These oatmeal raisin cookies are classic comfort food. They are huge, sweet, and buttery, with a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg, and just the right amount of raisins and almonds. They are soft and chewy in the center and slightly crispy around the edges.
And, like a warm bowl of soup or a thick slice of homemade bread, they are the kind of classic cookie that makes me feel grounded, cozy, and a little bit better about the world.
“These cookies are perfect! I made them for my family after losing my family’s oatmeal cookie recipe during a recent move. These make up for the loss and then some! Perfect texture and love the size. Thanks for sharing!” - Jillia
I find that oatmeal cookies most often fall into two categories - thick, soft, and chewy or thin and crispy. This recipe is unusual because it produces oatmeal cookies that are thin, soft, and chewy.
You can make them whatever size you like, but I prefer to bake them into huge two-handed cookies because they are the kind of thing I crave when I need an excess of all things warm and cozy.
I first published this recipe in 2018 after my grandfather passed away at the age of 92. He was a hard-working, kind, dependable rock of a man, and amongst the precious few who knew the kind of life he wanted to live and then went about living it until the day he died.
We lost my grandma a couple of years prior, and the experience of living without grandparents in the world left me feeling unmoored. All my very important goals and tasks seemed dreadfully unimportant.
On one such day, after staring down my to-do list for a while, I abandoned everything on it and baked an ungodly number of oatmeal raisin cookies instead.
And that is really all I feel I need to tell you about this recipe. It's the kind of thing you bake when you need comfort, stability, and sweetness more than anything else in the world.
Ingredients needed to prepare this recipe
- Almonds. I usually use roasted and salted almonds because I think their toasty, salty flavor is a delicious compliment to the buttery, sweet cookies. But feel free to use raw almonds if you prefer. Or, roast raw almonds before adding them to the dough. Also, the almonds are optional. These cookies are perfectly delicious without them.
- Eggs. This recipe calls for soaking raisins in beaten eggs for about an hour to soften and plump them. This simple technique not only improves the flavor and texture of the cookies, it helps keep them fresh for longer. If you're curious, there's more about how that works below.
- Raisins. Or cranberries, or dried cherries, or any other kind of dried fruit you like.
- Vanilla extract. As always, I prefer pure vanilla extract to the imitation variety. Or, scrape some vanilla beans into the eggs.
- Almond extract. This is an optional ingredient but one I always include. I consider almond extract to be a kind of secret weapon in baking. Just a small amount adds a subtle nuttiness to baked goods that elevates the flavor to a surprising degree.
- Butter and vegetable oil. Using a combination of butter and oil in these cookies gives them a buttery flavor and thin, chewy consistency that's not cakey at all.
- Brown sugar and granulated sugar. White sugar traps more air than brown sugar, aerating the dough and giving these cookies a soft, tender texture. Brown sugar adds flavor and causes the dough to spread while baking into thin, chewy cookies. Use either light or dark brown sugar.
- All-purpose flour. The three brands I like the most for baking are King Arthur, Bob's Red Mill, and Wheat Montana. I always choose unbleached all-purpose flour because it's less dense and gives baked goods a softer, fluffier texture.
- Whole wheat flour. Whole wheat flour has a lot more flavor than all-purpose flour, which is why I've added some to this dough. So why not only use whole wheat flour? Because whole wheat flour creates baked goods that are dense and heavy. I found that a quarter cup of whole wheat flour in this recipe contributes flavor without interfering with the light, tender texture.
- Old-fashioned oats. It's important to use oats labeled as "old fashioned" and not "quick cooking". Quick oats kind of dissolve into the dough whereas old-fashioned oats create that classic oatmeal cookie texture. In this recipe, some of the oats are ground up and the rest are left whole. The ground oats contribute additional flavor and the whole oats supply a chewy texture.
- Baking soda and salt. Baking soda is one of the main reasons why these cookies are thin, soft, and chewy rather than thin and crispy. And, salt is always important because it boosts the flavor of all the other ingredients in the dough.
- Cinnamon and nutmeg. Warm and cozy spices for warm and cozy cookies.
Additions and Substitutions
I love cookie recipes in which you can swap out a few ingredients and bake an entirely different kind of cookie. This recipe for anything cookies was created to be exactly that - the kind of cookie dough to which you can add pretty much anything.
Likewise, this recipe can be transformed into white chocolate cranberry oatmeal cookies just by swapping out the raisins for dried cranberries and the almonds for white chocolate chips. Follow the recipe to soak the cranberries in eggs just as you would the raisins and get ready for the best white chocolate cranberry oatmeal cookies ever.
But, white chocolate cranberry cookies are just one idea. Here are a few more:
- These are delicious with any kind of dried fruit instead of, or in addition to, the raisins. Dried sour cherries are divine. So are chopped dried apricots. Regardless of the dried fruit you choose, soaking it in eggs for an hour before adding it to the batter will make the cookies substantially better. (More about why that works below.)
- For a tropical oatmeal cookie, add chopped dried pineapple instead of the raisins and macadamia nuts instead of the almonds. I'd also throw in some toasted shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened.
- Use any kind of nuts you like in these cookies instead of or in addition to the almonds. I like adding roasted nuts to cookies because I prefer their toasted flavor, but if you prefer the flavor of raw nuts, please use those instead.
- For chocolate chip oatmeal cookies either add some chocolate chips to the batter along with the raisins and almonds or add the chocolate chips instead of the raisins and/or the almonds.
Step-by-step photos and instructions
Crack the eggs into a small bowl and beat with a fork or a whisk to break them up. Whisk in the vanilla and almond extracts and then stir in the raisins. Let the mixture rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
Use an electric mixer to beat the butter, vegetable oil, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until the mixture looks light and fluffy.
Add half a cup of the oats to the bowl of a food processor and process until the oats are ground to a powder. Add the ground oats to a bowl along with both kinds of flour, the baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and stir it all together.
Add the dry ingredients to the butter and sugar mixture and mix on low speed just until combined.
Add the remaining 2 cups of oats, eggs and raisins, and almonds to the dough and mix on low speed just until everything is combined.
Scrape the cookie dough into an airtight container and let it rest for at least an hour and up to 5 days. (24 hours or more is best.)
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Add ¼ cup-sized balls of cookie dough to the sheet, leaving at least 4 inches of space in between each one. Bake for 12 - 14 minutes.
How do you know when the cookies are ready to come out of the oven?
For the softest, chewiest texture, it's important to underbake these cookies slightly. The cookies are done when the edges are set but the center looks underdone. The tops of the cookies will have lost most of their sheen, but they will still look doughy in the middle.
If you're unsure, bake one or two cookies to test the timing. Remove the cookies from the oven a bit before you think they are done and let them cool completely. Test their consistency and then adjust accordingly if necessary.
It's also important to allow these cookies to cool almost completely on the baking sheet before removing them to a wire rack. These are exceptionally soft and tender cookies and they will fall apart if you try to move them too soon.
Pro tip #1: Soaking raisins in eggs is genius
Soaking raisins in eggs and vanilla is a trick I learned from a cookbook published in 1978, The Colorado Cache Cookbook. Growing up, everyone in my family had a copy of the Colorado Cache Cookbook and to this day, it's one of my favorites.
There's an oatmeal cookie recipe in the book that calls for soaking the raisins for an hour in eggs and vanilla before incorporating them into the dough. The trick is genius.
That hour soak plumps the raisins up, making them soft and chewy, so they practically melt in your mouth. Soaking the raisins also does something else for oatmeal cookies - it helps keep the cookies fresh and chewy for longer.
Because raisins are dry, they tend to soak up the liquid in cookies, drying them out and making them crumbly within a day or so of baking. But when you soak the raisins in eggs and vanilla before adding them to the dough, they plump up and absorb liquid from the eggs and your cookies will remain soft and chewy for days.
Pro tip #2: Letting cookie dough rest makes it taste better
Just as we are all at our best when we've been allowed adequate time to rest, nearly every kind of cookie dough is better when it's been allowed to rest in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours.
There's a whole science around why cookies taste better after a day or two in the fridge, but here's the gist: during those hours in the refrigerator, the proteins and starches in the dough begin to break down. This leads to more browning and caramelization which equals more flavor.
The resting period also allows the flour and sugar in the dough time to soak up any excess moisture. Having less unrestrained moisture in the dough while the cookies bake results in cookies with chewy centers and crispy edges.
So, let the dough rest for a while. 24 hours or more will produce the best results, but if you must bake the cookies sooner, allow the dough to chill out in the fridge for at least an hour.
A few more of my favorite comfort food recipes
Yes, sometimes I eat my feelings. So does everyone. We know we have to deal with the thing but it's generally better for everyone when we do it with a stomach full of warm, delicious, home-cooked food.
So, if giant oatmeal cookies are only going to get you part of the way toward satiated bliss, here are a few of my other go-to comfort food recipes guaranteed to make you feel warm and fuzzy, even if just for a moment.
Classic double-crust chicken pot pie is one of those staple recipes in my family that's loaded with more warm memories than chicken or veggies. Same with this classic meatloaf that's kinda classic, but also not because it includes Italian sausage and more veggies and herbs than you think you'll want but once you make it you'll never make it any other way.
We love soup in this family and by soup, I mean the kind that's so thick and rich, and packed with delicious ingredients you can almost eat it with a fork. Spanish potato soup and zuppa toscana are classic favorites. And, for warm comfort food in 30 minutes or less, check out this recipe for rotisserie chicken soup.
And, I'm not sure you can eat yourself into a comfort food coma without some form of homemade bread. For the quick and easy variety, flaky buttermilk biscuits and homemade flour tortillas are standard and always welcomed with open arms (and open mouths).
If you've got a couple of hours, you will never be disappointed with these super soft and buttery dinner rolls.
“Delicious! Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, flavorful. Such a delicious cookie, you have to try this recipe.” - Rachel
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup (170 grams) loosely packed raisins
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 6 ounces (12 tablespoons/ 170 grams) of butter, salted or unsalted, at room temperature
- ¼ cup (50 grams) vegetable oil
- 1 ¼ cups (266 grams) dark brown sugar
- ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 ½ cups (222 grams) old fashioned oats
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons (150 grams) all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup (30 grams) whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon table salt, OR 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 cup (142 grams) almonds; I used roasted and salted almonds
- Crack the eggs into a small bowl and beat with a fork to combine. Add the vanilla extract, almond extract, and the raisins. Stir to mix and then let the mixture rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
- Add the butter, vegetable oil, brown sugar, and granulated sugar to a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until the mixture is lightened in color and has a fluffy appearance, 3 to 5 minutes. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl a time or two.
- Meanwhile, add half a cup (½ cup) of the oats to the bowl of a food processor and process until ground to a powder. Dump the ground outs into a medium-sized bowl and add the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir with a wire whisk to combine.
- Add the flour mixture to the butter and sugar and mix on low speed just until combined. Add the remaining 2 cups of oats, eggs and raisins, and almonds. Mix on low speed just until combined.
- Scrape the dough into a covered container and place it in the refrigerator to rest for at least one hour and up to 5 days. (24 hours or more of resting time produces cookies with the best flavor.)
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees F (176 degrees C) and line a baking sheet or two with parchment paper.
- Use a ¼ cup measure to shape the dough into large balls. Add 4 to 6 cookies to a cookie sheet, leaving at least 4 inches of space in between each ball of dough.
- Bake the cookies in the center of the oven for 11-14 minutes. The cookies are done when the edges are set but the center looks slightly underdone. Remove from the oven, set the baking sheet on a wire rack, and allow the cookies to cool almost completely before removing them from the baking sheet.
- Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to a week. Add sheets of parchment paper in between layers of cookies because the cookies WILL stick together if stacked directly on top of each other.
- I usually like to make these quite large, but you can make them any size you like. Use about 2 tablespoons of dough for regular-size cookies.
- It's important to allow the cookies time to cool on the baking sheet before removing them. These are very soft and tender cookies and they will fall apart if you try to move them while they are still too warm.
- You can store baked oatmeal raisin cookies in the freezer for up to 3 months. I like to wrap them individually with plastic wrap and then put them in a zip-top freezer bag. This keeps the cookies from sticking together and allows you to remove as many or as few as you want from the freezer at a time.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1 cookie
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 276Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 46mgSodium: 312mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 2gSugar: 21gProtein: 5g