Pineapple Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

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An easy recipe for tropical oatmeal cookies. With how unbelievably soft & chewy these are, you’ll never guess they’re healthy!


Have you ever seen pictures of people on vacation posing with someone else’s paper face cutout taped to a popsicle stick? Grinning teenagers in front of the Golden Gate Bridge, smiling school kids with the Empire State Building behind them, laughing young adults next to the “Welcome to Vegas” sign… The family member or friend who couldn’t travel ends up “visiting” all of the same memorable landmarks, and the vacationers usually get a chuckle out of compiling the snapshots into a photo album or personalized calendar afterward.  

After my first year of college, we embraced the idea on one of our family trips to Kauai. Instead of toting along grandparents or our playful pup on a stick, we packed…

A hat.

Yes, a hat. One of those beige bucket hats, the kind that older generations usually sport on sunny days at the beach or a baseball game. (With its rough khaki material, people my age would mainly wear it on Halloween!) A few weeks before our vacation, my dad’s work passed out those hats to the attendees at a big celebration after finishing a monumental project, so in honor of the business, we fondly referred to it as “NIF Hat.”

Every time we left our vacation condo, Mom tucked NIF Hat into her purse. He tagged along on our Lapperts Ice Cream runs (caught on camera stealthily trying to sneak my scoop off of the waffle cone!), attempted to snorkel (although NIF Hat had difficulties figuring out how to slip into his fins), nearly stole a spoonful of Hula Pie (we gobbled up that ice cream dessert a little too quickly!), and soaked up some rays on the lounge chairs by the pool (sunglasses and book in hand).

Then on my birthday, we decided to visit a new beach. We piled into the rental car, meandered down a bumpy secluded road—Mom swore we passed by Jennifer Aniston’s house three different times—and eased to a stop as the lane ended at a very deserted, very flat expanse of sand. After climbing out and peeking around the area, we realized the water was too shallow to swim and too rocky to wade, so we gamely plopped down our beach towels and pulled out novels to read and tan instead. Thank goodness we’re a family of bookworms!

NIF Hat quickly grew bored and wandered off to explore by himself. Without legs, it was slow going, but he barely made it 10 feet before he encountered his first wildlife adventure: a large sandy-colored crab. NIF Hat apparently offended Mr. Crab, who believed that he was the king of the beach and started rapidly sidestepping towards NIF Hat, threateningly waving his pinchers in the air. Mr. Crab nearly grabbed hold of NIF Hat to pull him off towards his hole! Mom snapped a picture just before my brother swooped in to the rescue.

Just like NIF Hat on the beach, pineapple and coconut might look out of place in oatmeal cookies… But these Pineapple Coconut Oatmeal Cookies are actually one of my favorite flavor pairings yet! The hearty oats provide a comforting backdrop for these extra chewy cookies, effortlessly melding with the tropical fruits that leave me craving warm turquoise waters and sunshiny summer days. One bite and you’ll agree—these are the best oatmeal cookies, and they’re secretly skinny and clean-eating friendly!

You’ll need whole wheat flour and instant oats for this easy no-mixer-required recipe. Both of these ingredients absorb more liquid than regular all-purpose flour, so be extra careful when measuring them! Use a light hand with the spoon-and-level method (click on the link for my helpful guide on Baking Basics!). Too much of either will dry out your cookies, instead of the soft, tender texture that we want.

The sweet and tangy pineapple is the true star of this cookie show! The coconut flavor plays more of a background role, stemming from melted coconut oil and a bit of unsweetened shredded coconut. For a more prominent flavor, swap out the vanilla extract for ½ teaspoon of coconut extract. You could almost call these “Piña Colada Cookies” then—just sans the rum!

Chilling is mandatory. The dough will be very tacky after you first mix it together, so place it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. This allows the flour and oats to absorb a little more of the liquid. The longer you chill the cookie dough, the less the cookies will spread and the thicker they’ll be.

more chilling = less spread = thicker & not as wide
less chilling = more spread = thinner & wider


See here for a visual comparing the two. I chilled the cookies in these photographs for only 30 minutes. If you chill for longer than 1 hour, you’ll need to flatten the cookie dough slightly after dropping it onto the baking sheet. Otherwise, you’ll end up with spherical mound-shaped cookies!

Want to know my special secret for super soft, extra chewy cookies? Slightly underbake the cookies; then leave them on the warm baking sheet for 15 minutes. This allows the centers to continue cooking without turning the outsides crisp and crunchy. My batch of these tropical oatmeal cookies stayed soft for an entire week (although it was pure torture saving them that long on the counter)!

These low-fat Pineapple Coconut Oatmeal Cookies left me permanently dreaming of paradise! Sand between my toes, napping in the sun, and a small seashell collection on my beach towel… With their bright pineapple tidbits, sweet coconut shreds, and lots of lightly spiced oats, these cookies will surely satisfy your cravings—and hopefully bring a bit of summer to your kitchen too!

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Pineapple Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

Yield: 15 cookies

Serving Size: 1 cookie

Pineapple Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

These cookies taste just like paradise! Full of tangy pineapple tidbits, sweet coconut, and lightly spiced oats, they’re sure to please. Store any leftovers in an airtight container; they’ll stay soft and chewy that way for at least a week!

1 cup (100g) instant (quick-cook) oats (measured correctly)
¾ cup (90g) whole wheat flour (measured correctly)
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
2 tbsp (28g) coconut oil or unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup (120mL) agave
2 tbsp (10g) shredded unsweetened coconut
3 tbsp (30g) diced dried pineapple, divided

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, egg, and vanilla. Stir in the agave until thoroughly incorporated. Add in the flour mixture, stirring just until incorporated. Fold in the coconut and 2 tablespoons of diced pineapple. Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes. (If chilling longer, cover with plastic wrap, ensuring it touches the entire surface of the cookie dough.)
  2. Preheat the oven to 325°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.
  3. Drop the cookie dough into 15 rounded scoops on the baking sheet. (If chilled longer than 1.5 hours, flatten slightly.) Gently press the remaining diced pineapple into the tops of the cookie dough. Bake at 325°F for 13-15 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for at least 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.

Notes: To make your own instant oats, pulse 1 cup of old-fashioned oats in a food processor 5-8 times.

Melted unsalted butter or melted margarine may be substituted for the coconut oil. Regardless of which is used, be sure that the egg is at room temperature before whisking it in. A cold egg added straight from the fridge would rapidly cool the fat source, resulting in small blobs of semi-solid coconut oil or butter.

For a more prominent coconut flavor, substitute ½ teaspoon of coconut extract for the 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

For all other questions regarding the recipe, including ingredient substitutions, please see my Oatmeal Cookie FAQ + Video page.

{clean eating, low fat, low calorie}

View Nutrition Information


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  1. Brittany says on April 5, 2014 at 7:23 am

    Love the hat story! What a fun idea, and these cookies are JUST IN TIME for spring! YUM!

    • Amy says on April 5, 2014 at 4:39 pm

      Thanks Brittany! Oh my goodness, I wish spring would hurry up and stick around already… All of this rain is driving me crazy. But I guess they don’t call it “April showers” for nothing! 😉

  2. Mary @ Fit and Fed says on April 5, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    Pineapple and coconut are a great tropical combination, and these cookies look to be on the healthier side, good work! Sweet story about your grandpa’s hat, I’m sure your grandparents appreciated the photos. BTW I’m sure you meant that last ingredient in the recipe box to read pineapple….

    • Amy says on April 5, 2014 at 4:41 pm

      Thanks so much for catching that Mary! I was just so excited about the recipe; my fingers apparently had a mind of their own. 😉 All fixed now!

  3. Hari Chandana says on April 6, 2014 at 12:14 am

    Awesome combination.. Lovely! :)

    • Amy says on April 6, 2014 at 4:25 pm

      Thank you so much Hari! :)

  4. Ceara @ Ceara's Kitchen says on April 6, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    This flavour combination sounds delicious (I love pineapple and coconut just-about-anything!) 😀 I can’t wait to try these! Pinned 😀

    • Amy says on April 6, 2014 at 4:34 pm

      Thank you so much Ceara! :) And YAY!! I have so many pineapple/coconut treats that I want to make, but I was scared of overloading readers with that particular flavor combination. It sounds like posting all of those recipes wouldn’t be such a bad thing after all!

  5. Gretchen @ Two Healthy Kitchens says on April 6, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    Aw shucks! I was really hoping to see pictures of this NIF hat! My father-in-law is a whiz at photoshop, so instead of a cardboard cutout, he literally just inserts us into whatever scene we are missing from. I’ve never been to Paris, but I’ve got a picture of my husband and I in front of the Eifel Tower!
    And for the record, I think pineapple and coconut sounds totally delish in an oatmeal cookie!

    • Amy says on April 6, 2014 at 10:14 pm

      I nearly included a NIF Hat photo, but since my mom forgot to zoom in, the hat looks like a tiny blob and the crab is only a little larger than a speck. But it sure made for a good memory! :) You father-in-law sounds so talented. If only photoshopping you into the picture made it so you really visited the Eiffel Tower!

  6. Dorothy @ Crazy for crust says on April 7, 2014 at 6:55 am

    I LOVE that idea. We are so doing it, it’s totally something Mel would do!!! :)

    Love these cookies too, pinned!

    • Amy says on April 7, 2014 at 11:13 pm

      Thanks Dorothy! :) That’s awesome that Mel would do that too! It’d make for some really fun memories.

  7. Rochelle says on August 4, 2014 at 4:56 am

    Hi!! This sounds so delicious and I want to make it right now! But I only have a can of crushed pineapple, not the dried kind. Could I still use it or would it mess the recipe up because of the juice???

    • Amy says on August 4, 2014 at 9:25 am

      I think it’d work Rochelle! Just make sure to drain the pineapple really well before mixing it into the dough. If there’s still some leftover juice that makes its way into the cookie dough, try to make the dough balls as tall as they are round when placing them on the baking sheet to help minimize them spreading too much and flattening into each other in the oven. I can’t wait to hear how they turn out for you!

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