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Oatmeal Cookies without Butter

These dairy free oatmeal cookies are made without butter and are just the right amount of chewy.

This recipe is very customizable but my favorite version is with chocolate chips and cinnamon.

Chocolate chip oatmeal cookies on a plate on a marble counter next to a glass

I cannot get over how perfect these oats, cinnamon, and chocolate chips work together in these cookies!

However, one of the things I love most about this recipe is how customizable it is!

You want raisins instead of chocolate chips? Not my cup of tea, but go for it! Just switch out the chocolate chips for raisins cup for cup.

Want some crunch with your raisins, trade out a third for chopped walnuts.

You want white chocolate chips and dried cranberries? No problem. Just replace the cup of chocolate chips with half a cup white chocolate chips and half a cup dried cranberries.

The cinnamon in this recipe really adds something special to the cookies.

One of the things I like about these dairy free oatmeal cookies being made without butter and with oil instead, is that oil tends to give more consistent results than butter. I find this to be a nice perk.

If you like these oat meal cookies with chocolate chips, you may also like my dairy free chocolate chip cookies and my dairy free toll house cookies.

What You Need

Dry measuring cups and spoons
Liquid measuring cup
Whisk
Rubber spatula
Mixing bowl
Baking paper
Cookie sheets
Cooling rack

What can be substituted for butter in oatmeal cookies?

To replace butter in oatmeal cookies you will need another kind of fat such as oil.

Can I replace butter with oil in oatmeal cookies?

Yes, you can replace butter with oil in oatmeal cookies just as I do here in this recipe.

TO CHILL OR NOT TO CHILL?

Oil cookies do not need to be chilled.  I’ve tried chilling them as well as putting them directly into the oven.   I haven’t found that chilling made any difference what so ever.

Chocolate chip oatmeal cookies on a cooling rack

BAKING WITH OIL

In general, oil in baked goods makes for a superior texture than those made with butter.  

Oil cakes tend to bake up taller with a better crumb. They also stay moist and tender far longer than recipes made with butter.

Furthermore, since oil is lighter than butter, the texture of oil cakes is lighter too.

Also, given that oil is 100% fat while most American butter is 15% water, it creates a more tender crumb.

This is due to the fact that the extra water strengthens the gluten, resulting in a crumb that’s more dense.

Which Type Of Oil to Use

I use neutral oils like canola oil, safflower oil, and vegetable oil.  However, it’s not unheard of for oils with stronger flavors like olive oil or coconut oil to be used.

If using olive oil, I recommend using pure olive oil for its milder flavor and higher smoking point.

Baking with Oil Conversion Chart

If you want to convert your butter recipes to oil recipes, check out my baking with oil – butter to oil conversion chart.

DO EGGS NEED TO BE AT ROOM TEMPERATURE?

The short answer is “no”.  While a side-by-side comparison shows that baking with eggs at room temperature makes a better crumb, it’s not otherwise noticeable.

What are Eggs used for?

Eggs do three things in most recipes: they help bind the ingredients together, act as a mild leavening agent, and they add moisture.

EGG FREE OPTION

Eggs can be substituted with 1/4 cup of unsweetened apple sauce per egg.  This means for recipes calling for 2 eggs, you’d need 1/2 cup of unsweetened apple sauce.

The reason applesauce makes a good binder is that it’s high in pectin. Pectin is a naturally occurring starch in fruits and berries that acts as a thickening agent and stabilizer in food.

This happens when combined with sugar and acid (if the fruit or berry isn’t naturally acidic).

Just keep in mind that it may change the flavor slightly.

ARE EGGS DAIRY?

No, eggs are not dairy.  Dairy is milk and any food products made from milk, including cheese, cream, butter, and yogurt. 

So, while eggs are an animal product, they are not dairy. In fact, eggs fall under the protein food group.

HOW TO MEASURE FLOUR AND OTHER DRY INGREDIENTS

Using a dry measuring cup, scoop ingredients from the bag or spoon them into the cup. 

Next, level off the ingredient by removing the excess with an upside-down butter knife.

The one exception to this is brown sugar.  Brown sugar should be packed down, and then any excess should be scraped off as well.

DRY VS LIQUID MEASURING CUP

Ever wonder why measuring spoons often come with a set of measuring cups?  I used to.  I didn’t see why we needed a set when we could have one large measuring cup. 

After a quick search, I had my answer.  I discovered that the large measuring cup is used for liquids, whereas the set is used for dry ingredients.

As it turns out, if you try to measure dry ingredients with a liquid cup, the measurements get messed up. 

First, you pour the flour or cocoa in, next you shake it around to get it level, and then you add more. 

By shaking it, you are causing the powder to settle, and when you add more, you end up using more than called for.

WHY SIFT FLOUR and Other Powder Ingredients

There are a number of benefits to sifting flour and other ingredients like cocoa: 

It removes any unwanted debris and you can get a more accurate measurement than when packed tightly in a bag. 

It also removes any lumps that can get into the batter and be hard to break up later, or be missed altogether before baking.

If you sift the powdered ingredients together, it helps combine them and mix more evenly with other dry ingredients like sugar.

Understanding Sugar

Sugar may seem very basic if you’ve baked before, but I’ve been asked about it in the past – so I’ll explain.

There are many different types of sugar, including white sugar, brown sugar, vanilla sugar, powdered sugar, turbinado sugar, and demerara sugar.

When a recipe (any recipe, not just mine) says “sugar” without specifying anything else, it is regular white sugar.

White Sugar

White sugar (sometimes called granulated sugar, table sugar, or white granulated sugar) is made of either beet sugar or cane sugar, which has undergone a refining process.

It is the easiest to find and most commonly used.

Brown Sugar

Brown sugar is white sugar with molasses added to it.

It is commonly used in chocolate chip cookie recipes, and it’s rare for a recipe that calls for brown sugar not to also call for white sugar as well.

When a recipe calls for “brown sugar” but doesn’t specify what type (light or dark), it is referring to light brown sugar.

In my recipes, you can use whatever type of brown sugar you have on hand, whether it is dark brown sugar, light brown sugar, or demerara sugar – which is very common in Israel.

Just keep in mind that the flavor and color will be slightly different depending on what you choose to use.

Turbinado Sugar

Turbinado sugar is better known as “raw sugar”. But, despite this name, the sugar is not really “raw.”

Instead, it’s partially refined sugar that retains some of the original molasses.

The term “raw sugar” may also give off the impression that it is somehow healthier.

In reality, turbinado sugar is nutritionally similar to white sugar.

Demerara Sugar

Demerara sugar is very popular in Israel and is especially delicious in tea, but is also used for baking.

Unlike white sugar, demerara sugar undergoes minimal processing and retains some vitamins and mineral.

However, it is still not much healthier than white sugar.

Vanilla Sugar

Vanilla sugar is not very common in the States. However, it is common in Israel and parts of Europe.

This is sugar that sat for an extended period of time with vanilla beans, giving it a vanilla flavor.

Caster Sugar

This type of sugar is common in the United Kingdom.

It has a grain finer than white (granulated) sugar and larger than powdered sugar.

Caster sugar is often called for in recipes for delicate baked goods like meringues, souffles, and sponge cakes.

You can use a 1:1 conversion rate between caster sugar and white (granulated) sugar.

Powdered sugar

Powdered sugar, sometimes known as confectioners’ sugar, is a sugar with a powdered texture.

This sugar is rarely, if ever, used for baking. Instead, it is used for dusting desserts and making frosting and icings.

In some countries, you can also find powdered vanilla sugar.

It is made the exact same way regular vanilla sugar is made. However, the sugar used is powdered instead of granulated.

Vanilla Extract vs Vanilla sugar

In my recipes, I don’t specify what kind of vanilla to use.

The reason for this is that in the States, vanilla extract is exclusively used.

Meanwhile in Israel, along with many European countries, vanilla sugar is common.

In most, if not all recipes, both vanilla extract and vanilla sugar can be used.

In recipes where vanilla sugar can be used instead of extract, you can replace them 1:1.

Replacing Sugar with Honey

If you’d prefer to use honey instead of sugar, you can do so with pretty good results.

Honey can be two or even three times as sweet depending on the honey, so for every 1 cup of sugar, you can use 1/2 to 2/3 cup honey.

Since honey adds liquid, you need to remove some to balance it out.  For every cup of honey remove a 1/4 cup of liquid.

Also, it burns faster than granulated sugar, so you want to lower the baking temperature by 25 F or 4 C.  In addition, check it early and often to avoid burning or overbaking.

Types of Vanilla

Vanilla comes from a pod commonly known as a “vanilla bean”, which comes from the vanilla orchids.

Vanilla pod has been used for flavoring since the Aztecs, and was introduced to Europe by a Spanish conquistador, along with cocoa.

Vanilla Extract

Vanilla extract is created by soaking vanilla beans in alcohol for some time. This is the most commonly used type of vanilla.

Vanilla Sugar

Vanilla sugar is common in Europe and some parts of the Middle East, like Israel. 

It is made from vanilla beans sitting in sugar, vanilla bean powder mixed with sugar, or sugar mixed with vanilla extract.

In some countries, like Italy, you can also find vanilla powdered sugar, which is used for confections.

Vanilla Paste

Vanilla paste is generally a specialty item.  It is a thick paste that contains a blend of the scraped-out vanilla pod seeds and vanilla extract. 

You can use it as you do vanilla extract and it will leave flakes of vanilla bean like you see in vanilla bean ice cream.

Imitation Vanilla

Imitation Vanilla, otherwise known as artificial vanilla or vanilla essence, is made from synthetic vanilla. 

This is the compound that naturally occurs in vanilla beans and gives it its flavor.

Can I use imitation vanilla?

Many will tell you that you should use high quality vanilla, just like they say you should use the best cocoa. 

However, most of us will probably not be willing to pay the hefty price that comes with exceptionally high-quality ingredients.

Overall, vanilla is very expensive, so the extract is as well. 

So, if you’re not going to get regular quality vanilla extract, you might as well use imitation vanilla.

BAKING POWDER VS BAKING SODA

I’ve had a number of comments asking me questions about baking soda and baking powder. 

I’ve also noticed that if the wrong one is used, things don’t come out as they should. 

Using baking soda instead of baking powder can give your recipe a terrible metallic taste, while using baking powder instead of baking soda leaves your baked goods looking flat.

BAKING SODA

Baking soda is a leavening agent, which means it helps things rise.  

It does this by creating carbon dioxide when it reacts to an acid, such as cream of tartar, lemon juice, yogurt, buttermilk, cocoa, and vinegar. 

When the carbon dioxide is released, it causes the familiar texture and crumb in pancakes, cakes, quick breads, soda bread, and other baked and fried foods.

Baking soda works well with sourdough because sourdough is acidic.  When combined, it makes a lighter product with a less acidic taste, since baking soda is alkaline.

A good rule of thumb is to use around 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda per 1 cup of flour.

BAKING POWDER

Baking powder is also a leavening agent and it’s a mixture of baking soda, cream of tartar, and sometimes cornstarch.

Most baking powder sold is double-acting. This means that the leavening occurs in two steps.

The first time it’s activated is when baking powder gets wet, which is why you cannot prepare some batters ahead of time to bake later.

The second time is when the baking powder is exposed to heat.  This happens when the batter is being baked or fried.

Since baking powder already contains an acid, it’s most often used when a recipe does not call for an additional acidic ingredient or too little of one.

A good rule of thumb is to use around 1 teaspoon of baking powder per 1 cup of flour.

WHY SOME RECIPES CALL FOR BOTH

Some recipes call for both baking powder and baking soda when the carbon dioxide created from the acid and baking soda is not enough to leaven the volume of batter in the recipe.  

Too much baking soda gives a terrible metallic taste, so baking powder is added to give it more lift.

WHICH ONE IS STRONGER?

You may have already guessed the answer since baking soda is used to make baking powder, and you need more baking powder per cup of flour. But I’ll tell you anyway.

Baking soda is four times stronger than baking powder. 

That’s why you will more often than not see recipes that only call for baking soda rather than recipes that only call for baking powder.

HOW LONG DO THEY LAST?

BAKING SODA

Baking soda is good indefinitely past its best by date, although it can lose potency over time.

A rule of thumb is two years for an unopened package and six months for an opened package.   

However, to be honest, I’ve used very old baking soda with good results.

BAKING POWDER

Like baking soda, baking powder is good indefinitely past its best by date, and can lose its potency over time. 

For both opened and unopened, it’s ideal to use it within nine months to a year.

While storing it, make sure to keep it in a dry place and away from humidity.

HOW TO TEST IF IT’S STILL GOOD

BAKING POWDER

To test baking powder, pour 3 tablespoons of warm water into a small bowl, add 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, and stir.

If the baking powder is good to use, it should fizz a little.

BAKING SODA

To test baking soda, pour 3 tablespoons of white distilled vinegar into a small bowl, add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, and stir.  

The mixture should rapidly bubble if the soda is fresh.

GLUTEN FREE OPTION

Gluten Free Flour

Substitute all-purpose gluten-free flour in place of all-purpose regular flour cup for cup.

BUCKWHEAT FLOUR 

Buckwheat flour is easy to find compared to most other gluten-free flours, and it adds a nice earthy nutty taste. 

The downside is that it has a distinct flavor, so the change will be noticeable. 

It’s also darker, so the color won’t be the same. Substitute cup for cup.

RICE FLOUR

Rice flour can also be used and can be found in most Asian and health food stores. 

White rice flour has a mild flavor and doesn’t change the color of the muffin or quick bread. 

Since it doesn’t have much flavor, it’s best to use it with ingredients that do. Substitute cup for cup.

OAT FLOUR

Oat flour is made from whole oats that have been ground into a powder, which can easily be done at home.  

It gives more flavor and a chewier and crumblier texture than regular all-purpose flour.

Substitute 1 cup of all-purpose flour for 1 1/3 cup Oat Flour.  To make 1 cup of oat flour, blend 1 1/4 cups of oats in a food processor until finely ground.

Note: oats must be marked gluten-free because they can get cross-contaminated in the factory.

Baking with Humidity

Humidity can have a big impact on how your baked goods come out.

This is because when humidity is extremely high (think 70 percent or more), baking ingredients like flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda soak up moisture from the air.

This can negatively impact the outcome of your cakes, cookies, yeast breads, and quick breads.

There are some things you can do to try to save your baking.

Try to counterbalance the additional moisture

To help counterbalance the additional moisture your dry ingredients soak up from the air, try reducing the amount of liquid in the recipe by about one-quarter.

If the batter or dough looks too dry once all the ingredients are mixed together, add an additional liquid tablespoon at a time until you have the desired consistency.

This is not usually possible to do for cookies, but it does work for cakes and breads.

Store Ingredients in the Fridge

If flour and sugar are stored in the refrigerator or freezer rather than in a cupboard or pantry, they are better protected from humidity.

As an added benefit, keeping these ingredients cool also helps keep them fresher longer, in addition to helping them stay bug-free.

For the best results, let them warm to room temperature before using.

Bake for Longer

If you bake your goodies for a few extra minutes, it can help the liquid to cook off.

To avoid overbaking, continue testing for doneness every couple of minutes for breads, quick breads, cakes, cupcakes, and muffins.  Cookies, on the other hand, need to be checked every minute.

Use Air Conditioning

To help lower humidity levels on humid summer days, air condition the room for at least an hour before you start baking.

Cooler air isn’t able to hold as much moisture as warm air.

Store your baked goods in an airtight container

Humidity can also ruin your fresh-baked goods because when they are left out, they can absorb moisture.

To avoid this, store them in an airtight container or resealable bag.

HOW TO STORE COOKIES

Let cookies cool completely.  Place in a resealable bag or an airtight container.  Store at room temperature for up to a week.

HOW TO FREEZE COOKIES

Let cookies cool completely.  It is best to freeze cookies on a tray so that they freeze as individuals and then move to a resealable freezer bag. 

If this is not practical for you, place cooled cookies in a resealable freezer bag and freeze that way.  

Cookies will keep for up to 3 months.  After that, the quality begins to degrade.

When thawing baked cookies, remove from bag and let sit at room temperature. 

If desired, you can gently reheat thawed cookies to mimic that fresh-baked taste and texture: place them in a 275°F or 140°C oven until soft.

Yield: 40 cookies

Oatmeal Cookies without Butter

Chocolate chip oatmeal cookies on a cooling rack

These dairy free oatmeal cookies are made without butter the perfect amount of chewy and have just the right amount of cinnamon and chocolate in every bite!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup dairy free dark chocolate chips*
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Instructions

  1. Place flour, brown sugar, rolled oats, chocolate chips, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt into a bowl. Whisk until evenly incoperated.
  2. Add eggs, oil, and vanilla. Mix until well combined. The dough should be oily.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°F or 175°C.
  4. Roll into balls and place on a parchment paper lined cookie tray 2-inches apart. I like to take a small ice cream scoop to measure it out and then roll the balls with my hands for the prittiest cookies.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool on the pans for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes

*If you prefer raisens, you can switch out the chocolate chips for raises cup for cup. In the beginning of the post are a number of ideas along with quanitites for ways to alter this oatmeal cookie recipe.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

40

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 112Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 48mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 1gSugar: 9gProtein: 1g

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