Oatmeal Shortbread Cookies

by Dorothy Reinhold on November 10, 2022

Print This Post Print This Post Single cookie with colorful sprinkles on top on a white marble counterop

Oatmeal Shortbread Cookies are irresistibly tender, slightly chewy, vanilla-scented treats dressed up with sprinkles. Everyone loves them!

When both my daughter and son moved out to go to college and training programs, I wanted to keep them connected to home and my kitchen by sending baked goods. But somehow, that was easier said than done, and I found it difficult to get cookies in the mail to them.Sharon Graves So I turned to one of the best Los Angeles bakers I know, Sharon Graves, who has a mail-order company called “Mom in the Mail.” Her website says, “She’s never met a stick of butter she didn’t like.” Amen. She sends a box of cookies to your college student or gift recipient (client, sibling, neighbor, relative!) that will make them never want to buy an Oreo or Chips Ahoy ever again. Her cookies, my children have told me, are some of the best they’ve ever eaten!

Rather than get my nose out of joint, I said YES! and signed up for another year’s subscription for them. I leaned into success.

Closeup of a cookie with colored sprinkles on top resting on a cooling rackThis recipe for Oatmeal Shortbread Cookies is a slight adaptation of one of her recipes. I made it into a small-batch version so I didn’t have to stare at (and eat!) dozens of cookies. It makes just enough for the 2 of us. But you can easily double it if you want more or are baking for the holidays.

How to make Oatmeal Shortbread Cookies

A variety of ingredients for Oatmeal Shortbread Cookies laid out on a white marble countertopFirst, as always, gather your ingredients. For this cookie, you will need:

  • Butter (I use unsalted, but you can use salted)
  • Granulated sugar
  • Instant oats (these are also sometimes called quick-cooking oats or short-cooking oats)
  • Vanilla extract (My favorite is Heilala vanilla extract, from New Zealand. Use what you have on hand!)
  • All purpose flour (My go-to flour is unbleached King Arthur all purpose. Use what you like.)
  • Baking soda
  • Salt (I use extra fine sea salt from New Zealand by PRI. Use what you have on hand.)
  • Sprinkles! Make sure you are using sprinkles that can be baked in the oven, such as nonpareils, or other sprinkles that won’t melt. 

Mix the dough, use your hands to roll it into balls, and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Cookies on parchment paper with a handle adding sprinkles and a container of sprinkles in the backgroundrs to flatten cookies and add sprinkles on topUse two or three fingers (like in a girl scout salute) to press the cookies down slightly (you can see the finger indentations on the cookies on the tray.)

A hand adds sprinkles to the top of a cookie with a clear plastic container of sprinkles in the background of the cookiesSprinkle liberally with sprinkles! Nobody wants a sparse sprinkle cookie. 

16 Oatmeal Shortbread Cookies with colorful sprinkles on top cooling on a cooling rack on a white marble countertopAfter baking, cool the cookies on a cooling rack. Then store them in an airtight container at room temperature, or freeze for longer storage.

Oatmeal Shortbread Cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 16 cookies

Oatmeal Shortbread Cookies

Oatmeal Shortbread Cookies are irresistibly tender, slightly chewy, vanilla-scented treats dressed up with sprinkles. Everyone loves them!


  • 1/2 cup (= 1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup instant oats
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • Sprinkles for the top


  1. Heat oven to 350F degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat and set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, add butter, sugar, vanilla and salt and mix well until completely combined. I used a stand mixer to do this, but you can do it with a wooden spoon if you like.
  3. In another bowl, stir together oats, flour and baking soda until combined. Add dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture and mix well.
  4. Using your hands, form the dough into 16 1-inch balls, and place onto prepared baking sheet. Using two or three fingers like a girl scout salute, flatten them to about 1/3 of an inch tall. Dip your fingers into cold water if the cookies are too sticky. Add sprinkles to the top of each cookie.
  5. Bake for 11-12 minutes, or until light golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on a cooling rack.
  6. Store in an airtight container at room temperature, or freeze them for longer storage.
  7. Makes 16 cookies.
  8. These adapt well for special diets. For example, swap in gluten-free flour for the all purpose flour, or use coconut oil or vegan butter for the dairy butter.


Recipe source: Slightly adapted from a recipe by Sharon Graves, who has a mail-order company called "Mom in the Mail."


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6 colorful Oatmeal Shortbread Cookies on a cooling rack with words superimposed on top

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