These hearty peanut butter oatmeal cowboy cookies are loaded with melty chocolate chunks, walnuts, and oats. They might just be the best vegan cookies ever!

A close-up photo of peanut butter cowboy cookies with oats, chocolate, and walnuts on a cooling rack.

Working from home is something I’m always grateful for, but can also be quite isolating at times. Occasionally, when I’m feeling especially indulgent, I’ll take my laptop and set up shop at a coffee shop. One of my favorite spots here in Santa Barbara is Handlebar, which is filled with positive energy and has the best avocado toast, golden lattes, and vegan cowboy cookies. 

These hearty cowboy cookies are inspired by Handlebar’s version. Loaded with oats, nuts, melty dark chocolate chunks, and a subtle peanut butter background, these are one of our favorite cookies ever! And they are made with healthier, more natural ingredients. 

Bowls of cookie ingredients such as flour, oats, peanut butter, and coconut on a marble countertop.

What are Cowboy Cookies?

After a quick Google, I learned that cowboy cookies came into popularity with Laura Bush’s “Texas Governor’s Mansion Cowboy Cookie”. Mrs. Bush’s recipe was published in Family Circle Magazine. 

Bush’s cowboy cookies didn’t use peanut butter, but I love the flavor it ads, and it also works well as a binder in vegan baking, like these Peanut Butter Oatmeal Muffins

In this vegan peanut butter cowboy cookie recipe, we are using ingredients that are a bit healthier: whole wheat pastry flour (much nicer for baking than whole wheat flour), a little coconut oil (instead of 1 ½ cups butter), a flaxseed egg, and a maple syrup/brown sugar combo for sweetness. We tested this recipe using 100% maple syrup, and found the texture to much better with the addition of some brown sugar. Nuts add wonderful crunch, and you can use pecans or walnuts. And just like we mentioned in our BEST Vegan Chocolate Chip cookies, cookies should always have chopped dark chocolate for maximum melt, rather than chips. 

How to Make Cowboy Cookies

The wet ingredients for vegan peanut butter oat cookies in the bowl of a KitchenAid mixer.

The wet ingredients get blended together in the bowl of a mixer until smooth and creamy. 

Dry ingredients are added to wet ingredients when making vegan cookies in a KitchenAid mixer.

Whisk the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl, then add to the wet ingredients. Truth be told, I usually just sprinkle the dry ingredients right into the bowl with the wet. 

The dough for vegan cowboy cookies is scooped out of a KitchenAid mixer with a cookie scoop.

Mix in the chocolate and nuts, then scoop. Using a cookie scoop or small ice cream scoop makes scooping cookie dough extra quick and easy. If you like big cookies (I do) use two scoops per cookie. These cookies don’t spread much, so press them flat onto the parchment or silicon mat lined cookie sheet before baking. 

Three delicious vegan peanut butter oatmeal cookies with dark chocolate chunks in a stack on a marble countertop.

These cowboy cookies may be a bit crumbly when first out of the oven, but will firm up after a few minutes, so let cool at least 10 minutes on the sheet. 

Yield: about 20

Cowboy Cookies

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes

These hearty cowboy cookies have a whole wheat flour and peanut butter base and are loaded with oats, nuts, coconut, and dark chocolate chunks. This is a healthier vegan cowboy cookie recipe inspired by Handlebar Coffee Roasters in Santa Barbara.

Cowboy Cookies


  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup shredded/flaked unsweetened coconut
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar (I used Trader Joe's)
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 prepared flax egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup chopped dark chocolate*


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, oats, and coconut.
  3. In the bowl of a mixer, beat together the peanut butter, syrup, brown sugar, coconut oil, flax egg, and vanilla until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and stir on low until just combined. Stir in the nuts and chocolate.
  4. Scoop 1-2-tablespoon balls of dough and roll into balls. Place on the prepared cookie sheet and press down to form disks. These cookies don't spread much during baking.
  5. Bake 10-15 minutes, until just golden on top. Let cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. These cookies taste best the day they are made.


This recipe will make about 20 small cookies, or half as many large (2 scoop) cookies. I recommend using a cookie scoop for uniform-sized cookies. Larger cookies will take about 3-5 minutes longer to bake.

Feel free to substitute all-purpose flour or your favorite gluten-free all purpose flour. I don't recommend using regular whole wheat flour, which is not as soft and finely ground as whole wheat pastry flour.

Be sure to use dairy-free dark chocolate for vegan cookies.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 241Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gSodium: 157mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 3gSugar: 9gProtein: 6g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your favorite calculator.