Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

September 20, 2011

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: The oatmeal part of the recipe comes from "Ruth's Oatmeal Crisps," winner of the 1966 Kentucky State Fair cookie contest. I added cocoa, chocolate and walnuts, and left the golden raisins and pecans on the cutting room floor. The shortening makes this a super crisp cookie. Seek out organic shortening.Amanda Hesser

Makes: about 60 cookies


  • 1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup organic vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup regular rolled oats
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped dark chocolate
  • 1 cup chopped toasted walnuts
In This Recipe


  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
  2. Beat the shortening and sugars in a large bowl just enough to blend well. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until thoroughly mixed. Add the oats and chocolate, and mix again. Add the flour mixture, mixing well. Stir in the nuts.
  3. Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls onto the parchment-lined baking sheets, 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake until toasted on the edges but still moist in the center, about 12 minutes. Transfer to racks to cool.

More Great Recipes:
Cookie|American|Oat|Oatmeal|Chocolate|Make Ahead|Serves a Crowd|Vegetarian|Dessert

Reviews (58) Questions (5)

58 Reviews

Ann-Marie D. April 6, 2016
Sorry, am a bit afraid of shortening? Why is shortening being used instead of butter? (It makes the cookie not fall flat?)
Emily January 6, 2017
They're cookies, not granola bars. "Organic" or "non-GMO" shortening will do zip to make them "healthful." Live a little.
Maia B. March 2, 2014
Would Earth Balance baking sticks work as shortening?
maryke February 20, 2014
I made these last night but tweaked it a bit (quite a bit!). Left out chocolate and nuts (it being month end after a VERY long month) and added just under a cup of coconut. Also cut back on the sugar and substituted shortening with sunflower oil. Came out delicious and my kids LOVE it (and I do too :))
LynneT January 26, 2014
OMG these are outstanding! I'll make these again and again.
Patricia B. December 15, 2013
This may seem like a pretty dumb question, especially for experienced bakers, but could someone please clarify "shortening" for baking? Does it mean Crisco, canola oil, butter, olive oil, what???
Sarah C. December 15, 2013
Not a dumb question. It means Crisco, but you can use other fats instead. It might make the cookie flatter is all. Sometimes, if you want it JUST LIKE the picture, you should go exactly as they say, but I use what is healthiest (I'm gonna be eating it). Canola oil.
Author Comment
Amanda H. December 15, 2013
Hi Patricia, Sarah is right -- shortening means something like Crisco. But there are other varieties of shortening -- for instance, Spectrum shortening is non-hydrogenated and is made with palm oil:
Smaug September 11, 2016
Strictly speaking, shortening is any fat used to shorten a pastry- could be butter, margarine, Crisco, anything. Unfortunately, the word has become identified with Crisco, though the term "vegetable shortening" for that is a description of it's intended use, not a name. Another fine old word- for which there's no good substitute- being allowed to die through sloppy usage.
Patricia B. December 15, 2013
Recipe for Ruth's Oatmeal Crisps, please?
Sarah C. December 8, 2013
I made it replacing the white sugar with a Truvia blend. Fine, except it seems the Truvia cooks a tad faster. Take off two minutes and you are good. Also, I used canola oil, not shortening, and a little more oats, no nuts. Still great.
maryw.s. September 9, 2013
Don't be afraid of shortening, people!
Kerry J. July 9, 2013
Made a half batch of these last night using unsalted butter instead of shortening because I didn't have any. They were still amazingly delicious! As you pointed out, I think the roughly chopped dark chocolate is what makes these so yummy and gooey. Mine did turn out looking brown like chocolate cookies rather than the picture, so I'm guessing maybe that has to do with using butter instead of shortening? Or, perhaps the kind of cocoa powder I used? Will try again soon with shortening.
adele93 March 2, 2013
would unsalted butter work as a substitute for the shortening?
Randi August 27, 2012
We are a nut-free home. Would you add anything to replace nuts, or just leave them out?
Author Comment
Amanda H. August 27, 2012
You can just leave them out -- no problem. And I think that's a better way to go than adding anything else. Although if the cookies are not for children, gin- or run-soaked raisins are great in chocolate and oatmeal cookies.
Mianna April 2, 2012
Yummy, these were perfect. Thanks for so many good recipes.
aussiefoodie March 10, 2012
I don't have any dark chocolate... Has anyone tried these as a white chocolate chip/pistachio cookies? Thinking I will out the cocoa, but not sure how the oats will go with white chocolate?
Author Comment
Amanda H. March 10, 2012
Hope you'll try it and report back -- sounds good!
aussiefoodie March 10, 2012
I tested it out - substituted dark chocolate for 1 cup white chocolate chips and walnuts for 1 cup chopped pistachios. I omitted the cocoa and instead used 1 3/4 cup All Purpose flour. I used 1 scant cup brown sugar, loosely packed. The key difference is the white chocolate adds a lot of sweetness, so next time I would probably used 3/4 cup brown sugar (loosely packed). But they have worked out great - I like the texture from the oatmeal. I probably over-cooked them slightly (I need to remember they keep cooking on the tray out of the oven) as I would like them a little more chewy. Great recipe! Thanks! I look forward to testing with dark chocolate.
Author Comment
Amanda H. March 10, 2012
Great -- thanks for the follow up. Hadn't thought about the white chocolate sweetness issue. Makes sense.
sharli13 March 6, 2012
just took them out of the oven...this is just not fair....they are unbelievably without a doubt indisputably incredible.....I have to get away from this's driving me insane..all I want to do is are just wonderful....on the other hand....don't stop....:)
sharli13 March 6, 2012
just put them in the oven....scoop size....will report shortly....
sharli13 March 6, 2012
just put them in the oven....scoop size....will report shortly....
em-i-lis January 29, 2012
These are AMAZING!
Author Comment
Amanda H. January 29, 2012
Glad you think so. Thanks for the report back.
lschrive January 12, 2012
Beautifully snow day - so my daughter helped me make these today. She was very glad to not have to wait and let the butter come up to room temperature as it is shortening recipe. Everything turned out well - and I love the crispy yet chewy texture. Will definitely toss this recipe into the cookie rotation. Thanks! <br />
DanaYares January 8, 2012
This is a wonderful cookie. I made it just as the recipe says and they turned out great!
mdonovan33 November 22, 2011
I've been wanting to make these for a while and with company coming for Thanksgiving, I thought I'd make a batch. They were an absolute DISASTER!! I took the advice of others and did half butter/half shortening, but otherwise followed the recipe to the letter. The cookies came out of the oven as one giant, flat cookie. They certainly don't look like the picture! Are they supposed to be that flat? I chilled the dough after the first batch, and that helped a bit, but I also found the flavor lacking. They have both cocoa and chocolate, yet all I taste is oatmeal! <br />A VERY disappointing recipe.
Author Comment
Amanda H. November 24, 2011
Very sorry you had a bad experience, but it's not fair to change a recipe and then blame the recipe! I've made this many times with all shortening and the photo you see above is what it looks like -- because that is one of the batches I made and that photo was taken in my apartment in Brooklyn. Still, I don't want you to have a bad experience. I gather that butter contains more moisture than shortening so I'm wondering if this extra moisture is what caused your cookies to spread.
mdonovan33 November 26, 2011
Amanda, you're absolutely right. I should not criticize the recipe after changing ingredients and I most humbly apologize. There's another oatmeal-chocolate chip cookie I make that has half butter/half shortening and I thought I could make the same substitution here. I will try this again, with all shortening, and hopefully they'll hold some shape. As I said, I was making them for house guests, and when I pulled them out of the oven, I was so disheartened by how they looked that I wrote the above comment in anger. On the plus side, I've taken these "lace" cookies and used them to make really tasty ice cream sandwiches!
Author Comment
Amanda H. November 26, 2011
How thoughtful of you to write back! And glad there was a silver lining -- ice cream sandwiches sound great! Hope the next batch works out better.