grain-free chocolate chip cookies

A funny thing happened while writing this post. My finger brushed the keyboard, hitting the delete key ever-so-lightly, and voila!—the whole post was gone. Nothing like losing an hour’s worth of work to keep it real (at 5:30am, no less). The magic combo of Apple key + z was no match for the cosmic forces intervening at that moment. I’m trying to let life not seem so loud these days, and if I can’t channel that zen approach while talking about chocolate chip cookies, then I may as well close up show now. To know me is to also know that I’m anything but a quitter. I’m too damn stubborn.

Besides, chocolate chip cookies are at stake here. Not just any ol’ cookie either. These here little fellas are grain-free chocolate chip cookies, and make me smile just as I write the words. See, Des can eat these cookies, and I’m thrilled for that fact. While working on recipes for that epic cookbook project (not mine, but I promise to share when I can), I shared a photo of grain porridge on Instagram. Des commented how lovely it looked even though she couldn’t eat it. Due to health issues, she has to avoid grains.

Her words stayed with me while developing these dairy-free chocolate chip cookies for the project (that version is made with spelt flour). Once I nailed the recipe I needed for the book, I decided to work on a grain-free version as an option for the publisher. In the end, we all agreed that the spelt flour might be more aligned (i.e. more accessible) with the readers for the book. That’s good news for anyone wanting the recipe right now, since it’s not under contract anymore.

Funny enough, the kids raved about these cookies. They aren’t normally chocolate chip cookie fans (I know, so un-American). My hunch is it had less to do with the cookies being grain-free, and more to do with the chocolate chips I used. Obsessively reading labels was a requirement for this last project, and not all dairy-free chocolate chips are created equal. Sweeteners vary from cane syrup, to grain-sweetened (barley malt syrup), and then there’s this one brand, called Lily’s, sweetened with Stevia.

My limited experience with Stevia had me a little wary of trying the chips. Glad I didn’t let it stop me, though, because these are by far the best tasting dairy-free chips on the market. I might even go so far as to say they’re my favorite chocolate chips for making cookies. Period. If you see them on sale (I found them at Whole Foods), snag a few bags for the pantry. They’re pricey, no surprise, but definitely worth the splurge if you need an excellent dairy-free and refined sugar-free option for baking.

Six Years Ago: Almond-Coconut Butternut Squash Soup

Five Years Ago: Pear & Ricotta Crepes (with a dairy-free version)

Four Years Ago: French Onion Soup

Three Years Ago: Roasted Pepper Salad

Two Years Ago: Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce

One Year Ago: Black & White Cookies (with a spooky twist!)

Grain Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 36 two-inch cookies

1/3 cup (60 grams) coconut sugar

1/3 cup oil (grapeseed or safflower)

1 large egg, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups (128 grams) natural almond meal

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (32 grams) coconut flour

1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking soda

1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) fine sea salt

9 ounces (252 grams) Lily’s chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line two 11×17-inch baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, add the sugar, oil, egg, and vanilla. Whisk until well mixed.

Add the almond meal, coconut flour, baking soda, and salt. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, stir just until combined, and there are no visible traces of flour.

Scoop tablespoons of the dough onto the prepared baking pans (I use a cookie scoop for this to make sure the cookies are all uniform in size). You can space them 1-inch apart since the cookies don’t spread much while baking. Using the flat bottom of a glass cup, gently press the dough to flatten the cookies a bit.

Bake for 8 minutes, until lightly golden around the edges. Let the cookies rest on the pan for 5 minutes. Serve warm, or transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before storing in an air-tight, covered container.



  • Holly

    Hi Jennie! Sorry if this is a silly question but is almond meal similar to almond flour and I can sub the latter in? Thanks!

  • Jennifer Perillo

    Hi Holly,

    Yes, it is. I like using the natural variety for this recipe, which just means they leave the skins on the almonds before grinding. The other variety has a more pale color, and that generally means they use blanched almonds (remove the skins). Just a taste preference, but both will yield the same results.


  • Des

    To say that I am grateful would pale in comparison to what I actually feel.

    It is so hard to enjoy things when your diet has to be restrictive. You have given me back something I have missed since I started this journey – a cookie I can dunk in milk and eat warm and make for “Santa”.

    Thank you so much Jennifer, from the bottom of my grain-free chocolate chip cookie lovin’ heart!

  • Alexandra robertson

    Yum! Do you think I could freeze some. of the. dough in balls and bake at a later date?

  • Jennifer Perillo

    I’d suggest forming it into a log, and wrapping it tightly in a few layers of plastic wrap. This way you can just slice and bake them. I have one in my freezer at the moment!

  • Cathy

    Thanks so much for the review on Lilly’s. I’m always looking for good DF GF chocolate and hate spending a lot of money trying them out, only to be disappointed. I’ll definitely try Lilly’s now.

  • Rhonda

    Thank you for this gf version of chocolate chip cookies! I know it has to be good, coming from you! I’m saving the recipe for a future occasion!

  • DamselflyDiary

    I have yet to find a gluten free or grain free chocolate chip cookie that I truly love. These look like something I should try!

    I have tried Lily’s chocolate before, but in a candy bar style. And I can say that it is yummy. I didn’t know they made chocolate chips and am going to keep my eye out for them. Anything to help cut down on sugar is a good thing.

    Thanks for this recipe Jennie!

  • Wendy

    thank you so much!!! these sound quick and easy to whip up for us grain-free lovers. And, on a side note, I miss your music pairings! They have helped me branch out in my music tastes.

  • Jennifer Perillo

    Hi Wendy! Funny you should say that, I miss doing the pairings, too. I will get back to them soon!
    -xo J

  • Katie

    I have tried several variation of GF cookies, and these are by far the best, out of this world good! They taste identical to “real” CC cookies, but maybe with less guilt because of the almond meal 😉

    I made a few modifications because of what I had on hand, I used regular sugar and avocado oil and potato starch instead of the coconut flour.

    Thank you for this great recipe.

  • Jennifer Perillo

    So glad you like them Katie, and thanks for sharing the tweaks you made based on what was available.