Old Fashioned Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

These old fashioned oatmeal raisin cookies are hearty and so easy. They taste just like they came from Grandma’s kitchen!

stack of oatmeal raisin cookies

Old cookbooks are the best. They have such charm, and the recipes are hearty and great for families. This old fashioned oatmeal raisin cookies recipe is from a Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book that belonged to my grandmother. (Yes…I know how to spell cookie, but this cookbook title reads cooky.) The original title for this recipe is oatmeal drop cookies, and it was crowned the “best cooky” for the decade from 1900 to 1910. I’m not sure who bestowed this honor, but I totally agree! These are the best oatmeal raisin cookes because they are delicious, have a great flavor, and are very moist.

oatmeal raisin cookies ingredients
oatmeal raisin cookies recipe dough in bowl


Like most old fashioned recipes, this one is very straight-forward. Basic pantry ingredients are used, and the only items you might not have are the oatmeal and raisins.

  • Shortening: brand name Crisco. Shortening provides these cookies with a hearty texture, and produces a cookie that’s not flat.
  • Eggs: binds the dough together.
  • White sugar and brown sugar: this recipe calls for substantially more white sugar than brown sugar. It’s perfectly fine to use equal amounts of both sugars.
  • Vanilla: I love to use vanilla bean paste, but regular pure vanilla extract works as well.
  • Flour: stabilizes and thickens the dough.
  • Salt + cinnamon: spices that add taste.
  • Baking soda: the leavening that makes the cookies rise.
  • Oats: what would oatmeal cookies be without oats? They provide all the texture and make the cookies chewy.
  • Raisins: adds just a bit of sweetness.
oatmeal raisin cookies scoops on cookie sheet (1)

How to Make

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • With a stand mixer or hand electric mixer, beat shortening, eggs, both sugars, and vanilla until well mixed.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, soda, salt, cinnamon and oats.
  • Add the flour mixture (dry ingredients) to sugar mixture in three additions. Scrape the bowl between additions.
  • Fold in raisins with a large spoon.
  • Drop by level 2 in. scoops onto baking sheet. Parchment paper or silicone mats can be used if desired.
  • Bake 10 min. Cool on a wire rack.
pile of oatmeal raisin cookies

Tips for the Best Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

  • The batter for these oatmeal raisin cookies is stiff and dense. It works best to drop the dough onto the cookie sheet using a large scoop. Level each scoop by dragging it up the side of the mixing bowl. This provides a flat bottom to the scoop, and produces a perfectly round cookie.
  • You can also make cookie dough balls instead of using a scoop.
  • Feel free to leave out the raisins if your family doesn’t like them, but they do give the cookies a chewy texture. Good substitutes are dried cranberries or cherries, regular or white chocolate chips, chopped walnuts or pecans.
  • The original recipe in the Cooky Book called for 1/3 cup of molasses. That’s something I don’t keep on hand, so I substituted an equal amount of brown sugar. If you love molasses, definitely give it a try! Note: a reader tried the recipe with molasses and didn’t like it! She said the cookies tasted OK, but were flat and a little mushy.
  • All ovens are different, so watch the cookies at the end of the bake time. They are done when they are lightly browned around the edges, but they should still be soft in the middle.
  • I’ve been making these cookies for years…and honestly, they turn out a little different every time. They are always super delicious, but the batches vary in how puffy the cookies get, and how crunchy they are. So no worries if your cookies don’t look exactly like the ones in the images. That’s normal!
oatmeal raisin cookies on parchment paper

Frequently Asked Questions

Instant or Old Fashioned Oats?

Old fashioned oats, sometimes referred to as rolled oats, are the best thing to use in this oatmeal raisin cookies recipe. That’s not to say that instant oats can’t be used. They can…but the cookies will have a different texture, and will be softer. Instant oats cook faster, so the bake time for the cookies may need to be reduced. Substituting instant oats involves a lot of guesswork, so eliminate all of that by using old fashioned oats.

Can butter be substituted for the Crisco shortening?

Yes! Feel free to use unsalted butter when making these cookies. Using butter will change the texture and the taste, but the cookies will still be delicious. Cookies made with butter come out a bit flatter than cookies made with shortening.

How do you store oatmeal raisin cookies?

These cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for several days.

Can you freeze these cookies?

If you wish to make them ahead and freeze, don’t bake the cookies. Freeze the dough by putting scoops onto a cookie sheet. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer for several hours. When the scoops are frozen, place them in an airtight container or resealable freezer bag, and freeze for up to three months. There is no need to thaw the scoops before baking, but the bake time should be increased by a few minutes. This is a super easy way to have fresh-from-the-oven cookies in no time!

oatmeal raisin cookies on blue plate

How to Plump Raisins

Plumping raisins involves extra time, and an extra step, but it’s worth it! There are a few different methods that work well, but this is my favorite. Place the raisins in a bowl, and add enough very hot water so the raisins are covered. Stir to mix it all together and then let this mixture sit for 15 minutes. Drain the raisins well before adding to the recipe.

oatmeal raisin cookies with glass of milk

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What Readers Say

“I made these cookies yesterday and are they ever good! I’ll be using this recipe again. I also added some nuts. Thanks for the recipe!”


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pile of oatmeal raisin cookies

Old Fashioned Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

These old fashioned oatmeal raisin cookies are hearty and so easy. They taste just like they came from Grandma's kitchen!
Rate this Recipe Print Recipe Pin Recipe
4.64 from 11 votes
Servings: 18 cookies
Author: Ann Drake
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
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  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cups raisins


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • With a stand or hand mixer, beat shortening, eggs, both sugars, and vanilla until well mixed.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, soda, salt, cinnamon and oats.
  • Add dry ingredients to sugar mixture in three additions. Scrape the bowl between additions.
  • Fold in raisins.
  • Drop by level 2 in. scoops onto baking sheet.
  • Bake 10 min. Cool on a wire rack.


Calories: 223kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 201mg | Potassium: 109mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 27IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 1mg
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Recipe Rating


  1. Could i cook these into bars?

    1. Yes I think you could! I have never tried it with this recipe, but I do it all the time with my chocolate chip cookie recipe. If you try it, let us know how they come out!

  2. 2 stars
    I used molasses in this cookie recipe instead of the brown sugar as noted. I had it on hand for molasses cookies which I also love.
    Don’t use it. It made my cookie batter too mushy. But since I had it mixed I decided to bake it anyway and the cookies turned out like pancakes! Ugh! but still eatable!
    I’ll make note of that on the recipe to only use brown sugar next time, no substitutes!

    1. Oh my gosh…thank you so much for letting us know. I will definitely make note of that in the recipe!

  3. I’ve always loved your recipes. Last night I offered to make oatmeal raisin cookies for someone but didn’t have a recipe I trusted. Then comes your email! Looking forward to baking up a batch from this recipe as I know I can trust the source. Thanks, Ann.

  4. These oatmeal cookies look so delicious – YUM! I want one!!
    (Guess I’ll have to make some.). Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  5. Judy Corson says:

    Have you ever left out a key ingredient? Like the oatmeal!!
    I didn’t realize it until I saw the container of oatmeal on the counter and said “oops”. I called them my “raisin cookies” and brought them to a function and they were a big hit! (I did confess!). I will definitely make these again with the oatmeal!!

  6. Even better than raisins are Craisins! The sweet/tart of the craisins adds such depth to the flavor. Mixing both should be another option. Thank you for the recipe.

  7. 5 stars
    Thank you for this recipe! They are delicious. A friend came by this morning and I gave her the recipe to try because they are so good. A keeper!

  8. 5 stars
    I would like to try these with diced prunes instead of raisins.

  9. In making oatmeal raisin cookies when I was growing up, my mom would have me simmer the raisins in orange juice, rather than water, until plump. It added a different dimension to the flavor of the cookie. So good! I love your site!

  10. Deborah Fisher says:

    Thank you Ann for all the extra details/tips for making the cookies. The tips really help. And the supply list after. Makes a better baker if you know the tips! Appreciate it and love your site!

  11. Ann, I think you have found a new ‘hook’ for your blog…old cookbook recipes! I love old cookbooks too. They’re fascinating! These are the cookies I grew up with that I’m sure were on the Quaker Oatmeal box. They’re the best! Thanks for the nostalgic post.😉

  12. Lynn Nelson says:

    I am a “wanna-be” interior decorator/designer (perhaps in my next life), so I need a lot of ideas. I just got on your website, and WOW, best website ever, from gardening to decor. I could spend ALL day here.

    Thank you for sharing your expertise!

  13. Hi Ann,

    I made these cookies yesterday and are they ever good! I’ll be using this recipe again. I added some nuts also. Thanks for the recipe!

  14. just took a pan of your cookies out of the oven….very tasty…I did make afew changes….I added 1/3 cup coconut….and 1/3 cup softened raisins…..I am not a big fan of raisins….I also used even amounts of sugar and brown sugar….I like that brown sugar flavor over regular sugar…I think we have a winner here….I am sure husband will love them too….so thanks for posting the original recipe and then I jumped ahead…..lol

  15. These are my favorite cookies. I add a few toasted pecans in mine.

  16. I have used that very same cookie cookbook my whole 40 years of marriage, and counting! You have inspired me to make the oatmeal cookies soon.

  17. Nancy B of Lake Stevens says:

    What a coincidence, Ann. I make oatmeal raisin cookies today too. Gave some to my neighbors as Valentine treats. My recipe is almost the same as yours with one addition…1/2 tsp ground cloves. Try it sometime. It sure adds some pizzazz to the cookies.

  18. Yummy! I printed this to make for my hubby – he loves oatmeal raisin cookies :)

  19. SereniTea-sb says:

    My husband’s favorite, too. I just made them 2 days ago on a cold Northern Michigan winter day. The smell of cinnamon, and warm oatmeal cookies is comforting, isn’t it!

  20. Oatmeal Raisin cookies are my favorite. Can’t wait to try these out.

  21. Thanks for the recipe and what timing – I just made my Mom’s Ginger Cookie recipe and I’m 73 years old.

  22. My absolute favorite cookie! I think this is the same that is on the Quaker Oats box. I’ve never been able to figure what is meant by “shortening.” I use butter and my cookies always come out flat. Is shortening code word for Crisco?

    1. Diana, in baking shortening and butter are not exactly interchangable and you see the results with flat cookies. And yes, Crisco is a shortening, should state that on the label. And good idea to cool the cookie dough in the frig between scooping to multiple cookie sheets. It’s the chemistry part of baking :-)
      Hope this helps.

    2. Hi Diana! Like Dee said shortening is Crisco. I buy the blocks and it’s so much easier to measure than back in the day when you had to scoop it from a can. In my experience, Crisco gives you a fluffier cookie. Butter will give you a flat, crispy cookie. My mother-in-law only ever used butter and her cookies were as flat as a piece of paper. But they were good!

    3. Deb catmandu says:

      I love this recipe, too. Just thought I’d weigh in on the shortening vs butter. I always found if I used half butter & half shortening, they don’t come out quite as flat, but have a bit more flavor than just shortening. Just thought I’d mention that. Thanks, Ann, for posting this recipe. I was just looking for one to make them for my husband.