Iced Oatmeal Cookies

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

Welcome to day 5 of 2018 Sally’s Cookie Palooza! If you’re just joining us, here are all the recipes published so far this week:

Day 5 means we’re halfway through the 10 day cookie countdown, so I’m sharing an extra special recipe. 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 and without all the sketchy preservatives!

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. 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 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.

What is Sally's Cookie Palooza?

Sally’s Cookie Palooza is a tradition since 2013. Every December we countdown to Christmas with 10 new cookie recipes in a row. Over the next two weeks, I’m publishing 10 brand new cookie recipes as well as giveaways, the December Baking Challenge, Christmas cookie video tutorials, and so much more. This is the biggest, most delicious event of the year! Sign up for instant updates and you’ll receive a free email alert whenever I publish a new recipe. 🙂

Click to see Sally’s Cookie Palooza over the years!

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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: 3 hours
  • Yield: 2 dozen
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


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.


  • 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 or dark molasses*
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


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


  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. You want a very thick icing. 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.


  1. Make Ahead 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. 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.


  1. I am so happy you posted these cookies! I have always loved them, but never thought I could actually make them. I have one problem, I don’t have a food processor. Is there another way to “pulse” the oats or do I just need to buy one for the best results?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Mia! How about a blender? Other than that, I suggest chopping the heck out of them on a large cutting board. 🙂

  2. Oooh, I can’t wait to make these! I do have a crunchy iced oatmeal cookie lover. Can you suggest a way to do that also?

    Thank you,

    1. Hi Diane! Bake the cookies for an extra 2 minutes. They’ll be nice and crisp!

  3. This looks like a great recipe. I’m giving it a try this weekend. I know it’s not a traditional oatmeal and raisin cookie, but when I told my wife I was making these, she asked if I could put raisins in them. I said I’d divide the dough and put raisins in “her” half. Can I do that with this recipe, and if so, what quantity would you suggest? And are there any other special considerations or adjustments I’d need to make. Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi David! I like your wife’s thinking… I love raisins in cookies too! I suggest 3/4 cups of raisins for HALF of the cookie dough. No other adjustments needed.

  4. Can I freeze the dough (not in balls)?

    1. Sure can! Let it thaw to room temperature then roll into balls and bake.

  5. Hi Sally — I made these today but they didn’t spread on their own. I chilled the dough for an hour so I don’t think it being too hard was the issue. For sheets two and three I just pressed the dough down with my hand to get the correct spread. Any thoughts on why the cookies stayed mounded instead of spreading like yours did? Thanks!

    1. Did you grind up those oats nice and fine? The dough may have also been a little too cold. If you nuke the dough balls in the microwave for 10 seconds prior to baking, they’ll spread perfectly. That’s my little trick when dough is too cold!

  6. How did you get your frosting to be so white? I used homemade vanilla. Do you think that created a bit of a brown tint? So yummy! Thank you!

    1. Perhaps the difference is in homemade vanilla?! I’m glad you tried and enjoy the iced oatmeal cookies though!

  7. Just finished making these…so delicious!! Thank you Sally!!

  8. Just made these! Another winner Sally! My new favorite oatmeal cookie!!

  9. Made these today. Oh my! Delicious. My new favorite cookie. Turned out perfectly. I chilled dough for 2 hours. My cookie scoop yielded 2 1/2 dozen so that was nice. Will be making these again for sure. Short on time, don’t frost. Still awesome. Thanks for a keeper!

  10. Made these this weekend so good! I keep picking one up every time I go past them so I guess i’ll just make another batch! Thank you for the excellent cookie recipe

  11. The flavor of these is wonderful. Thank you for sharing. My first batch didn’t spread. Any suggestions on which step I may have messed up? cooking with toddlers has its potential ups and downs! I pulsed the oats and chilled for 45 minutes.

    1. Hi Vicki! I wonder if your oats soaked up a lot of moisture or if the oats were ground up too fine. Either way, if you decide to try the cookies again, try reducing the chill time to 15 minutes next time. Thanks for trying the cookies and I’m so glad you enjoyed their flavor!

  12. OMG! Sally these are the best oatmeal cookies EVER! I have made & eaten many oatmeal cookies & these are so freaking good! They really do make your house smell like heaven too. Thanks again Sally!

  13. These cookies were literally the best oatmeal cookies ive ever had! I thought i had the perfect recipe but this one knocks it out of the park! They didnt spread so much but i just pressed it down with a spatula as soon as it came out. And it tasted even better the next day, which is saying a lot cuz they were already amazing yesterday.. Thank you so much for all your winner recipes.

  14. Could you use instant oatmeal since its basically just chopped rolled oats?

    1. You can try, yes! Instant oats won’t be as finely crushed. You’ll want a little oat flour with the chopped oats.

  15. I want to make these right now and have all ingredients except the molasses I have corn syrup and both light and dark brown sugars. I know dark contains molasses… Think it will be play if I use the dark and omit the molasses?

    1. Hi Stacey! Molasses adds that homemade old-fashioned flavor, but you can leave it out. I do not suggest corn syrup. Maple syrup would be a lovely substitution. And you can use dark brown sugar instead of light brown sugar for a *little* extra flavor.

  16. These are flippin’ FANTASTIC!! My husband tried them without the icing and LOVED them. He said they were even better with the icing. I agree! I had to control myself to only eat one. I love the molasses flavor in them. Not overpowering but just gives it a little something extra.

  17. These are incredible! So easy and delicious. I used a cookie scoop and got 42 cookies…I made them Sunday night & on Monday sent 20 with my husband for his co-workers. It’s Wednesday and the remaining 22 are gone! Thank you Sally for another amazing cookie recipe!

  18. I made a double batch of these for a cookie swap and used a 1 T cookie scoop and got 144 cookies! Great recipe, can’t wait to swap them!

  19. Hi, Sally. Is it ok to use melted butter instead? Will it be the same amount of butter? If I use around 1/2 tbsp scoop per cookie, is it going to be the same baking time? Thanks!

    1. Hi Kae! No, I recommend using softened butter. The 1/2 Tbsp cookies bake time will be a little shorter by a couple minutes. Keep your eye on them– when the edges are lightly browned, they’re done!

  20. Everyone loved these! A side note — I found that if I spread the icing onto the cookies with the back of a spoon, the crackly effect was much better and more controllable than dipping.

  21. These are as described—thin, chewy, and with incredible spice. Just plain, they remind me of Dad’s brand oatmeal cookies up here in Canada. This is a keeper.

  22. RedHairedLady (Laura) says:

    I made these last night. They were indeed delicious! But boy did I struggle to get them to look anywhere as pretty as yours!

    My first batch burned. Second was perfect. Then the third batch spread a lot, even after I put the dough balls in the freezer to firm them back up.

    I also had a hard time with the icing. It was way too thick with just the two tablespoons of milk. I couldn’t get the sugar to dissolve. I finally got the consistency right, but dipping the cookies in it was just messy. I ended up using a spoon like another reviewer suggested. I still could not get the pretty cracked icing look on your cookies though.

    At least the cookies still tasted wonderful!

  23. Thank you for the great recipe. I made these as part of baked gifts, they were a hit.

  24. I made these today for the very first time and they turned out amazing!!!!!! I’ve always wanted to make iced oatmeal cookies and lemme tell you this is it. Even without a mixer, I used very very soft butter and had no problem at all. These taste really amazing, thank you Sally!

  25. I added this recipe to my annual baking mix. I’m not shocked that everything in this recipe went smoothly as written. Thanks again for being my go to blog.

  26. Can I add raisins to this? What do you suggest? Or should I follow your oatmeal raisin cookie recipe and dip those in icing? Thank you

    1. You can follow this recipe and add 1 and 1/2 cups of raisins. 🙂

  27. Hi Sally!

    I followed the recipe exactly, but for some reason the cookies came out more puffed up and I guess you can say thick as opposed to flat. Any particular reason why this may have happened and how to fix it for next time? Thanks!

  28. Delicious! Thank you for this awesome recipe. For some reason though my cookies didn’t flatten/spread out very much while baking. Any ideas? Thanks again

    1. Hi Kelly! Thank you so much for trying the oatmeal cookies recipe. I wonder if the oats were ground up too much? If so, they will soak up too much butter and the cookies won’t spread as much. That’s an easy fix for next time. I also recommend removing 2-3 Tablespoons of oats from the recipe. They’ll definitely spread out nicely.

  29. Elena Minichiello says:

    I’ve made these cookies 4 times in <4 weeks. I have a friend who has a dairy allergy so on a whim I substituted coconut oil for the butter (and left the icing off half the batch). They are amazing. And so easy! Brava, Sally!

  30. Hi Sally- I have wanted to make these ever since they were posted. Today I am finally doing it. If the taste of the dough is any indication, they are gonna be amazing. They just look so old-fashioned, like comfort food. Today is a snowy Michigan afternoon, perfect for baking. I’m only going to put a little zig zag of icing on, for health reasons.

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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