Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Cookies
Soft & chewy old-fashioned oatmeal cookies are super simple to make. One bowl is all you need and no fancy gadgets required. Classic baking at its best!
When I visited my grandma there were two things I could count on. We would play Uno and eat these oatmeal cookies with tea while we played. Sometimes she would pull out the Bingo machine (yes she had her own) and we would play that but usually only when my sister was around too.
My grandma lived a long life living until she was 97 and until the last few months on her own. I miss her very much. Before she passed at the younger age of 95 she gave me recipe cards filled with as many of the family heirloom recipes as her hands could write out. Her gingersnap recipe is the bomb! I am slowly trying to share these with you all but this oatmeal cookie recipe card I lost… until recently! It was tucked inside another recipe where I couldn’t see it.
So… now you are in for a real treat! These are the best oatmeal cookies I kid you not.
One bite and I was right back at the table with my teacup and cards!
Tips for Making The Best Oatmeal Cookies
- Use shortening instead of butter for the fat. Shortening works differently than butter in that it coats the flour and gluten literally shortening the strands/connection which in turns causes a weaker bond. That weakened bond between the flour, oats and sugars is the where shortening wins the flakiness battel. Food 52 has a whole article about this you may want to check out.
- Don’t overmix! I like to mix the shortening or lard into the wet mixture using just a fork to break up the fat. I don’t like to use a hand mixer because then the fat will be worked into the sugars and eggs to much. What you want is ripples or tiny pieces of fat throughout. When the fat cooks these little ripples of fat melt creating the flaky texture you want. Overmix and you get a tough cookie… no one wants one of those in their life!
- Bake cookies on parchment paper so the sugar doesn’t stick to the pan. I have a clay baking sheet so nothing seems to stick but even then I have to be careful. I started out without parchment and on the second batch added a sheet.
- Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a minute before you transfer them to a cooling rack. These cookies are fragile and will break apart easily or fall out of shape when they are too hot to move.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Rolled Oats – I like to use old-fashioned rolled oats and not the quick oats. Quick oats will cook too quickly and you risk losing the texture you are aiming for. Gluten-free rolled oats work just as well.
- Shortening – Creates the light flaky texture you want in an awesome cookie! Lard is a good subsitution for those who are not living a vegetarian lifestyle.
- White sugar – Adds sweetness and works with the fat to create the chewy texture.
- Brown sugar – A deeper caramel like flavour while still adding sweetness and texture.
- All-purpose flour – creates structure in the cookie.
- Eggs – the glue that holds it all together. The binding agent.
- Baking soda – Works to help the cookies rise. The leveaning agent.
- Salt – intensifies the flavour of all foods.
- Vanilla – optional. I don’t think it is absolutely necessary because the brown sugar adds enough of a caramel/vanilla flavour to stand on it’s own.
How to Make Oatmeal cookies
Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Whisk the eggs into a large bowl. Add the shortening and sugars and optional vanilla to the bowl and mix with a fork.
Mix the shortening and sugars into the eggs trying to break the shortening up with the fork into tiny pieces or ripples. It is these tiny pockets of fat that will give the cookies their flaky and crumbly texture. So don’t overdo it!
Then add the flour, baking soda and salt to the bowl. Combine just until mixed.
Add the oatmeal and mix with the fork until evenly blended throughout the cookie dough.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. I should have done this but did it after the second batch.
Roll a heaping teaspoon of dough into balls and place them on the baking sheet. Then use the back of the spoon to flatten the cookies out a bit. They will still be about a 1/2″ thick but will spread a little more when baking.
Bake for about 7 minutes or until they are just starting to turn golden brown. Let them cool on the baking sheet for about a minute and then transfer to a cooling rack with a spatula.
Feeling fancy? Need a change? I got you! Here are some of my favourite ways to jazz up these old-fashioned oatmeal cookies. Just add in about a cup of any of these.
- Chocolate chips
- Dried Cranberries
- Butterscotch bits
- Caramel chips
- White chocolate chips
- Chopped dates
What is the Difference Between Shortening & Lard?
Shortening is pure vegetable oil whereas lard is made from animal fat. Both work well and both have a neutral flavour. Don’t worry lard won’t taste like pork… it works just as well but is not suitable for those choosing a vegetarian lifestyle.
Shortening and lard produce flaky pie crusts and cookies even better than butter in my opinion and are lower in saturated fats than butter as well as they contain zero trans fats.
Does Oatmeal Cookie Dough need To Be Refrigerated?
Nope! Cookies with butter usually require refrigeration to prevent them from spreading too thin while baking. Shortening holds its shape much better and is less finicky about temperatures.
Can I make a smaller batch of these homemade oatmeal cookies?
Absolutely! This recipe makes about 60 cookies which is an enormous amount so I totally get the need to cut it down. To do so just halve all the ingredient amounts and follow the same order of directions.
I wouldn’t recommend cutting the recipe down further though because there are only two eggs and you can’t really put a quarter of an egg in.
Alternatively, you can make a batch and freeze the dough for later. Just bake what you need and then separate the dough into the portions you would like to make for your next batch. Half of the dough, a quarter of it etc.
Then wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before baking.
Remember if you have too many…. you can always share with friends!
How to Store Simple Oatmeal Cookies
Store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
To thaw just let them sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes.
Can dogs Eat Oatmeal Cookies?
Is your dog giving you those puppy dog eyes hoping you’ll share? Chico is the worst and I give in almost every time! Oatmeal for dogs is fine in moderation but these cookies are very high in sugar so not a great treat for dogs. But a little piece won’t hurt them.
But! If you do share a piece make sure that you have not added any raisins or chocolate to your cookies (which is totally an option). These addons are poisonous for dogs.
More Of My Grandma’s Recipes to Try
Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Cookies
- Baking Sheet
- Large Bowl
- Measuring Cups
- Measuring Spoons
- Cooling rack
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 lb vegetable shortening
- 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla optional
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl whisk the eggs together. Add the sugars, optional vanilla and shortening and mix to combine breaking down the shortening with the fork to ripples or small pieces throughout the sugar and egg mixture.
- Add the flour, baking soda and salt. Mix until just combined.
- Add in the oatmeal mix until oatmeal is evenly dispersed throughout the cookie batter.
- Roll a heaping teaspoon full into balls and 12 balls evenly on the baking sheet. Use the back of the spoon to flatten them to about a 1/2" thickness.
- Bake for about 7 minutes or until they are starting to turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and let them rest for a minute before transferring them with a spatula to a cooling rack to cool.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Made them just as you said. Perfect! Had to bake longer – I have old oven. Love them
Is there an option of adding raisins? If so, how much and should they be plumped in some way or just stirred in?
Hi Cindy, you can absolutely add raisins, chocolate chips, cranberries etc. I would start with a 1/2 a cup and add more if you want. It won’t affect the baking time. I don’t plump mine up because I like my raisins chewy but you can plump them up by soaking them in water if you like just make sure they are drained well.
I enjoyed your story about Grandma. Could you move the ingredients list a bit closer to the top of the article?
I am glad you enjoyed them. At this time I am not planning to change the format of this post but you can use the jump to recipe at the top of the post if you want to skip to the end.
Fantastic! Just like grandma used to make.
1/2 lb is how much in cups?
A half lb of butter is one cup.
I’m glad I read through the comments before trying this recipe…..you say you’ll correct it to read one and a half cups of flour instead of just one half, but the recipe still says one half. I’d like to try them but am somewhat hesitant…are you standing by the original one half cup?
Yes, it is 100% 1 1/2 cup of four. I just checked my grandma’s recipe card again. Sorry, it wasn’t updated in the recipe card. My computer died and was in the shop and just got it back yesterday afternoon. I will update it right now!
Was the shortening supposed to be half LB? I followed the recipe using 1/2lb but my cookies totally flattened out like a lace cookie. I attempted both smaller balls, larger, flattening with the spoon and leaving round. No matter what I did they baked at 350 to a flat disc. I am an avid baker; so I was extremely disappointed. No one else had this issue?
Hi Lisa, These cookies are fairly flat and fine not like a thicker chewier oatmeal cookie but not as thin as a lace cookie either. I checked my grandma’s recipe card and it is actually one cup which is about a 1/2 lb of shortening so not sure why yours spread so thin. I would put the cookie batter in the fridge for an hour to firm up and then try baking. This is something that often helps keep cookies from spreading too thin.
We just made these cookies today and had the same result Lisa had. The cookies tasted great, but were very flat and lacey. In some spots, you could see the plate through them. So I got out my church’s cookbook and found an oatmeal cookie recipe that was almost exactly the same except instead of using 1/2 cup of flour, it used 1-1/2 cups. The cooking time was 8 minutes at 350 degrees. These cookies came out perfectly. Is the amount of flour correct here on your website for your grandmother’s cookie recipe? We were making them to take to a family dinner tomorrow and we had to throw away the whole batch. They looked nothing like the picture above. They cooked so thin that they ran together even though we only put 12 on each cookie sheet. I’d like to know what we did wrong? Thanks!
So sorry Vicki this is my mistake. You are absolutely right it should me 1 1/2 cups of flour. I couldn’t see my mistake until you pointed it out. My apologies for this error. I will correct the recipe so this doesn’t happen again.
Thank you for your reply. You might want to let Lisa know (from the comment above) if you have her email address. I’ll have to try them again.
Thanks Vickie I will!
Perfect homemade cookie for an afternoon treat! Hard to just have one though! 🙂
I love an oatmeal cookie and it sounds like your Grandma really knew what she was doing with these! Can’t wait to make a batch very soon!
You definitely cannot go wrong with a classic cookie recipe like this! 🙂
I love oat cookies. It makes me think I can eat them for breakfast 🙂
They are delicious with tea!
Everyone at my house loved these cookies! So good and easy to make!
So happy to hear your family enjoyed them Toni!
Love this old fashioned recipe. Reminded me of being a kid!