The Best Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies

The Best Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies
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oatmeal raisin cookies
The best cookies!

Oatmeal-raisin cookies are my favorite; they always have been. I like them better than chocolate chip, better than peanut butter, better than ginger snaps, better than macaroons, better than any other cookie. But, perhaps surprisingly, we generally don’t make them, simply because I’m happy to have a single cookie and let it go at that. And, what do you do with all those other cookies? Freeze them, perhaps? Maybe, but that’s still a lot of cookies.

Soon we’ll be putting together a small snack for children going to Vacation Bible School. Nothing elaborate, a sandwich or two, some carrot sticks and hummus dip, some sort of fruit, lemonade, and cookies to finish up. We decided on Oatmeal-Raisin (plus a couple other kinds), and went with the best recipe we know for Oatmeal-Raisin cookies.

It’s the one right under the lid of a box of Quaker Oatmeal, with one change. I don’t like cinnamon in Oatmeal-Raisin cookies. If it’s there, the cookies taste, well, off, somehow. So, no cinnamon, and no salt, either, for that matter, but we consider that optional. Salt: optional, cinnamon: none. That’s it.

The Best Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies

Yield: about 40 3-inch cookies

The Best Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies


  • 200 g (14 Tbs or 1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 150 g (3/4 cup) dark brown sugar
  • 100g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
  • 100 g (2 large) eggs
  • 10 g (2 tsp) vanilla extract
  • 205 g (1 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 5 g (1 tsp) baking soda
  • 2.5 g (1/2 tsp) kosher salt, optional
  • 240 g (3 cups) old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 160 g (1 cup) raisins

Abbreviated Instructions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats (preferred) or parchment.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Add eggs, one at a time, and beat in thoroughly.

Add flour, baking soda, and salt, if using, and mix until uniform.

Add oats and raisins, then mix thoroughly.

Using a 1 1/2 Tbs ice cream scoop, portion dough onto baking sheets, leaving 2 inches of space between each cookie.

Bake for 16-18 minutes, rotating front to back and top to bottom halfway through, or until cookies are light brown around the edges.

Let cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.

Ingredient discussion:

Use only real butter. Oatmeal cookies made with margarine or shortening pale by comparison. Go with the real deal for the best cookies. And, use only the old-fashioned rolled oats. Those 1-minute quick-cooking oats are not good (as an aside, we make oatmeal nearly every morning and it takes 2 minutes, 45 seconds to cook up a bowl of oatmeal in the microwave; how much time could you possibly save with the glommy, 1-minute, oats? And what would you do with that extra 105 seconds?). And, of course, 100% real vanilla extract. It’s the best.

Procedure in detail:

Preheat oven to 350°F. If you have them, this recipe is the perfect place to use silicone baking mats. We like the fact that they slightly insulate the bottom of the cookies from the heat of the pan, resulting in a chewier cookie. Otherwise, use baking parchment as a second best choice. For third best (and still good), you can use an ungreased baking sheet.

Cream butter and sugar. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugars. Start with the mixer on low, and, as the sugars start to get incorporated, gradually increase the speed to medium. Beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. During this time, stop and scrape down the bowl periodically using a spatula.

adding eggs
We like to add the eggs one at a time to ensure they get mixed into the batter very well.

Add eggs. Add one egg and beat in on medium-low speed. At first, the batter will look as if it separated, but it’ll come right back together as the egg is worked in. Repeat with the second egg.

adding flour
Start mixing in the flour by hand to avoid the dreaded flour-Vesuvius effect.

Mix in flour and baking soda. Add the flour and baking soda (and optional salt), and start mixing. We either like to disconnect the paddle and use that to start incorporating the flour, or use a spatula to start it out. That way, when you turn on the mixer, you don’t get a big cloud of flour poofing out the top.

adding oats and raisins
Finish with the oats and raisins and you’re ready to bake cookies

Mix in oats and raisins. As with the flour addition, start working in the oats and raisins by hand, then mix until well-incorporated and raisins are well-distributed, but not so long that all the oats are broken apart. The oats form the texture for these cookies (which is the reason we avoid the quick-cooking version of oats).

portioning cookies
An ice cream scoop makes portion control easy, resulting in every cookie being the same size, and all baking at the same rate.

Portion out dough. The secret to making nicely-shaped and -sized cookies is portion control. We have a 1 1/2 tablespoon ice cream scoop that’s perfect. Simply fill with dough, squeeze the handle, and a nice dome of cookie dough plops out. Since they’re the same size, they’ll all bake at the same rate, and, more importantly, you won’t hear, “Billy’s cookie is bigger than mine!” Well, you still might hear that, but you can ignore it more easily.

Bake. For our oven and our size cookies, we found 18 minutes of baking is perfect, delivering an excellent cookie. Watch yours as they bake, and take your cue from the edges of the cookies. They’ll be starting to brown, and, if you press the edges, they’ll be slightly firm, with the center still soft. Once baked, let cool on the sheets for 2 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.

Perfect. Not too sweet, crispy edges with a chewy center. Not too large, and not too small. Plenty of raisins, and nice oat flavor. These are the Oatmeal-Raisin cookies that put all other ones to shame, and will keep kids (and adults) clamoring for more. Plus, cookies are so easy to make, how can they not be worth five stars? (They only thing we might try sometime in the future is to toast the oats lightly — 5 minutes in a 350°F oven — before use.

Worth the trouble?

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