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Trail Mix Cookies

Trail mix cookies are thick, chewy, and loaded with sweet and salty goodness! They are made with everyday pantry staples plus peanut butter, rolled oats, and a fun and tasty trail mix! 

Stack of trail mix cookies.
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Monster Trail Mix Cookies

Trail mix cookies draw inspiration from all the thick, chunky, and chewy cookies everyone loves! They’re loaded with chocolate chips the way monster cookies are and they’re laced with peanut butter which will remind you of peanut butter M&M cookies! Of course, the oats are what makes oatmeal M&M cookies so great and these trail mix cookies have plenty! 

Throw in the salty, nutty, crunch from the homemade trail mix and you’ve got THE BEST compilation of all of my favorite cookies! You’re going to love these trail mix chocolate chip cookies. They’re hearty and wholesome with the perfect combination of salty, sweet, and satisfying. And believe it or not, they’re also naturally gluten-free!

Why We Love Trail Mix Cookies

  1. Customizable. There are ways to make these your own! Use a different type of oat for a change in texture, add in more or fewer nuts, or omit them completely. Use candy other than M&M’s or switch up the type of chocolate chips. The possibilities are endless!
  2. Satisfying. Not because you can’t stop at just one! It’s because, despite the indulgence, they are loaded with healthy fat, making this a super satisfying snack!
  3. One bowl recipe. These trail mix cookies come together easily with just one bowl for easy clean-up.
Trail mix cookie dough in bowl.

Ingredients

  • Oats: These will be divided. Some will be ground up to use as flour and the rest will be kept as coarse oats for texture.
  • Unsalted butter: Here are tips on how to soften butter quickly if you’ve forgotten to take it out of the fridge. Softened butter helps keep the cookies nice and soft. 
  • Light brown sugar, packed: Adds moisture and sweetness and that brown sugary flavor that pairs so well with butter and oats. 
  • Baking staples: Granulated sugar, large eggs, vanilla extract, baking soda, fine sea salt
  • Creamy peanut butter: I recommend skipping the natural peanut butter this time around. It doesn’t keep the structure as well as we need it to.
  • Roughly chopped trail mix: For the cookie dough and to place on top too. All the salty crunchy goodness comes from whatever your mix consists of. If you don’t have any pre-made, use nuts, M&M’s, and raisins instead. 
  • Semisweet chocolate chips: These happen to be my favorite type of chocolate chips to use, but you go right ahead and use what you like. Dark chocolate, white chocolate, or even cacao nibs.

How to Make Trail Mix Cookies

  • Start by making a creamy base. In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, or an electric mixer, blend the butter and sugars until the mixture is creamy and pale. Beat in one egg at a time, followed by the peanut butter and vanilla until well combined.
  • Add the dry ingredients. Stir in the ground oats, whole oats, baking soda, and salt. Use a spatula to fold in the nuts, M&M’s, and chocolate chips, making sure they’re evenly dispersed throughout the cookie dough.
  • Scoop and flatten. Using a large cookie scoop, scoop out the dough onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. Do this with the remaining dough placing the balls 2 inches apart. Flatten them all slightly using the palm of your hand.
  • Bake until the edges are just slightly golden. This middle will still look slightly soft, but that’s ok they will set as they cool. If they’re not soft, they won’t be as chewy when they’re done.
  • Allow them to cool for a couple of minutes on the baking pan before you transfer them to one or two wire racks to cool completely.
Step by step collage making trail mix cookie dough.

Tips & Variations

  • Make ahead and freeze the dough. If you’re not quite ready to bake them yet, learn how to freeze cookie dough so that you can make the dough ahead and bake cookies later on. A convenient way to have frozen cookie dough on hand at all times!
  • Use a cookie scoop. It’s always important to measure our cookie dough so that each cookie is the same size and the same weight. This makes baking them even much easier!
  • Do not melt the butter. It should be softened to just room temperature. Melted butter will cause the cookies to spread making them flatter and crispier. 
  • For slightly thinner cookies, gently press down the balls with your hands. 
  • Add extra chopped trail mix on top of the cookies so that they stick out and are visually appealing.
  • The cookies will be soft when they’re done. Allowing them time to set first on the tray before moving them to the rack will keep them from falling apart when you try to lift them. 
Trail mix cookies on counter.

What is Trail Mix?

It’s a blend of nuts, seeds, dried fruits, granola, and sometimes candy that is a snack meant to be eaten by the handful on the go!

Now, don’t get me wrong, these cookies are not meant to be a superfood snack! They’re still cookies after all. The mix is just one element that not only adds crunchy, savory, and sweetness but a boost in nutrition too!

What Else Can I Add to the Trail Mix?

As you can imagine it is totally flexible! There are endless combinations and add-ins you can use to make a sweet and salty of your own. I use cashews, peanuts, almonds, raisins, and M&M’s in mine, but you can also add:

  • Cranberries
  • Pecan
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Hazelnuts
  • Walnuts
  • Marshmallows
  • Pretzels

FAQs

Can I use quick oats for this cookie recipe?

You can! Quick oats absorb liquid faster than old-fashioned rolled oats do which will change the texture of the cookie in the end. 

Why is it called trail mix?


Otherwise known as GORP, which stands for granola, oatmeal, raisins, and peanuts, it is a combination of snack items that provide carbohydrates, fat, and protein that hikers and campers need when keeping active. 

Some people like it more sweet than salty, and some like it more savory than sweet. I like to keep mine quite simple with just a few add-ins while others like to load it up with all the things!

Do trail mix cookies need to be refrigerated?

No! Not at first anyway. They can remain at room temperature, covered in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Anything more than that, you’ll want to transfer them to the freezer for up to 3 months.

Close up of a stack of trail mix cookies.

More Recipes You’ll Love

stack of trail mix cookies

Trail Mix Cookies

5 from 3 votes
Trail mix cookies are thick, chewy, and loaded with sweet and salty goodness! They are made with everyday pantry staples plus peanut butter, rolled oats, and a fun and tasty trail mix! 
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 8 mins
Total Time: 18 mins
Servings: 36

Ingredients 

  • 4 3/4 cups (475 grams) old fashioned oats , divided
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter , softened
  • 1 cup (158 grams) light brown sugar , packed
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups (383 grams) creamy peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (270 grams) roughly chopped trail mix , plus more for topping
  • 1/2 cup (170 grams) semisweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a food processor, pulse 4 cups oatmeal until coarsely ground. Set aside.
  • In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, blend the butter, sugar, and brown sugar 2 minutes, or until creamy and pale. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in peanut butter and vanilla until combined.
  • Stir in the remaining 3/4 cups oats, ground oats, baking soda, and salt. Fold in the trail mix and chocolate chips.
  • Using a large cookie scoop (about 2 Tablespoons), scoop the dough into balls onto the baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Flatten slightly with the palm of your hand. Press extra trail mix on top, if desired.
  • Bake 7 to 8 minutes, or until edges are just starting to turn lightly brown. The middle should still look slightly soft. Remove from the oven and let sit on the pan for 2 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Notes

Substitutions: Alternatively, if you don’t have trail mix, you can add in 1/2 cup nuts, 1/2 cup M&M’s, and 1/2 cup raisins. Add more, if desired.
Oats: For this recipe you can also use quick oats. It depends on your preference of texture.
Storage: Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days on the counter. Freeze in the freezer for up to 3 months. 

Calories: 306kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 21mg | Sodium: 230mg | Potassium: 217mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 104IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Jamielyn Nye

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