If you’re in the mood for a gooey chocolate chip cookie that happens to be loaded with protein, you’ve come to the right place.
Protein cookies are historically pretty terrible. Nothing beats a freshly baked cookie, so you must lower your expectations when you buy a pre-packaged cookie anyway. But, even with those expectations lowered, I still find that protein cookies are so dry and tasteless.
Let’s change that. Let’s bake up a perfectly soft, gooey, LARGE cookie…
I’d say over 6 ounces will suffice.
Plus, this protein cookie has no eggs and no wheat, so it can safely be eaten raw (or underbaked).
I went through 8 versions trying to get this protein cookie recipe just right. I played with the ratios, made substitutions, and adjusted the cook time/temperature. High-protein baking can be very stubborn if it’s not done correctly, so I want to share with you all of the trials and errors I went through.
Ultimately, my goal was to create a cookie that was high in protein but still tastes delicious. Foods that are packed with protein often just taken on the artificial flavor of protein powder, so I wanted to make sure these tasted like the real deal.
If you’re worried about screwing this recipe up- don’t be! I’m going to make it as easy as possible for you. But if you are worried, I have quite a few other chocolate chip cookie recipes for ya. How about some edible cookie dough or a cookie dough parfait? Or, if you need a keto option, I have some keto friendly cookies for ya too.
Size & Nutrition Comparison
I’m sure a lot of you are familiar with Lenny & Larry’s cookies. They’re the leading “protein cookie” on the market, and it seems a lot of people love them. I happen to not like them at all- to me, they’re quite cardboard-y.
I wanted to use Lenny & Larry’s as a my jumping-off point for these cookies. In terms of size, I wanted them to be larger, and I wanted the nutrition to be more appealing. Here’s how they end up comparing:
This recipe is a bit higher in fat (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing), but other than that, I’d say it’s much more appealing across the board. 2g of sugar vs 25g of sugar is great, and our cookie has nearly double the protein! Oh yeah, and it’s super soft as well.
Through my many trials of these cookies, I played with the ratios to try to make these as “macro friendly” as possible. However, trying to go super lower calorie just didn’t work. This final recipe is the most appealing I could make the nutrition while having it still taste like a REAL cookie.
Main Ingredients & Substitutions
One of the toughest parts about healthy baking is successfully making substitutions. If you swap one little ingredient, it can result in a completely failed end-result. Like I mentioned earlier, I went through 8 variations of this recipe, so I want to tell you which ingredients work best, and why.
Main Protein Source: A Whey/Casein Blend.
If you’ve ever read any of my recipes, you’ll see that I typically use a whey protein. I’ve had great success in most cases, but pure whey protein generally leads to dry baked goods if you’re not careful. I knew I wanted a soft & gooey protein cookie, and I knew that whey protein alone would not suffice. But don’t worry, I tested it for you! When I made the same recipe with whey protein, the cookie ended up spreading out a lot more and becoming too thin:
I purposely undercooked this version in hopes of preventing it from drying out, but that resulted in the middle being undercooked and the outside being dry. Meh. If all you have is whey protein it will work, but is definitely not my preferred ingredient.
Casein helps to keep the protein cookie nice and thick. By using both whey & casein together, it creates the consistency we want.
I bought myself PEScience Gourmet Vanilla and I cannot recommend it enough- it’s absolutely delicious, and VERY versatile. You’re 100% going to see me using it in more recipes going forward when pure whey doesn’t quite cut it, so you might want to consider grabbing some for yourself! Quest is another popular protein powder brand that is a whey/casein blend and would also work well here.
I’m not sure a pea protein powder will work exactly the same, but there’s only one way to find out! If you try it, let me know.
I will add this: make sure you like the protein powder you use. If you have an old vanilla whey protein in the pantry that you can’t stomach, don’t try to make this recipe with it. The protein is the main ingredient, so it’s going to taste terrible if you hate the protein powder. I highly suggest investing in a good brand, and PEScience has been treating me quite well so far. In fact, it’s a powder you can taste right of the tub and enjoy (if you want to).
Main Flour: Oat Flour
I love using oat flour in cookies- it helps to give it the most authentic flavor when paired with protein powder. Plus, it pleases anyone who may be gluten-free! If you don’t have oat flour, you can very easily make your own by throwing some oats into a food processor or spice grinder.
Can you swap out oat flour? Not really. I tried a version with regular white flour, but the cookie was too cakey for my liking. If you want a soft cookie, oat flour is the way to go.
Other Flours: Coconut Flour & Almond Flour
In my original attempt of this protein cookie, I utilized only coconut flour (without any almond flour). The cookie came out great, but coconut flour tends to have an overpowering taste. If you have a nut allergy and can’t use almond flour, leave that out of the recipe and double up on the coconut flour like I did. The cookie will come out great, but the taste will be slightly different from what I wanted.
I use coconut flour because it is super absorbent and helps hold the structure of the cookie. Without it, the cookie doesn’t hold up nearly as well and ends up too much on the mushy side. If you can’t do coconut flour for any reason (it’s a small amount in the recipe) you can probably use a powdered peanut butter. I did not test this, however.
I did test by swapping coconut flour for corn starch, because apparently adding corn starch to chocolate chip cookies is a favorite amongst bakers to keep cookies soft. Since corn starch is a thickener, I thought it would work as well as coconut flour. Structurally it absolutely worked great, but the taste was WAY off. It ended up adding a bitterness to the cookie that I did not enjoy at all.
I use a small amount of almond flour in this recipe as well. Although it’s a small amount, it adds a very subtle nutty flavor that I find necessary in this cookie. Peanut butter powder can be a substitute, or you can leave it out all together and replace it with slightly more coconut flour. Structurally, the almond flour isn’t necessary, but the taste definitely helps.
Fat Source: Light Butter
Cookies need a fat source to keep them moist and chewy inside. If you try to make these low fat, you’re gonna end up with a cakey cookie, and that’s the opposite of what we want. I use light butter in my recipes, which has about 50 calories per tablespoon vs regular butter that contains 100 calories per tablespoon. You can use regular butter, but that will add an extra 100 calories to this cookie.
Vegan buttery spread will also work here if needed- I’ve had success with an Avocado Buttery Spread I found. Coconut oil will also work, but like full-fat butter, will add extra calories.
In one of my trials, I did try cutting the butter in half and swapping it out for unsweetened applesauce. Generally speaking, you can swap some fat in recipes with applesauce and get decent results. However, I’ve found that only truly works well in cakes. When I swapped some of the butter for applesauce, the resulting cookie was more cakey and a bit spongy. Save the applesauce for cupcakes or muffins, but we’ll leave it out of these protein cookies.
Leavening Agent: Baking Powder
Cookies are generally made with baking SODA, as it allows cookies to spread nicely. If your goal is a thinner cookie with crispy edges and a soft center, baking soda is the way to go. When I tried this, the cookie thinned out far too much.
Baking powder is generally used in things like breads or cakes because it helps to produce more rise and a cakey texture. However, it worked SO much better in this cookie. Because we want it to be a large cookie, the baking powder helps to maintain the shape we want without turning the cookie cakey at all.
Sweetener: Granular Sugar Substitute
Another ingredient in “typical” chocolate chip cookies is brown sugar. Brown sugar helps to retain moisture, so it’s great to give cookies their soft centers. However, since this cookie is so large and delicate, the brown sugar actually resulted in the cookie being TOO soft and flattening out a lot…
This cookie dough can actually be safely eaten completely raw, so having it “too soft” is totally fine. But for me, I wanted a little more structure to the cookie, and the brown sugar made it too mushy for my liking.
Instead, I stuck with a granular sugar substitute. I’ve always used Swerve, since it’s a solid 1:1 replacement for white sugar. You can use regular sugar if you want, or any other brand that can be used as a 1:1 substitute. I tried using half of each type (half granular and half brown sugar) and the cookie came out pretty good, but still too soft for me. Brown sugar helps to give the cookie a little darker color, but I didn’t find it necessary for the flavor. If you do want to use some brown sugar, I would stick with a 2:1 ratio of granular (white) sugar to brown sugar to maintain the texture.
I do not recommend using a liquid sweetener- I used maple syrup in one version, but because of that, I had to use less liquid elsewhere to create a cookie dough, and the resulting cookie was too dry overall.
Cook & Chill Time
First things first: chilling the cookie dough is crucial. By letting the dough sit in the fridge for an hour before baking, it allows the dough to thicken up and hold its shape. If you have no time and jump right into baking the cookie, it will still turn out, but will not hold its shape nearly as well. Trust me, let the dough sit for an hour and you’ll see how much of a difference it makes!
As far as cook times go, I tried quite a few different options:
- 325 degrees F to 10-12 minutes. The result: too mushy
- 375 degrees F for 12 minutes. The result: too dry.
- 350 degrees F for 15 minutes. The result: too dry.
- 350 degrees F for 12 minutes. The result: perfect.
Much like letting the dough chill before baking, you must, I repeat, you MUST let the cookie sit after baking. When you remove the cookie from the oven, it’s going to feel undercooked, but it will continue to firm up inside once it’s out of the oven.
If you’re used to digging into fresh baked cookies right out of the oven, you’re gonna need to wait a little bit longer than you’re used to. If you get too eager and bite into the cookie before it sets, it’s going to be like biting into a cookie stuffed with raw cookie dough…
That being said, these cookies are safe to eat completely raw. There is no flour and no egg, making is safe to undercook. When I doubt, I always recommend undercooking vs overcooking for the best result, but there is certainly a line. If it’s TOO undercooked, it’s just mushy, and not quite as enjoyable. Trust the process and bake these at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.
Don’t get me wrong, I love cookie dough as much as the next person, but there’s something off-putting about hot, runny cookie dough. If you underbake these and find the insides too soft, leave them out on the counter or throw them in the fridge for another hour or so, and the insides will firm up into a cookie dough and actually be very enjoyable!
Forming Your Cookie
This recipe wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t quickly walk you through how to properly form your cookie.
Once your dough is chilled, create a little pocket and fill with chocolate chips to create a gooey center. Close it up by forming the dough back into a ball.
Now, this is the important part: don’t bake it as a cookie dough ball. With normal sized cookies, you can usually just scoop the dough and watch them spread out perfectly. With this large cookie, if you bake it as a ball, it’s going to stay undercooked on ya. That being said, you also don’t want to completely flatten it out, either.
Lightly pat the cookie dough down, forming it into a hockey puck shape like you see above. It’s going to spread out, so don’t worry about trying to form it into a perfect cookie shape- it’ll do that on its own. The more you flatten the cookie initially, the flatter and wider it will bake, so try to keep it thick!
Storing your cookie
In my many trials of this cookie, I’ve cut it into quarters and enjoyed pieces, leaving the rest out on the counter. After a few hours the cookie actually firms up quite well. If you underbake the protein cookie and find that it’s too soft inside, leaving it out for a few hours will actually greatly help you. In fact, it ends up tasting like a really good cookie dough! If you want to store it overnight, I suggest putting it in a sealable bag or container to prevent it from completely drying out.
Okay, I think that’s all the notes you need. Let’s get to baking!
Don't forget to check out my recipe books if you enjoy my recipes!
Giant Chocolate Chip Protein Cookie
Macros for entire 6oz cookie
*7g fiber, 2g sugar
- Add all of the dry ingredients to a large bowl and whisk together to avoid clumping. Add the butter, vanilla extract, and milk, and use a silicone spatula to mix everything together until a dough forms. Note that if you use a pure whey protein that you can omit the milk since the dough will be stickier.
- Add about 2/3 of your chocolate chips (about 10g) to your dough and fold them in, then add your dough to the fridge for one hour to set.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Take the dough out of the fridge and add it to a baking sheet with either parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Create a cavity in the middle of your dough to add the rest of your chocolate chips to, then close it up back into a ball so the chocolate chips are in the center. Slightly press the dough down to form a large cookie shape, being careful not to press the dough down too much (reference the notes above).
- If desired, top with some additional chocolate chips, then add to oven and bake for 12 minutes.
- After 12 minutes, remove from the oven and let the cookie sit on the baking sheet for another 15 minutes or so. This will allow the cookie to firm up inside.
- Transfer the cookie to a cooling rack and let it sit for about 45 minutes before digging in! Note that you do not have the wait this full length if you’re impatient, but the extra time allows the texture to truly set into what we want.
- This recipe is safe to eat raw, so no harm in underbaking if you prefer that!
- If you only have whey protein and not a whey/casein blend, the batter is going to be very sticky and liquidy. If you use whey protein, omit the milk from your cookie dough. The same cook time should still work with whey protein, but I might lean closer to 10 minutes since the cookie is going to spread thinner.
- I use Light Butter, but I know it’s not for everyone. Regular butter will work just fine, but it will obviously add a bunch more calories. “Pure Blends” sells an avocado oil buttery spread that I’ve also found to work well here, especially if you are vegan!
- Good vanilla extract is key as well. I’ve always used imitation vanilla to save money, but have recently started spending the few extra dollars for a pure vanilla extract, and I can tell you that you can really taste a difference.
- If your cookie feels underdone when you take it out of the oven, just know that it’s going to firm up as it sits! There’s a chance that it is actually undercooked depending on the initial size of the cookie you baked, but remember that this is safe to eat underdone!
- Want to save some calories? You can enjoy this as a sugar cookie to leave out the chocolate chips and save some extra calories, if needed.
- Final note: I don’t count sugar substitute in my macros since they do not contribute to the overall calories. If you are super strict about carbs, make sure you take the sugar alcohols (depending on which sugar substitute you use) into account.