Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies

apple cinnamon oatmeal cookies with maple icing on a baking sheet

It was one of those chilly and rainy weekends that you actually appreciate. Normally I’d let gray weather rain on my parade (literally), but I soaked it all in. Also quite literally! It was nothing but smiles the past few days because it finally feels and looks like fall outside. And even a little rain won’t take that away.

My parents came to visit, I did some recipe testing, caught up with a few friends, pumpkin crumb cake muffins made an appearance, and packed for my trip this week. Guess what? I’m on my way to Phoenix right now! (Where I hear it totally does not feel like east coast fall.) I’ll be there for a couple business meetings and I’ll also be shooting some promo video material for the big paperback release. It will be a busy week, but I’m thrilled to be on my way. Never been! Any must sees or must eats? Emphasis on that last one. Tell me tell me tell me!

apple cinnamon oatmeal cookies with maple icing on a baking sheet

Here’s one of the recipes I played around with before I left. I know I’m not alone when I say I looooooove apple desserts. Here’s hoping you use that many o’s as well. Apple is very much overshadowed by pumpkin this time of year. I understand I’m completely guilty of this as I throw pumpkin muffins and cookies at you all day long, but ya know what? There’s room for everyone at the fall table. And I’m sorry for throwing muffins and cookies at you.

These apple cinnamon oatmeal cookies have climbed to the tippy top of my favorite cookie list. How unpredictable. I got this recipe idea from all of you. Over the past few weeks, I’ve gotten several requests for chewy oatmeal cookies packed with chunks of real apples and apple spice flavor. (YUM!) But to be honest– I’ve never had luck with them. My apple oatmeal cookies always turn out a little dry and cakey, though the flavor usually seems to be on point. And looking back, I know now that it was mostly a ratio thing; not enough oats, too much flour and applesauce etc.

So I revisited things and here’s what to love about today’s cookies:

  • Chewy with crisp edges
  • Soft and moist centers
  • Flavorful, spiced, and chunky
  • Pretty. Look at that gorgeous maple icing. ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

overhead image of dry ingredients in a glass bowl and wet ingredients in a glass bowl with a whisk

Some science for you! (Sorry, it’s Monday)

These are quick and easy. The first ingredient is melted butter, not too hot and not too cool. Too hot and the dough and cookies will become an oily puddle (albeit delicious) mess. Too cool and your cookies will taste a little too cakey. So what I always do is melt the butter and set it aside for 10 minutes as I prep the rest of the ingredients. It’s still warm, but not piping hot.

Next = sugars. I like to use dark brown sugar in recipes this time of year though light or dark are equally delish. You’ll scarf them down no matter which you use! For extra apple flavor, whisk in some applesauce. I recommend using unsweetened applesauce. I find the apple flavor is much more pronounced when there isn’t a bunch of added sugar in its way.

Applesauce can usually make cookies taste a little rubbery, but the melted butter will keep the chewy texture in check.

apple cinnamon oatmeal cookie batter in a glass bowl

You can leave out the walnuts if they’re not your thing! ↑ ↑

apple cinnamon oatmeal cookies on a silpat baking mat on a baking sheet before baking

For the apple chunks, make sure they’re pretty small. There’s only 1/2 cup of apple chunks– you can probably get away with 2/3 cup, but any more than that will lend too much moisture. Between those and the applesauce, there’s still plenty of flavor. We’ll also add lots of cinnamon and apple pie spice, if you have it. If you don’t have any, just use a little extra cinnamon.

More oats than flour = chewier cookie. You’ll need 2 cups of whole oats and only 1 cup of flour. The oats will soak up a lot of the moisture if you let the cookie dough sit for too long. This isn’t a bad thing, but I find the centers are much softer. You’ll get a better cookie if you bake them right away (impatience wins today). Though I will say the cookies have 50x more flavor the next day if you can actually wait!!

apple cinnamon oatmeal cookies on a baking sheet

I wasn’t going to top these with any sort of glaze or icing, but then I remembered HELLO maple icing and the rest was history.

apple cinnamon oatmeal cookies with maple icing on a baking sheet

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apple cinnamon oatmeal cookies with maple icing on a baking sheet

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 20 cookies
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


These soft and chewy apple cinnamon oatmeal cookies have crisp edges and tons of flavor!


  • 2 cups (170g) old-fashioned whole rolled oats
  • 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice (or an extra tsp cinnamon)
  • 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1/2 cup (90g) unsweetened applesauce*
  • 3/4 cup (150g) packed dark or light brown sugar (I prefer dark here)
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup finely diced apple (about 1/2 of a large apple)
  • optional: 1/2 cup (63g) chopped walnuts

Maple Icing

  • 1 and 1/2 cups (180gconfectioners’ sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) milk


  1. Some readers have found that these cookies spread a little too much without chilling the cookie dough first– I haven’t run into that problem, but feel free to chill this cookie dough for 1-2 hours after step 4–before rolling and baking. Enjoy!
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.) Set aside.
  3. Whisk the oats, flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and apple pie spice (if using) together in a large bowl.
  4. Whisk the butter, applesauce, brown sugar, and white sugar together until combined. Then whisk in the egg and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. Fold in the apples and walnuts. The cookie dough will be thick and sticky.
  5. Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop cookie dough into balls (about 2 Tbsp of dough each) and place 3 inches apart on the cookie sheet. Slightly flatten the balls out– see picture above– as the cookies won’t spread much unless you help out first!
  6. Bake for 14-15 minutes or until lightly browned and set on the edges. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes on the cookie sheet before icing.
  7. Make the icing: Whisk all of the ingredients together and drizzle over cookies. You may have a little icing leftover. Drizzle more on each… it’s so good!


  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Iced cookies stay fresh covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Their flavor is even better on day 2! You can make the cookie dough and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Allow to come to room temperature then continue with step 5. Baked cookies freeze well for up to 3 months. Unbaked cookie dough balls freeze well for up to 3 months. Bake frozen cookie dough balls for an extra minute, no need to thaw. Click here for my tips and tricks on freezing cookie dough.
  2. Special Tools: Glass Mixing Bowls |Apple Peeler | Measuring Cups | Cookie Scoop | Silpat Baking Mat | Baking Sheet
  3. Applesauce: Make sure you are using a thick applesauce. Anything too liquid-y could cause excess spreading.

Keywords: apple cinnamon cookies, apple cinnamon oatmeal cookies


  1. heather (delicious not gorgeous) says:

    for some reason, i always forget about putting apples in cookies! but i love how they bake into sweet/tart juicy pockets of deliciousness, so i’ll have to try these out soon (:

  2. Is there any substitute for apple sauce?

    1. A little more melted butter would work!

  3. Oh my gosh, these look soooooooooooooooooooooo good! I’d probably do butterscotch chips instead of walnuts, but either way, I want to eat them all 😉 I’m glad you get a short break from east-coast fall…you will love it all the more when you get back! Enjoy Phoenix 🙂

    1. Laura ~ Raise Your Garden says:

      I love the idea of butterscotch chips and walnuts! Although I can’t say just how many of these cookies would make it out of the oven. The batter looks delightful. And when you’re baking with 2 little girls and a husband standing closely by observing and waiting for his share, it gets tricky! 

    2. Try caramel baking bits


  4. Looks so good ,thank you for sharing 
    I cant find apple sauce where i’m from what can i use instead,or how can i make it ? 
    Also does the recipe work if i use oat flakes or will that result in a soggy cookie?

    1. Oat flakes should be just fine– for the applesauce, you can make your own (like here) 🙂

      1. thank you soo much

  5. Marina @ A Dancer's Live-It says:

    I always love when include the science behind the recipes, it’s so cool to think about! Apple cinnamon oatmeal just sounds like the BEST fall day ever. MUST MAKE! 🙂

  6. You should go to Karl’s bakery, everything there is amazing, especially the apple fritters but you have to get there early or they may be sold out.

    You should eat at Frank & Alberts at the Biltmore Hotel – you can’t go wrong with anything there.

    For Mexican food you should try Aunt Chilada’s. We ate there twice when we were there in February!

    An amazing tour is the Frank Lloyd Wright school tour just outside of downtown area. Very educational and fascinating to see the architectural style.

    1. Thank you so much for all the recommendations! Those apple fritters are now at the top of my list this week.

  7. Dawn - Girl Heart Food says:

    These are screaming fall and I love it! Love teh combination of apples and cinnamon and great idea with the apple sauce! I’ve never used apple sauce in cookies before and these look like the best place to start 😉 Baker’s dozen, please!

  8. You should check out Pizzeria Bianco in Phx. Best pizza in the city!

    I have been devouring your pumpkin cookies, and I have plans to bake your pumpkin muffins and your apple cider donut holes this week 🙂 Will have to add these to the list!

    1. So much goodness in your kitchen. Thanks for the pizza rec!

  9. I have made one apple dessert this fall, but I am wholly guilty of ignoring apples in favour of pumpkin muffins and desserts…I even have an apple tree throwing apples at me left and right and still, pumpkin reigns supreme over here. That said I love apple desserts! I have so many fresh apples around I need to start using them up; I was planning on making another batch of apple crumb muffins and an apple pie sometime soon, but I’ll throw these in here too! Without the icing, they’re kind of healthy right? Healthy enough for breakfast? I mean there’s apple chunks, applesauce, and a whole lot of oats!? Kidding kidding, I won’t eat them for breakfast probably 😉



  10. My husband goes to Phx often for business. He is always raving about churn and sweet republic, two ice cream shops that he swears offer the best ice cream ever, and we live in la so that is saying something. 

    1. Now I’ll definitely have to visit one of them.

  11. Ironic that I was just combing your website yesterday for an oatmeal cookie yesterday! It’s one of my husband’s favorite cookies and I wanted to surprise him, so this recipe has my thinking–maybe I ought to get him to try a little something new!

    1. I think I said “yesterday” a little too much–oops!

      1. Yes! Give these a try. I really love their texture.

  12. Every fall I use Quaker Oats cookie recipe, dice a small tart apple, then blot it with a paper towel, and add caramel baking bits, Voila! Caramel apple oatmeal cookies

    1. NICE. That sounds so so good.

  13. Shelby @ Go Eat and Repeat says:

    What scrumptious little cookies! I’ve never been to Arizona so I look forward to hearing how it is. And totally have your priorities in line needing good food places to try 😉

  14. These cookies look totally yummy, I can’t wait to try them 🙂

    I found a recipe online a few years ago for pumpkin apple muffins, so two fall favorites in one recipe. Gotta love that!

    1. Now THAT sounds like a delicious muffin. Would love to try something like it.

  15. Andrea @ Cooking with a Wallflower says:

    Oh my gosh! These cookies look so delicious! I’ll have to make some to bring to work with me!

  16. The Barrio Queen (for dinner), Pizzeria Bianco (for lunch) Snooze (for breakfast), and Dutch Bros Coffee is an absolute MUST! Enjoy Phoenix!

    1. I have to go to Snooze because it’s a restaurant called SNOOZE! I love it.

      1. You must go! They have OMG French toast on the menu–brioche bread with marscapone, vanilla creme, salted caramel, strawberries, and toasted coconut!!! OMG!! 

  17. These cookies look AMAZING, Sally! My favorite place to eat in Phoenix is Cornish Pasty Co. If you end up heading down to Tucson (which you definitely should!), Tucson Tamale Company is delicious (pro tip: get the Tucson Wisconsin tamale will change your life).

    1. Awesome tip, Kristen thank you!

  18. Welcome to the desert 🙂 Cibo is close to downtown Phoenix. Adorable 1913 bungalow converted to a restaurant. Great food and ambiance! Enjoy your trip!

    1. Thank you for the suggestion!

  19. This would be the BOMB with salted caramel sauce drizzled on top! The possibilities are endless! 😀

    1. YESSSS!!!!!! Why didn’t I think of that? We all have to try it.

  20. These look so amazing! Can’t wait to try them out! 

  21. Patricia @Sweet and Strong says:

    We definitely can’t forget about apples this Fall! These look delicious and I love that you post all the science about the ingredients and baking. I have learned so much from reading your blog. How many times do you typically make a recipe before you have it just right?

    1. Typically 3. Though it’s taken me upwards of 11-12 times! I usually give up by then though haha.

  22. Sally, these are getting made STAT. They look wonderful! I do have one question, though: I notice that I find cookies don’t need the sugar amounts listed to be to my taste – I generally use only half, if not less. Do you have any tips for maintaining overall texture with less sugar? Does reducing sugar impact the cookie chemistry in any significant way? (Did I just say “cookie chemistry”?

    1. Oops, part of my post got cut off. Thanks so much for any thoughts and enjoy your travels! 🙂

    2. Hahaha yes, you said cookie chemistry. And I sort of love it. Here’s what I think. You can successfully reduce the sugar in cookie recipes, though if you go too far you can absolutely change the entire texture (taste too, of course) of the finished product. I usually start small. Maybe reduce 1/4 cup, then 1/2 cup or more depending on how much sugar is actually in the recipe. Usually you can add a little more butter, vanilla etc to make up for lack of flavor. Or use less flour if the cookies taste a little too dry. It’s usually just trial and error. I hope this helps a little!

      1. Emilia Galan says:

         Thanks so much for taking the time to respond! This is very helpful and good to know. I was thinking along the same lines, and am entirely on board with adding butter.

  23. These cookies look absolutely scrumptious!! I made your spice cake over the weekend and it was delicious beyond words…especially with all that cream cheese icing. Now I’m tossing up between these cookies and your spiced doughnuts for this weekends baking…or maybe I will just have to bake both. Thanks for the great recipes Sally 😉

    1. These cookies actually remind me a lot of that spice cake! A lot of the same lovely fall flavors.

  24. Demeter | Beaming Baker says:

    “gray weather rain on my parade (literally)” Yep, I totally snorted at this. Because… #ImClassy. How thrilling that you’re going to Phoenix! For the first time ever, I do not have any suggestions. Lol. Why are you visiting one of the cities I’ve never lived in?? Haha. You totally nailed these cookies! That maple icing is all that I’ll be thinking about for… the rest of fall. 😉 Thanks for sharpening our brains with science this fine Monday. Have a safe and fun trip, Sally! 🙂

    1. I feel like everything is better with maple icing!

  25. OMG THANK YOU for posting this!!! I have been dreaming of such a cookie. And now it’s a real thing. And I have all of the ingredients on hand! YES!

    1. YES!! Hope you love them.

  26. I have lived in Phoenix for 10 years off and on and love Pizzeria Bianco or Pomo for pizza, Blanco for upscale Mexican, Hopdoddy for burgers, Sweet Republic for ice cream, Tom Thumb for BBQ, and for fancier dinners, I love Virtu, FnB, The Henry, Local Bistro, The Gladly, Sassi, Atlas Bistro, Little Cleo’s Seafood Legend, and my new favorite is Ocotillo. Have fun! We love it here…

    1. SO MANY PLACES!!! Thank you for all the suggestions!

  27. Laura @ The Bluenose Baker says:

    These look great! I went on an apple oatmeal cookie quest last fall and my husband’s co-workers ate a lot of reject cookies! I had to cook the apples down to prevent gooey spreading messes. I’m excited to try your version – I don’t love pumpkin so fall is all about apples here!

    1. What a great idea to cook the apples down first. I bet the apple flavor is even more potent.

  28. I’m usually not a HUGE fan of cinnamon / apple desserts, BUT I have made your apple pie with caramel sauce before and I really fell in love. My whole family did too. So I’m making these and I’m sure I will loove them (with slightly less o’s) x

    1. Hahaha it’s ok with slightly less o’s 😉 enjoy!!

  29. Catherine Smith says:

    Can this recipe be doubled? I’ll totally need more than 20! These sound like my new favorites along with the Biscotti Chocolate Chip ones!! 🙂 Have fun in Phoenix!

    1. Yes doubling the recipe works!

  30. I just made these they taste amazing!!! They did spread quite a bit for me so next time I will make them a little smaller and possibly put the dough in the fridge for an hour. I am so happy for these I have been wanting to make apple oatmeal cookies and pumpkin crumbs muffins for a year now. I am so excited that you posted both of those recipes I can’t wait to make the pumpkin muffins right now!!! 

    1. You are right these are even better the next day!!! I am actually making another batch of these right now as they only lasted a few hours in my house!!! Oh man these are so good! These are my new favorite cookie for sure!!! 

    2. So exciting Lindsay! That’s what I would do to reduce the spread as well. Smaller cookies with a little chilling time.

      1. THank you for sharing this tasty cookie recipe. I tried what you mentioned about chilling the dough, and it helped, but my cookies are still spreading more than I would like. Any thoughts? I followed the recipe with zero substitutions, and baked them on a silicone cookie mat.

      2. Add another 1/4 cup of oats. That will help!

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