These classic all-American oatmeal raisin cookies have nutty and fragrant brown butter in it to make it the best version possible!
In the holy trinity of classic all-American cookies, you have the sexy leading chocolate chip cookie, the down-home pure comfort snickerdoodle, and then you have the oatmeal raisin cookie. It’s overlooked, often dismissed, and even relegated as an afterthought in the back of the cookie jar or cookie box.
But the comfort and warmth of a classic oatmeal raisin cookie can’t be beat. It’s chewy subtle spice and pop of fruit sweetness make it a classic in the pantheon of American cookies. And though I’ve made variations over the years for the blog, like my blueberry and ginger oatmeal cooki, my vanilla white chocolate oatmeal cookie, and my oatmeal chocolate chip cookie this oatmeal raisin cookie recipe made with nutty and fragrant brown butter, is my go-to version of the classic cookie recipe and should be reconsidered.
How do you make oatmeal raisin cookies?
These oatmeal raisin cookies start by first making brown butter and then letting it cool down until it solidifies. You can do this a day or two ahead of time if you want.
Then cream the brown butter and sugar together until a paste forms. I also add in spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, as well as vanilla extract and baking soda to the creaming. All those flavors bloom and intensify in the butter, as the volatile oils that give the spices and vanilla flavor are fat soluble and the butter amplifies them. Adding the baking soda at this stage also means the leavening will be distributed evenly in the dough, and you don’t have to sift it into the flour.
Mix in the egg, then the rolled oats and the flour. Finally stir in the raisins, scoop dough balls, and then bake away!
What is brown butter and how do you make it?
Brown butter, called beurre noisette in French (which translates to hazelnut butter) is butter that has been cooked until the milk fat solids have caramelized and browned. The caramelized milk fat takes on a hazelnut brown color and the buttery liquid will smell rich and nutty. It adds an extra layer of sophisticated flavor to baked goods and is easy to do!
Place the butter in a pan (preferably silver or light colored if you aren’t experienced in making brown butter) and then cook the butter. Stir constantly, as the water in the butter will start to evaporate and make the butter foam. Once you notice that the milk solids are starting to brown, remove the pan from the heat. Let the residual heat of the pan continue to cook the milk fat.
It’s always easy to put the pan back on the stove and cook the butter a little longer to nudge it to the right place. But you can’t go backwards if you burn the butter. You will need to start over!
Can I skip making the brown butter?
If you find making the brown butter fussy, just skip it and use the same amount of room temperature butter instead. These cookies will still be awesome (though not quite as complex in flavor).
What type of oats should you use?
I prefer to use old fashioned rolled oats, or thick cut oats for oatmeal cookies. Quick cook or instant oats are cut thin and don’t have as much substance as the old fashioned rolled oats. You can even use extra thick cut oats if you’d like to give the cookies extra chew and texture.
Don’t use those packaged instant oatmeal packets, as they are already pre-sweetened with flavorings and sugar. And don’t use steel cut or pinhead oats for this recipe. That will lead to a gritty cookies with bits of hard uncooked oats in it, as the oats won’t have time to absorb any liquid and cook in the short bake time.
Can you swap out the raisins for something else?
The classic dried fruit for these cookies is obviously black raisins. But mix it up and substitute the same amount of other dried fruit (or a mix of them):
- Golden Raisins
- Dried blueberries
- Dried cranberries
- Dried cherries
- Chopped dried figs
- Chopped prunes
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! This cookie dough actually benefits from being made ahead. Much like my bakery style chocolate chip cookie or my sourdough chocolate chip cookie, if you make this cookie dough ahead of time, the cookies will have a more complex and deeper flavor.
Just make the dough and refrigerate the dough, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for up to 72 hours. You’ll notice the dough will be a little more crumbly but massages the dough balls with your hands a bit to warm it up and the dough should form into balls. Bake as directed.
Yes. I like to portion out the dough into the balls before freezing for ease. Just form the balls of dough as per the recipe instructions, place on a baking sheet, and put them in the freezer for 2 hours. Once the dough has frozen through and are solid, place the dough balls in a freezer Ziploc bag. The dough will keep up to 2 months in the freezer.
Bake directly from the freezer, increasing the bake time by 2 minutes to accommodate the cold dough. Fresh baked cookies almost anytime!
You can also freeze the dough as is, without portioning it out. Just wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then slip the entire thing into a freezer Ziploc bag. Keep in mind though, that you will need to thaw the entire amount of dough (either overnight in the fridge or on the counter at room temperature for 2 hours) before forming balls and baking.
Yes. Once the cookies have been baked and cooled, put them on a baking sheet and place in the freezer. Let the cookies freeze solid through, about 2 hours, and then move the cookies into a freezer Ziploc bag. Cookies will keep for about 2 months in the freezer.
Store your cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 5 days.
If you like these oatmeal raisin cookies, check out some of these other awesome cookie recipes:
- Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
- Hot Chocolate Cookies
- Hazelnut Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Chocolate Salted Caramel Cookies
- Cookies and Cream Cookies
- Monster Cookies
- Chocolate Crackle Cookies
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies with Brown Butter
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature 115 g or 1 stick
- 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar 110 g
- 1/2 cup white granulated sugar 100 g
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats 165 g
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour 105 g
- 1/2 cup raisins 80 g
- First brown the butter by placing the butter in a large skillet or sauté pan (preferably one with a silver or light-colored bottom). Cook the butter on high heat until it completely melts, then reduce the heat to medium low. Continue to cook, stirring frequently with a heat proof spatula, until the milk solids have started to turn golden brown and smell nutty.If you need more specific hints on making brown butter, see the brown butter section above.
- Pour the butter into a heat proof bowl, being sure to scrape in all the brown bits as well. Place the butter in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or until it is solid.While the brown butter is chilling, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking pans with silicon baking mats or parchment paper.
- Once the butter has solidified, scrape it in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, making sure to add in the brown bits as well. Add the brown sugar, white sugar, vanilla extract, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Mix the ingredients together until they are well blended, creamy in texture and cling to the side of the bowl.
- Scrape down the sides and add the egg. Mix to incorporate and scrape down again.
- Add the oats and flour. Mix until the dry ingredients are absorbed. Add the raisins and mix slowly until the raisins are distributed evenly in the dough.
- Scoop out 1-inch balls (about 1 tablespoon) of the cookie dough and place on the prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart from each other. Bake in the oven for 9 to 11 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown and just set.Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the pan before moving them to a wire cooling rack to cool further.