Ridiculously Easy One-Bowl Oatmeal & Apple Cookies

My grandmother Ida’s pride and joy was her “Oatmeal Bars” which we helped her bake every summer during our visits to her Iowa farm. She was especially proud that you could make these bars using only one bowl. I decided to bake a variation of her recipe, but making cookies rather than bars. I had a very tart apple to use up and added this to the dough. The cookies turned out great. They are soft and moist yet chewy with plenty of apple and oatmeal flavor. The cookies are very simple to make. I used a large saucepan and “dumped and stirred” in the ingredients — one at a time in order. For further ease, I adjusted the ingredients so that most of them are “one” cup or “one” item. The hardest part of the recipe is peeling and chopping the apple.

The other difficult part of the recipe is to stop eating the cookies. They are sort of addictive and especially are tasty for an afternoon snack along with a cup of coffee. (We drink lots of coffee here in Louisiana.) I justify eating these cookies for their nutritional value — both apples and oatmeal are high in fiber — the type which lowers cholesterol. Apples have plenty of antioxidants. We all need more fruit and fiber in our diets!

For this recipe, I used ingredients which I already had on my pantry shelves. This includes old-fashioned oatmeal. This type of oatmeal gives a chewy texture to the cookies and a delicious oatmeal flavor. Quick cooking oatmeal dissolves as the cookies bake losing the oatmeal flavor. Any tart of crisp apple works in the recipe. I had purchased several apples just before Hurricane Ida. (Ida is also my grandmother’s name. What a coincidence.) The apples were really too tart to eat, but worked fine when baked in the cookies. One apple, peeled and finely chopped, is plenty. I like dark brown sugar because if gives a “molasses” flavor to the cookies; however, light brown sugar can be substituted.

Making the recipe

This recipe is sort of a “dump and stir” recipe. All the ingredients — in order — are “dumped” into the large saucepan and stirred. Then scoop out the dough onto cookie sheets and bake.

Here’s the order. Start with a large saucepan.

  1. Partially melt the butter over low heat on the stove. Remove the pot from the stove and set aside to let the butter cool slightly.
  2. While the butter is cooling, peel, core and chop the apple. The finer you chop up the apple the better. Set the chopped apple aside. (If you don’t feel like peeling the apple, that’s okay — it will have more nutritional value with the peel on.)

3. Next, stir in the brown sugar, egg and vanilla extract into the slightly cooled butter which is still in the saucepan. I used a wire whip for this step. Stir and stir until these ingredients are well combined.
4. Next add the flour, sprinkling over the “liquid ingredients” in the saucepan. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the flour. Stir the flour/baking soda/salt until it is just mixed together with the butter/brown sugar/egg.
5. Finally, add the oatmeal, chopped apple and 1/4 cup water. I used a wooden spoon to stir these ingredients in until just blended.
6. Use two spoons to scoop the dough out and onto an ungreased cookie sheet which is lined with parchment paper. If you don’t have parchment paper, another method is to cut a brown paper grocery bag (such as the ones from Whole Foods) into pieces which fit the cookie sheets. These work just as well and is how we always lined cookie sheets when I was growing up.

7. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes until the tops and bottoms of the cookies are just beginning to brown.. Don’t over-bake the cookies. This recipe makes 24 cookies.

Let the cookies cool a little, then use a spatula to remove the cookies to a wire rack and cool to room temperature. The oatmeal and apple pieces retain their shape and texture in the cookies which makes this recipe sort of unique. I like the crunch.

Recipe variations

There are many ingredients which can be added to these cookies to add variation. Miniature chocolate chips (about 1/3 cup) or white chips would taste great. I think a few nuts such as pecans (1/4 cup) or pumpkin seeds (2 Tbsp) would make tasty additions. Or for a totally different cookie, I’ve added corn flakes (such as Kellogg’s brand) rather than oatmeal to cookies.

Anyway you make the cookies, these very soft and chewy cookies won’t last long. Enjoy!

Wonder what my grandmother, Ida, would think about a hurricane being named after her. I do remember stories of her fortitude and strength. Surviving on an Iowa farm through the depression and onwards did take alot of willpower. And I think she would be proud of my cookies.

Easy One-Bowl Oatmeal & Apple Cookies from MayleesKitchen

  • Servings: 24 cookies
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
  • 1 tart, cooking apple (about 1 cup chopped apple)
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar (may substitute light brown sugar)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt (may reduce to 1/2 tsp)
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup water

Instructions and Steps:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large ungreased cookie sheets with parchment paper. Alternately, cut brown grocery shopping bags to fit in the bottoms of the cookie sheets and substitute for the parchment paper.
  2. Add butter to a large saucepan. Place on low heat on stove and partially melt butter. Take off stove and let cool slightly. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, peel, core and finely chop apple. If desired, apple peel may be left on, especially if apple is finely chopped. Set aside.
  4. Add brown sugar, egg and vanilla extract to cooled butter. Beat and stir with a wire whip until well combined.
  5. Add flour to the these liquid ingredients. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt evenly over the flour. Using a wooden spoon, stir the flour mixture into the liquid ingredients until just combined. Don’t overmix.
  6. Lastly, add the oatmeal, chopped apple and water into the cookie dough. Stir until just combined in.
  7. Use 2 teaspoons to scoop the cookie dough in mounds onto the parchment-covered cookie sheets. Leave space between each cookie.
  8. Bake in 375 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes, until the tops and bottoms of the cookies begin to brown. Don’t over bake.
  9. Remove from oven. When cooled slightly, use spatula to transfer to the cookies to a wire rack to complete cooling.
  10. Store in cookie tin or sealed zip lock bag.

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