Peanut butter and chocolate together in these Gluten Free Monster Cookies. And it’s a classic combination that everyone loves! Soft centers with crispy edges and gooey chocolate chips, these cookies are loaded with chocolate peanut butter flavor. These cookies are naturally gluten-free, made healthier with no unnatural dyes, and coconut sugar as a natural sweetener. They’re also super easy to make, and freeze perfectly, which is a huge bonus.
Did you grow up with Monster Cookies? I didn’t (my mom baked chocolate chip cookies) but most of my friends’ moms made these. And so I have a handful of their recipes handwritten on old-fashioned recipe cards that I love to make. Some have flour and some of them don’t. And I’ve found I actually prefer the naturally gluten-free flourless Monster Cookies.
And ever since I discovered naturally dyed M&M candies from Unreal, I knew it was time to make a healthier version of Monster Cookies! These cookies are made with natural coconut sugar and healthier candy for a super tasty cookie that everyone loves.
These are most definitely not ‘health food’ cookies, but they are a healthier treat, with less sugar than the originals. Think of Monster Cookies as a combination of the classic Oatmeal Cookies and Peanut Butter Cookies with a good amount of chocolate!
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Butter – will give you the best flavor and results, but if you’re dairy free you can sub in any dairy-free/vegan butter you normally bake with. Or you can also use coconut oil as well.
- Coconut sugar – works perfectly in place of the usual brown sugar and cane sugar. It also has a lower glycemic index as well as being a natural sweetener.
- Eggs – are what hold these cookies together, I haven’t tried a flax egg in this recipe.
- Peanut butter – almond butter or cashew butter all work here, so no worries if you can’t have peanuts! Peanut butter is my #1 choice here just because of the unbeatable flavor combo with chocolate. But cashew butter is also very tasty, and almond butter is a close second to that.
- Oats – I use old-fashioned oats and they are the ‘flour’ in these flourless cookies that hold it all together along with the eggs. If you’re feeding anyone with allergies, be sure to buy certified gluten-free oats like Bob’s Red Mill. Not all their oats are certified, it will say ‘gluten free’ on the front of the package.
- Baking soda – provides just a touch of rise to these cookies.
- M&M’s + Chocolate chips – the combination of the 2 gives you plenty of chocolate flavor. I use the Unreal brand of M&M’s that are colored with all-natural plant-based dyes, no unnatural dyes. However, they’re definitely more expensive and not always available. So you can always use just chocolate chips in place of the chocolate candies and no one is going to complain!
How to make this recipe step by step
Step 1: Start by beating the butter, coconut sugar, and peanut butter or nut butter of choice together in the large mixing bowl of an electric mixer.
Step 2: Scrape down the sides, then add the eggs one at a time and beat to thoroughly incorporate, then add the vanilla and salt.
Step 3: Mix in the oats and baking soda until combined, then add the M&M’s and chocolate chips. Mix the candies in on low speed so you don’t break up the M&M’s too much.
Step 4: Portion the cookies out onto a parchment-lined large baking sheet pan or cookie sheet, flatten lightly with your hands, and add extra candies on top if desired. You can also use silicone mats like Silpat.
I like to make these into smaller cookies using about 1.5 tbsp per cookie. You can make the cookies larger if desired, the baking times will vary depending on the sizes.
Step 5: Bake until lightly puffed in the center and the edges are crispy, but the center is still soft. Let cool slightly, then transfer to a wire rack and repeat until all the cookie batter is baked.
Ways to serve this
- Make ice cream sandwiches with my Homemade Coconut Ice Cream as a filling, or my Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.
- If you have any leftover cookies starting to get dry, try crumbling them up and mixing them into softened vanilla or chocolate ice cream.
They’re flourless cookies made just with oats so they’re whole grain with no refined flour. They’re also made with coconut sugar which is a natural sweetener and healthier candies are made from natural plant-based coloring – no food dyes!
Yes, both almond butter and cashew butter work really well in place of peanut butter.
Yes, these monster cookies are made without any flour at all. You’ll want to buy oats that say ‘certified gluten-free’ on the package if you’re feeding these to anyone with allergies. Bob’s Red Mill makes gluten-free oats, just be sure to look for regular oats rather than extra thick ones.
- To store – these cookies are best right away but will keep for 2-3 days in a tightly sealed container at room temperature. They will get drier as they sit out.
- Freeze – I freeze all my leftover baked cookies right away to keep them fresher. Place them into an airtight sealed container and freeze for up to 1 month. Simply thaw at room temperature and enjoy!
Tips & Tricks
- Budget tip – use all chocolate chips in place of the healthier candies. They can be expensive if you’re making lots of cookies, and chocolate chips are much more affordable.
- Try the different kinds of nut butter mentioned above. Both almond butter and cashew butter are super tasty as a variation in these cookies.
- I don’t recommend cutting back on the amount of butter, sugar, or nut butter in this recipe because that’s what makes the incredible texture. I’ve also already reduced the sugar by 1/2 cup from the handwritten classic recipes I mentioned above. They’re crunchy on the edges and just a touch gooey in the center. But when you cut back either the butter, nut butter, or sugar any further you sacrifice both texture and flavor.
- Use room temperature ingredients. It’s important that the butter be softened and the peanut butter is at room temperature so it combines properly.
- Be careful not to overbake these. The best monster cookies are nice and crispy on the edges, but still soft with a touch of gooey in the center.
Gluten-Free Cookie Recipe Inspiration
- Healthier No Bake Cookies
- Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Grandpa’s Molasses Ginger Cookies
- Double Chocolate Almond Butter Cookies (another flourless cookie recipe)
- Glazed Paleo ‘Sugar’ Cookies
- Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe, (also flourless)
I really hope you enjoy these Gluten-Free Monster Cookies! If you do get a chance to make this recipe, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.
Gluten Free Monster Cookies
- 8 tbsp salted butter - 1/2 cup, or 1 stick, softened
- 1 1/2 cups coconut sugar
- 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter - see notes
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 4 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup M&M’s - see notes
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Add the butter to an electric stand mixer, and break it up using the paddle attachment. Add the coconut sugar and peanut butter and beat until combined, scraping down the sides as necessary.
- Add the eggs one at a time continuing to beat to thoroughly combine. Scrape down the sides, then add the salt and vanilla and beat again.
- Mix together the oats and baking soda, then add them to the cookie dough. Mix just to combine, then add the M&M's and chocolate chips. Stir in the mix-ins, or beat on low to combine.
- Portion the cookie dough out in 1.5-3 tablespoons of dough onto a prepared baking sheet. I use a #40 scoop that's 1.5 tablespoon and takes 6-8 minutes to bake, making 5 dozen. Larger scoops take 8-15 minutes.
- Lightly flatten the cookies with your hand and decorate the tops with more M&M's if desired. Bake until lightly puffed in the center, crispy on the edges, but still chewy and gooey in the centers.
- Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely before storing.
This post was originally published in 2022, but has been updated with more information, tips, and nutrition facts in 2023.
2 thoughts on “Gluten Free Monster Cookies”
I know my 3yr old is going to like them . Where do you buy the un Real m&m’s?
I’m able to buy mine at Natural Grocers and sometimes I order them from Thrive Market online. I hope this helps, and if you can’t find them/don’t want to make an online order, you can use all chocolate chips instead. I hope you enjoy them, and be sure to let me know how they go over!