Best Oatmeal Cookies

Hope you’re not the indecisive sort, ’cause this best oatmeal cookies recipe requires some big decisions, and we don’t just mean semisweet or milk chocolate chips. The recipe is actually a brilliant blueprint that entrusts you with some serious choices in terms of what type of fat, flour, flavoring, sugar, spice, and stir-ins you like. It’s sorta like those choose-your-own-adventure books we had ages ago as kids. (Remember those? Ah, good times…) Let the baking hijinks begin.–Renee Schettler Rossi

LC The Choice Is Yours Note

Researchers have recently begun to assert that too much choice can be a bad thing. That the human brain isn’t designed to be confronted with the countless options we’re confronted with on a daily basis in contemporary times. (You know the feeling of overwhelm we’re talking about—just think back to the last time you stood in front of a slew of olive oils, breakfast cereals, toothpastes, or the like.) But we assert that there’s also beauty and brilliance in choice. That it’s simply a matter of selectively allocating your attention to the really important decisions like, gosh, let’s see, what ingredients you want in your oatmeal cookies. So here is quite possibly the world’s best oatmeal cookie recipe, for the simple reason that it puts you in charge.

Best Oatmeal Cookies Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 30 M
  • 1 H
  • Servings vary

Ingredients

  • Fat (see below)
  • Sugar (see below)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Spice (see below)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • Flavoring (see below)
  • Flour (see below)
  • 3 cups regular or quick rolled oats
  • 1 cup Stir-Ins (see below; optional)

Directions

  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
  • 2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the Fat with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the Sugar, baking soda, Spice, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Beat in the eggs and Flavoring. Beat in as much of the Flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining Flour and the oats. If desired, add the Stir-Ins.
  • 3. Drop the dough by rounded teaspoons, tablespoons, 1/4 cups, or cookie scoops on unbuttered baking sheets, spacing them 2 to 3 inches apart.
  • 4. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes for rounded teaspoons or tablespoons or 12 to 14 minutes for 1/4-cup or cookie-scoop portions, or until cookies are lightly browned and centers appear set. Cool on cookie sheets for 2 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; cool to room temperature.

Make-it-Yours

  • Fat Choices (Choose Just One)
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature (Note: Cookies made with all butter tend to be thin and crisp.)
    1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature, and 1/2 cup shortening
    1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature, and 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • Sugar Choices (Choose Just One)
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
    1 cup packed light brown sugar and 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    1 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup molasses (add 1/4 cup additional all-purpose flour)
    1 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup honey
  • Spice Choices (Choose Just One)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
    1 teaspoon apple pie spice
    1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Flavoring Choices (Choose Just One)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
    1/2 teaspoon maple extract
  • Flour Choices (Choose Just One)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour blend
    3/4 cup all-purpose flour and 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
    1 cup all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup oat bran
    1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour and 1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
  • Stir-In Choices (Choose 1/2 to 1 cup any of the following)
  • Raisins or snipped dried apricots or dried red cherries or other mixed dried fruit
    Semisweet or milk chocolate, chips or chopped
    White chocolate, chips or chopped
    Butterscotch chips
    Peanut butter-flavor baking pieces
    Flaked coconut
    Chopped toasted pecans, walnuts, or other nuts
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:

Testers Choice

Testers Choice
Testers Choice
Larry Noak

Mar 21, 2014

I REALLY love the whole idea of using what you either like or have on hand to make these best oatmeal cookies. I chose to use butter and shortening, brown sugar and granulated sugar, apple pie spice, vanilla, and coconut. Using a 1/4-cup measuring cup, this recipe produced 18 HUGE firm cookies. BRILLIANT idea, BRILLIANT cookie!

Testers Choice
Joan Osborne

Mar 21, 2014

My family and co-workers loved my version of best oatmeal cookies. I can't wait to try this recipe with other options. I love that you can make these so many ways. If you enjoy oatmeal cookies like I do, then you'll have fun with this recipe. Here's how I made mine:

Fat: Butter and peanut butter
Sugar: Brown and granulated
Spice: Cinnamon
Flavoring: Coconut
Flour: All-purpose and whole wheat
Stir-ins: None
Measuring device: Cookie scoop (this yielded 38 cookies which were perfectly baked at 14 minutes).

Testers Choice
Shannon Parrish

Mar 21, 2014

In the world of baking, there are few recipes that offer freedom of choice when it comes to ingredients and their quantities. Baking is such a precise science, people often feel intimidated substituting one ingredient for another. This foolproof cookie recipe, however, instills confidence in the home baker, allowing him or her to feel like they’ve created something amazing to call their own.

Below are the choices that I made to customize my “Make-It-Mine” Best Oatmeal Cookies.

Fat: 1 stick unsalted butter and 1/2 cup peanut butter
Sugar: 1 cup packed brown sugar and 1/2 cup granulated sugar
Spice: 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Flavoring: 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Flour: 3/4 cup all-purpose flour and 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
Stir-In: Chopped toasted pecans
Yield: I used a 1/2-inch scoop and the recipe made 34 cookies

These cookies were unbelievable, and they barely made it a day past the day they were baked! The texture was to die for—crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. I loved them! You can clearly identify the peanut butter in the cookies, though it’s not the predominant flavor and it definitely doesn’t overpower the cookie. The oatmeal offers a chewy bite that is pure heaven and the flavors of the oatmeal and peanut butter balance each other perfectly. I’m looking forward to playing with this recipe again and again and customizing it differently each time. I might however, find it hard to stray from the amazing combination that I created.

Testers Choice
Susan Bingaman

Mar 21, 2014

This recipe for best oatmeal cookies is the Choose-Your-Own Adventure books of the cookie world—except you’ll end up with a delicious cookie each time instead of an abrupt ending forcing you to backtrack to get the ending you really wanted. I went simple with my first go-round of this recipe. I used butter and shortening, brown sugar and granulated sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour, and skipped the stir-in (I couldn’t decide between walnuts, chocolate, or coconut). I was feeling rather grandiose, so I used my big 3-tablespoon cookie scoop, resulting in 22 huge cookies. Using a scoop that big, I should have put only 9 cookies on each baking sheet instead of 12, so they ran together just a bit. Baking time was closer to 16 or 17 minutes with cookies that big. To me, oatmeal cookies should be big, chewy, and not too sweet, and these are perfect! And what’s even better is that I can make choices based on my “needs” and what’s in my pantry. I predict a monster-type cookie in my future!

Testers Choice
Natalie Reebel

Mar 21, 2014

There is nothing better than a recipe that allows me to use what I already have in my pantry. After searching the cupboards, I found butter, maple extract, brown and granulated sugars, unbleached flour, and chocolate chips. I used a medium-sized cookie scoop (about 2 tablespoons per scoop.) Choosing my own cookie scoop size did require I watch the baking time. This scoop size took 12 minutes to bake a delightful, golden-brown oatmeal cookie. The yield for this size cookie scoop was 38 cookies.

Testers Choice
Sandy Hill

Mar 21, 2014

These were fun to assemble and tasted delicious--they are indeed the best oatmeal cookies. I chose butter and shortening; brown sugar and white sugar; cinnamon; vanilla; all-purpose flour; and a mixture of chocolate chips and coconut. I also used regular rolled oats, because we love that nuttiness in cookies. Mine spread out some when baked because of the butter. I made them in 1-tablespoon sizes that yielded 42 to 44 and were baked 10 to 12 minutes. The cookies were delightfully chewy and crispy at the same time. I baked 1 sheet of cookies on an unbuttered baking sheet and another on parchment paper. The batch on parchment came off so much easier and none of the cookies broke when removed. I would use parchment paper in the future. The recipe for these quick and simple cookies will stay close at hand for future batches! I think the grandchildren will enjoy making their own choices for their "personalized oatmeal cookies."

Testers Choice
Megan M.

Mar 21, 2014

These best oatmeal cookies were fun to make. I chose the peanut butter/butter option for the fat, molasses and granulated sugar option, the whole wheat and all-purpose flour, cinnamon, vanilla, and some chocolate chips. My testing friends thought the cookies were delicious. The molasses did overpower the peanut butter taste and the cinnamon was more of a scent than a distinguishable taste. I ended up using a small cookie scoop, about a teaspoon and a half in size and ended up with 59 cookies. I did eat some of the batter so the recipe would have yielded at least one or two more cookies. I needed to press the cookies down a bit as they didn't spread--possibly because I used homemade peanut butter or maybe because the cookies didn't need the additional 1/4 cup flour specified in the sugar/molasses combo. I think that it would be fun to try different combinations (and maybe even use some that aren't listed...such as coconut oil, candied ginger, or whatever strikes your fancy and is in the pantry at a given time).

Testers Choice
Victoria Filippi

Mar 21, 2014

For me, this merits a Testers Choice for the simple reason that three members of my family, all at different times, took a bite of a cookie and said, "These cookies are so-o-o-o darn good. You need to make them more often!" I found it enjoyable to customize the cookies to my taste and to my family's taste. I chose to use all butter for my fat portion because, for me, there's nothing better than the flavor of butter. I used 1 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup granulated, which I guess is pretty standard for most cookies. For spice, I used Vietnamese cinnamon, but added a little pumpkin pie spice. I used vanilla extract. And for flour, I chose 1 cup AP and 1/2 cup oat bran. The Stir-ins I chose to use are mixed dried fruit—some currants, chopped dates, and dried cranberries, but not too much, maybe 1/2 to 3/4 cup total. I used a cookie scoop to make my cookies and the recipe yielded 3 dozen. (Of course, there was a little dough tasting going on, so I suppose I could have had a couple more.)

Testers Choice
Kelley B.

Mar 21, 2014

Oatmeal cookies happen to be my most favorite cookie ever. I love the texture, the raisins, the spices. I went through the lists and chose my ultimate cookie—butter, 2:1 brown: white sugar, allspice, coconut flavoring and all-purpose flour. I must say that the end result was pretty darn good. I used the small squeeze scoop (approximately 1 tablespoon) and baked the cookies for 10 full minutes. They were still shiny at 9 minutes and not cooked enough, even for me (I tend to underbake items for added moistness). The yield was 69 cookies. They were chewy goodness, even when cooled. I tried one fresh out of the oven, slightly warm and then again when completely cooled and was very pleased. Next time, I want to try pumpkin pie or apple pie spice, as I usually put cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg in my old recipe. They will make these wonderful cookies absolutely awesome.

Testers Choice
Trudy Ngo-Brown

Mar 21, 2014

What I like most about this best oatmeal cookies recipe are the many easy substitution options it provides. Based on what I had in the pantry, I "made it mine" with butter and shortening, brown sugar and white sugar, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla extract, and butterscotch chips. I used a tablespoon cookie scoop and baked them for 9 minutes. The recipe made 50 cookies. The first batch went in the oven right after mixing, and they spread a LOT, resulting in a thin, slightly chewy cookie. I decided to put the dough in the fridge for a few hours, and while it did help a little, the dough still spread quite a bit. Although I usually prefer a thicker cookie, these managed to find a way to disappear in our house!

Testers Choice
Eydie Desser

Mar 21, 2014

This recipe does turn out the best oatmeal cookies. How fun it is to follow a recipe—but not! Freedom, at last. It's educational as well. We were given options for fat, sugar, spices and stir-ins. I would've liked even more options and will venture back into the kitchen to try a few other ideas. But for our purposes with this particular recipe, I chose 2 sticks of butter, softened to 65 to 67 degrees, 1 cup dark brown sugar and 1/2 cup white sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, flour, 3/4 cup whole wheat flour and 3/4 cup AP unbleached flour (Gold Medal brand), 1 cup toasted chopped pecans, and, of course, the 3 cups oatmeal. I used a rounded tablespoon for the size of the cookies (about 1 ounce each), and it yielded 42 cookies. The cookies took 11 minutes to bake, and I turned the trays around and switched positions after 6 minutes. I left them on the tray for 2 minutes, as suggested by the recipe, then transferred the quite soft cookies to the cooling rack. They never crisped. FYI, if I had melted the butter, which would've evaporated some of the water from the butter, then the cookies would have been crisp. Leaving the cookies on the warm cookie tray for a couple of minutes tends to make them softer as well. They were deliciously chewy and flavorful. I took the cookies to the Lakers game (I was in the chairman's room, which is the pre-game area for VIPs), and I gave a bunch to the staff that works in our apartment building. Everyone rated the cookies 8+. And when I asked what would make these cookies a 10, the answers were all over the place: "oatmeal cookies need raisins"; "chocolate"; "crispier"; "sweeter"; "more oatmeal!". The next time I make these, I'm going to try 1/2 butter with 1/2 coconut oil, which may make it crisper but keep them chewy. I'll also add chopped dried apricots and coconut flakes to make them sweeter. And then the next time, I'll change it all up again. You just can't go wrong whichever way you want to make these. What a great recipe to make with kids. And what a delicious way to experiment with different ingredients to see how they work in a recipe and the varying results you will get. Make this recipe and you'll become a better, more experienced cook!

Testers Choice
Michelle P.

Mar 21, 2014

I made these oatmeal cookies because cookies are always a hit in my house and I liked the pick-your-options style of the recipe. I used the mixture of butter and peanut butter (all natural, nothing but ground peanuts), mix of white and brown sugar, cinnamon, flour, and vanilla. For the mix-in I used slightly over 1 cup both white and mini semi-sweet chocolate chips. I couldn't pick just one... The recipe came together easily. I used my stand mixer for all parts through the mix-ins and didn't find any problems with that. I used a cookie scoop, approximately 1 rounded tablespoon in size. I got 44 cookies out of the recipe. Probably would have gotten 46 if the dough hadn't tasted so good. That's one of the best parts of making cookies, though! Some of the combinations sounded a little strange to me. I would have tried some of those different flavorings, but I did not have them on hand. I liked this recipe for making do with what you have on hand. The cinnamon and peanut butter I used was an interesting yet tasty combo. Overall, I had no issues with the recipe and would make it again!


Comments
Comments
  1. Eydie, thank you for mentioning adding 3 cups oatmeal to the recipe. I could not find any oatmeal in the original recipe. My kids and grandkids have been asking me to make them oatmeal cookies with raisons which I ordered from a grape and date farm in Calif. I have 2 1/2 pounds of Flame Raisons to use up…now I have the perfect venue. Thank you for all your suggestions. Stu B.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Hey Stu, what lucky grandkids! So pleased to hear that you’ll be trying this recipe. I do wish to point out, though, that the recipe does indeed call for oatmeal, both in the ingredient list and the instructions. Can’t wait to hear what your grandchildren think…

  2. Martha in KS says:

    Oatmeal – it isn’t just for breakfast anymore! These cookies are like ordering Chinese food – one from column A, one from column B… Will make them soon. Thanks Renee!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Hah. Love it, Martha. Looking forward to hearing what combination of columns you bake up…

  3. Sheila says:

    These cookies look yummy. Going to make a batch just as soon as I get extra time.

  4. Ruthie Houghton says:

    I wonder if you have done any gluten free baking? I was hoping that a gluten free choice would be included.

  5. Thomas Marzahl says:

    I’m going to try my hand at these with the PB/butter combo this afternoon, and some ww/white flour. However I would love to know if one can reduce the sugar – I have almost always cut sugar in American recipes since I find the sugar quantities to be too high. Tasting too MUCH “sweet” is – aside from the health implications – not something I really enjoy.

    I do know that reducing sugar too much changes the baking quality… and I do want to eat cookies, after all!

    • David Leite David Leite says:

      Thomas, I’ve reduced sugar in recipes before and have been successful. And I’ve always been unsuccessful. We didn’t test it with less sugar, so I can’t guarantee they’ll come out correctly. My guess–and it’s only a guess–is you can reduce the sugar by about 1/4 and you should be fine. But I’m not promising anything!! If you do make it with less sugar, please let me know how it turns out.

  6. Anne S says:

    Oatmeal cookies, my favorites! Coconut, raisins, nuts. I’ve always know the possible combinations are endless. Now I just have to go make a batch or three. It is posts like this that have me wavering on deleting my email subscription to the beautifully photographed LC newsletters. You make me crave too many things.

  7. Thomas Marzahl says:

    First attempt at making these yielded a mixed result but I love the DAYWaT – do as you want to – approach with this recipe.

    I used the PB and butter/vanilla/allspice combo and whole grain oats… or actually something called vierkornflocken, which are a mix of rolled oats, wheat, barley and rye flakes, and I think they don’t abosrb enough of the fat to make a really chewy cookie. It could also be that I overbaked the cookies a little bit… next time I will err on the side of very light brown.

    I also have to confess having reduced the sugar by a quarter cup… as mentioned in an earlier but not yet seen post.

    The cookies are have a really well rounded flavor but something seems amiss in the texture. They didn’t spread at all (I could have baked far more of them on one cookie sheet), and are a bit too dense for my taste.

    I’ll report back with future attempts. And two and a half year old Julian very much enjoyed hanging out on our step ladder helping with the dough!

    • David Leite David Leite says:

      Thomas, I think part of the problem is you change too many things at once. For example by reducing the sugar you not only affect texture and flavor, but spread. Sugar contributes to a cookie spreading. The vierkornflocken sounds like it’s pretty fiber-packed, and that can affect texture and spread.

      My suggestion is next time change just one thing. (It’s the method we use when developing a recipe.) Evaulate it and then change something else. Eventually you’ll find what kind of oatmeal cookies you like the most!

      But the very best thing about the recipe is Julian liked to help! It is a marvelous gift to teach a child to cook.

  8. Thomas Marzahl says:

    Many thanks, David… I’ve been baking for about four decades now but I have never really looked into what makes baked goods do the things they do… why sugar is not just a sweetener, for instance. I kind of knew that but, well, only kind of.

    I am sure I will find a cookbook on my bookshelves about baking where some of these details are explained!

    And with that… back to the counter and the oven. Soon.

  9. Thomas Marzahl says:

    Sigh. Another book to add to my long list of cooking related reading I’ll get to in a few years… when the kids cross the 3 or 4-year old threshold.

  10. Rochelle Eissenstat says:

    Another enthusiastic report for this DIY recipe. My version was 1/2 c. no trans fat margarine & 1/2 cup coconut oil for the fat, 1 c. white flour & 1/2 c. whole wheat flour and an extra 1/4 c. toasted wheat germ for the flour component, 1 t. vanilla, 1 c. organic cane sugar plus 1/4 cup dark brown sugar and 1/4 c. light molasses for the sugars. 1 cup chocolate chips. I let the dough rest for 2 hours. The results were chewy and delicious! Thanks!

    • Rochelle Eissenstat says:

      Forgot to say that of course I used 2 eggs. I added 1 teaspoon each of salt & baking soda, 3 cups quick cooking oatmeal. I made the cookies with 1 heaping tablespoon dough each.

    • David Leite David Leite says:

      Sounds excellent, Rochelle. So glad you like the recipe.

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