Lunchbox Cookies: A Sweet Dairy-Free Recipe to Pack for Smiles


School starts on Monday, and my kids are not looking forward to it. I was searching for some fun lunch recipes to help soften the blow, and I came across these Lunchbox Cookies in the archives. The recipe was shared with us by Janelle from Brown Bag Blues, who writes:

I pulled this recipe for lunchbox cookies out of some random magazine a million years ago, then changed it a bit. I was excited to find a granola bar disguised as a cookie; something still a treat but with more of a nutritional punch. In fact, I have been known to put granola (sub varying cereals in place of cornflakes, even add a little coconut) and a variety of nuts (sunflower, walnuts, pepitas) and dried fruit right into these cookies. I will tell you the basic recipe, then you can improvise from there. (Note: if substituting, just stick with similar proportions.)

Lunchbox Cookies Recipe - a kid favorite, dairy-free and optionally nut-free!

I made the recipe as written, then I served a few to the neighborhood kids who were enjoying the last few days of summer break playing with each other. The cookies were a big hit, and two neighbors asked for the recipe. The Lunchbox Cookies are chewy and flavorful, with a nice crunch and texture from the cornflakes and nuts.

This recipe for Lunchbox Cookies makes a lot of cookies; I ended up with at least two dozen. Your total may vary slightly, but it is a generous recipe. I tried freezing the cookies and then thawing them. The texture of the cornflakes changes slightly when frozen and thawed and isn’t as crispy, but other than that the cookies hold up well.

Lunchbox Cookies Recipe - a kid favorite, dairy-free and optionally nut-free!

Special Diet Notes: Lunchbox Cookies

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, nut-free optional, peanut-free, soy-free, and vegetarian.

For egg-free and vegan lunchbox cookies, see my guide to egg substitutes. Most of the options should work well in this recipe.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Lunchbox Cookies
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This recipe is updated from Janelle's lunchbox cookies. Janelle used to post on a blog called Brown Bag Blues, and she shared this kid-friendly treat with us.
Serves: 2 to 3 dozen
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup dairy-free buttery spread (Earth Balance sticks work well)
  • 1 egg (see post above for egg-free options)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat or white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 1½ cups corn flakes
  • ⅔ cup roughly chopped pecans (or more cornflakes for nut-free)
  1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the sugars and buttery spread with a hand mixer until creamy.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined.
  4. Add the flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and beat or stir until just combined.
  5. Add the corn flakes and nuts (if using) and stir until combined.
  6. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls and place on a greased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. I used a 1-inch cookie scoop to portion the cookies.
  7. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown.
  8. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 2 to 3 minutes, then remove them to a cooling rack.
  9. Store leftover cookies in an airtight container.

Key Pantry Supplies: Lunchbox Cookies

About Author

Sarah is the Associate Editor for Go Dairy Free. Her previous experience includes work as a copy editor at Thoroughbred Times magazine, a content writer at, and an intern at Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Sarah was a 'mom blogger' for many years but now mostly hangs out on Go Dairy Free and Instagram.


  1. Jennifer Dela Cruz on

    I made your cookies the other day and it was 100% delish! I added dried cranberries and raisins and let me tell you it was mouth watering! thank you for this recipe

    • You can definitely add raisins. But we haven’t tested it with coconut oil, so I can’t guarantee the results. It might work fine, or you might need to reduce the amount a little to prevent greasiness. Let us know if you try it!

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