The Pantry Cookies Recipe

March 25, 2015
12 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes About 20 cookies
Author Notes

A couple of notes: 1) This recipe calls for melted butter, partly for reasons of convenience (no waiting for butter to soften) but mostly because melted butter makes for a chewier cookie that spreads more. If you want a more cakey cookie with some height, don’t melt the butter; cream it along with the sugars and the egg. 2) My version of this cookie includes toasted pecans, dried cranberries, and chocolate chips. But your version may be different. Try almonds and dried apricots, or walnuts and dried cherries, or pistachios and dried figs. Or sunflower and pumpkin seeds in place of the nuts. Or a heath bar in place of the chocolate chips. It’s an accommodating host of a recipe. —Nicholas Day

What You'll Need
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
  • 2/3 cup white or whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped (or other toasted nuts or seeds)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (or other dried fruit, chopped if large)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (or other chips, or chopped chocolate)
  1. Heat the oven to 350° F. Lightly butter a baking sheet or line it with parchment.
  2. Melt the butter on the stove or in the microwave. Set it aside briefly to cool. In a bowl, mix together the flour, oats, salt, and baking soda. Set it aside too.
  3. Using a standing mixer with a whisk attachment, or a large mixing bowl and a whisk, thoroughly beat the egg with the sugars and the vanilla extract, ideally until it thickens slightly and begins to form a ribbon. Add the melted butter and stir. Then add the flour mixture and stir until it is just combined. Gently mix in the pecans, dried cranberries, and chocolate. (If you want to stop at this point, you can refrigerate the dough for a week or freeze for longer.)
  4. On the prepared baking sheet, place small mounds of dough, about two tablespoons worth (just a bit larger than a ping-pong ball). Flatten very slightly. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until the cookies are golden, rotating the baking sheet midway. Let the cookies sit for a minute and then remove them from the baking sheet and let cool. If they survive the day, pack away in an airtight container.

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    Heather Lampman
I'm the author of a book on the science and history of infancy, Baby Meets World. My website is nicholasday.net; I tweet over at @nicksday. And if you need any good playdoh recipes, just ask.

15 Reviews

Cindy W. October 7, 2022
Made with mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, dried cranberries, and chopped pecans. Added the recommended baking powder, and refrigerated for a couple hours before baking. Turned out well — not an all-time over-the-top favorite, but good cookies.
Callan C. February 6, 2021
Made these cookies with a few slight adjustments, and they were great! I prefer a chewy (but not flat) cookie, so I added a 1/4 tsp of baking powder, chilled the cookie dough overnight, and baked them for 14 minutes (since the dough was still cold). I didn't have any issues with them spreading too much. If you're worried about getting a flat cookie, I definitely recommend chilling your dough for several hours before baking.
alisha5050 July 15, 2020
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alisha5050 July 15, 2020
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Lita C. May 4, 2020
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Taylor S. April 27, 2020
Fantastic! I didn't have issues with spread but I did bake this straight from the freezer (just flattened a bit). I did a mixture of pecans, golden raisins, and chocolate chips for my add-ins. Definitely will be making again!
Joy L. January 11, 2017
I think if the cookies should be refrigerated prior to baking it should be stated in the recipe. Mine spread out flatter than pancakes. Very disappointed. I have been baking for 50 years. So I am not a novice.
Heather L. April 26, 2015
Just an FYI - If you read the recipe, it states to cream unmelted butter with the sugar if you want less spreading. Also, as a certified chocolate chip cookie fiend, I find that most really great recipes benefit from an hour or more rest in the fridge before baking.
chris April 26, 2015
Point taken! I just didn't expect my little scoop of cookie dough to aspire to the dimensions of a corn tortilla ... :)
chefpatty April 25, 2015
I made these yesterday. The batter was very wet so I chill the dough for a half hour. The baked cookies spread but are very tasty, even the next day. Should I try to add 3/4 cup of flour instead of 2/3 cup to lessen the spread?
Maria N. April 22, 2015
Chris, did you refrigerate or freeze the cookie dough before baking them? I'm a total cookie novice, but it seems that when you put cookie dough directly in the oven they spread a lot more so many recipes instruct to freeze for about 20 min (this one does not, so I thought that this might be the problem!). I have not made this recipe yet, but will try it out because I like the use of melted instead of softened butter.
chris April 22, 2015
It might, indeed, help to refrigerate the dough for a half hour; but I'm thinking that 8 Tbs of butter is a lot for 1-1/3 cups of flour/oats.
Maria N. April 22, 2015
I don't know...I made another recipe that had an even higher butter to flour ratio, and the cookies spread a lot more when i didn't refrigerate. In that recipe the butter was whipped with the sugar and not melted. Another thing I noticed was what a difference the cookie sheet made! I had a cheaper one and a nicer one side by side and the ones in the cheap one didn't spread as much...Anyway, just some thoughts, but I would definitely experiment with refrigerating the dough.
chris April 15, 2015
It's a lovely cookie, though it spread more than I'd anticipated. I doubled the recipe and followed along fairly closely, using hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, raisins, and chocolate chips ... that's what was in my pantry! I microwaved the butter in my Cuisinart, then blitzed the sugar for a couple of minutes. Pulsed the flour mixture a few times, then scraped it out into a bowl, and added the nuts, etc. By the fourth tray, the flour had soaked up some of the butter and the cookies weren't spreading so far in the oven. Very tasty; I'll try it again.
bri April 3, 2015
Where can I find the nutritional information for the recipe as it is here?