Think of these iced gingerbread oatmeal cookies as the holiday version of regular iced oatmeal cookies. They’re every bit as chewy, soft, nostalgic, and wholesome, but brimming with gingerbread spices and topped with spiced vanilla icing. Pair with peanut butter blossoms and Christmas sugar cookies for a trio of classic Christmas cookie flavors.
It’s time to shift gears from pie crust to all things cookies! This recipe is part of my annual Christmas cookie countdown called Sally’s Cookie Palooza. Every year since 2013, I work on a handful of new Christmas cookie recipes and publish the 10 best ones for readers to enjoy! You can browse dozens of recipes on the Sally’s Cookie Palooza page.
Iced gingerbread oatmeal cookies are definitely part of my cookie trays this year and I’m thrilled to share the new recipe with you. After 1 bite I immediately said “this is the best cookie I’ve ever made.” And I’ve made A LOT! Maybe it was my exhaustion talking… I had just spent the day testing 3 new recipes and vacuuming spilled sprinkles… TWICE… but oats + spices + molasses + icing is certainly a recipe for something delicious.
I think you’re going to love them too.
Tell Me About These Iced Gingerbread Oatmeal Cookies
- Flavor: These are gingerbread cookies and plain iced oatmeal cookies in 1. Generous amounts of ground ginger and cinnamon plus nutmeg, cloves, molasses, and brown sugar supply each cookie with cozy, comforting flavors. Truly—and I don’t say this often—you could skip the icing and be plenty satisfied.
- Texture: Like the regular version, these are mega chewy oatmeal cookies with buttery soft centers and slightly crisp edges. The key to their texture is pulsing the oats in a food processor or blender to gently break them down. The result is an uneven mixture of broken oats and coarse crumbs, a texture medley giving us a compact and chewy oatmeal cookie.
- Ease: The prep is simple and pulsing the oats takes a few brief seconds. Make sure you set aside about 30-45 minutes to chill the cookie dough before baking. Molasses makes the dough quite sticky and without time in the refrigerator, the cookies will over-spread. Luckily, it’s a quick chill time and your cookies will be ready soon!
Key Ingredients in Iced Gingerbread Oatmeal Cookies
- Brown Sugar: Brown sugar is a key ingredient in many cookie recipes because not only does it sweeten the cookies, it adds flavor, softness, and a little moisture too.
- Spices: I found the best ratio of spices is 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves. These are the same spices you use when making gingerbread whoopie pies. I like a little extra ground cloves in my gingerbread recipes, so I usually add another pinch. It’s a strong flavor, so be careful if you decide to add a little more.
- Molasses: Molasses adds deep, rich flavor. Use dark molasses that’s labeled unsulphured. Avoid blackstrap molasses in this cookie recipe because it will overpower everything else.
- Oats: As mentioned above, taking an extra few seconds to pulse the oats will completely transform the texture of your finished cookies. No matter if you use whole oats or quick oats, pulse them a few times in your food processor to obtain the correct consistency.
Here’s what the oats will look like:
Success Tip: Use a Cookie Scoop
Use a cookie scoop because this is a textured and sticky dough. A cookie scoop not only prevents a mess, it helps ensure all cookies are the same size and shape. I recommend a medium cookie scoop which holds 1.5 Tablespoons of cookie dough. The cookies spread nicely, so keep each baking sheet/batch at around 8-9 cookies.
- If you’re shopping for new baking sheets, I love Nordic Ware and line them with silicone baking mats or these parchment paper sheets.
Spiced Vanilla Icing
Thick vanilla icing is the iconic finishing touch on regular iced oatmeal cookies. But since we’re crafting a generously spiced version, let’s not miss the opportunity for extra flavor on top. I love adding a pinch each of ground cinnamon and ginger to this icing. It doesn’t alter the texture at all—the icing will still set/dry nicely on the cookies—but it does elevate the flavor.
If dipped lightly, the thick icing will set on the cookies so you can easily stack, transport, or gift these flavorful beauties. Instead of dipping, feel free to drizzle the icing on top. Enjoy!
This recipe is part of my annual Christmas cookie countdown called Sally’s Cookie Palooza. Every year since 2013, I publish 10 new cookie recipes in a row. It’s the biggest, most delicious event of the year! Browse dozens of Christmas cookie recipes over on the Sally’s Cookie Palooza page including:
- Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
- Brown Butter Sugar Cookies
- Butter Cookies
- Snowball Cookies
- Peppermint Mocha Cookies
and here are 75+ Christmas cookies with all my best success guides & tips.
These iced gingerbread oatmeal cookies are chewy, soft, and brimming with gingerbread flavor from molasses, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. If dipped lightly, the icing will set so you can stack, transport, and/or gift the cookies.
- 2 cups (160g) old-fashioned whole rolled oats
- 1 and 2/3 cups (210g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks; 170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup (200g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup (60ml) unsulphured dark molasses
- 1 and 1/2 cups (180g) sifted confectioners’ sugar*
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1.5 – 2 Tablespoons milk
- small pinch each: ground cinnamon and ground ginger, plus extra cinnamon for garnish if desired
- Make the cookies: Pulse the oats in a food processor 10-12 times until you have a variety of texture– chopped oats with some oat flour. See photo above for a visual.
- Whisk the pulsed oats, flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- In a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together on medium-high speed until creamed, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and molasses and beat on high speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl and beat again as needed to combine.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low until combined. Dough will be very thick and a little sticky. Cover and chill the dough for 30-45 minutes in the refrigerator (and up to 4 days). If chilling for longer than a few hours, allow to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before scooping and baking because the dough will be quite hard.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
- Scoop cookie dough, about 1.5 Tablespoons of dough per cookie, and place 3 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake for 12-13 minutes or until lightly browned on the sides. The centers will look very soft.
- Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
- Make the icing: Combine confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, and 1 Tablespoon of milk in a medium bowl. Use a fork to whisk until combined. It will be impossible to fully combine because this isn’t enough liquid. Add only enough extra milk to make a very very thick icing. I only add about 1 more Tablespoon of milk. Whisk in a very small pinch each of ground cinnamon and ginger. (Taste and add more if desired.) Lightly dip the tops of the cookies into the icing or lightly drizzle icing on top. Feel free to dust/sprinkle more ground cinnamon on top of the icing for garnish. Icing will set after a few hours, so you can stack, transport, and/or gift the cookies.
- Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: You can make the cookie dough and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Allow to come to room temperature then continue with step 5. Baked cookies with or without icing 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. Read my tips and tricks on how to freeze cookie dough.
- Oats: Pulsing the oats in step 1 is the trick to this recipe. If you don’t have a food processor, use a blender. If you don’t have either, give the oats a rough chop on a cutting board. Even if you’re using quick oats, pulsing the oats is necessary– you just won’t have to pulse them as much as whole oats. Do not use oat flour in place of the pulsed oats.
- Confectioners’ Sugar: Sift confectioners’ sugar before measuring.
Keywords: gingerbread oatmeal cookies