Oatmeal Cookies Without Butter

by Erin @ Food Doodles on September 6, 2020

These oatmeal cookies without butter can be made with different types of oil. They’re mixed together by hand, without a mixer, and the dough doesn’t need to be chilled. These butterless oatmeal cookies can be made with regular flour, gluten-free or whole wheat flour. They’re naturally dairy-free and have a vegan option.

I don’t know why but I always think of oatmeal cookies as a back-to-school thing. They just seem so like childhood and back-to-school-ish. 

If it’s still too hot to bake where you live, try these no-bake oatmeal cookies for a no-bake version. They also don’t use butter! Neither do these Raw Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Dough Bars.

Let me first say that today’s cookies taste way better than they look. I consider myself an oatmeal cookie connoisseur (🤣) and these are the perfect oatmeal cookies.

While you can make them with butter, these oatmeal cookies are actually better without butter, as oil makes for a chewier cookie. Coconut oil is my favorite option.

I’ve used refined and unrefined coconut oil. I expected there to be some coconut aftertaste with unrefined, but there wasn’t. So use whichever kind you prefer.

You can also use other types of oil. A light olive oil would work well if you don’t mind a little olive oil taste. 

There’s so much cinnamon in these that the olive oil taste doesn’t taste too strong, at least once they’re cooled.

It’s the weirdest thing – with olive oil, these cookies taste like paint straight out of the oven. I’ve never had that happen before!

And I do a lot of baking with olive oil, like in these Healthy Cinnamon Apple Muffins and Healthy Chocolate Cake. I did use extra virgin olive oil in these cookies and not a lighter one, though.

Once they’ve cooled, these cookies have a slight olive oil taste but are still really tasty. My husband oddly couldn’t taste the olive oil at all. I’m not sure what that means!

If you don’t want to use olive oil, then canola oil, grapeseed oil, etc. would also work. 

It’s also easy to make these cookies vegan. The butter obviously doesn’t need to be replaced so there are just the two eggs to worry about.

I used chia eggs and they worked just as well as normal eggs. They didn’t taste any different.

You definitely can’t tell a difference between the two versions. I’m assuming other egg subs work but I haven’t tried them myself so I can’t say for sure.

I’ve also included a gluten-free option for this recipe. You can either use a mix of white rice flour, potato starch and tapioca starch plus xanthan gum, or a gluten-free 1:1 baking mix that’s meant as a sub for all-purpose flour.

I used the one from Bob’s Red Mill with great results but don’t know how other brands would do. I love that mix and also used it in my healthy applesauce muffins and pumpkin cupcakes.

For the people who don’t like raisins, you can, of course, use chocolate chips. Or whatever add-ins you’d like. 

But dry add-ins. You can’t add things like zucchini or carrots. I’m getting that question a lot right now!

Apparently people are drowning in zucchini. I think it’s a nice problem to have. 🙂

Can I use something other than the listed flours?

I’ve tested and listed 5 different flour options. Those are the ones that I know will work and they’re the only ones that I think will work.

If you want to use spelt, you can try these Spelt Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.

You could perhaps another 1-to-1 GF baking mix (that’s meant as a sub for all-purpose flour) but I can’t say it’d work as well.

Can I use something other than oil?

This recipe is for oatmeal cookies without butter but you can indeed use butter if you want. They won’t be quite as chewy, though. I don’t recommend applesauce, bananas or any other such subs. It’d probably require reworking the recipe a bit.

Can you taste the coconut oil?

We couldn’t taste any coconut flavor and I use unrefined coconut oil!

Can I use something other than chia eggs for a vegan version?

While I haven’t tried, I think any egg subs would likely would in these cookies.

Can I use something other than the listed sugars? 

You can probably use another granulated sugar that you can use in place of regular white granulated sugar. Liquid sweeteners won’t work as they’d make te dough too wet and the baked cookies would be cakey and spread a lot. 

Can I reduce the sweetener / oil? 

The more you reduce them, the more cakey and crumbly the cookies will be. I used the least amount that I thought was enough. I don’t find the cookies overly sweet! If you want something oaty that’s truly healthy, try these Healthy Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies.

Can I use different add-ins / add more of them? 

Nuts, dried fruit or candy work. Nothing wet like zucchini. But don’t add too many add-ins or the dough won’t hold together!

Oatmeal Cookies without Butter
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
17 mins
Course: Dessert
Servings: 16
  • 1 1/2 cups (190 grams) all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour or white whole wheat flour OR for gluten-free, use the mix listed in the notes* or Bob's Red Mill 1:1 Gluten-free Baking Flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup (168 grams) melted coconut oil OR another oil (see post for more notes)
  • 1 1/3 cups (266 grams) brown sugar or coconut sugar
  • 2 large (50 grams each, out of shell) eggs or 2 chia eggs for vegan**
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups (260 grams) quick oats (use GF oats for a GF version)
  • 1 1/4 cups (190 grams) raisins or chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) and line a cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
  2. Stir together the dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the melted coconut oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla and stir.
  4. Add the dry mix to the wet mix and stir just until combined. Stir in the oats and raisins, again stirring just until combined.
  5. Form the dough into 75-gram balls, about two inches or slightly over 1/4 cup in size, and place 4" apart on the prepared baking sheet. Press the balls down slightly with the palm of your hand. If your dough is too soft to roll into balls, refrigerate for about 30 minutes or until scoopable.
  6. Bake for 13-17 minutes or until the middle appears to be set and the cookies have evenly browned.
  7. Let cool completely on the baking sheet. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days. They can also be frozen for a few months.
Recipe Notes
  • To make these cookies gluten-free, use the following instead of the flour listed in the recipe:
  • 1 cup (140 grams) white rice flour
  • 1/3 cup (52 grams) potato starch
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons (20 grams) tapioca flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

** To make 2 chia eggs, mix 2 tablespoons ground chia seed with 6 tablespoons water. Mix until combined and gloopy like an egg.

Leave a Comment

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Susan September 28, 2021 at 00:50

So…. I panic bought a lot of oatmeal during the pandemic. And still looking for recipes a year later that do not use so much butter. These cookies are so delicious. Not only have you saved me from my oatmeal problems, you have given me a mighty delicious cookie. Followed it exactly, minus raisins or chips. Sadly lacking in those.


2 Erin @ Food Doodles October 3, 2021 at 13:35

Haha. I did the same! I’m so glad that you found the recipe and have been enjoying them. 🙂 Thanks for your feedback!


3 KC January 2, 2021 at 20:48

Delicious! I used canola oil, 1/3 cup whole wheat, 1 cup white flour, eggs, raisins and cranberries, and in a separate bowl for me (hubby doesn’t like choc chips in his) added chocolate chips.


4 Erin @ Food Doodles January 3, 2021 at 11:58

I’m so glad that you enjoyed the cookies! Chocolate chips are always a good addition. 😉 Thanks a bunch for your feedback!


5 nicoletta September 14, 2020 at 05:18

These oatmeal cookies without butter are awesome! Thank you for all the tips on substitutions, that’s really helpful.


6 Tammy September 14, 2020 at 01:16

I love the flavor coconut oils adds and I can only imagine how tasty it is in oatmeal cookies! These look perfect and delicious 🙂


7 Karyl September 13, 2020 at 18:19

I love oatmeal cookies because it makes me feel like I’m eating a healthier snack 🙂 And I would definitely add lots of chocolate chips in there. That’s such an interesting twist to use oil instead of butter. I’m going to have to try that out.


8 Chef Dennis September 12, 2020 at 17:51

I can’t believe how good these cookies were without using butter! Thanks for a great recipe!


9 Jenny September 11, 2020 at 01:16

Have never tried coconut oil instead of butter for cookies and must admit that I actually loved it. The cookies were spot on, lovely flavor, chewy and feel healthier. Very nice recipe.


10 Paula Montenegro September 9, 2020 at 13:26

Thanks for this recipe, I always get the question about substituting butter for oil, but I hadn’t yet tried it! I do love coconut oil and they become healthier, which is great when you’re trying to stop buying commecial cookies and making your own.


11 Erin @ Food Doodles September 10, 2020 at 14:20

You’re welcome! Coconut oil makes the cookies even chewier so we actually prefer it over butter. 🙂


12 Sandra Shaffer September 9, 2020 at 04:21

This is the first recipe I tried chia eggs and you are correct, I couldn’t tell that these were eggless. Chocolate chip camp for us and yes, this is a back to school treat for sure!


13 Erin @ Food Doodles September 10, 2020 at 14:22

Ah, I’m glad I’m not the only one with this weird thought! I’m so happy that you enjoyed the cookies. Thanks for your feedback! 🙂


14 Bernice Hill September 8, 2020 at 04:41

I’ve never baked cookies with anything other than butter. I would consider coconut oil but as for other oil, I think it would have to have absolutely no flavours.

These cookies look great though, I love my oatmeal cookies chewy!


15 Gloria September 7, 2020 at 22:52

I don’t know anyone who can resist a fresh baked cookie. These sound delicious. Perfect for pairing with my afternoon latte.


16 sb September 7, 2020 at 18:40

“Mix until combined and gloopy like an eye.”

oh no, oh no. That should probably say “egg.”


17 Erin @ Food Doodles September 7, 2020 at 19:21

Haha. Sorry about that. Thanks so much for letting me know! I’ve fixed it. I had just written a post about bloody eyeball brownies so I guess I had nasty eyes on the brain. 🤦‍♀️ Sorry for the grossness.


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