These easy Oatmeal Coconut Cookies are soft, chewy, and rich - and so easy to make! (No mixer necessary!) Perfect for baking time with kids, or when you just want life to be a little simpler.
The Story Behind this Cookie Recipe
Mrs. Obinger lived kitty-corner from us when I was growing up. Both of my parents worked outside our home and sometimes I would go over to her house after school. She made great after-school snacks, including a couple of my all-time favorites - Garlic Cheerios (a unique popcorn substitute that I need to post asap) and these soft, chewy, delicious Coconut Oatmeal Cookies.
More often than not, Mrs Obinger would be already getting out the cookie ingredients when I arrived. "Roll up your sleeves," she'd say, and then we'd spend the next half hour or so in the kitchen together.
I loved making Coconut Cookies with Mrs Obinger because after she put the ingredients into the bowl, I could mix them up all by myself. I still remember standing on her yellow kitchen chair, buried up to my elbows in oatmeal and butter, with all sorts of yumminess squishing between my fingers.
When you are six, is there anything better than squishing things? Especially if all that squishiness ends up being delicious cookies?
Later, when I was all grown up and in the fourth grade, I made a special trip over to Mrs. Obinger's house and carefully wrote out the recipe on one of her personalized recipe cards as she dictated it to me, so that I could have it for always. I still have the card.
I encourage you to make a batch of these coconut cookies soon with your favorite child(ren). If you don't have a kiddo of your own, consider inviting the neighbor kid (and his mom) over to bake some cookies: you may even make a memory or two before you're done.
Coconut Oatmeal Cookie Ingredients
- Old-fashioned Oats: This recipe specifically calls for old-fashioned oats. Do not use Quick Oats for this recipe.
- Brown Sugar: We have made these with both dark and light brown sugar, and prefer the more robust flavor of the dark sugar.
- Butter: Because it contains so much oatmeal, we use salted butter for this recipe.
- Shredded Coconut: Coconut processed for baking comes in three basic forms: shredded, flaked, and desiccated. Use sweetened shredded coconut for this recipe.
- Baking Powder: Baking powder does not last forever, and generally has a shelf life of just six months to one year. (Here's how to test baking powder to see if it is still active.)
- Milk: We've made these cookies with all kinds of milks, including almond milk, with good results. Use whatever you have on hand.
- Baking powder
How to Make this Coconut Cookie Recipe
Set the butter out to warm to room temperature at least 2 hours before you plan to make cookies. Try to avoid softening the butter in the microwave, as this may make it softer than you want it to be.
Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
Combine the oats, brown sugar, flour, coconut, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Mix to combine evenly.
Add soften butter, milk, and vanilla. Mix together with a wooden spoon (or your hands) until well combined.
Don't mix the dough too much: overmixing will create too much gluten and the cookies will turn out tough and dense. The finished dough will be thick and sticky, and should easily form into a ball.
Use a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop or spoons to form cookies.
Roll the dough into balls, and then crosshatch with a fork dipped in a little additional milk to flatten them.
Bake on a Silpat mat or parchment covered baking sheet at 375°F [190°C] for 10-12 minutes.
Remove the cookies from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
I use to be one of those cooks who almost never measured anything. I thought it made me a cool kid. (It did not.)
These days, I always use a kitchen scale when I'm developing or trying out new recipes, because weighing ingredients yields significantly more consistent, dependable results. (Bonus: A kitchen scale can dramatically cut down on dishes, too!)
Measuring Cups: European vs. US
Did you know there are different measurements for cups and tablespoons around the world?
One of the reasons I took to weighing ingredients is because, despite what you may think, measuring cups are not standardized around the world.
Check out this comparison: the clear (European metric) cup below on the left holds 80 grams of oatmeal, which is how much oatmeal the Quaker box indicates should be in one standard cup. That's one metric cup.
That same cup of oats, minus a few grains spilled in the transfer process, barely fills a standard US (Imperial) dry measuring cup to seven-eighths full. That's enough of a difference to really throw off a recipe.
The good news is, this particular cookie recipe is very forgiving. If you use too many oats, the resulting cookies will be a little crunchier and less chewy, but they will still be delicious.
FYI: The cookies in the image with the original recipe card were made with more oats, using a standard US cup. The cookies in the image at the top of the post were made with less oats, using a European metric cup.
Top Tip: Use Old-fashioned Oats
We do not recommend using quick oats for these cookies. Quick cooking oats are rolled oats that have been coarsely chopped, which breaks them down and enables them to cook more quickly.
In the case of this oatmeal cookie recipe, quick cooking oats behave more like additional flour than oats, absorbing more liquid and resulting in a dry, cakey cookies. Old-fashioned oats yield a tender, chewy oatmeal cookie, which is exactly what we want.
Baked oatmeal cookies freeze very well. Simply place cooled cookies on a baking sheet and freeze for about on hour. Then place the cookies in a freezer safe container, separating any layers with waxed or parchment paper.
Cookies will stay freshly frozen about 2 months; after that, it depends on your freezer and how often it gets opened.
Tip: If you enjoy sweet, baked oatmeal, you'll love our Soft Baked Oatmeal Breakfast Bars, Butterfinger Oatmeal Bars, and Hearty Homemade Breakfast Granola recipes! Or try some easy Steel Cut Oats with Apples & Cinnamon, made overnight in your rice cooker!
More Cookie Recipes
Oatmeal Coconut Cookies
- Preheat oven to 375°F | 190°C.
- Combine oats, brown sugar, flour, coconut, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
- Add soften butter, milk, and vanilla. Mix together with a wooden spoon (or your hands) until well combined.
- Use a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop or spoons to form cookies. Roll dough into balls and flatten with a fork dipped in a little additional milk.
- Bake on parchment covered baking sheet at 375°F [190°C] for 10-12 minutes.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.
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Originally published February 5, 2014. Post has been updated with new content, images, and recipe instructions to improve reader experience.