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Chewy, gluten-free Trail Mix Cookies are a fun riff on flourless peanut butter cookies packed with gluten-free oats, chocolate chips, and crunchy trail mix. This is an easy and healthier cookie recipe that you can enjoy right away, take on the go, or freeze for future snacking.
Whenever I’m craving some gluten-free, guilt-free snacking, I make these trail mix cookies! This recipe starts with flourless peanut butter cookie dough, which is then loaded up with nutritious add-ins, including my favorite trail mix.
Trail mix cookies are packed with tons of delicious textures thanks to creamy chocolate chips, crunchy nuts, chewy dried fruit, and oats. They’re like a healthier variation of my Monster Cookie Bars, which are made with M&Ms.
Enjoy these hearty gluten-free trail mix cookies for breakfast, as a snack, or as an after-dinner treat. Hearty, trail mix-filled peanut butter oatmeal cookies offer loads of sustenance, and they have just the right amount of sweetness.
These chewy, gluten-free trail mix cookies are amazing. Here’s why:
- Flourless. This recipe is completely gluten-free if you use certified gluten-free oats, with no flour needed. The texture is so rich and chewy!
- Satisfying. These oatmeal cookies go easy on the sugar and chocolate, loaded up instead with energy-boosting nuts, dried fruits, and seeds, plus protein from creamy peanut butter.
- Quick and customizable. Make your trail mix cookies in under an hour, and feel free to use any trail mix or combination of nuts, dried fruit, and chocolate of your choice.
What You’ll Need
Here you’ll find a quick run-down of the ingredients you’ll need for this trail mix cookie recipe. Be sure to check out the full recipe details in the recipe card below the post.
- Peanut Butter: You’ll want to use creamy, no-stir peanut butter. I use the Gold Emblem Abound No-Stir Creamy Peanut Butter, other good options are Jif or Skippy.
- Sugar: Both light brown sugar and a bit of white sugar.
- Butter: Let your butter stick come to room temperature before you start. I prefer to bake with unsalted butter, but salted butter will also work.
- Eggs and Vanilla: This flourless cookie recipe calls for 3 eggs to bind the ingredients together, plus real vanilla extract to deepen the flavor.
- Oats: I recommend certified gluten-free quick oats if you’re making these trail mix cookies gluten-free. Certification ensures that the oats are processed in a gluten-free facility.
- Baking Soda: For leavening.
- Trail Mix: Use either ready-made trail mix from the store or homemade trail mix. See below for details.
- Chocolate Chips: I like to use mini chocolate chips, but any size and type will do. Scroll further down in the post for more mix-in ideas.
What Trail Mix Should I Use?
Any kind you want, really. You’ll find loads of prepared trail mixes in most local supermarkets or health food stores (make sure you check that yours is gluten-free). Or, you can make your own by combining your favorite nuts, dried fruit, seeds, and sweet mix-ins like chocolate chips. If you’re particularly sensitive to gluten, make sure that the trail mix or add-ins you’re using are 100% gluten-free.
When using homemade trail mix, make sure to chop up any of the larger nuts and fruits. Also, avoid seasoned trail mixes, and only use salted nuts, seeds, etc. if you don’t mind a sweet-salty combo in your cookies (in this case, I’d recommend using unsalted butter so that you don’t wind up with extra salty cookies).
These trail mix cookies take minimal prep and then bake up in minutes! Let’s get started:
- Mix the dough. First, cream together the peanut butter with both sugars. Next, beat in the eggs, vanilla, oats, and baking soda. Finally, fold in the chocolate chips and trail mix.
- Portion the dough. Drop scoops of dough onto a lined baking sheet. You can make these cookies either small or medium-sized, depending on preference.
- Bake. Bake the cookies at 350ºF for 10-12 minutes if you’re baking smaller cookies. If you’re baking larger cookies, aim to bake them for 14-17 minutes. The cookies are done when they’re lightly golden and just set. It’s fine if they look a little underbaked.
- Cool. Leave the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes once they’re out of the oven. After, move the baked trail mix cookies to a wire rack while they finish cooling.
Tips for Success
These flourless peanut butter oatmeal cookies filled with healthy add-ins are easy-peasy to make. Here are a few tips to make the process all the more seamless:
- Use the right oats. I recommend using quick oats or rolled oats for a nice, chewy texture. Avoid steel-cut oats as they aren’t great for baking.
- Soften the butter first. Remember to take your butter out of the fridge so that it can come to room temperature before you start. It should be soft, but still cool and not melted (otherwise the cookies will spread too much).
- Line the baking sheets. Either parchment paper or silicone baking mats work great to prevent the cookies from sticking and burning. Lining the baking sheets also helps with spreading. Not to mention, easier cleanup!
- Use a cookie scoop. These are super handy for evenly-portioned cookies. You can use either a large or small cookie scoop, though a tablespoon also works in a pinch.
- Don’t flatten the cookies. I lightly press the tops of the trail mix cookies before baking them, but it’s not necessary if you prefer a rounder cookie. I don’t suggest flattening them as thinner cookies may come out overbaked.
- Don’t overbake. It’s more than fine if your trail mix cookies seem a little underbaked when they come out of the oven. You want them lightly golden at the edges, but still soft in the middle. They’ll set up more as they cool on the baking sheet.
Things You’ll Need
Here are a few of the items mentioned above that will help you bake perfect cookies!
Mix-Ins and Variations
You can use any type of trail mix or combination of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit that you’d like to make your trail mix cookies. Remember to chop up larger pieces so that your cookies don’t crumble apart. Here are some mix-in ideas:
- Nuts: Peanuts, cashews, almonds, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts.
- Dried Fruit: Raisins or craisins, dried apricots, dried apples, banana chips, dried cherries, goji berries, currants.
- Seeds: Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pepitas, chia seeds.
- Chocolate Chips: dark chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, or toffee bits.
- More Add-Ins: Toasted coconut flakes, M&Ms, chopped pretzels, pistachios, etc.
This recipe makes a generous batch of cookies, and they keep well. Store your baked and cooled cookies airtight for up to 4 days on the counter, or up to 1 week in the fridge. Alternatively, these trail mix cookies freeze great, see below.
To freeze your homemade trail mix cookies, allow the cookies to cool completely and then flash-freeze them on a baking sheet. Afterward, transfer the cookies to a freezer bag to keep frozen for up to 3 months.
- 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 4 1/2 cups quick oats, certified gluten free if needed
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 cup trail mix
- 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- In a large bowl, combine the peanut butter, white sugar and brown sugar, and cream together with an electric mixer.
- Beat in the eggs and vanilla, then the oats and baking soda.
- By hand using a wooden spoon, stir in the trail mix and chocolate chips.
- Drop the cookies onto prepare baking sheets using a small scoop (about one heaping tablespoon), for the small cookies, or a medium scoop (about two heaping tablespoons). Press down slightly.
- Bake smaller cookies for 10-12 minutes or larger ones for 14-17 minutes, or until just set and lightly golden brown. Do not overbake.
- Cool for 5 minutes on cookie sheets until cookies are set, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
- Adapted from RecipeGirl’s Monster Cookies.
- This recipe yields approximately 3 dozen large cookies or 6-7 dozen small cookies. Use a large or small cookie scoop depending on the size you prefer.