Basic Whole Grain Cookies

These cookies are a great way to convince yourself (and your family) that baking with whole grains can be a tasty experience. Wheat and oats combine to make a cookie that's indistinguishable from one made with white flour, except in color.

15 mins
13 to 16 mins
3 hrs 28 mins
about 5 dozen small (2 1/4") cookies, with 2 cups of add-ins
Basic Whole Grain Cookies


  1. Beat together the butter, sugars, salt, baking soda, baking powder and vanilla until well combined.

  2. Add the egg, beating until smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl, and beat again until smooth.

  3. Add the flour and oats, beating to combine.

  4. If you're making cookies using chips, nuts, etc., beat in the orange juice, then the add-ins.

  5. If you're making plain cookies, without add-ins, omit the orange juice.

  6. Cover the cookie dough, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled; at least several hours, or overnight.

  7. When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.

  8. Drop the cookies by the traditional teaspoonful (about 2 measuring teaspoons, about a 1" ball) onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 2" apart. A teaspoon cookie scoop works well here.

  9. If the cookie dough has been refrigerated, bake the cookies for 13 to 14 minutes, until they're a very light golden brown, and a bit darker around the edges. For unrefrigerated dough, bake for about 11 minutes. For softer cookies, reduce the baking time by about 2 minutes.

  10. Remove them from the oven, and cool right on the baking sheets.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Choose your favorite texture: To make cookies with a craggy, oatmeal cookie-like appearance, use quick oats. For a smoother, more chocolate chip cookie-like look, grind the oats in a food processor before using, or substitute oat flour.

  • Use the optional orange juice if you're adding chips, nuts, fruit, etc. Don't add the orange juice if you're not using any add-ins.
  • Can you bake these cookies without refrigerating the dough first? Yes. If you're making cookies without add-ins, they'll spread to be very flat. Cookies with add-ins will spread quite flat, but still be acceptable.
  • Jammy Bits, sweet, soft little morsels of fruit purée, come in six delicious flavors: raspberry, blueberry, strawberry, orange, apricot, and peach.

  • What about using traditional (old-fashioned) rather than quick oats? Go for it; we haven't tried it, but assume the spread will be different. If all you have in the cupboard is old-fashioned rolled oats, give them a quick whirl in a food processor, so they're more like quick oats; or process till they're finely ground, for a smoother-looking cookie.
  • The nutritional information for this recipe is calculated using 1 cup of dried cranberries and 1 cup of chocolate chips.