The Only Formula You'll Ever Need for the Best Oatmeal Cookies Every Time

By: Hilary Meyer, EatingWell Recipe Contributor

Cinnamon-Raisin Oatmeal Cookies

Pictured Recipe: Cinnamon-Raisin Oatmeal Cookies

The perfect crispy-on-the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside oatmeal cookie is hard to beat. Here's how to whip up a batch of perfect oatmeal cookies while getting a little creative at the same time. And an added bonus: Everything you need to whip up a batch is probably already in your pantry.

Basic Oatmeal Cookie Recipe

A foolproof oatmeal cookie needs good bones. If the mixture is too wet, the cookie will be soft and spongy. Too dry, and you'll break your teeth. No matter how you're planning to jazz up your cookies, you'll use the same eight ingredients every time:

1 cup white whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

If you don't have white-whole wheat flour in your pantry, now's the time to stock up. It doesn't have a strong flavor like regular whole-wheat flour, but it does offer more fiber than your standard all-purpose flour (about 4 grams of fiber per 1/4 cup of white whole-wheat vs. 1 gram for all-purpose).

Another important ingredient note: Make sure you're using rolled oats and not quick oats. While quick oats are good for an instant breakfast, rolled oats hold up to baking much better. They absorb less liquid and you'll end up with a tender cookie.

Related: More Lightened-Up Oatmeal Cookie Recipes

Step 1: Combine the Dry Ingredients

Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies

Pictured recipe: Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies

First, combine the dry ingredients—whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Then add some flavoring. Here's where you can start getting creative and add your favorite spice. Classic oatmeal cookies usually have a teaspoon or so of cinnamon, but why stop there? Try up to a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice, ginger, allspice, nutmeg and/or clove. The stronger the spice (think clove and nutmeg) the less you'll want to add, however, so cut it down to 1/4 teaspoon for the heavy hitters.

Step 2: Mix the Wet Ingredients

Step 2 is simple. Whisk sugar, butter, egg and vanilla in a large bowl. Then add in the dry ingredients and oats.

Step 3: Pick Your Stir-Ins

Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies with Cranberries & White Chocolate

Pictured Recipe: Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies with Cranberries & White Chocolate

Oatmeal cookies would be hopelessly boring without stir-ins. Raisins are classic, but any dried fruit will work well. Try dried cranberries, cherries or chopped pitted dates. About 1/2 cup of these will give you good flavor without overwhelming the cookie. In addition to dried fruit, you can add up to 1/2 cup white or dark chocolate chips, unsweetened coconut, chopped nuts and even shredded fresh veggies like carrot or zucchini (up to 3/4 cup of each of those).

And one last note about stirring: Don't overmix! Stir your dry ingredients and stir-ins into the wet ingredients gently by hand with a wooden spoon until just combined. Too much mixing and your cookies will be tough.

Step 4: Bake and Store

Healthy Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pictured Recipe: Healthy Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Cookies

You're almost there. Drop the batter by the level tablespoon onto a baking sheet coated with cooking spray (to prevent sticking). Bake the cookies in a preheated 350°F oven until the bottoms are golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. If they don't get devoured right away, you can store the cooled cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Related: 4 Secrets to a Healthier Chocolate Chip Cookie