Quite possibly the world’s best oatmeal cookies. And we say that for the simple reason that it puts you in charge. And we don’t mean simply choosing between raisins or 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, yes, stir-ins you like. It’s sorta like those Choose Your Own Adventure books we had ages ago as kids. (Remember those?!) Let the cookie hijinks begin. We hope you’re not the indecisive sort.

–David Leite

Can I use regular rolled oats instead of quick oats in these oatmeal cookies?

Yes. In this instance, either will work fine. The texture will be slightly different but overall everything else remains the same. If you want, if using rolled oats in place of quick oats in this or most recipes, you can pulse them a few times in a food processor to more closely mimic the texture.

Twelve best oatmeal cookies, each with varied fillings

Our Best Oatmeal Cookies

5 / 10 votes
Our best oatmeal cookies are easy and healthy and exactly what you want, whether chewy or crispy, and made with whichever ingredients you want to include, sorta like a Choose Your Own Adventure book. We’re talking way beyond raisins, chocolate chips, and peanut butter.
David Leite
Servings36 cookies
Calories125 kcal
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time1 hour


  • Decision-making prowess


  • 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 rolled oats or quick rolled oats
  • 1 cup Stir-Ins, (see below; optional)


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grab a couple baking sheets.
  • In a large bowl, beat the Fat with a stand mixer or a handheld 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 every once in a while. 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. Stir in your Stir-Ins, if desired.
  • Drop the dough by rounded teaspoons, tablespoons, or 1/4-cup measures on baking sheets, spacing them 2 to 3 inches apart.
  • 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 the cookies are lightly browned and the centers appear set. Cool on the baking sheets for 2 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature.



Fat Choices (Choose Just One)
2 sticks (8 ounces | 227 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature (Note: Cookies made with all butter tend to be thin and crisp.)
1 stick (4 ounces | 113 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature, and 1/2 cup (92 g) shortening
1 stick (4 ounces | 113 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature, and 1/2 cup peanut butter

Sugar Choices (Choose Just One)
1 1/2 cups (320 g) packed light brown sugar
1 cup (213 g) packed light brown sugar and 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
1 cup granulated sugar (100 g) and 1/2 cup molasses (add 1/4 cup additional all-purpose flour)
1 cup granulated sugar (100 g) and 1/2 cup (170 g) 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 (200 g) all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour blend
3/4 cup (100 g) all-purpose flour and 3/4 cup (98 g) whole-wheat flour
1 cup (135 g) all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup oat bran
1 1/4 cups (170 g) 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
Better Homes & Gardens Baking Techniques

Adapted From

Better Homes and Gardens Baking

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 125 kcalCarbohydrates: 17 gProtein: 2 gFat: 6 gSaturated Fat: 3 gMonounsaturated Fat: 2 gTrans Fat: 0.2 gCholesterol: 24 mgSodium: 108 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 8 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2013 Better Homes and Gardens. Photo © 2013 BH&G Photography. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

I really love the idea of using what you either like or have on hand to make these 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 cookies. Brilliant idea, best cookie!

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 that people often feel intimidated substituting one ingredient for another. This foolproof recipe, however, instills confidence in home bakers, allowing them 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’s 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.

My family and co-workers loved my version of these 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 that were perfectly baked at 14 minutes.)

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 for 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’ve 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 were 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!

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 delightful, golden-brown oatmeal cookies. The yield for this size cookie scoop was 38 cookies.

These cookies 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 cookies and baked in 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 will 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.”

These cookies were fun to make. I chose the peanut butter/butter option for the fat, molasses and granulated sugar, 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 flavor, and the cinnamon was more of a scent than a distinguishable taste. I ended up using a small 1 1/2-teaspoon cookie scoop and ended up with 59 cookies. I did eat some of the batter, so the recipe would’ve yielded at least 1 or 2 more cookies. I needed to press the cookies down a bit, as they didn’t spread, possibly because I used homemade peanut butter or 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 (maybe even some that aren’t listed, such as coconut oil, candied ginger, or whatever strikes your fancy and is in the pantry).

For me, this merits a Tester’s Choice for the simple reason that 3 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!” It was 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 and added a little pumpkin pie spice. I used vanilla extract. And for flour, I chose 1 cup all-purpose and 1/2 cup oat bran. The stir-ins I chose were mixed dried fruit—maybe 1/2 to 3/4 cup total of currants, chopped dates, and dried cranberries. 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’ve had a couple more.)

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 under-bake items for maximum 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.

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 found a way to disappear in our house!

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°F, 1 cup dark brown sugar and 1/2 cup white sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, flour, 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour and 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1 cup toasted chopped pecans, and, of course, the 3 cups oatmeal.

I used a rounded tablespoon (about 1 ounce each) to scoop the cookies, 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. If I had melted the butter, which would’ve evaporated some of the water from it, 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”; “crisper”; “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 the cookies crisper but keep them chewy. I’ll also add chopped dried apricots and coconut flakes to make them sweeter. And I’ll change it all up again the next time. You just can’t go wrong whichever way you want to make these. What a great recipe to make with kids and a delicious way to experiment with different ingredients. Make this recipe and you’ll become a better, more experienced cook!

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 white and mini semisweet chocolate chips. I couldn’t pick just one.

The recipe came together easily. I used my stand mixer for all the steps through the mix-ins and didn’t run into any problems. I used a cookie scoop, approximately 1 rounded tablespoon in size. I got 44 cookies out of the recipe. Probably would’ve 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’ve tried them anyway, but I didn’t have them 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!

Fun recipe with lots of choices! These are seriously addictive. I needed a quick and easy dessert recipe to bring to a party last night, and I broke the first-try-new-recipes-at-home rule. This recipe didn’t let me down.

My variation incorporated butter, gluten-free “Cup-4-Cup Wholesome”, brown sugar/turbinado reduced to 1 1/4 cups, cinnamon, vanilla, pecans, and toasted coconut.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

    1. Hey Thomas, not sure if they sell this in Berlin, but Shirley Corriher’s book Bakewise is quite good at explaining baking science.

  3. 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!

    1. 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.