Really good chocolate chip cookies are one of my favorite things in the entire world. In fact, I’d consider myself a bit of a chocolate chip cookie snob!
So you can imagine my horror when I realized my body was happier without much gluten or dairy. I had visions of never having another gooey, warm, soft, and tender chocolate chip cookie again!
But then I did what I always do when I’m stuck with a food problem—I headed to the kitchen to fix it! And after months and months of testing and enough cookie trials to make your head spin, I finally discovered a cookie unicorn! These Almond Flour Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies are everything you want in a cookie: tender, soft, chewy, rich—but they happen to be 100% dairy-free, gluten-free, and grain-free.
This is not a case of where these cookies are “pretty good for gluten-free.” In fact, I now prefer these cookies to my fully-loaded Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe! And so does my belly. Win, win!
I’ve offered two different methods for making these cookies—one truly paleo and dairy-free (using coconut oil), and one that is paleo-ish using grass-fed butter. Now, I’m a big butter fan, but everyone in my family agreed that the best texture of these cookies came from using coconut oil! The butter version is delicious, but it’s a bit more cakey and crumbly. The coconut oil version was chewy, tender, and perfect for dipping in a glass of cold (almond) milk!
What goes into almond flour chocolate chip cookies?
There really isn’t much difference between baking these paleo cookies and a regular cookie recipe. The main difference comes from a few specialty ingredients. Here’s what you need to get your hands on to make these amazing cookies:
- Coconut oil: You can use coconut oil or grass-fed butter here, but either way, it needs to be softened to the texture of softened butter.
- Coconut sugar: This paleo-friendly sweetener is easy to find nowadays. I’ve seen it at my big supermarket, as well as at my local discount grocery store. Coconut sugar is one of the only non-liquid paleo-approved sweeteners. You cannot use liquid sweeteners (like maple syrup or honey) in this recipe.
- Blanched almond flour: In recent years, blanched almond flour has popped up at every grocery store in my area. It adds a wonderful nutty flavor and tender texture to these cookies. Make sure to get blanched almond flour (which has the skins removed), and look for the finest ground possible.
- Tapioca flour: Also sold as “tapioca starch,” tapioca flour adds a bit of chewy texture to these cookies. You can find it in the gluten-free baking section of most major supermarkets. Don’t skip this!
- Baking staples like vanilla, chocolate chips, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and egg: You know the drill!
Are chocolate chips paleo?
For the most part, no. While you can get dairy-free and grain-free chocolate chips at most major supermarkets, they are not truly paleo-friendly because they contain cane sugar. For 100% paleo-compliant cookies using this recipe, I recommend purchasing paleo chocolate bars and cutting them into chocolate chunks, buying specialty paleo baking chocolate chunks, or making your own paleo chocolate chips. Since I eat a paleo-ish diet, I just use the cane sugar chocolate chips and call it a day!
What about paleo baking powder?
This recipe calls for baking powder, which typically includes either cornstarch or wheat products to prevent clumping—and that makes baking powder not paleo-friendly. This is an easy fix though! Make your own paleo baking powder by combining:
- 2 parts cream of tartar
- 1 part baking soda
- 1 part arrowroot starch
Store that mixture in a mason jar in your pantry so you’re always ready to make paleo baked goods!
Can you use something instead of almond flour and tapioca flour in these cookies?
I have only tested these cookies successfully using the almond flour and tapioca flour combination, so I can’t speak to any other flour combinations. I have a hunch that cassava flour in place of the almond flour might work, so if you try it out (or any other flour combo), let us know in the comments! You should be able to exchange the tapioca flour for arrowroot starch without issue if you’d like to avoid tapioca.
Can you use granulated or brown sugar instead of coconut sugar?
Sure can! Using all brown sugar will give you a chewy, tender cookie, while using all granulated sugar will give you more of a crisp cookie. Using half of each will be somewhere in the middle.
Can you eat this cookie dough?
I wouldn’t recommend it because of the raw egg. Instead, I recommend our Healthy Edible Cookie Dough, which is also dairy-free, grain-free, gluten-free, and paleo!
How can you make these paleo chocolate chip cookies vegan?
I tested these cookies using a flax egg (replacing the egg in the recipe with 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed mixed in 3 tablespoons warm water), and the resulting cookie was delicious but very tender and crumbly—almost too tender to pick up. They held their shape much better after being chilled in the fridge. Feel free to try that substitution to make this vegan (and make sure to use coconut oil, not butter), but just keep in mind that the cookies might fall apart more easily.
How do you store cookies after baking?
I’m not gonna lie, a batch of these cookies have never even made it to storage in our house because they are THAT good. But if I were to store them, I’d put them in an airtight glass storage container in the fridge for up to a week. The cookies do soften more in storage, by the way!
Do these paleo chocolate chip cookies freeze well?
Yes, they freeze beautifully (and they taste amazing straight out of the freezer)! Just lay them out flat on a cookie sheet, freeze solid, and then transfer to a food storage container or zip-top freezer bag for long-term storage. Cookies last six months or more in the freezer!
Cassie’s protips for REALLY GOOD Almond Flour Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Butter will result in a tender, soft-baked, cakey cookie for this recipe. Coconut oil is chewier. Both are delicious!
- Make sure your coconut oil or butter are softened but not melted. Melted fat in this recipe will make for cookies that spread a lot in the oven and don’t set up properly.
- Don’t overbake these cookies (or any cookies). In fact, err on the side of underbaking, because the cookies will also set up as they cool.
- Mix in chocolate chips, but also reserve a few to dot over the top of the cookies after they come out of the oven for that perfect chocolate chip cookie look.
- We tested these cookies on a number of different surfaces, and the best cookies came from a nonstick baking sheet. If you avoid nonstick coatings, cooking them on a silicone baking mat was a close second!
- Perfectly round, even cookies are made with a cookie scoop!
These cookies are phenomenal. I did had 1/3 C brown sugar, 1 C regular sugar, and a little xanthan gum only because I didn’t realize right away that I only put 1/3 C of tapioca starch (oops 🙃). But even still, these cookies came out sooo airy and yet perfectly crisp on the bottoms! They’re uhhmazziing. Thanks for sharing!
Yay! Thanks so much, B! We’re delighted that they turned out well and that you enjoyed them =)
Huh. I thought the biggest benefit of a paleo diet would be the lack of sweeteners. When was coconut sugar invented? Do you think Paleo is becoming an exercise in rule-bending?
For paleo chocolate, how about cacao nibs?
I think that whenever you find a diet that makes your body feel great, it’s important to figure out ways that you can still enjoy the beautiful foods in life that nourish your soul (like really good chocolate chip cookies) while keeping your body happy. And these cookies do that for me!
Repeat with me:
Tapioca is not paleo
and then again
Hmm, I’ve never heard that before! Most paleo resources I follow consider it paleo-friendly, but like I mentioned in the post, arrowroot works just fine if you don’t want to use tapioca. 🙂