Vegan Lactation Cookies (Gluten-free)

If you’ve ever tried to establish your milk supply as a new mom, you’re probably familiar with the concept of lactation cookies.

vegan-lactation-cookies-gluten-free

These cookies are made with ingredients that are thought to help boost milk supply, like flax seeds, oats, and brewer’s yeast, and if nothing else, they give you an excellent excuse to eat more cookies.

The problem is, most recipes for lactation cookies that I’ve seen floating around the internet are loaded with mounds of white flour and sugar, and very little of these special milk-boosting ingredients…. so I have to wonder if they are really doing new moms any favors. You need all the energy you can get during those first few months, and the last thing you need is a sugar crash!

The following recipe is my solution to that problem. These cookies are gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and nut-free to accommodate those with allergies, and they are naturally sweetened with low-glycemic coconut sugar. Best of all, the batter can be whipped together in minutes, so you won’t have to wait long before you’re swimming in cookies (and hopefully more breast milk)!

Before we get to the recipe, though, I think it’s important to note that the most important factor when it comes to making breast milk is how often you allow your baby to nurse. Your body produces breast milk using the “supply and demand” system, so the more you let the baby nurse, the more milk you will make! Unlimited access to the breast is essential for establishing an adequate milk supply, and no number of lactation cookies or herbs can replace that. The nurses at my hospital even recommended that I completely avoid using pacifiers or bottles for the first four weeks of our son’s life to ensure that I nursed him every single time he needed comfort. (Which felt like 20 hours out of the day.) You can’t nurse a baby too often, but you can nurse them too little!

With that being said, eating a few of these cookies couldn’t hurt, either.

Vegan Lactation Cookies (Gluten-free)
Makes 18 cookies

Ingredients:

2 cups old fashioned oats*
4 tablespoons ground flax seeds
1/2 cup water
6 tablespoons coconut oil
1 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup debittered brewer’s yeast*
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
2/3 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)

*If you are gluten-intolerant be sure buy certified gluten-free oats. If you cannot find a brewer’s yeast that is certified gluten-free, try using nutritional yeast instead, which is thought to have similar properties for milk production.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. Pour the 2 cups of oats into a blender, and process them into a fine flour. (Don’t take the blender lid off right away– set the blender aside while the flour settles.)

In a large bowl combine the ground flax seeds with the water, and stir well to mix. Add in the coconut oil, coconut sugar, debittered brewer’s yeast, vanilla, baking soda, and salt, and stir again until well combined. Gradually stir in the oat flour until a dough is formed, then fold in the 1/2 cup of oats and dark chocolate chips.

Drop the dough by heaping tablespoons onto the lined baking sheet, then use your fingers to flatten the cookies. cookie-sheet

Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes, until the cookies are lightly golden around the edges. I prefer mine baked for 10 minutes, so that they are crisp around the edges, but still nice and soft in the center, but they will firm up more the longer you bake them. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

vegan-lactation-cookies

These cookies will soften if stored in an airtight container at room temperature, so I recommend storing them in the fridge or freezer for best texture and shelf life. Or, you can store them on a plate at room temperature for a couple of days. (That’s as long as they ever lasted in my house, anyway.)

4.7 from 11 reviews
Vegan Lactation Cookies (Gluten-free)
Author: 
Serves: 18
 
A vegan lactation cookie made with low-glycemic coconut sugar.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups old fashioned oats*
  • 4 tablespoons ground flax seeds
  • ½ cup water
  • 6 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • ¼ cup debittered brewer's yeast*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup old fashioned oats
  • ⅔ cup dark chocolate chips (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. Pour the 2 cups of oats into a blender, and process them into a fine flour. (Don't take the blender lid off right away-- set the blender aside while the flour settles.)
  2. In a large bowl combine the ground flax seeds with the water, and stir well to mix. Add in the coconut oil, coconut sugar, debittered brewer's yeast, vanilla, baking soda, and salt, and stir again until well combined. Gradually stir in the oat flour until a dough is formed, then fold in the ½ cup of oats and dark chocolate chips.
  3. Drop the dough by heaping tablespoons onto the lined baking sheet, then use your fingers to flatten the cookies.
  4. Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes, until the cookies are lightly golden around the edges. I prefer mine baked for 10 minutes, so that they are crisp around the edges, but still nice and soft in the center, but they will firm up more the longer you bake them. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. These cookies will soften if stored in an airtight container at room temperature, so I recommend storing them in the fridge or freezer for best texture and shelf life. Or, you can store them on a plate at room temperature for a couple of days. (That's as long as they ever lasted i n my house, anyway.)
Notes
*If you are gluten-intolerant be sure buy certified gluten-free oats. If you cannot find a brewer's yeast that is certified gluten-free, try using nutritional yeast instead, which is thought to have similar properties for milk production.

Notes:

  • I came up with this recipe for my mom friends who can’t have nuts, but if you’d prefer a “Paleo” lactation cookie, try adding brewer’s yeast or nutritional yeast to my Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe instead! (You could even add a flax egg to them, if you like.)
  • I also found these Date Energy Balls helpful for my first several weeks of nursing– they provided me with easy, nutrient-dense calories when I was up all hours of the night! They would also make a wonderful gift for a new mom.
  • If you’re not a nursing mom, but just want a vegan oatmeal cookie to enjoy, omit the yeast– these cookies will taste even better without it!

It’s crucial that you use debittered brewer’s yeast in this recipe, as the regular version tastes terrible!! I couldn’t even stand one tablespoon of the regular stuff in an entire batch of cookies, so please don’t waste your ingredients and ruin a batch of cookies like I did. If you would prefer to use nutritional yeast, it is suspected to have similar milk-boosting properties, too. (Experts aren’t sure why yeast boosts milk supply, but they suspect it has something to do with the B vitamins it contains.)

Enjoy!

Reader Feedback: Have you ever tried a lactation cookie before? Austin tried them for the first time this week, and he was a fan! Ha ha.

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Meet Megan Gilmore

Hi, I’m Megan. A former fast food junkie turned certified nutritionist consultant, trying to make healthy living as easy as possible. I believe in eating delicious whole foods on a regular basis to help naturally support the body’s detox organs— no juice fasting required. (Unless you want to!) If you make one of my healthy recipes, tag @detoxinista on Instagram or Facebook so I can see!

56 thoughts on “Vegan Lactation Cookies (Gluten-free)

  1. Kara

    I made lactation cookies similar to these while I was feeding on demand and I believe they worked! The oatmeal and brewers yeast was key 🙂

    Reply
  2. Jeanette

    Super awesome!! Thank you! I have tried several healthier, gluten free versions of lactation cookies and they’re all a waste of calories, I’m so happy to see your version! Thank you, thank you!!!

    Reply
  3. Danielle

    These look amazing!! I have already made 2 different batches of lactation cookies which are different to these and contain wholemeal flour as well as oats, they went soft even though I went out and bought an air tight container so it is interesting to see your recommendation about storing in fridge 🙂 My questions is, with your recipe do I need to cream the coconut oil with sugar? Also are these very sweet as I normally only use half cup of sugar so wondering if they need the cup 🙂 Look forward to hearing from you as hopefully these can assist me with my 11 week old munchkin that is on 3 hourly feeds..

    Reply
    1. Megan Post author

      These cookies are not as sweet as traditional recipes, but if you are used to lower sugar desserts, you could probably reduce the sugar a bit more. Coconut sugar tastes less sweet than refined white sugar. And I didn’t cream the oil with the sugar, but I did mix pretty aggressively to make sure all the ingredients were very well incorporated.

      Reply
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  5. Laura

    I love the idea of making these for new (Breast feeding moms)! When I brought my babies home, people. came over with such well meaning desserts….but they only seemed to make me bigger than I already was. And I just felt worse about myself. I needed these! What a great gift to accompany a new outfit for a new mom. Thanks!

    Reply
  6. Leah

    Thanks for this recipe – it comes at a perfect time! I have a 9 week old and have been struggling with milk supply. I have been making the traditional lactation cookie recipe but am not a fan of the amount of refined sugar in it as well as the flour. Can’t wait to try this alternative recipe – thank you!

    Reply
  7. tereza crump aka mytreasuredcreations

    the supply and demand law really works with breastfeeding. I breastfed all my kids way into toddlerhood. I was 31 to 42 – I wasn’t a young girl, either. I never gave my kids pacifiers or bottles at all. Because they were at the breast whenever they wanted they cried less, would sooth easier and never needed any “crutches” of any kind (blankeys, toys etc).

    Reply
    1. Mel

      Hi Tereza. Just read your comment. I’m a first time mum to a 8 month old bubba girl, I have always up until a month ago, breastfed on demand. I was getting a lot of people telling me she would never be a good sleeper as she will have to settle on the boobie etc. she doesn’t have a pacifier or take bottles.
      My question from one mum to another… Did u find this caused sleep issues, self settling issues etc
      Thank you

      Reply
      1. Phyllis

        I know your question is a few months old, so I don’t know if you are still looking for info, but just in case you are, or someone else is… I just read a couple of articles recently, about the many benefits of breastfeeding for the baby… And how unnatural it is the wean them for sleeps sake… Go with your gut.

        Here are a few articles that speak to the importance of breastfeeding (and that the “experts” are full of it) . Every time I think about doing what mainstream thinks I should I read these articles and feel empowered to continue doing what I feel is right for my baby.

        That being said, not everyone can breastfeed or breastfeed on demand, but if you can and you want to, don’t let what other people think or say stop you.

        https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/moral-landscapes/201303/normal-infant-sleep-night-nursings-importance

        http://themilkmeg.com/why-our-breastfed-babies-and-toddlers-wake-so-frequently/

        http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/claire_niala.html

        Reply
  8. Jeanette

    Delicious!! The best healthy lactation cookies I have tried!!! Thank you! I followed the recipe as is but had Lewis Labs yeast and it still turned out great. Super good, just a good cookie healthy or not. Thank you!!

    Reply
  9. Pingback: Caramel Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (aka Vegan Lactation Cookies) | the taste space

  10. Heather

    These cookies are great! I made the dough when I as expecting, froze it and thawed after baby was born. They’re a great snack for late night feeds or while pumping! I especially loved all the healthful ingredients compared to many other recipes. Thanks!

    Reply
  11. Lauren

    I just took these out of the oven so I can’t say how good the baked cookies are, but I’ve been snacking on the batter I had leftover since I used a small pan. Amazing! Thanks for the recipe!

    Reply
  12. Carrie

    These are great!!!! Love the taste, easy to mix up, and they bake so nicely! Thank you for a wonderful addition to my lactogenic eating plan! I work full time and have had trouble making enough milk for my Little. We are still EBF at nine months but I fight for every ounce that I pump. So happy to have this recipe for a special treat.

    Reply
    1. Megan Gilmore Post author

      I don’t recommend using coconut flour in recipes that don’t call for it– it’s VERY different from other flours, and you’ll basically have to come up with a whole new recipe to use it. I have several recipes that call for coconut flour already, so I’d suggest you start with one of those and add lactation-friendly ingredients from there. (You can search for coconut flour in the search bar to the right!)

      Reply
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  14. Danielle

    Just made these with butter instead of oil and no yeast like you recommended for a nut free cookie recipe. Used ground chia instead of flax. They were good in flavor but not in texture. definitely really stuck to the roof of my mouth hard to eat type thing. Really gummy maybe the word? How to I fix that? Also, can i leave the whole oats out at the end for a smooth non oatmeal type cookie? Really looking for that staple choc chip cookie recipe and I’m hoping this can be it with some fixes! I made your single serving buckwheat cookie since that had no coconut and tree nut flour in it and the texture was a lot better on those, but hard to figure out how to make a big batch. Let me know what you think, could really use your advice!

    Reply
  15. Danielle

    im thinking it was too much chia, from doing some googling of “sticky, gummy” GF cookies. Should I take it down to two ground tablespoons chia seeds? Do I leave the water the same as a half a cup? Also, can I leave out the oats at the end just for a regular chocolate chip cookie?

    Thanks!!!

    Reply
  16. Cali

    Just made these- used two cups of gluten free oat flour instead of blending, organic unbleached sugar (not coconut), and nutritional yeast instead of Brewers. They taste great!!

    Reply
  17. Kate

    I made these with oat flour instead of grinding oats… they came out very dry/tasteless. If I am not starting with whole oats should I use less oat flour than 2 cups? I am thinking of trying again with less flour and more liquid like applesauce?

    Reply
    1. Lily

      Definitely try using less oat flour. Probably closer to one cup. You could start with one and then add more as needed based on how sticky the batter is.

      Reply
  18. Pingback: Lactation Cookies: 3 Reasons and 12 Recipes to Make Some for a New Parent | Sacraparental

  19. Neome

    These cookies are fantastic. I added cinnamon the second time I made them and they were even tastier! You’d never know they were lactation cookies.

    Reply
  20. Cathryn Hawes

    I love these and have made several batches, I feel they help make more milk as I have a low supply. I use steel cut oats and grind all the oats and flax in a coffee grinder for a smoother cookie. I also melt the chocolate into the water and coconut oil so each bite is chcolatey. A pinch of cinnamon warms the flavour too.

    Reply
  21. Lily

    Made a double batch of these and am keeping them in the freezer for my baby’s arrival! They are definitely satisfying as a cookie should be, but without the guilt and with added benefits of boosting milk supply! I I love that they have whole food ingredients!

    Reply
  22. Pingback: Lactation Cookies: 3 Reasons and 12 Recipes to Make Some for a New Parent - Sacraparental

  23. Sandra

    I made these cookies and love them. Followed your recipe, didn’t make any changes. I would love these even when I’m not breastfeeding. Thanks for this delicious recipe!

    Reply
  24. Nerida

    Hello – this recipe has been recommended to me but I’m allergic to brewers yeast – do you think it would work if I left it out altogether or should I replace it with something else ?
    Thanks!

    Reply
  25. Leah Watson

    Hey!!!
    Thank you soooo much for posting these!!! You’re right, pretty much all the recipes out there for lactation cookies are filled with unhealthy ingredients and are so calorically dense too! I just made these and LOVE them (so does my husband!!!) and I’m re-posting on my blog!!! I have linked to your blog 🙂
    I’ve loved your blog forever–thanks for all the great recipes, info, and inspiration!
    ~Leah 🙂

    Reply
  26. Valery

    Hi Megan ! Thank you so muchfor this recipe as I am fairly restricted with what I am eating and struggling with my supply. I have made your Paleo choc chip cookies for years and really prefer the taste of those. At the end of this post you mention adding brewers yeast and flax egg to the Paleo recipe. That works without any modifications? Is there a way to use the ground oats instead of almond meal in that same recipe or will that change too much?

    Reply
    1. Megan Gilmore Post author

      I do think adding a tablespoon or two of yeast to the Paleo cookie recipe would be just fine– the only alteration you might need to make would be adding a splash of water to help bind it all together if the mixture gets too dry. I’m not sure how you’d add oats to the mixture, though… that would change the flavor and texture, so it would take quite a bit more experimentation.

      Reply
  27. Ali

    my container of Brewers yeast says it’s a beer making byproduct. That would mean it is not gluten free. The malt in beer is full o gluten.

    Reply
    1. Megan Gilmore Post author

      Yes, true brewer’s yeast is byproduct of beer, but other brands of “brewer’s yeast” are grown using another medium, such as sugar beets. That’s why I recommend looking for a brand that is labeled gluten-free or using nutritional yeast as an alternative.

      Reply
  28. Denise Vanderlee

    I halved the sugar and replaced the oil with pumpkin purée. It tasted great. I also kept the flax seed whole rather than ground. The cookies came out great. Not too sweet. They are more chewy than crisp probably because of the lack of fat but they have all the lactation ingredient goodness they need in them.

    Reply
  29. Shawna

    Do we melt the coconut oil or just leave it solid and mix in. Also can we blend all the oats in the blender to turn out a smoother cookie or will they be too soft that way?

    Reply
  30. Ashley Stevens

    First recipe I’ve ever tried for lactation cookies! Made the cookies exactly how the recipe calls for! Exact measurements and ingredients! The coconut ingredients gives the cookie such a good coconut flavor and paired with the chocolate it’s so good! I can’t comment on whether or not my production is up bc of the cookie bc I literally just made the cookies and ate two!

    Reply
  31. Kristin

    These are amazing! I love that they are gluten-free and loaded with whole grains and galactogogues. I’m hopeful that they’ll work their magic on my milk supply, but regardless I’ll be devouring them (and if they last long enough, sharing them with friends for their pure deliciousness).

    Reply
  32. Lauren

    These!! I devoured two immediately. These are the best cookies I’ve ever tasted. My supply increased significantly. Thank you!! Oh and I used cane sugar instead of coconut because I ran out of coconut.

    Reply
  33. Rebekah

    The yeast taste can be overwhelming, so I discovered that 1 mashed banana / batch, plus 1/4 – 1/2 cup of toasted unsweetened coconut flakes balance out the flavor. I’ve been eating these as breakfast for the past 3 months, and there’s lots you can do to mix up the flavor profile!

    Reply
  34. Ali

    These cookies are delish! I was skeptical of them being both gf and vegan, thinking they might end up dry or funky tasting, but they are absolutely moist and delectable. I’ve made three batches so far, one where I doubled the recipe, and all turned out great!

    They are probably little calorie bombs, but when you are breastfeeding you need the energy boost (tho my husband, who is clearly not breastfeeding but is vegan, loves them too).

    I’ve been cutting back the amount of sugar in the recipe and so far they are still “sweet enough” (I’ve cut back to 3/4 a cup… next up will try 1/2 cup).

    I’m also using 85% dark chocolate (just cutting up a bar into chips) and sometimes adding mint chocolate chips (absolute yum).

    Another plus: they’ve made me quite “regular” with firm-but-easy-to-pass stools (a huge bonus when you gave birth naturally a week ago)–all that oat fiber!!!

    Reply

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