A few months ago, I tried this recipe for “turtle” cookies, and they completely blew my mind. Since that day, I’ve made a dozen variations on that recipe, adjusting ingredients and playing with flavor combinations. This is my oatmeal raisin riff on that recipe.

In just a few short months, these cookies have become one of my all-time favorite dessert recipes … which is pretty remarkable, considering how picky I am about cookies. I guarantee that if I handed you one, you’d never in a million years guess that they’re both gluten-free and relatively healthy. They definitely don’t taste like it. Nuts make these cookies hearty and rich; oats give them some heft and a tender bite; and maple syrup makes all the flavors sing together. Finally, adding a pinch of cloves — one of my signature moves — gives them a warm spice that you can’t quite put your finger on. Basically, they’re made of magic.

As I’ve found, this is a super versatile recipe, so I encourage you to do as I’ve done and customize it to suit your needs, hopes, and dreams. See the recipe notes for some of my suggestions!

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Vegan Gluten-Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: ~3 dozen 2" cookies
  • silicone baking mats or parchment paper
  • 1½ c walnut pieces, toasted and fully cooled
  • 2 c rolled oats, divided
  • ¾ c brown rice flour
  • ½ c turbinado sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp fine grain sea salt
  • pinch ground cloves
  • ½ c pure maple syrup, room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil or coconut butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp water or plant milk, room temperature
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ c raisins
  1. Line cookie sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor, pulse walnuts with 1 cup of rolled oats until a crumbly mixture forms. Don't overprocess them; you don't want the walnuts to break down into walnut butter!
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together oat mixture, remaining oats, flour, sugar, soda, and spices.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together wet ingredients. Do your best, and don't worry too much if the mixture is a little too cold and the coconut oil hardens a bit.
  5. Add wet mixture to dry and beat well until combined.
  6. Fold in raisins.
  7. Scoop dough a tablespoon at a time. Shape into balls and flatten slightly.
  8. Arrange balls on prepared cookie sheets, leaving at least a couple of inches between each ball.
  9. Bake at 350F for ~8 minutes, or until tops are just golden.
  10. Transfer silicone mats or parchment paper to cooling racks and cool completely before removing. Be gentle when you remove them, as they're on the fragile side.
  11. Enjoy with reckless abandon!
I often make these with half coconut palm and half turbinado sugar. Sucanat or brown sugar work just fine, as well. All-purpose flour (or a combination of all-purpose and whole wheat, or spelt) can be substituted for the rice flour if you don't have it on hand and gluten doesn't bother you. I'm sure you could get away with reducing the overall sugar content; these are pretty sweet! They also freeze well.