These No Bake Cowboy Cookie Energy Bites are the perfect gluten free breakfast or snack. Made with better-for-you ingredients, they’re everything you love about a freshly baked cowboy cookie in the convenience of no bake energy bites! Vegan option.
What Is a Cowboy Cookie?
Somewhere between a protein bar and a chocolate chip cookie, rumor has it that the first cowboy cookie was invented by cowboys in Texas in the 1800s. As the story goes, they were intended to be an easy-to-make, packable recipe that the men could use as fuel while out on the trails. However, the validity of this tale has never been confirmed as being historically accurate. Whatever their origin, one thing is certain – cowboy cookies are crazy delicious!
Our Better For You No Bake Version
As much as we love cookies, we can’t just sit around eating them all day! Maybe in our dream life. 😉 So, we took our favorite cowboy cookie recipe and turned it into a more wholesome no bake energy bites!
They require no eggs, no flour mixture, no baking soda, or vanilla extract, but have all the flavors you love. Plus, they’re gluten free, dairy free, and even have a vegan option, too!
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Gluten Free Rolled Oats – A good source of complex carbohydrates, oats form the base of these cowboy cookie bites, providing a slightly chewy texture along with plenty of fiber to keep you full!
- Dark Chocolate Chips – We love the rich flavor of dark chocolate and the antioxidants it provides! However, if you prefer, you could swap out it out for milk chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips.
- Shredded Coconut (Unsweetened) – Coconut is crucial to recreating the taste and texture of cowboy cookies. Plus, it’s a great source of copper, selenium, potassium, and more!
- Coconut or Brown Sugar – Just a pinch of sugar helps provide the sweetness you would expect from cookie dough without creating a sugar crash later.
- Chopped Nuts – Traditional cowboy cookies use pecans, but feel free to use whatever you like best. They’re all rich sources of healthy fats and fiber!
- Cinnamon – One of our favorite anti-inflammatory spices, cinnamon helps create a warm flavor and extra depth.
- No Stir Creamy Nut Butter – We usually use peanut butter, but almond butter, cashew butter, or even sunflower butter would work! Just be aware that the taste and texture may change based on what you use.
- Raw Honey or Maple Syrup – Crucial to creating a sticky texture, honey and maple syrup are rich sources of antioxidants and can help fight inflammation.
Note: If you prefer a more sweet/salty taste, feel free to add just a pinch of salt as well!
How to Roll It All Together
Below is a brief overview of how we create our energy bites without the need for an oven but don’t forget to take a look at the full recipe below for all the details!
- Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- Mix in the wet ingredients.
- Chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.
- Scoop and roll the batter into 1-1.5 inch balls, and place them on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
- Freeze for 20-30 minutes.
How to Keep Energy Bites from Falling Apart ➕ Tips for Better Bites!
Add More Honey or Syrup. If your bites aren’t sticking together, add a touch more honey or maple syrup until the batter sticks together.
Use Protein Powder or Oat Flour. On the other hand, if your bites are too sticky to hold together, try sprinkling a bit of protein powder or gluten free oat flour into the batter.
Chill. Don’t forget to chill the dough before trying to form your bites. No really! This will help the ingredients stick together.
Squeeze and Roll! If you’re having trouble getting your cowboy cookie bites to stick together, try squeezing them first. Just pinch off a portion of the dough, squeeze it between your fingers, roll it between your palms, and repeat until a round ball is formed.
How Do I Store No Bake Energy Bites?
Once your bites are formed and frozen, they can be stored in an airtight container or sealable bag in the fridge or freezer for up to 6 weeks.
We recommend serving your bites cold or at room temperature so be sure to thaw them before eating!
More Gluten Free No Bake Bites & Balls You’ll Love
- Crushed nuts, chocolate chips, rolled oats, creamy nut butter, and dried cranberries come together to taste just like oatmeal cookies in these No Bake Oatmeal Energy Balls.
- These Dark Chocolate Chunk No Bake Protein Balls are a chewy, nut free snack perfect for packed lunches, post-workout fuel, and more!
- Naturally sweetened and full of healthy fats, Chocolate Pistachio Protein Balls are crunchy, slightly sweet, and completely delicious.
- Everything you love about cookies in the form of no bake bites, No Bake Chocolate Cookie Truffles are gluten free, made with 5 ingredients, and even have a vegan option to meet all your needs!
No Bake Cowboy Cookie Energy Bites (Vegan Option)
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 20–25 bites 1x
- Diet: Gluten Free
Inspired by your favorite cowboy cookies, these no bake energy bites are made with healthy ingredients for a gluten free breakfast or on-the-go snack you’ll love!
- ¾ cup gluten free rolled oats (See notes)
- ⅓ cup dark chocolate chips
- ½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1 Tablespoon coconut sugar or brown sugar
- ⅓ cup chopped nuts
- Pinch of cinnamon
- ⅓ cup no stir creamy nut butter
- ⅓ cup honey or maple syrup
- Gluten free oat flour or plant based protein powder as needed (1-3 Tablespoons)
- In a large bowl, mix together the rolled oats, chocolate chips, coconut, coconut sugar, nuts, and a pinch of cinnamon. Add the creamy nut butter and honey or maple syrup, and stir again to combine.
- Adjust the amount of honey or maple syrup needed for the batter to stick together.
- If batter is sticky, add 1-3 Tablespoons of gluten free oat flour or plant based protein powder, and mix together.
- Place batter in the fridge for 20 minutes. This allows for easier rolling later.
- Line a cookie sheet or large container with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Remove the batter from the fridge, and roll into 1-1.5 inch balls. Place balls on a cookie tray. Then, freeze for 20-30 minutes.
- Once chilled, transfer into a Ziploc bag.
- Store in the fridge or freezer for up to 6 weeks.
Do not swap out the rolled oats for quick oats! They will not hold the bites together well.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Chill Time: 20 minutes
- Category: Snack
- Method: No-Bake
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 1 energy bite
- Calories: 75
- Sugar: 4.2g
- Sodium: 1.7mg
- Fat: 4.9g
- Saturated Fat: 1.6g
- Carbohydrates: 7.2g
- Fiber: 1.2g
- Protein: 1.7g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
Keywords: cowboy cookie, no bake, energy bite, no bake snacks, gluten free snacks, vegan, dairy free snack
Can you recommend a no-stir peanut butter please?
Hi Renee! Where do you shop? I like the organic brand from Costco or Justin’s https://amzn.to/3G9FW9f
Hi there! I’d love to try these, but I absolutely hate coconut. What would you suggest for a substitution, or can I just leave it out?
Sammi (Cotter Crunch Test Kitchen)
Hi Heather! I would omit the shredded coconut and lessen the amount of nut butter and maple syrup. However, you may want to try my oatmeal cookie energy bites instead as they are very similar but don’t include coconut. https://www.cottercrunch.com/no-bake-oatmeal-cookie-energy-bites/ Keep me posted!
Great healthy for anyone guilty free!
Hello! I see cinnamon listed in the directions but not in the ingredient list. Do I just need a pinch? Thanks!
Oh sorry about that, yes it should be just a pinch!
Thank you Lindsay! My husband and I absolutely love these. I am currently nearing the end of my second trimester in my first pregnancy and was looking for a “healthy” option for satisfying my ever present sweet tooth. These are delicious, satisfying, and I don’t have to feel guilty eating them. I imagine they would also be good for a breastfeeding snack as well-maybe adding some chia or flax seed too. Thanks again!
Oh I am so glad! Thank you for your kind words Maria. And I hope the rest of pregnancy goes well!
Hi Lindsay! These look and sound incredible! One quick question for you, and sorry if it has been asked already (didn’t read all the comments)… could I sub coconut flour for almond flour? It’s what I have on hand most often (well now… because I need these now) ????
Hi Laura! I think you could use coconut flour, but you might need to adjust the peanut butter and/or honey. Coconut flour is a bit more dry so sometimes it needs more liquid to hold. Hope that helps!
I don’t see the almond floor in the directions but it’s listed as an ingredient?
Oh oops! I’ll add it now. It’s with the oats, chocolate chip part. You mix it in.
Cassie Autumn Tran
Oh goodness me, look at these delicious cookie energy bites! The oats and the chocolate chips look absolutely DELICIOUS. And once I start dating someone, I wouldn’t be NEARLY as enthused about sharing my desserts with him, unless if they are made FOR him. LOL!
Jody - Fit at 59
OK – YUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM
Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table
I’ve never heard of cowboy cookies either… but they sound like what we called Millionaire Cookies. Either way, these balls look like something I need. It’s basically everything I love, rolled into a little ball. 😉
I like millionaire cookies. Makes me feel rich. LOL!
These have so many healthy ingredients included, I’m not you sure have to justify making them. Add them to the getting my daily supply of fiber and leave it at that! 🙂
Susie @ Suzlyfe
I feel like Kiwi isn’t even going to blink about biking 100 miles 😀
Meanwhile, I’ll be on my bum eating these 😀
haha I’ll join you!
Andrea @ Cooking with Mamma C
These are right up my alley! I absolutely love dark chocolate. And, I’m so impressed your husband is going to bike 100 miles! The most I’ve ever done is 20, in cycling class. I’d need these energy bites for sure!
You make energy bites look easy! I love this idea. So creative!
Mary // Chattavore
Can you believe I am 38 and have never actually watched Dazed and Confused? Just clips here and there.?But yes, it is unofficially official: summer is here. These energy bites sound delicious!
These cowboy cookie energy bites look and sound amazing! I definitely need to make some of these yummy treats soon! Love grab & go snacks.
Yes, please do make and enjoy! Thanks, Stephanie!
Dawn - Girl Heart Food
I’ve never had a ‘cowboy’ cookie before, but I’m totally down with this! Loving all those flavours packed into one little bite. But, honestly, it would be very hard to eat just one of these 😉 Awesome that they are no bake too. Perfect for the summer when the weather warms up. Pinned! Have an awesome week!
Thanks, Dawn! Really hope you get a chance to make and try these! Yep, you’ll have a hard time eating just one! lol
You have an awesome week too!
Ooh what a yummy bite great for a snack too!! Loving thiese little bites!!
Thanks Debra! Would love it know if you make these!
Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious
I have no idea what cowboy cookies are, but I’m sure I could gobble these up easily!
haha! Yes, I can tell you these are VERY easy to gobble up!
I love that your sherpa wife came alive to create things that your husband can eat during his race. 100 miles is a LONG race. O_O I only rode 100 miles once, and we definitely ate a lot of food.
Absolutely love these Lindsay! They look and sound awesome. Good luck to your husband in his bike race!!!!
thank you so much deb!!