This Ranger Cookies recipe (also called Cowboy Cookies or Cornflake Cookies) makes delicious cookies that are crunchy on the outside, with crispy edges, and chewy on the inside. Coconut flakes, nuts, oats, corn flakes, and crispy rice cereal give these old-fashioned Ranger Cookies lots of flavor and crunchy texture. This Cowboy Cookies recipe is one you will make again and again!
Easy Ranger Cookies Recipe
These hearty cookies are perfect for taking on hikes, camping, or for sports practices. They make a nice afternoon snack paired with a glass of ice-cold milk or cup of coffee or tea. You'll want to fill your cookie jar with these easy homemade cookies!
What are Ranger Cookies?
These Ranger Cookies are sweet, chewy cookies with a crunchy outside, and they have a lot going on! Ranger cookies are essentially oatmeal cookies that have several added ingredients to make them more robust.
A variety of ingredients like oats, coconut, and Rice Krispies cereal make them a filling and satisfying treat.
Why are They Called Ranger Cookies or Cowboy Cookies?
- I don't think anybody really knows for sure! I read that the Ranger cookie may have originated in Texas (Texas Ranger cookies? The Lone Ranger Cookie?). I have also read that they were named for park rangers who baked them for park guests, or for themselves.
- This cookie recipe is known by many names, some even call them Kitchen Sink cookies or Corn flake Cookies, but the base recipe is similar to most other Ranger Cookie recipes. Some people call them Cowboy Cookies when nuts are added, supposedly because they hold up to being in a saddle bag.
- You can customize these delicious cookies to include just about anything, and call them whatever you want! See below for variations.
Why People Love This Recipe
- I tried to make the best ranger cookies recipe, drawing on my very old recipe from my friend's mom (circa 1983). This cookie recipe is very similar to hers.
- My favorite thing about this recipe is the customizable aspect of it. It is a very forgiving cookie recipe.
- In this ranger cookies recipe there are classic oatmeal cookie ingredients (butter, sugar, flour, oatmeal) as well as other ingredients that add flavor and crunch (coconut flakes, corn flakes cereal, Rice Krispies, and optional nuts).
- This may become one of your new favorite cookie recipes! Also, check out my Easy Snickerdoodles Cookies recipe.
Ingredients in These Ranger Cookies
You'll only need a handful of simple ingredients to make these cookies (Scroll down to see the printable recipe card for measurements).
You can make these cookies with basic ingredients you may already have in your pantry. The ingredients should be readily available at your local grocery store.
- Quick Oats: These give the cookies a hearty and chewy texture. Old-fashioned oats may be too chewy, but use them if it's all you have.
- Unsweetened Coconut Flakes: Unsweetened coconut flakes is added to give a slightly sweet and nutty flavor, and a little chewiness.
- Flour: All-Purpose Flour is used as a base for the cookie dough.
- Corn Flakes: Corn Flakes cereal is crushed and added to the cookie dough. Adds a distinct crunchiness and a subtle corn flavor to the cookies.
- Rice Krispies: Rice Krispies cereal also adds an extra crispy texture to the cookies. Adds a mild rice flavor.
- Unsalted Butter: Butter adds richness and flavor to the cookies (be sure to use room temperature).
- Sugar: A combination of granulated sugar and brown sugar is used for sweetness and a hint of caramel.
- Baking Powder: Helps the cookies rise a bit.
- Baking Soda: This leavening agent helps the cookies rise and become tender.
- Vanilla Extract: Enhances the overall flavor of the cookies.
- Eggs: Eggs act as a binder in the cookie dough.
- Salt: A small amount of salt is added to balance the sweetness and enhance the flavor.
- Additional Mix-Ins: Some ranger cookie recipes may include chopped nuts (such as pecans or walnuts) and chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, or raisins for added flavor and texture.
How to Make Ranger Cookies
• Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 ungreased cookie sheets with parchment paper.
• In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed, cream the softened butter with the granulated sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
(Alternatively, you can use a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, or mix by hand if you prefer.)
• Add the eggs and vanilla extract, mix on medium speed until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
• Mix Dry Ingredients: In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and then add this flour mixture to the sugar and butter mixture, mixing on low speed just until combined.
• Add the oatmeal to the mixing bowl and mix on low speed until just combined.
• Fold the cornflakes, rice cereal, shredded coconut and chopped nuts into the cookie dough by hand with a sturdy spatula or wooden spoon.
• Using a 2-Tablespoon cookie scoop (1-ounce. Or use a Tablespoon if you don’t have a cookie scoop and roll the dough balls by hand), make 1-ounce cookie dough balls. Place the balls of cookie dough on the prepared baking sheets
• Bake at 350°F for 9-12 minutes. The cookies will be golden brown around the edges and set in the center. Don't overbake.
• Let cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. Then move from the wire rack to an airtight container.
• Serve these ranger cookies with a glass or milk or a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy!
If you need to make changes due to diet, here are a few suggestions (changing ingredient types will affect flavor and texture):
• Gluten Free – Use gluten free flour in place of the all purpose flour (check the natural food aisle in your local grocery store). Also, use gluten-free oats.
• Dairy Free – You can use a dairy-free or vegan butter, or vegetable shortening, to make these cookies dairy free.
• Egg Free – Replace the eggs in this recipe with flax eggs flaxseed meal (ground flaxseeds) and water (3 Tablespoons of water for every 1 Tablespoon of flaxseed meal to replace one egg).
There are so many ways to change up these Ranger Cookies, by adding nuts to make them Cowboy Cookies, swapping out the cereal, or adding different add-ins.
- Change the Cereal: Corn flakes are usually in Ranger Cookies, but I have also added rice krispie cereal. Feel free to use just cornflakes (or Wheaties) or Rice Krispies alone. You can also try crushed Chex cereal.
- Spice it Up: Stir in some cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice to give the cookies a warm, spiced flavor.
- Flavored Chips: Chocolate chips can be added to these Ranger Cookies. Use regular chocolate chips, dark chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, white chocolate chips, or butterscotch chips. M&M's candies can also be used.
- Go Nuts: Add in some chopped nuts like walnuts, almonds, or pecans for cowboy cookies.
- Dried Fruits: Try adding chopped dried fruits like apricots, cranberries, dates, cherries, or raisins.
Tips for Making Ranger Cookies Recipe
- Here are a few helpful tips for making the best ranger cookies.
- Use quick oats - Use quick-cooking oats for best results, not rolled oats or steel cut oats for these cowboy cookies. The texture will be different., but if that's all you have, use old-fashioned oats. The cookies may need a slightly longer baking time. They will be a bit denser, maybe a little chewier.
- Don’t Overmix the Cookie Dough - Once the ingredients have been combined, stop mixing. Otherwise, the cookies will turn out tough and the cookie batter will spread.
- Don’t Overbake the Cookies - Cookies will continue to cook on the hot baking sheet after being taken out of the oven. So try to take them out when they have crispy edges that are light golden brown. Slightly underbaking them can help ensure they remain soft and chewy once they cool.
How to Store Cookies
- To Store Leftover Cookies: Store leftover ranger cookies in an airtight container or zip top bag at room temperature for up to 5 days.
- Freezing: Ranger cookies freeze well, either baked or unbaked dough balls.
- To Freeze Unbaked Cookie Dough: Make the cookie dough balls then freeze them on a baking sheet. Once frozen, transfer the dough balls to a freezer bag or freezer-safe container. To bake the cookies directly from frozen dough balls, just add approximately 2 minutes to the bake time.
- To Freeze Baked Cookies: Let the cookies cool completely. Place cookies in a freezer bag or airtight freezer-safe container, and freeze up to 3 months. Thaw frozen cookie dough on the counter to room temperature or defrost in the microwave for about 15-30 seconds (use shortest time first).
More Easy Cookie Recipes
Ranger Cookies (Cowboy Cookies)
- Stand Mixer / Paddle Attachment
- 1-ounce Cookie Scoop (2 Tablespoons size)
- Baking Sheets
- Parchment Paper (or Silicone Mat)
- Mixing Bowls
- 1 cup Unsalted Butter softened / room temperature
- 1 cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 cup Light Brown Sugar packed
- 2 large Eggs
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 2 cups All-Purpose Flour (scoop & sweep method)
- 2 teaspoons Baking Soda
- ½ teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 2 cups Quick Cooking Oats
- 1 cup Corn Flakes
- 1 cup Crispy Rice Cereal
- 1 cup Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
- 1 cup Chopped Nuts optional - walnuts or pecans
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, on medium speed, cream the softened butter with the granulated sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.1 cup Unsalted Butter, 1 cup Granulated Sugar, 1 cup Light Brown Sugar
- Add the eggs and vanilla extract, let mix until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.2 large Eggs, 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and add to the mixing bowl. Mix on low speed just until combined.2 cups All-Purpose Flour, 2 teaspoons Baking Soda, ½ teaspoon Baking Powder, 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
- Add the oatmeal to the mixing bowl and mix on low speed just until combined.2 cups Quick Cooking Oats
- Fold in the corn flakes, rice cereal, shredded coconut and chopped nuts by hand with a strong spatula or wooden spoon.1 cup Corn Flakes, 1 cup Crispy Rice Cereal, 1 cup Unsweetened Coconut Flakes, 1 cup Chopped Nuts
- Scoop onto a parchment lined cookie sheet using a 1-ounce cookie scoop.
- Bake at 350℉ for 9-12 minutes. The cookies will be golden brown around the edges and set in the center.
- Let cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to let cool completely.
- Best eaten the day they are baked.