Gluten-Free Cowboy Cookies – Healthy Snacks for Kids


Gluten Free Cowboy CookiesSome cookies deserve to be big.  Like really, really big.  Giganamous, in fact.  And if ever cookie deserved to be big, it’s cowboy cookies.  I mean, it’s in the name after all.  Cowboy Cookies.  Doesn’t that  name just conjure up wide open spaces and expansive skies?  A small cowboy cookie is just wrong, it’s like an oxymoron.  And since these particular cowboy cookies are gluten-free (and free of most added sugars), they especially deserve to be on the large side.  Large, hearty cookies full of oatmeal, raisins, shredded coconut and chocolate chips, and made to tempt my young cowpokes from away from other cookies that are not likely to be quite so healthy.  And made nut-free as well, so I could pack them into school lunches!

I am not really sure where the term cowboy cookies comes from, but it appears to refer to cookies that are jam-packed with yummy inclusions.  In my experience, which granted has been limited to admiring the cowboy cookies my father always buys when we are up at our summer cottage, they seem to be a cross between oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip, with some coconut thrown in for good measure.  But the first few recipes I looked at online contained nary a raisin, which surprised me.  They did contain pecans, and I knew I had to forego the nuts if I wanted my recipe to be school-worthy.   I decided that I would strike out on my own and replace the pecans with California Raisins, which my kids adore and which would add some natural sweetness to the cookies.

Gluten-Free Cowboy Cookies

It’s tough, I will say, to find ways to get my kids more gluten-free for school lunches.  My kids typically like my low carb, gluten-free creations, and I have become quite a whiz with almond flour and other nut flours, but I can’t send those to school.  There’s coconut flour, but my kids don’t really like that as much when used in high quantities and I have to use it sparingly for kid-friendly recipes.  So I stock up on things like gluten-free oat flour and Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free all purpose flour, and I find a combination of those two things works really well to win my kids over to gluten-free.  It’s not low carb, but I am happy to know that it’s so much healthier than wheat-based flours, especially when I skip the sugar too.

And throwing in big handfuls of chocolate chips and California Raisins never hurts either!  These were kid-approved in my household, before they even went into the oven.  I had to fend three little creatures off the dough before it was even cooked!

Gluten-Free Cowboy Cookies


Gluten-Free Cowboy Cookies

Yield: 28 cookies

Serving Size: 1 cookies

Gluten-Free Cowboy Cookies

Hearty gluten-free, sugar-free cookies full of oatmeal, raisins, coconut and chocolate chips. A healthy snack for kids!


  • 1 cup gluten-free oat flour
  • 1 cup gluten-free oats
  • 1 cup Swerve Sweetener or granulated erythritol
  • ¾ cup gluten-free all purpose flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup melted coconut oil
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¾ cup gluten-free chocolate chips
  • ¾ cup raisins
  • ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut


  1. Preheat oven to 325F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the oat flour, oats, Swerve Sweetener or erythritol, all purpose flour, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt.
  3. Stir in coconut oil, eggs, vanilla and water until well combined.
  4. Stir in chocolate chips, raisins and shredded coconut (batter will be extremely thick!).
  5. Scoop dough out by heaping tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets. Press down with flat-bottomed glass or measuring cup (if dough sticks to glass, cover bottom with a small sheet of parchment).
  6. Bake 12 to 14 minutes, or until firm to the touch and lightly browned. Let cool on pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


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  1. Katharine says

    I will definitely be making these. I have a recipe my kids love that is similar but it calls for almond flour and whole GF oats. This nut free version will allow me to send a healthy cookie to my youngest child’s (nut free) preschool – yay! Thanks Carolyn.

    • Carolyn says

      I completely understand the need for the schools to be nut free, but doesn’t it drive you nuts (pun intended…I so need to work that one into a blog post!)? It’s so hard to aim for the low carb and gluten free versions I’d prefer my kids to be eating. Still, this is better than cookies made with wheat and sugar!

      • Katharine says

        I agree that school lunches are hard! Many days I just dread making them! It’s nice that my older two are in a public school where nuts are allowed (today I sent a snack of cashews and raisins – so easy). But I have so much empathy for parents dealing with severe nut allergies (my daughter has anaphylactic response to fire ants, but at least with her ant allergy we can do allergy shots to help lessen her allergic response, not to mention they are semi-avoidable). So I guess I don’t mind “taking one for the team” so to speak, when it comes to the nut-free school. But it definitely requires some creativity to make a lunch that’s nut-free, carb-aware (made up word) & gluten free! :) Let’s just say sometimes those lunch boxes come home with lots of uneaten food. Ugh. I just try to make sure breakfast and dinner make up for it.

  2. says

    There were these donuts at a shop in the town that I grew up in called Texas donuts, I’m not sure of its a thing anywhere else… But they were the largest donuts ever! Bigger than my face. Heh… No wonder I’m allergic to gluten now.

  3. Arlene says

    Caroline, any idea what the carb count would be, they sound wonderful and I’m wondering if they’re worth cheating for!

    • Carolyn says

      I will calculate it for you. I typically don’t when it’s not supposed to be something for low carbers. It will take me a bit but I will try to do it today.

  4. says

    These look really tasty. There was a coffee shop I used to frequent that sold Cowboy Cookies made in a big ice cream scoop shaped ball. They were amazing! I’m pretty sure their version had sunflower seeds in them. Does the school allow seeds? It would give the cookie a nutty flavor w/o adding nuts.

    Also I geek out on nutrition numbers so I plugged your recipe into SparkRecipies. I came up with 17.2 g. carbohydrate per cookie. Also cal. 146.3, fat 9.5 g, fiber 8.2 g., sugar 3.4 g., protein 2 g. Thanks for sharing your recipe I would like to try it or something similar soon.

    • Arlene says

      Thanks Rose, I really appreciate your efforts, I can probably reduce it by using Carbolose flour, I know what I’ll be doing tomorrow!!

  5. says

    Carolyn, so happy to see you baking gluten-free kid-friendly treats they actually LOVE…even if not totally low carb, they are still much (MUCH!) more healthy for the little ones. BRAVO! Recipes like this are just what the world needs. Great job with the food photography as well! Pinned!

  6. says

    Made these this morning (but with a combo of xylitol and stevia. The short and sweet: everybody LOVES these cookies, and nobody has had any inkling that they are gluten-free.

    Well done!

  7. Erin says

    Quick question…I am new to gluten free cooking! My all purpose GF flour already has xanthan gum in it. Do I need more? Also what can I sub for the sugar? i don’t have either one of those on hand? Thanks! Looks GREAT!!

  8. Scarlett says

    Hey Carolyn, can I sub the GF flour for almond flour? I know you made these for your kids’ school lunches so they had to be nut free but the only GF flour I have on hand is almond. If I were to sub it, would 1.75 cups (for the oat flour and bob’s GF flour)? Thanks!

    • Carolyn says

      I really don’t know for sure because I never tried making these with almond flour. My guess is you’d need more almond flour here.

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