When I was nine years old, my grandma moved from Ohio to California to live in the same town as my parents so we could see her more often. As she settled into her new house, I was giddy with joy. Before, she only visited once or twice a year, but she always brought baked goodies like zucchini or banana bread. With her only 10 minutes away, I thought she’d make those for us at least once a week!
My mom quickly explained that no, it was not Grandma’s job to feed us, but Grandma would still bring over homemade goodies every so often. The one I looked forward to the most was — without a single question or doubt — her apple pie.
She always made a double-crusted apple pie with the flakiest texture on both the top and bottom. The crusts were perfectly golden, without a dark or burned patch in sight, and concealed the soft fruit hiding inside.
Grandma generally chose tart Granny Smiths, the traditional option she grew up using. She thoroughly doused them in cinnamon and sugar, then baked the pie until the fruit slices were supremely tender and nearly falling apart.
She usually brought over one of her apple pies on the 4th of July and around my dad’s birthday in September, and sometimes when I asked nicely, she would bake one around my birthday too.
This past week, in an effort to get back on the healthy track after the holidays, I bought a big bag of apples, but as I stared at them, willing myself to snack on a crisp and juicy one, all I could think of were Grandma’s pies. Because I didn’t have the patience for crusts or waiting for hours while it baked and cooled…
I made these healthy apple pie oatmeal cookies instead! They’re really soft and chewy, and just like my grandma’s pies, they’re full of sweet fruit and cozy cinnamon. However, they’re much faster and easier to make!
Over the past few years, I’ve realized just how much you love cookies. They were your top three choices in last year’s Readers’ Favorite Recipes! So a new clean-eating recipe for “Healthy January” sounded perfect. Diets should not be about deprivation, after all!
KEY INGREDIENTS TO MAKE HEALTHY APPLE PIE OATMEAL COOKIES
Let’s go over what you’ll need to make these healthy apple oatmeal cookies!
Like my other clean eating oatmeal cookies, these ones are made with whole wheat flour and lots of instant oats. They’re also called “quick-cooking” or “one-minute” oats, and they’re sold in big canisters next to the old-fashioned oats. (They are not the ones in the little flavored packets for breakfast!)
Tip: If you’d like to make your healthy apple oatmeal cookies gluten-free, then see the Notes section of the recipe! I’ve included my top flour recommendations there. For the oats, certified gluten-free instant oats also work perfectly!
I love my oatmeal cookies to be chock-full of oats, so I actually use more oats than flour. Be sure to use the instant kind, rather than old-fashioned rolled oats! Instant oats are smaller and thinner, so they soften faster and provide a better chewy texture.
For the sweetener, you’ll use agave instead of refined granulated sugar, but honey and pure maple syrup also work equally well. Stay away from sugar-free maple syrup though! It’s often water-based, and that also makes oatmeal cookies bready and cakey. It prevents them from spreading properly while baking too.
Tip: I included even more sweetener options in the Notes section of the recipe, as well as on my Oatmeal Cookie FAQ Page!
Of course, we can’t forget the stars of this oatmeal cookie show… The apples and cinnamon! I love using red Fuji apples because they’re naturally sweet and very flavorful. They’re usually easy to find at the grocery store too!
Tip: I highly recommend using Saigon cinnamon. It’s my favorite kind, and it’s practically the only variety I now use in my baking! It’s sweeter, richer, and a bit stronger than regular cinnamon. I buy it online here, and it’s really affordable!
HOW TO MAKE HEALTHY APPLE PIE OATMEAL COOKIES
Now let’s quickly cover how to make the best apple oatmeal cookies! This recipe is simple to whip up, but I still have some tips to make sure your cookies turn out beautifully.
Measure correctly. This is incredibly important, especially for the flour and oats! Use this method (yes, for both ingredients!) or a kitchen scale (← that’s the one I own!). Too much of either ingredient will yield cookies that are much drier. This is especially true of the oats! They act like little sponges and soak up lots of moisture from the cookie dough, so too many oats will dry out your cookies and make them bready or cakey, rather than soft and chewy.
Prep the apples. Because these cookies don’t take very long to bake, it’s important to finely dice the apples. Yes, finely! I cut mine into ⅛” bits. If they’re too big or thick, the apples won’t soften while baking, so you’ll end up with slices that are still crisp and crunchy.
And because someone always asks… I leave the skin on. (Partially because I’m lazy!) You’re more than welcome to peel your apples, if you’d like though! It’s entirely up to you.
Chill the cookie dough. Because of the liquid sweetener, chilling is mandatory! If all of the ingredients were measured correctly, the cookie dough should almost look like thick muffin batter. Chilling helps stiffen the cookie dough, which then prevents the cookies from spreading into thin, flat discs on the baking sheet.
Do not overbake. This is one of my #1 tricks to the best soft and chewy oatmeal cookies! These apple cinnamon oatmeal cookies are ready to come out of the oven when the centers still feel a little bit soft and underdone. The heat from the warm baking sheet will cook those centers all the way through while you let the freshly baked cookies rest for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire cooling rack… And yield lovely, beautifully, perfectly soft and chewy oatmeal cookies!
If you waited until the centers felt firm to pull them from the oven, the heat from the baking sheet would end up overbaking the cookies — thus resulting in a cakey, bready, or dry texture. Yet if you remove them a teensy bit sooner, just a minute or two earlier, you’ll be rewarded with the best apple oatmeal cookies!
Ready to bake your own? And when you do, remember to snap a picture and share it on Instagram using #amyshealthybaking and tagging @amyshealthybaking IN the photo itself! (That guarantees I’ll see your picture! 🙂 ) I’d love to see your healthy apple pie oatmeal cookies!
Healthy Apple Pie Oatmeal Cookies
- 1 cup (100g) instant oats (gluten-free if necessary and measured like this)
- ¾ cup (90g) whole wheat flour or gluten-free* flour (measured like this)
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp (28g) coconut oil or unsalted butter, melted
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup (120mL) agave (see Notes!)
- 1 cup (125g) finely diced red apple (about 1 medium – and see Notes!)
- Whisk together the oats, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the coconut oil or butter, egg, and vanilla. Stir in the agave. Add in the flour mixture, stirring just until incorporated. Fold in the apple. Chill for 30 minutes.
- Drop the cookie dough into 15 rounded scoops onto the prepared sheet using a spoon and spatula, and flatten slightly. Bake at 325°F for 11-14 minutes. Cool on the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.
View Nutrition Information + Weight Watchers Points
You may also like Amy’s other recipes…
♡ Raspberry Oatmeal Cookies
♡ Banana Oatmeal Cookies
♡ Zucchini Oatmeal Cookies
♡ Peach Pie Oatmeal Cookies
♡ Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies