These gluten-free vegan oatmeal cookies with pecans and chocolate have crisp, granola-like edges and soft, chewy centers. As an added bonus, they’re actually quite healthy for you. But you’d never know it from the taste.

We’re sorta incredulous that these oatmeal cookies with dark chocolate are vegan and gluten free. Think the spirit of granola but in a form that’s satisfyingly crisp at the edges, chewy in the center, and gobsmackingly unbelievably healthy through and through.–Renee Schettler Rossi

A stack of gluten-free vegan oatmeal cookies with chocolate on a white sheet.

Gluten-Free Vegan Oatmeal Cookies with Pecans and Chocolate

5 / 5 votes
These gluten-free vegan oatmeal cookies with pecans and chocolate have crisp, granola-like edges and soft, chewy centers. As an added bonus, they’re actually quite healthy for you. But you’d never know it from the taste.
Servings10 cookies
Calories289 kcal
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time1 hour 30 minutes


  • 2 cups pecans chopped
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more as needed
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup plus more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 ounces dark chocolate chopped into 1/4-inch (6-mm) pieces (about 1/2 cup)


  • Toss half the pecans in a food processor and process until just barely finely ground, 15 to 20 seconds. Do not overprocess them into a paste. Transfer to a large bowl and repeat with the remaining pecans.
  • Transfer it to a large bowl and stir in the oats, baking powder, salt, and cornstarch.
  • Make a well in the center and pour the olive oil, maple syrup, and vanilla into the well. Stir to combine. The dough will be sticky and a little crumbly. If the dough is very loose and crumbly, add equal amounts of oil and maple syrup, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together. Stir in the chocolate.
  • Cover and refrigerate until the dough is slightly firmer, 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment.
  • Scoop and firmly pack the dough into a 1/4 measuring cup. Dump the dough on a baking sheet and then flatten it slightly with the back of the measuring cup or damp hands to 1/2-inch (12-mm) thickness. Repeat with the remaining dough.
    [lc-tip]If your dough sticks to the measuring cup, try lining the measure with plastic wrap and then gently nudge the dough into it. Then invert it (you know, turn it upside down) onto the baking sheet and pull both it and the plastic wrap off away from the dough.[/lc-tip]
  • Bake the cookies, rotating the sheet once halfway through, until the cookies are lightly golden, 18 to 22 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let the cookies cool completely. (The cookies will crisp as they cool.)
A New Way to Bake Cookbook

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Serving: 1 cookieCalories: 289 kcalCarbohydrates: 18 gProtein: 4 gFat: 24 gSaturated Fat: 4 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5 gMonounsaturated Fat: 13 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 1 mgSodium: 120 mgPotassium: 220 mgFiber: 4 gSugar: 8 gVitamin A: 14 IUVitamin C: 1 mgCalcium: 46 mgIron: 2 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2017 Martha Stewart Living. Photo © 2017 Jonathan Lovekin. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

These cookies are remarkable. No flour, no butter, no sugar, no eggs, and still the texture and flavor are truly top notch. The pecans have a richness that stands in so well for the flour and butter, and the oats add that perfect chewy texture. I think these would work with additional whole nuts folded in with the chocolate chips (pistachios would be my pick).

I used dark chocolate chips, which measured out to a gently mounded 1/2 cup. When it came to the liquid sweetener I used 1/4 cup of maple syrup (which was all I had left!) and had to finish up the other 1/4 cup off with coconut nectar. It has a golden syrup texture- very slow flowing and sticky compared to maple syrup, and actually provided a hint of tartness. I think it added great dimension to the flavor of the final product.

The cookies held together before baking and then spread slightly in the oven. They browned faster than I expected (perhaps due to the coconut nectar?) and at 15 minutes I pulled them out of the oven. They were very gooey in the centers and dark and caramelized around the edges. I left them to cool on the pan for 10 minutes and then moved them to a rack where they cooled down completely. They did indeed hold together once cool, but still had a soften stickiness in the center, and a delicate lacy sweet perimeter that crumbled upon contact. I might try another 2 minutes or so in the oven next time, or perhaps I’ll just turn the oven off for the last few minutes to continue cooking them for more firmness, without burning them.

Overall, super pleased! I’ve moved the remaining cookies to the freezer, and I’m curious to see how the texture and flavor might change as a result.

These were so fast to whip up and are vegan to boot! It’s hard to find vegan recipes that don’t fall apart so I was super curious to try these out.

I used my Vitamix instead of the food processor and it worked fine. I used equal amounts maple syrup and olive oil but added the syrup 1 tablespoon at a time as I was mixing. I LOVED the technique of packing the 1/4 cup measuring cup and then flattened each individual cookie with the bottom of it after it had flopped out. I only got 8 cookies, not 10, but they were eaten as soon as they were cooled and I was chastised by my family for not having doubled the recipe.

I can’t wait to whip up another batch for my vegan friends!

Slightly sweet, very crunchy, chocolatey, and with a hint of salt, these cookies checked a lot of my personal snack requirement boxes.

The dough comes together pretty quickly and easily and it’s possible to vary the sweetness by adding the maple syrup by the tablespoon rather than all at once. A quarter cup of both the olive oil and the maple syrup seemed perfect to my palate and the dough itself seemed moist but a little crumbly. Rather than baking right away, I let the dough rest in the refrigerator for 45 minutes to see if chilling would increase hydration and produce less crumble. That step seemed to do the trick and the chilled dough was easy to scoop and pack into a 1/4 cup measure and then release with a tap onto the parchment-lined sheet pan. Damp fingers are definitely needed to flatten the dough as it’s sticky, but the dough didn’t break or crumble.

I was a little surprised that the cookies didn’t break when they were transferred to the rack since most cookies require a cooling period to solidify a bit before making that move, but I didn’t need to wait with these. No breakage or crumbling during or after the move. I may have overbaked the cookies slightly to get that golden color (23 minutes) so would probably cut back to 20 minutes next time, but the end result was a crispy, delicate cookie with a little bit of crumble at each bite. Don’t forget to use a napkin so you don’t lose any of those delicious little bits.

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These cookies start with a rich pecan base note complemented by the oats and finishes with a bittersweet depth of dark chocolate. They are at once salty and delicately sweet. Rather than comparing them to your favorite chocolate chunk cookie, savor them as a tender crisp granola like treat all their own.

On that note, mine were so tender the cookie crumbled under me so have a bowl of salty caramel ice cream to catch the crumbles. I used the weight measurements and followed the instructions per recipe. Of course we all have touches to add but follow the recipe first to know exactly what you are working with. The taste of salt and sweet are perfectly balanced to my palette. Also, you will have 10 delectable servings, one plain, one with coffee, one with ice cream, one with…one with…

These cookies received rave reviews at a couple events to which I took them over the weekend. Several people asked for the recipe. They couldn’t believe that the cookies were vegan and gluten-free. (I utilized rolled oats that were designated GF.) One person commented that they were nearly “guilt-free” and another suggested that these were an “anytime cookie,” meaning a good choice for breakfast, lunch, snack-time, or dinner.

The maple syrup provided just the right amount of sweetness and the use of olive oil created an end product with a wonderful, crisp texture. The chocolate chunks pushed them over the top. I must admit that I had my doubts when I was scooping the dough onto the baking sheet. They were very crumbly and only loosely held together, even when packed. I had the best results when I used my cookie scoop and only released the lever just enough to dislodge the batter. I dipped my fingers lightly in water to flatten and shape them before baking.

First things first, these are fantastic! They’re quick to make and perfect for breakfast, a snack, or dessert. The nuttiness of the oats paired with the rich pecans and slight savoriness of the olive oil is wonderfully satisfying. I used a mixture of semi-sweet and milk chocolate, which was fun. These would also be great with dried blueberries.

The one thing I will change next time (and there will be a next time!) is too sprinkle a tiny bit of flaked sea salt on top of each cookie before baking. That extra salty finish will put these over the top.

You definitely need damp hands when flattening the cookies.

I recently decided to follow a plant-based or vegan diet and this is the first vegan cookie recipe I’ve tried. I was a little surprised this calls for olive oil when pecans already have a lot of fat, but this recipe does yield a nice texture when the oil and maple are doubled or the same doubled volume of applesauce in place of the olive oil and maple syrup.

I made a half a batch with olive oil and maple syrup and half a batch with applesauce in place of the oil and syrup. I much preferred the applesauce version. It was chewier and had more moisture but took a little longer to bake, around 25 minutes. The tops didn’t get as brown but that was ok.

These are very rich cookies, so I recommend making these with a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop as opposed to 1/4 cup. A little of this cookie goes a long way, and I would bake these again as an occasional treat. These aren’t low fat or low calorie so don’t let the word vegan make you think these are super healthy to be eaten in large quantities. The small tablespoon-size cookie serving will suffice if a cookie craving is in play.

Oh my, these are delicious! I followed the recipe exactly as written and the cookies turned out perfectly, making 10 generous cookies. Do use good chocolate chips and make sure you use coarse salt as recommended—the little salt “pops” are most welcome! These looked like a classic oatmeal cookie but the finished product was a surprise—the texture is crumbly and delicate from all the pecans and the flavour is a rich and sophisticated balance between the saltiness of the salt crystals and the chocolate chips.

You might be able to convince yourself that these are a “healthy” treat—high protein, no butter, no eggs, very little sweetener—but they taste like a decadent treat!

This recipe is spot on—I wouldn’t change a thing! One bowl, one spoon, one measuring cup. Total time was 1 hour, start to finish—5 minutes to mix, 20 to bake each batch (I did one sheet at a time), 15 to cool.

For the vegan, avoider of gluten, or simply the pecan-lover in your life, these cookies are quite simple to put together. The cookies are rich and crisp and not too hard or chewy. They are, however, so tender that they are actually rather crumbly. Not a problem, but just take caution if you were thinking of making them for the kids to have in the car.

I used milk chocolate chips. I blitzed the pecans for 15 seconds to get them into fine crumbs. They started to get like wet sand, crumbs sticking together somewhat, when I turned off the food processor. The crumbs weren’t as fine as almond flour but I didn’t want to make pecan butter so I took them out.

The dough was very easy to mix together and was not stiff at all. The author said it might be a little crumbly, but I thought it adhered together pretty well.

Using my 1/4-cup measuring cup and firmly packing in the dough, I got 8 large cookies. I think the packing is the secret to getting a cookie that stays together as it bakes. The last couple that I scooped were less well-packed and were more prone to breaking apart when I pressed them down. The pressing was easy to do with well-packed dough. The cookies did spread out so make sure to leave a few inches of space between them.

I baked my cookies for about 22 minutes. They were light golden and the edges were brown.

It was important to let the cookies sit on the pan and cool completely in order for them to actually set up. I tried moving some too early and they just completely fell apart when they were still warm. Once the others were cool and dry, they could be easily picked up or scooped into a container.

I thought the size was a little large, especially considering that these are very rich from the pecans. I might try a 2- to 3-tablespoon scoop next time.

The cookies are very crumbly so make sure to have a plate ready!

I love both the flavor and the texture of these cookies. They’re nutty, not too sweet, and ever so subtly salty, which complements the dark chocolate very nicely. The cookies are substantial in their size (1/2 inch thick and about 2 3/4 inches in diameter) but the texture is surprisingly light and crisp—you’ll easily put away two in one sitting!

Another plus: this one-bowl cookie recipe couldn’t be easier to follow. All you need is a spatula to mix the dough and all 10 cookies fit on one baking sheet (I used a half-sheet pan, which is 18 inches by 13 inches). The dough is crumbly, as the recipe says. After placing the measured dough on the baking sheet, moisten your fingers and press each mound together before flattening it.

It was hard to tell the color of the cookies change to “light golden,” but they baked fine in 20 minutes.

My co-workers served as the tasters for this recipe. Some of the comments received were, “I give this a 10 and can I take one home for my wife?” “I enjoyed the toasted pecans and that the cookies were not too sweet.” “I would buy them.” And “They were a little hard to eat but that didn’t stop me.”

The cookies were very crumbly but had a wonderful flavor. I think it’s hard to go wrong with toasted pecans, maple syrup, and chocolate. I used Maldon salt and enjoyed bites that had a hint of salt.

The cookies were really crumbly…the crumbs in the photo represent the cookies well. As the recipe specifies, you do need to let the cookies cool completely before trying to move them. They fall apart when warm.

These cookies are so amazing that I forgot that they were vegan. I’ve never made a chocolate chip cookie without flour until I made these delicious crispy delights. I was amazed at how the ground pecans were able to bind the other ingredients together and was even skeptical about how crumbly the dough was as I packed them into the measuring cup and formed them into cookie shapes. Once they baked, they solidified perfectly.

My favorite part about these cookies was the nutty flavor and scent imparted by the pecans. I didn’t feel one ounce of guilt when I ate two for breakfast since they’re full of healthy ingredients. My young kids loved them as much as I did and it was very difficult for me to save them the last two cookies.

I used standard semi-sweet chocolate chips rather than the more expensive chopped dark chocolate bar. The dough was super sticky and crumbly when shaping them in the measuring cup, but once baked they firmed up.

I prefer to bake with table salt as opposed to coarse salt as I feel that it distributes more evenly throughout the cookie.

The ingredient list for these cookies is fantastic—they’re honestly healthier than the things I eat for breakfast most days. They’re delicious, too, and if you grab them while they’re still warm (highly recommended) the copious amount of melty chocolate goodness will make them well worth the sticky fingers. My husband called them “granola-y,” and you can definitely taste each of the individual components that make them up, so if you aren’t a fan of pecans or oats, then obviously you wouldn’t like them.

I would be curious to see if I can use pre-ground almond flour next time to both save some time and to see how the flavor might differ. My one complaint is that the “dough” is VERY messy. The way the recipe reads, I expected it to be crumbly and maybe a bit dry, but mine was like very coarse, very wet sand that I had a really hard time keeping together. I was initially worried that the cookies might not hold together after baking since pressing down on the dough balls just made them completely fall apart—if this happens to you, never fear! While baking and cooling, they spread nicely and solidified perfectly.

This was my first time making a vegan cookie and it was surprisingly delicious, filling, and perfect with a cup of coffee. I used steel-cut oats and loved the texture combo with the ground pecans.

Originally published September 26, 2020

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Would walnuts work as a sub for the pecans? I’m on an elimination diet – walnuts are a safe food for me.

    1. Vicki, we didn’t try it with walnuts so we can’t guarantee success, but I think they’d make a fine substitute. Do let us know how they turn out.

    1. We haven’t tried making these as bars, Lee, so we can’t say if it would work or not. I fear that they might end up being too crumbly to work in a bar form.