Brown Butter Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Everyone keeps saying that now is the time to journal, so we can remember what was happening — and how we passed each day — during this crazy time. And I keep meaning to and then each day comes to a close and, well, it just seems like one more thing to do. But I find myself constantly making lists in my head of what I’d say, beginning with the interesting waves of realization, panic and acceptance that have struck our household over the past month. The slow down at work, Sam caring for both kids, getting scrappy with nightly meals, worrying about money, not sleeping nearly enough.

It feels strange to talk about upsides to any of this, but one has arisen: having more time (and the inclination) to bake for others again. For neighbors or friends, or simply my own kids. I buy bananas now for the sole purpose of making two loaves of banana bread (one for us, one to give away), Sam’s made homemade olive bread and pita, and Oliver’s one home school wish this week is to bake a cake. While we’re now out of yeast, we’ve got plenty of flour, so this weekend I tinkered with a new cookie recipe that I think you’ll like: these have brown butter, a little cardamom and rely heavily on brown sugar for chewiness and flavor.

With both kids home through the summer and the weather turning decidedly spring on us, we’ve been taking a few long walks every day. Frances is at a particularly needy stage and Oliver is always chatty, so this is a nice time for fresh air and … a little quiet in my head. And during these walks I wonder about how things will be different for good. How hopeful – but also sad – I find the rainbows and stuffed animals in the window. The encouraging sidewalk chalk drawings done by neighbor kids, proclaiming “we’re all in this together,” or “we CAN do this.” This. What is This, though?

Overcome? Come out better and stronger? Simply survive? Having so many friends in the restaurant industry, I’m having trouble picturing the economy in a few months time. I’m not convinced we can overcome that piece of it. But I am sure that we’ll see our friends and neighbors more once it’s safe to do so.  We miss seeing our people and Zoom calls, while supposed to make us feel more connected, seem to make me feel the opposite. But dropping by baked goods and hard-to-find ingredients has brought me a lot of joy. Texting with our neighbors, arranging a trade (their rhubarb for our millet) feels very Little House on the Prairie and I’m here for it.

I hope you’re all staying well. It’s harder than ever just to keep your head up these days. Of course cookies help, but I think it’s not so much the actual cookies and more the act of making the cookies and sharing them that’s the real salve. It’s one thing we’ve got that we can control – dropping something sweet on the stoops of the people we love and waving through the window.

Brown Butter Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Brown Butter Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

  • Yield: 24-26 cookies
  • Prep time: 20 mins
  • Cook time: 10 mins
  • Inactive time: 30 mins
  • Total time: 1 hr

While you may feel as though oatmeal raisin cookies are all relatively similar, this recipe will prove you wrong: here, we’re downplaying the often heavy-handed cinnamon and balancing it with a bit of cardamon, relying largely on brown sugar for sweetness, and browning the butter to ensure that each cookie has a supremely buttery, nutty flavor. These are moist and chewy – if you prefer a crisper cookie, bake them for 2 minutes longer.


1 cup (225g) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (200g) Bob’s Red Mill whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1 cup (200g) brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups (300g) old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup (140g) raisins
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


Brown the butter: In a small, light-colored saucepan (this helps so you can see the color change that will occur), melt the butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook until the butter begins to foam, about 5 minutes. Continue cooking until the foam subsides and little brown bits appear at the bottom of the pan, smelling fragrant and nutty. During this time, stir vigorously with a wooden spoon, scraping the bits from the bottom of the pan. Pour butter into a heatproof bowl, and stir for 2-3 minutes to allow it to cool to room temperature. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and cardamom.

Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the browned butter and both sugars together on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla beat until combined. Slowly add the flour and beat until all dry bits are incorporated. Fold in the oats, raisins and nuts, if using, with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula.

Cover the bowl and chill for 30-60 minutes, or up to overnight.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Roll balls of dough (about 2 tablespoons of dough per cookie) and place them 2 inches apart on the baking sheets (they’ll spread a bit).

Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until they’re just brown around the edges. The center of the cookie will look a bit under baked, but they’ll firm up as they cool. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet then transfer to cooling rack. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.



  1. LK

    I’m so happy to see your post! I’ve been missing your voice. Your writing always seems to bring a lot of emotional clarity to your subject matter, in part to the amount of internal wrestling you often allude to in order to come to this point of understanding at the time of writing. But your words are always comforting and refreshing to me, and I think we can all relate to trying to find acceptance of the paradox that is the current reality - to be vigilant and engaged and not forget about the people in great need right now, but not to let the anxiety weigh us down to the point of not being able to function, but also to try to find the silver lining and the small rays of goodness in our own lives and in our world despite the sobering events of the world. Thank you for your words and recipes and always being a beacon of light in this corner of the Internet! My daughter (5) has been raised on your steel cut oats recipe and refuses to acknowledge the existence of any other kind of oatmeal. It’s one of her favorite foods because of your wonderful recipe. Thank you, and hope you and your family stay safe!

    1. megang

      Awww thank you so much for the wonderful comment! Makes my day. I'm so glad you're all enjoying the steel cut oats - and of course I love that you're actually still reading the writing :) Who knows if folks are these days anymore!! Hope you're all staying safe and healthy as well. At least we've got spring!

      1. LK

        Yes, it's so nice to see the sun more right now! The blogging world has become very diverse over the last decade or so, and certainly there is an audience and utility in having sites that are very focused on dissecting the ingredients and breaking down the steps, or more encyclopedic recipe sites, but I've always loved best the OG blog authors with the heartfelt stories to accompany the killer recipes (i.e. the existential ramblings or long convoluted story of how they got to making this recipe or just day-in-the-life family stories). While I have never tried to monetize my blog, so I don't truly understand the pressures behind the scenes of the food site/writing/blogging career, my humble opinion as a reader of many food blogs over the years is that this is your site and you should post what YOU want, and I think you'll have an audience no matter what, whether it's for your stories and musings or for your delicious and healthy recipes. Sorry for the long ramble, I just wanted to affirm that I think there are those of us that come for your writing too! And these cookies look so yummy!! And Bob's Red Mill also rocks, I use their steel cut oats with your recipe, hehe! Take care and stay safe.

  2. NancyC

    Hi Megan! Rest assured, people are reading! I also was pleased to see your post. Your voice is soothing and down to earth, both in your book and on this blog. Your Nutty Millet Breakfast cookies and Morning Glory Oats have been a comfort during this time, and the chocolate cherry granola bars as well. The bars, especially, can be tweaked. I’ve added protein powder, date syrup in place of the honey, and subbed in coconut butter in place of some of the peanut butter.
    My kitchen has been my sanctuary for the past month, and your recipes have been good company. I hope you and your loved ones stay safe and happy. Take care!

    1. megang

      Thank you so much, Nancy. This made my day. I so appreciate you taking the time to say so. And gosh I love those breakfast cookies ... it's been too long since we've made those around here. Hope you're taking good care - and thank you for reading :)

  3. Sasha Patterson

    I’m drowning in online content but a post from you is always welcome and a bit like an exhale. I share huge worries about the food industry especially. May you and yours stay well and find your way !

    1. megang

      So sweet, Sasha. Thank you!!! You, too!

  4. Sasha Patterson

    I’m drowning in online content but a post from you is always welcome and a bit like an exhale. I share huge worries about the food industry especially. May you and yours stay well and find your way !

  5. Melanie

    Thank you for acknowledging and sharing the uncertainty that we are all feeling every day and every minute, regardless of job or family or location. Baking always helps me- can you say stress baking!- and I will be making these this weekend. I am always on teh search for the perfect oatmeal cookie (going on 40 years now. holy moley.) and this one may be it!!

    1. megang

      Thank you, Melanie! I so appreciate it and I'm glad you're finding some solace in spending time in the kitchen. Take good care!

  6. Kathy Matice

    Megan, fabulous timing with the cookie recipe! I, too, have been baking up a storm. For me, the smell and warmth of the oven has been very comforting during these times. There is also great joy in the simplicity of sharing something homemade. Much love to the Schick family of four. My money's on Frances taking charge :) Love, Aunt Kathy

    1. megang

      Thank you, Aunt Kathy! SO glad you guys enjoyed them (and so sorry for the delayed response). Love you!!

  7. KRF

    So excited to try this recipe. Wondering if you think you could freeze the dough as we do for our chocolate chip cookies in individual servings? Wishing you and your family good health.

    1. megang

      Yes!! You can freeze both the dough and the already baked cookies Enjoy!!

  8. Claire

    These cookies are yum! My daughter (14) made these for afternoon tea yesterday on a rainy day, we swapped out 50 grams of butter for 50 gr coconut oil as we had no butter left and I couldn't face going to the shops. They are delicious, we will definitely make them again, we've nearly finished them all already- when everyone is home there is more eating going on!. Thanks for the great recipe!

    1. megang

      Yay! Thank you, Claire! I'm so glad you all enjoyed them (and your subs sound great)

  9. Di

    Missed your writing! Just two quick questions: one, would the dough freeze well do you think? Two, do you think that raw sugar might be an ok sub for the brown sugar? I'm nearly out of brown sugar and it's been consistently sold out everywhere I go :(

    1. megang

      Hi, Diana! Sorry for the delay! Yes dough freezes great! As for raw sugar instead of brown, it won't be the same, sadly. That said, it'll WORK so if it's all you have an you want cookies, they'll turn out ok, they just won't be as good. Enjoy!

  10. Christine Fuglestad

    Hello Megan! Just found your site this morning in a search for Perfect Protein Salad. Now I've found so many others to make! Love your recipe selections AND the writing. It's authentic and thoughtful. Something we desperately need right now. :)

    1. megang

      Aww thank you so much, Christine. So sorry for my delayed response! Really happy you're enjoying the site. ~Megan

  11. Genesis Ron

    Good to know that works too! It was perfect the first time. I learn so much from you as well! Wow great post.

  12. Lauren

    I made these over the weekend and they are delicious! The cardamom note is really lovely. I used whole grain spelt flour because it was what I had on hand, and it seemed to work fine. One question about the butter though - is the amount listed pre or post browning? I found I lost a fair bit of butter weight during the process.

    1. megang

      Hi Lauren! Great question. The quantity is pre browning. You're right that it'll cook down just a little - that's ok.

  13. Emily

    Hi Megan, thank you for inspiring me to bake, which I haven't done in at least twenty years! This recipe sounded too good not to try and I'm so glad I did. The cookies were delicious and now I'm motivated to bake more. I brought some to my dad for Father's Day (oatmeal raisin cookies are his favorite, and mine too) and he was very impressed.

    1. megang

      Thank you, Emily! My apologies for the long delay here - the summer has kind of consumed us over here. But it makes my day to hear that you enjoyed the cookies and that they made a presence at Father's Day this year. Sounds like your dad (and you!) have good taste :)

  14. SandraM

    That cardamom is just perfect! Made the cookie dough yesterday and baked some cookies today for our coffee break. They are cookies that make the oatmeal cookie purist in my house very happy!!
    The rest will go in the freezer for "emergency needs ". 😉
    Great recipe!

    1. megang

      Thank you, Sandra!

  15. lisa

    I very much enjoyed your post and look forward to more! Your cookbook, Whole Grain Mornings, was phenomenal. I read from cover to cover, more than once. Your story was amazing, I felt like I was right there with you on your journey...when a person can make you feel that way, they have a genuine gift. I look forward to more recipes, and a possible story or two as well? Thanks Megan

    1. megang

      Thank you, Lisa!

Join the Discussion

Healthy Comfort Food

Thai Carrot, Coconut and Cauliflower Soup

Thai Carrot, Coconut and Cauliflower Soup

People describe raising young kids as a particular season in life. I hadn't heard this until we had a baby, but it brought me a lot of comfort when I'd start to let my mind wander, late at night between feedings, to fears that we'd never travel internationally again or have a sit-down meal in our dining room. Would I ever eat a cardamom bun in Sweden? Soak in Iceland? I loved the heck out of our tiny Oliver, but man what had we done?! Friends would swoop in and reassure us that this was just a season, a blip in the big picture of it all. They promised we'd likely not even remember walking around the house in circles singing made-up songs while eating freezer burritos at odd hours of the day (or night). And it's true.

Oliver is turning two next month, and those all-encompassing baby days feel like a different time, a different Us. In many ways, dare I say it, Toddlerhood actually feels a bit harder. Lately Oliver has become extremely opinionated about what he will and will not wear -- and he enforces these opinions with fervor. Don't get near the kid with a button-down shirt. This week at least. He's obsessed with his rain boots and if it were up to him, he'd keep them on at all times, especially during meals. He insists on ketchup with everything (I created a damn monster), has learned the word "trash" and insists on throwing found items away on his own that really, truly are not trash. I came to pick him up from daycare the other day and he was randomly wearing a bike helmet -- his teacher mentioned he'd had it on most of the day and really, really didn't want to take it off. The kid has FEELINGS. I love that about him, and wouldn't want it any other way. But, man it's also exhausting.

Read More
Cheesy Quinoa Cauliflower Bake

Cheesy Quinoa Cauliflower Bake

I just finished washing out Oliver's lunchbox and laying it out to dry for the weekend. My favorite time of day is (finally) here: the quiet of the evening when I can actually talk to Sam about our day or sit and reflect on my own thoughts after the inevitable dance party or band practice that precedes the bedtime routine lately. Before becoming pregnant for the second time, I'd have had a glass of wine with the back door propped open right about now -- these days though, I have sparkling water or occasionally take a sip from one of Sam's hard ciders. Except now the back door's closed and we even turned on the heat for the first time yesterday. The racing to water the lawn and clean the grill have been replaced by cozier dinners at home and longer baths in the evening. You blink and it's the first day of fall. 

Read More
Stuffed Shells with Fennel and Radicchio

Stuffed Shells with Fennel and Radicchio

I'd heard from many friends that buying a house wasn't for the faint of heart. But I always shrugged it off, figuring I probably kept better files or was more organized and, really, how hard could it be? Well, I've started (and stopped) writing this post a good fifteen times which may indicate something. BUT! First thing's first: we bought a house! I think! I'm pretty sure! We're still waiting for some tax transcripts to come through and barring any hiccough with that, we'll be moving out of our beloved craftsman in a few weeks and down the block to a great, brick Tudor house that we wanted the second we laid eyes on it. The only problem: it seemed everyone else in Seattle had also laid eyes on it, and wanted it equally as much. I'm not really sure why the homeowner chose us in the end. Our offer actually wasn't the highest, but apparently there were some issues with a few of them. We wrote a letter introducing ourselves and describing why we'd be the best candidates and why we were so drawn to the house; we have a really wonderful broker who pulled out all the stops, and after sifting through 10 offers and spending a number of hours deliberating, they ended up going with ours. We were at a friend's book event at the time when Sam showed me the text from our broker and I kind of just collapsed into his arms. We were both in ecstatic denial (wait, is this real?! Did we just buy a house?) and celebrated by getting chicken salad and potato salad from the neighborhood grocery store and eating it, dazed, on our living room floor. Potato salad never tasted so good. 

Read More
Smoky Butternut Squash and Three Bean Chili

Smoky Butternut Squash and Three Bean Chili

If your house is anything like ours, last week wasn't our most inspired in terms of cooking. We're all suffering from the post-election blues -- the sole upside being Oliver's decision to sleep-in until 7 am for the first time in many, many months; I think he's trying to tell us that pulling the covers over our heads and hibernating for awhile is ok. It's half-convincing. For much of the week, instead of cooking, there'd been takeout pizza and canned soup before, at week's end, I decided it was time to pour a glass of wine and get back into the kitchen. I was craving something hearty and comforting that we could eat for a few days. Something that wouldn't remind me too much of Thanksgiving because, frankly, I can't quite gather the steam to start planning for that yet. It was time for a big bowl of chili.

Read More
To Talk Porridge

To Talk Porridge

Porridge is not the sexiest of breakfasts, it's true. It doesn't have a stylish name like strata or shakshuka, and it doesn't have perfectly domed tops like your favorite fruity muffin. It doesn't crumble into delightful bits like a good scone nor does it fall into buttery shards like a well-made croissant. But when you wake up and it's 17 degrees outside (as it has been, give or take a few, for the last week), there's nothing that satisfies like a bowl of porridge or oatmeal. It's warm and hearty and can be made sweet or savory with any number of toppings. The problem? Over the years, it's gotten a bad rap as gluey or gummy or just downright boring or dutiful -- and it's because not everyone knows the secrets to making a great pot of warm morning cereal. So let's talk porridge (also: my cookbook comes out this month! So let's take a peek inside, shall we?)

Read More