Cathryn’s Crisp & Chewy, Sweet & Buttery Oatmeal Lace Cookies


On the day we left Calgary I came home from work and found a container on my doorstep. It was full of homemade muffins and cookies, a bag of goldfish crackers and a Fruit & Nut bar (how did she know?) – car snacks for our road trip. All I had done was toss the remainder of the mangos back into their box (if I was a nicer person I would have left them for my sister) along with a dozen apples and a few blood oranges. And made two peanut butter sandwiches, but only because I’m cheap enough (or environmentally conscious enough?) to care about using up the last third of a loaf of bread.

The cookies C made for us to eat in the car weren’t instantly identifiable as such. In my panic to finish up work, upload some video, pack and get out the door at a reasonable hour I opened the lid, saw beige, closed it again, re-read the card. Later, as we wound through Rogers’ Pass, I remembered the container and dug it out from under piles of rubber boots and pillows. The cookies were enormous and thin, crisp-chewy, buttery-sweet. Like those lacy cookies that are mostly butter and sugar with some oatmeal thrown in to make you feel better about eating them.

So I sent her a SMS message (how high-tech am I?) from the highway and asked for the recipe. “Just oats and sugar”, she sent back. “Easy!”

I pushed for more details. 3 tablespoons of flour, she hinted. And some vanilla.

With lace cookies on the brain, I set about finding the recipe. When staying on the furthestmost west coast of Canada, on an island, where ingredients are available but pricey, the house is full of preschoolers and adults who need something sweet too, quick stir-together recipes that require little more than a bowl and spoon are key. With oatmeal, butter and sugar on hand, oatmeal lace cookies, it turns out, are perfect cabin food. And perfect with a mug of tea or hot chocolate after a blustery afternoon on the beach.

(Crisp & Chewy, Sweet & Buttery) Oatmeal Lace Cookies


Yields1 Serving

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
pinch salt
1 1/4 cups oats
3 Tbsp. flour


Preheat the oven to 350F.


In a small pot, melt the butter with the brown sugar, vanilla and salt. Put the oats and flour into a mixing bowl and add the butter-sugar mixture. Drop large spoonfuls 3" apart onto baking sheets that are sprayed with nonstick spray or lined with parchment or a silicone baking mat; with a spatula, spread each cookie out so that it's about 2" in diameter.


Bake for 8-12 minutes, until the cookies are bubbly and golden. Let cool completely on the sheets before removing.


 1/2 cup butter, softened
 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
 1 tsp. vanilla
 pinch salt
 1 1/4 cups oats
 3 Tbsp. flour



Preheat the oven to 350F.


In a small pot, melt the butter with the brown sugar, vanilla and salt. Put the oats and flour into a mixing bowl and add the butter-sugar mixture. Drop large spoonfuls 3" apart onto baking sheets that are sprayed with nonstick spray or lined with parchment or a silicone baking mat; with a spatula, spread each cookie out so that it's about 2" in diameter.


Bake for 8-12 minutes, until the cookies are bubbly and golden. Let cool completely on the sheets before removing.

(Crisp & Chewy, Sweet & Buttery) Oatmeal Lace Cookies

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22 comments on “Cathryn’s Crisp & Chewy, Sweet & Buttery Oatmeal Lace Cookies

  1. Vivian
    April 10, 2010 at 10:31 am

    You’re right, these little darlings do sound easy…so long as you are twigged to ALL the ingredients and the right amounts. They will be my morning’s baking adventure. Thanks for the research to get them to us. On the topic of weather and your horrendous first days of holiday in Tofino…that same storm hit here (Spruce Grove) late Thursday and it was fierce…90 kph winds with heavy lashings of snow!! That wind howled and shrieked all night long, wanting to take my roof along on its furious journey.

  2. Carolyn
    April 10, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    These look so yummy. Julie, could one reduce the butter (perhaps to 1/4 cup), or would that ruin the texture?

  3. JulieVR
    April 10, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    That’s always my first instinct too (to reduce the butter), but I think here it would affect the texture – it’s almost like crisp caramel, with some oats in it…

  4. Barb
    April 10, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    I remember a recipe for these from waaaay back when. I really liked them at the time. May have to make them again now that you have put the idea in my brain!

  5. Robin (Hippo Flambe)
    April 11, 2010 at 7:19 am

    I am not sure if I should thank you for this wonderful recipe or curse you for these addictive cookies? Last night I was sitting exhausted on the couch after a day spent playing outside until I read this post. My husband tried to protest that we needed the one egg we had left for breakfast, but this recipe doesn’t need eggs. While they were cooling we almost ate them all in their slightly warm floppy state, but we somehow stopped ourselves so we could try them crisp and perfect. They are wonderful and addictive!

    Thank You!

  6. Amy from She Wears Many Hats
    April 11, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    Yummy! These look a little like the oatmeal cookies my daughter recently made that kinda thinned out, spreading a little too much while baking. But they were so tasty! Can’t wait to show her this recipe.

  7. Cory Lievers
    April 12, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    Interesting. I have a Mrs. Fields cookie book and there is a Lacy Oatmeal Cookies recipe. Yours has no egg, less flour and brown (instead of white) sugar. I’m anxious to try and compare, because my family loves the Lacy Oatmeal cookies.

  8. Courtney
    April 13, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    I’ve made this recipe twice since you posted it and they have turned out fantastically both times! Thanks for getting my husband and I addicted to a new cookie. 🙂

  9. winsy
    May 6, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    I made these cookies for our cookie exchange at work, following this recipe. later, i did a websearch and found that these cookies were featured on martha stewart, however, her version uses eggs. I used the recipe on this site with really great results.

    That said, i did tweak it a little by adding a Tb of malt powder. it just gives the cookie a lovely malty taste. of course i didn’t make them the original way, so i don’t know which is better. but i like the hint of malt in them.

    And a tip for anyone making these–leave them in the oven longer than you think you should. they should be golden-amber in color, and they really are better this way. The first two batches were “done” according to the time given in this recipe, and they were crisp around the edge and chewy in the center. But the 3rd batch i sort of forgot about and left in about 5 minutes longer than the previous batches. I pulled them out and discovered they were crisp all the way through, and my boyfriend and i both agreed they were so much more delicious this way! the sugar melts and hardens into almost toffee-like sweetness, and with the lightness of the oatmeal, its a lovely light and crisp cookie. amazing, compared to the underdone cookies, which just tasted like bland oatmeal cookies.

    these really are probably my favorite cookies i’ve ever made. they don’t go over well at a cookie exchange however, unless you explain what they are. I think a lot of people thought they were a sad attempt at a regular oatmeal cookie, but not risen properly and overdone.

    * next time, i think i’m going to try adding coconut shreds, i think that would make them even more special and delicious.

  10. Honey
    July 30, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I used to make these as a teenager but lost the recipe in a move. Many, many moons later after searching high and low here it is. I’ve seen so many others with too many ingredients or using white sugar. I love these!

  11. Carol
    November 20, 2010 at 5:18 am

    Thank you for this recipe — I made these last night and they are half gone!!! The only change I made in the recipe was to substitute maple flavouring for the vanilla because I discovered that I was out of vanilla. I was also out of eggs and so very happy that your recipe doesn’t call for them. I’ve been looking for exactly this cookie ever since tasting one at a post-concert party where the mother of one of the musicians had provided a tasty supply of them. Of course I asked for the recipe, but never got it. Yours is identical — so thank you.

  12. nita
    January 14, 2011 at 12:09 am

    Hi, i just googled for lace cookies and found your recipe. looks very simple. I want to try it, but is it possible if I reduce the sugar amount? i dont like it too sweet. Thanks

  13. Helen
    March 14, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    Ok…i just made these. They are a hit! My boys love them. Perfect combo of sweet, chewy, crispy…we need some ice cream:) thanks so much for sharing!!!

  14. Mike
    October 13, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    OMG I was going nuts trying to find your recipe again. Finally I found it when i saw another recipe with the word “lace”…then it all came back to me. I love these cookies and they are so simple. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Brandi
    December 8, 2011 at 10:12 am

    My mother used to make cookies like this, only hers included lemon or orange zest. but only a hint of it. im looking for that specific recipe if anyone knows of it…

  16. Carol
    May 8, 2012 at 9:06 am

    About to make these again and realized I forgot whether to use old fashioned oats or quick cook oats. The recipe just says oats. Any advice?

    • JulieVR
      May 8, 2012 at 5:14 pm

      Hmmm… I can’t recall which I used, but it was likely old-fashioned – that’s what I have in the house most often!

  17. Courtney
    May 5, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    Ive made this twice since Saturday!

  18. Charlotte BakesAlot
    October 27, 2017 at 10:12 pm

    I made these tonight and the flavor was amazing BUT I first tried them on parchment paper and they stuck…I then tried again on non stick cookie sheets and they stuck! Hellllllp lol what am I doing wrong???

    • Julie
      October 31, 2017 at 1:40 pm

      They stuck on parchment paper?? I’ve never heard of this!

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