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Gluten-Free Cowboy Cookies

Gluten-Free Cowboy Cookies with pecans, shredded coconut, and oats are a mouth-watering cookie recipe the whole family will love! A great family tradition, these crowd-pleasing cookies are perfectly buttery with amazing chewy texture.

baking sheet with cowboy cookies

After posting my Keto Cowboy Cookies last year, I’ve had numerous requests for a version using a gluten-free flour blend (instead of almond flour) and regular sweetener instead of sugar-free sweetener.

So here we are, revisiting the Cowboy Cookie, and BOY does it feel GREAT!

Classic chocolate chip cookies have always been a long-time favorite, but Cowboy Cookies are their own special breed.

In case you’re new to them, Cowboy Cookies (sometimes known as ranger cookies) are standard chocolate chip cookies, upgraded to include rolled oats, pecans (or walnuts), shredded coconut, and a touch of cinnamon, a similar concept to kitchen sink cookies.

The origin of the name comes from the old legend that cowboys used to eat loaded cookies like during a long day of work. While there isn’t any evidence of the folklore, the name has nevertheless stuck and everyone loves a cookie with a little tall tale attached to it, am I right?

plate with cowboy cookies on top

Former first lady Laura Bush made cowboy cookies a household name when during the presidential campaign in 2000, her classic recipe for cowboy cookies won a bake-off designed by First Circle Magazine over the competing potential first lady, Tipper Gore who entered her Ginger Snaps.

It is said that these bakeoffs are a predictor of which candidate will win the election and so far, the results have followed suit.

Nevertheless, here we are celebrating Laura Bush’s Cowboy Cookies in gluten-free fashion.

Essentially, I’ve taken The BEST Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies and infused them with these goodies.

They give off a rustic, no excuses, all action no talk vibe, which is ideal for those of us who love a little spice in our lives.

white plate of gluten free chocolate chip cookies with oats

One of my favorite parts about these delicious cookies is you don’t need to chill the dough before baking. Simply preheat that oven and get to baking!

Let’s dive right into the details of this amazing cowboy cookie recipe!

Cowboy Cookies Ingredients:

Butter: Unsalted butter is the fat portion of this recipe, making the cookies have that iconic buttery flavor with soft texture for chewy cookies.

If you follow a dairy-free diet, you can easily swap the butter for softened (not melted) coconut oil or ghee.

If you’re familiar with the process of making brown butter, feel free to do so for these cookies to give them even more richness.

Sweetener: You’ll need a granulated sweetener in order to sweeten the cookies. My top recommended options are regular granulated cane sugar (or white sugar), brown sugar, maple sugar, or coconut sugar.

Do note that maple sugar and coconut sugar will make the cookies refined sugar-free, a great option for those who are looking to keep their desserts slightly lower on the glycemic index.

Egg: We just need one egg to help fluff up the cookies and keep them held together in a cohesive unit. For the best result, bring the egg out of the refrigerator 10 to 15 minutes before baking to bring it to room temperature.

I haven’t tested these cookies with an egg replacer like flax eggs, but please do drop a comment below letting me know if you try it.

Vanilla Extract: That warming ingredient that brings an intoxicating depth of flavor to any baked good. If you don’t have any on hand, feel free to skip it.

Gluten-Free Flour: In order to make these cookies gluten-free, we use a gluten-free flour blend. I use Bob’s Red Mill’s Gluten-Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour, but King Arthur and Pamela’s will work just as well. Just be sure you go with a blend that can be used as a 1:1 replacement for regular all-purpose flour.

And that said, if you don’t follow a gluten-free diet, feel free to use regular all-purpose flour for these tasty cookies.

Baking Powder: The leavening agent that helps keep the cookies held together nicely! Be sure you don’t skip it and always look to be sure your baking powder isn’t expired before using it.

Sea Salt and Cinnamon: A little salt enhances all of the individual flavors and also brings everything together in a cohesive whole.

If you ever feel like a cookie tastes flat, it is likely because someone forgot to add the salt. Cinnamon brings a subtle warming essence that is just so remarkable.

Goodies: Raw pecans, old fashioned rolled oats, chocolate chips, and unsweetened shredded coconut really set these chocolate chip cookies apart.

The oatmeal brings an oatmeal cookie vibe with its amazing flavor, the nuts bring that tasty crunch, the chocolate chips make these cookies so sultry and gooey, and the coconut flakes give them a lovely creaminess.

If you love butterscotch chips or white chocolate chips, you can use part chocolate chips and butterscotch or all butterscotch chips. You can also substitute the nut of your choice for the pecans.

cookie sheet with chocolate chip cookies with pecans and chocolate chips

Now that we’re experts on the ingredients for Cowboy Cookies, let’s bake a batch!

How to Make Cowboy Cookies:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cream butter and sugar together in a stand mixer on medium high speed until very fluffy (note: you can also use a large mixing bowl and an electric mixer or hand mixer).

Scrape the sides of the bowl and beat in the egg and vanilla extract until well-combined (wet ingredients).

In a separate large bowl, stir together the gluten-free flour, baking powder, cinnamon and sea salt until combined (dry ingredients). 

Beat the flour mixture into the wet mixture on medium speed until a thick dough forms and everything is well-combined.

Add the oats, pecans, shredded coconut and chocolate chips and mix until everything is well-distributed throughout the dough. 

cookie dough in a stand mixer

Note: if the cookie dough seems overly greasy, refrigerate it for 20 to 40 minutes prior to baking it. My dough turns out ready to bake and isn’t soft or greasy, but varying brands of gluten-free flour may yield different results.

Drop lumps of cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheet (note: the cookie dough will not spread very much and will maintain its form so be sure to make shapes you like for the final cookies).

I use a ⅓ cup measuring cup to scoop big cookie dough balls for large cookies, but you can also use a large cookie scoop if you have one.

Bake the cookies for 14 to 18 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown.

The baking time depends on the size of the cookies so for smaller cookies, bake 11 to 13 minutes, but stick with 14 to 18 for larger cookies.

Allow the cookies to cool for 10 minutes before serving. If you’d like to transfer them to a wire rack after 10 minutes to finish the cooling process, feel free to do so.

Store any leftover cookies in a zip lock bag or an airtight container on the counter for up to 3 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. These cookies also freeze very well! I recommend freezing them in a zip lock bag for up to 3 months.

horizontal photo of a baking sheet of cowboy cookies

If you’re a cookie monster like me, also try my Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies, 6-Ingredient No-Bake Cookies and my 3-Ingredient Oatmeal Cookies

Whip up a batch of these easy chocolate chip cookies to have them on hand throughout the week, or make them any time a special occasion arises.

baking sheet with cowboy cookies

Gluten-Free Cowboy Cookies

Yield: 16 Cookies
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Amazing gluten-free chocolate chip cookies with pecans, oats, and shredded coconut, cowboy cookies are everything you could possibly need in a delicious treat!

Ingredients

Instructions

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

    2. Cream butter and sugar together in a stand mixer on medium high speed until very fluffy (note: you can also use a large mixing bowl and an electric mixer or hand mixer).

    butter and sugar in a mixing bowl

    Scrape the sides of the bowl and beat in the egg and vanilla extract until well-combined (wet ingredients).

    3. In a separate large bowl, stir together the gluten-free flour, baking powder, cinnamon and sea salt until combined (dry ingredients). 

    Flour, cinnamon, and salt in a measuring cup

    4. Beat the flour mixture into the wet mixture on medium speed until a thick dough forms and everything is well-combined.

    wet ingredients and dry ingredients in a stand mixer, ready to be mixed

    5. Add the oats, pecans, shredded coconut and chocolate chips and mix until everything is well-distributed throughout the dough. 

    Oats, pecans, shredded coconut, and chocolate chips in a stand mixer

    Note: if the cookie dough seems overly greasy, refrigerate it for 20 to 40 minutes prior to baking it. My dough turns out ready to bake and isn’t soft or greasy, but varying brands of gluten-free flour may yield different results.

    6. Drop lumps of cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheet (note: the cookie dough will not spread very much and will maintain its form so be sure to make shapes you like for the final cookies). I use a ⅓ cup measuring cup to scoop big cookie dough balls for large cookies, but you can also use a large cookie scoop if you have one.

    Large lumps of cookie dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet

    7. Bake the cookies for 14 to 18 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. The baking time depends on the size of the cookies so for smaller cookies, bake 11 to 13 minutes, but stick with 14 to 18 for larger cookies.

    cookie sheet with chocolate chip cookies with pecans and chocolate chips

    8. Allow the cookies to cool for 10 minutes before serving. If you'd like to transfer them to a wire rack after 10 minutes to finish the cooling process, feel free to do so.

    plate with cowboy cookies on top

Notes

*Use brown sugar, maple sugar, or coconut sugar as a replacement for the cane sugar.

Store any leftover cookies in a zip lock bag or an airtight container on the counter for up to 3 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

These cookies also freeze very well! I recommend freezing them in a zip lock bag for up to 3 months.

Nutrition Information
Yield 18 Serving Size 1 Cookie (of 18)
Amount Per Serving Calories 309Total Fat 20gCarbohydrates 31gFiber 5gSugar 18gProtein 3g

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collage for cowboy cookies

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Juliana

Saturday 9th of July 2022

Wow, this has been the best cookie recipe I've made ever! Although I used 3/4 cup of avocado oil in place of the butter and swapped cane sugar for coconut sugar... I don't understand it but really, this has got to be the BEST cookie recipe online. You must have great taste, literally, haha! I'll be sticking around for more of your recipes. Thank you so much. I see that you're concerned with gut health and sharing information about it. That's wonderful! I'll be looking into purchasing a cookbook or two :)

Julia

Saturday 9th of July 2022

I'm so thrilled the cookies turned out great with the avocado oil and coconut sugar substitutions! This is very helpful to others who want to try the same thing. So happy you enjoy them, and thank you for sharing! xoxo

Pat

Thursday 30th of June 2022

You need to use gf oatmeal as not all oatmeal is cleared as gf. Relatives that are gf (celiac disease) have made a point of letting us (who are bakers/cooks) know during family gatherings. We try to have some foods that are available to them also.

Julia

Sunday 3rd of July 2022

Hi Pat! Thank you for pointing this out! This is very accurate - those who are GF need to make sure their oatmeal says "gluten-free" on the package due to potential cross contamination with wheat. :D xoxo

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