Missing the wonderful chewiness of homemade oatmeal raisin cookies? I’ve got your cravings satisfied with this easy, delicious, and healthy recipe for oatmeal raisin cookie bars that are gluten-free, dairy-free, Low-FODMAP, and sweetened with just a little bit of maple syrup and stevia.
This is the best and easiest oatmeal raisin cookie recipe that is gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, and Low-FODMAP. These cookies are just the right balance of chewiness without being too crumbly. They’re wholesome and satisfying and a wonderful treat for any time of the day!
Oatmeal raisin cookies were my favorite cookie growing up. I prefer them chewy, so I like making them as bars rather than individual round cookies. If you like yours with a crispier edge, just roll the dough into balls and then gently smoosh them with the moistened heel of your hand (just put a little water on it so the dough doesn’t stick to your hand).
I also like making this recipe into bars, because it is so much faster. Easy, quick cookies? Yes, please!
In our home, we eat cookies for breakfast sometimes, because they’re not full of sugar. When you take the sugar out, you’re left with a lot of healthy ingredients – a variety of gluten-free flours and starches and fiber-rich oats. I love being able to tuck a cookie like this into my daughter’s lunchbox, because it’s a treat but it won’t give her a sugar rush.
I have been tweaking this recipe for the last ten years. What I have here for you is my favorite blend of flours and natural sweeteners for the perfect chewy texture.
This recipe started from a recipe for an oatmeal crisp topping on an apple crisp in Joanne Chang’s lovely cookbook Baking With Less Sugar. Chang is the owner of flour bakery + cafe in Boston, and she’s an incredibly accomplished baker as well as a really kind person. All of her cookbooks are fantastic, and her recipes are solid. I had the good fortune to do some recipe testing for her when I was a student at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, and it was a fantastic experience. We only communicated by e-mail, but she was warm and kind, and she even included some of my suggestions for gluten-free adaptations for her recipes in her cookbook. She’s the kind of person who inspires you and motivates you, because she is kind, encouraging, and gracious.
I started playing around with the oatmeal topping and adding ingredients to make it more of a cookie dough. After a lot of tweaking, I can now eat oatmeal raisin cookies every day without a sugar crash or a migraine or an unhappy tummy, and you can, too!
Why You'll LOVE this Recipe
- Super easy and quick to make
- Healthy oats are good for lowering cholesterol
- It’s sugar-free and only uses a small amount of maple syrup
- It’s dairy-free, vegetarian, and gluten-free
- It’s suitable for a low-FODMAP diet
- Delicious, chewy cookie bars!!! Need I say more?
Ingredients for Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Bars
- Earth Balance vegan buttery spread
- maple syrup
- vanilla extract
- liquid stevia
- potato starch
- tapioca starch
- sorghum flour
- brown rice flour
- white rice flour
- baking soda
- gluten-free old-fashioned rolled oats
- walnuts (optional)
Notes on Ingredients:
Earth Balance vegan buttery spread – For this recipe, Earth Balance buttery spread gives the right subtle buttery flavor without being too oily or greasy. I’ve found that it creams really well and provides the right structure for a delicious cookie. It’s also low in cholesterol.
Maple syrup – I’ve tried this recipe with all kinds of natural sweeteners. Using just stevia is an option, but a little bit of maple syrup gives it just enough sweetness and also helps to hold the cookie together so it’s not super crumbly. Honey works well, too, but it’s high-FODMAP, so I prefer maple syrup. Coconut sugar tastes good, but it makes the cookies a little too brown for my tastes – I like oatmeal cookies that are more golden colored.
Eggs – My eureka moment happened when I realized that I needed to double the recipe but not double the eggs. Hence, “three” eggs, not four and not two. Too much egg makes the cookie too squishy; too little egg makes the cookie too dense and crumbly. Three is the magic number here.
Starches and Flours – The blend of starches and flours is the heart of any recipe, and it’s also the trickiest to figure out. I tried at least 20 different combinations before landing on the one that worked best. Here I’m using a 50/50 ratio of starch to flour. Using only potato starch will make the cookies too crumbly. Using only tapioca starch will make the cookies too chewy. Using a blend of both with more potato starch than tapioca starch is just right. For the flours, I found that an even amount of three different flours gives the perfect texture. Sorghum flour has a softness and smoothness nuttiness that tones down the graininess of the rice flours. Brown rice flour and white rice flour complement each other perfectly and give the cookie enough structure so that it doesn’t just fall apart.
Oats – Please check to make sure that your oats are gluten-free and old-fashioned rolled oats. Bob’s Red Mill is my preferred brand, but feel free to use any that you’re sure aren’t at risk of cross-contamination. Also, if you’re watching your cholesterol or trying to lower it, oats have been proven to actually lower cholesterol. So, if you’re trying to work more oats into your diet but are oatmeal-ed out, these cookies are a nice alternative and a healthy treat.
Raisins – I like the regular dark raisins, but feel free to use a mix of dark and golden raisins if you prefer. Raisins are a high-FODMAP food, but since they are scattered throughout the dough and should only have a few in each cookie, I find that they’re tolerable for me. However, if I’m planning to eat all of the cookie bars in one sitting, then they might cause me some tummy distress. Know your body and do what is best for you. You could always use the half the amount of raisins to get the same effect in the final cookie. Since this recipe is also using maple syrup, it’s not relying on the raisins as a source of sweetness. You could leave them out entirely if you don’t want to risk it.
Walnuts – Nuts are always a point of personal preference. I like walnuts in my oatmeal cookies, but you can leave them out entirely and the cookies will still be delicious. If I’m baking these for a kid’s party, I’ll leave the walnuts out to make these cookies nut-free.
How to Make Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Bars
If you don’t have a stand mixer, you could use a hand mixer. But I really recommend a stand mixer. I know they’re heavy and expensive, but there’s no other way to get the same creaming effect as using a stand mixer. I went through a phase when I didn’t have a lot of disposable income to spend on kitchen gadgets, and I tried to simplify my cooking techniques to the most minimalist ways possible. If that’s where you are right now for whatever reason, you could make this cookie dough by hand by melting the Earth Balance first before mixing it with the maple syrup.
Mix the Wet Ingredients First
Mix all the wet ingredients together first. If you’re using a stand mixer, start on low to break down the Earth Balance and incorporate it with the maple syrup, but then crank it up to medium speed to really cream the spread. This whips air into the spread and helps to create the right cookie texture. Once you have added the eggs, vanilla and stevia, keep mixing to combine everything, but don’t worry if you have lumps of Earth Balance spread. It’s fine.
Add the Dry Ingredients
Next, add all of the starches and flours plus the baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. You can just dump them in at once, and then mix them on low in the stand mixer. Once they are all incorporated into the dough, add the oats. Keep the mixer on low. Add the raisins and walnuts and mix just until they are incorporated into the dough.
Now it’s time to get these cookies in the oven!
Spread the Cookie Batter on a Baking Sheet
I like to use a jelly roll pan, because it’s just the right size for this recipe, but you can use a regular baking sheet with edges. Line the baking sheet or pan with parchment paper. Don’t worry about being precise about this. Just tear off a rectangle of parchment paper that’s big enough to cover the entire pan with some hanging over the edge. Gently press the parchment paper down into the edges and corners.
Then, use a rubber spatula to transfer the cookie dough into the pan and spread it into an even layer in the pan. If it doesn’t fill the whole pan – and this will probably be the case if you’re using a regular baking sheet – don’t worry. Just keep the thickness of the dough to about ¼ inch and use your hands to make a neat edge with the dough.
If the dough isn’t spreading easily, wet your hands with water and use your hands to spread the dough out. The water prevents the dough from sticking to your hands.
Bake for 20 Minutes
Put the pan in the center of the preheated oven (350 F), and bake for 20 minutes. If you know your oven runs hot, check the cookies at 15 minutes. They should be nice and golden but there shouldn’t be any buttery spread bubbling around the edges anymore. Remove the cookies from the oven. Allow to cool.
Use the parchment paper to transfer the entire sheet of cookie bars onto a cutting board. You don’t have to do this – you can just cut them in the pan – but I find it easier to cut on a cutting board and without the edge of the pan getting in my way.
Eat and enjoy! Please let me know how these cookies turned out for you in the comments below.
If you made any substitutions for ingredients, please tell us about them in the comments. We learn from each other. If you’re wondering about a substitution, check the comments, because odds are that someone else tried that substitution and will share how it worked out for them. Thanks for reading! Happy baking!
More Sugar Free & Gluten Free Cookies:
- Black and White Cookies
- Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Sugar Free Alfajores Cookies
- Peanut Butter Cookies
Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Bars - Gluten Free Dairy Free Refined Sugar Free
- 1 stand mixer
- 2 sticks Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 2 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon liquid stevia
- ½ cup potato starch
- ¼ cup tapioca starch
- ¼ cup sorghum flour
- ¼ cup brown rice flour
- ¼ cup white rice flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups gluten free oats old-fashioned rolled
- 1 cup raisins optional
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped optional
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- In a stand mixer, cream together Earth Balance spread and maple syrup.
- Add vanilla, eggs, and stevia. Mix.
- Add starches, flours, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Mix on low until combined.
- Add oats. Mix.
- Add raisins and walnuts.
- Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper.
- Spread the cookie dough into an even layer in the prepared pan.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Let cool completely. Cut into bars.
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