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Loaded Cowboy Cookies stacked on a square white plate

Loaded Cowboy Cookies

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I hit the jackpot with these chewy, buttery, Loaded Cowboy Cookies Recipe! Delicious oats, chocolate, coconut and pecans in every bite!

Whether you call these Cowboy Cookies or Ranger Cookies, this Oatmeal Cookies Recipe is an amped up, out of this world cookie you must make.

Loaded Cowboy Cookies stacked on a square white plate


Loaded Cowboy Cookies Recipe

The first ever cowboy cookies I baked were a huge disappointment. The recipe called for Rice Krispies which lost their crispness within hours. It took me over a decade to recover from that fiasco and to make another batch. It was time to give these another shot!

I found the basic recipe for these easy cowboy cookies in the New York Times, attributed to Laura Bush circa 2000.

They were the winner of the Family Circle’s presidential candidates’ wives cookie contest where the Democrat vs Republican competition was moved to the kitchen. I can see why this oatmeal cookies recipe won!

Loaded Cowboy Cookies on a square white plate

Tips for Making Cowboy Cookies

As usual, I had to tweak this recipe for loaded cowboy cookies a bit. I eliminated the cinnamon and decreased the amount of pecans. Of course, Bill would have loved these cookies  sans oatmeal, coconut and pecans. Yeah, those would be plain ol’ chocolate chip cookies! Some things never change.

  • Get out your butter and eggs about 60 minutes before you start making your cookie dough so they comes to room temperature. This ensures the dough will mix properly.
  • Whisking together your dry ingredients before you mix them into the dough helps prevent clumps of baking soda, baking powder or too much salt in any one cookie.
  • I like using my paddle attachment if using a mixer to make cookies. This prevents the dough from aerating which can happen when you beat with a whisk attachment.
  • The other option is to mix by hand with a wooden spoon.
  • These loaded cowboy cookies were each made with 1/4 cup of cookie dough! They are BIG cookies. Go ahead and use a rounded tablespoon full of dough and bake for 10-12 minutes for smaller cookies.
  • I mentioned all my tweaks above, but feel free to add back in 1 tablespoon of  cinnamon and an extra 1/2 cup of pecans, or nut of your choice to this oatmeal cookies recipe.
  • You could also use an alternative chocolate chip like bittersweet, white chocolate, or butterscotch. Or how about replacing some of the chocolate with toffee bits?
  • If you want perfectly round cookie, roll the dough between your two palms to form balls.
  • Then, when they come out of the oven, tap them into perfect circles while they’re still hot using a spatula. It works like a charm.

Though the hubby wouldn’t go near these loaded cowboy cookies, I had some much less picky girlfriends over for coffee. They broke the humongous cookies into quarters to sample, but those same hands went back to the serving tray for more. I happily sent most everyone home with a baggie full of cookies and popped the rest in the freezer to remove temptation from my sight. They are dreamy!

Frequently Asked Questions About Ranger or Cowboy Cookies

Why Are These Called Cowboy Cookies?

There is no definitive answer to this question, but a couple of theories. First, the name Cowboy Cookies may have come about because this recipe was developed or at least became popular in Texas. My recipe was adapted from Laura Bush, wife of our native Texan president, George W. Bush. The other thought was that these Cowboy Cookies, also known as Ranger Cookies, were sturdy enough for cowboys to take on the trail. With oats and nuts, there is some nutritional value, and of course calories.

What’s the Difference Between Cowboy Cookies and Ranger Cookies?

Both are loaded oatmeal cookies, with Ranger Cookies considered a subcategory of Cowboy Cookies. Cowboy cookies tend to contain oatmeal, coconut, nuts and cinnamon. On the other hand, Ranger cookies have Rice Krispies and chocolate chips. But, in this case, the cinnamon was eliminated and chocolate chips were added. So many times these terms are used interchangeably.

Pin this Cowboy Cookies Image!

Check out my Cookies and Bar Cookies Recipe Board on Pinterest for more fabulous cookie inspiration. Plus use the Pin button at the top of the post to save to your desserts or cookies board so you’ll have quick access to this yummy cookie recipe!

Loaded Cowboy Cookies pinterest collage

More Chocolate Cookies You’ll Love:

Used in This Recipe for Cowboy Cookies:


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Loaded Cowboy Cookies Recipe | Buttery cookies with oats, chocolate chips, pecans and coconut

Loaded Cowboy Cookies Recipe

Delicious oats, coconut, pecans and chocolate chips in every bite!

  • Author: Liz Berg
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 17 minutes
  • Total Time: 37 minutes
  • Yield: 36 large cookies 1x
  • Category: Dessert, Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3 cups old fashioned oatmeal
  • 2 cups angel flake coconut
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in bowl.
  3. In a very large bowl, beat butter until smooth and creamy. Gradually beat in sugars, and combine thoroughly.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Mix in vanilla.
  5. Stir in flour mixture until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips, oats, coconut and pecans.
  6. For each cookie, scoop out 1/4 cup of cookie dough, roll into balls and  space 3 inches apart on baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, until edges are lightly browned. Middles may have areas that appear slightly under done. Remove cookies from rack to cool.


Make one third of this recipe for a smaller batch of cookies.

Scoop rounded tablespoons of dough for smaller cookies and bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.

If your cookies aren’t perfectly round when they come out of the oven, use your spatula and tap the edges while the cookies are hot to form more circular cookies.


  • Serving Size: 1 cookie
  • Calories: 315kcal
  • Sugar: 23g
  • Sodium: 165mg
  • Fat: 18g
  • Saturated Fat: 10g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 38g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Protein: 4g
  • Cholesterol: 34mg

Note: this recipe makes a huge amount of dough. The measurements can easily be divided in thirds and you can also bake up more petite cookies (I recommend a rounded tablespoon instead of the 1/4 cup of dough called for in the recipe if you prefer a smaller version. Just decrease the baking time.).


Note: This post may contain affiliate links; view my Disclosure Policy for details. I earn a small percentage from any purchase you make by clicking on these links at no extra cost to you.

42 comments on “Loaded Cowboy Cookies”

  1. 3 cups of chocolate and 2 cups of coconut flakes!!! They have got to be GOOOOOOOOOOOOD!!

  2. Cowboy cookies are the best! Yours look absolutely perfect, as always! 🙂

  3. They really look good! And the oatmeal and pecans make them healthy… right?:@)

  4. These look so… delicious Liz, definitely a winner. I like your adaptations too, although I love both cinnamon and chocolate, I’m not a fan of them together. I’d gladly take a bag of these gems home, lucky friends you have!

  5. These look awesome Liz, chuck full of chewy and chocolatey goodness! I love oatmeal and pecans in cookies. Personally, I prefer slightly smaller cookies so I can est a whole one but JT would love the larger ones.
    BTW, I made your skillet chocolate chunk cookie and WOWZERS they were a huge hit at thanksgiving this year! So good that I’m blogging about it soon!

  6. A quarter of a cookie just won’t cut it for me. I’d want several of these beauties! These look terrific — great texture and flavor. Thanks!

  7. These cookies look so good. My son has the same tastes as your husband:) But my book club would love these.

  8. Great cookies and I agree with the coconut, the more, the better! I can’t imagine just a quarter of the cookies, that would take more control than I have. Can’t wait to try these! Thanks,Liz!

  9. Gorgeous Cowboy Cookies, Liz! How fitting they should come from the kitchen of Laura Bush! I love coconut and pecans in cookies. Not to mention chocolate. Glad you had girls over that can appreciate the finer things in life. XO

  10. I’ve only made cowboy cookies ones and it called for corn flakes instead of rice krispies and they were awesome! I can see how mushy rice puffs can be a disappointment. Glad you found a keeper this time!

  11. Can I trade places with your husband?? I would have no trouble eating these!! They look amazing Liz! I love the coconut and pecans!

  12. I can see why you would want to keep them in the freezer, they sound very tempting.

  13. These look like the perfect cookies! can’t wait to give it a try! 🙂 Thanks foe the recipe!! XO

  14. These sound yummy!! And hearty too! Yay for #Choctoberfest

  15. I haven’t baked any cookies this season and a cookie recipe that calls for 3 cups of chocolate chips is very tempting.

  16. This cookies are needed any my and ANYONE’S life!! Thanks for sharing!!!

  17. love the texture and size of these!!! And I totally agree with you on taking out the cinnamon, much better without!

  18. Yum! I’m definitely making this recipe! Off to pin it now.

  19. Those are especially beautiful cookies. I’d love to hear your tips on getting them to be so perfect!

  20. These sound perfect!

  21. The cookies were delicious but next time I would make a smaller batch. There was so much dough that I barely had a bowl big enough to mix it in!

  22. Every time I make these cookies, I always get asked for the recipe! Thank you!

  23. These are my new favorite cookie!

  24. I’m glad you gave cowboy cookies another chance because these turned out perfect!

  25. My kids can’t stop eating this! They were so good!

  26. These cookies remind me of my grandma who recently passed. She loved Imperial products and baking in general! I will definitely be making these in her honor.

  27. Although mine didn’t turn out as pretty and perfect like yours, they were the first cookies gone at my daughter’s party! What a hit!

  28. my family loves these cookies and I do make them often they are so addicting! yours looks perfect!

  29. Your cowboy cookies sound out of the world good, these will disappear in our house. Definitely making a batch.

  30. Not much beats a warm cookie that is the size of your hand!! I love that you added pecans AND coconut!

  31. These cookies look so good! My kids will finish an entire batch in minutes!

  32. I used butter flavored crisco and more flour.  Only had one cup of oatmeal.  Also short on pecans I added in peanuts   TURNED OUT GREAT !!!!

  33. I bet these would be really with dried cranberries in place of coconut. Can’t wait to try them both ways 

  34. Took these to a BBQ and got RAVE reviews. (11 yo girl “someone’s got talent”… 10 yo boy “these are the best cookies EVER!”) The only thing I did differently was to substitute half of the semi-sweet chocolate chips for M&M Minis, which added a pop of color.

  35. I cut your recipe in half following your directions
    And my cookies came out a little on the thin side. Any tips, l do live @ about 33 thousand feet. Maybe just a little more flour?

    • Yes, that might help. The King Arthur Flour website has a great post on high altitude baking— Hope your next batch is thicker! Good luck!

  36. hi. I’m just wondering why there are 2 different pictures for these cookies in the heading. one is thinker and crispier on the sides while the other is thicker with no crispy appearance. I’d prefer the first one but didn’t see a difference in the recipe to create one over the other. ??

    • Hi, Lorrie,

      All these cookies were from the same batch. Most likely, there were some batches where the dough had warmed up a bit more from sitting on the counter. Since all ovens bake differently, you may have to experiment with the timing to get that crispy edge. Good luck, and I hope you enjoy these!

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