How To Make Soft & Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

How To Make Soft & Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

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Kelli Foster
May 24, 2016
(Image credit: Christine Han)

When it comes to cookies, it's hard to beat a warm, freshly baked batch featuring the dynamic duo of oats and raisins. Each sweet, lightly spiced bite of a chewy oatmeal cookie is like catching up with an old friend — a friend that you can eat.

(Image credit: Christine Han)

The Identity of an Oatmeal Cookie

Oatmeal cookies are a timeless classic. They are one of the sweet treats many of us have been enjoying since childhood, eventually baking batches of our own. There are subtle variations from recipe to recipe, producing cookies with varying textures, levels of sweetness, and spice. For me, though, there are certain elements that are crucial for a really great oatmeal cookie.

The best oatmeal cookies, like the kind we're sharing here, are soft and chewy through the center with crispy edges. They're studded with plenty of old-fashioned whole rolled oats and plump, sweet raisins. Bite after bite, the flavor is a warm blend of nutty oats and brown sugar, with hints of cinnamon and vanilla.

And just as good as the taste is the sweet, spiced scent that wafts from the oven throughout the house as the cookies bake. Thanks to the cinnamon, these oatmeal cookies bring a scent that can beat even a batch of chocolate chip cookies.

(Image credit: Christine Han)

Choosing the Oats

There's quite a selection when it comes to choosing oats. Steel-cut, whole oats, and quick oats all make a nice hearty breakfast each in their own way, but when it comes to cookies, there's one variety that reigns supreme: old-fashioned whole rolled oats are what you want to use. These flat, rounded discs hold their shape really well during baking and bring the desired "chew" to these chewy oatmeal cookies.

More Oat Intel: What's the Difference Between Steel-Cut, Rolled, and Instant Oats?

(Image credit: Christine Han)

The Secret to Getting Even More Flavor out of the Oats

Before tossing the oats with the other dry ingredients, there's one extra step that makes a huge difference in flavor: toasting your oats! If you're already doing this, then you know what I'm talking about, and if you haven't tried it before, just wait until you do — it will change the way you make oatmeal cookies. Before starting on the dough, spread the oats across a large baking sheet and bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until the oats are golden-brown with a nutty, toasted aroma. This simple step makes a key difference between a good oatmeal cookie and the best oatmeal cookie. And don't you want the best?

How To Make Oatmeal Cookies

Makes about 36 cookies

What You Need

Ingredients
3 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats, divided
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups raisins

Equipment
1 to 2 large baking sheets
High-speed blender or food processor (optional)
Parchment paper or silicon baking mats
Measuring cups and spoons
Medium bowl
Stand mixer with paddle attachment, or electric hand mixer and large bowl
Rubber spatula
Flat spatula
Wire cooling rack

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven: Arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat to 350°F.
  2. Toast the oats: Spread the oats in a single layer on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Bake, stirring halfway through, for 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside and cool until the oats are cool enough to handle.
  3. Process the oats: Transfer 1/2 cup of the toasted oats to a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, high-speed blender, or spice grinder, and process until the oats are finely ground.
  4. Combine the dry ingredients: Place the all-purpose flour, remaining 3 cups whole oats, ground oats, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine; set aside.
  5. Cream the butter and sugars: Place the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (Alternatively, use an electric hand mixer and large bowl.) Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  6. Add the eggs and vanilla: Beat in the eggs one at a time and beat thoroughly after each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl if needed. Beat in the vanilla.
  7. Mix in the dry ingredients: With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture and beat until just incorporated.
  8. Fold in the raisins: Remove the bowl from the mixer. Add the raisins and mix into the dough with a rubber spatula until evenly distributed throughout.
  9. Scoop the dough onto the baking sheets: Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Scoop the dough by heaping tablespoons and drop onto the baking sheets, spacing them about 2 inches apart, 12 per baking sheet.
  10. Bake the cookies: Bake 8 to 9 minutes for soft and chewy cookies, or 11 to 12 minutes for crispy cookies. Rotate the baking sheets between racks and from front to back halfway through.
  11. Remove from the oven and cool: Place the baking sheets on wire racks and cool 1 to 2 minutes. Use a flat spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Let the baking sheets cool completely and bake any remaining dough (you can reuse the parchment paper).

Recipe Notes

  • Storage: Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
  • Make ahead: The cookie dough can be refrigerated for several days before baking. It can also be scooped out onto baking sheets, frozen solid, and stored in resealable freezer bags in the freezer for several months. Frozen cookies can be baked straight from the freezer but may need 1 to 2 minutes extra baking time.
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