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Santa’s Trash Can Cookies (Made Healthy)

After my Healthy Gingerbread Cookie recipe, Santa’s Trash Cookies are the most fun Christmas cookie recipe you can make.

If you could take a trip to the North Pole and dig through Santa’s trash on Christmas Eve, the odds are very high that you’re going to find a ton of delicious candy and treats.

So, that’s exactly what you’re going to find in these cookies.

These Christmas cookies are thick, soft, and chewy, and every bite is packed with a ton of amazing flavors thanks to all of the mix-ins we’re adding.

Since I wanted these cookies to be packed with a ton of goodies, they may not be my “healthiest” cookie recipe, but the nutrition facts are still quite impressive.

Each large cookie contains 115 calories, 6g of fat, only 8g of carbs, and 6g of protein.

If you want to keep Santa fueled up all night long, these are the perfect cookies to leave out. Let everyone else give him boring chocolate chip cookies, and you can give him one of the best gifts ever with these incredible cookies.


How to make Santas Trash Cookies

Stack of Santa's Trash Cookies

A trash cookie, otherwise known as a kitchen sink cookie, is one of the best cookies out there because it is SO customizable.

You can take any leftover candy, pretzels, or potato chips you have laying around and add them to your cookies.

Plus, there’s no way to add too much, so you can toss in whatever you’d like.

Trash can cookie mix-ins

There’s no wrong way to make a trash can cookie, but here are some of my favorite mix-ins:

The list certainly doesn’t stop there, but those are my recommendations.

Outside of the candy & chips we’re adding, the cookie dough we’re making is the other component of this recipe.

The base of this cookie dough is actually protein powder, oat flour, and almond flour. While you can make substitutions, the combination of these ingredients leads to an amazing cookie dough that ends up baking nice and soft. When you make substitutions, you run the risk of your cookies becoming far too dry.

For this recipe, I used PEScience protein powder, which is a blend of whey & casein protein. If you use a different type of protein powder, I cannot promise you’ll get the same result, so I highly recommend you order yourself some PEScience! It’s the protein I use in all of my recipes, and you can save 10% with the code “Matt” at checkout.

Santa's Trash cookie dough

To bring the cookie dough together, we’re going to be mixing in butter, peanut butter, and canned pumpkin.

I know, canned pumpkin sounds like a very random ingredient, but it’s the secret to keeping these cookies nice and soft. I promise you will never taste it!

I use this pumpkin trick in many recipes, like my Soft Sugar Cookies and Half Pound Protein Cookies, and I swear by it.

Once you’ve mixed up and chilled the cookie dough, you’ll form 10-12 cookie dough balls.

Santa's trash cookie dough balls

You’ll see from this photo that I made 11 cookies, so the total number of cookies will depend on how large you make your cookies.

I like to sprinkle a little sea salt on the tops of these cookies because I hear Santa Claus loves salty & sweet, but that’s optional.

Bake the trash cookies for 8 minutes at 325 degrees F. Once you remove the cookies from the oven, they’re going to look quite thick and cakey.

Santa's Trash Cookies

Don’t worry, that’s to be expected. As these Santa’s Trash Cookies cool, they’ll sink and firm up inside. Let the cookies cool for one hour to fully firm up inside, and then you’ll be ready to dive into these soft, decadent cookies.

Healthy trash can cookies

Store any leftover cookies in an airtight container at room temperature to enjoy them for about one week after baking. I saved these cookies for about a week and a half, and they were still as soft and delicious as when I first baked them!


More Christmas cookies to explore

Santa’s Trash Cookies may be the most fun Christmas cookie to make, but there are plenty of other delicious Christmas cookie recipes that you need to give a shot. In fact, you should plan your own healthy Christmas cookie day and bake a bunch of these recipes!

While it’s impossible for me to pick a favorite, here are some recommendations:


Santa's Trash Cookie

Santa's Trash Can Cookies (Made Healthy)

Yield: 10 Cookies
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 5 minutes

If we could dive into Santa's trash can, we'd find no shortage of candy. These cookies are stuffed with M&M's, pretzels, Reese's, and sprinkles, so it goes without saying that they are packed with flavor. Even with all that candy involved, each cookie is only 115 calories with 6g of protein!


Cookie Dough Ingredients

Trash Can Mix-Ins

  • 26g (2 Tbsp) Mini M&M's
  • 1 Reese's Tree (or 4 mini Reese's cups)
  • 10g Pretzels
  • 10g Sprinkles
  • Optional additions: potato chips and/or chocolate chips


  1. In a large bowl, mix together all of your dry ingredients (the protein powder, oat flour, almond flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and a pinch of salt).
  2. In a small bowl, add the peanut butter and butter. Melt in the microwave for about 30 seconds and mix it up until smooth.
  3. Add the melted mixture to the dry ingredients, as well as the vanilla extract and canned pumpkin. Mix up until you have a crumbly mixture.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon of milk to the bowl, and continue mixing until it all comes together to form cookie dough.
  5. In a small bowl, add all of your mix-in ingredients. Chop up the Reese's, and break up any pretzels or chips you'll be using. Add these ingredients to your cookie dough and fold them in.
  6. Refrigerate the cookie dough for one hour.
  7. Once the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  8. Break the cookie dough up into 10-12 pieces, roll them into balls, and place them on a cookie sheet. Note that the nutrition facts are based on making 10 cookies, but I actually made 11 out of my dough.
  9. Bake at 325 degrees for 8 minutes. When you remove the cookies from the oven, they'll seem pretty cakey, but they sink as they cool. Allow the cookies to fully cool for about one hour, then enjoy! These cookies will remain nice and soft even once fully cooled.


  • Store leftovers in an airtight container and enjoy them for 1-2 weeks. 1 week is always the safe answer, but I let mine sit for almost 2 weeks and they still tasted great.
  • The canned pumpkin helps keep these cookies nice and soft. If you don't have pumpkin, you can use applesauce instead, but the cookies are not quite as moist.
  • I only tested these cookies with PEScience protein, and I highly recommend using the same to make sure you get the proper result. You can always use my code "matt" to save 10% on any order.
  • How to lower the calories: If you want these to be slightly lower calories, I tested a batch where I used light butter instead of regular butter (Country Crock Original), and 50g applesauce instead of 30g pumpkin. The cookies were cakier and not as moist, but that still works if necessary.
  • Make these cookies vegan: You can swap the protein powder for your favorite plant-based protein and substitute the butter for coconut oil to make these fully vegan.

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Nutrition Information
Yield 10 Serving Size 1 Cookie
Amount Per Serving Calories 115Total Fat 7gCarbohydrates 8gProtein 6g

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About Matt Rosenman

With over 15 years of experience in health and fitness, Matt Rosenman is the expert voice behind Matt’s philosophy is simple: no foods are off-limits, and a healthy lifestyle shouldn't be complicated or restrictive. As a former certified personal trainer with a bachelor’s degree in Health Behavioral Sciences, Matt brings well-rounded expertise to his blog. From revamping classic recipes with a nutritious twist to breaking down fast food menus, his goal is make healthy living less confusing for everyone. Featured in major publications and with a strong following on social media, Matt is committed to making “healthy” uncomplicated—no matter where you are in your health journey. Join Matt on his mission to simplify health without sacrificing flavor. Learn More

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