These are the best cowboy cookies loaded with chocolate, coconut, nuts, cinnamon and coconut. The result is a sweet treat that is soft, chewy and full of texture and flavor!
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Laura Bush’s Cowboy Cookies
Cowboy cookies are thick, hearty, and loaded with mix-ins like chocolate chips, oats, coconut, and pecans with a hint of cinnamon. If you’re a fan of oatmeal cookies, seven layer bars and copycat Levain cookie recipe, you will love these!
Referred to as former first lady Laura Bush’s cowboy cookies, she made them popular during the 2000 presidential campaign. In Family Circle Magazine the public voted hers the best cookie recipe out of all the candidates’ wives and it’s true these cookies are divine!
Why This Recipe Works
- Easy to make. It’s an easy one-bowl recipe that can be prepped in 15 minutes. You can even make the dough balls ahead and bake when ready!
- You probably have what you need. There are no fancy individual ingredients that go into the cookie dough, so you probably already have what you need.
- Delicious and full of texture. It’s the combination of these simple ingredients that gives the cowboy cookies a wide range of flavors and textures that are irresistible!
Cowboy Cookie Recipe Ingredients
Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.
- Unsalted butter: We’re using unsalted softened butter so we can control the amount of salt added to this recipe. If salted butter is all you have, adjust added salt to just 1/2 teaspoon.
- Sugars: I use both granulated sugar and light brown sugar. The combination of granulated sugar and brown sugar adds sweetness plus caramelized sugar flavor and added moisture.
- Baking staples: Large egg, vanilla extract, all-purpose flour, baking soda, sea salt.
- Mix-ins: Old-fashioned oats, semi-sweet chocolate chips, shredded coconut, and chopped pecans.
Substitutions and Variations
Traditional cowboy cookies are amazing but that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative with them!
- Nuts: If pecans aren’t your favorite nuts swap them for chopped walnuts or slivered almonds instead.
- Chocolate chips: Use milk chocolate chips, white chocolate, or dark chocolate chips if you would like.
- Dried fruit: You can add some dried fruit to the mix, like raisins, cranberries, or dried cherries.
- Spices: Along with cinnamon add nutmeg, cardamom or ginger.
- Extra flavor: If you want to go the extra mile, I’d suggest browning the butter. If you’ve ever had my brown butter chocolate chip cookies you’ll understand how much extra flavor it adds!
How to Make Cowboy Cookies
Soft and chewy and packed full of flavor and texture, it’s no wonder this recipe beat Tipper Gore’s ginger snaps to win the bake-off!
- Mix wet ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars together, then mix in the egg and vanilla.
- Mix dry ingredients. In a blender or food processor, pulse the flour, 1/2 cup of oats, 1/4 cup of chocolate chips, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Just a few times until the oats and chocolate chips are broken, not completely a powder.
- Form the cookie dough. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and mix until just combined. Fold in the mix-ins and the remaining oats and chocolate chips.
- Bake the cowboy cookies. Use a large cookie scoop to portion dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets, leaving room for spreading. Bake for 6-8 minutes until golden brown around the edges.
Helpful Tips for Best Cowboy Cookies
- If you find the dough is too soft or too sticky, place it in the fridge for 15 minutes to solidify. It might mean your butter has become too soft, in which case it will spread too thin.
- Oats: Do not use quick oats it will not only change the texture of the cookies but they will end up dry.
- Avoid over baking: When the edges turn light golden brown, remove from the oven. The middle will still be a bit soft but they will firm as they cool. This will result in nice and chewy cowboy cookies!
- Finishing them with a sprinkling of flaked sea salt is an excellent way to get more of that sweet and salty taste experience.
I wouldn’t recommend it. If you have an electric mixer I would suggest using it, if not a stand mixer. To whisk it by hand would be too hard to get the butter and sugars to that creamy consistency. If you want the workout then, by all means, try it out.
Some say it’s because they were made to sustain cowboys during the day because of how hearty and filling they are. Others think it’s because they were invented during a time when the Wild Wild West was trending. Who knows why they are called what they’re called as long as we get to keep eating them.
The culprit is probably not measuring the flour correctly. It is super important in any baking recipe to make sure to use the right amount. The kitchen scale is the most accurate way, but if you don’t have one, knowing how to measure flour without a scale is key. Otherwise, you’ll end up using too much leaving your cookies dense and dry.
Most likely due to not taking them out soon enough. As soon as you start to see the edges turn golden brown it’s ok to take them out even if the centers are still soft. As they cool on the baking sheet, the residual heat from the tray will continue to bake the cookies.
If you take them out once the centers are no longer soft, they will still continue to bake as they cool which will leave them overdone.
Storing and Freezing
- Store: To keep the cowboy cookies nice and moist, store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. No need to refrigerate them.
- Freeze baked cookies: Cool completely then place them in a freezer-safe bag or container and storing frozen for up to 3 months. Separate the layers with parchment paper so that they don’t stick together when frozen. Thaw on counter or overnight in the refrigerator.
- Freezing dough: Roll them into balls and lay them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Flash freeze them until solid then transfer them to a freezer bag. Keep them frozen for up to 3 months. You can bake them straight from frozen just tack on a few extra minutes.
More Cookie Recipes To Try
- ½ cup unsalted butter , softened
- ¾ cup light brown sugar , packed
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup old fashioned oats , divided
- 1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips , divided (more for topping, if desired)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ – 1 cup shredded coconut
- ½ cup chopped pecans , more for tops if desired
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Mix in the egg and vanilla.
- In a blender, pulse flour, 1/2 cup oats, 1/4 cup chocolate chips, baking soda, salt and cinnamon a few times until oats and chocolate are broken.
- Mix the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until just combined. Fold in the coconut, pecans, remaining 1/2 cup oats, and remaining 1 1/4 cup chocolate chips.
- Using a large cookie scoop (or 2 Tablespoons), scoop the dough onto baking sheets. Flatten slightly with the back of a spoon. Add a few extra chocolate chips to the top, if desired. Bake 6 to 8 minutes, or until golden around the edges. The middle should be soft and will firm as they cool.
- Let cool on baking sheet a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in a covered container up to 3 days.
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
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