Mom's Everyday Oatmeal Cookies

A basic recipe for oatmeal cookies, a great way to empty the pantry of leftover nuts and dried fruit, thus never the same twice!

Mom's Everyday Oatmeal Cookies

The day we lost my mother, my friend Ann asked, “What can I do?” Almost by instinct, I answered, “Come over. Bake cookies.” I knew the one recipe that might bring some comfort to my dad and sister and me – Mom’s oatmeal cookie recipe, the one she kept in her head and made again and again. In our family cookbook, she wrote, “This is the only cookie I make but they always turn out a little different. These are the cookies that cause the grandchildren to call Grandfather a ‘cookie monster’.”

The next morning, Ann and her three-year old daughter moved into my kitchen, figuring out the flour bin and how to set an unfamiliar oven. Shortly, the house filled with life again – the kitchen busy-ness, the laughter of a child, the aroma of just-baked oatmeal cookies, all warm and cinnamon-y. What a gift, those cookies, never to be forgotten.

I remembered that special batch of cookies last month when a friend lost her husband suddenly and unexpectedly. “What can I say?” I asked of someone who lost his wife only a year ago. “Nothing,” he said. “She won’t remember your words. But she will remember your presence.” I headed to the kitchen to concoct a comfort-food casserole that would keep in the fridge, or freeze, as need be.

And I baked cookies. When words fail, cookies, cookies can convey presence.

ALANNA's TIPS This cookie dough is quite stiff, it’s one of the few recipes where I find that a standing mixer like a KitchenAid (what color will look best in your kitchen? the color selection in this link is really fun!) actually really helps. If you’re using a hand mixer, use a wooden spoon to stir in the oatmeal and added ingredients.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. In 2009, Kitchen Parade celebrates its 50th anniversary with a special collection of my mother's recipes. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via


Hands-on time: 15 minutes to mix, 50 minutes mix and bake
Time to finish: 1-1/4 hours
Makes “a bunch” my mom called it, about 6 dozen small cookies
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, warmed to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    Two Cups TOTAL
    Added Ingredients such as:
  • Chopped toasted nuts
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Wheat germ
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Currants or chopped dried fruit
  • Unsweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 375F.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars with an electric mixer (see TIPS) until light and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla, mix until completely incorporated. Add the flour, soda, salt (if using), cinnamon and nutmeg, combine. Stir in the oatmeal and added ingredients.

Form into one-inch balls and arrange on a baking sheet. Gently flatten with the base of a glass dipped in sugar. Bake for 9 – 10 minutes for chewy oatmeal cookies or 11 - 12 minutes for crispy oatmeal cookies or until set and golden brown. Remove from oven, let cool for 5 minutes, remove from the baking sheet to finish cooling on a rack or on paper towels.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE (assumes mix of chocolate chips, unsweetened coconut, sesame seeds and currants) Per Cookie: 51 Calories; 3g Tot Fat; 2g Sat Fat; 9mg Cholesterol; 68mg Sodium; 6g Carb; 0g Fiber; 5g Sugar; 0g Protein; Weight Watchers 1 point

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More Favorite Oatmeal Recipes

Looks like I kinda-sorta-really like oatmeal cookies: this is Kitchen Parade's third oatmeal cookie recipe, fourth if you count the oatmeal dog treats! The reader favorite is the recipe for Banana Oatmeal Cookies but I'm just slightly addicted to this old family recipe for Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Banana Oatmeal Cookies Oatmeal Raisin Cookies All Natural Dog Cookies

More Classic Cookie Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Molasses Cookies Cinnamon Sugar Cookies Fat Rascals

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Anything that gives me an excuse to use the Kitchenaid gets a thumbs up from me!
Oatmeal cookies - yum! Mine always need dark chocolate chips. (I hate raisins in cookies - I think it was a childhood trauma - I though it was chocolate)
I don't even use the KA for these. Just my hands - LOL!

A very heart-warming post Alanna.
Love the references to your Mom. My Mom and I were not particularly close, and I love to hear that other daughters had what I did not.

Sometimes it makes me sad because I didn't have it, but for the most part, very happy that you had such a wonderful memory of her.

Thanks, I am still sorry to hear your Mom is gone.
Sounds like a wonderful recipe! I would love adding chocolate chips to these!
Yes, cookies can convey presence, but it is even better if they are the right ones. Oatmeal cookies are probably the best at this, though Chocolate Chip would be good too, or Snickerdoodles.

I like the Green Tea Shortbread cookie I just had out of my freezer. It was delicious and yet I don't think it would say the same thing a traditional oatmeal cookie would, especially from your mother's recipe.

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna