Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies

These soft and chewy apple cinnamon oatmeal cookies are exploding with sweet apple flavor. Filled with cinnamon and apple spices, loaded with applesauce and apple chunks, and topped with a creamy maple frosting, they’re absolutely perfect for the fall season.

apple cinnamon oatmeal cookies with maple icing on a baking sheet

In the fall months, apple desserts are often overshadowed by pumpkin spice. While these soft pumpkin cookies always hit the spot, today’s apple cinnamon oatmeal cookies have climbed to the top of our fall cookie list.

Speaking of favorite desserts, have you tried salted caramel apple pie yet? It’s our #1.


Tell Me About these Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies

  • Texture: These apple cinnamon oatmeal cookies are soft and chewy with moist centers and crisp edges. They’re much softer and more airy than our oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and oatmeal raisin cookies. Each is loaded with apple chunks and topped with creamy frosting. So much texture in just 1 cookie!
  • Flavor: You’ll enjoy many fall flavors in each bite including apple spice, cinnamon, and maple. If you’re looking for a maple cookie to try, these maple brown sugar cookies are a popular choice.
  • Time: The apple oatmeal cookie dough comes together quickly. Some cookie doughs require chilling in the refrigerator and others don’t. This recipe doesn’t, but some readers have found chilling the dough helpful because it helps reduce over-spreading. (We don’t usually chill the dough, but see step 1 below.)

apple cinnamon oatmeal cookies with maple icing on a baking sheet

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies: What Works & What Doesn’t

Here are a few helpful tips my team & I learned while testing this recipe.

  1. Use this trick for melted butter. The first ingredient is melted butter, but the temperature is important. If it’s too hot, the dough will turn into an oily puddle. If it’s too cool, your cookies will taste a little too cakey. Here’s what we do: melt the butter and set it aside for 10 minutes while we prep the rest of the ingredients. It’s still warm, but not piping hot. Perfect!
  2. Bake right away. The oats will soak up a lot of the moisture if you let the cookie dough sit too long. This isn’t a bad thing, but we find the centers are much softer if the dough sits. You’ll get a better cookie if you bake them right away. Impatience finally pays off! 
  3. Next day flavor wins. Even though you want to bake the cookies right away, eating them is another story. Like banana bread, these cookies have even more flavor on the 2nd day… if you can wait that long to eat them!

apple cinnamon oatmeal cookie batter in a glass bowl

Choosing the Right Ingredients

Here are some of the key ingredients in apple cinnamon oatmeal cookies.

  • More oats than flour = chewier cookie. You need 2 cups of whole oats and 1 cup of flour to achieve the perfect chew.
  • Sugars. You’ll need both granulated sugar and brown sugar in this recipe. We prefer dark brown sugar this time of year, though light brown sugar works just as well.
  • Applesauce. While applesauce can make cookies taste a little rubbery, the melted butter keeps their chewy texture in check. We recommend using a thick unsweetened applesauce to prevent overspreading. Avoid thin and soupy applesauce.
  • Walnuts. We love adding walnuts to these apple cookies, but you can leave them out if desired. The nuts are completely optional.
  • Apple chunks. Make sure you cut the apple into very tiny chunks. We use only 1/2 cup for the cookies– you don’t want to use much more than that because the dough will be too moist.
  • Spices. We recommend using apple pie spice and cinnamon. If you don’t have access to store-bought apple pie spice, use a little extra cinnamon or you can make your own with cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg. If you have and love apple pie spice, you’ll enjoy it in our baked apple cider donuts too!

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

apple cinnamon oatmeal cookies on a baking sheet

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

Description

These soft and chewy apple cinnamon oatmeal cookies are exploding with sweet apple flavor. Filled with cinnamon and apple spices, loaded with applesauce and apple chunks, and topped with a creamy maple frosting, they’re absolutely perfect for the fall season.


Ingredients

  • 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)
  • 1/2 cup (100g) 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

Instructions

  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… because it’s just so good.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Iced cookies stay fresh covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. The 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. Applesauce: Make sure you are using a thick applesauce. Anything too thin and liquid creates excess spreading.

Keywords: apple cinnamon cookies, apple cinnamon oatmeal cookies

103 Comments

  1. 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!!! 

  2. Made these last night and they were crazy easy and crazy delicious. I have never used applesauce in a cookie recipe and I recently made applesauce (only one tablespoon of sugar for the 4-quart batch. I diced dried apples I had on hand versus using fresh apple. I have often added diced dried apple to a standard oatmeal but I think these cookies have great apple flavor. One day later, the cookies taste great but still very soft and I think I prefer a firmer cookie. Next time, i will bake longer than 15 minutes to create a firmer texture. 

  3. Hi Sally! What kind of apples would you recommend to use for these cookies? Thanks!

    1. Any! Honestly, any flavorful variety you love. I personally like granny smith, honeycrisp, pink lady, or fuji.

  4. Just made these and they taste delicious! Only thing is, the texture of the cookies came out more like muffins or cake. Any idea why? I’m sure I made the recipe to a T.

  5. I made these cookies today and whoa are these good!!! The glaze wasn’t really needed and I debated on adding it and I’m thrilled that I did. I used a 1/2cup of cinnamon chips because I could and boy did they taste great. I too had trouble with my cookies spreading and next time will chill the dough first before baking. Thank you so very much for this great recipe Sally!!!

  6. I made these cookies today and they are delicious! I didn’t have any apple sauce on hand so I made my own and added to the recipe wasn’t sure if it would change the texture of the cookies but it didn’t. They are crisp on the edges and chewy in the center. So delicious!! My boyfriend wasn’t sure if he would like them but after the first bite he said they were a new favorite! 

  7. I made this dough yesterday – chilled for 2-3 hours while I baked up some muffins. I went to bake these and the dough was still SUPER sticky and wet and would barely form into any kind of ball. I threw a batch in the oven anyway and after only a few minutes they were spreading SO much. I pulled them out and put all the dough in the fridge to chill for a couple days. Will that hopefully help firm it up and make it easier to bake?! I was also going to use my 1.5 tbsp scoop for them, should I adjust baking time? Sorry for all the questions, I’m sure they’re going to taste okay, I just want them to look as beautiful as yours! 🙂

    1. Hi Rebecca! If you find the dough is way too sticky, you can chill it for 1-2 hours before baking. That always helps reduce spread. Your next batch will be just fine. I would reduce the bake time by a minute or 2 for the smaller size cookie.

  8. I made these a few days ago and I ran into the same problem of the dough being too sticky and runny. I followed the instructions to a T and immediately noticed the dough wasn’t thick enough. Should I had more flour next time?

    1. I wouldn’t add more flour, I would chill the dough for maybe 1-2 hours before rolling and baking 🙂

  9. I was wondering if I wanted to make these a little more healthier could I add extra applesauce and skip the butter?

    1. You can try that, but they may taste a little cakey and dry without the fat. Let me know!

  10. My cookies also spread out and flattened a lot (without chilling) I even added a little more flour as my dough wasn’t as sticky as most oatmeal cookies. I checked my measurements on liquids but everything was as listed! Going to try again with chilling! 

    1. Chilling helps 🙂

  11. Yum! These turned out really well with half whole wheat flour and a pinch of nutmeg, as well. A perfect complement to the all-pumpkin all-the-time fall menu.

  12. I made these last week and they were so good that I’m making round 2 right now! I followed the recipe exactly and chilled the dough in the freezer while the oven heated up to firm it up a bit and they turned out perfectly! Thanks for another great recipe!

  13. I have been a huge fan of yours since I found your site three years ago. i’ve been slowly baking my way through your site 🙂
    I am known as the “dessert person” because of all the baking I do but its all thanks to you! You come up with great recipes, super easy-to-follow directions and you’re lots of fun to read 🙂
    These cookies were delicious Sally!!
    We warmed them up and topped them with vanilla ice cream. So very yummy. Thanks!!

  14. Hi Sally, I want your readers who are tossing up between making these and a more glamorous chocolate/caramel/salt/Nutella/coffee/pumpkin cookie to know that these are AWESOME! Seriously so comforting with the chewy oats, apple and cinnamon! 

    I added a 1/4 tsp of nutmeg and cloves since we don’t have apple pie spice here, along with pecans instead of walnuts and 1/4 cup puffed chia cereal for some extra crunch! I also added some chopped dried apple for extra chew which I highly recommend! I didn’t ice mine since they will be coming on a car trip tomorrow and I chilled the dough for two hours before cookie-scooping them onto my baking sheet. I used the smallest cookie scoop and cooked for 10mins and they spread a normal amount. Turned out a dream! 

  15. Just came up with a notion to make these a week ago.  Lo and behold, Sally comes through with a recipe.

    Cookies came up very slightly dry and cakey; almost perfect though.  Good flavor and easy to make.  No chill time or parchment paper required.

  16. Sally, I plan to make these this week. They look delicious! How do you think they’d be with butterscotch chips added in the mix somehow?

    1. Oh my gosh, AMAZING. I’d add about 3/4 cup.

  17. Hi Sally , I made these today and ended up baking longer by 3 – 5 mins for them to firm up more. My first batch was done on the edges and soft in the center that they were hard to come off they tray they taste really good. I found them quite sweet, do u think if I cut the sugar the recipe would turn out ok?

  18. Stefanie Mayer says:

    SO, I made these cookies for a cookie party I went to last night. In addition, I made some oatmeal raisin cookies. I followed the recipe exactly and when I baked them they spread out like thin pancakes. I then left the dough in the fridge overnight and it made no difference. I even tried the freezer for 2 hours, still the same outcome. I decided to bake them anyway. I let them cool completely on the cookie sheet after I took them out of the oven. They came out like a crisp chewy very thin like a cracker cookie. I decided to add them on my platter with the oatmeal raisin cookies and everyone LOVED them! There wasn’t one left and we had 2 tables full of different cookies. I am assuming the apple sauce I used caused the spreading. I couldn’t find any thick applesauce anywhere. I will try to use less applesauce next time to see if that helps. If you run into the same problem bake them anyway! They are still good!

    1. Stefanie, so sorry you ran into problems! Definitely make sure you are using a thick applesauce. Anything too liquid-y could cause excess spreading. But so glad they were still a hit!

  19. Could you use dried apples instead of fresh?

    1. I don’t recommend it. They act more like a wet ingredient in this recipe.

  20. Hi Sally, this is the first time I’ve made a cookie recipe that is not the regular with chocolate chips or sugar cookie. I was kind of skeptical but these cookies are A M A Z I N G ! My family loved them and I couldn’t resist eating four (YES 4!) with greek yogurt (amazing combo). Thank you for this recipe. 

    I chilled the dough and the result was great.  

  21. Just made this amazing cookies. Baked half recipe, and frozed the rest of it. 
    They turned out incredible. I didnt add any applesauce because here in brazil we don’t have any.
    Instead, I added some gloves for extra spice.
    I also let them sit in the fridge for about an hour before baking, which I think helped them not to spread.
    They turned out pretty similar to those in the photos from the post.
    Loved! Thanks for the recipe.

  22. Well I have to say I was a little timid to make these because of all of the comments. I was surprised to read so many that reported that the cookies didn’t turn out that great. I use a lot of cookie recipes from Sally and they are always a crowd pleaser so I decided to make them anyways. They came out AWESOME!!!!! I did chill the dough though. And they didn’t spread or turn into crispy pancakes. For the applesauce, I used the single serve motts brand. Even though Sally doesn’t mention it in the instructions, chilling the dough here is key. 

    1. Chilling always helps reduce spread! Thanks so much for reporting back, Lisa.

  23. Can I use quick oats?

    1. I recommend whole oats as the cookies may taste a little dry from the more powder-y dry ingredient.

  24. I just made these cookies and I have to say they turned out perfectly! Though instead of nuts I used raisins. This is seriously the best recipe, I can’t wait to take them to work and watch everyone’s faces. Sally, I own all of your books and have followed many of your recipes and I can honestly say I’ve never found myself disappointed. YOU ARE AWESOME and I thank you for sharing all these amazing recipes with us.

  25. Loved the flavour of these cookies but the inside was a bit dense, a bit muffin-like, but I don’t know why. Is it supposed to be be like that or did I do something wrong? Any idea why, Sally?

    1. Hi Caroline! They’re soft, a little chewy, and dense cookies, similar to muffins. I don’t think you did anything wrong!

  26. Can I make these as a bar cookie in a 13 x 9 pan?

    1. Hi Jo Ann! Definitely! I’m unsure of the bake time though.

  27. Made these cookies today, chilled the dough, didn’t have spreading issue BUT kinda sweet for my liking. Will certainly be making it again with probably 3/4 of the suggested sugar quantity! Need to make one batch for my son’s school (to appreciate the teachers), one for my work (to appreciate my team) and one for the neighbors (just to show off! :P)! gotta get started on dicing those apples! 🙂

  28. I made these the other day and they were delicious! Especially with the maple icing. I too had trouble with spreading though. The first batch I made was before I chilled the dough and they came out like flat crispy pancakes, but for the second batch I chilled the dough for a little over an hour and it made a big difference. They were soft, chewy, and oh so yummy. Chilling the dough is essential for these cookies.

  29. Nothing goes better than apples and cinnamon! I made these today and unlike others who commented on here, mine did not spread thin. In fact they didn’t spread at all! They are more like oat cookie balls, lol. I used old fashioned rolled oats, not quick oats. I also made my own applesauce at home. I purposely drained out as much of the liquid from the applesauce in fear of “runny cookies” as mentioned here. Maybe I should skip that next time? I ended up adding a 1-2 tbsp of apple cider to the mix because it was so dry. Baked 20 mins at 350, 15 mins wasn’t enough for my oat cookie balls, lol. Flavor is good.

  30. Thank You Sally! Absolutely wonderful! I have my old stand by oatmeal raisin cookies which I love, but wanted something different, and wanted something with apples, can’t believe how many people don’t care for raisins. This recipe was a perfect oatmeal cookie, the dark brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and the apples made for some fantastic flavors that meld together so well. And the chewy interiors with the crispy exteriors was a wonderful texture. And they came out perfectly following your directions.

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