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!

Iced oatmeal cookies recipe

How to Make Iced Oatmeal Cookies… like a boss

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.

Soft-baked and spiced oatmeal cookies with vanilla icing on top! Old fashioned iced oatmeal cookies recipe on

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:

Grind up whole oats for old fashioned oatmeal cookies on

Oatmeal cookie dough and cookie scoop


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

Soft oatmeal cookies on

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!

Vanilla icing for oatmeal cookies on

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!

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!

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
  • ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon unsulphured or dark molasses1
  • 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. Ugh, Sally, wish you would have posted this yesterday; I just mailed a box of goodies this morning to my daughter in who is in Chile today. I was searching for a cookie that would keep fresh longer and ended up sending homemade candy instead. Oh well, guess that means more cookies for her little brothers as I’m definitely making these this weekend! (Somehow I don’t think they’ll mind…and they like to taunt their sister when video chatting, especially when they’re eating your brownies!!!) I will, however, be a nice Mom and throw some dough balls in the freezer for when she returns in for 5 days in January! Savor every minute you have with your daughter, cause this is what happens when they grow up, and it happens WAY too fast!

    1. How sweet to mail her a care package! Enjoy making these- and enjoy your time with your daughter when she returns! I hope you all enjoy these cookies 🙂

      1. Hey Sally, the dough is chilling in the fridge as I’m writing this! So question for you….none of us are huge fans of vanilla extract/confectioner sugar glazes, any other glaze suggestions? I was thinking of a maple glaze….do you think that would work or would it be too sweet?

      2. Um, so like, guess what I had for breakfast this morning? Oatmeal is healthy, right???!!! And the verdict is in…these are DELISH, Sally! And you’re saying they taste better the second day? Somehow that doesn’t seem possible to me! The only issue I had is they spread a ton, but I think it’s because I may not have pulsed the oats enough. (They were chilled for 5 hrs.) Personally, I think they are just fine without icing. Thanks again, Sally for another great recipe!

  2. I love oatmeal cookies with icing on them I buy them all the time. Know with your wonderful recipe I will be making these lovely cookies this weekend. Thanks so much for sharing such a great cookie.

    1. Me too! I only eat oatmeal cookies with icing on them or it’s a no go. In the past, I’ve totally bombed all icings…..bleh. But I’m going to give myself another chance!

  3. I’ve always loved this type of cookie, Sally….but my previous recipe is definitely being replaced by yours!!!! I swear by you – thank you!!!! <3

  4. Ohh Sally!! Cookie Palooza never disappoints…these iced oatmeal cookies are pure nostalgia for me. I am so excited to make this homemade version of one of my favorite childhood cookies!

  5. 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!

  6. I thought I had my recipes all planned out for Christmas baking this year, but I knew you might whip out something during Cookie Palooza that would change my mind. Must find a way to fit this one in!

  7. My daughter loves Iced Molasses cookies but we can’t find them in the stores any more. Your soft molasses cookies are wonderful, but the ones she used to get look more like this. Is there a way to adapt one of them?

    1. Hi Carolee! Are you trying to make oatmeal molasses cookies? I suggest adding a little more molasses to this cookie recipe– increasing to 1/4 cup and reducing vanilla to 1/2 teaspoon may be OK. That’s where I would start. Make sure you chill the cookie dough for 1 hour because it will be stickier with the added molasses.

  8. Sally, I can’t wait to try these!! Iced oatmeal cookies were my absolute favorite as a kid & I’ve yet to find a good recipe to make them at home. I know yours will be awesome, giving them a try this weekend!

  9. Ah!! These are one of my husband’s FAVORITE store bought cookies! He doesn’t like a lot of very sweet cookies or chocolate ones (blasphemy, lol), and these are really hard to find at stores near us. I am SO happy to see this recipe! These are going on the cookie baking list for sure!

  10. 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,

  11. Love how these look so classic!!! I’m excited I have the medium cookie scoop too, so I’m set to make these!

  12. 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.

  13. So excited to try these! They were my favorite cookies as a kid, but now as adult they don’t taste fresh at all when you get them from the store. I can only imagine a homemade Sally recipe will be so much better!

  14. 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!

  15. 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!

  16. 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!

  17. 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

  18. 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!

  19. 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!

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

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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