Apple Oatmeal Cookies! Oatmeal cookies are even better when they’re loaded with chunks of fresh apple and iced with an apple glaze. I use a secret ingredient to amp up the apple flavor.
It took three rounds of recipe testing to get these cookies just right. Sure, I could’ve just put chopped apples into oatmeal cookie dough and called it a day. But I honestly try to create the best version of a recipe before I decide it is “blog worthy”.
In fact, for the first version of this cookie that’s pretty much what I did. I started with my favorite Iced Oatmeal Cookie recipe. I chopped a large apple into 1/4″ cubes (about the size of a raisin) and macerated the apples in sugar. I added those apples to the cookie dough and used the juice from the apples to make the icing.
The reason for macerating the apples is to draw out some of the moisture and help the apples retain their shape while baking. It’s a trick I use all the time when baking with fresh fruit. You can read more about the science behind macerating fruit in my Peach Pie post.
The first batch of Apple Oatmeal Cookies tasted like….oatmeal cookies. The apple flavor didn’t come through at all in the cookie, and the icing just tasted sweet. Ok, time for round two.
For the second version of this recipe I added a little reduced apple cider to the cookie dough. Reducing apple cider to 1/4 of it’s original volume intensifies the apple flavor and eliminates extra moisture.
Well, round two had a hint of apple flavor, but the cookies were very soft and cakey.
So I had to step back and give this a think. I wanted more intense apple flavor and a more crisp and less cakey texture.
I liked what the reduced cider did for the flavor of the cookie, but wanted less moisture in the dough. So I used half the reduced cider in the cookie dough and the other half to make the icing. This way I still got all the flavor, but less moisture in the dough.
Since I didn’t need the juice from the apples to make the icing, I skipped macerating the apple cubes altogether. The cookies bake so fast that the apple cubes aren’t in the oven long enough to break down. No need to macerate the fruit.
Yay, better flavor and one less step in the recipe, win-win.
The original recipe calls for a cup of brown sugar and a 1/2 cup of granulated sugar. Brown sugar makes cookies softer (thanks to the molasses) and granulated sugar makes cookies crisper.
So I switched the sugars, using less brown sugar and more white sugar. As an added bonus, with less molasses in the dough the apple flavor is more prominent.
The third time was the charm. These Iced Apple Oatmeal Cookies actually live up to their name, they taste like apples and oatmeal.
Tips for making the best Apple Oatmeal Cookies:
- For crisper texture, use more white sugar than brown sugar in the cookie dough.
- Use reduced apple cider for more apple flavor without too much added water.
- Use a firm, tart apple (like Granny Smith) that won’t break down in the dough.
- If you like your cookies less sweet, you can omit the icing.
- The cookies will soften within a day. They’re best eaten the day they are baked. (Although I was happy to eat them for several days.)
- Make a big batch of dough and bake the cookies as desired. Unbaked cookie dough balls can be frozen. The dough balls can go straight into a preheated oven without defrosting.
Scroll through the step by step photos to see how to make Apple Oatmeal Cookies:
Hey apple lover, try some of the my other recipes using fresh apples: Apple Maple Pie, Skillet Apple Cobbler, Apple Cinnamon Bread, Apple Cider Caramels, Apple Bourbon Pot Pie, Apple Frangipane Tart, Apple Upside Down Layer Cake, Apple Walnut Linzer Tart, Dutch Apple Tart
If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.
- 2 cups (16 oz, 480ml) apple cider
- 1 1/2 cups (8 oz, 226g) all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks (8 oz, 226g) unsalted butter, room temperature but still firm
- 1 cup (8 oz, 226g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (4 oz, 113g) light brown sugar, packed
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 cups (10 oz, 270g) old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 large apple (about 8-10 oz, 250-280g) peeled and cut into 1/4" cubes
- Cook the 2 cups of apple cider over medium-low heat until it's reduced to 1/2 cup. Divide the reduced cider in half and set it aside to cool.
Make the Cookie Dough
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 half sheet pans with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Sift together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda and salt, set aside
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl, cream the butter with the granulated and brown sugar on medium speed for about 2-3 minutes. Scrape the bowl and the beater.
- Add the eggs, 1/4 cup of the reduced apple cider and vanilla. Mix until combined, scrape the bowl. With the mixer running on low speed, add the flour mixture. Add the oats all at once and mix until almost combined. Add the apples and mix briefly to combine. You can finish mixing the dough off the mixer to avoid breaking up the apple cubes.
- Using a 1.5 oz cookie scoop or a spoon, scoop the dough into 1.5" balls. Set the cookies onto the prepared baking sheets at least 2" apart.
- Bake the cookies until golden brown around the edges and the center is set, about 8 minutes. While the cookies are baking, mix the confectioner's sugar with the other 1/4 cup of reduced apple cider. The glaze should be the texture of pancake batter. Use a little water or sugar to adjust the glaze to the proper consistency.
- Remove the cookies from the oven. Allow them to cool enough so you can pick them up without breaking, but they are still slightly warm.
- Spread the glaze onto the cookies. As you glaze the cookies transfer them to a cooling rack. The glaze will set while the cookies finish cooling.
If you prefer your cookies a little less sweet, you can omit the glaze. The cookies are best the day they are baked. The scooped dough balls can be frozen and baked as desired.
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