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
dozen 1.5" treats
Cuisine Horse Treats
Prep Time 20 min
Cook Time 2-3 hours
Passive Time 4 hours or overnight
dozen 1.5" treats
  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


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 105 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!

      1. Kim

        Hi, is there a way you can think of to make these treats softer?
        I need to hide a pill in them:)

        1. Joanne Masterson

          Hi Kim! Pill hiding is a challenge! The only thing I can think of is to make them pocket shaped somehow. You’ve given me quite a puzzle to think about. And best wishes for you and your horse’s medical treatment.

    2. Natalie B

      If you grind other small horse treats, like Purina Apples and Oats, would it change the thickness or consistency? And would it taste batter?

      1. Joanne Masterson

        Natalie B that’s an interesting question. If you want to toss in other dry treats it could impact how much water you add to make the dough. If I were going to try adding other dry treats I would add the liquids a little at a time until it was soft enough to roll but not sticky. Good luck!

        1. Victoria updyke

          I followed the recipe and made them just a tiny bit bigger but only got about 6 dozen. Don’t know why but they’re good other than that. Is it possible that you measure the oats after ground in the blender and not before?

          1. Joanne Masterson

            Victoria, I do measure the oats after grinding them. Maybe that accounts for the difference. Thanks for trying this recipe!

    3. Pamela

      I am going to use this basic recipe with some variations. Thank you, I have made my own oat flour this way for human baking projects before with good success, also being gluten-free.

    4. Pamela

      Thank you, I have made my own oat flour this way for human baking projects before with good success, also being gluten-free.

      1. Joanne Masterson

        Pamela – thanks for that. I love hearing that oat flour is also gluten free. Good to know!

  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.

          1. Karen

            as an x professional baker, is it possible that the timing of putting your tray in the oven may have coincided with the time the electric company bumps up the power supply to account for surges in the demand for power, ie baking an item at 2pm may take extra time in an electric oven, where as baking the same tray at 4:30 pm will burn at the same temperature in half the time.

          2. Joanne Masterson

            I admire your baking experience. When it comes to time of day for baking, I have not noticed a change in how hot the oven gets at my house. That sounds difficult to adjust to!

        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!

      1. Nancy Lajeunesse

        Thanks Joanne! I just read your response today. I’ve been making these treats regularly for my horse- in- law ( hahaha, good one) for over a year. I usually put a fourth of a mint on top after the first 25 minutes at 250 otherwise they melt. The horse-in-law just loves them. The other day my son-in- law tried to give his horse a carrot since there were no more treats. The horse just spit the carrot out. He also has the habit of putting his nose in my son-in-law’s pocket to get more treats.. Hilarious for me. Yesterday my son in law finally told me the treats could be smaller and he wouldn’t put the mints on top. Fine, glad to know it. From now on I’ll make them smaller with no mints. I might try adding a grated apple though. So thanks for the recipe they keep really well!

        1. Joanne Masterson

          Wow Nancy – how fun to see you visit and comment again! Your description of your horse-in-law’s reaction to a carrot when expecting an oat treat is hilarious! I imagine his mouth was all ready for your unique crunchy grain and mint experience, and was surprised.

          Great to hear you’re up for trying grated apple! I’ve tried it and as long as you’re patient with the drying time, you’ll have the same luck keeping them yummy between visits.

          Thank you so much for your beautiful story!

  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!

  30. Ellen Anthony

    Thank you for the recipe. I’m writing another Oregon Trail book and my heroine (the mother in the Harding family) makes treats similar to these for the mules and oxen and loses some to her children. Why? It’s much easier to yoke the oxen if they get a treat right after being yoked. There isn’t any historical reference for this but it’s something small that would be typically overlooked if she didn’t put it in her journal along with the recipe.

    1. Joanne Masterson

      I find that adding a treat is sometimes very helpful to forming positive associations and helping create positive anticipation.

  31. Alana jackman

    I’m trying to find a way to add copper and zinc to these since my horse is super picky but needs these supplements for her feet. If I were to add this in powder form, about 1/4 cup, should I decrease any other ingredients?

    1. Joanne Masterson

      Alana you have a unique idea here! I wish I had more experience to give you some tips. I haven’t tried adding in supplements before. And my mare is not a picky eater. I am thinking you’d keep the other ingredients the same, just adjust the water (adding it a bit at a time) until you get a dough you can work with. Love how you’re thinking about ways to make the medicine go down. Good luck Alana!

  32. Jay

    This feels like a silly question but can humans enjoy these treats also?

    1. Joanne Masterson

      I love your question! I am laughing because my daughter and I snack on them too when we share them with our little mare.

  33. jennifer nyce

    I had to use apples and cinnamon Quaker oats packets..btw 3 packets equal one cup. I only used 3 cups of those added an extra cup of flour and cut down on molasses and honey due to sugar in the packets. I made tiny ones for my mini and bigger ones for my horse. I will let you know how they turn out. Tasted great before cooking. Haha

    1. Joanne Masterson

      Love your creative ingredients! I bet they smelled good too!

  34. Thea

    How long will these last?

    1. Joanne Masterson

      Thea, I find these last a good 4 weeks. By then they are usually gone 🙂

  35. JB

    This is a great, simple recipe that works every time! But it does not make 16doz. We use a 1.5” cookie scoop and get about 5 dozen. We like to add peppermint candies too!

  36. Kaitlyn

    Thank you for the recipe! I’m going to try rosehip granuals and magnesium for my horses who have arthritis, but are too fat to be fed 😂

  37. Katelyn

    I added grated apples and carrots to this recipe. My horses love them!

    1. Joanne Masterson

      Nice upgrade, Katelyn! Glad your horses like them!

  38. Hot Horse

    What a great recipe for homemade horse treats! As an avid horse lover, I couldn’t agree more with the sentiment that mass-produced horse cookies just don’t cut it. I appreciate the care and thoughtfulness that goes into creating something special for our equine friends.

    I love the idea of using natural ingredients and different spice variations to make these treats extra fragrant and tasty. And the fact that they stay crisp and tasty for weeks in an airtight container is a huge bonus.

    As someone who often carries treats in my pocket while riding, I can attest to the importance of making treats that hold up well without getting squished or crumbly. And it’s a nice touch that these treats can fit through the hole in a grazing muzzle.

    Overall, I think this recipe is a winner and I can’t wait to try it out. Thanks for sharing this great idea for homemade horse treats that express the care and love we have for our four-legged companions. Oh, and I bet my hot horse will absolutely love them!

    1. Joanne Masterson

      Thanks Kristine! You’ve nailed all the reasons I love this kind of horse treat. I hope your hot horse loves them too.

  39. Veronica

    I’ve made these cookies about 4 different times and everytime they’ve been a huge hit! For my horse’s birthday, as prizes for our collegiate circuit, as Christmas gifts for the other boarders at the barn, for friend’s dogs, this is the absolute best recipe! Like you mentioned, it’s hard to find homemade cookies that are crispy and don’t go bad within a week – most of them are just too moist. Thank you so much for sharing!

    1. joanne-stc

      Wow Veronica, that makes my day! I’m impressed with your creative gift-giving! Thank you so much for sharing your ideas for sharing these cookies.

  40. Candace

    How much brown sugar and water do I use instead of molasses?

    1. Joanne Masterson

      Hi Candace. To replace the molasses in this recipe, I suggest mixing 3 tablespoons brown sugar with 1 tablespoon water. Thanks for your great question. I’d love to hear what you tried and how they turned out for you.

  41. Nina

    Hi! I was just wondering what the shelf life on these horse treats are?

    1. Joanne Masterson

      Hi Nina
      Thank you for checking out this horse treat recipe. In an airtight container, I’ve had a batch last about 4 weeks. Of course, there are not usually any left after 4 weeks time.

  42. sheila fitzgerald

    Just made my first batch they smell amazing in the oven, super easy to make but i def should have measured the oats after grinding next time!!! cant wait to share them with all my horse friends

    1. Joanne Masterson

      I’m so glad you tried the recipe, Sheila! I like that baking aroma in my kitchen too!

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