Crispy Crunchy Oatmeal Cookies

December  7, 2014
4 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
  • Makes about 3 dozen small cookies
Author Notes

My diet at home as a child was a study in extremes. My mother, who loves nothing more than a plate of vegetables, simply prepared, has always been an excellent cook, and both of my parents know and appreciate good food. They are also products of a post-war generation (and a WASP culture) that developed a certain reverence for packaged and processed foods.

So, while we typically ate less conservatively at home than most of my friends–vitello tonnato, artichokes vinaigrette, an authentic Thai curry with all of the accoutrements–we also had our share of liverwurst (or American cheese) sandwiches on Pepperidge Farm white bread, bologna and cottage cheese rollups, and Uneeda biscuits spread thickly with salted butter. I don't know what my parents would do without a Brisker to house the dozen or so partially eaten packages of crackers and cookies they like to keep around at all times. (Amanda will attest that no one can rival the breadth and variety of crackers that exists in my pantry; for this, I credit my parents 100%.)

But alongside the Mint Milanos and Leibniz butter biscuits, there were always homemade cookies in our cookie jar. My mother had a parade of recipes up her sleeve, each better than the last. I've written about her chocolate chip cookies, her peanut butter cookies, her chocolate meringue mushrooms, and her white chocolate snowflakes. And I finally got her to post her recipe for Secret Cookies after years of prodding.

One cookie I haven't yet covered here is a perfectly crisp oatmeal cookie, buttery and light, that was one of my favorites. I asked my mother recently if she had the recipe, and she said she couldn't remember where she'd gotten it (she hasn't made the cookies in many years). So I went on a hunt and found this recipe from America's Test Kitchen (via Mel's Kitchen Cafe), which produced a reasonable facsimile. There are very few ingredients; the cookies are basically oats held together with a lot of butter, and made crisp with a combination of white and light brown sugar.

I added a bit of cinnamon, since I remember that flavor from my childhood version, and cooked them for an extra minute or two to make sure they stayed crunchy throughout. I also made smaller cookies than the original recipe calls for. My mother's cookies were always on the smaller side, which I like for many reasons–not the least of which, it encourages having more than one.

When the first batch had cooled, I handed Clara a cookie to see what she would think. She loved the rich, buttery crunch (I thought she might) and we now keep a tin of them close by at all times. —Merrill Stubbs

What You'll Need
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  1. Heat the oven to 350° F and arrange a rack in the middle of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a standing mixer, or using handheld beaters, cream the butter and the two sugars until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the bowl and do the same with the vanilla.
  4. On low speed, add the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the oats by hand, mixing just until there are no remaining flour pockets.
  5. Form balls out of tablespoon-sized pieces of dough and place them 2 inches apart on the parchment-lined cookie sheets. Bake one sheet at a time for about 15 minutes, rotating once for even cooking. Let the cookies cool completely on the baking sheets for maximum crispness. The cookies will keep in an airtight container for a week.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Janice Clarke-Reiter
    Janice Clarke-Reiter
  • debra.luneau
  • BocaCindi
  • Kathryn R. Holmes/Monaghan
    Kathryn R. Holmes/Monaghan
  • Jodi Cummings
    Jodi Cummings

28 Reviews

Janice C. November 6, 2020
These are wonderfully crunchy oatmeal cookies! They're delicious as is or with the addition of toasted pecans and craisins. My granddaughters love them!
Donna P. December 23, 2017
I have made this recipe many times and it has been my go to for crispy oatmeal cookies. I add craisins (one cup) for a little bit of sweet/tart that makes them really really yummy (I'm not a fan of raisins so I always use craisins instead). I use convection bake and I have an amazing AllClad baking sheet that never ever burns my cookies - they come out truly crunchy when I follow the recipe exactly. Last time I made them I decided to use a full two sticks of butter rather than just 14 tablespoons - I think they tasted even better with the extra butter (but that's my preference) It did not change the crisp level when I did this. I agree with the person who recommended you follow the recipe exactly the first time you make it then adjust to your preferences. Enjoy!
debra.luneau October 30, 2016
These cookies were delicious, but not crisp. They puffed in the centre, and we softish.
Anita B. January 28, 2016
Great recipe for crispy cookies! I used only a cup of sugar and can probably take it down to 3/4 cup. Added some chocolate chips, it's an easy, simple and delicious recipe. Thanks!
BocaCindi November 8, 2015
I love these!! Used a small meatball scoop so it only made 28. Convection oven at 325 for 15 minutes. Perfect. I refrigerate cookies. I have eaten so many of these I'm embarrassed. Thank you for this recipe.
Cara C. July 10, 2015
These are WONDERFUL!!!!!
Kathryn R. May 25, 2015
I mixed up quite by accident the amount of soda and baking powder but it seems alright now(just had a taste!)I thought the amount of salt was excessive,clue me in as I lessened the amount please! They are cooling and golden brown,also I had no refined sugar so had to use dark brown organic sugar! Any comments are welcomed please! I guess the oats do not break down much in the oven! I am a good cook if you are wondering about me!??Just going through a bit in life and I thought I might distract myself preparing a new recipe! Thanks so much! Kathryn!
Jodi C. April 10, 2015
Beautiful cookie recipe! I added two specks of Maldon salt to the top of each cookie, and highly recommend trying it next time you make a batch.
cvillacarlos April 4, 2015
mmm. just made these. they are so yummy!
Mary March 17, 2015
These cookies are awesome. I agree that their simplicity is one of their best attributes - try recipe as written before deciding to add any chips or fruit. I don't think they need a thing! So crispy, but also a tender bite that almost has a juicy quality. Really delicious. And super quick and easy to make.
kari March 16, 2015
I use an old recipe from who knows where that calls for soaking the raisins in beaten eggs and vanilla for one hour. From another unknown source I now toast both the oatmeal and nuts before adding to the dough. Awesome cookies but how can you go wrong introducing butter to sugar, flour and oatmeal.
Nancy C. March 16, 2015
If I remember right, the America's Test Kitchen version had you melt the butter until the solids were just beginning to brown, then work the sugar into it, then into the batter. Or am I thinking of something else on ATK? In any event, what I just described will get you a very crisp texture and caramel taste. I loved the ATK, made it several times, can't wait to try this.
keg72 March 16, 2015
These were terrific! I have made them a couple of times. Once, I added chocolate chips, and I'm surprised to say that I definitely preferred the cookies without.
chris January 16, 2015
My husband requested oatmeal raisin cookies for his birthday. Yawn. I decided to branch out from the "vanishing" recipe on the back of the oatmeal box, and settled here. After triple-checking the amount of butter (hooyah!), and adding a half cup of golden raisins, I now have 36 perfectly crisp and crunchy cookies cooling on my counter. What a revelation: absolutely amazingly delicious. They won't last long enough to freeze.
Kylie December 17, 2014
These are amazing! Just wondering, how long do the cookies keep frozen for? And when I'm defrosting them, is there anything special I should do to keep them crispy? I made a whole batch (because well, why not) and I can't finish them!
Trine M. December 11, 2014
I think something in my comment went wrong. Maybe because of the smiley? Well.. I'm a cookie person too! There's always a way to improve them or to make a wonderful twist ny adding a new and tasty flavour. One of the things I bake the most, if you don't count the pancakes. And cookies is a nice little gift to give away for friends, family and neighbours!
Trine M. December 11, 2014
Looks delicious <3 I'm totally a cookie person too.. There's just so easy to make and you can always add new and tasty ingredients to give them a little twist :-) And, it's so simple and delicious to give away for friends, family and neighbours.
Susan W. December 9, 2014
I'm a chewy cookie person, but these will tickle the fancy of my grown daughter who is suffering through a winter in North Dakota while her fiance works in the oil fields for a year.
I think they'll travel well.
TaraP December 9, 2014
I loved these unembellished oatmeal cookies. Although it is tempting to jazz them up with add-ins, their beauty is in their simplicity.
Merrill S. December 9, 2014
Two T. December 9, 2014
Awesome- love crispy oatmeal cookies. Have you ever frozen the dough balls?
Merrill S. December 9, 2014
I haven't, no. Let me know if you try it! The baked cookies freeze well, though.
drbabs December 11, 2014
I make cookies similar to these (also adapted from ATK)

The dough balls freeze beautifully.
Two T. February 10, 2015
Yum! We loved these. I gave some to my mom and she kept asking if there was coconut in them. I have to think it's how nice and toasty the butter gets in the oven : ) I did freeze half the dough balls, baked them a few days later letting them sit out while the oven heated and adding a few minutes to the bake time. Good either way, and interestingly I liked both the fresh dough and frozen dough on day two (of the cookies being baked). That was when the crispiness was most prominent I thought.