how to make oatmeal cookies with instant oatmeal

The comforting aroma of oatmeal cookies baking in the oven is enough to transform a rotten day into one with a silver lining. For generations, we’ve enjoyed this delicious combination of oatmeal, brown sugar and butter, whipped into a batter and baked until the puffy circles are ready for a glass of milk. Bakers take liberties by adding ingredients their families enjoy, such as raisins or chocolate chips, but the basic Quaker Oatmeal cookie recipe still stands. Quick 1-Minute Oatmeal works as well as old-fashioned oats, using the same box-top recipe. However, the oatmeal in instant oatmeal packets is processed differently, giving a different result when baking cookies.

The Difference in Oats

Whole oats, quick oats, instant oat packets, steel cut oats – all undergo a different type of processing. Whole oats are first steamed, making them soft, then rolled into the flat disks you find in the packaging. Quick oats, those requiring one minute to become soft when cooked, undergo more processing. They’re pre-cooked, dried and then rolled even thinner than the disks in regular oats. They won’t need as much cooking time if you use them for breakfast or in cookies.

Steel cut oats aren’t rolled, but cut into tiny pieces. The outer casing of the oat, known as the groat, is intact, making the steel cut oat more chewy and less pliable, and they take longer to cook. Steel cut oats are not recommended for cookie making. The instant oatmeal packets are another story.

Instant Oatmeal Packets

That box of assorted instant oatmeal packets languishing in your pantry has been fully prowled over by your family, and the most popular types have disappeared, leaving you with a variety of flavors no one wants. Recycle them and make a potpourri of oatmeal-packet cookies!

However, there’s a difference in the contents of those packets and what’s in the cylinder of Quick 1-Minute oats. They’re processed until the life is out of them, making them super soft, so they absorb liquids quicker. This is what makes them a good choice for a fast breakfast. A quick zap in the microwave, and a bowl of mush awaits! Making cookies out of them may be a good way to get rid of the leftover packets lying around, but adjustments have to be made.

Because of added flavorings, packet cookies require less sugar and fewer eggs. The cookies may come out of the oven mushy because of the softness of the oats, but there’s a remedy for that. Watch the timing also. They’ll bake fast.

Instant Oatmeal Packet Recipe

Total Time: 20 minutes | Prep Time: 10 minutes | Serves: Makes 24 cookies


  • 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 egg
  • 6 packets instant oatmeal
  • 1 cup flour


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cover the baking tray with parchment paper.
  3. Mix all ingredients, except packets and flour.
  4. Stir in packets and flour. 
  5. For chewier cookies, add 1 tablespoon more of milk.
  6. With a tablespoon, scoop batter into golf-ball sized rounds and drop onto baking tray.
  7. Use your hand to gently pat down the tops of the balls.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes, until they’re lightly golden.
  9. Cool for 5 minutes; then remove to a cooling rack.

No-Bake Instant Oatmeal Cookies

Total Time: 10 minutes | Prep Time: 10 minutes | Servings: Makes 24 cookies


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 3 cups Quick 1-minute oats


  1. Bring sugar, butter, milk and cocoa to a boil. 
  2. After 3 minutes, remove from heat.
  3. Add oats and stir.
  4. Drop onto cookie sheet covered with parchment and let rest until cookies are firm. 
  5. Store in a tightly covered container.