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Ranger Cookies

Buttery, chewy, crispy and delicious! Ranger cookies (Texas Ranger cookies) are everything you love about an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, plus, some coconut and Rice Krispies cereal thrown in for good measure. They’re crispy on the edges, chewy in the middle, chocolate goodness. My Ranger Cookies recipe has it all and they’re SO easy to make!

Ranger Cookies on a white plate sitting on a concrete counter with a bottle of milk next to a turquoise vase
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Ranger Cookies are definitely not my own invention. They’re my adaptation of one of the recipes from my great grandma’s “church ladies” cookbook.

I grew up with a specific wire-bound cookbook ALWAYS in our kitchen. My mom had made notes on some of the recipes inside and written some other recipes inside the cover. Those cover ones. They were the MOST important.

The first recipe I remember making from the Hearth and Home Cookbook (written by the ladies of Bethel E. Free Church in Nebraska City, NE.) was Drop Doughnuts. But, the cookbook was most important because my Grandma Bonnie’s sugar cookie recipe was written on the inside cover.

Hearth and Home Cookbook open to Ranger Cookies recipe

It’s been a nostalgic weekend for me. I went through this cookbook and another old church cookbook, given to me by David’s mom. It’s funny how we lose track of classic old recipes as we move on to new ones. Food trends and ideas change. And, wonderful old recipes are lost in the shuffle.

But, I decided to embrace the nostalgia, this weekend, and try out some recipes from both cookbooks. With a little updating, these 1950’s recipes can be brand new favorites, all over again. I think you’re gonna love Ranger Cookies!

Ranger Cookies Variations

Apparently, the Ranger Cookies recipe is as widely varied as the people who enjoy baking and eating them. They are sometimes called Cowboy Cookies or Texas Ranger cookies.

My changes and substitutions to the classic recipe were basic. I switched shortening to butter, tripled the vanilla and added chocolate chips/chunks.

In my research, I found Ranger cookies that were thin and crisp. I found some that were thicker and chewy, with crispy edges, like my version.

Ranger Cookies on a wire rack with brown parchment underneath

There were Ranger cookie recipes with chocolate chips, and without. I even found a version that used corn flakes, instead of rice krispies cereal. (I believe they said that corn flake version can be traced back to the early 20th century. So, the recipe has been around, awhile.)

I think there are some other really tasty variation possibilities for Ranger Cookies that would be fun to try. Some of these may show up in MY future batches. Be sure to let me know if you try any of them, too.

  • You could definitely try them with cornflakes. Or maybe a graham cracker style cereal.
  • Nuts: Pecans or walnuts would be delish!
  • Raisins: (or chopped dates or figs)
  • Butterscotch Chips
  • Replace 1/4 cup of the butter with Peanut Butter (or make the recipe as written and just add peanut butter chips.)
  • Reduce the flour by 1/2 cup and add 1/2 cup cocoa powder, instead. Then, use white chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet.
  • You could also sub in all white sugar if you want. However, in my opinion, the cookies will not be as caramel tasting or chewy, if you don’t use dark brown sugar.
Ranger Cookies on a white plate sitting on a concrete counter with a bottle of milk next to a turquoise vase

The Ingredients

  • Butter
  • Dark Brown Sugar
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla Extract
  • All Purpose Flour
  • Rolled Oats (Old Fashioned Oats)
  • Rice Krispies Cereal (or other brand of crispy rice cereal) The Rice Krispies / crispy rice cereal may seem odd, but I promise, it’s spectacular! Great texture that stays crisp even after baking!
  • Sweetened Flaked Coconut (shredded coconut)
  • Baking Soda
  • Salt
  • Baking Powder
  • Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips or Chunks

FAQs About Ranger Cookies

Can you refrigerate cookie dough for Ranger Cookies?

You could make this dough up to 24 hours ahead and store, tightly covered in the fridge. Bring the dough back to room temperature before baking or the cookies may not spread as well.

Can you freeze cookie dough for Ranger Cookies?

Yes. I recommend making the dough into balls before freezing. Arrange them on a baking tray. They can be close, but not touching. Flash freeze the cookie dough by placing the tray in the freezer for a couple hours. When the cookie dough balls have frozen, transfer them to a zip top bag and store in the freezer for 3 or 4 months.

To bake the frozen cookie dough, remove as many dough balls as you plan to bake. Place them on a prepped baking sheet and bake as directed in recipe. Allow 1-3 extra minutes of baking time. Keep in mind, cold dough may not spread as well. (Alternatively, you could thaw in the fridge and then bring the dough back to room temperature.)

Ranger Cookie Dough Balls ready for freezer
Dough balls can be close, but shouldn’t touch when flash freezing them.
Can you freeze cookies?

Yes, you can freeze Ranger Cookies. When the cookies have completely cooled, seal them in an airtight container or freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 or 4 months.

How to Make Ranger Cookies

  1. Preheat oven to 350° and spray baking sheets or line them with parchment or silicone baking mats.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugars.
  3. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
  4. Mix the dry ingredients (except chocolate chips) in a medium mixing bowl. Stir to distribute them evenly.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the butter/egg mixture and fold in until all the dry ingredients have been incorporated and the dough has formed.
  6. Fold in the chocolate chips or chocolate chunks.
  7. Scoop dough onto prepared baking sheets.
  8. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes. Don’t overbake. Cookies will be lightly browned and crisp around the edges, but still soft in the center. They will continue to bake on the tray after they are taken out of the oven.

The Tools I Used

  • Baking Sheets: I like heavy-duty rimmed baking sheets [affiliate link]. They bake more evenly and don’t warp in the oven.
  • Silicone Baking Mats: You can use pan spray to prep the baking sheets. I sometimes do. But, I have silicone baking mats [affiliate link], so it’s just a quick and easy solution. They never run out and need replacing. Parchment paper can also work.
  • Cookie Scoop: The cookie scoop I use [affiliate link] is the important piece of equipment you need to know about. It’s big. This scoop makes a large 3 to 3 1/2 inch cookie. It’s considered a cupcake/muffin scoop and holds just under 3 Tablespoons of dough. (Using a smaller scoop will make you a few more, albeit smaller, cookies. If you do opt to make them smaller, you should watch the baking time closely for your first tray. They won’t need to bake quite as long as my larger ones.)
  • Cooling Rack: I have four of these now and I love them! Truly my favorite cooling rack [affiliate link]. But, this cooling rack also fits down into my rimmed baking sheets, so I can roast things on them and the drippings go down into the sheet. They are oven and dishwasher safe. I use them almost daily.
Ranger Cookies on a cooling rack

I am so excited for you to make Ranger cookies! They are definitely going down as one of our family’s all-time favorites. I’m guessing they will be yours, too!

If you get a chance to make Ranger Cookies (Cowboy Cookies), be sure to stop back here and let me know! Enjoy and have a wonderfully blessed week!

The Recipe

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Ranger Cookies


5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 17 reviews

  • Author: Glenda Embree [ adapted from 1956 Hearth and Home Cookbook ]
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 2427 cookies 1x

Description

Buttery, chewy, crispy and delicious! Ranger cookies are everything you love about an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, plus, some coconut and rice krispies cereal thrown in for good measure. They’re crispy on the edges, chewy in the middle, chocolatey goodness.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon homemade vanilla extract (or buy a quality vanilla extract)
  • 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour, (spooned into cup and leveled)
  • 2 cups rice krispies cereal (or other brand of crispy rice cereal)
  • 2 cups rolled oats (old fashioned oats)
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut (shredded coconut)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 (12 oz) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° and spray baking sheets or line them with parchment or silicone baking mats.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugars.
  3. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
  4. Mix the dry ingredients, including rice krispies and shredded coconut, (but not the chocolate chips) in a medium mixing bowl. Stir to distribute them evenly.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the butter/egg mixture and fold in until all the dry ingredients have been incorporated and the dough has formed.
  6. Fold in the chocolate chips or chocolate chunks.
  7. Scoop dough onto prepared baking sheets.
  8. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes. Don’t overbake. Cookies will be lightly browned and crisp around the edges, but still soft in the center. They will continue to bake on the tray after they are taken out of the oven.

Notes

The Rice Krispies / crispy rice cereal may seem odd, but I promise, it’s spectacular! Great texture that stays crisp even after baking!  Don’t skip it.  It makes these cookies!

Be sure to use old fashioned oats (rolled oats).  It’s all about the texture.  Quick oats won’t provide the same chew.

 
Can you refrigerate cookie dough for Ranger Cookies? You could make this dough up to 24 hours ahead and store, tightly covered in the fridge. Bring the dough back to room temperature before baking or the cookies may not spread as well.
Can you freeze cookie dough for Ranger Cookies? Yes. I recommend making the dough into balls before freezing. Arrange them on a baking tray. They can be close, but not touching. Flash freeze the cookie dough by placing the tray in the freezer for a couple hours. When the cookie dough balls have frozen, transfer them to a zip top bag and store in the freezer for 3 or 4 months. 
To bake the frozen cookie dough, remove as many dough balls as you plan to bake. Place them on a prepped baking sheet and bake as directed in recipe. Allow 1–3 extra minutes of baking time.
Can you freeze Ranger Cookies?  Yes, you can freeze Ranger Cookies. When the cookies have completely cooled, seal them in an airtight container or freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 or 4 months.
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Category: Cookies, Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Black Cocoa No Bake Cookies – These delish black cocoa no bake cookies, from Sherry, over at From Michigan to the Table will be your quick-fix chocolate craving solution!

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glenda embree

About Glenda

I believe cooking from scratch doesn’t have to be complicated and that YOU can do it. My simple recipes, tutorials, and cooking tips will help you get weeknight dinners on the table with less stress. Forget takeout or the drive-thru. Let me show you how to make homemade easy. Read more...

34 thoughts on “Ranger Cookies”

  1. I’d never heard of these cookies before, but I have to say they might be a new favorite! The textures and flavors are so great.






    Reply
  2. I’d never heard of ranger cookies, but they looked so yum that I had to try them!
    I only got 1!!!! THE KIDS DEMOLISHED THEM!
    Such a great recipe 🙂






    Reply
  3. My kids are down for anything with rice krispies thrown in for good measure, and these were no exception! They were very much enjoyed and I have been asked to bake another batch asap!






    Reply
  4. Pinch me, because I think I’ve died and gone to heaven! These ranger cookies are SO good! The only problem I found with them was that they were eaten WAY too fast!






    Reply
      • I’d like to try using shortening in place of half the butter and also add some peanut butter. I was thinking 1/4 cup butter, 1/4 cup shortening and half cup peanut butter? Do u think that mix would work or is that too much peanut butter?

        Reply
        • Hi Jody! Yes, I do think it will work, however you may notice a difference in the way your cookies spread. Shortening tends to trap more air bubbles and it will make your cookies taller without spreading as much. The outside will also not get quite as crisp, but stay soft when baked for the same time as cookies made with butter. With those things in mind, I think you could definitely get yummy results from that variation.

          Reply
  5. The perfect cookie to bring camping… so I can get on the good side of the Rangers! So good and I love the combo of rice crispies and coconut!






    Reply
    • Aaawww! Laura, that’s exactly what I hoped would happen with this recipe. Some of my best memories are attached to the people who have prepared and shared food with me over the years. So, glad these are like your mom’s.

      Reply

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