Gluten Free Cowboy Cookies

Gluten Free Cowboy Cookies

Gluten Free Cowboy Cookies

I’m no cowboy, and frankly I was always kind of neutral about Laura Bush, but these are some seriously good cookies. I wonder if she “invented” cowboy cookies (and clearly, Tipper Gore didn’t stand a chance with her gingersnap cookies, since a cookie with mix-ins beats a straight-up cutout cookie with no frosting, no nothing, any day of the week). I’m choosing to avoid the whole idea that the Family Circle Magazine in election year 2000 held a cookie bake-off between the presidential candidates’ wives, Tipper Gore and Laura Bush suggested a certain wifely stereotype, like that’s all that they’re good for. I’m just in it for the cookies anyway. My gluten free cowboy cookies are chewy and hearty (oats!), with just the right amount of chocolate chips in a big, generous gluten free chocolate chip cookie.

Gluten Free Cowboy Cookies

I know you. You’re going to want to know what can replace the oats (I don’t know! I’d honestly just go with another of my chocolate chip cookie recipes—there are plllllllenty). If you think you don’t care for coconut, but you’re thinking of the bagged, shredded sweetened coconut and you’ve never tried the wide, flat coconut flakes that are sometimes called coconut chips, I submit that you’re selling coconut short. If you want to replace it here, though, maybe try an equal amount, by weight, of chopped nuts? Experiment away!

Gluten Free Cowboy Cookies

You can see that my version doesn’t spread much, if at all, during baking, mostly because I cut back on the butter. I wanted a thick cookie that was crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside. So shape them before baking in the manner in which you’d like them to turn out after baking.

Gluten Free Cowboy Cookies

These might just be my new favorite chocolate chip cookies. And as something of a chocolate chip cookie connisseur, that’s really saying something. Give them a try!

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 20 cookies


1 1/2 cups (210 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar

1 cup (218 g) packed light brown sugar

1 1/2 cups (150 g) certified gluten free old fashioned rolled oats

1 1/2 cups (120 g) coconut chips

10 tablespoons (140 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 eggs (120 g, out of shell) at room temperature, beaten

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  • Preheat your oven to 325°F. Line rimmed baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper and set them aside.

  • In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt, and whisk to combine well. Place about 1 teaspoon of the dry ingredients in a separate, small bowl and add the chocolate chips to the bowl. Toss to coat the chips, and set the bowl aside. To the large bowl, add the granulated sugar and the brown sugar and whisk to combine, working out any lumps in the brown sugar. Add the oats and coconut chips and mix to combine. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the butter, eggs and vanilla, mixing to combine after each addition. Add the chips and reserved dry ingredients, and mix until the chips are evenly distributed throughout. If necessary to bring the dough together, knead it with your hands. Divide the dough into 20 pieces, each about 2 ounces. Roll each into a ball and place about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Flatten each ball into disk about 1/4-inch thick.

  • Place the baking sheets in the center of the preheated oven, one at a time, and bake until lightly golden brown all over (about 12 minutes). Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes or until firm before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • Adapted from Laura Bush’s Cowboy Cookies, as reprinted in The Washington Post, as selected by you from my Must Make Gluten Free Pinterest board.



P.S. Which Gluten Free on a Shoestring Cookbooks do you have? There are 3, soon to be 4!

Comments are closed.

  • Latia D
    September 3, 2014 at 8:05 PM

    Nicole, these turned out to be fabulous! A big hit with my teenaged boys and their friends; grown-ups, too! I doubled the recipe and we’re already out. Must. make. more. Thanks for all you do!

  • Mare Masterson
    August 27, 2014 at 2:26 PM

    Danger Will Robinson! Warning! Warning! Danger! I can tell you right now that I would eat all of these and that is NOT a good thing for me and my blood sugar! Nicole, have you tried freezing them? That would be my only saving grace – out of sight – one once in a blue moon. Otherwise, these will have to stay away from my house!

    • August 27, 2014 at 2:49 PM

      Indeed, I have, Mare! I am happy to report that they freeze perfectly. I wouldn’t want you missing out on them. They’re really, really good!

  • August 27, 2014 at 1:32 PM

    These look perfect! I can’t wait to try them. I’ve been looking for a crispy on the outside, chewy in the middle gluten free chocolate chip cookie for ages!

  • Sue
    August 27, 2014 at 12:47 PM

    Nicole, an easy replacement that I’ve found for oatmeal is quinoa flakes. Check ’em out!

    • August 27, 2014 at 2:48 PM

      Hi, Sue, quinoa flakes are light as a feather, so they would not be an appropriate substitute for old-fashioned rolled oats in this recipe.

  • Jennifer S.
    August 27, 2014 at 11:53 AM

    Yum. I love this! I have to tell you though I made the oatmeal NY cookies and my husband was like – what is up with the size of that cookie???? we all had a good laugh because they are huge. These look regular sized right? not that I care what size my cookies are – they are all good.
    So I’m having a weird problem – I come to your site every day after checking my email and some days the new post is not up yet. I have to link to it from facebook. Even if I refresh and click your home button. is it just me?

    • August 27, 2014 at 2:47 PM

      I love the huge NY Times-Style Oatmeal cookies, Jennifer! These are on the slightly larger side vis a vis your basic “regular” cookies, but nothing like the NY Times-style 5-inchers. They’re about 3-inches across.
      I have been posting a bit later in the morning the last week or so, so maybe sometimes you check and there isn’t a new post up just yet? Other than that, I’m not sure!

    • Anneke
      August 27, 2014 at 7:33 PM

      Not just you, Jennifer, happens to me, too! Maybe it is a MN thing? :) Even now I had to search on this post to find it. Not a big deal, but weird. These, by the way, look delicious, I may have to become a cookie baker this year, cause there are a lot of delicious ones showing up here!

      • August 28, 2014 at 10:40 AM

        So strange, Anneke and Jennifer. I will definitely mention it to my web developer. My site is on the verge of a redesign, so it might just be moot but it’s worth mentioning anyway. Sorry about that!

        • Anneke
          August 28, 2014 at 12:52 PM

          Just for your info, Nicole, I use Chrome.

      • Jennifer S.
        August 28, 2014 at 12:08 PM

        I checked it out from my work computer and the same thing is happening. I checked my phone and my tablet and it isn’t. NICOLE: was there a browser support change or anything or maybe Internet Explorer is not supported anymore?

  • Sally ODonnell
    August 27, 2014 at 11:50 AM

    Do you suppose these could be baked in a 8×8 pan for bars instead of cookies? I am a bar kind of person, all in one pan, bake and your done! LOL

    • Jennifer S.
      August 27, 2014 at 11:52 AM

      try it out and let us all know!

    • Donia Robinson
      August 27, 2014 at 12:09 PM

      Me too, Sally. Around Christmas time I start getting really anxious because I am expected to make cookies, and I am a cookie Scrooge. I hate all that in and out of the oven; pans, cooling racks, etc. Give me a bar cookie any day!!

    • August 27, 2014 at 2:44 PM

      I honestly don’t know, Sally, as I haven’t tried that. You’ll have to experiment!

  • Elspeth
    August 27, 2014 at 11:24 AM

    I grew up with cowboy cookies, as did my mother, citing her mother as the baker of the delicious treats. I don’t know where my grandmother got the recipe, but Laura Bush could not have invented them as she is only one year older than my mom. But they’re my favorite cookie and I’m happy to have a GF recipe now, thanks!!!

    • August 27, 2014 at 2:42 PM

      Good to know, Elspeth! P.S. Extra points for knowing how old Laura Bush is! ;)

  • Annette
    August 27, 2014 at 11:00 AM

    Does Better Batter flour have the Xanthan in it? Thanks!

    • Lucy
      August 27, 2014 at 11:08 AM

      The Better Batter Flour mix contains xanthan gum, omit the xanthan gum if using the mix

      Many other brands don’t include xanthan gum or if using your own DIY GF flour blend, so naturally you would add the xanthan gum :)

    • Michelle
      August 27, 2014 at 11:38 AM


    • Jennifer S.
      August 27, 2014 at 11:50 AM

      Yes it sure does! :)

  • Lucy
    August 27, 2014 at 10:55 AM

    I have made cowboy cookies many times before going GF and they also had cocoa in the recipe.
    I haven’t converted the recipe yet, these were always my favorite cookie. The recipe came out of a tupperware cookie cookbook “Chocolate Lovers Cookies”, my girls are not chocolate fans but they do surprise me and want chocolate on the occasion.
    I will definitely make these, school is to commence here on Sept. 2, if the teachers strike is over which they seem to be holding out for all they can get, at the students expense.
    Nicole, your chocolate graham crackers were a hit at the campfire, to my surprise since it was chocolate over kill!
    We are going camping again in 3 weeks, do you have any suggestions for a campfire treat?
    Love ya!

    • Jennifer S.
      August 27, 2014 at 11:51 AM

      I’m sure there are millions of ‘cowboy cookie’ recipes out there! send yours to Nicole, maybe she’ll remake it for us!!!

  • Michelle
    August 27, 2014 at 10:21 AM

    Chocolate, coconut and oatmeal? Oh, yum! What a great combo! I may even toss in a few chopped pecans, too. What a wonderful treat! Thanks!

    • August 27, 2014 at 2:43 PM

      Pecans would be great, Michelle!

      • Michelle
        August 27, 2014 at 10:10 PM

        Made them this afternoon, and they are fab.u.lous. My husband doesn’t usually like coconut, and he really likes them too. It will be nice to have these in the freezer. Thank you!

        • August 28, 2014 at 10:36 AM

          That’s awesome, Michelle! Thanks so much for reporting back. :)

  • Linda
    August 27, 2014 at 10:11 AM

    Any hints on where to find coconut chips? I’m thinking my first stop will be Amazon, but I wanted to make these tomorrow!

    • Jess
      August 27, 2014 at 11:50 AM

      The only place I’ve found them is in the bulk section of the grocery store. I’ve searched all the other stores in the area and they seem to just have the sweetened shredded kind. Good luck!

    • Jennifer S.
      August 27, 2014 at 11:51 AM

      Trader joes makes awesome ones that I eat by the handful

    • Michelle
      August 27, 2014 at 1:16 PM

      I get the Bob’s Red Mill brand at our local Whole Foods type place.

    • August 27, 2014 at 2:43 PM

      It looks like you have already gotten a lot of great suggestions, Linda, but I’ll just chime in and add that I find them in larger grocery stores–and in all natural foods/health food stores. Hope that helps!

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