Homemade Horse Treats with Cinnamon & Oats

Horse treats fresh from the oven
Horse treats fresh from the oven (lined up to be counted!)

Searching for crunchy, natural horse treat recipes? Are mass-produced horse cookies unappealing? If you’re like me, you want something that says “I care a lot,” because you do.

These homemade horse treats are fragrant with oats and spices. This recipe allows you to create many flavor variations. Choose from cinnamon, anise, fennel seed, or ginger to change up the taste. This is the basic cinnamon recipe, with variations below.

Many mass-produced horse treats have artificial coloring. And they look like dried sludge pushed through an extruder. They remind me of dirt plugs that lawn care machines leave behind. For me, they don’t express much love or caring at all. If you like to bake, why not fix up something special made just for your horse?

Horse Treats that Look good, taste good and Hold up in your pocket

I reviewed many horse treat recipes to create this one that’s simple, tasty and sturdy enough to stay whole in your pockets. These natural horse treats use kitchen staples you may well have on hand.

This method creates small wafers that can slip through the hole in a grazing muzzle if your horse wears one. A touch of molasses and honey gives them just the right sweetness with minimal sugar. These crunchy horse treats stay crisp and tasty even when left for weeks in an airtight container at the barn or in your car.

I’m sure most horses don’t care what their treats look like. But I do. I want to feel good about what I’m giving my horse friend — as good as she does eating them. Surprisingly, the dogs I’ve met really like them too.

The secret to crisp, crunchy horse cookies is drying them at a low temperature for a long time. Drying in a 225-degree oven worked best for me. After baking, I let them sit overnight with the oven off, as everything cools down. This dries them completely for extra crispiness without getting scorched.

Print Recipe
Horse Treats Recipe
This crunchy homemade horse treat recipe makes about 200 1.5-inch wafers. You can stash a handful in your pocket without breaking them. They last for weeks in an airtight container.
Cuisine Horse Treats
Prep Time 20 min
Cook Time 2-3 hours
Passive Time 4 hours or overnight
Servings
dozen 1.5" treats
Ingredients
Cuisine Horse Treats
Prep Time 20 min
Cook Time 2-3 hours
Passive Time 4 hours or overnight
Servings
dozen 1.5" treats
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Working in batches, grind the oats in a blender or food processor. Process until the oat flakes resemble a coarse flour. Optional: For a natural appearance, only partly grind the final batch (about a heaping cup), so that oat flakes remain recognizable.
    Oat flour from rolled oats
  2. Place the ground oats in a large bowl. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix well.
  3. Make a well in the center of your dry ingredients and add the molasses, honey, and oil. Mix with a large spoon or with your hands. If the dough is crumbly add water 1/4 cup at a time to form a stiff dough. The dough should be just sticky enough to form a ball.
    homemade horse treat dough
  4. Preheat the oven to 250-degrees. Roll teaspoon-size pieces of dough into balls and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Flatten the balls with a the bottom of a small jar, or the palm of your hand. I like using the curved bottom of an empty cinnamon spice container. Make uniform 1 1/2-inch wafers, about 1/4-inch thick in the center. Arrange on a cookie sheet, about 1/2 inch apart. Fill 2 sheets.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through the baking time (switching top and bottom trays, and turning front to back).
  6. Lower the oven temperature to 225 degrees. Bake for another 45 minutes, as the oven temperature adjusts naturally to the lower temperature.
  7. Rotate the baking sheets again. Bake for another 30-45 minutes.
  8. Test for doneness by removing one wafer and allowing it to cool for a few minutes. Treats are done when a cool one breaks crisply and feels firm when pressing a fingernail into the top. If the treat feels soft or moist, add more baking time as needed until they are firm or almost completely firm when tested. You may need more time (like an hour more) depending on the amount of water you have added and how your oven works. For extra crispness, leave the treats to cool on the sheets in the oven with the door closed until room temperature.
  9. Store cooled treats in an airtight container and enjoy sharing them with your horse. Your doggie friends may like them, too.
Recipe Notes

Variations:

Fennel: Grind 1.25-oz of fennel seeds (a spice jar full) with oat flakes. Reduce or eliminate cinnamon.

Anise:  Grind 1.25 oz of anise seed with oat flakes. Reduce or eliminate cinnamon.

Ginger-spice: In addition to cinnamon, add 1T nutmeg and 3T ginger to dry ingredients.

This Post Has 67 Comments

  1. Diana

    Can you use coconut oil in place of the vegetable oil?

    1. Joanne Masterson

      Yes! I have done so and it works well!

  2. Susan K

    Added crushed peppermints. AMAZING and easy treats Thanks

    1. Joanne Masterson

      Sounds amazing Susan K! I’ll try that!

      1. Nichola

        What on earth did I do wrong? I put them in the oven and 8 minutes later they were black and fogged out the kitchen 😂 is the temperature not meant to be 250?

        1. Joanne Masterson

          Oh no, Nichola! I am so sorry that happened! Is it possible that one fell onto the heating element inside the oven? That’s happened to me. Burning treats are not a nice smell. I hope you and your kitchen have recovered.

        2. Rosanne

          Did you put them in the oven at 250°C or 250°F? If you are in Aus like me then it’s 125°c to start with, then lower temp down to 105°c and continue baking for 45m, rotate trays then bake for another 45m at 105°c still.

          1. Joanne Masterson

            These are baked at 250°F. Thank you for your great question.

        3. Catherine

          Hi Nicola, Convert temperature to celcius (250 F is 122C).

          1. Joanne Masterson

            Thank you for helping with the temperature conversion Catherine!

    2. Nancy

      What quantity of crushed peppermints for the recipe?
      Thank you!

      1. Joanne Masterson

        Hi Nancy! I use roughly a scant cup of crushed peppermints. I’m sorry I don’t have a more precise measurement for you!

  3. Amanda

    I made these and batter was really wet, not like your picture. I had to add a cup more of oats and flour, and that corrected it. I also rolled with rolling pin then used a biscuit cutter to cut out uniform flat pieces. I put my oven on convection setting and they came out great. My dog loves them too. Thanks for the recipe.

    1. Joanne Masterson

      Amanda thank you for your comments! Thanks for the feedback about the dough being too wet for you with the amount of water called for. I adjusted the recipe accordingly. (Adding water now comes after adding the other wet ingredients until you have a rollable dough.) It sounds like you made a beautiful recovery!

  4. Mary

    How long to they typically last in air tight container?

    1. Joanne Masterson

      Hi Mary — How long they last in an airtight container is a good question! I have not had any go bad in about a month of storage. I use a plastic food storage container. But then again, they usually all get eaten in a month. Thank you for your question.

  5. Scotia

    So good best treats EVER!

  6. Hazel

    I tried this last year and my horse loved them and was constantly begging for more. I am planning to do it again this year. These are my Christmas treats for my horse.

    1. Joanne Masterson

      Aww that is such a sweet comment. I am glad your horse liked them!

  7. K a t i e

    Sounds amazing! I will try them tomorrow 🙂 x merry Christmas by the way x

  8. Danica

    I made these treats for the horses at my equestrian school and I’m going to give it to them tomorrow night at my lesson. I made them to where it was crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside, is that safe for the horses?

    1. Joanne Masterson

      Hi Danica – I am glad you are able to make treats at school! I think if you just baked them they will be okay for a while. If they are chewy that means some of the moisture still remains. They are more likely to keep better if they are 100% dry. I have had some come out a little chewy in the middle too after cooling in the oven overnight. If that happens I put them back in the oven the next day at about 200-degrees for half an hour, and let them cool overnight again. That usually gives me the dryness and crunch that I’m looking for. Thanks so much for letting me know you tried them! And good luck at school.

  9. Angie

    What can you use in place of molasses? I don’t ha e any on hand.

    1. Joanne Masterson

      Angie – Thanks for asking about alternatives to molasses.

      I’ve used honey, agave nectar, or brown sugar mixed with water.

  10. Lydia

    Hi there, do you know what type of oats are safe for horses?

    1. Joanne Masterson

      Lydia, hi! I am assuming that oats safe for people are also safe for horses.

      1. Grace

        Can you skip the molasses?

        1. Joanne Masterson

          Hi Grace – you can skip the molasses. You will have to make up for the taste and the wetness. You can use water instead, or water with 2 tablespoons brown sugar dissolved in it. Thanks for asking.

        2. Joanne

          Hi Grace – Yes sometimes I skip the molasses. I use honey, agave nectar or a little brown sugar instead.

  11. Eilidh

    Hello I’m in the UK, what quantity is the T you refer to with the cinnamon? Many thanjs

    1. user

      Hello Eilidh – Thanks for the question! Tablespoon is the quantity meant by “T.”

  12. Elizabeth

    My kids recently started riding lessons, and we are really enjoying making these about once a month and giving them to the barn for the school horses. Even the pickiest boy in the barn loves these treats. Thank you for a great recipe!

  13. Caroline

    hi so im making these and they are actually in the oven right now, but when I opened the oven I saw that they didnt stay in their normal shape and they now look like cookies. is that ok?

    1. Joanne Masterson

      Hi Caroline – so yours changed shape when cooking? Sometimes mine puff up a little. I am thinking that as long as the ingredients are the same — and they are dried but not burned – they should be okay!

  14. Celia

    Are these suitable for oldies with hardly any teeth?

    1. user

      Hi Celia — I would not try to give these to any horse or pony that have trouble chewing. So glad you are caring for your senior friends.

  15. Sandy

    Can you freeze them? I just have one pony…

    1. user

      Hi Sandy! I haven’t tried freezing them. It might help them taste fresher when used later. Since they’re oven-dried, I am thinking freezing would be harmless. I’ll have to try it and see for myself. Thank you for the idea.

  16. lemur

    I am going to try them, happy easter

    1. Joanne Masterson

      Happy Easter! Enjoy.

  17. Delaney

    I have made these for my horses and they loved them! I then had my cows, dogs, chickens, donkey, and even my cats begging for them! THEY LOVE THEM TOO! We will differently be making these all the time!

    1. user

      Delaney – wow, that is great to hear! Thank you for your comment and letting me know. I had no idea cats would like them too! Sounds like you know how to make your animal family happy.

      1. Karen

        My cats have gone after the store bought horse treats I’ve gotten and I joke that they are part pony! I just stumbled upon this amazing recipe and will let you know what my horse and cats say on their comment cards haha!

        1. Joanne Masterson

          I’d love to know what your cats think, Karen!

  18. Jennifer

    Weird question. I am going to be adding CBD oil to my horses diet since we have tried everything else’s. Would these cookies after cooked absorb the little amount of oil if dripped on top of it..??

    1. user

      Jennifer – great question. I have not tried adding any kind of oil to the cookies after baking. I can’t say for sure what would happen to the texture. Have you tried it?

  19. Liv Austin

    These are great and my two horses love them so much that my instructor got wind of them and is making them to hand out at her show 🥰

    1. Joanne

      That’s awesome, Liv! Thank you for sharing the love with your peeps and ponies!

  20. gn

    i love theses

    1. Joanne

      So glad! Thank you for letting me know!

  21. Kathleen Knestrick

    Is there a way to make these treats safe but still tasty for an insulin resistant horse?

    1. Joanne Masterson

      Kathleen, it’s so good to hear you are looking out for your insulin-resistant horse. I’m not qualified to say what would be safe for the horse you have in mind. It’s a great question though.

  22. Shelby

    Has anyone tried freezing these? How did they keep?

    1. Joanne Masterson

      Shelby I see no one has spoken up about freezing them. I have not put them in my freezer, but it’s 19F degrees (well below freezing) at my barn, and they hold up just fine. I warm them up in my pocket on my way out to the field to catch my mare.

  23. Jodi

    I am just now making these and I have every ingredient except for baking soda What can I expect from the batch without the baking soda

    1. Joanne Masterson

      Hi Jodi — I have made them without baking soda too! The baking soda just helps them puff a tiny bit so they dry faster. They will bake slightly firmer and a bit more solid. Your horse will 100% love the taste and texture without the baking soda.

  24. Nancy Lajeunesse

    Hi Joanne,
    I made half the recipe which gave me 24 treats and am wondering if Ihey are too thick.They’re about 1/4 inch thick and 1 1/2 inch diameter and crisp. Since these are for my son in law’s horse I don’t know if the treats will be too hard for the horse to chew. I personally don’t know much about what horses can eat. Are the treats supposed to be wafer thin once cooked? I added some crushed pepper mints and they smell yummy. Thank you for responding, I really like the recipe since others that I have tried don’t make treats that keep very long.

    1. Joanne Masterson

      Hi Nancy! Thank you for your question. I make mine just like yours – about 1/4 inch thick. No, they don’t have to be wafer thin at all. They’re more like the thickness of two stacked quarters. The diameter you make sounds generous! It’s good of you to be concerned about making them too hard for your son-in-law’s horse (horse-in-law?). If yours turn out good and firm, like a similar size carrot slice, that’s the goal. The intent is to make them hard enough to stay in one piece in your pocket (even snug riding pants), but so hard to make you strain to bite one in half yourself. I actually give my dog one to test the crunch. Hope that helps!

  25. Emma

    Thank you for the recipe my dogs really like them and my horse so I hope you had a nice Christmas and thanks again

    1. Joanne Masterson

      Thank YOU Emma!

  26. Jill Kolakowski

    My Granddaughter does recognized Eventing. I was told to never put cinnamon or buy treats with cinnamon ( there are a few others like nutmeg, bay leaf, etc ) because it can cause the horse to have a positive drug test. For those who show I would eliminate any spices, but the peppermints should be good.

    1. Joanne Masterson

      Thank you for looking out for the eventers with your tip! Much appreciation.

  27. Cindy

    Just to let you know, goats love the treats too! And they do freeze well! I’ve had them frozen for a month & they seemed just as fresh as when I first baked them. Great recipe by the way! I have sometimes added shredded carrots & chopped apples too.

  28. Anna Marie

    Okay my question is the oats. Is that four cups of ground oats or four cups of whole oats?

    1. Joanne Masterson

      Great question Anna Marie — I use 4c ground oats

  29. Ally

    Hey there, is the oven temp Fahrenheit or Celsius? Thanks

    1. Joanne Masterson

      The temperature is in degrees Fahrenheit. Thank you for asking Ally!

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