Healthy Lactation Cookies are made with milk-boosting ingredients, like flax seed and oats, and have the perfect chewy texture. They make a great gift for new moms!
Why You’ll Love Them
They may help boost milk supply. Ingredients like flaxseeds, brewer’s yeast, and oats are known as galactagogues. These may help to increase milk supply by boosting prolactin, the hormone responsible for breast milk production.
They’re nourishing. This is still a cookie recipe with sugar & chocolate chips, but the ingredients also provide essential omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, and extra calories that nursing moms need.
They are unbelievably delicious. Not all lactation cookies are created equal, and this recipe is one of the best you’ll ever taste. It has enough sweetness to hide the bitter flavor of brewer’s yeast, and the perfect chewy texture, so it feels like you’re eating a real cookie.
They’re allergy friendly. These lactation cookies are dairy-free and gluten-free when you use a gluten-free brewer’s yeast and oat flour that is certified gluten-free. You can also make your own homemade oat flour, if you need to! It’s a great way to sneak more oats into these cookies.
Ingredients You’ll Need
Lactation cookies are quite similar to a traditional oat flour cookie, only you’ll replace some of the flour with ground flax seeds and brewer’s yeast. The coconut oil provides medium-chain fatty acids, including lactic acid and capric acid, which may help to boost both mom and baby’s immune systems.
Brewer’s yeast can taste quite bitter, so be sure to look for “de-bittered” on the label when shopping for this ingredient. This product can come in a powder or flakes, and I find the flakes to be the most neutral in flavor, but either option will work for this recipe.
Note: For the most neutral-flavored cookie, use refined or expeller pressed coconut oil, which has zero coconut flavor. If you use a virgin coconut oil, it will add a slight coconut taste.
If you need a vegan lactation cookie, you can replace the egg by adding in an extra tablespoon of ground flax seed, plus 3 tablespoons of water. The result is just as delicious!
How to Make the Best Lactation Cookies
1. Mix the wet ingredients.
Add the melted coconut oil, vanilla, sugar, and egg to a large mixing bowl and mix well. This is sort of like “creaming” together the butter and sugar like you would in a traditional recipe, only the coconut oil here is melted for easier measuring.
2. Add in the dry ingredients.
Next, add in the ground flax seeds, brewer’s yeast, oat flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix well, until the batter sticks together, with no white flour visible. It might take a few minutes to stir it together evenly.
Fold in the rolled oats and chocolate chips. The batter will be slightly thick and shiny, with oats and chocolate chips speckled throughout.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, then use a cookie scoop or tablespoon to scoop the dough onto the lined pan. Keep the cookie dough mounds 2 inches apart, to allow for spreading.
This batch makes roughly 20 cookies, so you’ll need to use two baking sheets if you want to bake them all at once. Otherwise you can bake them in two batches.
Bake the lactation cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they spread and start to turn lightly golden around the edges. Let them cool on the pan for at least 15 minutes, to let them firm up even more.
These cookies taste best when you serve them warm, straight off the pan, after that initial cooling time. You can also serve them at room temperature, once they are totally cool.
Storage Tips: Lactation cookies can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Or you can bake a double batch and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Substitutions & Common Questions
You can most likely use all purpose or whole wheat flour with similar results in this recipe, or buckwheat flour is a great gluten-free option. Keep in mind that this recipe calls for oat flour as a way to get more oats into the recipe, since they may help with milk supply.
Using a granulated sugar is important to give the cookies a chewy texture. If you use white sugar or brown sugar instead, the cookies will be sweeter than intended, so feel free to experiment with cutting back on the sugar in that case. (This might alo affect the texture, though.)
If you don’t have brewer’s yeast on hand (or you can’t get past the flavor), you can replace it with 3 extra tablespoons of oat flour, or try using nutritional yeast, instead. It is speculated that brewer’s yeast works as a galactagogue because it helps boost nutrition, by boosting b vitamins and chromium, but you can find those in nutritional yeast, too.
Additional Tips for Boosting Breast Milk Supply
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 breastmilk supply, and no number of lactation cookies or herbs can replace that. (Though they do help boost your caloric intake, and that’s necessary for breast milk, too– don’t be tempted to diet or reduce your calories when you’re trying to establish your milk supply.)
The nurses at the hospital where I had my first baby 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, I hope you’ll enjoy eating plenty of these cookies, too!
The Best Lactation Cookies
- ⅓ cup melted coconut oil (see notes)
- ¾ cup coconut sugar
- 1 large egg (or 1 flax egg; see notes)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup oat flour (certified gluten-free, if needed)
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
- ¼ cup debittered brewer's yeast (see notes)
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ cup old fashioned oats
- ½ cup chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine the coconut oil, sugar, egg, and vanilla and mix well.
- Add in the oat flour, ground flax seeds, brewer's yeast, baking soda and salt, and stir again until a thick batter is formed. It may take a few minutes of stirring to incorporate the dry ingredients evenly. Fold in the oats and chocolate chips. (Do not taste-test the batter at this point.)
- Use a 1-ounce cookie scoop or tablespoon to scoop the dough and drop it onto the lined pan, about 2 inches apart to allow for the cookies to spread. You should get 18-20 cookies from this recipe, so you'll need to use 2 pans, or bake in 2 separate batches. Bake at 350ºF for 8 to 10 minutes, until the cookies have spread and are lightly golden around the edges.
- When the cookies are done baking, let them cool on the pan for at least 15 minutes before serving. Once they have totally cooled to room temperature, you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Or, freeze them for up to 3 months, if you want to make a double-batch.
- Use coconut oil that is labeled “refined” or “expeller pressed” if you want a cookie with zero coconut flavor. You can also replace the coconut oil with a 1/2 cup of softened butter, if you prefer.
- To make a vegan lactation cookie, replace the egg by adding an extra tablespoon of ground flax seed plus 3 tablespoons of water to make a flax egg substitute.
- Brewer’s yeast can taste VERY bitter and ruin the flavor of your cookies. Look for non-bitter or debittered yeast for the tastiest results. (I most recently tried Blue Bonnet’s brewer’s yeast flakes, which have no bitter flavor.) You can also try using nutritional yeast instead, or replace this with a scoop of unflavored protein powder or an extra 3 tablespoons of oat flour, for a similar texture.
- 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.
Original Recipe: This recipe was updated in September 2022 because I found the original recipe to be too dry when I was baking this for my friends who just become new moms. In case you prefer the old version, here are the original ingredients below:
- 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
- 1/2 cup water
- 6 tablespoons melted 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
- 2 cups oat flour (certified gluten-free, if needed)
- 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
- 2/3 cup dark chocolate chips
To make this version, mix together the ground flax and water in a large bowl, then add in the coconut oil, sugar, yeast, and vanilla and stir again. Mix in the baking soda, salt, and oat flour and stir until a thick batter forms. Then fold in the oats and chocolate chips. Scoop onto a lined baking sheet, and bake at 350ºF for 10 to 12 minutes.
If you try this lactation cookie recipe, please leave a comment and star rating below letting me know how you like them.