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

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.

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.

148 Comments

  1. Delicious

    1. Hello, I put 2 cups of pulsed oatmeal in my recipe instead of the 2 cups of Oatmeal stated in the recipe. Dough is to thick, is there anything I can add to get the correct consistency?

      Thank you – Mary Lou

  2. Rachel Sturma says:

    HI Sally! How about using oat flour in place of pulsing the oats (my kids like smoother cookies)? If so, how much oat flour? Is it a straight switch or maybe 1 3/4 cup oat flour? Thank you!

    1. Hi Rachel, Oat flour will be a little too thin– you really want the slightly pulsed oat texture. You could certainly test it with 1 and 3/4 cup oat flour (what I would try first), but I still fear your cookies may not spread properly.

      1. Rachel E Sturma says:

        Hi! I did try it yesterday with subbing oat flour with the exact weight you list for the oats (it did come out to about 1 3/4 cup oat flour) and they came out great and were a big hit with the family! Next time I will do the pulsed oats to see if there is a big difference. But still, huge win and delicious! Thank you once again!

  3. I’m wanting to try these as lactation cookies (so adding flax seed and brewers yeast). Would you have any suggestions on how to add in additional dry ingredients, without ruining the batter? Can I simply reduce that amount from the flour?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Katie! We actually have a recipe that is perfect for lactation cookies. Use these breakfast cookies and follow the directions in the blog post under the heading “Turn Them Into Lactation Cookies”. Hope you love them!

  4. probably the best cookie I’ve ever had!
    deliciousssssssssss 🙂

  5. Cookies were good, but I think the yield is off. I made half the recipe and got 2 dozen. Also, why use white sugar, brown sugar and molasses? Since brown sugar is white sugar + molasses, why not just use all brown sugar (or all white sugar + molasses)?

    1. Hi Ellen, while sweetening the dough, brown sugar and white sugar perform differently in cookie recipes. Brown sugar keeps cookies moist, chewy, and thick, while white sugar helps the cookies spread. It’s common to use a mix of both to produce chewy and thick cookies with decent spread. Molasses adds a little extra flavor.
      Regarding the yield, did you make them as large as instructed or smaller?

  6. Tried these, I am a cookie baker, to thin and frosting to sweet

    1. I love the flavor in these cookies. I have found my batches to be very moist. One question for clarification- should I measure the 2 cups of oats before or after pulsing in the food processor?

      I appreciate your recipes, many of which have become my “go to” standard.

      1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Beth! Thank you so much for your kind comment. For this recipe, you’ll want to measure the two cups of oats and then pulse.

  7. Cookie Monster says:

    Hi sally I have a question before I start.Do u have to use molasses?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Molasses adds that homemade old-fashioned flavor, but you can leave it out. Maple syrup would be a lovely substitution.

  8. I know this is going to sound weird, but I don’t have a food processor and I need these done fast, So could I use a blender instead?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Morgan! A blender should work just fine. Enjoy!

  9. My cookies didn’t flatten. I followed the recipe, they do taste good but I wanted it to be thinner.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ida! When cookies aren’t spreading, it usually means that there’s too much dry ingredient (flour or oats) soaking up all the liquid. When measuring flour and oats, 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. If you are ever in the middle of baking a batch and the cookies still aren’t spreading, remove them from the oven, and use a spoon to slightly flatten them out before returning them to the oven. Hope this helps!

      1. Thanks for quick response. I will definitely try doing that on with the rest of the batch tomorrow

  10. Frances Delwiche says:

    Is it true there is no baking powder in this recipe (Only baking soda)?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Frances, this recipe is correct as written– the recipe lists 1 teaspoon of baking soda (we do not use baking powder here). Hope you’ll give these a try!

  11. These were so good. I had the best results refrigerating my dough overnight. When I’m searching for a recipe and your site comes up in Google, I always choose your recipes they all turn out great! Thanks for all the delicious treats!

  12. Delicious and they look so similar to the store bought but with about 10 times more flavor! I will definitely make these again.

  13. New favorite cookie

  14. Fantastic! Made exactly as written, except instead of dunking the cookie tops in the icing, I took a butter knife and spread it on, which was less messy for me. They really had the perfect flavor and texture, thanks to processing the oats a bit and the addition of molasses. The flavor gets even better after a day or two. Thanks for the recipe!

  15. Hi Sally !
    I’m new to your site, and between what I gave baked of your recipes,the comments,and then your detailed “notes” I KNOW this will be a 5 STAR recipe!
    BTW: thank you for the notes you include,it really is a huge help!

    So my question is about the 2 eggs required.
    I have JUMBO size or MEDIUM. Which would you use?

    Thank you again!
    Lisa

    1. Hi Lisa! If you do not have large eggs, the next best choice for this particular cookie dough would be 2 medium eggs. No other changes necessary.

  16. Hey Sally,

    I’ve made these for a few years since I found your recipe. Everyone loves them, I only get half of them frosted because they fly off the cooling racks before I get a chance. So I finally decided to try to adjust and make them gluten free so I could enjoy them as well. All I did was substitute exact amount of regular flour with all purpose gluten free baking flour and used gf oats. They were amazing. My family loved them as well, ate them as quickly as the original recipe. Thank you very much, it’s hard to find great recipes you can adapt to gluten free.

  17. Don’t change one thing about this recipe, well maybe double it! It’s absolutely perfect! This is requested time and again by friends and family! Love it!

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