Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten-Free & Vegan)

Just last week I posted a recipe for Paleo Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies. A salad or a healthy fish recipe would seem to be in order after that. Posting two dessert/treat recipes in a row seems overly indulgent. But I have been having a lot of fun experimenting with almond flour and this Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe is the result. I can’t wait to share it because it turned out really well.

Almond flour has a high fat content. Using it in recipes generally results in moist confections. This can be a good thing when making cakes but when it comes to cookies I prefer something a little more firm and possibly crunchy. To make this happen in a chocolate chip cookie recipe I decided to add some coconut flour. Coconut flour is the opposite of almond flour in the sense that it is very dry. A little bit goes a long way. I have been playing around with combining these two flours to get the optimal mix for a cookie. The result is a tender chocolate chip cookie that has a little bit of crunch around the edges. It’s paleo because it is grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free and legume-free (I have actually seen cookie recipes that use bean flour!) These paleo chocolate chip cookies are even vegan.

This cookie is also non-political and loves puppies and little children. Basically, this is the perfect chocolate chip cookie.

Here’s Nathaniel posing for me. This child really should be paid to be my model. He is always being asked to pose and does a great job. Someday he may command a hefty fee but for now I get away with giving him cookies for his hard work as my model. N with paleo chocolate chip cookie

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Combine wet ingredients in a small bowl.
  4. Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients.
  5. Use a small cookie dough scoop* or form into 1/2 inch balls and place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. (I used a Silpat.)
  6. Press dough down onto pan to form round disks. (The dough does not automatically melt and spread out as with regular flour.)
  7. Bake 10 minutes. (a little longer if you like a crunchier cookie)
  8. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Makes 30-36 cookies

The cookies were surprisingly similar to other chocolate chip cookies I have had. It’s hard to believe this recipe uses no grains. The cookies are soft and moist. Once they are completely cooled they develop a little more crunch but still remain moist.

* I had never used a cookie dough scoop until just recently but the dough is very sticky and the scoop makes the process much easier.

** I used 70% cacao mini chocolate chunks from Whole Foods. If you are concerned about ensuring your chocolate chips are free of certain allergens, you might consider buying Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Mini Chips. They are gluten, dairy and soy free and sweetened with evaporated cane juice. (I make a small commission on sales through that link but it doesn’t increase the price for you. I have also seen Enjoy Life chips for sale at Whole Foods)

If you give these cookies a try, leave me a comment.  I would love to hear what you think. And if you use substitutions it would be great to find out about your results.

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120 thoughts on “Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten-Free & Vegan)

    • I have not tried the recipe with anything other than the Honeyville brand. I have heard results with things like Bob’s Red Mill Almond Flour can give you a different result because it does not have as fine a texture. But I suspect that may be more true for things like cakes and muffins. Other almond flours would probably work fine in this recipe. You just might get a courser result.

        • I used Bob’s Red Mill, and before even putting them in the oven I knew they would be different. Mine were really runny compared to the pictures. I they are baking right now, so we’ll see if the come out ok. I hope so, because my lovely daughter has her heart set on something sweet! Oh yes, and I used maple syrup (Pure) because I don’t have butter or ghee. I’ll update later ;-)

          • I’m just getting into the gluten free baking. I used spelt flour, the maple syrup, and butter. I only made half of a batch to see how they would turn out, as most of the ingredients are rather spendy for trial and error. Happy to say, they turned out great! Better than I had expected.

        • Hi, I have tried these a few times and love them. However, I use honey instead of coconut nectar or syrup. Another thing is that they always come out flat, never like the ones pictured. Should I reduce the liquid being used?

      • I used Kroger’s organic brand of almond flour, and they came out just like the picture. Also, I found the Enjoy Life chocolate chips there, too! When I made the full recipe, they came out flat, but when I made a half recipe, they were exactly like the picture. I also bake mine on a stone.

      • Hi im wanting to make this recipe to support my new pcos diet and wondered if you can use Wholegrain spelt flour instead? As almond flour is so expensive!!

        • Hi Jenna,
          You are correct about almond flour being expensive. But I don’t generally eat grain-based flours and don’t have experience working with spelt so I can’t say for sure whether it would work in this recipe.

    • When purchasing almond flour, make sure it is made from the entire almond. Many store bought flours have removed part of the almond and sold it in another form leaving a less desirable product.

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  2. Just made these with trader joes almond meal, and trader joes agave nectar. (I didn’t have either syrup, or blanched almond flour.) I also used the enjoy life chocolate chunks and coconut butter. I am in cookie heaven. Thank you so much for this recipe. I am new to gluten free baking and this was super easy.

    • I just made these with almond meal too, by accident because I’m new to this so I didn’t know there was a difference: ) I used the same measurement as the recipe and they were a disaster. Did you adjust the amount of meal you used?

  3. These are awesome! I am making my second batch this week! They freeze well too…tried to freeze some to keep myself from gobbling them all up but it didn’t stop me lol. Almond flour is quite pricey though…have you tried making any cookies with coconut flour (or at least the majority)? Just curious. Keep up the tasty recipes. Love your site!

  4. Just wanted to let you know that my boyfriend has requested these cookies three times since the first time I made them.

    I add dried cranberries and coconut flakes in mine for an extra something something. If you have any other vegan paleo recipes I’d love to try them!

    • That’s great, Dee. I’m glad you guys like the cookies. A lot of my dessert recipes have eggs in them but I try to designate things “vegan” when they qualify. I like the cranberries and coconut idea. I have some dried cherries I would like to use and this might be the recipe.

  5. Wow, made some tonight! They flattened out a bit more than your picture, but they were really good! I used the Enjoy Life Mini Chips you suggested as well. Very impressed, as were my son and my niece! Thanks!

  6. Hello! Thank you for this recipe! I was looking for cookie recipes and stumbled upon this one and was really excited because it is egg free as my son is allergic to eggs! Mine definitely did not turn out like yours which was to be expected because I didn’t follow it exact. Mine did spread on their own so due to me spreading them before baking they were incredibly thin and fell apart around the edges, but no big deal! I used Bob’s Red Mill almond flour, and maple syrup. Also, I decided to add in a couple tsp of almond butter just for kicks. I was a little worried because the dough all stuck together (due to the adding of almond butter) and as I mixed in the choc chips it sort of started to put off a liquid, but I kept on going! Now, you initially said you liked your cookies crispy, but mine turned out so incredibly chewy and delicious! I couldn’t believe it! I was shooting in the dark and couldn’t believe how awesome they are for so little ingredients! And my 2 1/2 year old son loved them! Thanks again!

  7. Oops also you were correct they did look a lot more corse due to the Bob’s Red Mill almond flour, but I do not think that effects the taste texture. I think next time I will bake it as a whole and cut them like cookie bars!

  8. So I am probably the worst baker there is. I usually manage to burn, melt, or just plain ruin everything . I managed to make and bake these for a paleo potluck, that our crossfit gym is having, and absolutely loved them. So much, that I made a second batch after because I was so impressed with myself. Thank you for the amazing recipe! They are extremely delicious! First one that has worked for me yet.

  9. Made these tonight. Hubby and I LOVED them! My 5 year old daughter loved them too. (She especially enjoyed licking the leftover batter out of the bowl b/c there were no eggs.) Thank you so much! :)

    • Ah yes, the lick-the-bowl trick. I know it well. My youngest son is a professional cookie dough bowl licker. So glad y’all liked them!

  10. Mixed them up, re-read the recipe to see where I goofed…I didn’t.
    Gave up, poured batter (yes batter) into an 8×8 glass pan to bake.

  11. my primal/paleo family LOVES these, and i am so happy to finally eat cookies again! (i have a recently diagnosed egg allergy, and it’s been killer saying goodbye to some of my favorite paleo recipes!) thank you so much!

  12. Just made these and they taste great! Although I did use Agave syrup as didnt have the coconut nectar? Might have to freeze them or else they’ll be gobbled up in no time! Thanks =)

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    • I know they have almond meal. You can use that instead of almond flour but it may be a somewhat different textured result. They carry coconut oil now. I do not believe they carry coconut flour yet but you can probably find that in the regular grocery store. They carry maple syrup but maybe not coconut nectar. Definitely chocolate chips.

        • Maybe. It depends on the Whole Foods store. I have only found blanched almond flour online. Coconut flour from Bob’s Red Mill brand is widely available. I’ve seen that brand and other cocnut flour brands at Whole Foods.

          • I just found coconut flour and almond flour at Shop Rite! Check you the baking sections, you would be surprised all the specialty things they are carrying now!!

          • Thanks Kerry,
            I have been buying coconut flour (Bob’s Red Mill brand) at Shop Rite but I have never seen almond flour. This is great news. I’ll look for it next time I’m there.
            Lea

  15. We just switched over to Paleo and what a joy to find this recipe! We tried it today and I made more for a bake sale that never seems to have gluten free items. I did not have coconut nectar so I used shredded coconut and for a little more moisture (not from the oil either, but to also add just a touch more sweet flavor) I used chocolate almond milk. They came out GREAT! Thanks for posting this recipe!!

    • You’re welcome. Isn’t that always the case with bake sales – nothing gluten-free. I’ll bet plenty of people will appreciate having an alternative. Good for you! Your tweaks to the recipe sound good to me.

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  18. Yumm! First try at making a Paleo sweet treat and they were PERFECTLY Delicious! I used Bob’s Red Mill Almond Flour and Enjoy chocolate chips as that was what I had on hand and they were still delicious! My son said they were they best Paleo food yet and I am excited to have treats back on the menu.
    Thank you from our whole clan.

  19. I have been scouring the internet for gluten-free/vegan. I never realized it was paleo! Any suggestions for how I might sub the coconut nectar for liquid stevia? In other words, is the bulk of the nectar necessary for the batter to be the right texture ie not so dry it won’t form? Thanks!

    • Hi Lucy,
      Paleo is always gluten-free but not always vegan because it includes meat in many recipes. However, because we generally do not eat dairy there are often recipes (especially side dishes) that are vegan. This chocolate chip cookie recipe is one place where paleo folks and vegans can come together. :-) I’m not sure about the stevia substitution because I have never done it. There’s a 1/2 cup of nectar/maple syrup which is substantial enough that I would say you definitely need the moisture. You could try using stevia for the sweetener and then adding some other liquid to make up the difference. Good luck!

  20. Yum. This is my first time ever leaving a comment for anything online since these are phe-nom-e-nal! My daughter and I are GF/DF and I am toying with the idea of going Paleo, but have been hesitant. I don’t want my daughter to feel so deprived so finding substitute recipes that are Paleo, yet enjoyable is a blessing. I am leaning more Paleo, just tiptoeing my way in and hoping my 9 year-old daughter doesn’t notice :)

    Thank you for a great recipe, this will be my go-to cookie recipe.

  21. Oh my goodness!!! These are awesome! Thank you so much! I’m dabbling in Paleo but have a huge sweet tooth I’m not ready to give up. LOVE these cookies! Better yet, my 10 year old daughter who is not, shall we say, necessarily on board with Paleo loves them too! I used maple syrup and the “Enjoy Life” choc. chunks. SO good!

    • Awesome! I know how those 10 year olds can be. That’s how old my oldest son was when we started following paleo. Good luck with the transition! And thanks for the feedback.

  22. You knocked it out of the park again, Lea! I added two tablespoons of shredded coconut and they were a lot like macaroons. Crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Delicious!

  23. Fabulous recipe. Doing a Whole Life Challenge with no sweeteners, no dairy, no grains allowed, so this recipe is a godsend (I used chopped dates and orange rind instead of choc chips and left out the agave nectar).

  24. I made these and my whole family loved them! I made 1/2 the batch with Choc chips and 1/2 the batch with pecan pieces. We used maple syrup for a good rich flavor. I like them frozen. :) Thanks for letting me know about these choc. chips that are soy free!

  25. I have made these many times and LOVE them! But does anyone have any advice on flattening them before baking? If I use a metal spoon or my fingers the batter just sticks and makes a mess. Help?

    • We’re making them right now and I literally just flattened mine out with my fingers about 5 minutes ago. They didn’t stick for me. If your batter is sticking, you might consider refrigerating the dough a bit before you try to flatten them out – that might help.

      • Thanks for a great recipe. I have made these a few times and the last time, I didn’t have time to bake them right away. I refrigerated the dough and baked them the next morning. I didn’t have any problems with stickiness this time. I think that is the way I will make these from now on.

  26. These were simply amazing! Ended up grinding my own almonds because I realized I didnt have the flour on hand (so some of the cookies had random larger chunks of almond in them! Surprise!) and even shared some with colleagues who really appreciated them. I used Ghiradelli chips which are beyond par! Thank you so much for posting!

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  29. Turned out great! I made a variation: add 3 tblspn chocolate powder, 1 tblspn espresso powder. Choc choc chip coffee. Yum! (Also added some mint chips–in heaven.)

  30. I made these yesterday and they are awesome! I changed 2 things: I used honey instead of the coconut nectar, and I refrigerated the dough for 30 minutes before scooping onto the baking sheet. The dough was falling apart too easily without chilling it first. Much easier to scoop and flatten after chilling!

  31. So grateful for your recipe! We’ve already made them three times (including Thanksgiving last night) since discovering them three weeks ago; we usually eat them right off the cookie tray. They are absolutely delicious! We’re now looking for an equally awesome vegan/glutenfree pumpkin bread recipe.

  32. Made these the other day and was a little disappointed with the consistency although they tasted great! Was expecting them to be a little crunchier due to the coconut flour – the only thing I changed was the coconut nectar, used manuka honey instead. I left them in a little longer as the recipe suggests for the crunchier texture but they began to get slightly burnt (and still didn’t crunch up!)
    As I am new to gluten free/vegan baking, if anyone can offer any hints as to what l can try next time I’d be very grateful………..

    • Cathie,
      I think the problem may be the honey. Honey is usually thicker and stickier than coconut nectar or maple syrup. I could see how that might make them more pliable and chewy. You might consider trying maple syrup in the recipe. I find it makes them crunchier though they tend to soften up if you put them in an airtight container.
      Lea

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  34. These are the best Paleo chocolate chip cookies ever! We use maple syrup in lieu of the nectar and we can’t get enough of them. Great recipe! Keep em coming

  35. BEST COOKIES EVER!!! The first time I tried them I thought they had grains which I can’t have so I said no to the cookie, then the person with offered it to me said it was Paleo and Vegan. I ate 3 of them Saturday and Sunday they were SO GOOD!!!

  36. I was thrilled to come across this recipe. I couldn’t find any pure chocolate chips, but simply broke apart a dark chocolate bar into tiny bits. The coconut oil I used was room temperature, and when I added chilled pure maple syrup, the oil solidified slightly. At first, I was worried, but it may have actually made for a more manageable texture. I don’t have a cookie scoop, but the dough wasn’t too sticky when I rolled it into balls. I made these as my “one month of the paleo lifestyle treat”. Thanks! I will definitely recommend your site!

  37. Amazing cookies!!!! I used maple syrup instead of coconut nectar. I can’t stop stuffing my face with them now :) Thank you for the recipe!!

  38. I stumbled across these while searching for a paleo doughnut recipe. I used bobs red mill which i find to be a bit mealy, but fir first go round it satisfied my 3 year old who had been asking for chocolate chip cookies. And since we went GF in august 2012 after him being hospitalized for a week due to intestinal issues i usually made GF cookies, but his intestines are super sensative to any sticky substance so we began paleo last month after being informed he was having issues again. I have tried lots of paleo cookie recipes but he has a small allergy to coconut, which seems to be in everything paleo. I also subsitituted almond extract as he is extremely allergic to vanilla. They are sweet and cruch/chewy. Turned out exactly like photos. I did however allow the mixture to rest for 5 minutes before i stirred and portioned.

  39. I used the red mill almond flour and I used the maple syrup bc that is what I had and the only problem I had was they were sticky so I couldn’t flatten them. Still very tasty though. All try the coconut nectar next time.

  40. What a great treat! I “tweaked” it out of a shortage of flours and wanted bars. I halved the recipe (I ground my almond flour in the food processor.) I used maple syrup and butter. I spread a thin layer in the pampered chef square baking dish. I spread it out by using wax paper on my fingers. I baked 15 minutes initially, then turned off oven and just left them for over an hour. Presto! Crunchy chocolate chip bars! Happy day!

  41. This was my second attempt at making paleo chocolate chip cookies. The first recipe did not taste like cookies, but this recipe was GREAT. And my husband who is very picky and hates all things healthy ate them. He even had seconds. Thank you so much. I will try some more recipes from your website. Thank you so much!!!!

  42. Finally, no more flat cookies!! have tried these several times now and with a few tweaks, I finally got them to turn out perfectly! They’ve always tasted wonderful, but I wanted them to come out looking more like the ones in your pictures! My first few tries (using coconut oil or coconut oil + a little butter) produced slightly runny batter and very flat cookies. This time, they were just right! I used mostly butter, plus 1-2 T coconut oil (until I had a 1/2 cup total), a rounded 1/2 tsp baking soda, 2 rounded T coconut flour (rounded vs leveled flat), 1/2 c maple syrup, and only 1/2 T vanilla. Don’t skip the steps where you mix the wet and dry ingredients separately before combining! I also added 1/2 c chopped walnuts. I use Ghirardelli 60% cacao and this time, I didn’t flatten the scoops of dough. I baked them at 350º for 12-15 mins. Also, it’s important to let these cool so they don’t completely fall apart when you try to eat them. I hope this helps anyone who has had the flat-cookie problem!

  43. Just made 1/2 a batch of these DELICIOUS cookies to try them out! They turned out so so so good! They looked just like the pictures! I had to alter it some since I didn’t have almond flour or coconut flour. I have a gluten free baking mix (brown rice flour, millet flour, sorghum flour and tapioca flour) that I used instead. I also used maple syrup and coconut oil. Thank you so much for the inspiration!! :)

  44. Lea,
    No joke… When you said you should pay Nathaniel for his modeling, you seriously should. He definitely has the beauty for it, but besides that, from a CPA’s standpoint, instead of buying his regular clothes, school clothes, supplies, lunches,necessities, etc., pay him for being your web model, deduct it from your regular income and let him buy his own items. I know this is just a transfer of funds from you to him, but as long as he performs a service, e.g., modeling; it is a legitimate tax write-off for you and he will probably not have to pay taxes, and even if he does, it will most probably be at a lower tax bracket then you experience… I’m just sayin’. Check with your CPA…
    Thomas

  45. I made these cookies by just blending raw almonds in my vitamix and used raw honey instead of coconut nectar bc that’s what I had on hand. I only used about 1/4c honey too. The cookies are a little textured but we loved the crunch! My husband and extended family LOVED them. My brother asked for the recipe.

    • Actually baking soda is considered “Paleo” given that it is not a grain, legume or dairy product. It’s just sodium bicarbonate that comes from a naturally occurring mineral. (Baking powder often contains corn starch which is why many consider that not to be paleo.) If you take that view because “cavemen” did not eat baking soda then all I can say is I do not personally follow that line of thinking. It is impossible to fully replicate their lifestyle and even if I could I would not choose to do so. The best question to ask is “is this ingredient harmful to my health?” Having said that, I do not know if the cookies work without baking soda because I haven’t tried it without that ingredient. If you do try it feel free to let us know how they turn out.
      Lea

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  47. Hi, was wondering about the calorie info on these cookies. Almond meal/flour is pretty high fat and I’m trying to find some figure friendly indulgences to have from time to time. Thanks!

    • CG,
      I don’t have the time to research the calorie counts of recipes but I’m sure you could estimate by googling some of the ingredients. Good luck!
      Lea

  48. Thank you so much for this recipe! I made them over the weekend and they last so well when in fridge. I had the hardest time finding a dessert I could make–I’m on the autoimmune protocol diet–and these cookies were a real treat.

    Cheers!

  49. Just made these and they were AMAZING!!! My boys and husband almost finished off the entire batch ;-) I ended up using a 1/2 cup of raw honey instead of maple syrup/coconut nectar and the batter looked/felt exactly like normal cookie batter!!

    Thanks!

  50. Hii!! I am a fan.. I just love your recipes.. Do you know how many calories are there in these chocolate chips recipe???

    THANK U!!!!! :)

  51. Every time I make these cookies and share them with others- they want the recipe!
    Even ppl who aren’t health nuts!
    I use 1 egg to have them hold together better

  52. Made these for first time and love. Great paleo treat. I didn’t have coconut or maple syrup on hand so made with Date Lady’s date syrup that I had and they taste great. Other ingredients were as listed.

  53. I made these but substituted the almond flour with almond meal and the maple syrup with agave nectar , also the vanilla extract with essence cause i find it too strong and they where to diieeeee for , the saltiness really compliments the chocolate

  54. I just found this recipe and can’t wait to try it! Thank you Lea for your recipes and thanks to everyone for their helpful questions and comments!

  55. Great recipe! I baked half a batch and used xylitol instead of maple syrup, since I didn’t have the latter… Fortunately, they turned out fantastic! Can’t wait to make them again — this time with maple syrup. Cheers!

  56. I am very new to baking without wheat flours. I just finished making a batch of these cookies, using the combination of Bob’s Red Mill almond meal/flour, ghee, & coconut nectar. I have to say, they are REALLY seriously delicious! That buttery ghee flavor comes through wonderfully. I believe using Bob’s Red Mill made them come out flatter than pancakes though. They’re almost sort of lacy looking. But so, so good. I’m in a rural area, and don’t have access to the Honeyville almond flour you mentioned using, but am ordering some from Amazon, though I wouldn’t mind making them this way again.

    • Hey, if the Bob’s works then you could just stick with that. I think the biggest difference between the flours is in baking things like muffins and cakes. Cookies you can kind of get away with the more coarsely ground flours. Thanks for the excellent feedback!

  57. I just made the chocolate chip cookies! They are fantastic, thank you, thank you! I’ve been searching for a great CC cookie recipe and now I’ve found it. I used my Trader Joe’s Almond flour and sifted it because it can be a bit grainy, perfect cookies!

  58. These cookies are amazing! Taste better than toll house! I am new to paleo, and these are making the transition so much easier. thank you!

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