Thick & Chewy Vegan Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies {gluten-free, grain-free, & naturally sweetened}

With crisp edges and chewy, gooey middles, these vegan & paleo chocolate chip cookies (aka pegan cookies) are easy to whip up with just a bowl and spoon. You can have them stirred and baked in under an hour, no chilling time required. You won’t believe they’re plant-based, dairy-free, egg-free, grain-free, gluten-free, and refined sugar-free because they taste just as rich and delicious as the classic. 

A stack of vegan grain-free chocolate chip cookies on a plate

As I mentioned two posts ago, I’m doing a nutritional protocol with Alison from Food By Mars. This involves cutting out grains, dairy, legumes, and eggs for a few months while I hopefully get my gut and immune system back on track. But I’ve never let a little thing like a restrictive elimination diet stop my from baking, and I’m certainly not now. I’ve got so many delicious recipes to share with you, I can’t wait!

chocolate chip cassava flour cookie with a bite taken out

These paleo chocolate chip cookies are adapted from two favorite gluten-free vegan cookie recipes: almond butter chocolate chip cookies with buckwheat and oats, and tahini maple chocolate chip cookies. Missing these favorites, I decided to adapt a grain-free version. After testing the recipe 6 times, I finally got these gooey pillows of grain-free chocolate chip cookie love. And we cannot get enough.

Paleo chocolate chip cookie ingredients

Flour Power: Tiger Nut & Cassava Flour Cookies

I’ve taken this elimination diet as an opportunity to play with new-to-me ingredients, especially flours! This paleo chocolate chip cookie recipe uses two grain-free flours: cassava and tiger nut. Both are derived from tuber vegetables.

While cassava is light in color and has a mild flavor and texture, tiger nut flour feels and tastes more like a nut flour (think almond or hazelnut). Neither are based on nuts or coconut, which means you can make these cookies nut-free (using seed butter in place of cashew butter) and/or coconut-free (using ghee in place of coconut oil, in which case they wouldn’t be vegan).

Most paleo cookie recipes that you find online use almond flour, but I love the soft, chewy, pillowy texture that cassava and tiger nut flour add here. But if you don’t have these two flours on hand, I’ve given substitution suggestions below.

For more tiger nut flour recipes, I love this article on Food52 by Alice Medrich. For more cassava flour recipes, I’m eyeing a bunch on Otto’s Naturals and these cassava tortillas from Snixy Kitchen. And I’ve got more recipes coming up that use these flours, so stay tuned for cassava crackers, grain-free vegan brownies, and paleo banana bread!

Whisking the dough for gluten-free vegan chocolate chip cookies

stirring the dough for grain-free chocolate chip cookie recipe

Easy Gluten-Free Paleo Cookies

This recipe comes together with a bowl, a whisk, and a spoon or spatula in a matter of minutes. There’s no chilling required, meaning that you can have a batch of warm, gooey grain-free chocolate chip cookies ready for your face in about half an hour.

finished dough for vegan paleo chocolate chip cookies

Small-Batch Vegan Grain-Free Cookies

This recipe makes a small batch of chocolate chip cookies – just nine chonkers. Since this recipe is egg-free, it’s easy to scale up or down.

vegan paleo chocolate chip cookies ready to bake on a cookie sheet

paleo gluten-free vegan chocolate chip cookies, ready to bake

Paleo Vegan Cookie Ingredients & Substitution Suggestions:

  • Cashew butter forms the base of these cookies. I use Artisana raw cashew butter, which you can find at many healthy foodie stores or order from Thrive. Or make your own. Try subbing tahini for a nut-free option (you may need to add more flour to keep them from spreading too much), almond butter for an earthier flavor, or peanut butter (and they won’t technically be paleo).
  • Maple syrup provides sweetness and moisture. I prefer a dark maple syrup, the darkest you can find. It adds caramel notes that makes these taste more like classic chocolate chippers.
  • Just 1 tablespoon of coconut sugar adds brown sugar notes and gives the cookies a golden hue. Substitute an additional tablespoon of maple syrup if you don’t have any on hand, or try organic dark brown sugar if you don’t mind a touch of  the refined stuff.
  • Coconut oil adds richness. Substitute ghee if you like for a non-vegan version.
  • Vanilla adds sweet floral notes.
  • Cassava flour creates a sticky base that makes these cookies thick and chewy. If you’re not paleo, you can try subbing sweet rice flour or all-purpose flour (gluten-free or not, depending on your dietary needs).
  • Tiger nut flour adds tenderness, earthy flavor, and promotes browning. I tested these with all cassava flour and they weren’t nearly as good as the tiger nut version; they were pale, pasty, and bland. If you don’t have any tiger nut flour on hand, try subbing almond, hazelnut, or chestnut flour. You could also try an earthy whole-grain flour if not paleo, such as oat, teff, or buckwheat.
  • Baking soda promotes spread and browning.
  • Fine sea salt sharpens the flavors, and flaky salt on top adds addictive crunch.
  • Dark chocolate is the most important ingredient, of course! I’ve been using Hu Kitchen chocolate, which is sweetened with coconut sugar and has a cacao mass of 70%.

thick and chewy vegan paleo chocolate chip cookies, fresh out of the oven

vegan gf cookies, fresh from the oven

Magic cookies: Why this vegan / gluten-free / grain-free cookie recipe works

Nut butter and maple syrup magically combine to do what eggs and sugar normally would in a traditional cookie dough: sweeten and lift the dough. The proteins in the nut butter combine with the liquid in the maple syrup to trap air pockets, working with the leavening to aerate the dough in the oven. The result is an effortlessly vegan and gluten-free cookie with no weird ingredients (I’m looking at you, flax eggs and egg replacer). The texture is chewy and tender, just like cookies ought to be.

paleo grain-free chocolate chip cookies on a cookie sheet with a bite taken out

What I love about this cookie recipe:

  • One-bowl – just a whisk, spatula, and bowl are needed to make this easy cookie recipe
  • Magical – the recipe seems like it shouldn’t work, but it does, beautifully!
  • Fast – this recipe satisfies cookie cravings in under an hour
  • Eggless cookie dough – meaning you can eat the dough straight from the bowl, no holds barred. I’m not even a raw cookie dough person, and I find it super addictive.
  • Friendly for many diets – grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, paleo, vegan, refined sugar-free, and with nut-free and coconut-free suggestions.
  • Flavor – cashew butter, dark maple syrup, and coconut sugar give these cookies rich, butterscotch notes in the dough, which wraps around loads of dark chocolate chunks, all kissed with flecks of flaky salt. What more could you want in a cookie?

gluten-free dairy-free chocolate chip cookie recipe, freshly baked

Paleo Blondies

To turn these into paleo bar cookies, spread the batter into a loaf pan lined with parchment paper on all sides. Bake until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs. Let cool, then cut into squares.

two people eating vegan paleo chocolate chip cookies

Paleo Cookies, now and later

Mix up a batch of these healthier, easy paleo cookies, pour a glass of cold plant milk to wash them down, and share them, warm from the oven, with a quarantine buddy. Or to delay gratification, scoop the dough into balls and chill them for later. Then you can have warm cookies in just a matter of minutes whenever the mood strikes.

Happy baking!

a plate full of glossy paleo vegan chocolate chip cookies

More Vegan Paleo Dessert Recipes:

More Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes:

*Bojon appétit! For more Bojon Gourmet in your life, follow along on Instagram,  Facebook, or Pinterest, purchase my gluten-free cookbook Alternative Baker, or subscribe to receive new posts via email. And if you make this vegan paleo chocolate chip cookie recipe, I’d love to see. Tag your Instagram snaps @The_Bojon_Gourmet  and  #bojongourmet.*

5 from 6 votes

Thick & Chewy Vegan Grain-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

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With crisp edges and gooey middles, these vegan paleo chocolate chip cookies are a snap to make. You won't believe they're plant-based and free of dairy, eggs, grains, gluten, and refined sugar. I’ve given substitution suggestions below, but I have not tested these myself. I’ll update the recipe when I do! For now, if you’re trying a substitution, I would advise baking off a single test cookie, that way you can adjust the remaining dough if need be (i.e. add more flour if the cookies spread too much, or flatten the dough balls if they don’t spread enough). If you try these with tahini, I think you’ll need an additional tablespoon or two of cassava flour to keep them from spreading too much.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 12 minutes
Total: 27 minutes
Servings: 9 cookies

Ingredients

  • ½ cup (130 g) cashew butter, at room temperature (such as Artisana; or try tahini, almond, or peanut butter)
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons (110 g) maple syrup, at room temperature (preferably dark)
  • 1 tablespoon (8 g) coconut sugar (or 1 tablespoon more maple syrup)
  • 3 tablespoons (35 g) melted coconut oil (or try ghee if not vegan)
  • 1 teaspoon GF vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons (55 g) cassava flour (or try sweet rice or AP flour if not paleo)
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons (40 g) tigernut flour (or try hazelnut or almond flour, or oat, buckwheat, or teff flour if not paleo)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 4 ounces (115 g) coarsely chopped vegan bittersweet chocolate, plus some extra chunks for the tops (preferably 70-75% cacao mass)
  • flaky salt such as Maldon, for sprinkling

Instructions

  • Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 375ºF. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the cashew butter, maple syrup, coconut sugar, coconut oil, and vanilla until smooth.
  • Place a strainer over the bowl and sift in the cassava and tiger nut flours with the baking soda and sea salt. Stir to combine, then stir in the chocolate chunks.
  • Scoop 1-inch diameter balls of dough (about 3 tablespoons or a #24 spring-loaded ice cream scoop) onto the prepared cookie sheet, spaced 2-3 inches apart. Top each cookie with a chunk or two of chocolate and a tiny pinch of flaky salt.
  • Bake the cookies until golden and puffed, with the edges beginning to set and the centers soft, 8-12 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet at 8 minutes for even baking.
  • Remove the cookies from the oven and slide them, parchment and all, onto a cooling rack. Let them cool as long as you can stand it. Enjoy warm from the oven, or let cool completely and store, covered at room temperature, for up to 3 days.

Notes

Make ahead: Make the dough as directed, then let sit until firm enough to scoop (or chill for a few minutes). Scoop into balls, place the dough balls on a small baking sheet lined with parchment, and chill until firm, about 1 hour. Transfer the cold dough balls into a container and chill for up to a week or so. When you’re ready to bake, just plop the dough balls on a cookie sheet as directed, top with flaky salt, and bake. You can also freeze dough balls for up to several months.
Nutrition facts are for 1 of 9 cookies. 

Nutrition

Calories: 256kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 133mg | Potassium: 169mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 6IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 2mg
Making this? I'd love to see!Tag your snaps @The_Bojon_Gourmet and #bojongourmet!

gluten-free vegan chocolate chip cookies on a baking sheet

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23 thoughts on “Thick & Chewy Vegan Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies {gluten-free, grain-free, & naturally sweetened}”

  1. There is a great book called No Grain No Pain by Dr Peter Osborne you might read. I was “grain free” for years but ate oats, rice, quinoa, buckwheat and all dairy. When I removed those it made a huge difference in my leaky gut, RA and histamine problems. It really is just a mental adjustment and then life just feels like life. Good luck on your journey!

  2. These cookies look so delicious! I love that they are healthier too, definitely my kind od cookies! Also, beautiful photos as always dear Alanna! ❤️

  3. I love your cookbook and hope everyone, even if they don’t have someone in the house with celiac, buys it. I’ve loved using it because everything is delicious, even if you don’t need to be gluten free. It has options for things that are not as ingredient based as this recipe for those of us who can’t find some of the most basic things we need right now. I wish you the best with your health, and encourage everyone to look at your other recipes if they find these ingredients challenging. You are the the best for gluten free baking!

    1. Awwww thank you for saying such sweet things! Yes, I tried to give lots of substitution suggestions since I know people are having a tough time finding the basics right now. I’m so glad you’re enjoying Alternative Baker; that really means a lot to me.

  4. hi! just a comment to let you know that when you scale the recipe up or down, only the volumetric measurements change, not the weights. not sure if you were aware. thanks.

  5. I’m gonna try this recipe with almond flour and tapioca because that’s what I have … do you think that will work? Also, have you ever used peanut flour? What are your thoughts? Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Tiffany, Hm, you might have to experiment to get those two flours to work. Tapioca is starchier than cassava, so you’ll want to use less of it here and add in more almond flour. Always best to bake one test cookie first in case you need to adjust the quantities. Please let me know what you end up trying!

      I’ve never used peanut flour before! It sounds like it would be divine in cookies. Yum.

  6. These are easy to make and moist and yummy! I was able to obtain tiger nut flour and put it to prompt use. I ended up with 18 cookies, though and I did make them larger than the 1” you suggested, so I don’t know how that happened. More is better! I really appreciate how you are adapting to your new regimen and giving us such good options to try, too. I look forward to seeing what else you develop. You are so talented!

    1. Aw that’s wonderful! Thanks for trying my recipe and for the sweet words, I’m so glad they were a hit! Ok clearly I need to measure more accurately lol! I’ll update that size. And if you feel like leaving a star rating, please do!

          1. I gave out samples to a couple of people and got back comments saying “superb!” & “some of the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had”!! Thought you’d enjoy hearing that :-)

  7. Amelia made these delicious cookies for us. We found we could order tiger but flour from Giant Through Instacart! Yum!!

    Only problem, when it takes 1/2 to piping hot cookies we’re tempted to make them every day.

  8. This recipe, along with your Vegan Banana Bread and Vegan Tahini Chocolate Chip cookies are absolutely wonderful. I’ve made each recipe a few times already. I love that you usually explain why you use certain ingredients and which roles they play.

    My partner is vegan and after reading your explanation of how the cashew butter and maple syrup work together and how they help naturally sweeten and raise the dough, I was wondering if you could suggest a ratio of nut butter to maple syrup as a substitute for eggs, that way I could try it out when making your other recipes that would normally require eggs.

    Thank you so very much for all of your wonderful recipes.

    1. Oooh that’s a great idea! Adding maple syrup to recipes will throw off the sweetness, but I’m curious if using 1 T nut butter and 2 T water in place of each egg could work? There needs to be enough liquid to emulsify the nut butter. What are your thoughts?