Healthy Monster Cookies


These gluten-free monster cookies are made with rolled oats, peanut butter and chocolate chips. They’re thick, chewy and so easy to make!

Isaac loves monster trail mix and since becoming pregnant, I’ve been hooked on it as well! During my first trimester, I was sneaking handfuls every time I passed through the kitchen… strategically reaching for the handful with the most M&M’s. My new love for monster trail mix inspired this monster cookie recipe, but honestly, I’m surprised I haven’t shared a cookie recipe like this before because they combine all of my favorite ingredients for sweet treats: oats, peanut butter, and chocolate.

Plate of gluten-free peanut butter monster cookies with color candies in them. A dish towel and glass of milk are on the side.

Needless to say, these are adult-friendly and they sure as heck are kid-friendly too! Bring them into the kitchen if you’re feeling like you have the patience for that. 😉 These cookies can be whipped up in one bowl which makes clean up a breeze. Assign simple tasks to your kiddos – measuring out the ingredients, adding ingredients to the bowl, cracking eggs or stirring.

Here’s What You Need

I upgraded a few of these ingredients to make these healthier monster cookies. Because we don’t use any flour, these are naturally gluten-free.

  • rolled old-fashioned oats Oats are naturally gluten-free, but often cross contaminated so make sure to use gluten-free oats if you have a gluten intolerance. I like using Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free rolled oats.
  • baking soda – a leavening agent to help these cookies rise.
  • salt – brings all the flavors together.
  • peanut butter – look for a brand with just one or two ingredients (peanuts and salt). Alternatively, any nut or seed butter should work!
  • unsalted butter – if you want to make these vegan, you can use a vegan butter or coconut oil instead.
  • coconut sugar – the less-processed upgrade for granulated sugar or brown sugar.
  • cane sugar – you can definitely use more coconut sugar instead of a mix of the two types of sugars.
  • eggs – a binding ingredient. I haven’t tested it, but a flaxseed egg should work fine if you want to make these vegan or egg-free.
  • vanilla extract – a flavor enhancer.
  • dark chocolate chips – I love the Enjoy Life brand, they’re dairy-free, nut-free and soy-free. Lily’s chocolate chips are another brand I love, they are low in sugar and calories.
  • M&M’s – I used natural candy-coated chocolate from Unreal which is made without artificial ingredients or dyes.
Mixing bowl with cookie dough for gluten-free peanut butter monster cookies. Oats and M&Ms are in the batter.

How to Make Monster Cookies

Preheat Oven – First things first, preheat your oven to 350ºF.

Mix Ingredients – In a large bowl, mix oats, baking soda and sea salt. In a stand mixer, add in the peanut butter, butter, sugar and coconut sugar and mix using the paddle attachment until well combined. Add the eggs and vanilla extract. Mix again until everything’s combined and then add in your chocolate chips and M&M’S. Mix until just combined but be careful not to overmix.

Scoop Dough – Use a medium cookie scoop to scoop the dough onto a baking sheet. If you don’t have a cookie scoop, no worries! I like to use two spoons to scoop and form balls.

Bake – Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown on the bottom and around the edges but still soft on the top.

Serve – Remove the cookies from the oven, let them cool on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


  • Change up your mix-ins. Traditionally you’ll find M&M’s and chocolate chips but you can add whatever you like! Try with your favorite nuts, coconut flakes, or even dried fruit like raisins.
  • Make these cookies vegan by using flax eggs. Mix 1 Tablespoon of ground flaxseed with 3 Tablespoons of water per egg.
  • Have a peanut allergy? Use your favorite nut or seed butter instead.
  • Want to reduce the sugar content? You can certainly add less sugar to these cookies, as they’re plenty sweet with the mix-ins. Try adding a total of 2/3 cups of sugar and using only coconut sugar instead of a mix with cane sugar.
Hand holding a gluten-free peanut butter monster cookies with a plate of cookies in the background and a glass of milk. Oats and colored chocolate candies are in the cookies.

Are Rolled Oats Gluten-Free?

Yes, pure, uncontaminated oats are gluten-free, but oats are easily contaminated by other grains that aren’t gluten-free (either in the field or through processing). Because of this you must buy certified gluten-free oats if you want this recipe to be totally gluten-free. Just make sure the label on your oatmeal package says certified gluten-free.

Why Are my Oatmeal Cookies Falling Apart?

These monster cookies should hold together well, but if you have had trouble in the past with oatmeal cookies being too crumbly, a number of things might be happening.

  • If your recipe calls for flour, you might be adding too much. This recipe doesn’t call for flour so you’re good there!
  • If you’re using a butter or oil substitute, you might want to try using the real deal.
  • You might be cooking the cookies for too long.

You might have to do some experimenting. I’ve tested these cookies countless times and I’ve never had a crumbly issue with this recipe but wanted to share these tips in case you’ve made oatmeal cookies in the past and had this kind of issue.

Hand holding a stack of three gluten-free peanut butter monster cookies made with oats and colored candies.

Tips for Storing

You can leave these on the counter in an airtight container for 3-4 days or store them in the fridge to keep them about a week.

You can also easily freeze these cookies. I would store them in an airtight container and layer them in between sheets of parchment paper to prevent them from sticking together and falling apart when you separate them. Let them come to room temperature on the counter for 30 or so minutes before you enjoy them!

Healthy Monster Cookies

4 from 7 votes
These gluten-free monster cookies are made with rolled oats, peanut butter and chocolate chips. They’re thick, chewy and so easy to make!
Hand holding a stack of three gluten-free peanut butter monster cookies made with oats and colored candies.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 48 cookies


  • 3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ⅓ cups smooth peanut butter
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp
  • cup coconut sugar
  • cup cane sugar, or more coconut sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • cup chocolate chips
  • cup M&M’s, or natural candy coated chocolate


  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Combine oats, baking soda and sea salt in a medium mixing bowl.
  • Add peanut butter, butter, sugar, coconut sugar in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and mix together on medium-high until combined. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix until just incorporated and then add chocolate chips and M&Ms. Mix until combined.
  • Use a medium cookie scoop to scoop the dough onto a baking sheet.
  • Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes or until cookies are golden brown on the bottom and edges, but still soft on the top. Remove cookies from the oven, allow them to cool on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.


  • To ensure these cookies are gluten-free, you need to make sure you purchase certified gluten-free rolled oats.
  • I haven’t tested a vegan version of this recipe, but I would assume that you could use flax eggs and coconut oil to make them vegan. Let me know if you try it.


Serving: 1cookie Calories: 115kcal Carbohydrates: 12g Protein: 3g Fat: 7g Sodium: 90mg Fiber: 1g Sugar: 7g
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: gluten free monster cookies


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Recipe Rating

    1. Karin
      March 20, 2022 AT 2:38 pm

      5 stars
      Send these frequently to my daughter at college and they are gone almost immediately! Such a hit – thank you!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        March 20, 2022 AT 7:17 pm

        Yay! So glad to hear that, Karin. Thanks for coming back to leave a review, I really appreciate it.

    2. Mary
      August 23, 2021 AT 7:57 pm

      5 stars
      So I made this recipe before and it was delicious!! I made it again today and thought I’d review since it’s just so dang good. I made it the original way the first time -yummy- then today I decided to try and play with it. I did 6 tablespoons of applesauce instead of butter and only 1/3 cup coconut sugar and 1/3 cup honey. I felt like the peanut butter is already so sweet to me I could cut out quite a bit of sugar and it be fine and let me tell you it was!! I loved it with the honey because peanut butter and honey just go together. To me it didn’t lose ANY of the sweetness especially since you also have the chocolate chips and candies in there as well. Thought I would tell you in case someone was looking to lighten it up just a tiny bit. 😻😻

      1. Brittany Mullins
        August 24, 2021 AT 10:46 am

        I’m so glad you enjoyed these cookies, Mary! Thank you so much for the review and letting everyone know about your substitutions. So appreciate it!

    3. Laura
      April 11, 2020 AT 8:38 pm

      Would i be able to use quick oats for this if i don’t care about the gluten free factor?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        April 13, 2020 AT 10:32 pm

        Hey Laura! Yes, you should be just fine using quick oats for this recipe!

    4. Sonya
      January 31, 2020 AT 5:59 pm

      5 stars
      Awesome, easy recipe! I add raisins to this as well for another texture. Comes together with pantry items and my toddler helps to stir and scoop. So fun and he loves the m&ms and the color they add. Warning: these are totally addictive!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        February 1, 2020 AT 7:08 pm

        Yay!! So glad you love this recipe, Sonya. Thanks for coming back to leave a comment and star rating. I so appreciate it! <3

    5. Theresa
      October 2, 2019 AT 6:50 pm

      1 star
      We so wanted to love this recipe. Used all organic, good quality ingredients, followed directons to a t and my dough was a crumbly mess. Could not form dough balls and when packed together they did not flatten at all. Added more peanut butter to help bind them better which helped slightly. Wet to dry ingredient ratio seems very off.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        October 3, 2019 AT 9:33 am

        Hi Theresa. I’m so sorry to hear this, but I appreciate your feedback. Can I ask what type of peanut butter you used?

Parchment paper lined with protein balls.


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