oatmeal lace cookies

Flourless oatmeal lace cookies

11 April 2012

Karma brought a surprise plate of crispy, buttery, brown-sugary oatmeal lace cookies to my door this weekend, in a cycle that began with my father-in-law Dave, a great doctor and much-loved local personality, who decades ago aided his neighbor Libbie and earned a lifetime of derby pie deliveries at Christmas. When my husband and I moved our family to Ohio three years ago, we landed next door to kind, gentle John, whose devoted lawncare puts our yard to shame, and Libbie – smart, funny, wise, and a killer baker. We haven’t earned it, but every year we receive our own derby pie from Libbie, and this Easter the unexpected delivery of these lacy treats. While the kids have indulged in belly-aching candy, I’ve been savoring these delicate cookies and silently thanking Dave for the love and care he has given so generously in his lifetime.

When it comes to gluten-free cookies, the naturally flourless ones that come to mind are peanut butter cookies or macaroons (coconut or almond). But oatmeal is an easy pleasing gluten-free option for those that avoid nuts or coconut.

Libbie shared her recipe with me for this simple, old-fashioned classic. I thought it only right to continue the karmic cycle by sharing it with you.

I love the minimalism of just four ingredients – rolled oats, melted butter, brown sugar and an egg – but you could also add vanilla, chocolate chips or dried fruit if the mood strikes.

It’s a loose dough, without flour binding it together.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto baking sheet, forming rough circles of dough (don’t mound it up if you want your cookies flat). Lining with parchment paper is easiest to prevent sticking. Otherwise use a well-greased baking sheet or a well-greased, foil-covered baking sheet.

About 10 minutes in the oven, and the dough spreads and browns into delicately lacy cookies. You don’t want to undercook these, or they’ll fall apart when you try to remove them.

Cool for a couple of minutes before removing the cookies. If they are hard to lift even when cool, you can put them back in the oven for another minute or two.

Keep the cycle going and share these delights with a friend. You never know what may come of it.

Related posts

Flourless Oatmeal Lace Cookies
A delicately crisp, old-fashioned cookie tasting of butter and brown sugar. Gluten-free too.


  • 2 1/2 cups rolled oats (old-fashioned or quick-cook, not instant)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (if using unsalted butter)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease baking sheets very well or line with parchment paper.
  2. Mix ingredients together in a large bowl. Drop by teaspoonfuls on prepared baking sheets, forming rough circles. Leave space in between for cookies to spread.
  3. Bake 9-12 minutes, until cookies spread out and cookies are golden brown. Cool a few minutes before removing. If cookies are difficult to remove even when cool, bake for another minute or two.

Makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies.


  • For variation, add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla, a bit of cinnamon, or a couple of handfuls of dried fruit or chocolate chips.
  • For gluten-free, check oatmeal before you purchase. Oatmeal should be gluten-free but is often processed in a facility that processes wheat or other grains with gluten.

Here’s the link to a printable version.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Lexi 12 April 2012 at 7:41 am

i love your recipes! so simple, wholesome, delicious. can’t wait to make these!


Mary 13 April 2012 at 7:30 am

These are going to be made next week. Thanks!


Derek 15 April 2012 at 11:15 am

One word. . . YUM. Until now, my version of “baking” has consisted of the slice and bake Tollhouse cookies in a tube (I know, I know. . . cringe!). I figured I had to start somewhere, so with so few ingredients I decided to give this recipe a shot. If I can make these turn out perfectly, then anyone can. I’m going to be very popular around campus because the only way to keep me from devouring them all is to share them with my classmates. πŸ™‚


Kate 8 June 2012 at 12:41 pm

Found your recipe today & went right into the kitchen. LOVE THESE! I actually substituted the butter for Coconut Oil (as that is what I had) and it still turned out fantastic. I threw in some raisins, cranberries & chopped walnuts too. What a great recipe. Thanks for sharing it!


cg 8 June 2012 at 12:43 pm

hi kate – i love coconut oil! glad to know it works here – yum. so glad you liked the recipe, and thanks so much for sharing back!


diane wong 28 October 2012 at 2:51 pm

i just discovered your blog πŸ™‚


Aline 6 November 2012 at 10:21 pm

I love that this requires only oats and few ingredients. I actually wanted to experiment with browning the butter first. RIDICULOUSLY GOOD!!! I added pecans and cranberries to half the batch. The other half had pecans and chocolate chips. Outstanding recipe! Thanks!


cg 7 November 2012 at 12:43 am

hi aline – i love your experimentation! great ideas – thanks so much for sharing back!


Robert 3 January 2013 at 9:23 pm

I was low on ingredients. So I used a mix of extra virgin olive oil and canola oil instead of butter. Eggs whites instead of eggs.(leftover from my macaroons I made. And half a cup of white sugar and half a cup of brown sugar instead of 1 cup brown. It was delicious! Thanks for the recipe.


Amy 20 December 2013 at 3:39 pm

I made these and dipped the back side in melted chocolate. Pressed them onto waxed paper (to get a thin layer of chocolate) and let them harden. Yum! Thanks for the super simple recipe!


Stephanie 27 February 2014 at 11:52 am

I wanted to make these for my toddlers and wanted to reduce the sugar. But considering there isn’t much holding these together, do you think I can and by how much?
Thank you!


cg 27 February 2014 at 1:34 pm

hi stephanie – i haven’t tried reducing the sugar, but you might try 3/4 cup and see how it goes. i wouldn’t go less than that. sugar is for sweetness, but it also contributes to moistness of baked goods. good luck – let me know if you try it!


Stephanie 5 March 2014 at 9:23 pm

I used 3/4 cup and coconut oil instead of butter and they were great! I had to really form the cookies for them to hold shape, but the taste was fantastic. Thank you!


Lisa 22 July 2015 at 2:55 pm

Way to go, Aline! The brown butter is so good. Thanks! We also added the seeds of a scraped vanilla bean! Took the cookie to a whole new level!


Susie Homemaker 9 May 2016 at 8:22 pm

Thank you for the recipe! These are amazing.

I used coconut oil instead of butter, 1/2 c brown sugar and 1/4 cup coconut sugar instead of 1 c brown sugar, and i added almost of tablespoon of cinnamon!



cg 19 June 2016 at 11:05 pm

hi susie homemaker – so glad you liked the cookies, and thank you so much for sharing your successful substitutions! =)


Donna 5 December 2017 at 11:29 am

Just made a quick batch. I added raisins, which puffed up i the oven like grapes~! Weird, that. They don’t look like yours do, but they taste good. Next time I might add some powdered ginger and powered cinnamon.


S Twomey 24 December 2017 at 1:28 pm

Because raisin are a dried fruit they always take moisture from the surrounding ingredients in order to reconstitute themselves. If you soak them in a little hot water first, this won’t happen, & your cookies will retain their moisture – hence their chewiness. In this recipe, I think soaked currants would work much better.


cg 2 January 2018 at 12:23 pm

hi S Twomey – great input, thank you!


Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: