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Gluten-Free Oats? YES! Chewy, Yummy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (Gluten-Free)

In the celiac world, there remains a long-standing controversy over whether to exclude oats and oat products from the list of "safe" gluten-free grains.  When I was diagnosed with CD, standard protocol recommended against including oats in a gluten-free diet, but more recent studies show that oats themselves are likely not the source of a celiac reaction.  Instead, researchers now believe that the fact that milled oats are often contaminated with other gluten-containing grains has skewed diagnostic testing of reactions to gluten from oat products.

The most recent scientific statements on the inclusion of a reasonable amount of oats (1 cup or less per day) in a gluten-free diet indicate that most individuals with celiac disease can actually tolerate uncontaminated oats.  However, health professionals (including the American Dietetic Association) recommend that newly diagnosed celiac patients avoid oats until the disease is well-controlled with full resolution of symptoms and normal blood tests demonstrate that tissue transglutaminase levels (IgA tTG) are under control.  Gastroenterologists also universally caution that introducing oats into your diet should only be done under the guidance of your physician.

Federal food labeling laws and rules have incorporated this recent research and have not per se excluded oats from future "gluten-free" labeling, so long as the manufacturer seeking to dub its oat containing product "gluten-free" demonstrates that there is less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten in that product, just as in any other.  Thus, it seems the greatest hurdle to reintroducing oats to your gluten-free diet will be the shortage of mills and processing plants which produce certified "gluten-free" oats (and the resulting high cost of those few products)!

I decided to try these outrageously expensive "gluten-free" oats myself to expand my baking horizons (of course, I discussed this with my physician first...).  I doubt I will be sitting down to a big bowl of oatmeal anytime soon, since I still love my grits and they are probably 1/5 the price of gluten-free oats!  However, as it would be challenging to make oatmeal-like cookies with grits, I dove into my $12 box of oats to see what happened.  (Granted, as time goes by, companies like Bob's Red Mill are thankfully making gluten-free oats more prolific -- and thus, less expensive -- they will always be more expensive than my grits!)

Just as an aside, I recently found a product available (finally) in the United States that would probably make a mean oatmeal cookie for those of you who are unable or unwilling to give the gf oats a try.  On one of my European adventures many years ago I thoroughly enjoyed German muesli made with rice flakes, but have since been unsuccessful finding them Stateside.  Imagine my surprise when, on a slightly less exciting adventure last week, I discovered them at David's Natural Market in Columbia, Maryland!

But back to the oats.  I used them quite successfully in the first oatmeal-raisin cookie I have had since 1999, and I'm pleased to share the recipe with any of you who would like to try!  The oats I used were Lara's and the rice flake substitute I found at my local organic market was made by Shiloh Farms.  The cookies are soft, moist, chewy, full of cinnamon-y flavor and are almost totally gone, so I only had 2 left for a picture!  I probably should have doubled the recipe, but my oats were so darn expensive!  Oh well, these are worth splurging for next time.

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I hope you enjoy!

Soft & Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

½ cup Earth Balance Buttery Sticks or butter
½ cup granulated cane sugar
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg + 1 egg white
½ teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract
1 cup All Purpose Nearly Normal Gluten-Free Flour Mix
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 ½ cups gluten-free oats*
½ cup baking raisins**

Cream the sugars and butter until fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time and thoroughly incorporate into the batter.  Stir in the vanilla last.

In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients (except oats), mixing well.  Stir into the creamed mixture until integrated.  Stir in the oats and raisins.  Cover the bowl and chill until cold, at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 F for static ovens or 325 F for convection.

Roll the dough into tablespoon-sized balls and place at least 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.  Bake for 8 - 10 minutes, or until lightly brown.  If you can wait, let them cool on a wire rack before removing.

*Note: Not all people with celiac disease can include oats in their diets. For more information on whether they are appropriate for your diet please see our Celiac Disease and Oats section.
**If you do not have baking raisins on hand, gently boil ½ cup of raisins in a saucepan with enough water to cover them.  Drain, then add to your recipe. welcomes your comments below (registration is NOT required).

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28 Responses:

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said this on
29 Feb 2008 6:24:09 PM PDT
You referred to a 'rice flake substitute' but it was not included in the recipe. Was this an error? What is the name of the German muesli you referred to?

kathy sample
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said this on
01 Mar 2008 6:01:47 AM PDT
Sounds very good. I will try it in the future.

Paul C. Aldrich
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said this on
01 Mar 2008 10:15:25 AM PDT
Thanks for the recipe. Can't wait to try it. I am a Cookie Freak and drooling!

Beth Armour
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said this on
01 Mar 2008 10:29:22 AM PDT
Hi Jules - well written, informative and factual article on oats and celiac disease. Thanks for including a recipe for gluten free Oatmeal Cookies! Hope you bought them from Gluten-Free Mall.

carole Morris
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said this on
01 Mar 2008 5:07:18 PM PDT

Sue Anderson

said this on
01 Mar 2008 5:28:29 PM PDT
What is all purpose gluten free nearly normal flour mix and where can I buy it - never heard of it before. Thanks

Jinny Wilt

said this on
02 Mar 2008 5:06:21 AM PDT
This Oatmeal Raisin cookie recipe looks scrumptious and I'd like to bake it.


said this on
15 Mar 2008 7:22:51 PM PDT
In response to the question about the rice flakes, I mentioned in the article that the brand I recently found was Shiloh Farms organic rice flakes. Barkat also makes organic porridge flakes (rice flakes, millet flakes and agar) as well as a gluten-free organic muesli. To my knowledge, all of these items are now distributed in the United States.

I will continue to add information about new recommended products at my Web site and in my newsletters. I hope you all make the most of the new gluten-free options available to us!


said this on
28 Mar 2008 3:22:08 PM PDT
I've been told it is very hard to find oats in the US that are not milled on equipment that is used for wheat--therefore, no matter how safe oats are, they are likely to be contaminated through the milling equipment. Do you have a source that is milled separately?

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said this on
23 Jan 2011 1:28:13 PM PDT
Bobs Red mill has GF oats....can only find it in my local family run health food store...hope that helps....good luck!

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said this on
10 Jan 2009 12:29:53 PM PDT
My family uses Lara's gluten free rolled oats for this recipe and I think they are milled separately (in response to #9). We have had no problem with them. This recipe is delicious! I'm so glad to have oatmeal cookies back in my life as they were always some of my favorites. I made this recipe for my family (5 gluten free eaters) and all of them were gone the same day!

Tommy Krenshaw
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said this on
17 Jan 2009 6:47:43 PM PDT
This recipe ROCKS! I don't understand why it only shows 3 stars, when all of the reviews, including mine, I can assure you, gave it 5. Man, have I been waiting for this recipe. This flour works truly is hasn't let me down yet in any recipe I've tried it in. Thanks Jules!

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said this on
24 Jan 2009 12:28:22 PM PDT
This recipe is GREAT--I'm so glad to have oatmeal cookies back into my new gluten free life, they were always my favorite!

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said this on
10 Jun 2009 12:16:01 PM PDT
I can't wait to try. Also, isn't all pure vanilla extract gluten-free (McCormick's)?

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said this on
17 Jun 2009 6:24:19 AM PDT
Vanilla extract should be gluten free and I've used McCormick's safely before...LOVE this flour.

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said this on
10 Sep 2009 8:53:01 PM PDT
These were kind of thin and flattened out a lot (not thick and chewy like I expected.) I didn't chill the dough, though, so maybe they would have been different if I had.

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said this on
21 Feb 2010 8:45:36 AM PDT
I tried these cookies yesterday...and they turned out awesome! Well, my first batch in the oven didn't, but I added more flour because I am at high altitude (I figure 1/2 cup more for the total recipe) the first batch was flat and sticky...but the rest were Oh so yummy ! I also used my own version of flour mixture using rice flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, and I did not have the other, and it worked great...and yes, chilling the dough is a MUST! My dad thanks you for this recipe! I thank you now I have moved considerably up the ladder in the favorite daughter department!

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said this on
28 Jul 2010 10:46:01 PM PDT
These are good cookies, if you double the amount of flour and bake them for 15 minutes. I am not at an altitude that this should be a problem, but the first batch was so flat/thin and fragile that you couldn't remove them from the pan without breaking (called that batch granola) I did chill the dough, but it was just a mess. The flavor is good and worth adjusting the flour.

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said this on
29 Jul 2010 3:06:27 PM PDT
These cookies are amazing!!! I made them for my family yesterday and they are almost all gone. Jules flour is the best.....I can bake anything with her flour!!!! Thank you Jules.

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said this on
04 Sep 2010 11:49:50 AM PDT
Just finished making a batch and they look great, I added a half teaspoon of nutmeg, (because I love it so much) but everything else I followed according to the recipe. Can't wait to share these with my friends.

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said this on
11 Sep 2010 5:26:11 AM PDT
After chilling dough overnight in the refrigerator, cookies came out as thin as the parchment paper.

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said this on
15 Sep 2010 7:12:25 PM PDT
375, not 350, that's why your cookies are spreading too much. (higher temp means they cook before they get a chance to spread too much.)

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said this on
10 Jan 2011 10:15:37 PM PDT
My wife just made the cookies and I had one , let's just say if you like cookies you will love love these.

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said this on
08 Jul 2011 6:09:53 PM PDT
The taste of the cookies was good however I had the same problem as some others, the cookies flatten and difficult to remove from cookie sheet. These were used as loose granola. I though placed the second batch in lined muffin pans and they came out like granola muffins, shaped by the liners.

Heidi Patton
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said this on
14 Aug 2011 2:09:02 PM PDT
These cookies are gonna be great! For my dad he is all gluten free and loves oatmeal raisin cookies!! Thanks Jules!

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said this on
08 Nov 2011 7:54:25 PM PDT
I have made these cookies about 5 times now and know that they are always a surefire winner!! My husband cannot stop scoffing them down and would happily eat an entire batch in one sitting!! I had no problems with the dough but I did flatten the cookies the second time I made them as they didn't spread out when formed into balls. They were amazing and will be a staple recipe in my house for years to come!

Glenda Hower
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said this on
03 Apr 2012 12:27:02 PM PDT
I loved these cookies! I, too, live at a high altitude; I added 1/2 cup of flour to the original receipe and baked the cookies at 375 for 10 minutes. They turned out great. I refrigerated the dough as suggested for more than 2 hours. oh yes, and I added nutmeg too!

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said this on
25 Apr 2012 11:30:53 AM PDT
This recipe is so good! My husband just recently learned he has a sensitivity to gluten products and became so down that he wouldn't be able to have any "fun" food. I made these and he LOVED them....he said he can't even taste a difference between gluten cookies and these gluten free. We even tested out church group and never said anything about them being gluten free and everyone just raved about how good they were. they were all surprised to learn they were gluten free....several got the recipe to make them themselves.

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