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. Delicious, although mine were so flat (didn’t change the taste though!!!); wondering if anyone who didn’t have spreading could tell me what brand(s) of applesauce they used? Not sure if we can share that, but I used unsweetened M***;s… but I still ate them 🙂 Thank you!

    1. any alternative for apple sauce? or can i just eliminate them from the recipe? thanks!

      1. I used a ripe banana I had in the freezer. After it thawed it was very soft almost like an apple sauce consistency. It worked great and gave a slightly banana flavour. Who doesn’t like Apple and bananas! 🙂

  2. can i use quick oats or does it have old fashioned?

    1. Quick oats are a little more powdery, so the cookies will remain a little puffy. Keeping that in mind, you can make the switch.

  3. I love your recipes! They always work and are always a huge success here at home!
    Just wondering, is it possible to freeze iced cookies?
    Thanks a bunch! =)

    1. Yes, this cookie you can freeze with the icing!

      1. Isabel Letelier says:

        I made these cookies today, without the icing since i didnt have maple syrup. They are delicious!!! I loved this recipe!!! Thabk you sally!!

      2. I’m so happy you loved these! Thanks for your positive feedback 🙂

  4. Hey Sally-
    Any suggestions for an alternate drizzle for these? I’m not a fan of maple.


      1. Sydney Stern says:

        Are these cookies better kept in the refrigerator or freezer? Which makes them taste better

  5. Favorite oatmeal cookies! Very soft and I love lal the apples and cinnamon.

    1. Very good cookie but mine came out flat, sticky, and the slightly larger ones fall apart when picked up. In reading the comments, I will make my own applesauce as the one I used must have been too wet. Good flavor:-)

  6. GREAT COOKIES!!! So soft and I love all the cinnamon flavor.

    1. Thank you!

  7. These look and sound amazing! Question…can they be made without the applesauce or is there an alternative? I just left the store and am not about to go back and the Apple sauce we have is sweetened 🙁

    1. Hi Cristina! You can use the sweetened applesauce and reduce the granulated sugar down to 1/2 cup.

      1. Thank you so much! Super excited to try these tonight

  8. These were definitely the BEST oatmeal cookies we’ve ever had even though mine came out flat and sticky. It has to be the apple sauce since the parchment paper was wet once I put the cookie dough on it. The next time I make these cookies I’m going to make my own apple sauce and see how it goes. I’ll let you know the outcome.

  9. Jocelyn Silverman (aka Bocey's Bakery) says:

    You mention that the dough can be made up to 3 days ahead of time and to allow it to come to room temperature and then continue with step 4, did you mean step 5?

    Thank you.

    I am a big fan of your recipes and I know this one will be a hit as well.

    1. I did yes – thank you for catching that!!

  10. This recipe is a KEEPER. My first try resulted in flat and sticky cookies which were delicious. I baked a batch yesterday and substituted apple butter for the applesauce, reduced the amount of sugar by about 10 grams, as Sally suggested, and used raisins instead of the diced apple. They were great. Thank you Sally for all your efforts in sharing your knowledge and expertise with us.

    1. can this note be added to the recipe? I’m afraid I will forget. also I’m thinking maybe a jam might work well too if I can get it to the right consistency as apple butter but I’d need to probably reduce the sugar even a tad more. I’d have to do research on that. this is fun. thank you Sally and her readers. getting inspired again. oh if anyone else uses a convection oven I’d love to know your results on any recipes with temps and times. I’m still learning. I think I’m over baking but when I turn it down it is odd.

  11. This looks absolutely stunning! Do you think this could be made egg free by using a flax egg instead?

    1. I haven’t tested this with an egg substitute but let me know if you do!

  12. Followed the recipe perfectly and mine turned out flat, sticky and easily fell apart. Why? They are delicious though.

    1. Hi Brooke, did you change anything in the recipe ingredients? I wonder why they’re sticky and falling apart. Make sure you’re using whole oats and not quick oats.

  13. I live in Thailand and unfortunately applesauce is not readily available. Do you have any suggestions for substitutions or do I need to scratch this off my cookie list?

  14. I actually haven’t tried the recipe yet but it looks amazing… I am wondering if letting the diced apples dry a little bit would help with the moisture issue? I might like to add more of the diced apple but would hate to compromise the balance!

    1. Hi Katie! Using slightly dried apples would definitely decrease some of the moisture. If you try adding more apples, let me know how it goes!

  15. I love your recipe. My daughter and I made this recipe and added only two additional ingredients of Our Own. We took the cookies and melted marshmallows in between them to make apple cinnamon oatmeal pie cookies. It was delicious!! We also drizzled cream cheese frosting on top. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Sally,

    I have reasons I used to make mulled apple cider and would love to add them to this recipe. My fear is that they would become soft. Any suggestions how to keep the texture of this cookie perfect?

    1. Hi Mollie, I don’t recommend adding cider to this recipe. But you can use your cider in my apple cider donut recipe:
      Or in my apple spice whoopie pies

  17. Do I peel the apple?
    Thank you

    1. You certainly can, but you don’t have to.

  18. I made these yesterday! I had a bag of honey crisp apples that were looking sad so I peeled them threw them in the crockpot with a stick of butter and a 3/4 cup of brown sugar, a 1/2 cup of water and a tap of cinnamon and let them cook on high for about 4 hours! Then I mashed them up and was afraid my liquid was going to make them spread out when baked. I followed the recipe with the exception of adding brown sugar, butter, and I increased the oats by a half of a cup! They are fantastic! I made two batches! Like a cake cookie!

  19. Perfect apple cookies! I added extra cinnamon and they are so soft and very flavorful! Will keep this on rotation

  20. Hi! Am I able to make this recipe with steel cut oats?

    1. I don’t recommend it.

  21. My research says that melted butter results in a cookie that spreads and Is thin. Softened butter results in a chewier, more compact cookie which I prefer. Can I substitute softened butter, cream it with sugars, add dry ingredients and then add egg and applesauce.

    1. Hi Jackie! Melted butter typically produces a chewier cookie, but that– of course– depends on the other ingredients in the dough and ratio of those ingredients as well. Feel free to alter this recipe as you see fit and let me know how your testing goes!

  22. I made them today and they came out flat and chewy, I even refrigerated the dough for an hour to try and firm it up! But it was so soft I think there must have been too much moisture. Sad! I was so excited for them

  23. Hi this recipe sounds delicious. Do you think you could replace the flour with ground oatmeal?

    1. For recipe success (and to prevent excess spreading), I recommend sticking with all-purpose flour.

  24. I recently discovered your website and these were the first cookies I tried. This is absolutely yummy. I love the fact its tried and tested recipes. Because of lockdown I couldn’t get hold of applesauce and replaced it with butter. They still were a big hit. Thank you, can’t wait to try more of your recipes

  25. I made these cookies today for my mom and she loved them! I did use instant oats because it was all we had in the house and I couldn’t go to the store, but the cookies still came out wonderfully chewy and delicious. I also added a spoonful of chia seeds for a smidge of extra nutrition and they worked well to soak up excess moisture from the apples. Thanks for this great recipe!

  26. You may not have the answer for this, BUT do you think I could use rolled rye flakes instead of rolled oats?
    Your cookies looking amazing.
    Thank you or your time!

  27. These are absolutely amazing! I made them last week with my five-year old son, and the whole family loved them. He gets to choose one recipe a week to make, and he is choosing this one again! Thank you!

  28. Is it possible to just leave out the apple sauce completely and proceed with the rest of the recipe?

  29. Really loved this receipe. I make my own applesauce, as you can’t get it in the UK (5 peeled and diced apples, tablespoon lemon juice, 1/2 cup water in a slow cooker for 3 hours) and it comes out quite thick and great for baking. I chilled the dough for an hour and made 10 bigger cookies, baking them for around 28- 30 minutes. I did find them very sweet though. I reduced the sugar to 250g, but next time I’ll cut it down to 150g or even 100g. I’d recommend the same for others who don’t like a sugar crash!

  30. Am I reading the notes right that these cookies have to be kept in the refrigerator after they are baked? Or can I leave them out on the counter at room temp? Thanks!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Suzy, We recommend storing these in the refrigerator as they contain fresh apples. They will stay fresh covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

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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