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 COOKIE DOUGH SMELLS LIKE HEAVEN.

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

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

  • 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

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. 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.

Notes

  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.

155 Comments

  1. Hi Sally, love your recipes! I want to make these for my son and family. I only have salted butter and am limiting grocery trips during these challenging times. Will these work with salted butter?

    1. Hi Mary, You can use salted butter, just cut the added salt in the recipe in half.

  2. Best oatmeal cookies of life. I can’t stop eating them.

  3. I have been baking for years, and this is THE BEST oatmeal cookie recipe I have ever tried! Delicious!

  4. Hi Sally!

    These cookies turned out delicious! I followed the instructions to a T and overall, my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed them. My only struggle was with the texture. I was hoping for crispier edges but the whole cookies was pretty soft and chewy. I left in the over a little longer than the instructions on my second batch and the edges got browner, but not really crispy and the centers were still very, very soft. Any recommendations here? We LOVED these and I’ll be making more! I think I found my “comfort cookie” during these hard times. Thank you!

    1. Hi Victoria, I’m so glad you both enjoyed the taste of these cookies. Did you pulse the oats until they looked like the photo above? And did they spread in the oven? Hoping I can help you perfect them!

  5. Hi Sally, I was wondering what would happen if I added in some ground cloves, and if I did how much would you suggest adding? I just bought ground cloves and I really want to use them! Thanks for posting this recipe they look amazing! So excited to try!

    1. Hi Marcela, You can certainly try it! I recommend starting with 1/2 tsp. You can also search all of my recipes by ingredient, here are all of my Recipes with Cloves.

  6. Hi Sally, these cookies where absolutely amazing! The spices came through and the icing just added to it! They where delicious and I’ll definitely be making these again, thanks for the recipe!

  7. Great recipe! I wish the cookie itself had a tad more complexity but I could toast the oats beforehand or maybe do brown butter. Still, the cookies are delicious as is! I subbed a bit of rum and rum extract for the vanilla in the frosting.

  8. LOVE!! So excited these turned out. I made it with Gluten free flour and made exact to recipe Except – I added 1/2 tsp baking powder. I miss all the recipes I loved before GF ; one of which was my moms oatmeal gingersnaps and these are sooo like them! Most my GF cookies spread flat no matter what process I do and these came out just like the pictures! Beyond happy, and couldn’t keep my family away from them. Definately will be putting these in the folder to keep!

  9. Stephanie says:

    Let me start by saying: I don’t like oatmeal cookies. Never have. No reason. I like all of the ingredients individually, I just evidently don’t like them combined. Now, that being said, these are rapidly becoming my favorite cookie! I made them the first time because my husband requested oatmeal cookies… I’ve made them several times since because I absolutely love them!

  10. I am very excited to try this recipe! I want to add in some fresh grated ginger and am curious as to how much you would recommend adding?

    1. Hi Brittany! I haven’t tested this cookie recipe with fresh ginger. I wouldn’t use more than 1-2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger since its flavor is quite strong. However, feel free to test out different amounts based on what you’re looking for.

  11. These were fun and delicious. It’s a nice change up to the traditional oatmeal cookies. My father likes oatmeal cookies and liked these as well.

  12. Hi Sally, I made these iced oatmeal cookies. They were out of this world. Soft and chewy just the way I like them. I chilled the dough before baking. When I took the cookies out of the oven they were puffy and after sitting a few minutes on the tray, they flattened out. They kept their round shape, but became flat. I tried another recipe from another website for oatmeal cookies, but it did not have the soft moist texture that yours had. The other cookies baked up thick. I noticed that the other recipe called for a little baking soda and baking powder. I am going to use your recipe again and try using the baking soda and baking powder and see if that helps with keeping them thick. If it doesn’t work, I will still keep using your recipe. Thank you so much for sharing your recipes.

  13. This recipe is amazing. The cookies were made for my family, they were so soft and chewy. These cookies deserve everything. Plus you have the recipe to make the icing (which is amazing). I will definitely make these again.

  14. I made this recipe exactly as written and they are perfect! The texture, the color, flavor…. exactly what I was looking for. My husband isn’t big on iced cookies so I only iced half. They were great both ways. Got a little heavy handed on my first icing dunk but after that each one was beautiful. I’ve never been a great baker until your recipes so my family thanks you!

  15. I hadn’t had cookies like this in years as I avoid packaged cookies at all costs. And this definitely didn’t disappoint. I am not a huge fan of nutmeg usually but I think it really is an important ingredient for this recipe. Thank you so much, and sorry I didn’t even get a chance to take a photo, but I’ll definitely be making this again.

  16. Jadetheappleteen says:

    Love this recipe!!! I used honey instead of the molasses and it worked out just fine . The spices are just perfect and taste just like mothers oatmeal cookies! They stay chewy and soft for an entire week and taste just like autumn. Best oatmeal cookie recipe!

  17. The taste and consistency of these cookies were spot on. I made my icing with water instead of milk because I never have milk in the house & didn’t want to borrow 2 tbsps from my mom. 🙂 I could definitely see these winning awards, if you could keep yourself from eating them all. I suggest making 2 batches. 😉

  18. Awesome cookies!!!!!!!! I used a Gluten Free flour mix not sure if they would turn out but they were amazing . When I saw this recipe i new I had to try it . Thanks so much for posting this recipe.

  19. Can you add chopped pecans or walnuts to this recipe?

  20. These cookies were delicious and that little bit of nutmeg puts them over the top! However, my cookies spread out too thin. I didn’t make the icing because I knew it would be a struggle trying to dip them. I chilled the dough for an hour, kept it in the fridge between batches and used the weights you listed so I don’t know what happened. Maybe an elevation issue?

  21. I did NOT chill the dough – it was late and I wanted to finish them before bed. They didn’t spread very much – in fact, I wish they had spread more and I thought they would flatten a little as they cooled. Nonetheless, they were so soft, chewy with a delicious flavor! (I personally prefer thinner and crispier cookies, so I was hoping by not chilling them I’d get that, but my family loved them as is!) I may try them again with a smidge less flour to see if they’ll flatten a bit more. My icing was probably a tiny bit too thick…a couple of the softest cookies ‘stuck’ and started to collapse as I dipped the tops. Try making the icing as written above, dip a couple cookies to test, then add a teaspoon at a time til it’s just right.

  22. I definitely need to put these in the Christmas tin rotation. Would these be compatible sandwiched with marshmallow creme or marshmallow fluff? That store bought snack is my nephew’s favorite.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Skye, Yes you can use them for that! Or see exactly how we make Homemade Oatmeal Creme Pies.

  23. I would like to try these but only have a small cookie scoop that holds 1 tbsp of dough. Should I take a minute or two off the bake time for slightly smaller cookies?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jean, Yes the bake time will be slightly less for smaller cookies. Enjoy!

  24. Another delicious cookie recipe! First time making iced oatmeal cacpookies and these are so so much better than any other version of this cookie that I have ever had. Thanks for the recipe!

  25. These only lasted a day in my house! Will definitely be making them again, thank you for the recipe!

  26. So good!

  27. Hi Sally,

    Is there a dairy substitute I could use for the milk by chance?

    Thank you!!

    1. Hi Ashli, you can use nondairy milk instead.

  28. Hi Sally, I love you cookies recipes but I’ve being having issues with the oatmeal cookies coming out super flat. I refrigerate them use all the ingredients and not sure what I am doing wrong.

    1. Hi Jen, cookies over-spreading can be the result of a multitude of different things– even down to brands you’re using or weather. See my How to Prevent Cookies from Spreading post. I think some information there will be helpful, especially #7– adding a little extra flour to the dough.

  29. They are simple and perfect. These are both mine and my sons favorite cookie, so to find such a delicious recipe is AWESOME !!!

  30. Soft chewy & wonderful cookies

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