The very best oatmeal raisin cookies you will ever have! They are soft and chewy and I promise you will NOT be wishing those raisins were chocolate chips. (I know you) The trick is to plump the raisins in boiling water, and then add a bit of molasses to the cookie dough. It’s to die for! Originally published January 17, 2019.
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There’s a new sheriff in town around here, folks. That’s what my new parenting book says to tell my children, anyway. Reading a new discipline book is always a sure fire way to shake things up when parenting gets too boring (har, har).
The book basically eschews all the “psychobabble” from the 1960s and tells you to parent the same as your great-grand parents did. (Minus the belt.) Lots of common sense. No BS. It’s right up my ally, so no surprise I love it. No surprise, my kids are hating it.
You should see the looks on their faces when I tell them there’s a new sheriff in town. It’s as if I’m torturing them. You would not believe the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth going on around here, yours truly included (the Bible just has the best punishment imagery, doesn’t it?).
My son Truman should really be loving our new discipline regimen, because he’s basically an 80 year old at heart. His favorite food is Brussels sprouts (no lie). He will not eat cake. He does not like sugar cookies or anything too sweet. He loves to snack on nuts. He will eat a chocolate chip cookie, but only one.
These oatmeal raisin cookies, though? He can pound them down. “These are really good, Mom.” Why thank you, child from 1945.
Ingredients for Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Here’s a quick shopping list to help you gather your ingredients. See the recipe card below for the full ingredients and instructions!
- Brown sugar
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Baking soda
- Quick oats
- Old fashioned (rolled) oats
- Walnuts (optional)
Why you should add Molasses
Molasses in your oatmeal raisin cookies? YES! I know this isn’t gingerbread, but trust me, it’s your secret helper for rich flavor. We’re adding just a little bit to make the flavor more complex.
How to make Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
I saw this joke on Pinterest a while back, “Oatmeal raisin cookies that look like chocolate chip cookies are the main reason I have trust issues.” I used to feel exactly the same way, but oh how the times have changed! Why do we have such a bias against raisins these days?? They are so good.
Well, I should qualify that. Raisins are just okay, until you soak them in boiling water for a few minutes. Then they are AMAZING. Plump and juicy raisins are so delicious and pop-able. You will have to stop yourself from eating them all before you mix them into the cookies.
The other secret to making these the BEST oatmeal raisin cookies is to add a bit of molasses to the dough. It totally amps up the flavor in the best, deepest, blackstrappiest way. A little pinch of nutmeg in addition to the cinnamon helps too.
I like to use a combination of quick oats and old fashioned oats in these cookies. If you use only old fashioned oats, the cookies may not bind together as well. Most oatmeal raisin cookies call for less flour and more oats than this recipe, but I tested this multiple times and am in love with the texture of the recipe as written. I don’t want a granola bar, I want a COOKIE, thank you very much!
If you have only ever tried Oatmeal Raisin cookies that were bought at the store, you seriously need to try these out. They just do not compare AT ALL. I love me a good Chocolate Chip Cookie, but these Oatmeal Raisins seriously give them a run for their money, trust issues aside. ;)
Tips & Tricks to making the Best Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Recipe
Think you hate oatmeal raisin cookies? Me too, until I learned these tips and tricks for how to transform a cookie only a granny would eat into everyone’s favorite.
- Use a combination of oats and flour. Many recipes call for more oats than this one. I tried and tested different amounts and this is the best texture! If I wanted a granola bar, I wouldn’t be making cookies.
- Add flavor with molasses and spices. Don’t get me wrong, oats are great, but their flavor is really subtle. For more intense deliciousness, I added molasses, nutmeg, and cardamom to the traditional cinnamon you usually find in oatmeal raisin cookies.
- Soak your raisins. Who wants a dry raisin when you can have a juicy plump one? I know soaking the raisins is an extra step, but I promise it’s well worth it.
- Shape the cookies right after baking. This trick is one I use for a lot of my cookies. To keep your oatmeal raisin cookies soft and tender, use two spoons to push the edges of each cookie toward the center immediately after they come out of the oven. Simple, but it makes a huge difference (and you get nice round cookies to boot).
Storing these Soft and Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
These cookies will stay fresh on the counter for up to a week in an airtight container. You can also freeze them for 2-3 months. If you want, you can freeze unbaked balls of dough instead for baking whenever the cookie craving strikes.
Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies FAQs
Yes, yes, yes. Raisins out of the box are ok for toddlers but we’re cookie gourmets here. We want the good stuff. When you soak raisins, they get plump, soft, and juicy. Who needs chocolate chips when you’ve got these babies?? (Ok, me. I still need chocolate. But I’m telling you, soaked raisins will totally transform your oatmeal raisin cookies.)
If you don’t store your oatmeal raisin cookies in an airtight container, they will definitely dry out and get hard. If they’re hard only moments after cooling, you may have overbaked them, or ignored my handy spoon technique. You’ll want to pull the cookies out when they have juuuust a tiny bit of shine left, or the shine has just disappeared. Then immediately use two spoons to shape the cookie, pushing all around the edges toward the middle. This will keep your cookie nice and soft with no crunchy crispiness. Bonus, it makes the cookies a nice circle shape.
If your cookies are remaining little mounds of dough, you may have added too much flour. I like to use the fluff and scoop method. Use a spoon to fluff up your flour, then scoop it into your measuring cup. Don’t pack it down! Once you’re filled the cup to the top, gently level it off.
More oatmeal cookies you are going to love!
Texas Cowboy Cookies << these are one of the most popular recipes on my site! You will love all the mix ins.
Skinny Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies << another super popular recipe on the site. You guys love your oatmeal cookies!
Chewy Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies << these are SO soft and chewy! I love them!
No Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies << no baking required for these crowd pleasing classics.
White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies << couldn’t decide on just one mix-in, so these are chock full of tasty goodness.
Monster Cookies (Soft and Chewy) << chewy tender cookies with M&Ms and candy eyes. Perfect for Halloween or anytime.
No Bake Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Balls from Family Food on The Table
Healthy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (No Sugar Added) from Sugar Free Mom
Oatmeal Toffee Cookies from Daphne Oz
Soft and Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
- 1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 2 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- pinch cardamom, optional
- 1 cup quick oats
- 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (optional)
- 1 & 1/2 cups raisins
- Start by preparing your raisins and walnuts, if you plan to add nuts. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add 1 and 1/2 cup raisins to a small bowl. Pour the boiling water over the raisins. Set aside to plump (at least 10-15 minutes.)
- In a small pan, add 1/2 cup walnuts and set over medium heat. Stir frequently for 3-5 minutes, until the walnuts are light brown and fragrant. Don’t burn them! Nuts are so easy to burn. Set side to cool.
- In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the butter until is is soft and creamy.
- Add the brown sugar and granulated sugar and beat together. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl and beat for another 2-3 minutes, until fluffy.
- Add 2 eggs, 2 teaspoons vanilla, and 1 tablespoon molasses. Beat well until incorporated, scraping the sides and bottom.
- Add 2 and 1/2 cups flour (spooned and leveled!) but don’t mix it in yet.
- On top of the flour in the bowl, add 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg. Add in a dash of cardamom, but only if you already know you like cardamom. Stir it into the flour with a small spoon.
- Use the beaters to stir the flour into the dough, but not all the way. Stop when the dough is still pretty white from the flour. Scrape down the edges.
- Add 1 cup quick oats, 1 cup old fashioned oats, and the 1/2 cup of toasted walnuts, if you’re using them.
- Beat just until the flour streaks are gone. Make sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure it has all been mixed properly, but do not over mix (or you will get tough cookies).
- Drain the raisins through a strainer. Lay out a paper towel on the counter and pour the raisins on top to dry them out a bit. Set aside 1/4 or 1/2 cup raisins to press into the top of the baked cookies, if you want.
- Use a wooden spoon to stir the raisins into the dough. If they are still a little wet, they may not mix in very well. Just do your best to get them incorporated.
- Cover the dough and refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 48 hours. If you are in a big hurry, you can shape the dough into balls right away, set them on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes before baking (they will chill faster if they are already shaped into balls).
- When you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- Line a few baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
- Use a 2 inch cookie scoop (< this is the one I have) to shape the cookie dough, or just use your hands. Your cookie dough balls should be about 2 inches across, or a little bigger than a golf ball.
- Place the cookie dough on the prepared baking sheets with about 2 inches in between each cookie. I was able to fit 12 on a half sheet baking pan.
- Bake at 350 for 11-12 minutes. The cookies should be firm on the edges and slightly golden. They should not be too shiny. A little bit of shine is okay right in the center, but not much. If the whole top of the cookie is still shiny, leave it in for 2-3 more minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven.
- For an extra thick cookie: Immediately after you take them out of the oven (seriously, don’t wait) use two spoons to gently push each cookie together. I just used two regular spoons, the kind you eat cereal with. Push the cookie together so that it comes up a bit in the middle. That’s how you’re going to get a soft, thick center. If you wait even just a minute after taking them out of the oven, the brown edges will start to crisp up, and you won’t be able to shape the cookies. Work your spoons all the way around the edges so that your cookie is a nice circle shape. Work quickly to shape all the cookies before they crisp on the edges. (See photos of this process on my recipe for 30 minute Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies.)
- Press extra raisins into the top of each cookie, if desired. (You can use ones that you plumped or ones straight from the bag.)
- Remove to a wire rack and let cool completely. But not before eating at least one!
- Store covered on the counter.