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.
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!
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
- 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.
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:
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.
How to Ice Oatmeal Cookies
There are two tricks to icing oatmeal cookies.
- 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.
- 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!
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!
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
Iced Oatmeal Cookies
- Prep Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
- Cook Time: 12 minutes
- Total Time: 2 hours
- Yield: 28 cookies
- 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 (170g) 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
- 1 and 1/2 cups (180g) sifted confectioners’ sugar*
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1.5 – 2 Tablespoons milk
- 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.
- Whisk the pulsed oats, flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- 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.
- 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.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.
- 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.
- Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | Glass Mixing Bowls | Cookie Scoop | Baking Sheet | Silpat Baking Mat | Cooling Rack | Ninja Food Processor
- 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.
- Molasses: 1 Tablespoon of molasses helps give these cookies incredible flavor. If you don’t have any, use pure maple syrup instead.
- Confectioners’ Sugar: Sift confectioners’ sugar before measuring.
Keywords: Iced Oatmeal Cookies
Reader Comments & Reviews
It’s hard to eat just one! All my kids and my husband love them! I needs to make another batch to share, bc these are almost gone! I don’t normally review recipes, but this one was worth the effort.
I love your Iced Oatmeal Cookie recipe. I don’t make oatmeal cookies often, however, I plan to make your recipe often!!! These oatmeal cookies are divine!! Made these for an outing, and my guests wanted to take them home!! Success!!
These are my family’s favorite cookie. My grandson gives them a 10 out of 10.
these came out amazing!
Instead of liquid molasses can I use molasses cane sugar in place of the 1 cup of dark brown sugar? I am in the UK in case you’re unfamiliar with molasses sugar.
Hi Pam, we haven’t tested that exact substitution, so we’re unsure of the results. If you decide to give it a try, know that the results may be a bit different than intended. Let us know if you do any experimenting!
These are truly wonderful and I can see them being on regular rotation. It’s amazing what a difference in texture resulting from pulsing the oats. It’s possible that I accidentally on purpose dropped in a bit of chopped tart dried cherries and some finely chopped callebaut milk chocolate and a touch of dark chocolate shavings…
Sounds delicious, Kris!
I couldn’t wait to try this recipe. The store bought version of these were always in my mom’s “cookie drawer”. She would have loved these homemade ones! They are delicious and will be a family favorite.
Could I make these with brown butter like your pumpkin oatmeal cookies? I love those so much, but don’t really want to add the pumpkin when it’s not quite as in-season. Could I make these but with brown butter and a couple extra spices?
Hi Becky, absolutely! Just be sure to bring the browned butter back to solid form before using, so that it can be properly creamed with the sugars. Let us know how it goes!
These are really good cookies
Well…I thought I had the best oatmeal cookie recipe and have continued to make it through the years. Today ended that! This will be my new oatmeal cookie recipe with or without the icing…both ways absolutely delicious! You did it AGAIN Sally! Recipe written perfectly and came out exactly like your pictures! Thank you Sally!
What if I have neither molasses nor mayple syrup? Could I use honey instead?
Hi Johana, you can use honey instead. (They are wonderful with molasses, if you can pick up a jar if you make them again!)
I just made this recipe for the 2nd time and while the cookies are soooo good, I keep having trouble with the icing. The recipe is correct in saying it’s impossible to mix up, but adding another tablespoon of milk isn’t enough either. I have to add several more tablespoons of milk (like 4-5) just to get it to mix up, then I have trouble dipping the cookies. Some of my cookies bend and break in half when dipped in the icing because it’s so thick. I ended up using a spoon and just drizzling/spreading the icing on. So they don’t look the pretties but they taste amazing!
Best cookies EVER! MJust like every one of Sally’s recipes I have tried, it turned out perfectly! Thank you, Sally !
This recipe is amazing. My family inhaled them. The flavor is so flipping delish! Is there any way to make them more crispy? Ya know, like the store package kind? I love the crunch and can never find a recipe that comes close. ♥️
Could I add raisins to this recipe?
Hi Sharon, you can follow this recipe and add 1 and 1/2 cups of raisins.
I love all your recipes and anxious to make this one. I don’t have a food processor, will popping the oats in a blender be okay?
Hi Connie, a few pulses in the blender should work well. Hope you enjoy the cookies!
By far the best oatmeal cookies I’ve ever tasted!! You never disappoint. Followed the recipe exactly. Everyone is in heaven!
This is the best oatmeal cookie recipe I have ever tried. My husband said if he didn’t know me better he wouldn’t believe they were homemade and not from a bakery. Mine turned out looking exactly like yours. Once again your recipe was a big hit with my family. Unfortunately I am on a diet so couldnt eat as many as I would like. I did the math. The recipe made 43 cookies. 83 calories each. If iced a speck less than 100 calories. A perfect snack. Bonus to this recipe is they smell just like sweet feed. Brought back good memories of feeding on the farm when I was younger. Much younger. Thanks so much for this recipe.
I love your recipes, I’ve learned so much!
I’m making these now but wondered if I could use royal icing instead? I have a bag of it sitting in my freezer and I’d love to use it up.
These were fantastic! Made them for a New Years party and everyone LOVED them. I’ve tried other oatmeal cookie recipes which never really turned out but this one was perfect. I did everything exactly as written. Thanks, Sally!
Just got done making these cookies, followed the recipe to a “T” , and they look nothing like the photos. Hubs likes them, which is what’s important since he loves oatmeal cookies and they’re for him, but they came out fat and lumpy. What did I do wrong? Gave 5 stars for taste and ease of recipe.
Hi Kat! How did you measure the flour? Too much flour in the dough can lead to thick cookies. Make sure to spoon and level (instead of scooping) to avoid packing in too much flour into your measuring cups – or use a kitchen scale. You can read more about properly measuring baking ingredients in this post.
This just happened with me, we accidentally used a 3/4 cup and used it thinking it was a 1/2 cup so the amount of flour was I think 1 cup over. They came out rounded instead of flat. They taste really good still though. Thank you for mentioning this!
These will be your new favorite cookie! They are seriously amazing. I made them for Thanksgiving and Christmas this year!!
Made these over the Holidays and they were excellent. Everyone should remember to just spend a couple of dollars and go buy a new box of baking soda & baking powder before starting your baking. Mine says it was good for a couple of more years, but only the freshest products will bake up nice and puffy (without spreading out!). Highly recommend this recipe!
Got lots of good reviews at our annual holiday potluck. These would be great for both thanksgiving and Christmas.
How will these turn out if I don’t have a stand mixer? I only have an electric hand mixer, no paddle.
Hi Sarah, these should still work with your hand mixer. Enjoy!
I’ve made these a couple of times and they’re always good. Today i made them and accidentally used Mexican vanilla, which tastes incredible usually but I don’t like to use it in recipes where you want a certain flavour to come through. They’re still good, but I don’t get the spices and molasses as much, so stock with regular vanilla… oh well, they’ll still be gone by end of day
My cookie scoop is smaller than 1-1/2 tablespoons, and I got 48 cookies that are two inches (?) across. They’re very tasty! I was forced to eat one because it broke when I was dragging the loaded paper over the lip of the tray onto a cooling rack because I only have one half sheet pan (woe is me!) I have the last tray in the oven now, and I’m so excited to get them iced! I’m looking at my small kitchen though, wondering how I’m going to achieve this feat given they have to be spread out to dry. Such problems!
Technical question: The ingredients indicate two cups/180 grams of oats. I just have regular old oats – not instant, not steel cut – just plain old regular oats. My 180 grams came out to 1-3/4 cups of oats. Two cups of oats was something like 217 grams.
I didn’t know what to do, so I sort of split the difference. I used 180 grams plus a splash more. The cookies are lovely, the dough seemed fine (I kept it refrigerated while the filled tray was in the oven), but I’d love to know for next time.
Hi Karen! So I usually get about 85g per 1 cup of whole rolled oats, the amount is actually 170g for 2 cups. That is how the recipe was tested. It’s fine if you added a few more. I think 217g would be entirely too much, and the cookies may not spread with the extra dry ingredient amount.
These cookies were such a hit in my household this christmas season! I had to keep making more batches 🙂
Can I use steel-cut oats?
Hi Tyler, steel cut oats are too coarse for cookies usually. We recommend sticking with old-fashioned whole rolled oats for best texture.
Sally. Sally, Sally, Sally.
I accidentally made this cookie when I meant to make your Gingerbread Oatmeal Iced Cookies. But maybe it wasn’t really an accident and the Universe was just working its magic. This is, quite frankly, the best oatmeal cookie I’ve ever eaten, let alone made. I’m actually sad that I’m choosing to share these cookies with coworkers. I followed your directions precisely. Baked for 11 mins. Added the extra TBSP of milk to the icing. Perfection (and I live at 5300ft elevation). Thank you for making my entire holiday
Like everything, you can rely on these being good the first try. Her recipes typically have icing left over and this one does not. Also, they don’t need to be 1.5 tablespoons to make a decent sized cookie; they are fluffy.
Her page has a lot of ad’s, which is a change. Either way, delish cookie!
I love your website in general. For your readers, I make all your recipes vegan. We have an egg allergy so I substitute each egg for 1/4 cup of pumpkin puree. These came out wonderful! I hardly need to alter anything else when I do my substitution in your recipes. Thank you!