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. 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!

      1. You could try making your own applesauce by dicing the apples adding a small amount of water (to control how thick it is) and then boil and simmer on the stove until soft. Then mash for homemade applesauce, whatever consistency you like.

  2. Hi Sally, will I run into issues using quick oats versus rolled oats?

  3. Happy Christmas eve from the UK! I have just been making these with my children and they are DELICIOUS, I don’t think santa will be getting any of these tonight, have an amazing Christmas xx

  4. My apple sauce says that a 1/4 cup was 90g in its individual cup, but the recipe calls for 1/2 cup which you also say is 90grams. Do I follow the cup measurement or the gram measurement?

    1. Follow the cup measurement. So use 1/2 cup.

  5. If your applesauce is quite runny, try putting it through a fine sieve ( i have a metal one that I also use for sifting). I’ve done this with other recipes and it works well.

    1. Tanzy Girl says:

      Naomi, thank you for the suggestion. I had hubby buy the applesauce plus other ingredients I didn’t have, . He had a difficult time finding a brand that wasn’t too runny and one that wasn’t unsweetened. Hopefully with your suggestion and chilling the dough for a few hours I won’t experience the spreading. When it comes to the sweetness, I’m going to cut back on one of the sugars. Fingers crossed that they come out as they’re supposed to…

  6. Crystal Walden says:

    This is a great recipe. I made it diabetic friendly by drastically reducing the sugar. I put a bit less than 1/4 brown sugar and a bit less than 1/4 cup raw sugar in.  Cookies still taste sweet. No spreading issue.  I ended up with 12 cookies instead of 20, bit I may have made them a bit bigger.

    Oh, and I didn’t have any apple sauce so I used mashed banana.  I found it had a good thick consistency.

  7. Could you use dried apples instead of fresh?

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

  8. These look amazing… Mom said she wanted oatmeal raisin, but she can suck it up for now. I’ll make those later!

    1. I’m just threw some raisins in in addition to the apples! Everyone wins 🙂

  9. 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.  

    1. Hi Valerie, I’m so happy you tried something new and that they were a hit!!

  10. Hey. . i am baking these cookies right now for my toddlers .. I want to cut back on sugar.. How to you think i should do that .. I want the cookies to be just a little sweet plus i have organice honey in my pantry.. Cn you please quickly guide me with the substitute and amount ..

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. These look amazing – am going to try in the next day or so. I don’t think I’ll be able to get any applesauce (live in the UK, haven’t ever seen it but also can’t say I’ve ever looked!) so will just try without and see what happens! 

    Thank you! 

    1. Try making your own unsweetened applesauce. Ask some people who cook to share regularly so you can learn to make it on your own. Nothing tastes better in a recipe than using as few items for prep which you have made on your own. I always get tons of compliments from neighbors and friends when these show up on the buffet table. If you’re really stuck, check your local grocery store in the infant/toddler foods, you can usually find processed applesauce there. But for me, I start with the apples and when they cook down a bit I’ll transfer them to a separate dish to cool, then when they have cooled a bit, follow the rest of the recipe for finishing your cookies. Works for me! Kat/Folsom, CA/USA

  14. The recipe looks yummy, is there a homemade recipe for thick apple sauce, or a substitute for it cause it’s hard to find where i live. Thank you 

  15. 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.

  16. HI sally. I love your site you inspire me. I recently found out I am not able to eat gluten.  I Am just wondering besides the typical gluten free flour is there any other type of flour you would recommend adding in these cookies or any other baked recipe. 

    Thanks for any advice. 

  17. Late comment but wanted to say thank you so much for the recipe! I’ve made these twice now, both times to absolutely rave reviews (minus nuts due to a friend’s allergy).

    Second time I made smaller slightly overfull 1 Tbsp sized cookies and I preferred the smaller size, especially as my larger ones turned out a bit delicate/prone to breaking. The flavor was outstanding regardless of size though!

  18. Making them right now! Actually they are in the fridge. I made my own applesauce, hope that’s ok!

  19. I tried these, and while they taste good, the texture turned out more like cake than a cookie. Thoughts?

  20. 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.

    1. Tina, thank you so much for taking the time to report back about these apple cinnamon oatmeal cookies. I’m so glad you enjoyed them!

  21. hi! how would this cookies b on day 3? or r they the best on day 2? 🙂

  22. 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!

  23. what isa good thick applesauce to use for this recipe

  24. 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.

  25. 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! 🙂

  26. Do you think you could use GF 1-to-1 ratio flour and vegan butter?? Im intolerant to gluten and dairy 🙁 but these looks SO GOOD!!!

    1. Hi Sydney! While I haven’t tried it, I can’t see why it would be an issue. Let me know how your cookies turn out!

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. Linda Heimbuck says:

    Hi Sally, I am going to bake these for our ‘Sunday snack’ at church. I am in charge of making the cookies, cakes, bars or whatever I want every Sunday. I was chosen for this position because everyone loves my baking. What they don’t know is that I only use YOUR recipes. Once I made your carrot cake, humming bird cake and your muffins of many varieties they were sold. I have never had any recipe of yours turn out bad, they are always great. I swear by your recipes and always go to your page for new ideas. Thank you so much, I know these cookies will be a hit just like all your recipes are. By the way your creamy chicken soup is amazing as well. Can’t wait to buy your cool books but shhhhh, no one knows our little secret, they just think I’m a great cook.

    1. Ha!! I loved reading this. Thanks Linda. 🙂 Let me know how everyone enjoys the cookies and HAPPY BAKING!

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I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally