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The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies (paleo, vegan, gluten-free)

Posted by on April 9, 2016 / 33 Comments

These cookies took a few tries, but I’m happy to say they’re now the best gluten-free, paleo, vegan chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had.

The best chocolate chip cookies. Paleo, vegan, gluten-free, grain-free.

You guys. I don’t think I’ve been this excited about chocolate chip cookies in a long time. And I mean gluten-free, paleo, vegan chocolate chip cookies that actually taste like the real deal, classic, chewy chocolate chip cookies. If you’ve done any amount of gluten-free, grain-free baking then you’re probably familiar with how most “dietary restricted” cookies turn out – thick, dry, chunky and crumbly. Not exactly mouth watering, eh?

So I set out to create the best chocolate chip cookies that met all my dietary needs – and then some! Now, I’ll be honest, this winner of a recipe took three tries. I had several fails, which I Snapchatted along the way (because fails are always funnier when you share them – ha!).

But once this version was baking in the oven I knew it was gonna be a winner. How so? Because it flattened all on it’s own. It didn’t take any manual, finger-smooshing flattening…it melted into the most golden, gooey, sweet, chocolate chip cookie – effortlessly in the oven. Winner winner.

The best chocolate chip cookies. Paleo, vegan, gluten-free, grain-free. The best chocolate chip cookies. Paleo, vegan, gluten-free, grain-free. The best chocolate chip cookies. Paleo, vegan, gluten-free, grain-free. The best chocolate chip cookies. Paleo, vegan, gluten-free, grain-free.

What I love most about this cookie is that it’s crispy and golden on the edges, but soft and chewy on the inside. It’s the best of both worlds…and it’s highly addictive. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. In fact, I think I’ll be taking a stash of these cookies on my Portugal trip with me in three weeks for the perfect sweet treat at 35,000 ft!

The key to this cookie is creaming the palm shortening, coconut milk, vanilla and coconut sugar together. Then, adding your dry ingredients to the creamed ingredients. The dough will be quite sticky and tacky as you mound the cookies on your parchment paper, but trust me, that’s a good thing. I tried two versions of this recipe with honey, which didn’t turn out, and one version with not enough liquid/fat, which also didn’t turn out (read: it was a hockey puck). Thankfully, my dad is more than happy to eat my recipe fails, which makes me feel better as I used up a ton of expensive almond flour!

But life is about sticking with it…so I didn’t give up. And in the end, I’m so glad I did…because now I have the best chocolate chip cookies to munch on.

For more gluten-free and paleo cookie recipes, make sure to check out my Chocolate Chip Tahini Cookies, Flourless Almond Butter Cookies and Lemon Curd Thumbprint Cookies.


The best chocolate chip cookies. Paleo, vegan, gluten-free, grain-free. The best chocolate chip cookies. Paleo, vegan, gluten-free, grain-free. The best chocolate chip cookies. Paleo, vegan, gluten-free, grain-free. The best chocolate chip cookies. Paleo, vegan, gluten-free, grain-free.

If you make this, I’d love to see! Tag your photo with #downshiftology on Instagram.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies (paleo, vegan)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
The best gluten-free, paleo, vegan chocolate chip cookies. They're chewy on the inside, crispy on the outside and highly addictive.
Serves: 12 cookies
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
  2. Place the shortening, coconut sugar, coconut milk and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Use a hand mixer to blend all ingredients together until creamy.
  3. Add the dry ingredients and mix on medium speed for one minute, until well combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and drop heaping tablespoons of dough, evenly spaced. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are turning golden brown. (Note: if the cookies haven't flattened all the way, gently tap the baking sheet on your counter as soon as you remove them from the oven and they'll flatten).

Other recipes you might like:

Chocolate Avocado Pudding with Hazelnuts and Sea Salt

Mixed Berry Popsicles

Meyer Lemon Coconut Macaroons

  • Liz Stark

    These cookies DEFINITELY look and sound like a game changer. Yum! For sure pack these on your upcoming trip :)

  • Arik H-k

    We made these tonight but they just didn’t come out right for whatever reason. Too soft and just fell apart to easily. Seemed a bit too oily as well. I’ll attempt the recipe again and see if maybe I did something wrong.

    • Bummer! I find that the brand of almond flour and/or coconut milk can sometimes play a role in baking. You may have to tweak slightly based on your ingredients. Maybe add a little more almond flour or reduce the coconut oil? Good luck! :) x

      • Arik H-k

        We use Honeyville Almond flour. That’s what I’m thinking. I’ll let you know when I do. Thanks for getting back.

  • Aimee

    These are amazing! I’ve made a similar recipe many times but never thought of using coconut sugar. The texture looks perfect :-)

    • Thanks Aimee! And yes, I think the coconut sugar makes all the difference. One can never have too many cookie recipes, right? ;) x

  • Jenn

    Does the coconut milk have to be canned and also does it need to be put in the fridge overnight?

    • Hi Jenn – I used canned full-fat coconut milk as it’s thicker and creamier than what you’d buy in the grocery refrigerator section (and doesn’t have flavorings/other ingredients). Mine wasn’t cold, just room temperature and I shook it to make sure it was all combined before opening. You could definitely use any type of coconut milk/almond milk, but if it’s thinner you may need to add a bit more almond flour. Let me know how they turn out! :) x

  • Wauww these look amazing! I’ve never used/seen palm shortening before but I’ll keep my eyes open so I can make these soon! :)

    • Palm shortening is great go-to for baking! And a perfect butter alternative for non-dairy folks. Glad you like them Sophie! :) x

  • these cookies look FAB! can’t wait to try them out. the recipe is totally up my alley. :)

  • Cindy T

    Just curious if you have tried making these with cassava flour

    • Hi Cindy – I have not. But given how popular they’e been, I guarantee that more cookies (and some using cassava flour) will be in your future! ;) x

  • Ken King

    So…all you are really avoiding is wheat and dairy with this recipe? It’s still loaded with carbohydrates. And what’s the point of coconut sugar? It’s main sweetening component is sucrose (about 1/2 glucose and 1/2 fructose). And let’s face it: sugar is sugar is sugar. A lot of trouble and expense to not eat a couple of tablespoons of wheat flour.

  • vivian

    I’ve made this recipe several times and even thought the taste is very yummy they turn out greasy… what am I doing wrong? I even reduced coconut oil. I used butter that was completely room temperature maybe that was my mistake? butter too soft?

    • Hi Vivian – that could be the culprit. Palm shortening at room temperature is still more solid than butter at room temperature. And I haven’t yet tested this recipe using butter. I’m glad you love the flavor though…so it might just take another try or two! :)

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  • Ioana Rus

    Quick question: these look like the kind of cookies my household would enjoy, the only issue I have is that we are all allergic to all nuts and wheat therefore we love any grain free recipes, but we are unable to use almond flour :(… Would you be able to recommend how to replace the almond flour with coconut flour for example?

    • Unfortunately, using coconut flour would change the liquid ratios across the board, as it’s highly absorbent. It would also have a different texture. Not that that’s bad…it’s just different and an entirely new recipe. I can play around with it and add it to my “to do” list though! Are you able to eat tapioca/cassava flours? You might also be interested in my nut-free pancake recipe, which is delicious! :)

    • trmlogan

      Thecoconutmama has a couple of choc chip cookie recipes using coconut flour. It’s always better to use a recipe that someone has experimented with when using coconut flour because it cooks very differently. You might be able to substitute cassava flour on a 1 to 1 basis in a cookie recipe, but I haven’t tried it.

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  • disqus_EX2dGX7iAL

    Omg!!!!! Lisa, these are the best gluten free, vegan, paleo chocolate chip cookies I have ever had!!! I just made them, fresh out of the oven and they are AMAZING!!! No need to look further, you nailed it! Thank YOU!!! D :-)

  • Risa Krahmer

    Wow I’m impressed! I doubled the recipe right off the bat knowing these would be good. I used butter instead of the shortening and for half the butter I subbed smooth raw almond butter, and I also added one egg and some chopped walnuts. The flavor and texture are almost identical to that familiar classical chocolate chip cookie I grew up on! Amazing, my new favorite. Thank you!

  • Kate

    OMG these look sooo freakin good!!! the only thing tho is that I don’t have any palm shortening… do you think I can replace the shortening to vegan butter??? and if so, does it have to be solid (like Harden in the fridge??)

    • Hi Kate – I haven’t tried them with a vegan butter, but I think they’d work! And yes, it should be in a fairly solid state (comparable to a shortening), as you need to cream it with the other ingredients. Let me know how it turns out! :) x

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