These thick and chewy cowboy cookies, packed with chocolate, coconut, and pecans, are perfect for your whole family’s cowboy-sized appetites!
I’m a big fan of BIG baked goods – especially cookies (not surprising if you’ve ever had my monster cookies or thick and chewy chocolate chip cookies!). At over four inches in diameter, and loaded with all sorts of delicious add-ins, these Cowboy Cookies are my dream!
You may have heard of the Laura Bush Cowboy Cookies, and that’s where I have drawn inspiration. Though it’s an old recipe, the former First Lady published her recipe in Family Circle’s 2000 Presidential Bakeoff, where it gained its place in many recipe books.
The lore around cowboy cookies is that they come from Texas ranchers and miners who need something filling, easy to carry, and delicious! Luckily, they are just as perfect for a cozy night in or a lunch box as they are for a long day on the range! I can’t wait for you to try them.
The Make-Up of Cowboy Cookies
These are amazingly decadent cookies, yet inherently simple! Here’s what they’re made of:
- Basic chocolate chip cookie dough – The usual cast of characters here with butter, brown and granulated sugars, leaveners, flour, and vanilla.
- Cinnamon – A pop of unexpected flavor!
- Chocolate chips – Semisweet is typical, but feel free to switch it up with other chocolate varieties.
- Oats – Adds heft and chewiness, making for a wonderfully hearty cookie!
- Pecans – Chopped up (and toasted if you’re up to it!), they add a great crunch.
- Coconut – Adds more chewiness and such a lovely flavor.
How To Make Them
It’s a super quick and easy drop cookie recipe!
- Preheat oven to 350 and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Whisk dry ingredients and set aside
- Beat butter and sugar on high, then slowly add eggs, vanilla. On low speed, add in dry ingredient mixture, then fold in mix-ins.
- Roll ¼ cup of dough (I love using this scoop for portioning!) into a ball and place onto the baking sheets. Space them 3 inches apart.
- Bake 12-15 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through. They’re ready to go when the edges are set but the middle is fluffy! Cool before eating :)
Mix-ins and substitutes
Obviously, the draw of these cowboy cookies is the “everything left in your pantry” kind of energy! This recipe specifically includes coconut, chocolate chips, pecans, and oats, but there are plenty of delicious mix-ins to consider.
If you need to make some swaps, it’s is easy because of how versatile this cowboy cookie recipe can be!
- Chocolate Chips: Replace some or all of the chocolate chips with things like M&Ms, butterscotch chips, dried cranberries, raisins, etc.
- Pecans: You can swap out any other nuts you’d like! Walnuts, peanuts, pistachios, macadamia would all be great choices. You can use seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, etc.) or even replace the nuts with some granola (I love my classic granola recipe as well as my chocolate chip granola for this).
- Coconut: You can omit the coconut entirely or add some extra mix-ins from the lists above.
I am always looking for new additions and substitutions to try with these cowboy cookies, so if you try out this recipe please come back and let me know what you used!
Cowboy Cookie FAQ’s
It was mentioned on Civil War Talk that cowboy cookies were essentially the first power bar! Cowboys enjoyed them on the trails, as they were a quick and easy way to get nutrients for their long travels.
My baking pans of choice are these rimmed half sheet pans; I have a ton and I use them for everything! And they are perfect for cookies.
I highly, highly recommend using parchment paper to line your baking pans when baking cookies. Greasing cookie sheets will allow excess fat to leach into your cookies, causing them to spread too much and potentially burn on the bottom.
I’ve experimented with silicone baking mats, but over time found that they developed a greasy film that I couldn’t get rid of no matter how many times I washed in soapy water or ran through the dishwasher. It was causing the same issues as greasing the pan would, so I stopped using them and went back to parchment paper.
To be clear: This recipe makes three dozen massive cowboy cookies. (Remember when I said four inches in diameter!?) So massive, in fact, that you may want to split the recipe, which is fine as this recipe scales down rather nicely except for one unfortunate ingredient – it calls for three eggs. That can be challenging to cut in half, but totally doable and I’m going to show you how:
1. Take the full amount of eggs called for in the recipe (in this case, 3) and break them into a measuring cup.
2. With a fork, lightly beat the eggs so they are combined, and then note what the volume level is.
3. Pour out some of the eggs until you’re at half the original amount. Add the eggs to the recipe as instructed.
*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 :)
(Alternative method – use a kitchen scale to weigh the eggs in grams, then pour out half. Much more accurate!)
Yes! Feel free to omit the coconut entirely or substitute other mix-ins.
Storage and Freezing Tips
- Storage: You can keep these cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
- Freezing Cookies: Once these get out of the oven and cool, they can be frozen for up to 3 months in an airtight container (just let them defrost for a bit before you bite in!).
- Freezing Dough: The dough is also great in the freezer for up to 3 months. Scoop balls of the dough into an airtight container with parchment paper layered between the dough. For a quick treat, pull the dough out, and bake at 350 degrees F for 12-14 minutes.
- Gifting: Turn these cowboy cookies into a simple gift by layering dry ingredients and mix-ins in a mason jar. Include a bow and attach the recipe!
Now you have the ingredients, the mix-ins, the substitutions – and the appetite!
Want more cookie recipes? Here are some of my favorites!
- Chunky Peanut Butter Cookies
- Momofuku Milk Bar Compost Cookies
- Oatmeal Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Monster Cookies
- Peanut Butter Monster Cookies
I would absolutely love it if you made these cowboy cookies; if you do, please stop back and leave a rating and let me know how you liked it! ENJOY! 😍
- 3 cups (360 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1½ cups (340 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1½ cups (298 g) granulated sugar
- 1½ cups (298 g) packed light brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups (510 g) semisweet chocolate chips
- 3 cups (297 g) old-fashioned rolled oats
- 2 cups (170 g) sweetened flaked coconut
- 2 cups (227 g) chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or line with a silicone baking mat.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; set aside.
- 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.
- For each cookie, drop ¼ cup dough (this scoop is perfect!) 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.
- Baking Pans – My baking pans of choice are these rimmed half sheet pans; line with parchment paper.
- Mix-Ins – You can customize these cookies with different baking chips, candy, dried fruit, granola, nuts, etc. See post above for specific suggestions.
- Storage – These cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
- Freezing Instructions – Freeze the baked cookies by wrapping them individually in plastic wrap, then place them in a ziptop bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
- Freezing the Dough -You can roll the dough balls and freeze them for up to 2 months. Bake for an extra minute or so.
Photography by Lauren Grant.