Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookies with Walnuts

at a glance
Prep Time 10 minutes
Chill Time 1 hour
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 24 cookies
5 from 1 vote

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These are the best chewy-on-the-inside, crunchy-on-the-edges oatmeal cookies you’ll ever have! And even better, they came lovingly to us from one of our fabulous readers, Marcia (who also happens to be Fed & Fit team member Melissa’s mom), who submitted this recipe to share with our community. It is truly something special, as these are the cookies Melissa and her mom grew up on, and part of the legacy that Marcia’s mom (Melissa’s grandmother) left to the world. We are so honored to get to share them!

A clear, glass cookie jar with the words "Grandma Mac's Cookies" written on the front is filled with oatmeal cookies. There is also a bit taken out of a cookie on the table in front of the cookie jar.

Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookies

Here’s Marcia’s cookie story:

Cookies, cookies, cookies…everyone loves them, right?! Through my 72-years of life, I have always had my favorite being, what have been affectionately coined over the years as, Grandma Mac’s Oatmeal Cookies (Mac being short for McGuire). 

My mother had an affinity for cooking. I grew up in Iowa, and every meal was home cooked. We always ate as a family together (there were 5 of us kids in total), no matter how busy the day, how late the practice, or whatever else we had going on. We ate together, typically meat, veggies, and potatoes (like any good Iowa family), and finished it off with dessert. And while my mother made delicious snickerdoodles, peanut butter cookies, chocolate chip cookies, sugar cookies, and many more, her oatmeal cookies were her legacy. 

With four younger brothers, there was a steady flow of hungry kids in our house for over 40 years. And after my siblings and I were grown and away, there were grandchildren (11 to be exact). Her house was synonymous with the smell of fresh baked cookies. 

Her secret to feeding the masses and always having fresh baked goods on hand over all the years? She would bulk prep the dough, freeze it in long logs, then slice and bake straight from the freezer anytime we had company, friends, or just wanted a special treat. She was way ahead of her time (this was before you could buy pre-sliced or portioned cookies at the store). I used to marvel at her ability to get the same size, shaped, crisp-on-the-outside, soft-in-the-middle cookie every single time. 

Grandma Mac’s Oatmeal Cookies are truly something special, not just in taste and flavor (they’re delicious, I can assure you), but also in their memory. My mother, Corrine McGuire, the matriarch of our family, and the love she brought to so many through her baking. I hope you’ll enjoy them just as much as we have.

With love, Marcia

Ingredients for Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookies

Oatmeal cookie ingredients on a grey and white marble surface.
  • ½ cup shortening 
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups flour (regular or gluten free)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 cups oatmeal
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts

Ingredient Modifications:

  • Sub the shortening – while the original recipe calls for shortening (don’t all the best recipes from Grandma’s do the same?), you can substitute palm oil shortening (which results in a thicker, fluffier cookie) or all butter. 
  • Omit the walnuts – if you are looking for nut-free, you can absolutely leave out the walnuts.

How to Make Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookies (Step by Step)

The steps to make these delicious cookies are really easy and are 100% make-ahead friendly. 

Hand mixer creaming together butter, sugars, and shortening in a bowl.
Hand holding spatula stirring oats into cookie dough mixture.
Hand slicing cookie dough on a wooden cutting board.
Hand mixer blending wet cookie dough mixture in a glass bowl.
Rolled cookie dough on a piece of parchment paper.
Hand placing cookie dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Hand mixer blending cookie dough mixture in a glass bowl.
Cookie dough rolled in parchment paper on a grey and white marble surface.
Baked cookies on a cookie sheet.
  1. Cream butter, sugar, and shortening – using a hand mixer, cream together the shortening, butter, white sugar, and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the eggs and vanilla – add the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.
  3. Add dry ingredients – mix in the flour, salt, and baking soda until combined.
  4. Add the oats and nuts – stir in the oatmeal and walnuts by hand until well incorporated. 
  5. Roll the cookie dough – dump the dough out onto a large piece of wax or parchment paper and shape into a long log. The size of the log will determine the size of the cookie. For larger cookies, roll into a 12-inch log about 4 inches tall. For smaller cookies, roll into 2, 12-inch logs about 2 inches tall. Roll and freeze until you are ready to use (1 hour to months in advance).
  6. Preheat and bake –  preheat the oven to 350°F. Slice the chilled or frozen dough into 1-inch rounds and bake for 13-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
  7. Store or serve and enjoy! Enjoy with a cup of coffee or a glass of milk or allow the cookies to cool and store in an airtight container on the counter for up to 2 weeks.

Tips For Making The Best Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookies

  • Freeze the dough – the secret to these cookies is to freeze the dough. They were intended to be make-ahead friendly for an easy slice-and-bake approach when it’s time to bake them. Baking them from frozen helps the cookies hold their shape and gives them their unique chewy-yet-crunchy texture.
  • Make a double batch – since the dough is freezer friendly, make a double batch when you’re preparing them so that you, too, can have cookies fresh and at-the-ready for whenever you have guests or a craving arises.  
  • Give plenty of space – bake in batches (rather than squeezing all of the cookies onto a baking sheet at the same time) to give plenty of space for the cookies (especially if you rolled your dough in a large roll) so that your cookies don’t spread into one another.

How do you make gluten-free cookies moist?

The secret to keeping gluten-free cookies (and cookies in general) nice and moist is to make sure not to overbake them. It’s best to pull them out of the oven when the center still is a little “mushy.” They’ll set as they cool and will have maintained their moisture!

Sheet pan with 6, large oatmeal cookies on the pan.

These gluten free oatmeal cookies stay really chewy on the inside and crunchy on the outside on their own when stored in an airtight container on the counter. If you really want to keep your cookies extra soft, you can add a piece of bread to the container. The cookies will pull moisture from the bread and remain super soft (this was a hack my Grandma Mac always used before the kitchen hack concept was popular). 

Can gluten free cookies be frozen?

Yes! The dough and the cookies are both super freezer friendly. If you are freezing them baked, allow the cookies to cool, then store them in an airtight container in the freezer. If you want to take the extra step for protecting against freezer burn (if you’re going to be freezing them for a while), you can wrap them individually in parchment paper before placing them in a container. 

Hand lifting an oatmeal cookie out of a glass jar.
Q Can I freeze the cookie dough?
A

Yes! This recipe was actually developed as a make-ahead, freezer, slice-and-bake cookie, so this cookie dough is 100% freezer friendly.

Q Are oats gluten free?
A

Oats themselves do not contain gluten, but they are often processed on machinery that also processes wheat and other gluten-containing products. You’ll want to be sure to look for certified gluten-free oats if you need to avoid gluten for any reason. We love Bob’s Red Mill Organic Gluten-Free Oats. They are pretty widely available in any grocery store.

Q Can celiacs eat oatmeal cookies?
A

This recipe was modified to be gluten free, so someone with celiacs can absolutely eat these oatmeal cookies. If you are someone with celiacs or are baking for someone with celiacs, you’ll want to make sure that you are baking with gluten free flour (we like this one) and gluten free oats (like these).

Q Why are my cookies coming out dry?
A

You may be over-baking them! When baked from chilled, 13-15 minutes seems to be the trick (although individual ovens will vary slightly). You want the center to still be a little “mushy.” When cookies are overbaked, all of the moisture of the dough evaporates and bakes out, leaving a dry cookie.



Brownie cookie split in half with other cookies around it on a white piece of parchment paper and flaky sea salt sprinkled on top.

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Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookies with Walnuts

By: Corrine McGuire
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 10 mins
Chill Time 1 hr
Cook Time: 15 mins
Servings: 24 cookies
These are the best chewy-on-the-inside, crunchy-on-the-edges oatmeal cookies you'll ever have!

Ingredients  

  • ½ cup shortening or palm shortening
  • ½ cup butter softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups flour gluten-free or AP
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 cups old fashioned oats
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts

Instructions

  • Cream together the shortening, butter, white sugar, and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl.
  • Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.
  • Mix in the flour, salt, and baking soda until combined.
  • Stir in the oatmeal and walnuts by hand until well incorporated.
  • Dump the dough out onto a large piece of wax or parchment paper and shape into a long log. The size of the log will determine the size of the cookie. For larger cookies, roll into a 12” log about 4” tall. For smaller cookies, roll into 2, 12” logs about 2” tall. Roll and freeze until you are ready to use (1 hour to months in advance).
  • Preheat the oven to 350 ℉. Slice the chilled or frozen dough into 1" rounds and bake for 13-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • Enjoy with a cup of coffee or a glass of milk or allow the cookies to cool and store in an airtight container on the counter for up to 2 weeks.

Recipe Notes

Ingredient Modifications:
  • Sub the shortening – while the original recipe calls for shortening (don’t all the best recipes from Grandma’s do the same?), you can substitute palm oil shortening (which results in a thicker, fluffier cookie) or all butter. 
  • Omit the walnuts – if you are looking for nut-free, you can absolutely leave out the walnuts.
Tips for Making the Best Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookies
  • Freeze the dough – the secret to these cookies is to freeze the dough. They were intended to be make-ahead friendly for an easy slice-and-bake approach when it’s time to bake them. Baking them from frozen helps the cookies hold their shape and gives them their unique chewy-yet-crunchy texture.
  • Make a double batch – since the dough is freezer friendly, make a double batch when you’re preparing them so you, too, can have cookies fresh and at-the-ready for whenever you have guests or the craving arises. 
  • Give plenty of space – bake in batches to give plenty of space for the cookies (especially in you rolled your dough in a large roll) so that your cookies don’t spread into one another.
Meet the Author
Melissa Headshot

Melissa Guevara

Melissa spends the bulk of her time writing, managing our content calendar, and lending a hand in recipe shoots. She values time spent exploring outdoors with her family and baking all things sourdough.⁠
Get to know Melissa
photographer: Jessica Gaertner

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