Oatmeal Cookies: still tasty, after all these years.


There’s nothing – NOTHING – like a warm cookie and a cold glass of milk.

Back in the day, this meant Mom’s homemade cookies: oatmeal, peanut butter, sugar, or chocolate chip – period.

Things like chai shortbread, lavender tuiles, and green tea macarons were not yet even a glimmer in a progressive baker’s eye.

And the milk back then? Regular full-fat milk. Not soy, almond, or rice; just plain cow.

So far as I remember, no one had ever heard of skim or 2% milk – let alone drunk it. In fact, if those milks were even available, I’d guess they were considered watered-down “fakes;” considered unsuitable for growing children in the nutritionally naive, happy age that was America in the ’50s.

Well, a lot has changed in 50 years. (If you’re a Boomer like me, just think of yourself in 1962; point taken!)

While Oreos, ‘Nilla Wafers, and Fig Newtons still occupy prime shelf space in the cookie aisle, other beloved cookies have sadly faded away. Golden Raisin Biscuits, for one. Fudgetowns. Zwieback.

And Hydrox, which disappeared in 1999, reappeared in 2008, then crumbled for good a year later. There are those who, to this day, miss this Oreo competitor terribly.

Thankfully, the homemade cookie landscape has seen trends come and go; but the classics, the favorites we grew up with, still shine brightly.

Chocolate chip cookies, for instance. Born in 1930 at the Toll House Inn in Whitman, MA, these cookies are still Top Dog in American home kitchens today.

And peanut butter cookies.

You’d think, with so many parents terrified of peanuts these days, that the popularity of this old chestnut (er, peanut), would have waned.

Well, not if the reception these cookies get here at King Arthur Flour is any indication: every time I make them, they disappear from the kitchen sampling area in about 2 minutes flat – not even a nutty crumb remains.

And then there are oatmeal cookies. How do you like ‘em? Soft and chewy? Crisp and crunchy? Somewhere in between?

Our Cookie Companion book includes an entire chapter on oatmeal cookies – 17 recipes, to be exact. Testament, indeed, to the many tasty variations this simple combination of flour, butter, sugar, and oats can take.

The following recipe, for our guaranteed Oatmeal Cookies, yields an Everyman oatmeal cookie: crunchy around the edges, softer in the center, and ready to be tweaked to taste.

Change the spices; add your favorite dried fruits, chips, or nuts. Bake longer for drier cookies, shorter for soft and moist. But however you choose to serve them –

Don’t forget the milk!

First, what’s the difference between quick-cooking rolled oats (l); old-fashioned rolled oats (r); and steel-cut or Irish oats (top)?

Just their cut. Rolled oats are oat kernels (berries) that’re rolled flat, then steamed and lightly toasted; in the case of quick-cooking oats, old-fashioned oats are chopped into finer pieces, to cook more quickly.

You can use rolled oats in any recipe calling for them; usually, if not specified, the recipe will have been made using old-fashioned rolled oats.

Steel-cut oats are oat kernels that are simply chopped into smaller pieces. In order to bake with them, they should be cooked first; they’re too hard to use as is. They do, however, make delicious breakfast cereal, oatmeal with more body than that made with rolled oats.

So, let’s bake cookies.

First, preheat your oven to 350°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets, light-colored preferred.

Place the following in a mixing bowl:

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cider or white vinegar

Beat until fairly smooth; a few tiny bits of butter may still show.

Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, then beat in 1 large egg.

Stir in 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 3/4 cup (3 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, and 1 1/2 cups rolled oats, either quick cooking or old-fashioned.

Add 1 cup golden raisins; or a combination of raisins and chopped walnuts and pecans, if desired.

Drop the dough in 1 1/4″ balls onto the prepared baking sheets; a tablespoon cookie scoop works well here.

Space the cookies 2″ apart; they’ll spread.

Bake the cookies for 12 to 16 minutes, reversing the pans halfway through (top rack to bottom, bottom to top). For softer cookies, bake the lesser amount of time; for crunchier, the longer amount.

At 12 minutes (on a darker colored pan; 13 to 14 minutes on a parchment-lined pan), a few of the cookies around the perimeter of the pan should just barely be showing a pale brown around their edges. At 14 to 16 minutes, they should be starting to color all over.

Remove the cookies from the oven, and let them cool right on the pan.

These cookies look a bit underdone, don’t they? That’s because I prefer softer oatmeal cookies. If you let them actually start to take on some significant color they’ll be hard, so watch closely as you get to the 12-minute mark, if you’re a soft cookie aficionado.

Get out the ice-cold milk. Imagine yourself back in third grade – before a mortgage, a job, and tax returns.

Bite into a warm cookie; follow up with a swallow of cold milk. Ahh…..

Read, bake, and review (please) our recipe for Oatmeal 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. sue

    With all the baking I do,my hubby and oldest son only like oatmeal cookies….PLAIN no nuts or raisins,chips etc. The only thing different is they have to have a little molasses.

    Molasses is traditional, Sue. I was browsing through old Maine recipes last night, and I swear, EVERYTHING had molasses, from cookies to pudding to stew. Oatmeal cookies are truly a long-time favorite – I’m glad they haven’t been eclipsed by the “new kids in town.” PJH

    1. Maryann

      If you would add molasses to this recipe. How much would you add? And would the recipe need any further modification?

    2. The Baker's Hotline

      I would suggest to replace 1-2 tablespoons of the brown sugar with molasses. Please keep in mind that this will also be adding some extra moisture to the dough. As such, you may need to add a few teaspoons of additional flour if the dough seems overly sticky. Jon@KAF

  2. mumpy

    and if someone (who shall remain married if he’s lucky) has eaten all the raisins, dried apple dices make an excellent substitute…and using boiled cider for the cider called for didn’t do any harm either….good oatmeal cookies!

    Dried cranberries or apricots, too; and chopped dates are my favorite. Mumpy, the boiled cider must make a wonderfully moist cookie, eh? PJH

  3. gaa

    PJ – I hit the big 5-0 this year so you and I can remember a lot of the same things form our earlier days. Hydrox cookies were the staple in our house growing up. Now that I am a mature baker, my house does not see much in the way of store bought cookies anymore. Cookies, muffins, anything whole grain, which of course includes oatmeal cookies, that I bake myself are almost always available in my kitchen. I just recently purchased the Cookie Companion and I simply marvelled at the number of different recipes for oatmeal cookies. My husband and I like the classic oatmeal raisin best but it good to have variety. BTW, The Cookie Companion is an outstanding book. Every recipe I have tried has turned out perfectly and is delicious. MOst recently, I made the Cinnamon Raisin Cookies. WOW!! Chewy cinnamony raisin goodness! I have said it before and I’ll say it again, KAF and you folks in the test kitchen RULE!!!

  4. mkasten

    My husband says these are the best oatmeal cookie of all time and his most requested cookie. He prefers them in their oaty simplicity without spices, fruit, chips or nuts, though. Too bad since I love the extras. Great recipe!

  5. lorrainesfav

    My favorite KA cookie is the Oatmeal Jammie Peek a Boo. Is that the name? Maybe from the Baking Sheet? Great cookie! If the recipe isn’t on your site…you guys should really include it for everyone to enjoy.

    Must be in The Baking Sheet, Lorraine. I’ll ask Susan to get it onto our site – thanks for the tip! PJH

  6. joltster

    Does anyone remember Baronet cookies? Those were a favorite of mine when I was a kid :-)

    HA! “Vanilla Oreos,” huh? Check out this video – go to 7:00 for a great vintage add for Baronets… PJH

  7. DWgirl

    My mom LOVES oatmeal raisin cookies. I found a gift for mother’s day!!

    Hey, hope she loves them (almost) as much as she loves you! :) PJH

  8. talesbylky

    I second the comment about weighing everything! Even the butter. I subbed chocolate chips for raisins (didn’t have any on the shelves) and had to fight back the husband because he wanted to steal from the oven when I was doing the pan switch. They came out perfect! I shudder when I remember all my baking disaster jobs because I used too much flour by scooping. Thank you KAF for your education-style website!
    A part of King Arthur Flour’s mission is to inspire through education. We are pleased to see you enjoy our site! Elisabeth

  9. Lily

    My husband does not like shortening, I always use butter only in the cookie dough.
    But the thing is my cookie dough never spread, I always have to flatten it before I bake it… What am I doing wrong ?

    Might be too much flour in the dough, Lily; please see our tip on measuring flour. Also, if you’re using a high-protein flour (bread flour) instead of all-purpose, or bleached flour, both of those could lead to cookies that don’t spread. If you cut back on the sugar in the recipe – ditto. If none of these rings a bell, please call our bakers’ hotline, 802-649-3717; they can help talk you through this. Good luck – PJH

  10. Laura St. Blanc

    Can the dough for the cookies be baked in a pan to create bar cookies instead of dropped? If so, what size pan, temp and time?

    Never tried it, Laura, but I don’t know why not. I’d try 350°F for 25 minutes, then start checking for doneness. Good luck – PJH

  11. Miranda

    I’ve found you can substitute quick-cooking steel cut oats for rolled oats in a recipe with no problem, and I recommend it. You get a slightly chewier texture and “oatier” flavor. I get them at Trader Joe’s, but I’m pretty sure McCann’s and Bob’s Red Mill offer them.

    1. frenchp

      Ditto what Miranda said…I also got the oats at Trader Joe’s …the cookies were super and definitely I nice “oaty” flavor. I skipped the raisins and used chocolate chips and peanut butter chips.

  12. Joyce

    I had what is known as a widow-maker heart attack 7 years ago, so NO Trans. Fats and very little Sat. Fats…so I have had to learn to use applesauce in place of oils, etc. the cookies are not the same but for me it is healthier and keeps me from feeling “left out”….thanks for all the comments and sharing…i so enjoy reading it all.

  13. Michal

    Am I missing something? I see an egg in the pictures but not in the list of ingredients.
    If I need to add eggs, how many?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Sorry for the confusion! The step for adding the egg is a few sentences down from the list. You will need to mix in one egg. Jon@KAF

    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Just gives a tiny little boost to the baking soda, Eileen. The acid (vinegar) and base (baking soda) react and produce CO2 bubbles, which lighten the cookie’s texture a bit, making it crisp rather than hard. Good question! PJH

  14. Dana

    So…not gf, but I gave up wheat for Lent. What would be an acceptable substitute for the flour in this recipe?

    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Dana, you could try substituting ground oats, but I think the cookies would be VERY crumbly. You could also try white rye flour, but again, without gluten… they’d be crumbly. Or how about trying a no-flour oatmeal cookie recipe? Good luck – PJH

  15. Lynn Paul

    Try replacing about half of the oats with a slightly greater amount of coconut for a really chewy cookie treat! Mmmmmmmm

    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Yes, sure, Debbie – I understand some folks don’t like using shortening. The cookies’ texture will change (they’ll be lacking the crispness around the edge), but will definitely taste good. Enjoy – PJH

  16. Chuck

    Is there any possible way to eliminate the Brown Sugar and use Splenda only. Recently went Type 2 diabetic and hate to lose oatmeal cookies

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Sorry to say that we have little experience using sugar alternatives in our recipes. I would suggest to contact Splenda and see what their suggestion is. Jon@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      No problems at all, R. Parsons. Go ahead and make a double batch and watch the smiles spread. Happy baking! –Kye@KAF

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