Okara Bannock Cookies and Brownies 
Are Delicious!

Okara Bannock Cookies and Brownies are a super moist, very versatile healthy treat that can be made in an endless variety of flavors and styles.  They can be made more like a cookie, or a brownie, with whole grain flour, gluten-free, and/or fortified with protein powder.  And, they are chock full of naturally sweet dried fruit.

I was making these quite a bit about a year back, and had put recipes up on Tracy's Healthy Food, a blog I briefly hosted on WP.  They are a great way to use up the okara, or protein fortified, fibrous pulp remaining from making soy milk using our SoyaJoy.  

Okara Bannock Cookies and Brownies make for an excellent, easy to pack snack or quick breakfast to-go.

The best or most fun part about Okara Bannock Cookies is being able to customize them to your liking. This is an easy recipe to play around with. 

Pictured below, Carob Peanut Butter Okara Brownies on top, Okara Bannock Cookies, in the center, and Gluten-Free Lemon Mango Coconut Okara Cookies, at the bottom.

A variety of cookies and brownies made Okara and dried fruitThree different types of super satisfying and delicious Okara Bannock Cookies and Brownies

What Are Okara Bannock Cookies and Brownies? 

When I first started making these Okara Bannock Cookies and Brownies, I wasn't sure what to call them.  They are like a cross between a soft scone, bannock, and a thick, soft, healthier cookie.  I explain what bannock is, and where it is believed to have originated, below.

While my Okara Bannock Cookies and Brownies are much softer and lighter than traditional bannock, they pack more oomph than a cookie.  I add a LOT of dried fruit, often found in bannock recipes. Hence I've come to call these super delicious healthy snack treats Okara Bannock Cookies, Okara Bannock Bars, or Okara Bannock Brownies, depending upon which iteration of my basic recipe I used.

A great feature of these Okara Bannock Cookies and Brownies is that the recipes are all pretty forgiving.  As a fairly novice baker, I like the fact that this recipe is not super precise.  The main thing is to get the right balance of wet and dry ingredients to make a somewhat stiff dough, or batter.  You can modify it to suit your preferences for flour ~ whether gluten-free, whole grain, or a blend, sweetness, and types of dried fruits, fats and optional extras.

The batter for the Carob Peanut Butter Okara Bannock Brownies is a bit less stiff and a bit more moist than the batter for the Okara Bannock Cookies.  They make an excellent dense, moist and perfectly sweetened protein-rich brownie / bar.  The Gluten-Free Lemon Mango Coconut Bannock Cookies are a nice light more crumbly cookie that have a lovely flavor combination, that satisfies in a slightly sweet, slightly nutty kind of way.  All of them are excellent, but I'd have to say the Carob Peanut Butter Okara Brownies are probably our favorite!

(In case you want to jump ahead to the recipe, be sure to read the recipe notes first!)

In this Okara Bannock Cookies and Brownies base recipe post, I thought I'd briefly look at the origins of bannock, and what they are...or were. 

While many online websites interchange the word bannock for indigenous fry bread, they are not the same, and are actually of European origins.

Okara Bannock Cookies with Chocolate Chips on baking trayOkara Bannock Cookies fresh baked!
Okara Bannock Cookies on baking tray2Okara Bannock Cookies without chocolate chips
Okara Bannock Cookies 3 up close on a plateOkara Bannock Cookies with shredded coconut and dark chocolate chips

What is Bannock?

According to Wikipedia, the word bannock comes from Northern and Scots dialects, historically used primarily in Ireland, Scotland, and Northern England.

In Etymology Online, bannock comes from Old English bannuc, or bannach in Gaelic, which referred to "a cake," and is a "thick flat cake, bread baked on the hearth or under ashes," Bannach is believed to be associated with the Latin panicium, or panis or "bread." Pan is also the Spanish word for bread. Pan is from Pa, a Proto-Indo-European (PIE) root meaning "to protect, feed."

Traditional Scottish bannock was like a denser, heavier unleavened flat cake, made from a dough of barley or oats, shaped then cooked on a stane, Scottish for a round sandstone cooking stone, placed over an open fire. 

In more modern times, bannock is typically cooked on a griddle, but can also be baked.

Nutritional Profile of Okara

One cup of okara is about 93 calories, with 4 grams of protein, 2 grams of fat, 15 grams of carbs.

Okara also contains a mix of vitamins and minerals, including potassium, calcium, niacin (vitamin B3), folate, magnesium, manganese, selenium, iron, and more, along with soy isoflavones, soy lecithin which is a good source of choline, linoleic and linolenic acids, phytosterols, tocopherol ( a form of vitamin E), and vitamin D. (I used Cronometer.com and Wikipedia as sources.)

What's in the Okara Bannock Cookies and Brownies?

Okara Bannock Cookies are packed with dried fruit and other healthy additions, including optional protein powder (which helps cut back on the total flour required), omega 3-rich flax or chia seeds, and a little nondairy milk, apple sauce, nut or seed butter, or mashed sweet potato, pumpkin or winter squash, depending on your dietary preferences, and what you like (lower fat, less or no refined sugar, higher protein, etc.)

I've made several batches of Okara Bannock Cookies so far, each with a slightly different twist, using various combinations of the above mentioned ingredients.

I've changed up the types of dried fruits, flour, flavorings, and sweeteners used, and have made these with peanut butter, and peanut powder in lieu of protein powder. I sometimes add shredded coconut, or raw wheat germ to boost the vitamin E and fiber.  (Apparently Dr. Michael Greger discusses the anti-aging benefits of wheat germ in his new book, How Not to Age.)

I may try using chickpea flour in future experiments. 

Most recently, I experimented with a Gluten-Free Lemon Mango Coconut Okara Bannock, and a Carob Peanut Butter Okara Brownie ~ our favorite to date!  You can read about these variations below the basic recipe.

Once you try making your first batch of Okara Bannock Cookies, you'll get the feel for the dough consistency, and discover your favorite goodies to add.

Dried fruit for making Okara Bannock Cookies and Brownies
Dried fruit from Trader Joe's sulfite-free
Dried fruit for making Okara Bannock Cookies and Brownies

Okara Bannock Cookies and Brownies are lower in fat & sodium

In addition to adding whole grain flours and minimizing added sweeteners, my personal priority is also to keep my baked goods lower in sodium by omitting the salt, and sometimes using  potassium bicarbonate instead of baking soda, and lower in total fat.

Baked goods and breads are a bigger contributor to excess sodium intake than most people realize, as most recipes contain not only salt, but also baking soda, which adds to the total sodium load.   

In 2021, Don and I experimented with eliminating salt from our diet while still consuming animal foods, which have a high ratio of sodium to potassium compared to plant foods, which are much higher in potassium.  Since then, I've been very sensitive to the salt content of foods when eating out, and especially in baked goods or commercially bought breads that are not 'low-sodium.'

Since restoring a fully vegan / whole foods, plant-based macrobiotic diet, I have been using saltier condiments, and minimal amounts of added sea salt to my cooking, which I share in my top recommended condiments for savory vegan, plant-based / macrobiotic cooking article.  I still omit salt from my baked goods, and rarely use more than 1/4 tsp. of baking soda, keeping the total sodium content much lower.

If I add any oil to my Okara Bannock Cookies or Brownies, I typically add only 1-2 tablespoons of better quality, high oleic sunflower oil produced in the United States (like Smude's brand which is produced in Minnesota) when baking as I like its light, neutral flavor, and monounsaturated fatty acid profile. You could also use avocado or olive oil, or try using melted ghee, unsalted butter, or coconut oil instead. These may change the final flavor. 

Alternatively, apple sauce, pumpkin purée or mashed winter squash, nut butter, or vegan yogurt can be used instead of oil which will keep it moist, yet lower in total fat, depending upon the quantity of nut butter used.  

Experiment to make these Okara Bannock Cookies suit your personal needs and health goals!

Recipe Notes for Making Okara Bannock Cookies and Brownies

Read through the Okara Bannock Cookies and Brownies base recipe, then scan the possible variations and compare to what you may already have on hand, and what appeals. 

The dough can be made ahead of time. Cover well, and refrigerate until ready to bake.

The main effort is in chopping the dried fruit (unless using mostly raisins and dried cranberries), and stirring up the dough. It goes faster than it may seem.

The dried fruit, like dates and raisins, can be soaked in water first.  You can use some or all of the soaking liquid up to 1/4 cup in lieu of adding nondairy milk or other liquid sweeteners.

You can do this all in one bowl, or mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl before adding to okara mixture.  Add wet ingredients including okara to the bowl and stir to combine.  If using soaked dried fruit and some of the soaking liquid, add with the wet ingredients.

Add any dry sweeteners you are using, spices, then the protein powder, if using, and stir to combine.

Add half of the flour, but before stirring, sprinkle the baking powder and baking soda (or potassium bicarbonate) on top of the flour. Stir until combined, then add the remaining flour, stirring well to combine.  Fold in dried fruit at the end.  The dough will be stiff, but should not be too sticky.  Add a couple tablespoons more flour at a time until the dough is dryer, and not sticky.

It may be easier to add the flour in batches, 1/2 cup at a time.

Chocolate chips are optional, but they taste so good with all the dried fruit!  Either stir directly into the batter, or press 3-4 on top of each Bannock Cookie before baking (or do both!)

Spelt Okara Bannock CookiesOkara Bannock Cookies made with spelt flour
Okara Bannock Cookies and Brownies 2 kinds -2Okara Bannock Cookies and Brownies: Basic Okara Bannock Cookies, Gluten-Free Lemon Mango Coconut Okara Cookies and Carob Peanut Butter Okara Brownies ~ all amazing!

Do I need to have a SoyaJoy to make Okara Bannock Cookies and Brownies?

You don't need a special soy milk maker to make soy milk, however, it's really worth the investment! 

We make soy milk 1-2 times per week using a SoyaJoy G5. It's not as messy as cooking the beans first then blending them. With the SoyaJoy, simply soak beans overnight, then add to the machine with the measured amount of water. The SoyaJoy does the rest of the work for you. Simply strain once the beeper goes off using the mesh strainer provided, reserving the okara until ready to make these delicious Okara Bannock Cookies ~ or any number of other things you can make using the okara. Years back, I made Vegan Okara Meatballs which were great!

The original SoyaJoy came out in 1998. They sell other supplies, including kits to make your own tofu. It can be used to make any type of nut, rice or grain milk, porridge and soup, with different settings depending on what you are using it for. There are other soy milk makers which vary in price.

Of course, whether or not you use a soy milk maker, you do need to make your own soy milk to extract the okara!

Could I use the pulp from making almond milk instead?

Of course!  That said, the quantities of dry and wet ingredients will need to be adjusted.  The flavor will be different.  Almond pulp is more fibrous than Okara which has a soft dough consistency.  

And, you'd have to call them Almond Pulp Bannock Cookies, or something along those lines!

Anyway to use up the fibrous remains from making nut or bean milks, or juicing is a win-win to me, personally, as I like to be able to use it all, with less waste.  Otherwise, there's always the compost pile in the garden!

Okara Bannock Batter with spices and extracts to add
Whole wheat flour, flax and white rice flour for making Okara Bannock Cookies
Batter for Okara Bannock Cookies

Types of flour to use 

I tend to use a blend of flours, including a whole wheat, sprouted wheat, or white whole wheat with oat, rice or a little organic, unbleached, non-fortified all purpose flour.  Spelt flour can be used as well.  Spelt flour produces a nice, light baked good, so I tend to use it more in quick breads and/or muffin recipes.

For a gluten-free alternative, use a ready made gluten-free blend, or grind your own flour from gluten-free oats.  Other options include rice flour with or without tapioca flour, or almond or coconut flour.  Or, try using chickpea flour.  See my Gluten-Free Lemon Mango Coconut Okara Bannock Cookies, below.

Plant protein powders can be used in lieu of 1/4-1/2 cup of flour.

Peanut powder can also be used in lieu of up to 1/4 cup of flour. 

The quantity of flour you will need depends upon how much wet ingredients you add. If adding puréed pumpkin, for example, you may need to up the total flour. 

When making Okara Bannock Cookies for the first time, you'll notice that the batter can seem pretty stiff, yet still a bit sticky. As stiff as it may seem, still add another 1-2 tablespoons of flour. It will be less sticky to work with if you do. And, if you don't, it will still turn out just fine. As I mentioned above, this is a forgiving recipe. Chilling the dough for even 10 minutes will make it easier to handle.

How much okara?

The amount of okara remaining for one batch of soy milk drink using the SoyaJoy is roughly two thirds to one cup. The total amount may vary, and sometimes I do a double batch at once. So far, each batch makes just shy of 2 dozen small Okara Bannock Cookies, with a final weight of about 48g per cookie, on average.


I vary the sweeteners, depending upon whether I want to use a liquid or dry sweetener.  I originally used honey, which I no longer use, or maple syrup, sometimes with brown sugar.  

At the time I was making a lot of Okara Bannock Cookies and Brownies, I had a huge bag of brown sugar (I sort of inherited)  to use up.  I've replaced that with vegan, Wholesome brand dark brown sugar instead, however, the sweeteners can be minimized by adding more sweet fruit, like dates, date syrup, or alternatively, maple sugar, or Xylitol.  Other options I tend to prefer are brown rice syrup, barley malt, or possibly a little black strap molasses.

If using stevia, monk fruitXylitol (made from Birch), or other type of sweetener you will have to adjust accordingly. Each is different. Some can taste bitter or odd if using too much.  Adjust the wet or dry ingredients to balance whatever type of sweetener used.

Optional Ingredients to add to Okara Bannock Cookies and Brownies

  • 1/4-1/2 cup apple sauce, pumpkin purée, nut butter, mashed winter squash or sweet potato 
  • 1-2 Tbsp. raw wheat germ ~ use 1-2 Tbsp. less flour 
  • 1/4 cup roasted unsalted sunflower seeds, slivered almonds, chopped walnuts, pistachios, pecans or shredded coconut 
  • Nut or seed butter can be used instead of the oil in the recipe
  • Nondairy yogurt can be used instead of the nondairy milk
  • Try different flavorings, such as vanilla, almond, or maple extract, or orange + almond or vanilla is a nice combination
  • In lieu of vanilla extract, you can try either vanilla powder, or vanilla paste
  • Use cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, clove or allspice, depending upon what else you are using 
  • Use your favorite dried fruit: Raisins, golden raisins, currants, Turkish apricots, dates, dried apples, cranberries, dried plums, mangos, etc. 

Okara Bannock Cookies and Brownies 3 varieties-3Okara Bannock Cookies, center, Gluten-Free Lemon Mango Coconut Okara Cookies, L; Carob Squash Okara Brownies, R
Okara Bannock Cookies with White & Dark Chocolate ChipsOkara Bannock Cookies with White & Dark Chocolate Chips

Okara Bannock Cookies - Basic Recipe

  • 2 - 2&1/2 cups dried fruit, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. ground chia or flax seeds mixed in a small bowl with 3 Tbsp. filtered water
  • 2/3-1 cup okara
  • 1/4 cup (more as needed) soy milk, or nondairy milk of choice
  • 1 Tbsp. High Oleic Sunflower oil, avocado oil, olive oil, or oil of choice (or sub with 2 Tbsp. nut or seed butter, or up to 1/2 cup apple sauce, or mashed baked sweet potato or winter squash, adjusting dry ingredients as needed)
  • 1/4 cup sweetener of choice
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract, or 1 tsp. each vanilla and almond extract
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 & 1/2 cups flour (or flour blend) of choice (see above) such as white whole wheat, whole wheat, spelt, oat flour, or a gluten-free flour blend
  • 1/2 cup or 1 scoop vanilla or other plain or flavored plant protein powder
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. potassium bicarbonate (for lower sodium) or use baking soda
  • 1/4 cup any optional extras, such as shredded coconut, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, chopped walnuts, etc.
  • About 1/3 cup vegan dark chocolate chips, optional (can be added to batter, or add 3 or so to the top of each Okara Bannock Cookie as a garnish before baking

Okara Bannock Cookies - Basic Recipe Steps

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375º and line a baking sheet with parchment paper

  1. Mix the chia or flax seeds in a small bowl with water, and let it sit while prepping fruit
  2. Measure out dried fruit, chopping any larger fruit, like dates or prunes, and set aside
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine okara, nondairy milk, chia or flax egg, oil or nut or seed butter, or any other substitution such as apple sauce, mashed sweet potato or winter squash, sweeteners, and vanilla and/or almond extract
  4. Add half the flour, protein powder and spices.  Sprinkle baking powder and potassium bicarbonate or baking soda on top, then stir using a large spoon.  
  5. Add remaining flour a little at a time.  The batter will be stiff.  The dough should hold together in your hand without being too sticky.  If too sticky, add more flour, 1-2 tablespoons at a time.  If the dough is too dry, add 1-2 tablespoons of water, or more nondairy milk.
  6. Stir in fruit, and any optional extras.  Chocolate chips can be added to the dough, and/or press about 3 chips on top of each Okara Bannock Cookie as a garnish when ready to bake.
  7. The batter can be chilled first, for 10 minutes or overnight if you are making these ahead of time, and baking later.
  8. When ready to bake, it helps to have a small bowl of cool filtered water for moistening your hands if needed. Scoop out dough using a large spoon, and shape into round, slightly flattened discs, about 2 inches in diameter ~ smaller or larger as per your preference.  You can make them into balls, place on the baking sheet, and flatten with the back of a spoon, or shape them right into your hands, whichever you prefer.
  9. Press optional 3-4 chocolate chips on top of each if using.
  10. Bake about 15 minutes, give or take.  They should spring back when pressed with a finger.  The bottoms will brown lightly.  A toothpick entered should come out clean.
  11. Remove from oven, but leave on baking sheet for another 10-15 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack.

Keep Okara Bannock Cookies in an airtight container on the counter for 2-3 days, or wrap in wax paper, then a ziplock bag or airtight container, and keep them in the freezer.

Once frozen, they stay fresh longer.  Pull out however many you want, and let thaw on the counter.  

To reheat, bake in a covered heat proof dish, or wrapped in foil in the oven.  Even quicker, microwave for about 20 seconds on power level 5 (half power.)  They come out perfect, like fresh baked!

Be sure to try these other Okara Bannock Cookies and Brownies!  They are all so satisfying and delicious!

Carob Peanut Butter Okara Brownies (Pictured far Left & Right) and Gluten-Free Lemon Mango Coconut Okara Cookies (in the center).

Carob Black Bean Okara Brownies made for FOK online cooking course assignment-11-2023
Gluten-Free Lemon Mango Coconut Okara Bannock Cookies
Carob Peanut Butter Okara Brownies

>>>Return to Home Page   >>>Okara Bannock Cookies and Brownies - Main / Base Recipe

>>>Carob Peanut Butter Okara Brownies (Probably our favorite!)  

>>>Lemon Mango Coconut Okara Cookies

Dried Fruit truffles on crystal plate

You may also like these simple, healthy Dried Fruit Truffles