Easy to Make Loaded Cowboy Cookies

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

Loaded Cowboy Cookies Recipe

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 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!

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!

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.


  •  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.


  1. Make one third of this recipe for a smaller batch of cookies.
  2. Scoop rounded tablespoons of dough for smaller cookies and bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.
  3. 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.

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