Milk Bar’s Compost Cookies®

4.69 from 16 votes

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Crispy, buttery cookies filled with butterscotch and chocolate chips, graham crackers, oats, coffee grounds, pretzels, and potato chips. The perfect cookie for indecisive dessert lovers!

compost cookie with chips and pretzel pieces

Welcome to the 3rd installment of my cookie party! This is a cookie recipe I’ve had living here on FAF for manyyyy years, but it’s gotten so popular that I needed to give it some major updates!

Now… Don’t get me wrong, I am a cheerleader for all of the cookies I’ve ever brought you so far EVER and also in this extravagant cookie parade, but these cookies…

Ohhh, these cookies. They hold a place near and dear to my heart. And Matt’s. And Alison Brie’s (there’s more to that).

Let’s back up to a several years ago: in December 2012, Matt decided he was going to give up sweets until our wedding in June 2013. Now, this was a huge feat. HUGE.

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Matt loves sweets, like, a lot. This man, with all of his muscles and intense focus in the gym can get completely undone in a matter of moments if you place cookies/candy/ice cream/gelato/chocolate/sugar in general in front of him.

stack of compost cookies scattered with chips, pretzel pieces, chocolate chips, and butterscotch chips

It’s scary.

I didn’t think he could do it, but he did, and at our wedding (in June 2013), I think he ate 6 cupcakes, not to mention the 5 EACH that we ate the day after our wedding. Oopsies. BUT THEY WERE SO GOOD (thanks, Sarah! )!!

Anyway, so for New Year’s Eve that year, I told Matt I would make him any sweet he wanted so he could have one last hoorah.

Another fun fact about Matt: he is super indecisive, in that he will take for-ev-errrrrr to make a decision, especially when it comes to food.

Often times, he just picks one of everything, if he’s able to. When we go out to eat or order in, we always splitzies.

aerial photo of compost cookie scattered with pretzels, chips, butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, and graham cracker pieces

So you can imagine my surprise when he knew exactly what he wanted me to make him that day.

He asked me if I remembered “those cookies” we had seen on the Food Network, and despite what sounds like a super vague description, I knew exactly what he was talking about.

Momofuku is a restaurant in NYC that calls itself a “noodle bar,” specializing in Asian cuisine like ramen and kimchi. It. Sounds. Fabulous. It has several “extensions” of itself, and the Milk Bar bakery is one of them, specializing in amazingly innovative and interesting desserts.

Their compost cookie®, created by chef/owner Chrisina Tosi, was featured on the Food Network, and upon hearing what was in it, Matt and I knew we needed to try a batch at some point in our dessert future.

I happen to have a wonderful friend (hey, Brit!) who visited Milk Bar one summer and oh so graciously brought me back a compost cookie® so we could try it. Uhhhhhmazing. But NYC is far from here.


milk bar's compost cookie sitting on a plate with the milk bar logo and business card

BUT, lucky for me (and YOU), Milk Bar shares their compost cookie recipe right on their website! Score! A little adapting and BAM! we had incredible, wondrously tasty cookies in no time and we’ve made them approximately a bajillion times since.

Now, you may be wondering at this point why they’re called compost cookies.

compost cookie with chips and pretzel pieces

Don’t worry– they aren’t full of anything gross, they’re simply a hodgepodge of several ingredients that come together so wonderfully that you’ll wonder why you never ate all of them together in a handful before making these cookies.

Some of the things you’ll find in these cookies:
•chocolate chips
•butterscotch chips
•graham crackers
•coffee grounds (eek!! MY FAV PART!)
•potato chips

aerial photo of compost cookie with chips, pretzel pieces, and chocolate chips

Compost cookies? Garbage cookies? Kitchen sink cookies?

Whatever you want to call these cookies, they’re AMAZE-BALLS (and I don’t say that word often, or ever, if I can help it) because they have ALL THE FLAVORS.

Chocolate + salty + sweet + oaty + grahamy + coffeey. I’m getting delirious.

I better get to sharing this recipe with you before I talk type too much.

The great thing about this cookie recipe is it is, like all of my favorite cookies, super easy. There is a bit of chilling time, but it’s only an hour, and you can totally handle that!

aerial photo of compost cookie scattered with pretzels, chips, butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, and graham cracker pieces

The only weird part? You’re actually going to roll the dough into balls and then chill them, and you also must use parchment paper as opposed to silicone baking mats.

Making these cookies over the years and hearing from readers, I know that some compost cookies spread too much. Combat this with my roll then chill + parchment tricks.

Roll the dough and then chill it

Because the dough has so many bits and chunks in it, rolling them before the dough is hard is much easier. And less painful. Have you ever been injured rolling cookie dough?

Food blogger life. It’s tough.

aerial photo of compost cookie with chips, pretzel pieces, and chocolate chips

Don’t love all of the ingredients? That’s totally ok. Leave some out, or replace some with other treats! I give some suggestions at the bottom of the recipe.

I think you’ll agree these cookies are a great addition to the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies spectacle. They are crispy, crunchy, salty, sweet, and everything you love about dessert. Best of all… They go wonderfully with a tall glass of milk or steamy cup of coffee or tea!

Oh, and re: Alison Brie… This past summer, during the pandemic, I discovered thousands of people viewing this recipe at one time on a random weeknight.

It turns out Alison had found the recipe for my cookies, made them, and then shared them on her Instagram. I was so grateful for her for that, so they are now lovingly called “Alison Brie compost cookies” in our house.

aerial photo of compost cookie with chips, pretzel pieces, and chocolate chips

She also prompted us to watch Community (we were already giant fans of GLOW), and that’s now the second time I’ve referenced sitcoms in the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies this year.


A simple and tasty yet complicated and confusing cookie all rolled into one (they’re like 7 layer bars , but in cookie form!). These easy compost cookies are the bomb. I promise to stop using ridiculous phrases if you promise to try them for yourself to understand.

compost cookie broken apart to see inside

Just invite me over to help taste test, please? I simply can’t get enough of them!!

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compost cookie with chips and pretzel pieces
4.69 from 16 votes
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Milk Bar’s Compost Cookies®

Crispy, buttery cookies filled with butterscotch and chocolate chips, graham crackers, oats, coffee grounds, pretzels, and potato chips. The perfect cookie for indecisive dessert lovers!
Prep Time1 hour 20 minutes
Bake Time16 minutes
Total Time1 hour 36 minutes
Recipe Author Lynn April
Servings: 2 dozen cookies


  • 1 and ⅓ cups (160g) all-purpose flour be sure to measure properly
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (40g) coarsely crushed potato chips
  • 1 cup (80g) coarsely crushed pretzels I prefer sticks or minis
  • 4 graham cracker rectangles coarsely crushed (approximately 1 cup)
  • ½ cup (85g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup (85g) butterscotch chips
  • cup (27g) quick or rolled oats
  • 1 Tablespoon (5g) coffee grounds not instant coffee
  • 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • cup (132) firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract


  • In a medium size bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  • In another medium size bowl, toss together the crushed potato chips, crushed pretzels, crushed graham crackers, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, oats, and coffee grounds.
  • In a large bowl with a handheld mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream to gather the butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy (approximately 3 minutes). Add the egg and vanilla extract, and beat again on medium speed until completely combined, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary.
  • Reduce mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture, mixing until the dough just comes together. Do not over mix the dough.
  • With the mixer still on low speed, add the bowl of mix-ins, only for about 10 seconds, being careful not to over mix the dough or break too many of the chips or pretzels. Continue mixing with a spatula, stirring carefully until everything is thoroughly combined.
  • Using a cookie scoop (I use this #50 cookie scoop for all of my standard size cookies), roll the dough into balls. You can also combine two cookie dough balls to make large cookies. Place them on a couple large plates. Chill in the refrigerator at least 1 hour and up to 3 days (if chilling longer than a few hours, cover with plastic wrap).
  • When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 375°F (191ºC). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper (not silicone baking mats)*, and place chilled dough balls on them (no more than 8 small or 6 large dough balls on a sheet at a time). Bake small cookies for 12-13 and large cookies for 15-16 minutes until cookies just begin to brown on the edges. The centers will look under-baked. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Cookies stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature up to 5 days. Cookies freeze well– up to 2 months.


Other ingredients to consider adding: peanut butter chips, cinnamon chips, white chocolate chips, crushed Oreos, Chex cereal, raisins, chopped candy bars, Rice Krispies, Ritz crackers, Goldfish crackers, or tortilla chips (to name a few)! If using mini chips of any kind, reduce amount to ¼ cup.
*I find that this particular cookie recipe does not like silicone baking mats. I’m not sure why, but I advise against using one for these cookies. The cookies will spread much more and thus bake faster. If you decide to use one, bake at your own risk!
Adapted from Momofuku Milk Bar
Did you make this recipe?Mention @freshaprilflours on Instagram or tag #freshaprilflours!

Nutrition Disclosure

All nutritional values are approximate and provided to the reader as a courtesy. Changing ingredients and/or quantities will alter the estimated nutritional calculations.

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  1. I found these at my local farm and had to google them as I prefer to make my cookies. YUMMERS!!! They’re sooooooooooo good! Thanks for posting such a delicious treat.

  2. 5 stars
    Hands down my new favorite cookie recipe!
    Everyone loves these, thank you for sharing your recipe’

    I have a couple of questions though:
    Do you use light or dark brown sugar?
    And previously you said thin potato chips but more recently, Ruffles type. Can you clarify?


    1. Thanks so much, Kay! I use light brown sugar unless otherwise specified, and I honestly, I like any kind of chips in there! They all work well 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    These were so good!! They were extremely easy to make and came together quickly. I didn’t have any butterscotch chips, but I had everything else. I also added some candy leftover from Easter — chopped up Reeses Peanut Butter cups, and Reeses Pieces, and after scrounging around a little in my pantry found some chopped walnuts too. If you have a bunch of stuff in your pantry you want to get rid of, chips, pretzels, candy/candy bars, nuts, then this is the perfect recipe to make! We loved them. They’ve only been out of the oven for about 20 mins and I’ve already eaten 4….😬