Apricot Oatmeal Cookies

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An easy recipe for healthy oatmeal cookies studded with tangy dried apricots. These stay unbelievably soft and chewy for a whole week—if they last that long!


This past weekend, I planned a much-needed mini vacation to visit my parents. Because of the ceaseless storm clouds and rain, we spent most of the time curled up in blankets on the couch and easy chairs, but around 2 pm on Sunday, my mom and I both started craving brunch food. And not just any brunch food… Our favorite brunch food, from a little restaurant named Hobee’s. With only a few locations in Northern California, they serve the best blueberry coffee cake you will ever taste in your entire life, and the tallest slices with the juiciest berries and thickest crumb topping come from the restaurant about 30 minutes from my parents’ house.  

Mom and I threw on puffy winter jackets, dashed out to her car, and checked the traffic. Halfway to Hobee’s, we heard a short news segment about a huge freeway accident on the radio. Slightly panicked, we quickly rerouted and started careening around random surface streets, desperately trying to get there before they closed at 3 pm.

At 2:49, we pulled into the closest parking space and practically sprinted through the doors to the hostess stand. She still seated us and handed us menus, which we completely disregarded. We always request the same dishes!

The brunch gods must have been smiling at us that day—our favorite waiter turned out to be the last one on duty and strolled over to take our order. A strong middle-aged Filipino man, he took pity on me and my post-wisdom-teeth-extraction chipmunk cheeks on our first visit to that location and handed me a plate with two tall slices of coffee cake instead of just the one I asked for. (And he didn’t charge us a single penny more!) Honestly, half the reason we drive so far is just to see him. If seated at a different waiter’s table, we always wave at him from across the room, and he usually slips by a little later to say hi.

When he greeted us on Sunday, he revealed, “I had just been thinking about you two 3 days ago! I was wondering where that mother-daughter duo was… You haven’t been here for a while!”

We apologized, explaining that I hadn’t visited home for a few weeks, and he smiled. After memorizing our order and disappearing into the kitchen, he quickly returned with our hot plates of healthy huevos rancheros (Mom’s) and steamed veggies, chunky potatoes and scrambled egg whites (mine).

After allowing us a few minutes to stuff our faces, he returned with a box for my leftover coffee cake, and we started to chat. Because we normally arrive a little earlier in the day when countless customers fill the restaurant, we rarely spend more than 30 seconds catching up before he flits to another table to refill water glasses. But as the last two patrons on Sunday, we conversed with him for 5-10 minutes while Mom drained her tea mug, learning a little bit about his life, his son, and his original home in the Philippines.

He accompanied us when we walked up to the register to pay, and he introduced us to the manager as “his favorite customers.” Practically speechless, we tried to gracefully say something as sweet about him, but how exactly do you explain that a person brightens your day just by being in the room without sounding overly sappy and romantic?

Regardless, Mom and I walked out with happy tummies and big smiles across our faces. That waiter always makes us feel like family with his kind, cheerful demeanor!

Just like our favorite waiter, these Apricot Oatmeal Cookies are sweet, comforting, and guaranteed to brighten your day! Full of the familiar taste of cozy cinnamon and warm honey, each bite hides bright tidbits of tangy dried apricot, surrounded by homey oats that tie all of the flavors together. Made with NO butter, refined flour or refined sugar, these oatmeal cookies still stay soft and chewy for an entire week—if they last that long in your house!

A few months ago, I created these blueberry oatmeal cookies, and they quickly became the most popular recipe on my blog. Many of you have written how you baked and fell in love with them, so I thought you’d enjoy a new little twist!

The easy base begins with whole wheat flour and instant oats. It is crucial to measure both of these dry ingredients correctly! When measuring each, lightly spoon it into the measuring cup and level with a knife. (For a refresher, check out my baking basics. The link opens in a new tab, so you won’t lose your spot here!)

Yes, you MUST measure the oats this way too. If you scoop the oats from their container using the measuring cup, you end up with 1.5 times as many oats as you need. Extra oats will soak up the moisture in the dough and leave your cookies dry and crumbly, instead of the incredibly soft and chewy texture we want. So pretty, pretty please—measure your oats correctly!!

To keep these healthy cookies extra moist and chewy, I added in melted coconut oil. Although the raw dough may smell faintly of coconut, I promise you CANNOT taste it after baking the cookies! If you don’t own coconut oil, substitute melted butter instead.

It’s very important to use a room temperature egg in this cookie dough. With a fairly low melting temperature, coconut oil will quickly re-solidify into lots of tiny blobs if mixed with a chilled egg. (The same thing happens with melted butter too.) To avoid that situation, use my two easy tricks: (a) melt the coconut oil (or butter) first, before measuring out the dry ingredients, and (b) place the egg in a bowl of warm water (about 60-70°F) immediately after. By the time you measure and whisk together the dry ingredients, both the coconut oil and egg will be around room temperature and ready to use!

Sweet and tangy dried apricots really liven up these low fat cookies! Try to dice them fairly small—about the size of miniature chocolate chips—to ensure that every bite contains a tidbit of fruit. Since many readers reported delicious results using fresh and frozen blueberries in the original cookies, I’m sure fresh or frozen apricots would work here too. Just remember to dice them before mixing into the dough!

Because the cookie dough is initially fairly tacky, you must refrigerate it. Chilling is mandatory. This allows the oats to soak up some of the moisture. However, the amount of time you chill the dough greatly affects the appearance of the cookies. See the photo of my blueberry oatmeal cookies above? I chilled the dough for the left cookies for 2 hours, whereas for the ones on the right, I only left the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Less chilling = more spread = wider & flatter cookies
More chilling = less spread = smaller & thicker cookies

They still taste the same; it just depends on your personal preference! (Note: For the apricot oatmeal cookies in all of these photographs, I only chilled the dough for 30 minutes.)

Because this recipe requires honey instead of white or brown sugar, the cookies bake at a lower temperature for slightly longer—325°F for 13-15 minutes. Do NOT overbake them! They will look and feel underdone when you pull them out of the oven, but you’ll leave them on the warm baking sheet for at least 15 minutes, which continues to cook the centers a little more without turning the outsides crisp and crunchy.

Yes, now you know… That’s my top-secret trick to creating incredibly soft and chewy cookies: slightly underbake them and leave them on the warm baking sheet longer. (These ones stayed soft for a one whole week!)

Bright fruit, warm cinnamon, and earthy oats fill every bite of these Apricot Oatmeal Cookies. Just like your favorite family recipe, these taste homey and familiar: extra soft, incredibly chewy, and perfectly sweet. As clean-eating cookies, these contain NO butter, refined flour or refined sugar, but they still taste like real cookies—not healthy at all!

I saved a few to share with my parents during my weekend visit. Despite trying to reduce their consumption of sweets and desserts, they polished off 3 between the two of them as soon as I showed them the bag! When I reported that I didn’t bring any more, they both looked rather sad and dejected.

Trust me—they’re that good.

So pour a glass of milk and treat yourself to your own!


Apricot Oatmeal Cookies

Yield: 15 cookies

Serving Size: 1 cookie

Apricot Oatmeal Cookies

These classic cookies contain a fun twist with their tangy dried apricots! Full of cozy cinnamon and oats, they taste every bit as decadent as your family’s favorite recipe—not healthy at all! Store any leftovers between sheets of wax paper in an airtight container for up to a week. They’ll stay incredibly soft and chewy that way, if they last that long!

1 cup (100g) instant oats (measured correctly)
¾ cup (90g) whole wheat flour (measured correctly)
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
2 tbsp (28g) coconut oil, melted (or unsalted butter)
1 large egg, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup (120mL) honey
¼ cup (40g) dried apricots, diced

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, egg, and vanilla. Stir in the honey until thoroughly incorporated. Add in the flour mixture, stirring just until incorporated. Fold in the apricots. Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes. (If chilling longer, cover with plastic wrap, ensuring it touches the entire surface of the cookie dough.)
  2. Preheat the oven to 325°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.
  3. Drop the cookie dough into 15 rounded scoops on the baking sheet. (If chilled longer than 1.5 hours, flatten each slightly.) Bake at 325°F for 13-15 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for at least 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.

Notes: To make your own instant oats, pulse 1 cup of old-fashioned oats in a food processor 5-8 times.

Melted unsalted butter or melted margarine may be substituted for the coconut oil. Regardless of which is used, be sure that the egg is at room temperature before whisking it in. A cold egg added straight from the fridge would rapidly cool the fat source, resulting in small blobs of semi-solid coconut oil or butter.

For all other questions regarding the recipe, including ingredient substitutions, please see my Oatmeal Cookie FAQ + Video page.

{clean eating, low fat, low calorie}


View Nutrition Information


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*Disclosure: Some of the links included in this post may be affiliate links and I will earn a small commission if you purchase through those links. I really appreciate your support!


  1. Shelley @ Two Healthy Kitchens says on March 4, 2014 at 5:53 am

    Those gorgeous little bits of apricot are like tiny sunshines twinkling at me on this cold, cloudy day – love ’em!!!! And you know me – I adore a good story about someone brightening another’s day – hurray for people like your awesome waiter! 😀 Off to pin these delicious cookies …

    • Amy says on March 4, 2014 at 2:14 pm

      Awww thank you so much Shelley, for both the pin and your sweet words! The world needs more kind people like you and our favorite waiter. :) And you’re 100% correct — these apricots really brighten up a cloudy day! We haven’t seen the sun in nearly a week out here in California, so I can’t even imagine what it’s like at your house. Spring can’t get here soon enough!

  2. Dessi says on March 4, 2014 at 9:00 am

    Can’t wait to try this new combination! I loved the blueberry ones. I think they worked out with vegetable oil, but I’m not entirely sure whether I used that or melted butter. Any thoughts?
    These are next on my list after the Lemon Loaf 😉

    • Amy says on March 4, 2014 at 2:23 pm

      Vegetable oil should work just fine Dessi! It’s mainly important to have the fat source be a liquid when you combine it with the egg. :) I’m really excited to hear what you think about this new twist on the oatmeal cookies — and the Lemon Loaf too!

  3. Joanna says on March 4, 2014 at 9:51 am

    Fruit and oatmeal…you can never go wrong there… :)

    • Amy says on March 4, 2014 at 2:23 pm

      So true — I couldn’t have said it any better myself Joanna! :)

  4. Ceara @ Ceara's Kitchen says on March 5, 2014 at 8:27 am

    These oatmeal cookies look delicious – I can’t wait to try them out ! I love how you managed to make them low fat and chewy at the same time 😀 Pinned!

    • Amy says on March 5, 2014 at 1:42 pm

      Thank you for both the sweet compliments and the pin Ceara! :) Low fat cookies are hard to make chewy, aren’t they? It took me months to finally figure out how! And I’m really excited to hear what you think of these!

  5. Kathi @ Deliciously Yum! says on March 5, 2014 at 11:05 am

    These cookies look beyond yummy! Love the combination of flavors you used – so good!!

    • Amy says on March 5, 2014 at 1:44 pm

      Thanks so much Kathi! You’re right; the flavor combination was absolutely irresistible. After offering a sample to various friends and family, there almost weren’t any left for me! 😉

  6. Michelle says on March 5, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    As a an apprentice and amateur of the kitchen, I appreciate your blog! The baking tips are incredibly helpful and I hope to become knowledgeable about cooking/baking in the future so I won’t have to remind myself of all the proper ways to measure each ingredient…

    I just baked these scrumptious Apricot Oatmeal cookies for my grandmother! It’s her birthday today and she loves apricots. I’m sure she will enjoy them!

    • Amy says on March 5, 2014 at 10:26 pm

      Michelle, you are so sweet; thank you for your kind compliments! I’m really happy to hear that you appreciate the tips, and I promise it’ll get easier over time. It sounds like you’re already off to a great start though — you must be a natural! :) You’re an incredibly thoughtful granddaughter to bake your grandmother homemade cookies for her birthday. I hope you two had a wonderful time celebrating and that all of her birthday wishes come true!

  7. Brittany says on March 5, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    AWW, what a great story about the trip to the restaurant! So glad you and your mom made it and that you had a good time being home! These cookies look amazing, and all I can think about is how well they would pair with…wait for it….you know what’s coming…a morning cup of coffee!

    • Amy says on March 5, 2014 at 10:28 pm

      You are SO right Brittany — these would be perfect with coffee, if I had any left! Oh well, guess that just means I need to bake another batch… Darn, such a sacrifice… 😉

  8. Mary @ Fit and Fed says on March 6, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    Hi Amy, I’m glad that you and your mom have a place to go that makes you feel so special and brightens your day. Sounds like it was worth all the effort to get there! You do such a good job in this post of educating your readers so they will have success with this recipe.

    • Amy says on March 6, 2014 at 1:20 pm

      Mary, you’re the sweetest — thank you so much! It means the world to me that you appreciate both the story and my recipe tips. If only you could try some of this coffee cake; I guarantee it’d brighten your day too!

  9. dina says on March 7, 2014 at 7:14 am

    you don’t see apricot a lot in cookies. these sound great!

    • Amy says on March 7, 2014 at 2:47 pm

      Thanks so much Dina! You’re right; most people think of apricots for jams and jellies, not cookies. But they were such a fun flavor to mix in!

  10. Michelle says on March 11, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    After baking these for my grandmother (who loved them along with the rest of my family!) I sent a few to my great uncle. He had asked me to make him some fat oatmeal cookies, not the lacy ones my aunt makes. Good news–he’s subscribed! Thanks for sharing this loved recipe!

    • Amy says on March 12, 2014 at 12:25 am

      Michelle, you and your family are just the sweetest people — thank you so much for your kind words! I’m incredibly touched that your great uncle subscribed to my blog; hearing that brought the biggest smile to my face and completely made my day. Tell him thank you for me! :)

  11. Kelsey says on July 31, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    Oh my goodness, I just made these and they are fantastic! I used white whole wheat flour, fresh apricots, and pumpkin pie spice in addition to the cinnamon. They’re a little more cakey than chewy, but so soft and delicious. I’ll definitely be making these again (probably often)! Thanks for sharing :)

    • Amy says on August 1, 2014 at 11:21 am

      I’m so happy you enjoyed the cookies Kelsey! I love the twists of using pumpkin pie spice and fresh apricots. I really need to try that myself!! :)

  12. Melanie says on April 13, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    I discovered your blog because my boyfriend asked me for oatmeal cookies for his snack at work. I always make cookies and I needed a couple of new ideas if he was going to eat them everyday (more kinds = less boring hehe). I also need healthy stuff, it’s my compromise for cooking so many cookies and cakes :3 I tried the carrot cookies and these. I love both, but apricots are my favorite. They are delicious 😀 I can’t wait to try other stuff on your blog. We should have more meals in a day so we could try more ahah!

    • Amy says on April 14, 2015 at 12:15 pm

      I’m touched that you’ve tried and enjoyed my recipes Melanie! The apricot ones were some of my favorites too. And I’m right there with you — I need about 10 meals a day to eat all of the food and flavors I’m craving! 😉

  13. Ilana says on May 9, 2015 at 8:51 am

    I just discovered your blog. I am trying to lose weight, but I have an awful sweet tooth. I can’t wait to start baking everything you post! I am home from college and I’m thinking of making my mom these cookies tomorrow for Mother’s Day. She’s really health conscious, but she adores apricots, so hopefully when I read her the ingredients she will be happy with the idea!

    Now, I do have one question. My mom is not a fan of Turkish apricots — she much prefers the Blenheim/California variety. They are less sweet, so I’m wondering if they will still work?

    • Amy says on May 9, 2015 at 9:41 am

      Thank you for your kind comments Ilana! You’re so sweet to bake your mom homemade cookies for Mother’s Day. Any apricots should work, including your mom’s preferred variety. I’d love to hear what you both think of the cookies!

      • Ilana says on May 10, 2015 at 11:32 am

        So an update: I made the cookies as a brunch dessert, and my mom loved them! She said they were delicious on their own, but with the healthy substitutes, they were doubly amazing! Thanks so much. I’m subscribing to your blog as we speak! :)

        • Amy says on May 10, 2015 at 1:10 pm

          I’m so happy your mom enjoyed the cookies Ilana! That’s quite a huge compliment — tell her thank you from me! :) And thank YOU for subscribing; that means a lot to me! :)

  14. Pat Sens says on June 1, 2015 at 10:22 pm

    I cook for my grandkids, the youngest being 18 months. I really enjoy your recipes because they are healthy and wonderful. Could you try using coconut sugar. It is awesome!

    • Amy says on June 2, 2015 at 10:01 pm

      That’s so sweet of you to cook for your grandkids Pat; they must think you’re the best grandparent in the world! I started using coconut sugar in lots more of my recipes starting in December 2014, but you can easily substitute it in nearly any recipe where I call for brown sugar.

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