5 Ingredients or Fewer

3-Ingredient Oatmeal Cookies

September  6, 2019
64 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin. Prop stylist: Brooke Deonarine. Food stylist: Anna Billingskog.
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 24 minutes
  • Makes about 16 cookies
Author Notes

Search for “Three-Ingredient Oatmeal Cookies” on the internet and you’ll get millions of results. The problem is, a lot of these recipes don’t quite taste like the classic oatmeal cookies we know and love, with crispy edges, chewy centers, and buttery, sugary flavor. In this Big Little Recipe, we call in brown sugar and tahini, which give these cookies an A+ chewy texture and buttery, nutty flavor. All you have to do is combine the three ingredients in a bowl—plus, a little water, which helps create a cohesive dough—then scoop, smush, and bake. By smush, I mean, use your palm to gently flatten each dough blob into a 2-inch disc; the cookies don’t spread on their own in the oven, so this gives them an encouraging head start. Note: Because brown sugar can be stubbornly lumpy, I like to rub it and the oats together between my hands before adding the tahini and water. Make sure to not overbake these cookies, since they’ll crisp significantly as they cool. Whenever I’m making a new cookie recipe, if I have the time, I like to bake one cookie first, to get a sense of how the recipe jives with my oven (every oven is different!). Then I follow suit with the rest of the cookies. Just like classic oatmeal cookies, these are great with hot coffee or tea, or cold milk. If you want to get doubly oaty, you can serve them with oat milk—DIY recipe here (bonus points if you make the chocolate variety). —Emma Laperruque

What You'll Need
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3-Ingredient Oatmeal Cookies
  • 1 1/2 cups (149 grams) rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup (160 grams) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup (188 grams) well-stirred tahini
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Line two sheet pans with parchment or silicone mats.
  2. Add the oats, brown sugar, and salt to a medium bowl. Use your hands to combine, rubbing the mixture between your palms to break up any sugar lumps, until everything is as homogenous as possible. Add the tahini and water, and use a spoon to stir until a sticky, cohesive dough forms.
  3. Scoop the dough in heaping tablespoons onto the sheet tray. You should get 16 cookies, so 8 on each sheet tray. Use your palm to gently smush each blob into a disc (about 2 inches in diameter).
  4. Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes, rotating halfway through, until the edges just start to brown. The cookies will look almost underbaked, but they’ll crisp as they cool. Remove the cookies from the oven, but leave them on the sheet pans for at least 10 minutes, or until they’re sturdy enough to transfer with a spatula to a cooling rack. If you peek at their bottoms, they should be lightly golden-brown.
  5. Cool completely before serving and store any leftovers in an airtight container. I love these with milky tea or coffee.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Michelle Adele Kenyon
    Michelle Adele Kenyon
  • Hannah
  • Jona Schimko
    Jona Schimko
  • Jamie Popp
    Jamie Popp
  • Chap Macduff
    Chap Macduff
Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

93 Reviews

Michelle A. August 13, 2023
I have long been a fan of the oatmeal cookie, and also love tahini, so when I saw this recipe on instagram, I had to give it a try - holy wowza!! Chewy yummy nutty deliciousness! Love them. These will be a staple in my house going forward.
Hannah July 2, 2023
I used to make a variation of this with a half cup tahini, 1.5 cups rolled oats, and 1/3 cup maple syrup. I'd throw in a half cup of whatever I wanted, from pumpkin seeds to dried fruit (papaya works fabulous when I got my hands on it), and call it my breakfast cookie. The variation above was tasty to me, but seemed like it was missing something, the elusive fourth ingredient...
Krista October 11, 2023
Sounds delightful! I would rather make mine with maple syrup. Did you put in the water and the kosher salt as well?
Sue L. March 20, 2023
I gave it 5 stars because it is just so genius. It is something beyond an oatmeal cookie - maybe a cross between a granola bar and halvah. I solved the problem of it holding together by including 3 T. (I'm ashamed to say JIF peanut butter) in with the tahini and also added 1 extra T. of water. That did the trick! I loved the suggestion to toast the oats and I did that too. Thank you Emma! I have so many favorites from this gem of a cookbook.
Mary F. November 22, 2021
These were stellar with some chopped up dates added, a huge hit with anyone I’ve served them to as well as super easy and covering a lot of bases for vegan, gluten-free, can’t eat eggs, etc. But the taste really wins.
Cracker October 22, 2021
This was my first time using tahini in anything. The oatmeal cookies were excellent. I did find I needed a bit more water. However, the taste is definitely tahini - forward, so may not be for everyone.
Jona S. February 24, 2021
I have made these cookies and they are delicious and a quick fix for something sweet. I made a few alterations though: changed the sugar with natural date syrop and used the chocolate tahini (from "the tahini goddess") instead of the regular tahini. Their tahini is so rich and smooth abd the chocolate flavour is my go to on about everything, strawberries, ice cream, pancakes it is just perfect snd still healthy. Thanks for your recipe.
tricia May 4, 2021
hi jona, how much date syrup did you use?
Cindy November 2, 2020
This cookie needs an experienced hand!
I suggest allowing the liquid (water) to soak into the oats and add more as needed. I used bourbon and then added water as needed. Plus adding raisins really makes it an oatmeal cookie 🍪
Jamie P. September 20, 2020
Amazing slightly under cooked AND easy to adapt to be sugar free with brown sugar substitute (or Monkfruit sweetener and molasses!)
aiwanski September 18, 2020
Love these! If you like the flavor of tahini, these are perfect. Made them twice already and will be keeping this recipe on deck. So easy to make too.
Chap M. September 11, 2020
I swapped one ingredient namely the refined brown sugar and swapped it for Turkish Pekmez ( grape molasses ). So dark/whole tahini, pekmez and oats, wow I think it's a game changer of a cookie for me. So simple yet so brilliant. No need to add any chocolate chips, vanilla or cinnamon, just a perfect 3 ingredient cookie......
bonnie R. September 18, 2020
how much molasses did you use. i want to try this! and what is dark/whole tahini? anxiously awaiting reply!
Chap M. September 18, 2020
I used 125grams of GRAPE molasses and 125grams of tahini, dark tahini is tahini that is unhulled. It's far more neutrisous than regular hulled tahini.
bonnie R. September 18, 2020
awesome. can't wait to try this! i love them as they are but this sounds even more unctuous!
Stacy A. May 10, 2020
These are perfect! Used dark brown sugar and a placed few milk chocolate chips on top.
Kelly May 4, 2020
This was not a winner to our family of five, will not be making this again.
Jessica P. April 29, 2020
Made these, they taste like oats, sugar, and tahini. If that is your jam, go for it. Tried adding chocolate chips to second try (in oven now). With so many delicious baked goods out there, and oodles of time during quarantine, would not make these again.
Mathieu G. April 28, 2020
Super easy and quick. Used some "black" tahini and reduced sugar quantity a little bit. They came out great and super crunchy!
beth April 14, 2020
We wanted to love these. And we did! I wrote the recipe and taped it inside a cabinet door so me and the kids can make these on the fly! Of course, we'll be adding chocolate, maybe some chia, a splash of vanilla... What joy this recipe has sparked. Thank you!
beth April 14, 2020
We wanted to love these. And we did! I wrote the recipe and taped it inside a cabinet door so me and the kids can make these on the fly! Of course, we'll be adding chocolate, maybe some chia, a splash of vanilla... What joy this recipe has sparked. Thank you.
slberger March 29, 2020
I love these cookies! I made them according to the recipe but already imagining the next batch with chocolate or dried fruit. I used Whole Foods 365 brand of tahini (all that was left on the shelf) and thought it worked well.
CocoJuju March 16, 2020
I was so excited to see this recipe, especially since I already had all the ingredients in my pantry. As much as I really wanted to like this recipe, it was an epic fail. The cookies were way too cloying. No one in my family wanted these (and I have two growing boys who loves sweets). Way too sweet and one dimensional.
Jessica P. April 29, 2020
I agree, disappointed big time. Tastes like oats, tahini, and sugar.
CheffieEmily March 15, 2020
So, on their own these are very bland. I also added a bit more water. And honey. And chocolate chips.I also refrigerated the dough. I think a dash of vanilla and cinnamon would be lovely, too. Its a great start but very one dimensional
Cindy D. February 4, 2020
I must be slow because the recipe is a "3 ingredient" oatmeal cookie. I read 5 ingredients. Am I miscounting?
Halli March 14, 2020
Usually the most basic things like water and salt don't "count" as ingredients. It does make the name silly though.