Oatmeal and Flax Cranberry Cookies: bring on the good stuff!


Oh, no, not more HEALTHY STUFF.

Whole wheat flour. Oats. Fiber-rich dried cranberries.

Walnuts, which the FDA agrees can reduce your cholesterol.

And that’s not all.

Let’s hear it for flax. Rich in protein, fiber, antioxidants, and Omega-3 fatty acids, flax is a nutritional powerhouse. Flax is also a rich source of soluble and insoluble fiber, as well. Experts agree (and the government concurs), consuming 1 to 2 tablespoons of flax a day is shown to be beneficial to your health.

And now flax tastes good, too – thanks to golden flax: a step up, flavor-wise, from its brown sibling. IMHO.

But more on that later. Let’s make these chewy-in-the-center, crunchy-on-the-edge, delicious-through-and-through Oatmeal and Flax Cranberry Cookies.

First, lightly grease two baking sheets, or line them with parchment.

Put the following in a bowl:

1 cup soft butter
3/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg

Beat everything together until the mixture is fairly smooth.

Now, here comes the healthy stuff…

Golden flax seeds. Aren’t they gorgeous? With the rich color of burnished gold, these flax seed looks great sprinkled atop crusty rolls and breads, or rolled into crunchy crackers.

Plus, their nutty, almost buttery flavor is wonderful in (and on) all kinds of baked treats, both savory and sweet. Including these cookies.

And whole flax meal: ground golden flax seeds.

If you have any experience with brown flax, which is the most common type out there, you’ve probably noticed that once ground, it tends to go “off” in flavor pretty quickly. That’s because the oil from the seed’s center – its “germ” – starts to oxidize.

Thankfully, our flax meal is ground via a proprietary process that exposes much less of that oil to the air – thus preserving its flavor far longer than usual.

Let’s add 1/4 cup flax seeds and 1/2 cup whole flax meal to the ingredients in the bowl…

…along with the following:

1 1/2 cups King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant or quick cooking)
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries or raisins
1/2 to 1 cup chopped nuts, optional; walnuts or pecans are tasty

Mix to make a stiff dough.

Let the dough rest for 30 minutes or so at room temperature, for the oats to soften.

Towards the end of the rest period, preheat the oven to 350°F.

Grab your baking sheet…

…and plop the dough onto the sheet in rounded tablespoonfuls.

Yes, the scoop does make it VERY easy to make round, all-the-same-size balls of dough.

Ready for the oven? Not quite.

Flatten each ball of dough slightly. Your fingers, palm, or a flat-bottom cup all work well here.

Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown. It helps to rotate the pans in the oven midway through – top to bottom, bottom to top; front to back, back to front.

Remove the cookies from the oven, and cool right on the pans.

If you need a pan for another batch, just grab the parchment/cookies and transfer to a cooling rack, freeing the pan. If you didn’t use parchment – wait about 10 to 15 minutes for the cookies to set before moving them to a rack.

Hmmm, I wonder what happens if I don’t flatten the dough balls before baking?

You end up with tall, somewhat soft cookies instead of flatter, crunchier cookies.

Your choice; both good.


Now, when you see these cookies, do you immediately think “healthy antioxidants?”

Or “YUM”?

Break out the (skim) milk!

Read, bake, and review (please) our recipe for Oatmeal and Flax Cranberry Cookies.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...


  1. wingboy

    I guess I’m not the only one that thought dark chocolate chips would be a good addition! Gonna have to try these.

    I don’t see any real nutritional difference between the golden and brown flax. About how long will the ground golden flax keep in comparison to the brown?

    Blog question: I saw the blog post on 7/4 and there was already a comment from 6/28. Does it take that long for the blog to make it out west?

    WB, you saw the comment on the recipe. Recipes are often posted well in advance of their blog. So no, it doesn’t take that long for this blog to rocket through the ether from Vermont to Oregon – I promise! :) PJH

  2. lishy

    These look like a perfect treat for those of us who are attempting to eat healthier and not deprive ourselves of the yum foods. Can not wait to try these, maybe really early tomorrow before the house heats up. BTW I adore the golden flax and flax meal, so much tastier to me than the brown, kind of like how white whole wheat is milder than red, I feel the golden flax is milder than the brown. I LOVE it and so does my whole family. Thank you for providing excellent whole grain products and accompanying recipes that help my family to be healthier.

    Lish, glad you’re enjoying that golden flax. I love the flavor of the whole seeds – I sprinkle them on my peanut butter toast in the morning. Have fun with the cookies! PJH

  3. "Momo "

    My go-to nutrition information source tells me that unless flax seeds are ground they provide no nutrients. I use flax meal in every loaf of bread I bake, and I bake all of our bread.
    I have to agree that everything I have ever read about flax tells you to grind the seeds for optimum nutrition; however it is best to confirm this with your doctor or nutritionist. ~Amy

  4. justplainbeth

    What if I only happen to have whole, brown flax seed in my fridge? Can I use that and ground some up in place of the golden? We have to watch out for nut and soy cross contamination at my house.. and I noticed there was no nutritional information on either of the golden items. Are they packaged in the same part of your plant that handles nuts and soy, or do you bring them in already packed? Thanks

    You can certainly use brown flax, Beth; we prefer the flavor of the golden, that’s all. Nutritional info. is on the packaging, and I’ll ask our product manager to get it online, too – thanks for the reminder. The flax is packaged in a different plant, not at King Arthur, and thus is completely allergen-free and gluten-free. PJH

  5. fer

    Haven’t tried these yet but they sound delicious. Adding some orange peel might be good, too.

    I had been buying ground flaxseed meal and keeping it in the freezer. Then I got some KAF flaxseed — I keep the whole flaxseed in the freezer and grind about a cupful at a time to use as needed. I also keep that in the freezer. Have used both golden and brown and haven’t had any problems with either one going bad.

  6. Nancy

    Dr oz said, flax seed was useless unless ground.

    Not true, Nancy – it needs to be cracked to expose its interior to air. Dr. Oz probably said it needs to be ground because that’s what most people would understand; but our flax supplier has done a lot of research on it, nutritionally speaking, and flax simply needs to be cracked open in order for your body to utilize its antioxidant properties, Omega-3s, etc. PJH

  7. lillabit2001

    I have read that ground flax loses some or all of its antioxidant benefits when exposed to heat (as in baking). Does your special process also stabilize this factor, at least to some extent?

    Our ground flax is truly cold milled (unlike most flax); this process keeps the flax cold throughout the whole milling process, therefore reducing the loss of nutrients during processing. However, I’ll need to check on what happens to those nutrients during baking; I’ll ask our product folks and get back to you. PJH

    More info., from whfoods.org – apparently the nutrients in flax hold up well through baking: “Studies testing the amount of omega-3 fat in baked goods indicate no significant breakdown or loss of beneficial fats occurs in baking. For example, in one study, the ALA content of muffins containing 25 grams of flaxseeds was not significantly reduced after baking. Researchers speculate that the omega-3 fats in flaxseed are resistant to heat because they are not isolated but rather are present in a matrix of other compounds that the flaxseeds contain, including the lignan phytonutrients that have antioxidant properties.” PJH

  8. catieartist

    This looks like a good recipe to try to make wheat free or GF.
    Some GF flour blends tell you that you can just substitute cup for cup for the regular flour in a recipe. Do you think it might work here? I would like to try the Barley flour, maybe a bit less (that hi-fiber flour can be very drying in a recipe ). Or a barley, oat, white rye mix. It isn’t bad in spite of what it sounds like, honest! ;)
    Usually recipes that utilize a variety of grains, etc. and do not have to leaven a great deal, make good convertible recipes. Any thoughts are appreciated.Thanks in advance. It is always nice to know I have back up when “playing’ in the kitchen with these new restrictions!


    Catie, we’re about to post a GF version of these cookies in the next day or so… stay tuned, OK? PJH

  9. Mary.B

    Delicious and not overly sweet. I used 3/4 cup dried cranberries and 3/4 cup chocolate chips. Perfect! Thanks so much, I love having healthier versions of treats like this.

  10. "Joni M from St. Louis"

    okey dokey, so my hubby won’t eat a “cookie” which is just ridiculous for someone like me who loves to bake…so anyway, how about doing this in a pan for bars which since it isn’t a round cookie but a square bar he might eat?? I know cooking time would be comparable to other bars, so do you think this would work and in what size pan?? Are the cookies crunchy or chewy?
    These should work just fine in a 13 x 9 pan if you wanted to make bars. I would think they would end up a little crunchy on the edges and outside, but pretty chewy internally. Let us know how it turns out. Hope he enjoys them! ~Jessica

  11. "Joni M from St. Louis"

    Me again–ok, so I did make these as bars and they are absolutely wonderful even though I’m sure I over cooked them…I did use a 9×13 size pan lined with parchment paper, and set the timer for 22 minutes. When the timer went off, I couldn’t see that they were browned much around the edges so I left them in the oven for I think around 5 more minutes and then took them out. They are very crumbly and just a tad dry, but the taste is wonderful! I’m thinking since hubby did eat some and said they were really good, next time I’ll just make them as cookies and well–if he won’t eat them, then I’ll just have more for me :) These are fantastic and I love it that they are such a healthy treat! Thank you thank you!!!

  12. Vicky

    Thank you for sharing your recipe, it sounds like tasty cookies. Something I will look forward baking with my two little ones. I am sure we will enjoy them when they are done.

    I saw that you are using flax seeds, healthy and yummy.



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