I always feel sad for oatmeal raisin cookies. They get a bad rap, especially when placed next to the chocolate chip cookie. They're always the last one on a platter, and people are usually visible disgusted when they mistake an oatmeal raisin cookie for something else. But, when done right, oatmeal raisin cookies can be some of the best treats you'll ever have.
Plus, they're filled with whole grains and what was once fruit, so they feel like a healthier treat when still full of sweet, butter flavor. The whole grains and fruit are how I lie to myself and say that eating 10 oatmeal cookies in an afternoon isn't bad for me. So much nutrition, I should eat three more! (That's how health works, right?)
There are two key factors that make these cookies so damn good:
First, you've got to add some spices. I use cinnamon, but you can throw in some nutmeg, cardamon, or a mix like pumpkin pie for some extra pizzaz.
Second, and most important, use BREAD FLOUR. Seriously, just try it once, and you'll be hooked forever. Bread flour is the key to chewy oatmeal raisin cookies that stay chewy even after being stored for a few days!
The Trick for the Chewiest Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Bread Flour! I know. I thought it was ludicrous, too. But, hear me out while I put on my white lab coat and break down some baking science facts.
First, all four has protein. These protein molecules, when combined with water/liquid, form gluten. You know, the thing that makes bread dough stretchy? So, gluten is great for things like bread. The higher the protein content, the more your yeast doughs will rise! In those kinds of recipes, you want more protein. More protein = More gluten.
In comparison, gluten is terrible for cakes. Gluten makes your cakes tough. Think about how almost every cake recipe calls for you to just barely mix in the flour. This guidance is to help slow down gluten development. By over-mixing your cake, you encourage that protein and liquid to bond, making more gluten. Which, again, is very bad for cakes.
But, then, why in the world am I telling you to put bread flour in cookies? I'm not. Well, I am, but with a caveat. I do not think bread flour is a good substitute for all cookies. There are, however, some cookies where you want to increase that ideal level of chewiness from just soft to more of a bite. With oatmeal raisin cookies, you're already getting some chewiness from the oatmeal. Because there is not enough liquid in these cookies to cook the oatmeal all the way, it stays a bit undercooked, creating a naturally chewy texture. By adding in bread flour, you are creating a little bit more volume to the cookie (because it puffs up a bit more than all-purpose), but you are also adding a second level of "chewy" on top of the oatmeal. Creating a delightful cookie anyone would want to eat two, or ten, of.
Ingredients Matter: A Case for Brand Loyalty
There are three key ingredients to make this cookie shine:
Now, I'm the first one in line to buy some stuff off-brand. Like, I think I've bought exclusively store-brand eggs and butter for my entire life. But, there are some moments where an argument can be made for the importance of the brand. I'm here to make that argument, especially for oatmeal. Oh, and I'm no affiliated with these brands in any way, I just genuinely think they have the better product!
I cannot stress enough how much I adore Bob's Red Mill Old Fashioned Rolled Oats. I just genuinely think they are some of the best oats on the market because of their size and shape. They're hearty and have a really beautiful texture. Plus, they don't reduce to mush in four seconds. If you don't want to buy this brand, that's fine. Just, do not use quick cooking oats! These oats are chopped up, and the cookie will not have the same texture as they do when you use old fashioned rolled oats.
For bread flour, I always choose King Arthur. King Arthur makes wonderful flour in general (especially their gluten free stuff!), but I stan their bread flour. It's the only bread flour I will buy. If my store is sold out, I won't substitute it. I just won't make bread until it is back in stock. I'm that in love with it.
I mean, do I really need to say it? Sun-Maid is the go-to choice for raisins. They're the perfect size, but they're also full of really wonderful flavor. And, they still find a way to be juicy!
Bringing It All Together
Now that you've gotten your ingredients settled, here's some things to know about this cookie.
First, I cannot recommend enough scooping it with a smaller cookie scoop, then giving the ball a quick rolls in your hand to create a more uniform shape. If you don't, be prepared for uneven spreading and a little uneven browning on the bottom. It doesn't affect the taste or texture, but the cookies look better if you roll them in your hand before placing them on the tray.
Second, throw some raisins on top for some added visual interest. Do not be alarmed, though, when the raisins puff up and look frightening when you pull the tray out of the oven. It is normal. They will shrink back down and look like the little, shriveled ovals we all love within a few minutes. As the raisins heat up, the moisture expands inside the raisin, causing them to poof up. Nothing bad is happening! It just looks a little strange, and then it goes back to normal.
Third, let these cookies cool completely before eating. While they are delicious straight out of the oven, they get chewier as the cool off. By allowing them to cool completing, you are essentially letting them "set up." I promise, it's worth the wait!
I hope y'all enjoy this recipe! Until next time–Kristi
Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 ¾ cups bread flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
- 1 ½ cups raisins
- Preheat oven to 375°F
- Beat your room temperature butter and sugars together. When combined, add an egg one at a time until fully incorporated. Mix your butter, sugar, and eggs on medium-high speed for 3 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Add in vanilla, flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Mix until just combined. Fold in oatmeal and raisins.
- Scoop onto a lined cookie sheet, leaving about 2" between each cookie. Bake for 8-12 minutes. They are done when the edges are golden and the center is no longer tacky. Let cool completely to get the most chewiness!