Mom’s oatmeal cookies

Moms oatmeal cookies DSC1468

When I was young, my mom did things differently from the other mothers. When the other kids were eating sugary cereals, I had to eat Uncle Sam. When the other kids were drinking milk shakes, I had to drink raspberry kefir. And when the other kids had smooth, flat store-bought cookies in their lunch boxes, I had chunky, lumpy homemade oatmeal cookies that looked like golf balls.

Appearances aside, I loved these oatmeal cookies as they were spiced with brown sugar and dotted with chocolate chips. But they looked strange, definitely not like the other kid’s cookies or something you’d find at a bakery. And when you’re in elementary school, appearances mean everything.

In the fifth grade, we had assigned seats at our lunchroom table. I was seated next to a boy named Vance. I knew him from our country club as we had taken tennis lessons together that past summer, but over the course of the school year we became better friends and he asked me to “go with him.” I thought he liked me because I was cute and lively (my nickname was Spaghetti Legs) but in time, I realized the truth.

Mom's oatmeal cookies | Homesick Texan

Once I became Vance’s girlfriend, he told me that what was his was mine and vice versa. So I got to eat his Oreos and he got to eat my mom’s cookies. I thought that I was getting the better end of the deal and he was just being kind.

But one day I didn’t want to eat Oreos—I wanted my mom’s oatmeal cookies. Vance threw a fit. “You don’t want to trade? Your mom’s cookies are the best cookies I’ve ever had. I wish I had a mom who made cookies as good as these! And you don’t even appreciate them!” he said.

I was shocked at his outburst. Someone would choose lumpy, chunky cookies over perfect store-bought cookies? And that’s when I knew—my mom’s cookies were indeed superior.

I held my ground and told him I’d be happy to trade my peanut butter and banana sandwich on homemade bread for his baloney sandwich on Mrs. Baird’s, but it was no deal. He wanted those oatmeal cookies.

Mom's oatmeal cookies | Homesick Texan

We broke up soon after—it was fifth grade after all—but remained good friends throughout our grade-school years. And sometimes, when I was feeling generous, I’d share with him my mom’s oatmeal cookies—no reciprocation necessary.

Moms oatmeal cookies DSC1468
5 from 1 vote

Mom’s oatmeal cookies

Servings 48 cookies
Author Lisa Fain


  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.

  2. Cream together the butter, sugar and egg. Stir in the vanilla, rolleed oats, flour, salt, baking soad, and chocolate chips, and mix well.

  3. Working in batches, place 1 teaspoon-sized balls of dough on a greased or parchment-paper lined cookie sheet and bake at 12-15 minutes or until set. Cool before serving.

  1. Marjorie

    Isn't it amazing how mother's know best?

    The little boyfriend was no fool, he knew a good think when he saw it. You and the cookie of course.

    I am sure your mom's cookies were delicious.

  2. tbsamsel

    These may be like my mom's. I think there was a recipe on the brown sugar box. She'd put in pecans, as well.

  3. Rapunzel210

    Lisa, you crack me up! My daughters could tell similar stories about me–they regularly ate carob brownies spiked with bran and wheat germ! I didn't have access to kefir back then, but I sure knew how to make yogurt that made it into the shakes!

    Your mom's cookies sound wonderful, and so does she.

  4. Dear Lord, we were raised by the same woman! I yearned and pined for Twinkies and Oreos, and got what my brother and I called "Oaten Lumps" and "Wheaten Lumps." Oddly enough, I grew up to love all things whole grain and unrefined. These cookies look like they will be in my son's lunch next week, and I'm on my way to vote for you. Thanks for a great story and a little nostalgia!

  5. I love the rustic look of these! You can't beat homemade cookies in my opinion, but I can't help but wonder if the nostalgia of it all just makes them taste all that much better.

  6. I love oatmeal cookies with chocolate chips! I'm not a fan of the cinnamony, raisiny kind, but these look awesome!

  7. Miss Meat and Potatoes

    Ooh – I love the whole wheat flour addition. What kind of oats do you use?

  8. Lisa (dinner party)

    I love this story so much, Lisa. Thanks for sharing it. And the recipe too! The cookies really do look delicious.

  9. These cookies look fantastic!

  10. Boys and their motives! I do love whole wheat flour in an oatmeal cookie, and the golf ball shape looks great.

  11. Our Mother's were cut from the same cloth. My mom made toll house cookies with half whole wheat flour, and I didn't even have any sugar until I was 3 years old. I used to envy my friends' store bought cookies, but now appreciate that my mom cared so much about my health! She also did oatmeal, always used real butter and brown sugar. But she was more into oatmeal raisin 😉

    I always think of you when I make refritos. I had them with eggs, onions, and peppers this morning. Being a transplant from Texas people rarely understand my breakfast choices 🙂

  12. Oh girl you've done it again. I could have written that first paragraph above my grandma's cookies. And as for the recipe except that we had raisins instead of chips it's got to be the same recipe! Did we grow up together??? LOL

  13. I think your Mom's food predilections might be partially responsible for your culinary aptitude today, dont you think ?

    Good story though. Thanks.

    And yes by all means.I'll vote for you. Anytime.

  14. Farmer Jen

    Thank you for the great recipe and sweet love story. I will make these cookies and think of you and Vance.

  15. That Vance, he was a smooth dude! He knew good things when he saw them…although I'm sure you WERE charming and adorable to boot.

    Love the story.

  16. Cheri (aka "The Mom Lady")

    Yum! I am an oatmeal raisin fanatic – so can I sub raisins for the choc chips and throw in some pecans??

    I grew up with snickerdoodles, Toll House choc chip cookies with pecans, thumbprint cookies rolled in pecans and filled with buttercream icing, pumpkin donuts, pecan pie and apple pie. I had a love/carb filled youth (and I have the hips to prove it…).
    Love your blog.

    Oh, I'm from (and IN) Texas too.

  17. Just back from voting for you @ Quaker. Good luck! As for the cookies, second batch are in the oven right now. Just had one while it was still warm….delicious!!! Thanks for the story and recipe. My tendency would be to add some pecans. I tend to add pecans to EVERYTHING.

  18. Sounds like we had a similar upbringing. I had to beg to get 'sugar' cereal like Fruit Loops and was successful about once a year. I now thank my mother that I understand what really good food is and am able to raise my two boys in the same way. These cookies look amazing! I was looking for something to bake with my 6 year old son on this rainy Saturday and we've found just the thing.

  19. Fresh Local and Best

    What a cute story! Thanks for sharing your mom's treasured recipe!

  20. Romaine of

    Yep, sounds you like you really were a Texan at one time. Mrs. Baird's bread–still miss the aroma when driving on the freeway through downtown Ft. Worth.

  21. Cyndi Smith

    Oooo, you make me DROOL and MISS TEXAS EVEN MORE! 🙂 Even the comments – thank goodness I can smell the Mrs. Baird's Bread vicariously through your fans. Mmm. Keep up the great blogging!
    🙂 Cyndi
    (@webvixn on Twitter)

  22. I like oatmeal cookies, but yours is a different spin. I'll have to try this recipe, but I like to eat teacakes as well.

  23. What a cute story, and delicious cookies! I love chocolate chips in oatmeal cookies. I've never liked the traditional raisen oatmeal.I'm going to love your mom's cookies!

  24. Priscilla

    Reading your story I had a flashback to elementary school and my family's adventures kicking wheat and peanuts because my sister was found to be allergic…in 1983…when we ate PB&J's for lunch, every day. I then started taking some kind of hippy nut spread on rice cakes and was teased incessantly by the other kids about eating cardboard etc. After many tears and begging my mother who reminded me that we had to stick together as a family and share the pain, she agreed that for lunch I could start taking…yogurt.
    The cookies look great, I can't wait to try them!

  25. The Greasy Spoon

    Being partly Scottish, I've always had a thing about oatmeal. It works incredibly well with whisky and honey.

  26. The Glenns

    I made these this weekend and made plenty of Dallasites happy–neighbors, friends and babies…
    I didn't have 2 cups of chocolate chips on hand (b/c secretly I reach into the fridge and eat a few every so often..) so I used 1 cup chips and 1 cup raisins. They were amazing! Thank you so much.

  27. class-factotum

    One of the many reasons I feel sorry for my husband about his childhood is that he only got store-bought cookies. My mom made cookies from scratch and I would help. His mom is not much of a baker, bless her heart.

  28. I just made these, and even my roommate, who hates regular chocolate chip cookies, loves them! They are amazing, thanks for the recipe.

  29. Justin From Bitchin' Kitchen

    This is a great story, and indisputable proof that food really is the way into a man's heart. That being said, Vance, buddy, if you had only held it together, you might still be eating those cookies today. Great recipe! Putting it on my list.

  30. pityenlacocina

    lovely story, and lovely cookies, they look sooo delicious, very well done!

    cheers from london,


  31. Oatmeal cookies with chocolate chips – my favorite!

    Just viewed your video and voted for you – pecans, bacon and real maple syrup…the holy trinity of yumminess. 🙂

  32. Anonymous

    I'm assuming that these are normal oats and not quick-coking oats, right? And are the cookies really only supposed to be a teaspoon in size or a tablespoon? I'm making them in about an hour, thanks!


  33. Noodlegirl

    Oh my god I want one now!

  34. We decided to try these last night! They're really tasty, although it seems like there might not be enough liquid in the recipe. The humidity was relatively low here (Kansas City) yesterday and that might have had something to do with it, but we had to add around 1/2 cup of milk to make the cookie batter come together. It was still a little too crumbly for drop cookies, so we made bar cookies instead. I'll also add some more salt next time I make these.

  35. Are you sure the recipe is right? Our batter looks more like apple crisp topping rather than cookie dough… Maybe another egg? Some oil?

  36. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

    I hope Vance married a woman who bakes cookies as delicious as these!

  37. Oatmeal cookies are one of those "quest" foods for me. I'm constantly looking for the BEST recipe. I've got to try these of course!

    Just the other day I was making your oatmeal bread and thinking about how so many of your recipes (biscuits and flour tortillas come to mind) have become part of my repertoire.

    Funnily enough, I have similar memories from the grade school years. I also had a health nut mom. I always wanted to trade for those silver wrapped ding dongs. (I don't remember any takers. I think that my mom sent fruit instead of cookies.)

    Off to see your YouTube now.

  38. Hi There,

    These oatmeal cookies look amazing!

    I'm so sad I didn't get a chance to meet you at Blogher Food, as I was really hoping to.


  39. Lisa Fain

    Harmony–Yes, that's the correct recipe. The dough can look a little dry, but what I'll recommend is that people add between 2 1/2-3 cups of oatmeal instead of the full-on three. I reckon variables such as humidity, size of eggs, etc. can affect the ratio of fat to grains.

  40. Since I had already added the oats, II added a bit of milk and then I hand-formed the cookies so they would stick together. They turned out very nice after that change!

  41. Anonymous

    I made the cookies and they were DELICIOUS!!! My dough was pretty crumbly too but since a use a small spring scoop to dish out the dough, I just crammed the dough in and they were fine (but the shape didn't chanege much in the baking)! I added pecans and some cinnamon to mine, so good! They were the perfect dessert to my baked salmon and hatch potato casserole. Thanks, Lisa!


  42. Lisa Fain

    Marjorie–It is amazing!

    TBSamsel-Pecans are an excellent addition.

    Rapunzel210–It's been so long since I had carob, I'm actually feeling nostalgic for the flavor.

    Annie–Yep, I hated it at the time but I'm very grateful now for being introduced to such healthy food at an early age.

    Mary–I firmly believe that a story behind a dish definitely makes it taste better.

    Anna–I'm with you–not a raisin fan at all!

    Miss Meat and Potatoes–For these I use flat oats, either Bob's Red Mill or Quaker.

    Lisa–Thank you and you're welcome.

    Ashley–Thank you!

    Lisa–They can be crafty!

    Marissa–That's my kind of breakfast! I can eat refritos anytime of day!

    Yoyo–Raisins are probably healthier, but I much prefer the chocolate chips.

    Tommy–I definitely think her choices had a positive affect on the foods I eat today.

    Farmer Jen–Aww, thank you!

    TKW–He was a smooth dude, indeed!

    Cheri–You sure can. Now note that the cookie unbaked is a little dry and lumpy so don't go overboard with the additions. It also doesn't change shape when baking because of the fat-grain ratio.

    Suzinoz–Thanks for the vote! And I agree, pecans are good in everything!

    Joyce–You're lucky–my mom never gave into my desire for sugary cereal.

    Fresh Local and Best–You're very welcome!

    Romaine–I know, that was such a wonderful aroma! Did you ever tour the bakery as a school field trip?

    Cyndi–I'm just doing my job!

    Ethel–I love teacakes, too!

    Lynda–I'm with you–can't stand raisins!

    Priscilla–it must have been tough, but your mom sounds like a good mom. Did the kids tease you about yogurt?

    The Greasy Spoon–Do you pour whiskey on top of it? Interesting!

    Cherie–These lumpy cookies make a strong case for not judging things by appearances.

    The Glenns–Excellent news, glad they some Dallasites happy!

    Class-Factotum–Bless her heart indeed! I can't imagine a life without homemade cookies!

    Ashely–Yay! So glad you liked them!

    Justin–Yep, food is definitely the way into a man's heart.

    Pity–Thank you!

    Debra–Thank you for the vote! And doesn't that topping sound amazing?

    Jennifer–Yes, regular flat oats but not instant or quick oats. And I used a teaspoon-sized scoop, but you could certainly use a tablespoon if you prefer.

    Noodlegirl–Well, then get cooking!

    Asriel–Humidity might have something to do with it. Glad it all worked out for you in the end, however.

    Lydia–Perhaps he did!

    Bee–You've just made my day, thank you! And I completely forgot about those silver-wrapped Ding Dongs but yes, that was definitely something I coveted.

    Elana–I'm so sorry I didn't get to meet you either. So many people and so little time.

    Harmony–Oh, good. I'm glad it worked out for you!

    Anon–Yay! And good to hear they work well with pecans.

  43. Anonymous

    I just made these, and they were perfect for when I'm craving a hearty, healthy(er!) cookie. I used rolled (old-fashioned) oats and cut the chocolate chips to 1 cup, as my dough seemed to be bursting with chips even with that amount. No problems here with the texture of the dough — it held together nicely. I did make sure the butter was soft, and I mixed in the flour a bit before adding the oats.

    Thanks for a great recipe!

  44. Great story! I didn't get to have any of the junky stuff my friends ate either–no Cocoa Puffs in our house! (My mom didn't go as far as Kefir, though…) And my mom's homemade chocolate-chip cookies looked just like these: little domed lumps. (There was always someone willing to trade lunches with me…)

  45. Mark Scarbrough

    I've been doing so much research lately on the connection between memory and taste for the new book–and these cookies, plus your thoughts about them, are right on the money. It's hard to explain that connection between the past and our sense of taste–but I don't think you need to, given how lovingly these were prepared and presented. Just gorgeous.

  46. heidigoseek

    my mother's motto rings in my head to this day…"if you can buy it at the store, you can make it at home." i used to think that just meant we were poor. this has become a my motto now and i love reading about other mom's like mine.

    i made the cookies for my kiddos lunches and they were great! i also made your jalapeno cheddar bread for our barley soup last night, only i left out the jalapenos this time. still very delish:)

  47. I'm with the rest — truly awesome story. These cookies are chock-full of good memories, and they look great to boot.

    You're among friends when it comes to a childhood filled with "different" foods. My mom made the bread we took to school for sandwiches… and I often traded MY homemade cookies for Fritos :O (I know better now, of course!)

  48. abby jenkins

    Vance romance! I can't wait to try those recipes.

    My mother used to make homemade popcorn, in a Revereware pot, top it with a little butter and salt and hand it our it in those fold over sandwich bags for halloween. Kids in our neighborhood would crawl out of the woodwork for that popcorn. I was so proud. Maybe I'll make some popcorn tonight. Thanks for the sweet story!

  49. Sounds just like my mom. There were no sugary perfectly formed cookies in my childhood (which at the time I cursed) just lumpy oatmeal-chocolate chip ones. Happily, I've adopted them as my own & love them dearly. They'll still never be quite like my mom's though.

  50. Sprouted Kitchen

    i wish i had your mother! these look so perfect!! great blog ~

  51. Wow. That's a very simple recipe, but it looks delicious. I'll definitely try it.

  52. I made these cookies this weekend. They are excellent. There are probably 4 of them left at home. I am at work wishing I brought them with me.

  53. It sounds like you had a very progressive childhood diet, hardly typical Texas fare. Thanks be that you did not let it taint your love of the retrofoods of the culinary netherworld.

  54. earthchick

    Maybe I'm hormonal, but your story about Vance and your mom's homemade cookies actually made me a little weepy. (I'm a friend of your mom's, btw).

    Just voted for your video. Now I'm craving oatmeal with pecans, maple syrup, and turkey bacon!

  55. Phoebe and Cara, The Quarter-Life Cooks

    It appears to my great delight, that your mom's oatmeal cookies are very similar to my Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies that was one of the first things I learned how to make with my mother growing up. A lot of people choose to make these by following a classic oatmeal cookie base and then adding chocolate chips. While we both seem to be of the school of regular chocolate chip cookies, but with the addition of oatmeal. I can almost taste them now.

  56. Thanks for sharing this recipe – these are my new favorite cookie. My coworkers thank you too!

  57. Anonymous

    These were yummy! I added some flaked coconut for more chewiness and also used half chocolate chips and half peanut butter chips. I made them with my 19 mo. old and he loved pouring in all the different ingredients.

  58. These are awesome! I made them earlier this week and they were a hit here and at the office. Can't wait to make them again. Thanks for yet another awesome recipe!

  59. passions and soapboxes

    I add a little honey to mine and they are delicious. I really like your blog. It's a little bit of home to a displaced Texan.

  60. Elizabeth

    I stumbled upon your blog and this recipe… both gorgeous! I had to make these cookies right away! I love the crispy outside and the soft center and was pleased with the way they keep their plump shape. I decided to add some cinnamon… thought it was a nice compliment to the chocolate. I think I ate five of them last night! I am 38 weeks pregnant though (baby must have liked them too). 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  61. Kudos to your mother for knowing best about lunchbox cookies. I make "wierd" cookies for my children's lunchboxes too. I take a basic recipe and add all sorts of wonderful things like flax seeds, nuts, and dried fruit. Sometimes I even use whole wheat pastry flour.
    PS. We love kefir.

  62. I made these a couple of days ago and had a bit of a drama. Probably used too many oats and with the first batch I put in I put the broiler on instead of the oven! The second batch was a bit dry and with the third I added some milk. They were still delicious.

  63. i i eee

    Semi-sweet? Or milk chocolate? Which are better with this recipe?

  64. Lisa Fain

    I use semi-sweet.

  65. i i eee

    I thought semi-sweet was the best way to go. Thanks for the quick reply, and oh my I can't wait to make so many of your recipes!

  66. My mom is from New Mexico, raised in Texas, and then moved out to California. I can't ever remember her baking. But that's o.k. I have other fond memories of her. I on the hand love baking. I tried your recipe, and they were great!

  67. Aw, these are perfect mom cookies, not what you would want from a bakery, but exactly what you want with a cup of tea when your house is cold and you´re a bit homesick. I think it´s unlikely that this batch is going to make it 24 hours. Thanks for this.

  68. Ashley B.

    Do you use salted or unsalted butter in this recipe?

    I made these this past weekend for a party, everybody loved them. We did notice that they seemed a little salty. It didn't detract from the awesomeness of the cookie but it was definitely there. I didn't check the butter I used, it may have been salted, but I do know that I only used a teaspoon of salt.

    I made a variety of flavors with this recipe. I made them with dark chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, cappuccino chips and cappuccino chips with semi-sweet chips. All turned out great, sadly the cappuccino chips weren't full of cappuccino flavor. They were more of a toned down white chocolate.

    Thank you, for an amazing recipe!

  69. I just recently came across your site. I was looking down your list of recipes and the first one I had to check out was your oatmeal cookie.

    Your cookie story made me laugh. I'm also from the Houston area and for as long as I can remember my lunch contained homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. My mom would make dozens of them and freeze them three to a bag. Every lunch got a bag of cookies (and I usually had another bag when I got home).

    I didn't get my first boyfriend until much, much later than 5th grade. But on the bright side, I never had to share my cookies with anyone.

    I'll have to give your cookies a test drive and see how they stack up to mom's.


  70. Anonymous

    What a great story! Just made these cookies and they were fantastic! Thanks so much for this recipe. I poured a little bit of milk in to make it a bit runnier as I think the portion sizes are a bit different here in the UK. I received many compliments on these cookies.

    Texan living in London

  71. Barbara

    And now I get to do all that to, er, that is, FOR my grandchildren ! Hee, hee! I think I'll make some of these first thing in the morning, and I have real cream-top, non-homogenized, incredible-tasting real country dairy milk to drink with them! Sigh.

  72. Anonymous

    I was a little worried given the sugar to oat/flour ratio but they came out great – perfect amount of sweetness! Thank you for sharing!

  73. Anonymous

    My grandmother—born in the 1880's— used to make drop oatmeal cookies just like this! Hers had raisins and nutmeg, not chocolate chips. These were the only thing I remember her cooking.

    They also were made with crisco, which seemed fine 50 years ago, but I can't imagine using now. I look forward to trying this crisco-less recipe!

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