If you are looking for a recipe to make soft oatmeal cookies that are delicately crisp around the edges but nice and soft on the inside, this is it. These thick oatmeal cookies with a toffee-like flavor are easy to make using a mixing bowl and spoon. No electric mixer is needed!
When I started experimenting with this recipe, I was looking to create a cookie that was really packed with oatmeal flavor, was soft in the middle and slightly crispy around the edges, and remained thick after baking.
I experimented by making eight different batches of oatmeal cookies, starting with the recipe I used over on my Hungry Happenings blog to make Spider Infested Oatmeal Raisin Cookies for Halloween (delicious, but definitely crispy and chewy, not soft) before I found the perfect recipe to make soft oatmeal cookies.
In the end, I found that tweaking the Classic Chewy Oatmeal Cookies recipe from America's Test Kitchen gave me what I was looking for.
Their recipe calls for using 1 part melted butter (saturated fat) and 3 parts vegetable oil (unsaturated fat) in order to give the cookies a soft and chewy texture.
I have not found too many oatmeal cookie recipes that use oil, so I was skeptical at first but after baking a batch of the cookies, I realized this unusual ingredient does work to keep the cookies from being crispy or dry throughout.
The cookies had a very strong oat flavor but didn't have that buttery toffee-like flavor that I really wanted in my cookies, so I altered the ratio of butter to vegetable oil until I got the flavor profile that I desired.
How to get a thick soft cookie?
The oatmeal cookie recipe from ATK produced flat cookies that were crispy around the edges and chewy in the middle but I wanted these cookies to be thick instead of flat.
To ensure the cookies would not flatten out too much when baked, I could have added more flour, but that would have given them a cakey texture, so instead, I added ½ cup of additional oats. It worked perfectly to keep my cookies nice and thick plus it intensified the oaty flavor.
My final tweak was to increase the amount of cinnamon in the recipe to ¾ teaspoon so the cookies had a nice spice flavor. If you prefer a cookie with less spice, reduce the cinnamon to ¼ teaspoon.
More Cookie Recipes
- M&M Cookie Bars
- Chewy Chocolate Chip Cranberry Cookies
- Cake Mix Cookies
- Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (coming soon)
Let's make soft oatmeal cookies!
Soft Oatmeal Cookie Ingredients
- unsalted butter - You will melt the butter, so you don't have to worry about setting it out on your counter to soften it.
- You can melt the butter in the microwave or on the stove.
- The original recipe calls for browning the butter. I honestly could not taste enough of a difference in the flavor of the cookies made with browned butter, so I didn't bother with it in my final recipe.
- cinnamon - You'll use ¾ teaspoon of cinnamon which will get bloomed in the melted butter (mixing it into warm butter will enhance the flavor). You can add less if you prefer a more pronounced oat flavor.
- vegetable oil - The oil is a key ingredient for making soft oatmeal cookies.
- granulated sugar - This sugar will not only add sweetness but it will also encourage browning.
- brown sugar - I used dark brown sugar to give these cookies a more robust toffee flavor, but light brown sugar works fine too.
- egg/egg yolk - You will use 1 large egg and 1 egg yolk. The extra yolk adds extra moisture to the cookie and ramps up the rich flavor.
- vanilla - Always use pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste for the best flavor.
- all-purpose flour - The amount of flour in this recipe is lower than in most recipes and this lower amount keeps the cookies from having a cakey texture but it's needed to give the cookies structure.
- We always recommend you weigh your flour to get the most accurate measurement. If you measure it using cups, spoon the flour into the cup, then scrape across the top of the measuring cup to remove the excess.
- We assume 4.5 ounces (127.57 grams) per cup.
- salt - Use ¾ teaspoon of table salt to balance the sweetness in the cookies.
- baking soda - Just ½ teaspoon will give your cookies the rise that they need.
- old-fashioned rolled oats - Your cookies will have the best flavor and texture when you use old-fashioned rolled oats.
Quick oats are partially cooked then dried and cut into smaller pieces so they cook more quickly on the stove. You can use them to make these oatmeal cookies, but the texture will not be quite the same. You can see in the picture above, how different the cookies look when made with instant oats.
I would not suggest using steel-cut oats to make these oatmeal cookies. They won't cook the same as old-fashioned rolled oats. They would produce hard crunchy cookies.
These cookies are not gluten-free, but you can find gluten-free oatmeal cookie recipes online like this recipe from gluten-free on a shoestring.
To make gluten-free oatmeal cookies, you would need to use gluten-free flour and oats. Oats are naturally gluten-free but they may come in contact with grains that contain gluten during processing and production. So, you would need to shop for gluten-free oats to be sure they are 100% gluten-free.
How to make soft oatmeal cookies?
step 1 - mix the wet ingredients
- Melt the butter in the microwave for about 40-50 seconds on high power or in a small saucepan set over medium-low heat. You can brown the butter if you prefer, but it's not necessary.
- Stir the cinnamon into the hot butter and allow it to rest for about 30 seconds.
- Pour the mixture into a mixing bowl.
- Stir in the oil until blended, then add the granulated sugar and brown sugar, and mix until combined. The mixture will look gritty once blended together.
- Add the egg and egg yolk and vanilla and stir until mixed.
step 2 - stir in the dry ingredients
- Combine the flour, salt, and baking soda, then fold it into the wet ingredients.
- Stir in the old-fashioned rolled oats.
- raisins - Add 1 to 1 ½ cups of raisins to the cookie dough. I love these cookies packed with raisins so I opt for the larger amount.
- chocolate chips - Add 1 to 1 ½ cups or chocolate chips to the oatmeal cookie dough.
- walnuts - You can add ½ cup of chopped nuts to the cookie dough for a nutty crunchy texture. If you add nuts, you may want to limit the amount of raisins or chocolate chips so your total mixins do not go over 1 ½ cups.
- dried cranberries and orange zest - These cookies taste amazing with the addition of 1 cup of dried cranberries and the zest from one orange.
- dried cherries and white chocolate chips - Add ½ cup of each to make delicious cherry chip oatmeal cookies.
step 3 - scoop and bake your cookies
- Use a 2 tablespoon ice cream scoop to scoop out 20 portions of the oatmeal cookie dough.
- Place the dough balls onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets about 2 inches apart.
- Then use your hand to gently flatten the rounded tops of the cookies.
- Your cookies should be flat on top and about 1-inch thick. See the picture in the top right.
- Then bake in a 375-degree oven for 8-10 minutes.
The cookie pictured in the lower right of the image above just came out of the oven. You can see it looks slightly wet in the center, but when you touch the edges they have just begun to set.
If you overbake these cookies, they will be dry and crunchy instead of soft, so it's always good to keep an eye on the cookies in the last minute or so of baking time.
It's also important to make sure your oven is baking at the right temperature. We recommend placing an oven thermometer inside the oven to make sure your oven is heating to the correct temperature.