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Low Calorie Cookies With Only 20 Calories!

What if I told you that you could bake delicious dark chocolate cookies with only 22 calories each?

If you’re trying to lose weight for any reason, you know that calories are a precious thing. With these cookies having just over 20 calories each and only 1.5g net carbs, you can have your dessert and eat it too!

Low Calorie Cookies

These low calorie cookies are gluten free, sugar free, dairy free, but far from flavor-free.

Whether or not you’re counting calories, you can enjoy these low calorie cookies on absolutely any diet.

And even if you’re not trying to lose weight, these cookies absolutely deliver on flavor.

Low calorie chocolate cookie

If you like dark chocolate, you’re going to love these.


Do low calorie cookies actually taste like regular cookies?

It’s a very fair question, so let’s address this.

If somebody placed a plate of fresh-baked cookies in front of you and asked you to do a blind taste test between those and my low-calorie cookies, you’d be able to tell the difference every single time.

I’m not going to try to fool you into thinking these are as tasty as Grandma’s chocolate chip cookies.

But for 20 calories each, they are damn good.

Low Calorie Cookies

These cookies are soft with a nice chew to them, and the flavor reminds me very much of dark chocolate. If you like dark chocolate brownies, there’s no reason you wouldn’t love these cookies.

Considering we’re using low-calorie ingredients that you typically don’t find in regular cookies, the texture is slightly different. These cookies almost dissolve in your mouth, but I find that to be a good thing.

Long story short: no, these won’t fool you into thinking you’re eating a batch of famous homemade cookies. But if you need to eat low calorie or low carb for any reason and you’re craving chocolate, I promise these cookies will not disappoint you.


Ingredients Needed For Low Calorie Cookies

These chocolate cookies have only 22 calories each, and the secret lies in the ingredients we are using.

The main ingredients we need for these cookies are:

  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • Canned Pumpkin
  • Creamy Peanut Butter (or other nut butter)
  • Sugar Substitute
  • Egg White

Many healthy cookie recipes you’ll come across will require some kind of flour (often almond flour or coconut flour), but we are able to make these without any flour at all (also making them totally gluten-free).

Most of my cookie recipes utilize oat flour for an authentic cookie flavor, but the cocoa powder here eliminates the need for that and keeps these incredibly low in calories.

The canned pumpkin is the secret ingredient here, and it’s my go-to ingredient when I want to make baked goods soft without adding a ton of extra calories (like with my Low Calorie Sugar Cookies or Protein Chocolate Chip Cookies).

Pumpkin is a magical ingredient that will stay soft when baked, and is very mild in flavor. In this cookie recipe, it replaces the need for butter that you’d find in most other cookie recipes.

If you do not have access to canned pumpkin, I’ve heard that pureed sweet potato is a good substitute, but I’m unaware of any good substitutes.

Unsweetened applesauce is a popular low-calorie ingredient, but it would not give these cookies the structure we need. You can check out my Peanut Butter Nutella Cookies if you do not have canned pumpkin since that one DOES use applesauce!

These chocolate cookies are on the slightly bitter side, which makes them similar to a dark chocolate flavor. I don’t love dark chocolate, but I really enjoy these cookies! To me, they have the perfect sweetness.

If you wanted them to be sweeter, you can always add additional sweetener.

I use brown sugar substitute to sweeten these cookies. If you only have regular brown sugar, you can definitely use that, but these cookies will be much higher calorie in that case.

When I first developed this recipe, I used only brown sugar. Since revisiting this recipe, I testing swapping out some of the brown sugar for powdered sugar. Honestly, I think the results are mostly the same, so feel free to go with either route.

Update: Thanks to reader feedback, I’ve also added one egg white to this recipe which I’ve found helps the structure immensely.


How To Make Low-Calorie Cookies

The process of making low-calorie cookies is extremely simple.

Add all of the cookie ingredients to a large bowl and mix it up with a silicone spatula until chocolate cookie dough forms. No need to separate the wet and dry ingredients in this one!

Since the dough is going to be slightly sticky, we’re going to refrigerate it for one hour.

I used to skip this step, but since slightly tweaking the ingredients and adding egg white, the dough is pretty sticky if you stick the chilling.

Once the cookie dough has chilled for one hour, use a small cookie scoop to create your cookie dough balls.

A small cookie scoop is roughly equal to 2 teaspoons, so if you do not have a cookie scoop, you can measure it that way. All in all, you should be able to create about 30 cookie dough balls from your chocolate cookie dough.

Gently roll each cookie dough ball in your hands to smooth them out.

Low calorie cookie dough balls

Since the dough will be a little bit sticky, there are two things you can do to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands too much:

  1. Wet your hands with a little bit of cold water
  2. Dust your hands with some additional cocoa powder

Both methods work well and won’t affect the final cookies. You can expect the dough to stick to your hands a little bit because that’s the nature of this low-calorie cookie dough, but using either of these methods will help a ton.

Gently press each cookie dough ball down into a disc, then sprinkle a little coarse salt on top (this is optional, but salt and chocolate go together very well).

Pressed down low calorie cookies

You do not need to completely flatten the cookies, but they will not spread a ton once baked, so if we left them as dough balls we would not have cookies at the end.

Low calorie cookies baked

Bake the cookies at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and let them cool completely, about 30 minutes.

If you were to try to eat one of these low calorie cookies directly out of the oven, it will likely fall apart on you because they will be quite soft. By letting the cookies cool completely, you are also allowing them time to set and firm up inside.

Don’t worry if they feel underbaked out of the oven, trust the process and watch how they firm up!

Low calorie cookies leftover

If you have leftover cookies, these can be stored in an airtight container and enjoyed throughout the week.

I kept mine in the fridge, although that isn’t necessary, and these cookies remained fresh for 5 full days.


More Healthy Cookie Recipes To Enjoy

Cinnamon roll protein cookie

Whether you’re in search of more low calorie cookies, high protein cookies, or no-bake cookies, there’s a healthy recipe here on my blog for you. Here are some of my favorites:


Low Calorie Cookie Recipe

Low Calorie Cookies With Only 20 Calories Each

Yield: 30 Cookies
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Cooling Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

If you're on a diet and calories are at a premium, this recipe is going to be your diet savior. With only 22 calories each, these dark chocolate cookies are soft, decadent, and packed with flavor.


  • 200g Canned Pumpkin
  • 90g Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 200g (1 Packed Cup) Brown Sugar Substitute
  • 1 Egg White (about 2 Tbsp) - Can be omitted for vegan cookies
  • 64g (1/4 Cup) Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Optional: Sea Salt for Topping


  1. In a large bowl, add all of your ingredients together. Use a silicone spatula to mix everything up until cookie dough forms.
  2. The dough will be sticky at this stage. Refrigerate the cookie dough for one hour to make it significantly easier to work with.
  3. Once the dough has chilled, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. Using a small cookie scoop (about 2 teaspoons if you do not have a cookie scoop) scoop out cookies onto a baking sheet. Using a small cookie scoop, I was able to create exactly 30 cookies, but it may vary slightly for you.
  5. Roll each cookie dough ball in your palms to smooth them out, then lightly press them down into discs. The dough will be slightly sticky but not so much that you cannot work with it. To prevent the dough from sticking to your hands too much, you can either wet your hands with a little bit of cold water or dust your hands with additional cocoa powder (both work well).
  6. Optional: top with some coarse sea salt before baking if you enjoy the salty + sweet combo as I do.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees F.
  8. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 30 minutes. These cookies will be delicate right out of the oven, but they will firm up as they cool. You can let them cool even longer if you feel the cookies are still too soft, but 30 minutes should be perfect.
  9. If you need some added sweetness, sprinkle powdered sugar on top of these cookies once cooled.
  10. Store any leftover cookies in an airtight container to keep them soft & fresh for up to one week.


  • ***This recipe has been updated since the original recipe was posted thanks to reader feedback. What changed: I added egg white and bumped the baking time up from 10 minutes to 15 minutes. I also tested a batch replacing 75g of brown sugar with powdered sugar, and it worked great, but there isn't much difference in the results.
  • If you leave these cookies out, they tend to dry out, so make sure you leave leftover cookies in an airtight container to keep the moisture sealed in.
  • The egg white can be left out if you need to make these vegan, but it helps a lot with the structure of these cookies.
  • If you do not have access to canned pumpkin, a reader told me that pureed sweet potato also worked. The canned pumpkin is the secret ingredient that keeps these cookies soft and is very low calorie, so you'll want to find something similar as a substitute. I'd recommend making my Peanut Butter Nutella Cookies as a simple cookie recipe if you do not have pumpkin.
  • Note that I typically do not count sugar substitute in my carb totals because it contains 0 calories, but I included them for this recipe. The net carbs for each cookie are only 1.5g taking the sugar substitute into account.

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Nutrition Information
Yield 30 Serving Size 1 Small Cookie
Amount Per Serving Calories 22Total Fat 1.5gCarbohydrates 8gNet Carbohydrates 1.5gFiber 1.5gSugar 0.5gProtein 1g

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Tuesday 25th of July 2023

Can I replace the brown sugar substitute with erythritol?


Thursday 27th of July 2023

You SHOULD be able to. I tested this with powdered sugar substitute before and it worked, so I don't see why it wouldn't work. Brown sugar creates the best soft texture but I'm thinking it won't be a huge difference.


Wednesday 26th of April 2023

Absolutely incredible!!! The salt on top makes it *chefs kiss* love the recipe! Thank you so much!!!


Thursday 11th of May 2023

Thanks for trying them!


Thursday 9th of March 2023

This recipe sucked did not work and I followed exactly!!!!! Basically just made hot mud that never hardened to a cookie. Very disappointed! Ive baked plenty of other cookies/cakes and this has to be the worst recipe on god’s green earth.


Friday 10th of March 2023

Hey Nelson- I'm all for honesty, but this is pretty harsh. I hope you can remember that there is a REAL person on the other side of that computer who is really trying his hardest... not to mention providing free recipes for you to enjoy. I'm sorry it didn't work out for you for whatever reason, but you could have very well asked for some advice rather than going out of your way to let me know that this is the "worst recipe on god's green earth." Sorry my recipe ruined your day so badly, I hope things turn around for you!

Chrissie O.

Tuesday 8th of November 2022

This was DELISH!!! My daughter is gluten- and dairy-free, and I am hypersensitive about calorie totals. My husband is a chocolate freak!! When I weighed everything out, it wound up as 1 c pumpkin, 1 1/2 c cocoa powder (the rest of the ingredients, you gave "measurements" as opposed to weights!), and I did use about 1 1/2 t baking POWDER because I had the 1/2 t in before I realized the recipe called for SODA! lol OH - my Splenda brown sugar substitute ratio is 1/2:1, not 1:1, so I did only use 1/2 c of that.

Anyway, with my small scoop, it made 48 cookies, not 30, so working the math, it's just over 15 calories per cookie! I was a little concerned because at 8 minutes they were SO DARK, but they were actually underdone when they cooled, so I fired the oven back in and put them in for another 6 minutes, total. They are fudgy, rich, and not too sweet! These are staying on the menu!!! My daughter mowed 3 right off the bat, didn't even wait for them to cool all the way! Thank you SO MUCH for sharing!!!


Thursday 12th of January 2023

@Matt, I had the same experience. I put them in for ten minutes and they were still so soft I couldn't pick them up. I let them cool for 20 minutes and they were the same - hadn't really hardened at all. I put them back in and baked them for an additional 4 minutes, let them cool again, and still couldn't pick one up without it falling apart. At that point I had to go to sleep so I just scooped them up with a fork the best I could and put them in tupperware.

I'm going to try throwing them into the oven again today for a few more minutes.

For the second batch, I baked them for 13 minutes straight and they were almost done but still not quite. I think Chrissie's recommendation for baking them for 16 minutes is right and that's what I'll do next time.

For reference, I changed out 4tbsp of peanut butter for 4tbsp butter. And I used real brown sugar instead of the substitute. So it really shouldn't have altered the cook time much. I also have a new convection oven.

Overall though, I really like this recipe! It tasted great. I sprinkled powdered sugar and sea salt on the top. It made 23 cookies for me using a scooper, and with my changes, it comes out to 60 calories a cookie for 23 which is amazing in my opinion.

I think for my next experiment, I'll try subbing 25% of the sugar with a sugar substitute and see if I can tell the difference. I'm curious how much sugar substitute I can get away with before it tastes like ass LOL

OH hot tip - let the dough cool in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before trying to scoop it onto a baking sheet. It will make it much easier to work with.

Thx for the recipe :)


Thursday 10th of November 2022

I'm so glad these worked out!! I'm not sure why the bake time would have been so different BUT I'm just glad they came together! And I very much appreciate the thoughtful comment because it will definitely help others!!


Wednesday 21st of September 2022

Hi! Could I use greek yogurt or additional pumpkin instead of the PB? Thank you!


Monday 3rd of October 2022

Unfortunately not in this one because we need a little bit of fat. Otherwise, I fear these would be completely inedible.

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