How to Make Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cookies

Our basic recipe for gluten-free oatmeal cookies can be adapted almost endlessly to add your favorite fillings.

It’s the age-old question: are oatmeal cookies a dessert or a snack? The good news is, both answers are right. Loaded with whole grain oats, the slightly sweet, super-chewy treats both fill you up and satisfy your sweet tooth. Plus, the rich, hearty dough is easy to make gluten-free. (All our favorite gluten-free cookies are just as delicious.)

Here’s how to make gluten-free oatmeal cookies, including ideas for mix-ins and tips on finding oats that are safe to eat.

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cookies Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups gluten-free all-purpose baking flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups quick-cooking oats

Directions

Step 1: Cream the butter and sugar

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Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, cream the butter and white and brown sugars until light and fluffy, about 5-7 minutes. Make sure your butter is softened before mixing to ensure a fluffy mix (and an airy cookie). Here’s how to soften butter quickly.

Step 2: Add eggs and vanilla

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Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

Step 3: Whisk dry ingredients

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In a separate bowl, measure out the flour. Any store-bought gluten-free flour mixes will work here, as will a homemade GF flour blend. To measure gluten-free flour, scoop the flour from the bag into your measuring cup, then swipe along the top of the cup with a knife to level out the scoop. Don’t pack flour into a measuring cup.

Add the baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and nutmeg to the bowl. Use a whisk or a fork to stir so that the ingredients will be well-combined.

Step 4: Gradually mix together

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Slowly add about a third of the dry mixture to the creamed mixture and beat well. Repeat with the next two thirds, mixing well between additions.

Step 5: Add oats

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Using a large spatula or wooden spoon, stir in the oats. If you ever bake with traditional wheat flour, use a silicone or plastic utensil to mix, as wooden spoons retain gluten.

Step 6: Shape cookies

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With an ice cream scoop or cookie scoop, measure out cookie dough by the tablespoon. Place 2 in. apart onto ungreased baking sheets.

Step 7: Bake

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Bake until golden brown, 10-12 minutes. If the cookies are browning unevenly, rotate the cookie sheets halfway through the bake: switch the top and bottom sheets, and reverse so the front of the sheet faces the back.

Step 8: Cool

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Remove the cookies from pans and spread across wire racks to cool completely before storing.

Tips for Making Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cookies

Gluten-Free Oatmeal CookiesTMB Studio

What else can you mix into gluten-free oatmeal cookies?

Oatmeal cookies are excellent vehicles for your favorite mix-ins. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Nuts: chopped pecans, walnuts, almonds, cashews or peanuts
  • Fruits: almost any dried fruit will work well, including raisins, currants, cranberries or chopped apricots
  • Sweets: chocolate chips or chopped chocolate pieces, coconut flakes, toffee chips

How should you store gluten-free oatmeal cookies?

Gluten-free oatmeal cookies are best the day they’re made, but they’ll keep at room temperature for up to five days. Store them tightly wrapped, ideally in an airtight container like a ziptop plastic bag. If the cookies become dry, a few seconds in the microwave will soften them up (as will a dunk in a glass or milk or tea). Gluten-free baked goods simply don’t last as long as traditional baked goods.

You may also freeze gluten-free cookies. The unbaked dough may be frozen, tightly wrapped, for up to two months. Defrost in the fridge overnight before shaping and baking (proceed from Step 6). Baked cookies may also be frozen for up to a month. Allow to cool completely before wrapping tightly and freezing. Defrost in the refrigerator and enjoy cold or at room temperature, or microwave straight from the freezer to enjoy a soft, warm cookie.

FAQs About GF Oatmeal Cookies

Is oatmeal gluten-free?

Strictly speaking, oats do not contain gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. However, many oats are grown or processed alongside wheat and other glutinous grains, which means that standard oats off the grocery shelf may be contaminated.

What kind of oats should I use in gluten-free cookies?

Look for oats (and oatmeal!) that’s specifically labeled gluten-free. This indicates oats that have been carefully grown, harvested and processed away from wheat flours.

This recipe calls for quick-cooking oats. You may substitute regular oats, if that’s all you have: here’s the difference between regular and quick-cooking oats. Do not substitute steel cut oats, which will take too long to cook and will be tough.

Editor’s Tip: Bob’s Red Mill, a popular source of gluten-free flours, sells both gluten-free and standard oatmeal and oat flour. Make sure to check for a gluten-free label.

Are oatmeal cookies always gluten-free?

Oatmeal cookies will only be gluten-free if made using gluten-free baking flour and oats that are certified gluten-free. Store-bought or bakery oatmeal cookies are likely not gluten-free unless specifically advertised.

Want to make another favorite cookie gluten-free? Here’s how to convert any recipe to gluten-free.

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Kelsey Rae Dimberg
A former in-house editor at Taste of Home, Kelsey now writes articles and novels from her home in Milwaukee. She's an avid cook, reader, flâneur, and noir fanatic. Her debut novel, Girl in the Rearview Mirror, will be published in June 2019 by William Morrow.