Skip to Content

Lemon Cowboy Cookies

Sharing is caring!

Lemon Cowboy Cookies are chewy lemon cookies made with oatmeal, crispy rice cereal, flaked coconut, and diced candied lemon peel. These cookies have chewy centers with bits of candied lemon peel and crispy edges. 

A stack of lemon cowboy cookies next to a bottle of milk.

Have you ever had a cowboy cookie? Or maybe you heard them called ranger cookies? They’re both pretty much the same thing, a cookie that’s loaded with extra goodness in the form of oats, crisp rice cereal, coconut, sometimes nuts and chocolate. Cowboy cookies were kind of an early form of an energy bar. Cookies were an easy thing to make and pack on the trail, not to mention scrumptious. The added ingredients helped stave off hunger longer which was important for a cowboy’s busy day.  

A bowl of cookie dough next to another bowl full of candied lemon peel, oats, coconut, and rice crispies.

My lemon cowboy cookies are obviously a very non-traditional version of a cowboy cookie, but I think that once you try these you’ll agree that lemon makes a fabulous addition. 

Adding the candied lemon peel, oats, coconut, and rice crispies to the cookie dough.


Let’s talk about ingredients! 

These cookies actually have double the lemon in them, with lemon extract to flavor the cookie dough and diced candied lemon peel. I can usually find the lemon extract in my local grocery stores, but I get the candied lemon peel online from the Paradise Fruit Co. They carry an entire array of dried and candied fruits and they are really reasonably priced. 

A sheet pan full of cookie dough that's been rolled into balls and is ready to bake.

This recipe calls for both butter and vegetable shortening, and no, that’s not because I want the world to be obese as one angry reader once suggested! LOL. Using a combination of butter and shortening adds the best of both worlds to a cookie. You get the butter flavor while the shortening helps the cookies to hold their shape and not spread too much and that’s important for this recipe. This is one area where I don’t recommend any substitutions!

Helpful hint: Let your cookie sheets cool completely between batches if at all possible. When you put your cookie dough on cookie sheets that are still warm from the oven each batch that goes into the oven will bake a little thinner and spread a little more! 

A sheet pan of freshly baked and cooled cookies with a spatula removing a cookie.

The coconut on the other hand is something that can be substituted or even omitted. Feel free to use sweetened, unsweetened, or even toasted coconut for these cookies. It will change the flavor and texture just a little bit though. 

If you can’t stand coconut you can even leave it out, just increase the oats to 1 full cup. 

A stack of cookies on a striped towel next to a bottle of milk.

Lemon Cowboy Cookies

Yield: 3 1/2 dozen
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes

Lemon Cowboy Cookies are chewy lemon cookies made with oatmeal, crispy rice cereal, flaked coconut, and diced candied lemon peel. These cookies have chewy centers with bits of candied lemon peel and crispy edges. 


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons lemon extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups crisp rice cereal
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut*
  • 1/2 cup candied diced lemon peel
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cookie sheets with silicone baking mats or with parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl cream together the butter and vegetable shortening. Add both the brown sugar and white sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and lemon extract, beating until the eggs have been completely mixed in well.
  3. Measure the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a separate bowl. Mix it lightly and then add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Mix well, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  4. Fold in the rice cereal, coconut, candied lemon peel and oats.
  5. Roll the cookie dough balls approximately 1.5 inches in size and space at least 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets.
  6. Bake the cookies at 350 degrees for 9-11 minutes or until the edges have begun to turn golden brown. Allow the cookies to rest for 2 minutes on the baking sheet before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature.


* If you do not like coconut the coconut can be omitted. Just increase the oats to 1 cup total for the recipe.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a review or a photo! I'd love to hear your feedback!

Pin it for later! Lemon Cowboy Cookies are chewy lemon cookies made with oatmeal, crispy rice cereal, flaked coconut, and diced candied lemon peel. These cookies have chewy centers with bits of candied lemon peel and crispy edges. Accidental Happy Baker is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at amazon .com at no additional cost to you.


Monday 18th of January 2021

Do not have the lemon diced peel here. Should I up the lemon extract?

Amy D

Monday 18th of January 2021

The candied lemon peel actually adds more of a chewy texture than a super lemony taste. The lemony taste in these cookies comes predominantly from the lemon extract, so I wouldn't change the amount of that at all. If you had fresh lemons, you could add a teaspoon of fresh lemon zest. If not, I'd leave everything the same and just omit the candied lemon peel.

Best of luck! Amy D.


Monday 18th of January 2021

I can’t get to store. What can I use instead of crispy cereal? Leave out?

Amy D

Monday 18th of January 2021

Oh man, you could probably use more oats for the crispy rice cereal. That would be the easiest substitution.


Thursday 7th of May 2020

LemonLover Is there any way to make these with fresh lemons or lemon juice? I just picked boxes of huge lemons off my tree.

Amy D

Friday 8th of May 2020


No, I wish there was. When I first got the idea for these cookies I tried making them with fresh lemons because I had several on hand and I just couldn't ever get the flavor or texture I was looking for in the cookies. The lemon extract and candied lemon peel just make for a better cowboy cookie in my opinion. Sorry!I do have some yummy lemon scones that use fresh lemons though if you'd be interested!

Amy D.

Ranch Wife

Wednesday 6th of May 2020

We ranch and I feed a lot of cowboys and they love cookies so I think I need to give this one a test run. I'm betting it'll be a hit. No worries about them getting obese here... cowboys work it off. 😉 Thank you!

Skip to Recipe