Old fashioned iced oatmeal cookies are a hearty whole grain cookie, warmly spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, and very lightly frosted.
Why you’ll love it: What’s not to love about a frosted oatmeal cookie? You’ll love this easy recipe.
How long it takes: 20 minutes to prep, a few hours to chill, and 12 minutes per batch to bake
Equipment you’ll need: large mixing bowl, electric mixer (optional), cookie sheet
Servings: makes 54 cookies
These iced oatmeal cookies are a family favorite and a classic cookie. If you like store-bought iced oatmeal cookies (Archway is a popular brand), I’d definitely recommend trying this recipe because, you know I’m going to say it!, homemade cookies are so much BETTER!
We love oatmeal cookies in any shape or form: chewy oatmeal raisin cookies and crispy coconut oatmeal cookies are two of our favorites. These iced oatmeal cookies are soft and chewy and the thin layer of frosting gives them a sugary crunch that is just right. It’s the best of both worlds.
While freshly made cookies are welcome anytime of the year, these cookies are nice for the approaching cooler months. They are perfect for lunchboxes and go great with a glass of milk or a cup of coffee or tea.
Iced oatmeal cookies are easy to make. Even my husband loves these and he’s not a big oatmeal cookie fan. He prefers chewy chocolate chip cookies. He’s so traditional but I give him kudos for always trying everything I make, at least once.
About This Recipe
Oatmeal cookies are a fairly healthy choice because they are made with rolled oats and whole wheat flour. Whole grains make them hearty and filling, with extra nutritional value.
I personally love what whole wheat flour does for cookies. They have a great texture and are better for you. However, sometimes whole wheat flour can make the cookie a little too dense and heavy. I like to combine all-purpose flour with the whole wheat to lighten things up a bit.
This recipe makes a pretty big batch of cookies, four and a half dozen. Consider bringing a plate of cookies to someone who needs a little cheering up or a neighbor who you haven’t seen in awhile. The cookies freeze well too.
I’ll get you started on your cookie making right here and give you some helpful tips. Look for the printable recipe card near the bottom of the post. It has complete instructions, measurements, and nutrition information.
What You’ll Need
- Quick Oats: We’ve tested this recipe with both quick oats and rolled oats. Both are fine but we thought the texture of the cookies was slightly better with quick oats.
- Whole Wheat Flour & All-Purpose Flour: Use a 1:1 ratio (half and half) for the best textured cookies. If you prefer to use all whole wheat flour or no whole wheat flour, that’s up to you. The cookies will turn out fine. I usually store my whole wheat flour in the fridge so it stays fresh longer.
- Granulated White Sugar & Brown Sugar: Again, a half and half combination of sugars yields the best oatmeal cookies. They each have unique qualities that contribute to good flavor and texture.
- Butter: Choose unsalted butter for baking and remember to take it out of the refrigerator an hour or two in advance so it has a chance to soften. Rock hard butter is impossible to blend into cookie dough.
- Eggs: You’ll need a couple of eggs.
- Vanilla Extract: Look for pure vanilla extract in the baking aisle. It is vanilla in liquid form.
- Cinnamon: Ground cinnamon enhances the sweet warm flavor of oatmeal cookies.
- Nutmeg: If you can, use freshly grated nutmeg not pre-ground nutmeg. Do it once and you’ll never go back, I promise. All you need is a microplane and nutmeg. It has the best smell and taste ever, so worth the small extra step it requires.
- Baking Powder, Baking Soda, and Salt: These are typical cookie ingredients that are added for leavening and seasoning.
- Confectioners’ Sugar/Powdered Sugar: This finely ground sugar is used for the icing.
- Milk: You’ll need just a couple tablespoons of milk to get the right consistency for the icing.
How To Make These Cookies
Measure the dry ingredients and place them into a medium sized mixing bowl: oats, both kinds of flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Whisk lightly until combined.
How To Measure Flour
A common mistake is to use the measuring cup to scoop the flour out of the storage container. The flour packs into the cup, resulting in too much flour added to the dough. Instead, lightly spoon the flour into the measuring cup, leveling it off with a flat edge, such as a table knife. Don’t shake the flour down to level it.
Be sure to use a measuring cup that is made for dry measure, not liquid.
Measure out the white sugar and the brown sugar. Brown sugar should be packed down into the measuring cup. Place the sugar in a large mixing bowl along with the softened butter. Using an electric mixer, whip the sugar and butter together until the mixture is light and fluffy. You can do this by hand if you prefer.
Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat them into the mixture until they are completely incorporated. Stir in the vanilla.
Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and stir well until just combined. Over mixing the dough may result in tough cookies. Cover the dough and refrigerate it for a few hours.
When you’re ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven. Use a cookie scoop or tablespoon to form the dough balls. Place them evenly spaced on the cookie sheet, allowing room for them to spread.
Bake the cookies just until they are firm in the centers, 12 to 13 minutes for a chewy cookie. If you prefer a crispier cookie, bake them a couple of minutes longer. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for a few minutes before using a spatula to transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Meanwhile, blend the powdered sugar with the milk, adding the milk in small increments, until the icing is just the right consistency. It should be fairly thin.
There’s a little trick to icing the cookies if you want to get the signature look of iced oatmeal cookies. Hold each cookie upside down in your fingers and gently dip the top side into the icing. After you dip the cookie, give the cookie a half turn and lift it out of the icing, letting any excess drip off.
Don’t worry if you don’t get the trick right away. It’s not a deal-breaker. If you dip the top of the cookie in too far, the surface will be completely covered with frosting (but it will have more icing, so it’s not a terrible thing!).
Return the cookie to the wire rack until the icing solidifies completely.
Oatmeal cookies are a healthier choice than other cookies because they contain oats and whole wheat flour, both of which have nutritional value. However, they also have plenty of sugar and butter which puts them into a “once in awhile” category. Enjoy them as small part of a well-balanced diet.
Refrigerating cookie dough before baking is a common practice. Two things happen: the butter solidifies so the cookies don’t spread too much; and the flour is hydrated. In the case of oatmeal cookies, the dry oats have a chance to become hydrated as well.
Quick oats and rolled oats are pretty interchangeable in cookies. You won’t notice a lot of difference in the end result, especially if you chill the dough. Do not use instant oats which are more finely ground and often contain added ingredients. Steel cut oats will not work in cookies either.
Make It Your Own
Give your cookies a non-traditional twist by adding a flourish or two of your own!
- Substitute a couple of teaspoons of finely grated orange zest for the spices.
- Add a half cup of raisins or currants to the dough.
- Stir in mini chocolate chips.
There are a few ways you can make these cookies ahead. Baked cookies keep well and you can freeze them, too. Cookie dough can be either refrigerated or frozen. See the tips below.
To store baked cookies: When cookies have completely cooled, transfer them to an airtight container. They will keep on the counter for at least a week, in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks, or in the freezer in a freezer safe container for up to six months.
To store cookie dough: Wrap it securely and refrigerate for three to five days. To freeze, wrap and put into a freezer safe container for up to 2 months. If you prefer, roll the dough in balls before freezing. Freeze the individual dough balls separately on a tray for an hour or until they are firm, then transfer to a freezer safe container. You can bake them right from the freezer, adding a minute or two to the baking time.
- 1 ½ cups quick oats (rolled oats will work too)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (or ground nutmeg)
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup light brown sugar (lightly pack into measuring cup)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk
- In a mixing bowl, mix together oats, flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg until combined.
- Using a stand mixer and paddle attachment or electric mixer, whip butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until pale and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add eggs one at a time; mix until incorporated, add vanilla.
- Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Cover and refrigerate dough for at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, if desired.
- Scoop dough by heaping tablespoons and roll (roughly) into a ball. Place on baking sheet and bake for 12 to 13 minutes. Cookies will not be browned. If you prefer a crisper cookie, bake 1 to 2 minutes longer.
- Cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Make Icing: In a shallow bowl, blend together powdered sugar and milk. Add just enough milk so that you’re able to dip the cookies in and have the icing stick to the cookies. It should be thick but not too thick.
- Dip tops of cookies lightly in icing, giving them a little twist, and return them to wire rack. Tops of cookies should be lightly iced, with some cookie showing through. Allow icing to set before storing in an airtight container.
- Cookies can be stored at room temperature for up to a week; in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
- The all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour can be added in any ratio. You can use 100% of either flour.
- To store cookie dough: Wrap it securely and refrigerate for three to five days. To freeze, wrap and put into a freezer safe container for up to 2 months. If you prefer, roll the dough in balls before freezing. Freeze the individual dough balls separately on a tray for an hour or until they are firm, then transfer to a freezer safe container. You can bake them right from the freezer, adding a minute or two to the baking time.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.