Mom's Everyday Oatmeal Cookies

Here's that one basic oatmeal cookie recipe that everyone's jonesing. The one that just might displace all the others. The one that's so flexible, each batch bakes out different. The one that's so tasty, the family begs for more. Like so many good concept recipes, this one starts off with a strong foundation, the base dough. Then the fun begins! Check the pantry for all your favorite extras like chocolate chips, coconut, sunflower seeds, raisins and more: this recipe really helps use up all those bits and bobs that bakers tend to collect. You may never make the same cookies twice!

Mom's Everyday Oatmeal Cookies ♥ Start with a base cookie dough, then mix-in chips, dried fruit, seeds and more.

Homestyle Oatmeal Cookies, Flexible & Family Approved. Made from Scratch & Never the Same Twice. Year-Round Kitchen Staple. Budget Friendly. Great for Meal Prep. Potluck & Party Friendly. Vegetarian. So Good!!

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This recipe is one of my mother's most iconic recipes
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in a special collection of her recipes called
Kitchen Parade by Shirley.
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When Words Fail, Bake Cookies

Mom's Everyday Oatmeal Cookies ♥ Start with a base cookie dough, then mix-in chips, dried fruit, seeds and more.

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 instantly the one cookie that might bring some comfort to my dad and sister and me: Mom’s oatmeal cookies, the recipe she kept in her head and made again and again. In our family cookbook, Mom 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 Stefanie 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 own 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 convey presence.

PS The photos here are especially sentimental for me, my dad's hands reaching for my mom's cookies. They're both gone now but somehow, these cookies bring their memories back to life.

  • "I ate five. Not the little ones. Five big ones. Those butterscotch chips!" ~ Neil

About This Recipe: Mom's Everyday Oatmeal Cookies

  • With a basic but flexible recipe, you may need no other. In fact, this recipe wasn't just my mom's only oatmeal cookie recipe, it was her only cookie recipe. The base dough is quite standard, then each batch turns out differently because of the mix 'n' match add-ins like chocolate chips, coconut, wheat germ and more.
  • Usual Oatmeal Cookie Ingredients = butter + sugar + brown sugar + 1 egg + vanilla + flour + baking soda + salt + rolled oats (old-fashioned, not quick or instant)
  • Distinctive Ingredients = Cinnamon + Nutmeg + Your Choice of Add-In's
  • Your Choice of Add In's = mini chocolate chips + butterscotch chips + unsweetened coconut + currants or raisins or other dried fruit + toasted nuts + wheat germ + sesame seeds + sunflower seeds + whaddaya got?
  • For Garnish = a touch of sugar
  • Kitchen Tools = a big stand mixer or a hand mixer, either one
  • These cookies are no contenders in an Instagram beauty contest. What they lack in appearance, they definitely make up for in taste.
  • This is a time-friendly recipe, bake about 6 dozen small cookies in just an hour and a quarter.
  • This is pantry-friendly recipe. If you're a baker, you likely already have all the ingredients on hand. Plus, the Add In's are such a great way to clean out the baking pantry with all those small volumes of ingredients that tend to accumulate.
  • This is a calorie-friendly recipe, though it's a trick, it's all because the cookies are small!
  • This is a budget-friendly recipe, especially because it uses up what you likely already have on hand.
  • This recipe yields about 6 dozen small cookies.
  • This recipe works especially well for those Cooking for One or Two. That's because it's easy to bake a few cookies now, freeze the remaining dough for baking later.
  • So good! I hope you love these!

  • If you prefer a softer, more cakey oatmeal cookie, let me suggest Banana Oatmeal Cookies, you might just love that banana twist!
  • Not quite what you're looking for? Check out my other cookie recipes.
Mom's Everyday Oatmeal Cookies ♥ Start with a base cookie dough, then mix-in chips, dried fruit, seeds and more.

How to Make Mom's Everyday Oatmeal Cookies

The detailed recipe is written in traditional recipe form below but here are the highlights in four easy steps. You can do this!

  • MIX THE "BASE" DOUGH You'll need a mixer (either a stand mixer or a hand mixer will work) to mix the dough but it's a very straight-forward process: mixing the butter and sugars; mixing in the egg and vanilla; mixing in the dry ingredients including the cinnamon and nutmeg for spices.
  • Stir in the oats, either with the mixer (if using a stand mixer) or by hand (if using a hand mixer). The dough will be quite stiff.
  • ADDED INGREDIENTS Now comes the fun part! Stir in two cups of a mix of one or two or more of your favorite additions for oatmeal cookies. My personal favorites are ... oh wait, I have no favorites, they're all good! And I so appreciate being able to use small amounts of chips, dried fruit, nuts and more.
  • SHAPE & FLATTEN For small cookies, roll the dough into small balls about an inch in diameter, either by pinching off about 15 grams of dough or using a small cookie scoop like this one (affiliate link). Arrange the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment, leaving room for some spreading, that's about 12 or 15 cookies on a standard-size baking sheet (affiliate link), technically it's a "half" sheet pan, the largest pan that fits most home ovens. (The "full" sheet pan is so large, it only fits commercial ovens in bakeries, restaurants, etc.)
  • BAKE at 375 until golden brown, that's 8 - 11 minutes depending if you're in the mood for chewy or crispy cookies.
Mom's Everyday Oatmeal Cookies ♥ Start with a base cookie dough, then mix-in chips, dried fruit, seeds and more.

For Best Results

For my weekly column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, I interviewed chefs and translated their restaurant recipes for home kitchens. The most illuminating question? "How can a home cook ensure the same results?" So now I ask that question of myself, too, for my own recipes. Have another question? Ask away, I'll do my best to answer!

Pick the Right Oats This recipe calls for rolled oats, that's uncooked oatmeal. The Quaker brand calls them "old-fashioned oats" because (after steel-cut oats) they're the least processed. Quick oats might well work, they're slightly more ground than rolled oats. Instant oats should not be used, they're ground very fine and usually contain sugar, spices and other ingredients.

Chewy vs Crisp These cookies can be chewy, just bake until barely golden, let cool for 30 minutes, then move to a storage container. They may also be crisp, just bake until golden, let cool for a couple of hours before moving to a storage container.

Watch the Oven Timing The cookies are small, that means they bake quickly and go from perfectly baked to over-baked in a minute or two. Mind the timing with the first cookie tray, learning how long works in your oven with your baking sheets, etc.

Just In Case
One Oatmeal Cookie Recipe Isn't Quite Enough

~ Banana Oatmeal Cookies ~
~ Oatmeal Raisin Cookies ~
~ Gum Drop Cookies ~
~ All-Natural Dog Treats ~

~ oatmeal cookie recipes~
(scroll down a bit)

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How do you save and share favorite recipes? recipes that fit your personal cooking style? a particular recipe your mom or daughter or best friend would just love? If this recipe inspires you, please do save and share! I'd be honored ...

Mom's Everyday Oatmeal Cookies ♥ Start with a base cookie dough, then mix-in chips, dried fruit, seeds and more.

~ PIN This ~


Hands-on time: 15 minutes to mix, 50 minutes to mix and bake
Time to finish: 1-1/4 hours
Makes "a bunch" my mom called it, about 6 dozen small cookies
  • 1 cup (225g, usually 2 sticks) salted butter, warmed to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
  • 3/4 cup (150g) brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 187g
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt (assumes table salt, use more if using unsalted butter)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 cups (240g) old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick oats, not instant oats, more oatmeal info here)
    THE ADDED INGREDIENTS Two Cups TOTAL, a mix, such as:
  • Chopped toasted nuts
  • Sunflower seeds (our favorite)
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Wheat germ or flax
  • Mini chocolate chips (our favorite)
  • Butterscotch chips (our favorite!)
  • Dried currants or chopped dried cranberry (our favorite) or other dried fruit
  • Unsweetened coconut

Heat the oven to 375F/190C. Line baking sheets with parchment.

MIX THE "BASE" DOUGH In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars with an electric mixer (see ALANNA's 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 well.

STIR IN THE ADDED INGREDIENTS By hand, stir in the oats and 2 cups of Added Ingredients.

Form dough into one-inch balls (weighing about 16 grams) with your hands or a small cookies scoop (affiliate link) and arrange on a baking sheet, 12 or 20 per sheet. Gently flatten a bit with the base of a glass dipped in sugar.

BAKE for 8 – 9 minutes for chewy oatmeal cookies or 10 - 11 minutes for crispy oatmeal cookies or until set and golden brown. Remove from the oven, let cool for 5 minutes, remove from the baking sheet to finish cooling on a rack or on paper towels.

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 Kitchen Aid (affiliate link) actually really helps. That said, a hand mixer can work too, just switch to mixing by hand once it's time to add the oatmeal and Added Ingredients. Recently, this KitchenAid 7-speed hand mixer (affiliate link) worked like a champ with these cookies. I've barely changed my mom's original recipe, except for bumping the vanilla from 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon. To my taste, it makes a real difference, especially in highlighting the magical spice blend of cinnamon and nutmeg. It's just perfect!

FOR MORE INFO If you "skipped straight to the recipe," please scroll back to the top of this page for ingredient information, ingredient substitutions, tips and more. If you print this recipe, you'll want to check the recipe online for even more tips and extra information about ingredient substitutions, best results and more. See .

MIX NOW, BAKE LATER Want to make just a tray or two at a time? No problem. Just chill the dough, then bake off the rest within a few days.

FREEZING Or better yet, freeze the dough for thawing to bake later. Freezing the dough is easy, just pick which option works better in your situation.

Method #1 The first method is to pack all the dough into a freezer container, press a layer of waxed paper onto the top of the dough, cover tightly (expressing the air inside if possible) and freeze for up to a couple of months. To bake, just thaw the dough in the fridge for a day or two, then proceed as the recipe directs. This method is less prone to freezer burn, that's the formation of ice crystals inside the container which will degrade the cookie dough.

Method #2 The second method is for slice 'n' bake cookies. Shape the dough into rolls about an inch in diameter. The rolls may be short or long, just estimate how many cookies you'll want to bake at a time, that's how long the roll should be. Wrap the roll in plastic wrap or waxed paper (or both), then freeze. To bake, just bring out a roll, let it thaw at room temperature for 30 - 60 minutes, then slice and bake.

Method #3 The third method is to form the dough balls and pack into a freezer container, placing a sheet of waxed paper between the layers and pressed onto the top of the final layer. Cover tightly (expressing the air inside if possible) and freeze for up a week or so, up to a month or two. This method is more prone to freezer burn, that's because of the air that's left between the balls of dough. In my experience, these dough balls can be put onto a baking sheet, left to thaw for 30 - 60 minutes, then baked.

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 Old Points 1 & PointsPlus 1 & SmartPoints 3 & Freestyle 3 & myWW green 3 & blue 3 & purple 3 & future WW points

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This Week, Elsewhere

~ Asparagus Risotto ~
~ more Recent Recipes ~
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If you like Kitchen Parade's recipes, you'll love A Veggie Venture, my food blog about vegetables with more from-scratch recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, home to the famous Alphabet of Vegetables and vegetables in every course, seasonal to staples, savory to sweet, salads to sides, soups to supper, simple to special.

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A collection of seasonal cookie recipes ♥ Drop cookies, cutout cookies, shortbread, slice 'n' bake, classic cookies, fun cookies and more.
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Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

~ oatmeal ~
~ chocolate recipes ~
~ currant recipes ~
~ sunflower seeds ~
~ coconut ~

~ All Recipes, By Ingredient ~
~ How to Save Money on Groceries ~

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade
2009, 2010 & 2024

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Anything that gives me an excuse to use the Kitchenaid gets a thumbs up from me!

  2. 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)

  3. I don't even use the KA for these. Just my hands - LOL!

    A very heart-warming post Alanna.

  4. 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.

  5. Sounds like a wonderful recipe! I would love adding chocolate chips to these!

  6. 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.


Post a Comment

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