Thick and Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Oatmeal raisin cookies tend to be under-rated and get the brush-off.
But I especially love thick, chunky, chewy, oatmeal cookies loaded with raisins.
When they’re done right, a great oatmeal raisin cookie may even trump Chocolate Chip Cookies but then again, it’s hard to compare the two because they’re so different. Unfortunately, oatmeal raisin cookies fall tend to prey to a myriad of cookie pitfalls. Too thin or they spread while baking, too crispy, not soft enough, not chewy enough, too cakey, too dry, not enough oats, not enough raisins, and not enough spice.
My ideal oatmeal raisin cookie above all else must be soft, chewy, and very texture-filled. Oats must be in plentiful supply along with an abundance of raisins. It’s a peeve of mine when the oats don’t take the forefront and really shine or when the raisin quantity is paltry. And I prefer them thicker but not at all cakey. I love cake, but I don’t want my cookies to ever be cakey. Cinnamon is a natural complement to oats and raisins and because I’m a cinnamon fiend, plenty must be used.
The cookies come together very quickly by creaming together butter, an egg, brown sugar, and vanilla extract. I only used brown sugar, no granulated, which gives the cookies greater depth of flavor, and helps them stay softer and moister, and they stay fresh longer, than if granulated sugar was used. Cream the ingredients together until they’re very fluffy, about five minutes. The creaming process beats air into the batter which in turn creates cookies that stay thicker as they bake so don’t shortchange the creaming process.
Fold in old-fashioned whole rolled oats, not quick cook or instant. Whole-rolled are heartier, chunkier, and are what provide that great oaty texture. Quick cook oats have been broken down, and are finer, grainier, and behave more like flour than like big, chunky oaty nuggets and save them for a bowl of oatmeal rather than for use here.
Along with the oats, add baking soda, optional salt, and cinnamon. Feel free to increase the amount if you like more intense cinnamon flavor. This dough can stand up to at least a tablespoon without becoming overwhelmed. I love cinnamon and used one tablespoon in my personal batch and it wasn’t overpowering at all. Present, but not whoa nelly. I wrote two teaspoons in the recipe, which should satisfy the casual cinnamon connoisseur.
Then add the flour and I used bread flour for a couple reasons. It promotes chewier baked goods, from bread to cookies, and because of it’s higher protein and gluten content, it lends greater structure to cookies. Cookies made with it stay thicker and are less prone to spreading while baking. All-purpose flour will be fine, but your cookies won’t be quite as thick or chewy.
Finally, fold in the raisins. I folded in nearly as many as the dough could hold. I’m a raisin lover so skimpy doesn’t work. You could also add chocolate chips or peanut butter, white chocolate, or butterscotch chips. I love chocolate but actually prefer oatmeal raisin to oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. No nuts in baked goods for me, but add some walnuts or your favorite nut if you’d like.
The dough is thick and dense from all the oats and raisins, yet soft. It needs to be chilled for at least two hours, or up to five days before baking cookies with it. There’s no way to achieve thick, puffy, tall cookies with warm, soft, limp dough. It’s just won’t work. You can make the dough days in advance and keep it in the refrigerator, and when you’re ready to bake all the cookies, or just want a couple warm, fresh cookies, the dough is waiting and ready to go.
I used a medium-sized two-inch cookie scoop to form the dough, which is approximately two heaping tablespoons, or 1.50 to 1.60 ounces by weight. The mounds are light for their size because the oats add bulk and heft, without adding much weight. Place the dough on baking trays, no more than eight per tray.Y
You may wish to flatten the chilled mounds slightly or they may stay domed like little igloos while baking, the opposite of a spreading problem. My dough had been chilling for two days before I baked these and I gave the mounds a tiny smoosh-down with my palm so that I ended up with cookies rather than puffballs.
Bake the cookies for ten to twelve minutes, or until the edges have set and the tops are barely set. Because of the raisins, oats, and their natural color, it’s a bit hard to judge doneness.
I baked a few batches with varying results. At 9 minutes, they were too raw, even for me. At 10 minutes, they were my perfect cookie. At 11 minutes, they were Scott’s perfect cookie. At 12 minutes they were too hard, even for him and he likes well-done and almost crunchy cookies. Because ovens, preferences, ingredients, and climates vary, baking times will vary so bake accordingly.
If the cookies emerge from the oven on the puffy side, tap them a couple times with the back of a spoon as they cool on the baking trays. The tap-tap trick is a favorite.
I have another recipe for Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and actually the two don’t differ all that much in ingredients, but the results varied tremendously. In those cookies, I used a little extra sugar (1/2 cup granulated) and used two extra tablespoons flour, but in a whole batch of cookies, those are minor differences. The major difference though comes with the butter. In that recipe it’s melted and I’ve always said, I can’t get the same results with melted butter in terms of thickness that I can with creamed.
I also used all-purpose rather than bread flour, and I didn’t chill that dough prior to baking. Thinner cookies are a foregone conclusion if you bake with warm dough.
Look at how much thinner those cookies were. It’s a nice side-by-side comparison of very similar recipes, but using different techniques, and how different the results can be.
The bonus of that recipe is that no mixer is needed since the butter is melted, and because the dough is not chilled much, if any, from making to baking to eating, you’re looking at 20 minutes, tops, from start to finish.
The new cookies are thick, chewy, and loaded with chunky oats and tons of texture. All that texture gets caught in my teeth and I love it. They’re hearty, sturdy, and a very portable cookie, resistant to being crushed at the bottom of lunch pails and purses. They make me feel like I should put them in a backpack and hit a trail somewhere.
As cookies go, they feel healthy and wholesome. They’re not overly sweet and I tell myself they’re healthy because of the whole-grain oats, dried fruit, and there’s no white sugar in them. The truth is, I would eat them even if they were wildly unhealthy because I love oatmeal raisin cookies so much.
Especially when I can take big, thick, chunky, bites.
Thick and Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
I've been on a quest to find a recipe for thick and chewy oatmeal raisin cookies, that are also soft and moist, and this one delivers. The cookies are very texture-filled and are loaded with oats and an abundance of raisins in every bite. The bread flour used helps them bake up thick, tall, and gives them extra chewiness. They're hearty, chunky, and wholesome. You can tell yourself they're healthy from the whole grains and dried fruit used and they're not an overly sweet cookie. They're a sturdy cookie, begging to be tossed into backpacks and lunches and they make me want to hit a trail somewhere.
Yield: about 18 medium-sized cookies
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups whole rolled old-fashioned oats (not quick cook)
- 2 teaspoons+ ground cinnamon, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons bread flour (or, 1 cup minus two tablespoons)
- 1 cup raisins
- To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter, egg, brown sugar, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed to cream ingredients until very light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the oats, cinnamon (I use 1 tablespoon), baking soda, optional salt, and beat to incorporate, about 1 minute. Add the flour and beat to just incorporate, about 30 seconds. Note regarding flour - the secret to these cookies staying thick and chewy is the bread flour; although all-purpose may be substituted, the results will be superior with bread flour. Add the raisins and beat momentarily to incorporate. Transfer mixture to an airtight container or cover mixing bowl with plasticwrap and refrigerate dough for at least two hours, up to 5 days. Do not bake these cookies with dough that has not been properly chilled because they will spread.
- Preheat oven to 350F, line a baking sheet with a Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mat, parchment, or spray with cooking spray; set aside. Using a medium-sized two-inch cookie scoop form dough mounds, which is approximately two heaping tablespoons, or 1.50 to 1.60 ounces by weight. Place dough on baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart (maximum of 8 per sheet). Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until edges are set and tops have just set, even if slightly undercooked in the center, as cookies will firm up as they cool. It's a little tricky to judge doneness because of all the oats, but I suggest the lower end of the baking range and baking for 10 minutes for soft and chewy cookies. For crunchier cookies, extend baking time by 1 to 2 minutes, but take care not to overbake or they will be hard.
- Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Alternatively, unbaked dough can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies – The ingredients are almost the same in these cookies as today’s cookies, but because I melted the butter and didn’t chill the dough, they bake up much thinner. They’re still chewy, without the thickness and weren’t quite as texture-filled since I used fewer raisins. A nice recipe if you don’t want to dirty a stand mixer and don’t have time to chill the dough and mind if they’re thinner. The nice thing is you can be eating cookies in 20 minutes flat, from start to finish
Oatmeal Raisin Rolls – Part healthy and hearty chewy dinner roll, part soft cinnamon roll. They’re full of texture from the raisins and oats, lightly sweetened from honey in the dough and are then brushed with honey-butter prior to baking, and perfumed with cinnamon. They can be made in advance or frozen, if desired
Cinnamon Raisin Bread Smoothie (vegan, GF) – Tastes like drinking a glass of cinnamon-raisin bread, although no actual bread was used, and I put a graham crackers to work
Cinnamon Raisin English Muffin Bread with Cinnamon Sugar Butter – If you’ve never made bread before, this is a goofproof, foolprood, no-knead bread recipe. You’ll never have a need for storebought English muffins again, especially because this bread is spiked with cinnamon-sugar and raisins
Raisin Bread for Raisin Lovers – Lightly sweetened and cinnamon-spiced dough is chock full of raisins. It couldn’t even hold any more and I love this bread for that reason
Cinnamon Oatmeal Date Bars with Chocolate Chunks (no-bake, vegan, gluten-free) – Like cinnamon oatmeal, but in bar form, and made with oats and dates, although some raisins could be incorporated too. To keep these lighter, feel free to omit the chocolate topping and the base of these bars is a perfectly healthy, no-bake, vegan, gluten-free, granola bar with no refined sugar added
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars (no-bake, vegan, GF) – One of my favorite ways to combine oats, cinnamon, and raisins is in these easy, no-bake granola bars that are similar to Quaker Chewy Granola bars, but because you control the ingredients, you get to decide what does and doesn’t go into your granola bars. These are my favorite no-bake granola bar and very popular with readers
Do you like oatmeal cookies? Thick, thin, soft, chewy, with or without raisins? Chocolate Chips? Do tell.
Feel free to share your links and recipes for your favorite oatmeal cookies, or any favorite cookies.
I love oats for baking and have a collection of all Oats and Oatmeal Recipes with links and photos for inspiration. And the oatmeal and raisin combination is a favorite.