Cowboy Cookies

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These chewy, fully loaded Cowboy Cookies are packed with chocolate, pecans, oats, and coconut. They’ve got deliciously gooey centers with crisp edges and are packed full of mix-ins–what’s not to love?!

Try some of our other favorite oatmeal-filled cookies like these Coconut Oatmeal Cookies, Oatmeal Pecan Cookies, or plain Oatmeal Cookies.

Image of a stack of Cowboy Cookies

What are Cowboy Cookies Made Of?

Cowboy Cookies are loaded and packed with all kinds of surprises– which set them apart from regular Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. These cookies have oats, coconut, pecans, chocolate chips, and ground cinnamon.

Now that you know what’s in ’em, you may be wondering how they got the name they have.

How Did Cowboy Cookies Get Their Name?

The origin of this cookie (and its name) is uncertain and much debated, but some say these cookies were considered the first power/protein bar! These were cookies that cowboys on the trail enjoyed — a quick and easy way to get nutrients for the long travels ahead. (Too bad, these Monster Energy Balls weren’t around for them then– ha!)

These cookies became more famous when Laura Bush shared her recipe for Cowboy Cookies during a political bake-off.

QUICK TIP

What is a Texas Cookie? Just another name these cookies go by! Texas Governor’s Mansion Cookies is yet another name for these famous oats, pecan, and coconut-loaded treats.  And you know what they say about Texas: everything’s bigger there. So these jumbo cookies fit the bill!

Process shots-- images of the butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and egg being added and it all being creamed together

Trouble-Shooting Texas Cowboy Cookies

Cookies can be tricky to get just right. With variations in oven temperatures, altitudes, and even how people measure specific ingredients, there is a lot that can go wrong!

How Do I Make My Cookies Less Fluffy?

For thinner and flatter cookies:

  • Don’t over-beat the mixture — this will add a lot of air to the batter.
  • Slightly increase the sugars.
  • Precisely measure the flour. Too much flour will give you dense, cake-like cookies. Spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level it off with the flat edge of a table knife.
  • Bang the pan of baked cookies on the top of your oven right after baking. This will help them spread out a bit more and cool flatter.

Why Are My Cowboy Cookies Flat?

For thicker cookies:

  • Bake on a Silpat® liner: I’ve tested these cookies on parchment paper and with a Silpat liner, and prefer the cookies baked on the liner. The bottoms always end up the best and cookies don’t flatten as much! If you don’t have a liner, parchment paper is still better than nothing.
  • Ensure the dough is chilled long enough and according to recipe directions.
  • Don’t under-measure the flour; this will cause thinner cookies.
  • If you live in a high-altitude area, adjustments might need to be made.

QUICK TIP

For thicker cookies, right out of the oven immediately press the edges of the cookie inwards with the back of a metal spatula to get the perfect round and slightly thicker cookie.

Process shots of cowboy cookies-- salt, cinnamon, baking soda, oats, coconut, flour, chocolate chips, and pecans being added and it all being mixed together

Cowboy Cookie Recipe Tips

  • Use old-fashioned oats. It’s important to use old-fashioned oats — each type of oat reacts differently in baked recipes (more in the “quick tip” box below).
  • Choose sweetened coconut flakes. You don’t want desiccated coconut or unsweetened coconut. Sweetened coconut adds an additional layer of sweetness to these Cowboy Cookies — we like ’em sweet!
  • See if your baking agents are fresh by using this quick test!

QUICK TIP

I don’t recommend quick oats for these best-ever Cowboy Cookies. Quick oats are so little that they act like additional flour instead of oats. This will make the cookies much drier and cake-like, which is not what we’re going for with these cookies. We want a bit more texture, which old-fashioned oats provide.

Process shots-- images of the dough being chilled, and then it being rolled into balls and it all being baked

How To Make Cowboy Cookies

A few more tips for best results when making these cookies:

  • Don’t melt or soften the butter. We want it at room temperature so it will cream nicely with the sugar.
  • Slightly underbake. This ensures the soft and chewy texture we all love! Over-baked cookies lose their delicious chewy texture and become less flavorful.
  • Make ’em pretty. I like to press a few additional baking chips or pecans on top of the cookies right out of the oven. While this is (of course) completely optional, it makes the cookies beautiful AND ensures you’re getting those mix-ins in every single bite!

Overhead image of Cowboy Cookies ready to be eaten

STORAGE

Cowboy Cookies Storage

Store fully cooled Cowboy Cookies at room temperature in an airtight container. Cookies are best eaten with three days. We recommend freezing the unbaked dough as opposed to baked cookies, but here are directions for either way:

To freeze baked cookies: Place completely cooled cookies on a baking sheet and freeze until solid. Then transfer the cookies to freezer bags or plastic containers, layering parchment paper in between the layers. Freeze up to 3 months. Note there is a slight loss of texture with freezing already-baked cookies.

To freeze unbaked cookies: Place Cowboy Cookie dough balls on a baking sheet and freeze until solid. Place frozen cookie dough balls in a freezer bag or plastic container. When ready to bake, you don’t have to thaw the cookie dough. Simply place the frozen dough onto a baking sheet and bake for 2-3 minutes longer than the recipe indicates.

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Cowboy Cookies

5 from 2 votes
These chewy, fully loaded Cowboy Cookies are packed with chocolate, pecans, oats, and coconut. They've got deliciously gooey centers with crisp edges and are packed full of mix-ins--what's not to love?!
Print Recipe

Cowboy Cookies

5 from 2 votes
These chewy, fully loaded Cowboy Cookies are packed with chocolate, pecans, oats, and coconut. They've got deliciously gooey centers with crisp edges and are packed full of mix-ins--what's not to love?!
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword cowboy cookies
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 11 minutes
Chilling Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 31 minutes
Servings 24 cookies
Calories 152kcal
Cost $5.12

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (230g) packed dark brown sugar (or light -- Note 1)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda Note 2
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup (50g) old-fashioned oats
  • 1-1/4 cup (167g) white all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (39g) sweetened coconut flakes Note 3
  • 3/4 cup (138g) chocolate chips we like milk, but semi-sweet or dark work great too!
  • 1/3 cup (43g) coarsely chopped pecans

Instructions

  • BUTTER AND SUGARS: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or use a large bowl and a hand mixer), add the room-temperature butter (not melted) and dark brown sugar. Beat at medium speed until light in color and smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Add in the egg and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 more minutes (should resemble creamy peanut butter). Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • BAKING AGENTS: Add in the baking soda, cinnamon, and fine sea salt. Mix until just combined, about 20 seconds.
  • FLOUR, OATS, AND COCONUT: Add in the oats, flour, and coconut. Mix until just combined, about 30 seconds.
  • CHOCOLATE CHIPS AND PECANS: Add in the chocolate chips and coarsely chopped pecans. Using a spatula, fold chips and pecans into the dough until just incorporated. Do not over-mix or over-beat dough. Overworking the dough will result in dense cookies. Cover the bowl of dough tightly and chill for 30 minutes.
  • SHAPE TALL COOKIE BALLS: Shape the cookie dough into balls that are 2 packed tablespoons in size (if you have a food scale: 40 grams each). Roll the balls higher rather than wider. Place cookie dough balls on a plate lined with parchment paper and cover gently with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for another 30-45 minutes. If you're in a rush, freeze the dough balls for about 25-30 minutes.
  • BAKE: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with Silpat liners (very important that the trays are lined, so the cookies don't over-brown/burn on the bottom). Place 6 cookie dough balls per sheet pan (they can spread a good deal!), allowing plenty of room to spread. Bake for 9 to 14 minutes (mine always take around 11 minutes), remembering they're best slightly under-baked. They should look ever-so-slightly gooey in the center (they harden a bit as they cool) and should be lightly browned around the edges. Remove from the oven and if they're too puffy for your liking, bang the sheet pan a few times on the counter to get them to flatten more (Note 4 for troubleshooting). Let stand on the cookie sheet for 5-10 more minutes to firm up enough to remove to a wire cooling rack with a spatula. Right out of the oven, you can press a few more chocolate chips and/or pecans in the tops of the cookies if desired (makes them look better and ensures chocolate in every bite!).
  • COOL AND ENJOY: Let cookies fully cool and set up before eating; they firm up a lot as they cool. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days. Cookies are best when eaten within 2-3 days.

Video

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Brown sugar: We like dark brown sugar best, but light brown works too. Make sure the sugar is very fresh and very soft! Hard brown sugar won't cream properly.
Note 2: Baking soda: See if the baking soda is fresh by using this quick test! If baking soda is at all clumpy, press through a fine-mesh sieve first.
Note 3: Coconut: Use sweetened coconut flakes (not desiccated coconut).
Note 4: Troubleshooting: If the cookies aren't spreading at all, it's likely there was too much flour added or the dough was overchilled. Pull out of the oven and press down the tops of the cookies with the back of a metal spatula then return to the oven for another 1-3 minutes or until cooked through. If cookies are spreading too much, it's likely too little flour, old baking agents, or dough was not properly chilled. Right out of the oven and working quickly, press the edges inwards with a metal spatula.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 152kcal | Carbohydrates: 19.8g | Protein: 1.8g | Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 17.9mg | Sodium: 4mg | Fiber: 1.1g | Sugar: 13.8g

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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