I hit the jackpot with this 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.
Why You Should Make
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!
- The inspiration for this 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 delicious, chewy oatmeal cookies recipe won!
- This recipe makes a HUGE batch and they freeze beautifully. You’ll have a stash of ready-to-go snacks and dessert in your freezer.
- These cookies are loaded with chocolate chips, nuts, coconut, and oatmeal. You can easily tweak the recipe for your palate, swapping out different chocolate chips or nuts, or leaving out the coconut. They’re very versatile.
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 come 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. If you use a hand mixer, just be careful not to overbeat.
- 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 cookies, 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
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.
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.
Yes, try walnuts or almonds instead of the pecans if you prefer one of those.
Definitely. Omitting the coconut will not change the outcome of the recipe.
A couple of tips for making chewy cookies include not overmixing once the flour is added, using brown sugar (already in the recipe; it’s moister than white sugar), and not overbaking.
Once they’ve cooled completely, store in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-5 days. After that, they will freeze well, also in an airtight container, for up to 3 months
Use the Pin Button to Save this Cowboy Cookies Recipe!
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!
Plus, if you make and love these, I’d love if you’d comment and add a rating. That helps other readers know if this is a recommended recipe! THANK YOU, kind readers.
More Chocolate Cookies You’ll Love:
- Better Than Brownies Chocolate Cookies from Brown Eyed Baker
- Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies from Spend with Pennies
- Chewy Ginger Cookies
- Butterscotch Cookies Recipe
- S’mores Cookies
- Caramel Filled Chocolate Cookies
- Layered Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Plus if you’re a pecan lover, these Pecan Tassies are fabulous!
- More Cookie Recipes
- More Chocolate Recipes
How to Make a Smaller Batch of Laura Bush’s Cowboy Cookies
PRO-Tip: this recipe makes a huge amount of dough, and if you make smaller cookies you will have lots and lots! The measurements can easily be divided into 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.).
PRO-Tip: If you decide to make 1/3 of the recipe, here are the amounts for the smaller batch:
- 1 cup flour (Use All-Purpose)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder (Usually expires before you can use it all. Check the expiration date.)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8+ teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg (Large)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla (Use real, never imitation)
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I prefer Ghirardelli brand)
- 1 cup old fashioned oatmeal (Provides more texture and structure than Quick Oats)
- 2/3 cup angel flake coconut
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans (Toast first to bring out their flavor. May omit if desired)
- 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
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in bowl.
- In a very large bowl, beat butter until smooth and creamy. Gradually beat in sugars, and combine thoroughly.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Mix in vanilla.
- Stir in flour mixture until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips, oats, coconut and pecans.
- For each cookie, scoop out 1/4 cup of cookie dough, roll into balls and space 3 inches apart on baking sheet.
- 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.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Serving Size:1 cookie
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 315Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 165mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 3gSugar: 23gProtein: 4g