Monster M&M cookies! Soft, chewy, and loaded with oatmeal, peanut butter, M&M’s and chocolate chips. These one-bowl gluten-free cookies are a dream!

Gluten-Free Monster Cookies

I remember all those years ago (six years, to be exact) when monster cookies were a new thing to me. A strange thing. An untasted thing.

Once made and devoured, however, I wept for all the years when monster cookies were not part of my life. I’ve since made up for lost time and have the hips to prove it.

Gluten-Free Monster Cookies

Monster cookies, a strange name for a delightfully soft and chewy peanut butter oatmeal cookie studded with M&Ms and chocolate chips, are most definitely one of our favorite cookies ever.

If you happen to come over and take a peek in my {scary} freezer, there’s about a 98% chance you’ll find a batch or three of monster cookies hanging out in the depths just waiting to be warmed lightly in the microwave…or eaten straight from the freezer.

Gluten-Free Monster Cookies

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my long life, it’s that you’ll never regret having monster M&M cookies on hand for when you cannot go another minute without one. It’s also very surprising how often that happens. To me.

Flour-free, these cookies can easily be made gluten-free – just double check your oats to ensure they are certified gluten-free, and you are good to go.

Gluten-Free Monster Cookies

While the dough is a little stickier than traditional cookie dough, they still bake up soft and thick and chewy (no spreading, no cursing my name or the cookie’s name, just how I like it).

These cookies are perfect, and they just work. No flour and all.

So grab your ingredients and start mixing. One-bowl and minimal fuss, you are well on your way to having a piping hot monster cookie in your grubby little hands before that Netflix episode is over.

Gluten-Free Monster Cookies

If you don’t have M&Ms, no worries. They can easily be swapped out for another kind of chip (peanut butter chips are dreamy in this cookie), or just go ahead and increase those chocolate chips.

Of course, without the M&Ms, it’s not entirely legal (says the food police) to call them “monster cookies,” but they’ll still be terribly delicious even if they are a matter-of-fact peanut butter, oatmeal, chocolate chip cookie.

Gluten-Free Monster Cookies

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Gluten-Free Monster Cookies

8 votes


One-Bowl Monster M&M Cookies




Yield 2-4 dozen cookies, depending on size

Keep in mind that if you want the cookies to be safely gluten-free, make sure your oats are certified gluten-free (it will say on the package if they are). Speaking of oats, several commenters have successfully used old-fashioned oats (the cookies may spread a bit more). Or you could take your old-fashioned oats and process them lightly in a blender before using (measure after they have been blended a bit). 

Also, lots of times when I make these, I sub in different kinds of chips. Peanut butter chips are dreamy (in addition to or in place of M&Ms or part of the chocolate chips). Finally, many of you commented you've gotten a lot more than 2-3 dozen cookies out of this batch and that's because you make your cookies small and I make mine not-small. Sometimes, I use my #40 medium cookie scoop which is about 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons but a lot of time, I grab the #20 scoop which is 3 tablespoons or more. I mean, we're going for monster cookie here, right?


  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups (9.25 ounces) packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup (7.5 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) creamy peanut butter
  • 1 stick butter (8 tablespoons, 4 ounces), softened
  • 4 1/2 cups (18 ounces) quick cooking oats (double check oats are gluten-free if making gluten-free cookies)
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) M&Ms
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) milk chocolate, semisweet, or bittersweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper, silpat liners or lightly grease with cooking spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl with a handheld electric mixer (or in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment), add the eggs, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Mix well.
  3. Add the salt, baking soda, vanilla, peanut butter and butter. Mix until creamy and well combined, 1-2 minutes.
  4. Stir in the oatmeal, M&Ms, and chocolate chips until combined. The dough will be sticky.
  5. Scoop the dough into heaping tablespoon-sized balls (see note above) and place about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheets. If you want the cookies thinner, flatten them slightly with the palm of your hand.
  6. Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes. Don't overbake - the cookies should just be set and very lightly golden around the edges.
  7. Let the cookies sit for 1-2 minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in a airtight container for 2 days (the baked cookies freeze well, also).

Recipe Source: adapted slightly from a Paula Deen recipe on Food Network sent to me by Lucy J., a reader
Recipe first published November 2011; updated with new pictures, recipe notes and commentary.

Monster Cookies

82 Responses to One-Bowl Monster M&M Cookies {Gluten-Free}

  1. Toni says:

    Hi Mel! I love your recipes and this cookie recipe did not disappoint. I have a question about the oats though. My calculations figure 4 1/2 cups of oats is 12.6 oz not 18 oz. Am I figuring incorrectly? Do you weigh 18 oz of oats or just roughly measure 4 1/2 cups? I used the 12.6 oz (4 1/2 cups) when I made them but the cookies spread out quite a bit. They were still delicious of course! Just wondering which measurement to use when I make them in the future. Thank you! Thank you!

    • Mel says:

      I think it might depend on how we each measure/weigh. I calculate about 4 ounces per cup of oats (that’s how I test most of my recipes). So for this recipe, the total ounces would be 18. Does that make sense? If your cookies spread, it sounds like you might need to use the 18 ounce weight vs the 12.6 ounce weight you calculated. Can I ask you out of curiosity where you came up with the 12.6 weight? Let me know if you have any other questions!

  2. Sally says:

    These were *amazing.* I’m not a m&m fan, so I used Reese’s pb chips instead. I used gf old-fashioned oats, and ending up refrigerating the dough for 3 hours for timing reasons. I smooshed down each ball (I used a #40 scoop, or 1.5T) and with a half recipe, got 2.5 dozen cookies. 9 minutes was the perfect baking time.


  3. Anne says:

    These were super yummy and I’m going to say they are sort of healthy, too, because of all of the oatmeal and peanut butter! I love recipes that use quick oats! Yay, thank you.

  4. […] Recipe Source:  Food Network via Mel’s kitchen Cafe  […]

  5. Kelly says:

    These are my favorite cookie of all time (and probably for my brother and sister). I discovered them at youth group in the 1980’s…. We love them so much that this year I am giving my siblings a dish towel with the recipe printed on it! thanks for sharing….

  6. Brandy says:

    Thank you!! I finally have a cookie recipe that doesn’t require gluten free flour and one that the whole family loves.

  7. Love these cookies!! Thanks for the recipe

  8. Tiffany says:

    So they are definitely yummy. My husband had three and he’s not a cookie fan. But they don’t look like yours. Maybe I added to much butter… I hate adding tablespoons ( especially after 4 I donno) so I did half a cup (according to conversion calculator). They puffed and then fell…they are either chewy or crispy. They don’t look anything like yours. Oh well I’ll have to try them again…. awe shucks 😉

  9. Valerie says:

    Made these yesterday with the Valentine M&M’s my mother-in-law sent us. I didn’t have a ton of chocolate chips so did 1/2 cup regular and 1/2 cup white chocolate chips, and the M&M’s. I also used Skippy Natural Creamy Peanut Butter. These came out SO good! I got 5 dozen and need to bring some to work tomorrow so I don’t eat them all myself!!

  10. Keri says:

    I needed to take some gluten free cookies to a friend after surgery. These were a huge hit. I decided I could go without gluten now after eating them. HA! They even had the gluten free oatmeal at our small rural Smiths which was shocking. I used chunky JIF peanut butter instead of smooth and they turned out great.

  11. Marisa says:

    I made these for a Superbowl party, to rave reviews. Next time I might cut back slightly on the amount of chocolate chips and M&M’s, as I had quite a few rattling around the bottom of the bowl once all the dough was used up (and the cookies were fully loaded). Your site is my go-to for delicious, reliable recipes. Thank you!

  12. Erica says:

    I thought I would try these yesterday using the mEGA valentine’s day m&m’s that were gifted to my kids. Wow!!! What a fun addition to an already delicious cookie! The kids loved them & got a kick out of the colorful giant m&ms! Thanks for another great recipe!

  13. Sweet!! Gluten Free Monster Cookies?!! My GF boys are going to love these, I can already tell! YEAH!!!

  14. Gustavo Woltmann says:

    It’s a perfect snack for kids! No one can resist those colors, let’s be honest here!

  15. Cat says:

    Sitting here laughing at myself Mel because I came to your site looking for a super bowl recipe and instead I’m getting ready to make monster cookies since you convinced me!….(really didn’t take too much convincing…lol) your the best Mel! Thanks!

  16. Emily says:

    Can I just say that you read my mind! I was going to your blog see what cookie recipe to try and adapt to be gluten free and there it was, gluten-free monster cookies!!! They were amazing. And even better, they didn’t require any specialty flour, just gluten-free oats (which I had on hand) as well as leftover M&Ms from Halloween. And did I mention they were AMAZING! My kids and I LOOOOOVED these! Definitely a keeper. One note: I opted to use half old-fashioned and half quick-cooking oats and thought the texture was perfect. Thanks for being my go-to food blog for the last 9 years. Today you did not disappoint in the least!

  17. Jenni says:

    Just made these with my daughter. They were so delicious! Thanks for helping us create happy food memories Mel!

  18. Kamer says:

    And I quote, “I feel like these are what my mother’s monster cookies were wishing they could be like.” Bahaha. Five stars from my monster cookie obsessed husband. Added butterscotch chips, peanut butter m&ms, and semisweet chocolate chips. Made them on the larger side (a little more than 3 tablespoons), baked for 10 minutes and 22 seconds, they were perfect!

  19. Darlene says:

    Mel, do you ever flatten your cookies (any cookies) with a fork dipped in water before you put them to bake? I have always done this with almost every cookie I ever make – it’s how I was taught by my mom (35 years ago!). I see that you never mention doing that in your instructions….so just wondering if I am adding an unnecessary step?

  20. Paige says:

    These are my favorite cookies and I never make them! Time to get baking for Sunday!


  21. Lucy J says:

    So glad you like these enough to repost after all these years. I’m still a big fan of your blog. (And I have these cookies in my freezer right now too!)

  22. Jennifer says:

    Dang you Mel! I made these this morning because I was procrastinating doing, well, anything else really. They are delicious! I had a bunch of peanut butter M&M’s left over from my birthday celebration so I used those in my cookies!

  23. Marty says:

    Thank you so much for this recipe!! My husband is Celiac, and it is always hard to find good baking that the whole family can eat, and likes to eat. THANKS!!

  24. Valerie says:

    My daughter just yesterday asked me out of nowhere when we could make M&M cookies and I see this recipe pop up on your blog today! These look yummy and easy to make, love that there’s no flour in them! Going to give these a try this weekend!

  25. Katie says:

    Do you or any of your awesome readers have suggestions for substituting the peanut butter with a non-not product? We are an allergy nut free household but I would sure love to try these!

  26. Becky says:

    Making cookies isn’t my favorite…too much babysitting 🙂 I make the exception for these, though! They really are the best and I love how easy they are to make GF by just using the right kind of oats!

  27. Abigail says:

    I usually have natural Jif peanut butter on hand. Will that work or should I use the regular Jif? I never know if being natural will mess with the recipe.

    • Mel says:

      Hey Abigail – you know, all the times I’ve made these, I haven’t tried natural peanut butter. If it’s on the creamy side (and not super grainy and thick like some brands), I think it stands a good chance of working. You might want to add a tablespoon or two of milk or almond milk as well.

  28. Teresa says:

    I love your monster cookie bars so much and make them often–so easy, one pan, done. I’ve never noticed this recipe in the archives. I will have to try this one now. I don’t have a very big cookie scoop, so mine will be a little smaller, but still delicious. Thank you!!!

  29. Shane Birkey says:

    i just made these today. They are very yummy! I followed the recipe exactly and used a small cookie scoop which holds 1 Tablespoon and the recipe yielded a little more than 100 cookies. That was quite a bit different than the 2-3 dozen in the recipe. So, so good though!

  30. Gwen says:

    So I made these last night – I have a different Monster Cookie recipe I have used before, but I picked yours this time. I thought the first three pans seemed a little off. While I was scooping up pan #4 (I made a double batch) I reread the recipe and realized that I forgot the baking soda! I added the baking soda to the dough that was left and baked the rest. The ones with baking soda are picture-perfect Monster Cookies and will be well received at the cast party for my kids’ upcoming drama production at school.
    But the no-baking-soda ones? Oh. My. Goodness. I don’t know why a few small teaspoons of baking soda makes that much of a difference, but they didn’t spread out or puff up at all (no surprise), and then maintained most of the texture of the raw cookie dough. So basically they are these little lumps of what tastes like slightly baked cookie dough. They are SO amazing – my kids were absolutely devouring them!
    So for any cookie dough lovers out there (and Monster Cookie dough is THE BEST, in our opinion!), sometimes a little distracted baking leads to the most delicious discoveries!!!

  31. JaNae says:

    I make these ALL the time! Thanks for a great recipe! Everyone loves them.

  32. Rebecca says:

    Would old fashioned oats work okay?

    • Mel says:

      I think several people in the comment thread used those with good results. Sometimes they can make cookies spread more but it’s worth a try (you could pulse them briefly in a blender or food processor if you have one).

  33. Helen says:

    Made these today with peanut butter M&M’s … I highly recommend this !!!

  34. Kristina says:

    Hi Mel,
    I just have a quick ques: Are these cookies chewy? I prefer chewy cookies rather than crunchy ones, so I was wondering if I should make these.

    • Mel says:

      Kristina – Yes, these are definitely more soft and chewy than crispy (but they get more crunchy the longer they bake so be sure to err on the side of the lesser baking time).

  35. Lachelle says:

    I ended up taking out 1/4 cup of each kind of sugar (and they were still plenty sweet) and I put in a mixture of chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, white chocolate chips, and m&m’s (oh the butterscotch chips are heavenly in there).

  36. Nicole Riggs says:

    These were soooo good! I too ended up with almost 5 dozen cookies…so since they are called “monster cookies” are you suppose to make them much bigger? I did tablespoon balls like I would regular choco chip cookies. Not that I am complaining about so many cookies! 🙂 I used the parchment paper from baking and put between layers of them inside a tupperware for the freezer. I was excited that I could have cookies for the next month, but then realized this wouldn’t be the case since Kevin sneaks about 10 a day lol. SOOOOO YUMMY! Love them! 🙂

  37. Amber says:

    Have you tried making these with other types of sweeteners, such as stevia? I am leery of using that much sugar.

  38. Mel says:

    Hi Tracey – I don’t think I have any magic tricks for perfectly round cookies. I scoop the dough out with a spoon or my cookie scoop, if If eel like it, but then I take the dough in my hands and roll it into balls.

  39. Tracey says:

    How in the world did you get your cookies to be so perfectly round?! I just made these and they were delicious, but my cookies definitely weren’t as pretty and perfect as yours! It says to roll them into balls, but I’m wondering if you used a cookie scoop instead? Also, I got 5 dozen cookies out of this…not 2-3 dozen!

  40. Monica says:

    My mom made these for us as kids, and they’re still one of my favourites. Our recipe also has peanuts in, and makes 12 doz! (we usually made a 1/2 or 1/4 batch) They also make amazing ice cream sandwiches! 🙂

  41. Bri says:

    Made these today! They are yummy. My husband and son loved them! A fun change from the norm. These would be great as energy food. Minus the sugar and chocolate, there are some power ingredients! Cheap powerbar for the hubby!

  42. Amy says:

    Who needs flour with cookies this good? Delicious! I even loved the dough. And it’s fabulous that they are gluten free. I have a cub scout that has gluten allergies, so this is a perfect recipe for him.

  43. Mel says:

    Emily – I’ve never subbed the peanut butter with another kind of nut butter but I’m guessing it should work out just fine.

    • Joy says:

      I ran out of peanut butter at 1/2 cup and had to finish with almond butter. the dough was darker than I expected and they tasted different, but they were OK.

  44. Emily says:

    I want to try these! My husband (the non-treat guy) had them at a friends and requested them, so they must be good. My question is this, can I substitute almond butter for the peanut butter? My son is allergic to peanuts, so I have no peanut products around the house, but he’s not allergic to almonds.

  45. Beth says:

    My mom made these for me just after I had my third baby and she was staying with us. With the peanut butter they are very filling– the perfect snack after a middle of the night feeding with a newborn (I’m all about the quick carb when nursing). Considering the lack of flour and other ingredients, it’s basically like an extra-tasty granola bar.

  46. […] Monster Cookies, from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe […]

  47. Courtney says:

    Hi, Mel! Another successful recipe from you. These were very, very, very good! Thanks again for always having tasty things to share. Here’s the post I wrote about them – and I gave you credit and linked back, of course. 🙂

  48. Tanya says:

    I made these last night and they were so good! I ended up with almost 4 dozen though. Good thing they freeze well!

  49. Nikki says:

    Thank you for the recipe!!! So happy that it didn’t have flour in it. I was able to enjoy a cookie. Its been awhile!

  50. Elizabeth says:

    My recipe calls for corn flakes in it as well as a bit of corn syrup. So in this recipe, cut the oatmeal to 2 1/4 cups and add 2 1/4 cups of crushed corn flakes.

    The recipe I work from makes 12 dozen cookies. I don’t have a pot big enough to mix it, so I always have to cut the recipe in half! 🙂

  51. I found out about this website from Mel’s Kitchen. I thought it sounded like a wonderful idea, since I come across so many wonderful recipes. I just seem to lose the recipes I have on paper so having them online sounds to good to be true! to me

  52. Lucy says:

    I’m so glad you like them!

  53. Andrea says:

    Oh, thank you! My five-year-old son has been begging me to make monster cookies for, like, two years, because he saw some in a cookbook once. I’m so happy to have a recipe (and I know it will be awesome, because every cookie I’ve ever made from one of your recipes has been incredible). My son will be thrilled:).

  54. Kim Watkins says:

    Just made these too!! I also used the old fashioned ones cause thats what I had. They were great brought some to my neighbors and sister! They were a hit!

  55. Lynn Luker says:

    I decided to chance it and use the old fashioned oats. The cookies are delicious. They maybe a bit more chewy than if I’d used quick, but I LOVED them. I always know I can depend on your recipes, thanks, Mel!

  56. Lynn Luker says:

    I don’t have quick oats. Will the old fashioned kind work in this? Thanks!

  57. robin says:

    I have been making these cookies for years!! at christmas I use the mini christmas M&M’s…the mini reece’s pieces are great in this recipe too! I actually just use whatever I might have on hand…My family loves these- and so do the ladies at work!! a HIT!!!

  58. Angie says:

    I love these cookies, but I don’t make them that often because I can’t just stop with one!

  59. Lesli says:

    We make these cookies with 1/4 cup of dough. The bigger cookie gives you a softer middle. The frozen dough balls are almost as good as a warm cookie!

  60. Amy says:

    Yay! An old co-worker used to bring these in on occasion and I lost my recipe – I think this is the same one – can’t wait to make them again. Delicious! Thanks Mel!

  61. Sandi says:

    Oh! I call these Artery Cookies because they probably clog them!!

  62. Emmy says:

    These are one of my fav. cookies! My mom would make these growing up and her recipe made a gigantic batch! We would be whipping them up in a giant stainless steel bowl, and she literally made them Monster, as in, 6 cookies were all that would fit on the sheet. Our recipe calls for about 1 cup of rice crispies…it adds a yummy crunch.

  63. Hillary says:

    I love these! I’ve known them as “power” cookies (maybe because of the peanut butter/oatmeal) and I’ve found that they freeze really well. In fact, they’re kind of yummy straight out of the freezer . . .

  64. Jennifer says:

    I have a recipe for Monster Cookies I got from a friend probably 20 years ago and it has flour, oats and chocolate chips in them. I was told it was a family recipe. So I guess that everyone’s varies, but these sound wonderful and I love peanut butter.

  65. Kristin says:

    Mel! I’ve used a nearly identical recipe (mine has a t. of corn syrup in it) for almost 20 years – I got it out of an old german church cookbook from my childhood Catholic parish in Minnesota! Maybe it’s a Midwestern thing because ever since I moved out to MA, people here freak out over my Monster Cookies 🙂

    • NAnderson says:

      I have the exact same recipe! My German grandma used to make these for us all the time. A family favorite for sure. However with the few minor differences I think I prefer this recipe!

  66. Kim in MD says:

    My friend makes Monster Cookies (for our large parties), but I am always too full after dinner to try one! She never mentioned that they don’t contain flour. Your cookies look delicious! I will definately give these a try…thanks, Mel!

  67. I never realized that Monster cookies didn’t have any flour in them – how very interesting! These sound like a great treat for the kids.

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