Basic Whole Grain Cookies

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whole grain
Recipe photo
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: about 5 dozen small (2 1/4") cookies, with 2 cups of add-ins

Recipe photo

These cookies are a great way to convince yourself (and your family) that baking with whole grains can be a tasty experience. Wheat and oats combine to make a cookie that's indistinguishable from one made with white flour, except in color.

You have a couple of options for the oats used in this recipe. For a cookie with a craggy, oatmeal cookie-like appearance, use quick oats. For a smoother cookie, one that looks more chocolate chippy, grind the oats in a food processor, or substitute oat flour.

Basic Whole Grain Cookies

star rating (44) rate this recipe »
whole grain
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: about 5 dozen small (2 1/4") cookies, with 2 cups of add-ins
Published: 01/01/2010


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, light or dark, packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup King Arthur 100% White Whole Wheat Flour or Traditional Whole Wheat Flour
  • 3/4 cup quick rolled oats, ground in a food processor or blender if desired
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice, optional*
  • 2 cups chips, nuts, and/or dried fruit, optional
  • *Use the optional orange juice if you're adding chips, nuts, fruit, etc. Don't add the orange juice if you're not using any add-ins.

Tips from our bakers

  • Can you bake these cookies without refrigerating the dough first? Yes. If you're making cookies without add-ins, they'll spread to be very flat. Cookies with add-ins will spread quite flat, but still be acceptable.
  • What about using traditional (old-fashioned) rather than quick oats? Go for it; we haven't tried it, but assume the spread will be different. If all you have in the cupboard is old-fashioned rolled oats, give them a quick whirl in a food processor, so they're more like quick oats; or process till they're finely ground, for a smoother-looking cookie.
  • The nutritional information below is calculated using 1 cup of dried cranberries and 1 cup of chocolate chips, as shown in the recipe here.


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1) Beat together the butter, sugars, salt, baking soda, baking powder and vanilla till well combined.

2) Add the egg, beating till smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl, and beat again till smooth.

3) Add the flour and oats, beating to combine.

4) If you're making cookies using chips, nuts, etc., beat in the orange juice, then the add-ins.

5) If you're making plain cookies, without add-ins, omit the orange juice.

6) Cover the cookie dough, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled; at least several hours, or overnight.

7) When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.

8) Drop the cookies by the traditional teaspoonful (about 2 measuring teaspoons, about a 1" ball) onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 2" apart. A teaspoon cookie scoop works well here.

9) If the cookie dough has been refrigerated, bake the cookies for 13 to 14 minutes, until they're a very light golden brown, and a bit darker around the edges. For unrefrigerated dough, bake for about 11 minutes. For softer cookies, reduce the baking time by about 2 minutes.

10) Remove them from the oven, and cool right on the baking sheets.

Yield: about 5 dozen small cookies (with 2 cups add-ins).

Nutrition information

Serving Size: 10g Servings Per Batch: 70 Amount Per Serving: Calories: 44 Calories from Fat: 19 Total Fat: 2g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 3g Sodium: 25mg Total Carbohydrate: 6g Dietary Fiber: .5g Sugars: 5g Protein: 0g

* The nutrition information provided for this recipe is determined by the ESHA Genesis R&D software program. Substituting any ingredients may change the posted nutrition information.


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  • star rating 03/23/2015
  • skylarking from KAF Community
  • The best cookies ever! I make mine with coconut sugar. It's a 1:1 substitution, effortless, definitely give it a try! I also add chopped walnuts if they're around. Dark chocolate chips are a must. Definitely do not omit the orange juice! You can't taste it, but it leaves the cookies nice and moist. I've honestly made this recipe five times in the two weeks since I discovered it, and I'm sure I'll be making these cookies for the rest of my life. They're THAT amazing.
  • star rating 03/21/2015
  • Mary from Sterling, CT
  • These are just fabulous. Only change was to substitute vegetable oil for half the butter to reduce saturated fat. Add-ins were craisins and pecans. Cookie was light and crispy and tasted amazing.
  • 03/09/2015
  • alsh14139 from KAF Community
  • I made these yesterday for an event. For add-ins I used a combination of mini-chocolate chips and Raspberry Jammy bits. One guest announced they were the best cookies she had ever eaten. Very easy to make and always a hit!

    We are so glad to hear you loved these cookies! They are healthy and tasty! Raspberry and chocolate are classic pairings, especially when surrounded by a pillow of soft, whole grain cookie dough. Happy baking! --Kye@KAF

  • star rating 12/01/2014
  • Jan from Vernon Hills, IL
  • I replaced the sugar with stevia, and added only dark chocolate chips, sprinkled cinnamin on the top and .........OH MY GOD! the best!
  • star rating 08/09/2014
  • Amy from New Zealand
  • An ideal "food" cookie. My husband will devour large piles of cookies for a quick snack and doesn't like them too sweet or greasy (and I like to sneak as much nutrition into them as I can) but still wants a "cookie," not a "weird health food cookie," so these have become a staple. Packed with finely shredded dried coconut they take on an almost macaroon-like texture; very good. I typically use about 150 grams of coconut and another 100-ish grams of whatever other dried fruit I have on hand, plus a little chopped dark chocolate if I have it. Excellent.
  • star rating 05/07/2014
  • Jeanette from Fishers, In.
  • My family loved the cookies. They had no idea they were whole grain. I didn't have any orange juice so I substituted 1/4 teaspoon orange extract to give some orange flavor. It worked for us so I don't know if I will use the orange juice next time
  • star rating 03/23/2014
  • Audrey from VA
  • These cookies were delicious and satisfying! I think the whole wheat flour makes them a little more substantial. I was trying to find a use for some cashew meal so I used 1/2 cup KA whole wheat flour and 1/4 cup cashew meal, used regular oats, and added a scant half cup finely chopped pecans and 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips. The orange juice was surprising but whatever it did - these were so delicious! Since I didn't refrigerate the dough, they flattened and ran together but still were chewy, possibly because of the cashew meal.
  • star rating 02/12/2014
  • PJ from Buford , GA
  • Yummy! I made them today and followed the recipe exactly. They were very sweet. I would like to cut down the sugar but i like my cookies thin and crispy. I wonder how it would work to cook as a bar cookie instead of individual? What will happen if you leave out the OJ when you add nuts etc?
    Usually you can transform a cookie inbto a bar just by adding a few more tablespoons of fat and liquid. I would guess maybe 2 tablespoons of each butter and water. If you omit OJ, you will need to replace it with water. ~Amy
  • star rating 12/29/2013
  • Rachael from Ohio
  • The orange juice is really terrific in this recipe. I wanted a sweet breakfast item to offer the family during the holidays. This with coffee is just wonderful. I did ground toasted walnuts and raisins with no extra spice. Wow.
  • star rating 07/31/2013
  • Pat P. from Angels Camp, CA
  • These cookies have become a staple food in our house. I mainly use chocolate chips and walnuts, but have also used peanut butter chips with walnuts and cinnamon flav-r-bites with walnuts. These cookies are great with whatever in your pantry is nearing its expiration date.
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