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These classic iced oatmeal cookies are old-fashioned style with soft centers, crisp chewy edges, and are topped with vanilla icing that sets after a couple hours. Pulsing the oats before adding to the cookie dough will give you a compact and uniform textured cookie.

Old fashioned iced oatmeal cookies

These iced oatmeal cookies are old-fashioned style with buttery soft centers, crisp chewy edges, and plenty of cozy spice flavor. They’re topped with a light coating of vanilla icing that sets overtime, making cookies perfect for stacking and gift-giving. You know the packaged iced oatmeal cookies you can buy at the store? That’s what these are but, you know, fresh from your oven!

stack of iced oatmeal cookies

Video Tutorial


How to Make Iced Oatmeal Cookies

This recipe is adapted from my oatmeal chocolate chip cookies: soft & chewy oatmeal cookies from which you can make oatmeal raisin cookies, white chocolate chip cherry oatmeal cookies, and oatmeal scotchies. Since I love it so much, I used this recipe as my starting point today. I played around with the ingredients so that I could replicate the texture of store-bought iced oatmeal cookies with the taste of homemade.

Texture: We want a compact oatmeal cookie with soft centers and crisp edges. I switched up the oats to flour ratio in my original recipe. Less oats and more flour proved successful. I went even further and pulsed the oats a few times to gently break them down into a coarse powdery consistency. Ding ding ding! This was the winning answer.

Taste: Now that the texture is spot-on, what about the flavor? To instill that delicious old-fashioned oatmeal cookie flavor, make sure you reach for:

  • brown sugar
  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg
  • and a spoonful of molasses

Consider these 4 ingredients as flavor powerhouses. The brown sugar actually plays two roles: flavor and softness. Its soft and moist texture translates directly into the baked cookie.

iced oatmeal cookie with hands breaking it in half

The Trick is Pulsing the Oats

This is an extra step, but– as mentioned above– taking an extra minute to pulse the oats will completely transform your iced oatmeal cookies. No matter if you’re using whole oats or quick oats, you must pulse them a few times in your food processor to obtain the correct consistency. This is the same trick we use for gingerbread oatmeal cookies. I used my ninja. Here’s the texture you want:

2 images of ground up oats in a food processor
2 images of oatmeal cookie dough in a cookie scoop and oatmeal cookie dough in a glass bowl

THIS COOKIE DOUGH SMELLS INCREDIBLE.

This is a soft cookie dough and will over-spread in the oven unless you chill it. Chill the cookie dough for about 45 minutes in the refrigerator before baking.

Use a cookie scoop. Can I admit something? I never use a cookie scoop when making chocolate chip cookies, but I swear by this tool for oatmeal cookies. Oatmeal cookie dough is sticky, textured, and soft. A cookie scoop not only prevents a mess, it helps ensure all cookies are the same size and shape. I recommend the medium cookie scoop which holds 1.5 Tablespoons of cookie dough. The cookies spread nicely, so I recommend only 8-9 cookies per baking sheet.

Oatmeal cookie dough balls on baking sheet before baking
Soft oatmeal cookies

How to Ice Oatmeal Cookies

There are two tricks to icing oatmeal cookies.

  1. Thick icing. The thicker the icing, the more likely it will set. This vanilla icing is super thick. Start with sifted confectioners’ sugar and a splash of vanilla extract, then only add enough milk until you have a perfectly thick and creamy texture. Literally only 2 Tablespoons. Very little liquid.
  2. Light dip. Want to replicate the crackled icing appearance? The trick is to *lightly* dip the tops of the cookies into the icing. Don’t submerge the cookies; just a quick dip!
2 images of hands dunking oatmeal cookie into glass bowl of vanilla icing

With every cookie recipe I test, I always set 6 or 7 cookies aside to see how they’ll taste a few days later. Results are often mixed– sometimes cookies lose their softness or just taste old… you get the idea. These iced oatmeal cookies? Still tasted fresh 1 week later. 1 WEEK.

As the days past, the spice flavor intensified. The centers were softer, the icing settled into the tops. By no means will your batch of iced oatmeal cookies last an entire week, but use my test as proof that these are damn good cookies!

stack of old fashioned iced oatmeal cookies

One batch of these iced oatmeal cookies will launch you into cookie stardom. They evoke emotion. They’re the kind of nostalgic cookie that grandma used to make, which is why they’re so popular on store shelves. I’m confident that this recipe will result in marriage proposals, 1st place medals, and sold out signs at bake sales!!

Exaggerating? I would never.

Print
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Old fashioned iced oatmeal cookies

Iced Oatmeal Cookies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 28 cookies 1x
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These classic iced oatmeal cookies are old-fashioned style with soft centers, crisp chewy edges, cozy spice flavor, and are topped with vanilla icing that sets after a couple hours. Pulsing the oats before adding to the cookie dough will give you a compact and uniform textured cookie.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 cups (160g) old-fashioned whole rolled oats
  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup (2 sticks; 230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon unsulphured dark molasses*
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Icing

  • 1 and 1/2 cups (180g) sifted confectioners’ sugar*
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1.52 Tablespoons milk

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, cinnamon, and nutmeg 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 eggs, molasses, and vanilla extract 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 thick and sticky. Cover and chill the dough for at least 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 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 11-12 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: Place sifted confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl. Add the vanilla extract and 1 Tablespoon of milk. 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. Lightly dip the tops of the cookies into the icing. Icing will set after a few hours, so you can stack and 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. Read my tips and tricks on how to freeze cookie dough.
  2. Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | Glass Mixing Bowls | Cookie ScoopBaking Sheet | Silpat Baking Mat | Cooling RackNinja Food Processor
  3. Oats: Pulsing the oats in step 1 is the trick to this recipe. If you don’t have a food processor, use a blender. 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.
  4. Molasses: 1 Tablespoon of molasses helps give these cookies incredible flavor. If you don’t have any, use pure maple syrup instead.
  5. Confectioners’ Sugar: Sift confectioners’ sugar before measuring.

Keywords: Iced Oatmeal Cookies

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. These are the best cookies I’ve ever made. The recipe is easy and worth finding space in the fridge to chill the dough. Thank you for this.

  2. Sally always has rock-solid recipes, and this is no exception. My office thinks I’m a god. I used fresh-ground nutmeg and feel that it made a big difference. Well spiced, soft, and irresistable.

    1. Hi MKA, 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 our tips and tricks on freezing cookie dough.

  3. Just placed the dough into the fridge. I don’t have enough parchment to bake them on. Should I grease the cookie sheet before dropping the dough?

    1. Hi Tina, we don’t recommend spraying cookie sheets as it can sometimes cause the cookies to overspread. They should be fine directly on your baking sheet, just be sure not to overbake them which can make it tough to remove the cookies once baked.

  4. This recipe is great! For me, I used quick oats and didn’t process the dry ingredients. Also, I didn’t need to refrigerate dough. For the icing, I made a traditional royal icing: egg white, cream of tartar, powdered sugar and vanilla. Hardens well and quicker.

  5. Phenomenal tasting cookie-I would give the flavor 5+ stars! For some reason my cookies turned out flat? I even weighed the ingredients. Was it because my butter was too warm? I would be willing to try this recipe again-my daughter just tried a non-iced cookie and said it tasted great!

  6. Would love to add raisins to this recipe, can I just add them or should I just use your original oatmeal raisin recipe and ice those cookies.

    1. Hi Patti, you can follow this recipe and add 1 and 1/2 cups of raisins. Enjoy!

  7. My friend loves oatmeal cookies and since we live far away, these are great for mailing her when I want to let her know she’s loved!

    Sally, could peanut butter be added to the recipe or would a different oatmeal cookie recipe be better?

      1. Hi Sheila, I wish we could help, but have no experience baking at high altitude. Some readers have found this chart helpful: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/high-altitude-baking.html

    1. I made these and they are great. Today I made them into bars. I needed 24 bars for a meeting . Plus bars are easier (and cleaner) to serve. Baked in 9×12 sheet pan. Baked for 17 mins. I cut them when cooled before I drizzled the icing. Served them in cupcake liners. I’ve also made bars out of the cake batter cookie recipe.

  8. These cookies are AMAZING! So simple yet so good! Soft and chewy – just delicious. The only changes I made were to use 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon Penzeys Cake Spice, and 1/2 teaspoon allspice. And in the icing I added a generous amount of kosher salt – which put these cookies over the top!

    1. Great cookie. Can I make bar cookie with this recipe? 9×13 pan? Thank you

      1. Hi Christine, glad you loved them! We haven’t tested these as bars, but they should work. We would suggest a 9×9 pan and baking time may vary. Let us know if you give it a try!

  9. Outstanding flavor!! The cinnamon, nutmeg and molasses are everything! Thanks for another amazing recipe Sally!

  10. Great recipe very easy to follow through my husband loves them I was curious about where u get ur recipes from where they hand me downs from grandma

  11. I’ve tried to reply to a review a few different times now & when I hit the reply button, nothing happens….there’s nowhere to type a reply….only the Leave a Review! form is at the bottom of the page under the reviews (which is where I typed this). Am I supposed to be able to reply to a review?

    1. Hi Jennifer! If you tap the reply button, a new form should pop up right under the comment you’re replying to. Does that happen for you? It will look very similar to the Leave a Review box.

  12. My 10 year old grandson gave this cookie a 10 out of 10. My husband loves them too. Amazing recipe. Thanks Sally.

  13. I’ve made this recipe twice and the cookies are gone within days. Everyone who has tried them says these cookies are the best! I agree!

  14. Hi Sally, I just made these wonderful cookies today, and they are amazingly good! I’d like to thank you for sharing all of your timeless recipes, you’ve made me a much better and more knowledgeable baker. One thing I did try was I left out 1/2 cup of oats and put in 2 small packets of flavored, instant oatmeal (I used apple cinnamon), which I pulsed with the whole oats. My house smells like a bakery, and the cookies are so flavorful. Thank you again for your help in making me a much better baker.

  15. I’m not good at following recipes; I always get ideas on how to tweek them a bit. So I added ground flax seed to this recipe – just 2 level tablespoons – and they are absolutely fabulous! Next time I make them, I’m adding some diced dried fruit – I think I have cran-raisins and tart cherries in the pantry. Looking forward to trying out LOTS of different additions to the basic dough – like butterscotch chips. Great with or without icing and good coffee dunkers. Thank you SO MUCH for this one. I love the nutmeg and molasses flavors.

  16. Made these for an anniversary party. 1/2 were iced and half weren’t. They went like hot cakes! My husband doesn’t like iced and he LOVED them so I made them again the following week without it and they are just too good to put down! The recipe is perfect. So so good.

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