicious.


  33. Sprinkled with Flour on August 30, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    These look so good. I love cookies that have a lot of things added in, I think it makes them heartier!


  34. Katrina on August 30, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    BIG cookies are the best. This recipe looks amazing. I like a cookie that can fill me up.


  35. Polly Motzko on August 31, 2010 at 12:01 am

    They look so similar to the ones I made in the wee hours, with the exception of the large amount of baking soda in the recipe and pecans. Is it really 1 Tablespoon of Baking Soda?

    At any rate your cookies look great.

    I named mine so many different names that I forgot what I ended up calling them!


    Paulette Le Pore Motkzo


  36. Katie on August 31, 2010 at 2:41 am

    I’m with you on the cookies – if you are going to have a cookie it needs to be big, chunky and chewy and full of all sorts of tasty things. These look fantastic!!


  37. Sally on August 31, 2010 at 2:56 am

    Hi, these cookies look like the business. I made almond macaroons to meet the nutty challenge this week! Looking forward to some biccie baking…


  38. Stephanie - Chocolate and Toast on August 31, 2010 at 10:34 am

    Your grandma and my grandma could have been best friends. My grandma was a staunch, outspoken Democrat – married to a stauch, quiet Republican! Good times. But I think a batch of these cookies could have smoothed things over quite nicely. Yummers!


  39. Annette on August 31, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    Love your website!
    I have been making these cookies for a couple of years. They are my husband’s favorite and really are yummy. Thanks for the info on halving the eggs for this recipe.


  40. foods for weight loss on September 1, 2010 at 6:56 am

    Didn’t realize cookies could taste sooo good… thanks for these cookie recipes, just looking at the picture makes me hungry and want more


  41. The Chocolate Priestess on September 1, 2010 at 10:37 am

    While these look good, there are so many things in this that different people in my household would not eat. *sigh*


  42. Ruth on September 1, 2010 at 8:52 pm

    These were the BEST COOKIES EVER!!!!
    I substituted white chocolate for the nuts and halved the recipe (using 2 eggs instead of 1.5)
    They are big, chewy, yummy and just amazing!


  43. Cookin' Canuck on September 4, 2010 at 10:41 am

    Okay, I am definitely going to make these. They look so chewy – my favorite kind of cookie.


  44. Caldwell on September 4, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    Yum! Made these tonight with my 3 year old. I used cranberries instead of the pecans, so good!!!


  45. newlywed on September 5, 2010 at 8:36 am

    Love the story about your grandmother! My grandfather was well into his 90’s during the Bush years and had many, many, many a colorful thing to say about Dubya.


  46. Christopher // Enjoy Life With Breakfast on September 7, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    Awesome post!

    Though chocolate chip always takes the plate when I’m craving milk and cookies, nothing pairs better with a vanilla steamer than the cowboy cookie. Thanks for the recipe and pictures!


  47. Amanda on September 25, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    I have had this recipe in my Inbox since you posted it – just waiting for the right day to try it. That day is today! I love that the ingredients are mostly things I have on hand (only need pecans – ran out after the last recipe I tried). From what everyone has said, my hubbie and I will be enjoying some delicious cookies later tonight! Thanks!!!


    • Michelle on September 28th, 2010 at 6:54 pm

      Amanda, I hope these cookies were everything you hoped they’d be (and that I found them to be)!


  48. Vicki in GA on December 20, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    I’m making the cookies for a Democrat as I write this – she will grin and bear it since she needs cookies for a luncheon at her job. I’m having such a good time annoying her about this being Laura Bush’s recipe! Needless to say, my friend and I are on opposite side of the political spectrum.

    The batter is very heavy – I don’t have the first bunch out of the oven, yet, but am waiting to see how Cowboy Cookies turn out. Yee haw! Also, I’m making them smaller so she’ll have plenty to go around. They smell delish.


  49. LunaCafe on July 16, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    Wow, these look awesome! But do you really mean a TABLESPOON EACH of baking soda and baking powder? I can’t imagine adding that quantity even to a large recipe such as this. Please advise. Thanks!


    • Michelle on July 20th, 2011 at 10:31 am

      Yes, definitely 1 tablespoon of each.


  50. Lisa Williams on August 29, 2011 at 8:38 am

    I made these cookies for my family this weekend and I have to say these are probably my new favorite cookie. YUM! I was surprised at the amount of baking power and baking soda but I followed the recipe and they turned out beautiful! So far I’ve made at least 10 of your recipes and I haven’t had one fail yet! Thanks BEB 🙂


  51. Kelly on June 11, 2012 at 9:39 am

    I just wanted to report back that I finally made these cookies (for a western-themed party, of course) and they were WONDERFUL. Just the right amount of crispy/chewy combination. I halved the recipe using your wonderful instructions and just a note for anyone that wants to make a smaller cookie, I used a 1/4 cup measuring cup to scoop the cookies and then broke that amount into two smaller balls. It made a nice-sized but not too-big cookie for the party. Thank you for the great recipe!


  52. Stephanie on August 17, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    Just made these and I can’t stop eating them! I substituted white chocolate chips and also added cranberries. Yummy!


  53. fred on August 19, 2012 at 4:11 am

    cookies there delicous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  54. Kristie Taylor on March 2, 2014 at 10:06 am

    Just searched your site for something to make today… Stumbled apon these and wanted to thank you for sharing… And sharing your mothers reaction to a “republican” cookie!!! Lol .. Too cute! They are in the oven now and judging by the taste of the dough I’m sold!! Thanks!!


  55. Joanna on April 9, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    Hi! Just wanted to say I love your blog and absolutely everything I’ve baked from it had been amazing!! Especially your peanut butter frosting – wow! I was just wondering what I would do if I wanted to bake these cookies regular sized? Like as far as bake time and ingredient measurements? (:


    • Michelle on April 10th, 2014 at 11:54 am

      Hi Joanna, If you want smaller cookies, you would just need to reduce the baking time a bit.


  56. Jeanne on April 22, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    This is the recipe I found a few years ago and tweeked for my family’s tastes. I lost the revised recipe, so I modified this recipe today and it turned out great. I cut out the cinnamon altogether, reduced sugar to 1 cup each white and brown, used 1-1/2 cups mini chocolate chips, and increased pecans to 3 cups, slightly chopped. They baked quickly today, and were as brown as I wanted them in 12 minutes. Great cookies–5 stars!


  57. Cynthia on January 7, 2015 at 10:18 pm

    I’m trying to make a cowboy cookie recipe with chocolate chips and cranberries. I was just wondering whether the coconut flakes add anything to the texture of this cookie, or if they’re just for taste? If it’s only for taste, I think with the two sugars it’ll be sweet enough for me. Please let me know.


    • Michelle on January 8th, 2015 at 12:11 pm

      Hi Cynthia, They do add a bit of texture, but you might be able to get away with omitting them, might just take some trial and error.


  58. Dan Warnert on March 13, 2015 at 12:18 am

    You have so many ads loading that your website is no fun to use, you do have a lot of good food though.


  59. Madison on March 13, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    Thanks so much for the recipe! I accidentally made them with dark brown packed sugar and they still taste amazing! Made 2 dozen cookies with half of the recipe! I can’t wait to surprise my mom with them, they are her favorite!


  60. m on June 24, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    I have been eating and making these cookies for 65 years. They are my go to cookies. You can do anything with them by adjusting ingredients. My kids don’t like oatmeal so I leave that out. They love chocolate chocolate chip do add cocoa powder to the mix along with chocolate chips. One thing that increases the chocolate flavor is a little coffee – but not the grounds.You can leave all the extras out and just use eggs flour butter/oil, and all the rest if the ingredients from the top down to vanilla for sugar cookies. You can sub raisins for either chips or oatmeal. You can add other stuff and make some of the stuff (like oatmeal) less.

    I always doubled the recipe. I hope everyone enjoys it as much and my family and I do.


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