Iced Oatmeal Cookies – Thin & Chewy

Iced Oatmeal Cookies – Thin & Chewy

There are a few things I can count on in this life.

My little white dog will need to pee 4 times each morning (minimum), I will be a wee bit sad to see my children get on the bus (they always look their most adorable as they are walking away from me) and then immediately grateful for the solitude, and I will have a gluten-free cookie as soon as I have the house to myself. If there’s a thin & chewy sort of cookie hanging about, I’ll have that one please.

The cupboards around here are rarely if ever bare, as you might imagine. But every once in a long while, I find us getting suddenly and mysteriously low on cookies. Soon after that, you can usually count on a few new recipes here on the blog. Even though they are some more work than bars, I’m terribly partial to cookies.

One of my favorite packaged cookies, reaching back, were always Archway iced oatmeal cookies. Soft and chewy, with a thin layer of white icing on top. Ring a bell?

This version calls for chewy rolled old-fashioned gluten-free oats, and the Archway kind had a finer grain, but I think you’re going to love this one.

The secret to making them really thin but still chewy is to press them down flat when raw. Otherwise, they have to bake much longer than the 7 minutes directed to become thin enough. And by then, they’re too crispy.

The icing couldn’t be simpler – it’s little more than confectioners’ sugar and water, with a bit of lemon juice to cut the cloying sweetness of all that sugar. It’s not a true royal icing, since it is made without egg whites or meringue powder, but it is that much easier, and with the right icing consistency, it hardens reliably into a nice, matte layer. Cheers to no special ingredients!

The best method for a smooth icing is to create a thick paste with a minimum of moisture before thinning the paste into a pourable icing with more water. You’ll see. I explain it all below.

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 5 dozen cookies


1 1/2 cups (210g) high-quality all-purpose gluten-free flour

1 1/4 teaspoons xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

6 tablespoons (75g) granulated sugar

1 cup (218g) packed light brown sugar

3 cups (300g) gluten-free old-fashioned rolled oats

8 tablespoons (112g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

8 tablespoons (96g) vegetable shortening, melted and cooled

3 extra-large eggs at room temperature, beaten

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

12 ounces mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 teaspoon cornstarch

2 cups (230g) confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

2-3 tablespoons tepid water (plus more by the teaspoon if necessary)


  • Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Line rimmed baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper and set them aside.

  • In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, granulated sugar and brown sugar, and whisk to combine well, working out any lumps in the brown sugar. Add the rolled oats, and mix to combine well. Add the butter, shortening, eggs, and vanilla, and mix to combine. In a separate small bowl, toss the chips in the cornstarch to coat, and then add them to the cookie dough. Mix until the chips are evenly distributed throughout the dough.

  • Drop the dough by rounded tablespoonful, about 1 1/2 inches apart, on the prepared baking sheets. With wet hands, roll each piece of dough into a ball and then flatten with the heel of your hand.

  • Place the cookies in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 7 minutes, or until lightly brown around the edges and set in the center. Allow to cool completely until firm on the baking sheets. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • While the cookies are cooling, make the glaze. In a medium-sized bowl, place the confectioners’ sugar. Add the lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of water, and mix until smooth. It will form a very thick paste. Add another tablespoon of water, and mix until smooth and well-combined. The icing should be opaque but pourable. It should pour somewhat slowly (see photo).

  • Once the cookies are cool, hold one with the tips of your fingers around the edges. Dip the top of the cookie into the icing, without immersing the cookie. Allow the extra icing to drip off. Place, icing side up, on a sheet of parchment paper. Continue with the rest of the cookies. Allow to set and harden at room temperature. For best results, store iced cookies in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

The print recipe function is working properly now, so print away!


P.S. Don’t forget to click on the books below to pick up your copy of my first book, and preorder the next – out soon! Preview coming soon. :)

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  • […] in Cookies, Recipe Index Sep 19 0File these under “N” for nostalgia. When we made gluten-free Iced Oatmeal Cookies, we waxed nostalgic about Archway cookies. Those white, plastic-covered packages, 4 or 5 stacks of […]

  • Lorraine
    September 13, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    Looks yummy as usual! I don’t know how you create all these recipes! Problem though…I find the print really small for my (ahem) aging eyes.  I tried to copy and paste it but I came up with all kinds of crazy things.  Any suggestions?

    • gfshoestring
      September 13, 2012 at 5:43 PM

      Hi, Lorraine,
      I would suggest just enlarging the window on your computer. On a Mac, it’s [command][+} to enlarge and [commant][-] to reduce. There must be an equivalent on a PC, if that’s what you use.
      xoxo Nicole

  • September 13, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    […] gluten-free iced oatmeal cookies by Nicole Hunn at Gluten Free on a Shoestring. […]

  • Joe
    September 13, 2012 at 7:56 AM

    Love the new website

  • Jeri
    September 13, 2012 at 3:45 AM

    No offense, but I was always partial to Mother’s Iced Oatmeal cookies:) They’re crunchy so I guess the same but not the same. 

    The oatmeal squares are all gone so maybe this will be next.  I saw the Newton’s so now I’m torn.

    • gfshoestring
      September 13, 2012 at 8:16 AM

      None taken, Jeri. ;)
      I’ve never even heard of Mother’s Iced Oatmeal cookies! I say go for the Newtons next while you figure out your oatmeal plans.
      xoxo Nicole

      • Jeri
        September 13, 2012 at 2:55 PM

        What?  Mother’s cookies?  The purple and red packages? They take up half the cookie space in the grocery store.  I thought they were a staple of all America.

        I went to Mother’s website and at the top it says ‘California Original’.  So, maybe that’s the problem.

        Have a great one!

      • gfshoestring
        September 13, 2012 at 5:56 PM

        I think we’re talking a left-coast, right-coast issue here, Jeri!

  • Kristen
    September 12, 2012 at 8:33 PM

    Although I truly love to make my own flour blends, I broke down and bought (in bulk) some Better Batter Flour.  It’s being shipped right now and I am looking forward to trying more of your recipes with it.  I really wanted to buy some super fine brown rice flour etc…, but I am grateful for your calculation of cost per cup and placed my above order.  I’ll still get some super fine flour for my yeast breads, but I foresee some long hours in the kitchen working with this new blend.  Thank you for all of the time you put into “taking one or a few for the team” and perfecting your recipes then sharing them with us!!

    • gfshoestring
      September 13, 2012 at 8:19 AM

      You are truly very welcome, Kristen. I really understand where you’re coming from, and I appreciate your sharing your thought process with me. My pleasure to take one for the team! Enjoy your flour freedom. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Susie
    September 12, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    Sound yummy!  Have you tried them without the icing?  If so, opinion??

    • gfshoestring
      September 12, 2012 at 7:51 PM

      Of course, Susie. One must sample one’s wares at every step. ;) They’re lovely…
      xoxo Nicole

  • Sandy.
    September 12, 2012 at 1:54 PM

    I always loved Oatmeal cookies and after being diagnosed even though I have a bag GF Oatmeal I’m still skeptical to try it. Perhaps when I get back from my trip and I’m home safe and sound I’ll take the risk! Thanks for another great recipe and for your book!

  • GoGoGF
    September 12, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    I’m always confused as to the difference between old-fashioned oats and quick-cooking oats–except the obvious that one cooks faster. Are the two different types interchangeable in cookies?

    • gfshoestring
      September 12, 2012 at 7:54 PM

      Actually, no. They’re not interchangeable. Quick-cooking oats are more processed than old-fashioned oats, so they are a considerably finer cut. They weigh a different amount by volume, and will in fact affect the outcome more than you might think as they add considerably less bulk.
      xoxo Nicole

  • Hlmbach
    September 12, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    Definitely trying these.
    And FYI, that dog needs to be checked for diabetes – really! Frequency is a major symptom!

  • Hlmbach
    September 12, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    Definitely trying these.
    And FYI, that dog needs to be checked for diabetes – really! Frequency is a major symptom!

    • gfshoestring
      September 12, 2012 at 7:52 PM

      Don’t worry about Gracie (the dog), Hlmbach. Her vet knows all about her habits, and she’s completely healthy!

  • Anneke
    September 12, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    Nicole, you will not be surprised to hear that I, too, loved the Archway Iced-Oatmeal cookies!  When I get home from visiting my sister, these cookies will be made immediately — not sure I can wait another week, but I’ll have too.


    • gfshoestring
      September 12, 2012 at 1:24 PM

      Love it, Anneke! You’re my sister from another mother. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Gail C
    September 12, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    These look yummy.  I know what I’ll be making this weekend.  I just wish I could find a recipe for Archway Pecan Icebox cookies. 

    • gfshoestring
      September 12, 2012 at 1:24 PM

      I’ll put it on the list, Gail. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • September 12, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    Amazing!  I have missed Iced Oatmeal cookies.  Thank you for this great work.  Woo hoo!  I am so happy!

    • gfshoestring
      September 12, 2012 at 1:25 PM

      I had no idea that my husband and I were in such good company with loving iced oatmeal cookies! Enjoy, Sheila.
      xoxo Nicole

  • Kristin A.
    September 12, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    How would you suggest making these dairy and soy free? Usually I just substitute Earth Balance soy-free spread for butter and things turn out okay. But you have both butter and vegetable shortening. Maybe coconut oil for the shortening? Thoughts?

    • gfshoestring
      September 12, 2012 at 1:26 PM

      I haven’t tested these cookies with any substitutions, Kristin, so I’m afraid you’ll just have to experiment. I use both butter and shortening to balance both moisture content (very important) and taste. Nondairy butter subs like Earth Balance have a tremendous amount of moisture, so your cookies will spread quite a lot if you use that!

      • Kristin A.
        September 12, 2012 at 1:43 PM

        I knew you didn’t do substitutions, so I wasn’t sure how you’d be able to help. But that is nice to know what EB will cause it to do, lol! I’ll keep that in mind when I “play” with the recipe… The funny thing is, I always followed every recipe to a ‘T’ until I had a kid with food allergies. Now I feel like a chef, lol! A pretty lousy chef who makes a lot of flops and burns and cuts herself at every corner, but a chef nonetheless : )

      • gfshoestring
        September 12, 2012 at 2:07 PM

        Yeah, unfortunately, Earth Balance is generally a pretty poor sub for butter. I’d go with all shortening (I use Spectrum nonhydrogenated shortening). In fact, I never ever use any sort of margarine for anything. I don’t like the way it behaves at all, and it adds unnecessary and not always compatible flavors. I’d stay away from it! I hear you about allergies making you get creative. Good luck!
        xoxo Nicole

      • Mish
        September 12, 2012 at 7:41 PM

        I actually have been pleasantly surprised by the soy free Earth Balance. I was sure that I would hate the flavor in everything, but it’s been just fine. It can make cookies spread, but there are ways to combat that, check out these two posts by David Lebovitz 
        http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2005/12/how-to-prevent/ and 
        http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2006/12/why-do-cookies-spread/. We make and sell GF cookies at a local farmer’s market and our two that are also dairy-free are made with soy free EB, and they are very popular! I use shortening on occasion too, but don’t be afraid of the EB…

      • gfshoestring
        September 12, 2012 at 7:48 PM

        I’m glad you have been happy with Earth Balance, Mish. It will not work well in my recipes that are designed to be a certain thickness and consistency. I do not recommend it, if it can be avoided. Those tips are useful, but my recipe directions already incorporate those of them that are useful in a given recipe.

      • Michelle O
        September 12, 2012 at 6:11 PM

        I’m in a double pickle on this…boys can’t have butter and I can’t have the palm shortening (a new found allergy) or soybean oil.  I really want to make these too.  Maybe two batches?  I will have to play around.  Allergies SUCK!  I miss the days of just being gluten free.

      • gfshoestring
        September 12, 2012 at 6:45 PM

        I hear you, Michelle. :)
        xoxo Nicole

  • kclark
    September 12, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    I remember those cookies! These look so good. I am printing away!

    • gfshoestring
      September 12, 2012 at 1:31 PM

      Love it, Kristi!
      xoxo Nikki

  • September 12, 2012 at 9:56 AM

    Nicole, I’m starting to think you have spies everywhere :) This morning as my girl was chewing on her delicious oatmeal breakfast square (your awesome recipe) she said, mom, can you make circles next?

    I actually made a few circles in the last batch to use up my pathetic looking corners after I rolled out and cut the dough, but as an old fan of those Archway iced oatmeal cookies, I’m making these instead! Thank you again, you’re a recipe miracle worker.

    Random question, and totally skewed for preschool age kids, but do you gave a favorite play dough recipe? I know you can’t eat it, so technically it has no place on this blog, but figured I’d ask.

    • gfshoestring
      September 12, 2012 at 10:06 AM

      Seriously, Dana, your daughter sounds like such a cutie I can’t stand it. Do me a solid and let me know what else she’s missing because I must serve her needs.
      And you remember Archway iced oatmeals! woohoo!
      I’m afraid it’s been so many years since I made my own play-doh that I can’t find the recipe I used to use! This site seems to have a good one, though: http://nourishinghope.com/2012/03/gluten-free-playdough-recipe/
      xoxo Nicole

      • Shelly Crawford
        September 12, 2012 at 12:40 PM

        Nicole,  Have you come up with an Archway Molasses Cookie recipe where they stay soft and hold together?

      • gfshoestring
        September 12, 2012 at 1:27 PM

        Hi, Shelly,
        I do have a favorite soft Molasses Cookie recipe that I’m sure you’d really love. I thought I had posted it on the blog years ago, but I searched and couldn’t find it. I will put it on the to-do list!
        xoxo Nicole

      • Megan
        September 18, 2012 at 3:56 PM

        is there a substitute for shortening???  more butter??

      • September 18, 2012 at 4:31 PM

        No, Megan, you should use the shortening if you want to have thin and chewy cookies. I use nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening from Spectrum.

      • September 13, 2012 at 7:32 PM

        Thanks for the play dough link! Looks good enough to eat, ha.

        You’re so sweet to ask about my girl’s needs, and I was all set to tell you about the extended grief over losing our go-to snack – cheddar goldfish (or bunnies) – and then lo and behold, I saw your latest post and there they are – smiling fish !! Did you draw those on? I can’t wait to find out in the new cookbook :)

        My GF husband asked if he could put in a dire request for a mallomar knock off, but if I think of something special for my girl I’ll let you know, but seriously you’ve really covered most things!

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