Cowboy Cookies Recipe (2024)

Recipe from Laura Bush

Adapted by Marian Burros

Cowboy Cookies Recipe (1)

Total Time
35 minutes
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This recipe came to The Times in 2000 during the Bush-Gore presidential campaign when Family Circle magazine ran cookie recipes from each of the candidates' wives and asked readers to vote. Laura Bush's cowboy cookies, a classic chocolate chip cookie that's been beefed up with oats, pecans, coconut and cinnamon, beat Tipper Gore's ginger snaps by a mile. Here is an adaptation of that winning recipe. —Marian Burros

Featured in: It's Ginger vs. Chocolate in the Presidential Cookie Race

Learn: How to Make Sugar Cookies

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Yield:3 to 3½ dozen cookies

  • 3cups all-purpose flour
  • 1tablespoon baking powder
  • 1tablespoon baking soda
  • 1tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1teaspoon salt
  • cups (3 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • cups granulated sugar
  • cups packed light-brown sugar
  • 3eggs
  • 1tablespoon vanilla
  • 3cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2cups unsweetened flake coconut
  • 2cups chopped pecans (8 ounces)

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (39 servings)

307 calories; 17 grams fat; 9 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 6 grams monounsaturated fat; 2 grams polyunsaturated fat; 38 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams dietary fiber; 24 grams sugars; 4 grams protein; 159 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Cowboy Cookies Recipe (2)


  1. Step


    Heat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Step


    Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in bowl.

  3. In a very large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth and creamy. Gradually beat in sugars, and combine thoroughly.

  4. Step


    Add eggs one at a time, beating after each. Beat in vanilla.

  5. Step


    Stir in flour mixture until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips, oats, coconut and pecans.

  6. Step


    For each cookie, drop ¼ cup dough onto ungreased baking sheets, spacing 3 inches apart.

  7. Step


    Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, until edges are lightly browned; rotate sheets halfway through. Remove cookies from rack to cool.



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Cooking Notes


Delicious! But made a TON (I got 58 cookies). I literally didn't have a mixing bowl big enough, had to use the lid to my cake carrier. To scale by 1/3:1 c flour1 t baking powder1 t baking soda1 t cinnamon1/4 t salt (heaping)1 stick butter1/2 c sugar1/2 c brown sugar1 egg1 t vanilla1 c choc chips1 c oats2/3 c coconut2/3 c pecans


I think every butter cookie recipe should come with a link to this article: I printed it out and stuck it in my recipe binder when I first ran across it, and I reread it for tips almost every time I try a new butter dough recipe. I also think the suggestion to reduce the butter would help keep the cookies from flattening, and will try that.


Chill the dough for 24 hours, and your cookies will be crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.


There is nothing wrong with this recipe! It is perfect, even better after refrigerating the dough. There is a reason that it is such a large batch and should NOT be halved because you think it makes too much. These are supposed to be giant cookies, not typical 1-2 Ttbsp size. You are supposed to use 1/4 cup PER cookie. Also if you are using typical cookie size they would probably be very dry and not crispy outside, chewy inside like they are supposed to be.


To address the flat cookie problem, I suggest cutting down on the butter; this makes the proportion of flour to butter greater, and I think will allow dough more rising fr/ the leavening. (And are we trying to hit cardiac arrest level of butter, or what?)


This is a good recipe!! After making it as written the first time, I now make a few adjustments...decrease the flour by up to a cup, increase the amount of oats by half a cup, toast the pecans before adding and use dark chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet.

Sarah Z

These cookies are fantastic. Recipe works well substituting gluten free flour. The huge batch tends to overflow the bowl of my standard sized KitchenAid mixer, so I would recommend a 2/3 batch:2 c. flour2 t. baking powder2 t. baking soda2 t. cinnamon1 t. kosher salt2 sticks butter1 c. granulated sugar1 c. brown sugar2 eggs2 t. vanilla2 c. chocolate chips2 c. oats1 1/3 c. coconut1 1/3. pecans


These cookies are tasty and have a great chewy but not soft texture. The recipe makes three times what I would normally make so I would halve the ingredients next time. I substituted 1 cup of chocolate chips for dark raisins for more variety. I would reduce the amount of sugar and butter next time.


Delicious crispy rounds! I added 1 cup raisin/dried cherry mix (to clean out the pantry) and substituted a small portion of the oats with wheat germ. In my world, flat is the goal. Never was a fan of the raw cookie dough so gummy round cookies disappoint. These are perfect. As for butter and sugar, if you resist them, what's the point of cookies? That day comes next month when I will need all of NYTimes experts to help me survive until Easter. For now, laissez the bontemps roulé!


Chill dough 24 hours. Scoop out into balls the size of small walnuts. (press balls together a bit so they will hold). Bake only 12 - 14 minutes (coolies will look like they are not done--only golden brown--but they are done. DO NOT COOK TOO MUCH, COOKIES WILL GET HARD. This recipe makes about 8 dozen cookies--one half recipe probably good for most uses.


Can you use quick cooking rolled oats?


These are delicious! Hearty, sweet and full of chocolate, oat-y goodness. (I left out the coconut and didn't miss it.)


I just found this recipe and made itthey are amazing, i used real butter and cooked them to where just the edges turned browni didnt use 1/4 cup per cookie, so i made 20 cookies to start and rolled the rest of the dough into balls and put them in the freezer for future baking.


These have become my favorite cookie, but I usually cut the recipe down to 2/3 of a batch. I make the balls with an ice cream scoop, which results in about a 4" cookie. The balls freeze well, just up the cooking time to about 20 min. if baking from frozen.


This recipe reminds me of the "Ranger Cookie" recipe which I love because it is the absolute best way to use up leftover boxed cereal. I use a cereal similar to "Life" or "Chex". The recipe uses three cups of cereal, which give the cookies a great crunchy texture in addition to the chewiness of the coconut and oats. They are my family's favorite chocolate chip cookie. The King Arthur flour website's recipe is excellent.


Amazing, 10/10. Made exactly by the recipe — makes a ton. Was going to refrigerate dough for 24 hours before baking, but took out four dough balls after a couple hours to try them out. Made each ball a little more than a quarter-cup. Perfect! Crispy edges, soft inside.


These large cookies are so chewy, tender and delicious! I used 2 cups of chocolate chips instead of 3 and added I cup of assorted dried fruit, cranberries, figs, dates, raisins, etc. I really liked this, the dried fruits adds to the chewiness and tenderness. I could not find flaked unsweetened coconut, so I used dried unsweetened coconut pieces and chopped in the food processor. These were a huge hit!

Amy D

I love the suggestions of 1/3 or 2/3 this recipe but regardless this is my favorite go to cookie. I mix it up with different nuts and fewer chocolate chips. I like dried cherries included sometimes too!


Combine ALL dry ingredients firstThen add butter/sugar/egg mix Use a mix of mini and regular chocolate chipsBake in batches of 6Use square paddle spoon for scooping Chill tray of cookies while alternate tray is in oven Bake convection oven 325 for 16.5 minutes Leave on tray for 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool


These cookies are amazing as written. Do not cut down on the butter to prevent flattening - instead, follow the advice to chill the dough - works like a charm.Amounts - instead of 1/4C scoops, weighing out 60g of dough per cookie is about perfect (1/4C is a little bigger and the cookies will spread to touch each other, especially if not chilled).At the 10 minute mark of baking, give each cookie a very light sprinkle of flaky sea salt - finish cooking.


Followed exactly as written and these were really good! Next time I would toast the coconut and pecans and add more salt.


I have someone with egg allergies. A Google search found many…with the advice:The best egg substitute for your recipe will depend on what you're trying to achieve. What’s the main purpose of the eggs? Binding? Whatever the purpose, what would be the corresponding substitute?I’ve use the flax meal substitute. Seemed ok. Just wondering if there is a better substitute. Thx.

Arlene Hanson

Recipe is too massive for my Kitchenaid stand mixer bowl. I plan to halve the recipe next time.


Eh. They were fine but not worth making twice when there are so many better cookies out there!


Bittersweet chips, down to 2 cups. Split remaining 3 cup add ins between nuts and dried cherries


My family and I love these cookies and they are fun to prep. Appreciate a previous commenter who provided measurements for 1/3 yield. I’m making these for a Christmas cookie exchange and will replace half the chocolate chips with red/green mini M&Ms. Prepping a full batch this time, so may end up freezing some dough, which I’m certainly not mad about. I’ll also be chilling the dough for ~36 hours prior to baking.

Kristy L

I halved this recipe which was perfect. The only challenge is using 1.5 eggs, but it worked by putting two eggs in a measuring cup and pouring 3/4 of the mixture in. I froze the dough for about an hour and then baked them. The edges were crispy and the insides gooey. They were so delicious!


2 cups of pecans = 16 ounces (vs 8 ounces like recipe states). Bummer that NYT Cooking can go in and edit recipes when mistakes are found. Seems crazy to me. Also - sub butterscotch chips for chocolate chips for a nice change!

Amy C

I made half this recipe as written and it yielded 18 large cookies, 4 inches in diameter. I used a 1/4 cup to get a 65 g weight and then weighed the remaining dough. Froze a dozen dough balls and baked the remaining 6 at 350 for 13-14 minutes (my oven). I think they’re very good but next time around will reduce both sugars a bit and increase the pecans. Great for a bake sale.


I toasted both the pecans and the coconut which gives the cookies an amazing flavor. I made smaller cookie with a walnut-sized cookie scoop and bake for 13 minutes. I used the 2/3 reduction of the recipe listed by Sarah 3 years ago which called for 2 cups of white sugar but I cut to 1 3/4 cups, added 2 T of flour and 3 T oatmeal. Now my favorite cookie recipe!

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Cowboy Cookies Recipe (2024)
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