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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.

stack of iced gingerbread oatmeal cookies

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.

gingerbread oatmeal cookies with icing and cinnamon on top

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 prepwork 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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:

pulsed oats in food processor

gingerbread spices and cookie dough

gingerbread oatmeal cookie dough balls on lined baking sheet

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.


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!

cinnamon spice icing in glass bowl

gingerbread oatmeal cookies without icing and one being dipped into icing

gingerbread oatmeal cookies with icing and cinnamon on top

Sally's Cookie Palooza

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:

and here are 75+ Christmas cookies with all my best success guides & tips.

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stack of iced gingerbread oatmeal cookies

Iced Gingerbread Oatmeal Cookies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 13 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Yield: 30 cookies 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

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.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 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; 170gunsalted 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

Icing

  • 1 and 1/2 cups (180g) sifted confectioners’ sugar*
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1.52 Tablespoons milk
  • small pinch each: ground cinnamon and ground ginger, plus extra cinnamon for garnish if desired

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. Whisk the pulsed oats, flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

Notes

  1. 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. Click here for my tips and tricks on freezing cookie dough.
  2. 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.
  3. Confectioners’ Sugar: Sift confectioners’ sugar before measuring.

Keywords: gingerbread oatmeal cookies

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Delicious, even without the frosting! I am making batch #2 today. As many have said, one of the top cookies I have made. Also, my husband — who somehow is NOT A SWEET EATER — LOVED these. “Are you going to make those again?”!

    Thank you for a wonderful recipe!

  2. These cookies are delicious!!! I only bake when I see a recipe I really want to eat because the effort can outweigh the taste, but not with these. So worth the effort! Yummy and pretty. Your detailed steps and notes were easy to follow. Photos helped. Will be on my holiday cookie list from now on!

    1. Hi Carole, When cookies aren’t spreading, it usually means that there’s too much dry ingredient (flour) soaking up all the liquid. Make sure you are properly measuring your flour. When measuring flour, use the spoon & level method. Do not scoop the flour out of the container/bag. Doing so leaves you with excess flour in the cookie dough.

    1. I make these gluten free for a good friend of mine and she loves them… I add maybe a half cup up finely chopped candied ginger to make it a ginger explosion of yumminess… the last batch I over baked and they are a little tough I’m hoping the icing softens them some… hard or not they are amazing…

  3. Followed exactly and although super yummy they are too flat. And not very chewy. What did I do?

  4. Wonderful! I’m making a second batch today to give out as holiday treats for my coworkers.

  5. Doing it right now. Bob’s red mill baking gf flour double batch. Weighed ingredients, followed recipe exactly except for Bob’s GF flour. 2 pans in and NOT good. Not blaming the recipe since I substituted but cookies are crazy thin. Husband joked it was more like peanut brittle. Good flavor but 1st pan (did not space 3″ apart) melted into 1 giant cookie brittle blob.

    1. Hey Katie – I made these cookies with Bob’s GF 1:1 Baking Flour – if you weighed the flour – Bob’s GF weighs different than All Purpose flour, so that might have been part of the problem. I just did the spoon and level method on the flour and I had the right consistency. I also agree the cookies spread more than I thought they would, so definitely keep the space between them. I left mine in the fridge for 1 hour and they still stayed as separate cookies. I also had to double the frosting recipe to cover all my cookies, but I might have made it too thick (no one complained).

  6. OMG…These cookies are wonderful! Was going to add them to my cookie gift boxes, but we ate them all. Just have to make some more I guess. Outstanding.

  7. Sally! OMG these are insane! Holy crap! Everyone, run to your kitchen and make these.
    Signed,
    Someone who’s made millions of cookies

  8. Can you substitute pumpkin pie spice for some/all of the spices in the cookie batter (since it’s cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves)? And if so, how much do you put in?

    1. Hi Emmy, You should still use the cinnamon but you can certainly try replacing the other spices with the same amount of pumpkin pie spice. Let us know if you give it a try!

  9. These cookies are absolutely amazing. Even the finicky teenagers declared them “the best” and requested the recipe. Thank you for providing yet another cookie jar favorite!

  10. Great cookie recipe! The cookies taste as good as they look. The right amount of everything!

  11. Personal learning as a noobie, make more icing than instructed to play with different drizzling and dipping methods and possibly make the icing closer to when you’re going to use it. Mine began solidifying right when I was about to ice them. Otherwise great recipe for anyone who appreciates these spices and the deep flavor of molasses.

  12. So excited to try these! All your recipes call for salt. Which salt do you mean? I only have sea salt at home and wondering if I should be using the full amount of sea salt when you say ½ tsp (or however much in a different recipe) or if I should be buying another salt to have for baking. Thanks!

    1. Hi Ann, Unless otherwise mentioned, we use regular table salt in our recipes.

  13. Loved these! I’m not a fan of molasses but I would eat these time and again. Big hit with my family. This cookie is superb. Five stars isn’t enough. These are a ten!!!

  14. Sally I love the combination of oats with a ginger cookie! 3 pulses in my ninja blender shows the same consistency. This is a great recipe for all whole grains. I used white whole wheat in place of all-purpose flour. They are so soft and chewy! This recipe is also great for my new migraine condition. Sadly no chocolate for me for the time being. Thanks for another great recipe!

  15. Just want to reiterate how every recipe I have tried of yours is rather solid. Some of the best cookies I have ever made. So thank you for that. These cookies are no exception…AWESOME. I did this gluten free using a combo of oat flour and sorghum flour. I used pomegranate molasses and sorghum syrup instead of black strap because that is what I had available…turned out to be a nice touch.

  16. I’ll never buy cookies again! I don’t have a food processor so I did everything by hand. I put the quick oats in a ziplock and pounded them with the back of a heavy spoon to create the different textures. It worked perfectly. Then I mixed everything with a rubber spatula.I made a few modifications, I used salted butter, added about two tbsp of minced ginger paste, a couple sprinkles of cayenne pepper (love a little heat with ginger cookies), and used turbinado sugar for the granulated sugar (since this naturally adds a deeper caramel flavor). I was skeptical about the icing at first so I only put it on half, but as soon as I ate one, I ended up putting the icing on all of them! After forming small balls, I used the back of my spoon to lightly press down the middle. I think that helped it spread in the oven. The texture was amazing! Chewy and soft in the middle and a little crispy on the outside. This might be the best cookie I’ve ever eaten and I can’t believe I made it myself!!

  17. Can this be made as a bar cookie? If so, what size pan and for how long should they bake?

    1. Hi Judy, Yes they could be made as bars but we haven’t tested them that way. The dough would likely fit into either an 11×7 or a 9×9 pan. We are unsure of the bake time you would need but let us know if you give it a try!

  18. These were amazing! Making them again for my boss, who loved them. Does this recipe easily halve? The numbers looks like they will work well, but wouldn’t sure if you had any recommendations for halving it. Thanks!

    1. Hi Bek! You should be able to halve this recipe. You could always make a full batch and freeze some dough balls for another day. Glad they’re a hit!

  19. I don’t think I’ve ever felt compelled to leave a review on a baking site before, but I just made these with my daughter, and they are so good it’s INSANE. And that’s before we even finished the icing. We did lower the sugar by about 20g, and they’re plenty sweet for us. Since we’re gluten free, we subbed 1:1 (by volume, not weight) Pamela’s all purpose baking flour. Perfect spread and texture after 12 minutes in the oven and 5 cooling on the pan before the rack.

    1. Hi Patrick, thank you for sharing. So glad you and your daughter loved the cookies!

  20. These are fabulous cookies! We did not have nutmeg or clove so I used Allspice instead and they turned out perfect! Will defiantly make these again and again. Going to keep them in the freezer so I can have them when ever I want.

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