Trail Mix Peanut Butter Cookies

I love trail mix so much. It’s dangerous for me to even keep it around.

One handful turns into five, which very quickly turns into the whole bag. You too?

Trail Mix Peanut Butter Cookies (GF)

After recently baking caramel corn into Caramel Corn Chocolate Chip Cookies, I decided to bake in trail mix. I loaded up favorite Peanut Butter Cookie recipe with my favorite trail mix add-ins.

The result is a chewy, dense, hearty cookie that’s loaded to the max with texture.

Trail Mix Peanut Butter Cookies (GF)

Interestingly, this cookie dough base contains NO flour, NO butter, and I didn’t add any white sugar.

I doctored up the rich peanut butter dough with 1/3 cup each of: oats, raisins, chocolate chips, and peanut butter-filled M&Ms.

Trail Mix Peanut Butter Cookies (GF)

If you have a bag of actual trail mix, adding 1 generous cup of that will save you from piecing together one-third cup of this and that. However, this is a great recipe for using up bottom-of-the-bags of chips, pretzels, random baking chips, and various odds and ends that plague my cupboards.

Work in your favorite trail mix goodies such as crumbled pretzels, dried fruit like craisins or apricots; butterscotch or white chocolate chips rather than semi-sweet. Add mini Rolos, peanut butter cups, or any diced candy bar. I don’t like nuts in cookies but if you do, sprinkle in some peanuts, almonds, or another favorite. Add sunflower seeds or pepitas. Mix-and-match.

Trail Mix Peanut Butter Cookies (GF)

When mixing the dough, make sure to cream the peanut butter, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla for at least 5 minutes, or until it’s no longer gritty. The dough will likely be oily, and this is okay. It’s important to use storebought, conventional peanut butter like Jif or Skippy. Don’t use natural peanut butter and don’t use Homemade Peanut Butter. Your cookies will be prone to spreading if you do.

Add the baking soda, oats, and add-ins. The dough is jam-packed with goodies. Almost as many add-ins as there is dough. No complaints from me.

Trail Mix Peanut Butter Cookies (GF)

Form 16 mounds of cookie dough with a medium 2-inch cookie scoop or make balls with your hands. It’s important to compact the mounds so the add-ins don’t slip out because the dough is oily. Just push them back in and squeeze the mounds firmly if the add-ins try to wiggle out.

After the mounds are formed, flatten them slightly and refrigerate the dough for at least two hours, up to five days, before baking. Cookies baked with unchilled dough will spread and bake flat and thin rather than thick and puffy.

Trail Mix Peanut Butter Cookies (GF)

The advantage to forming the dough into mounds and refrigerating them is that you have the option of only baking off as many as you want. Sometimes I just want a few cookies, not a whole batch. That said, this is a small-batch recipe, making only about 16 cookies total so feel free to bake them all at once. They stay soft for up to one week.

The cookies are supremely texture-filled from the firm chocolate chips, chewy raisins, hearty sprinkling of oats, and M&Ms. They’re like having a handful of trail mix and a peanut butter cookie, all in one.

They’re peanut butter flavor is present and distinct, but the oats and other add-ins temper it a bit. If you’re looking for a really intense, unadulterated peanut butter cookie, try these.

Trail Mix Peanut Butter Cookies (GF)

And if you’re a trail mix fan, I suggest you bake it into cookies.

It’ll be the best tasting trail mix you’ve ever had.

Trail Mix Peanut Butter Cookies (GF)

Trail Mix Peanut Butter Cookies (GF) - NO Butter & NO Flour in these healthier cookies with trail mix baked right in!

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Trail Mix Peanut Butter Cookies (gluten-free)

I love trail mix, and I love it even more when it's baked into my favorite peanut butter cookies. The cookies are naturally gluten-free and have NO butter, flour, and I didn't add any white sugar. They're bursting with texture from oats, chocolate chips, raisins, and M&Ms. They're easily customizable based on what you like in your trail mix. Mix-and-match the add-ins used or simply use your favorite prepared trail mix. The cookies are my new favorite way to eat trail mix.

Yield: about 16 medium cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 3+ hours, for dough chilling


1 cup creamy peanut butter (I prefer creamy honey roasted; plain may be used; do not use natural or homemade peanut butter)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt, optional and to taste
1/3 cup old-fashioned whole rolled oats (not quick cook or instant, use certified GF as necessary)
use 1 heaping cup of your favorite pre-made trail mix
OR use
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or butterscotch, white, cinnamon chips)
1/3 cup raisins (I used TJ's raisin medley blend; try dried apricots, dates, cranberries, craisins)
1/3 cup Peanut Butter-Filled M&Ms (or another M&M variety; Reese's Pieces, mini PB Cups, mini Rolos, or any diced candy bar)
Optionally, swap out some of the add-ins for white chocolate or butterscotch chips; peanuts, almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts; sunflower seeds, pepitas; another type of dried fruit, mix-and-match as desired


  1. To the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a mixing bowl using a hand mixer), combine peanut butter, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until well-combined and the sugar is fully incorporated and is mixture is no longer gritty or granular, about 4 to 5 minutes. Stop to scrape down the bowl as necessary. (Regarding peanut butter - although natural peanut butter or homemade peanut butter may work, I recommend using storebought peanut butter like Jif, Skippy, Peter Pan or similar so that cookies bake up thicker and spread less. Using natural or homemade peanut butter tends to result in thinner and flatter cookies that are prone to spreading while baking)
  2. Add the baking soda, optional salt, oats, and beat to incorporate.
  3. Add the 1 heaping cup pre-made trail mix OR add the chocolate chips, raisins, M&Ms and beat to just incorporate.
  4. Using a 2-inch medium cookie scoop (about 2 tablespoons), form 16 dough mounds. Squeeze and compact the dough mounds so all the add-ins stay in place. They will be prone to falling out because they're abundant and dough is oily, just keep pushing them back in. Place dough mounds on a large plate. Flatten mounds slightly with your finger. Cover plate with plasticwrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, and up to 5 days, before baking. Do not bake with warm dough; cookies will spread and bake thin and flat.
  5. Preheat oven to 350F, line 2 baking sheets with Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mats, parchment, or spray with cooking spray. Place mounds on baking sheets, spaced about 2 inches apart. I bake 8 to a tray. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until edges are set and tops are barely set, even if slightly underbaked in the center. Allow cookies to cool on trays for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. Cookies may not appear to be done at 10 to 12 minutes, but they likely are, and they firm up as they cool. Baking longer results in cookies with dark or burnt bottoms and that set up too crisp and hard and don't keep well.
  6. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Alternatively, unbaked cookie dough can be stored airtight in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.
  7. Take care all ingredients used, such as the oats or any add-ins, are gluten-free and suitable for your dietary needs.

Adapted from Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Related Recipes:

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies (GF) – The BEST PB Cookies I’ve ever had. There’s NO Flour, NO Butter, and NO White sugar used! Soft, chewy & oozing with dark chocolate. Crazy good! This is the dough base I used to create the Trail Mix Cookies

Soft and Puffy Peanut Butter Coconut Oil Cookies – Baking with coconut oil doesn’t make the food taste like coconut and instead makes it richer, better, softer, and more moist

Thick and Soft Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies – Richly and intensely chocolate-flavored cookies with NO Flour, NO Butter, and NO White sugar used. They’re thick, dense, soft, chewy and almost brownie-like

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies – One of my favorite cookie recipes on my site. Chewy, filled with texture, and combines three of my favorite cookies in one – chocolate chip, oatmeal, and peanut butter – and very easy to make, no mixer required

Caramel Corn Chocolate Chip Cookies – Baking caramel corn into cookies is one way to make sure you don’t gobble the whole bag in a sitting. Gobble the cookies instead

Compost Cookies – Potato chips, butterscotch and chocolate chips, and so much more is added to these cookies with a salty ‘n sweet, crunchy and chewy profile

Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookies – Everything but the kitchen sink is tossed into these cookies: Cornflakes, potato chips, pretzels, marshmallows, and chocolate chips. The recipe comes from a popular cookbook and I’m glad I tried them to see what all the hype was about

Do you like Trail Mix? What are your favorite trail mix add-ins?

Thanks for the entries in the Kitchen Grater and Zester Giveaway and the KithenAid 5-Quart Stand Mixer Giveaway!


  1. Averie, this looks amazing! I love trail mix. I’ve found that Trader Joe’s has some that are awesome- some that are mostly chocolate :)

  2. oohhhh my. So glad I decided to take a study break and get on foodgawker!! These look to.die.for!

  3. Wow, these look amazing! I love the bright pop of color from the candy.

  4. I agree with you! Who can stop eating trail mix once the bag is opened?
    Great recipe. Planning on making it this weekend. Thanks!

  5. These cookies are perfect! I went away last week and I ate so much trail mix it isn’t funny! Matter in fact I WAY over did eating it and I ended up throwing it out, dam I should of kept it to make your cookies. Stinky! Your cookies look beautiful. I really admire your photography!!

  6. i AM a trail mix fan and i have a feeling that you’re correct that this will be the best trail mix i’ve ever had. :) great idea!

  7. I LOVE trail mix, and when you put it inside an already awesome peanut butter cookie?? So smart, Averie!! I love the browned edges too!!

  8. These look great! I just pinned them. I was just thinking the other day how great it would be to make cookies out of my favorite trail mix! Thanks for sharing a great post :) Krista @ A Handful of Everything

  9. These look fabulous, Averie! I love that they are customizable!

  10. I love everything about them!

  11. Wow, you keep making the best cookies? I think I shall call you my private cookie guru. These look amazing!

  12. Oh, wow! As someone who goes in for more than five handfuls of trail mix, these cookies look almost too irresistible. (Is that cosmicly even possible?) :D

  13. Trail mix has always been one of those “I can take it or leave it” kinds of foods for me, but adding it to peanut butter cookies changes everything. Everything!

  14. PB cookies & trail mix=match made in heaven!

  15. They look so peanut buttery, dense, and delicious, and no flour? So awesome and such a unique idea!

  16. Averie, you seriously always amaze me…trail mix cookies WITH pb! My total weakness. These are SO on my cookie list this week…gotta keep the cookie jar filled with yummy cookies! Especially with these! Might be hard to keep them in the jar for the neighbor kids after schoo! They love stopping over to grab treats before they get to their own homes…(=

  17. I looooove trail mix! So sweet and salty and perfect for snacking.. though I have to admit, I’m never on a hike nor trail while eating it. Regardless, I am loving these cookies, Averie! If trail mix weren’t perfect enough, you had to add it into a cookie. Simply perfection.

  18. You’re a girl after my own heart! This makes me want to rush to Target, buy every variety of trail mix they have and make multiple batches!

  19. I love how thick and chewy your cookies always are! Makes me want to grab a fistful and shove them in my face!

    Thanks for linking up to What’s Cookin’ Wednesday!

  20. These look perfect :) such a smart recipe!

  21. What a fun recipe! :) Thanks for sharing.

    Will this also work with Nutella, Cocoa Almond Butter or other nut butters?

    • No because they are thinner than peanut butter and don’t bake up and behave like peanut butter does in the oven. You could of course try, but I fear the cookies won’t hold together and will spread really thin or crumble on you.

  22. Oh. I’m glad I asked first, lol. Thanks for getting back to me. :)

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  24. You had me at Trail Mix Cookies. Seriously.

    These look and sound so amazing. I’m the same exact way when it comes to trail mix and I hate that no bag of it is safe in my presence.

  25. I have the same problem with trail mix…I just can’t stay out of it. These cookies would give me the same problem I’m thinking. They look awesome!!!

  26. We are going to try these out today. I am planning on adding some homemade granola in place of the trail mix!

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  28. Today I made these with chocolate chips and sunflower seeds. Rolling the dough was like a free moisturizing treatment!
    The other day I made cookies from another site, and they were not it. This is what I wanted those cookies to be. I should just stick with your recipes – they’ve never let me down.
    I hope you’re enjoying Aruba today!

    • Lol. I made some pb cookies today too and my hands thank me for the free moisturizing treatment, too :)

      So glad these worked out for you, as do my recipes in general. There is nothing more frustrating to me than trying out recipes (from a blog..or worse..cookbooks) and they don’t deliver! Glad mine work for you :)

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  30. I used trail mix-(with chocolate chips, peanuts, almonds, raisins, and sunflower seeds) and coconut, and they turned out great. Nice and chewy and very tasty! So easy to make, and nice that they are gluten free. Really nice that the cookies have so much protein, because I’m also insulin resistant. I used the roasted peanut butter honey. Thanks for the great recipe.

    • Your trail mix sounds delish and love that you were able to work in some coconut, peanuts, raisins, choc chips, seeds – yum! Happy that you were able to get this recipe to work for your insulin resistance and yes, as cookies go, lots of protein in these. Thanks for LMK you had great success with these!

  31. I love trail mix as well and these cookies look absolutely delicious. Pinning now. :)

  32. Pingback: Trail Mix Peanut Butter Cookies | The Funky Spatula

  33. All of these cookies look absolutely fabulous and I can’t wait to make these. But is there a reason why using natural peanut butter doesn’t work?

  34. Mmmm perfect hiking snack… Look so colorful and crumbly.

  35. Flourless does not instantly make something gluten free. Make sure if you WANT/NEED these to be gfree that you use a gfree brand of oats and make sure the premade trail mix (if that is what you are using) is gfree. 9/10ths of the time both of these are NOT gfree.

    I’m sure that most that would be dealing with celiac or a gluten sensitivity would already be aware of this, but for someone wanting to make a treat for their friends that aren’t aware of all the in’s and out’s, it should be noted that they need to make sure to have the proper ingredients.

    Sorry to be all Debbie Downer on the post, but I felt it needed to be stated.

  36. can you make the trail mix peanut butter cookies into trail mix bars

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  38. Do you think the dough would be freezer friendly (instead of refrigerating, also better longevity of the dough prior to cooking)? These look delicious – I’d like to make a big batch of dough and freeze some cookies.

  39. Pingback: Trail Mix Peanut Butter Cookies (gluten-free) | Cook & Taste

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  41. Pingback: Trail Mix Peanut Butter Cookies (GF) - Gluten Free Recipes and Food

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