Throughout my childhood, our Christmas mornings followed a very similar pattern. My brother and I waited in his room in the dark, watching the wooden Arthur-themed clock on his nightstand like two eagle-eyed hawks. The moment it reached 6 am, we burst through the door and ran to the brick fireplace in the family room, eager to see what Santa had nestled inside of our bright red hand-sewn stockings.
Because we weren’t allowed to touch anything until the adults woke up — only look with our eyes! — we rushed to our parents’ room next to wake them up. In hindsight, the way they cheerfully greeted us as soon as we pushed open the door probably should’ve been a clue that our noisy race down the hallway a few moments earlier had already achieved that…
Once the adults gathered around the tree, steaming mugs of coffee in Dad’s and Grandpa’s hands while Mom and Grandma clutched cups of hot tea, we plunged our hands into the stockings and began tearing wrapping paper from the gifts scattered around the festive Christmas tree skirt.
(Or, in my case, painstakingly peeling the tape off and carefully pulling back the paper. Even now, it’s still a running joke at how long I take and how meticulous I am compared to everyone else in our family!)
The adults waited to cook a proper breakfast and sit down at the dining table to enjoy it until after unwrapping every last gift, but our parents knew my brother and I couldn’t survive that long without turning a little hangry… So we often nibbled on bits of peanut butter toast or crunched through cups of dry breakfast cereal, whether Cheerios or Life or our favorite Fruity Pebbles, in between playing with our new presents and reaching for fresh ones still lingering under the tree.
Looking back, these healthy gingerbread oatmeal breakfast cookies would’ve been perfect for those holiday mornings! Full of festive flavor, they’re easy to prepare ahead of time and great for quick snacks or grab-and-go meals.
Besides… What little kid (or adult!) wouldn’t love eating cookies for breakfast on Christmas? Or any day of the year??
QUICK OVERVIEW – HEALTHY GINGERBREAD OATMEAL BREAKFAST COOKIES
Difficulty: Mainly easy, including for many beginner bakers.
Taste: Warm and cozy spices against a backdrop of rich molasses, comforting oats, and lightly sweetened dough.
Texture: Moist and chewy with plenty of soft oats in every bite.
KEY INGREDIENTS TO MAKE HEALTHY GINGERBREAD OATMEAL BREAKFAST COOKIES
Let’s go over what you’ll need to make these healthy gingerbread oatmeal breakfast cookies! I have a feeling that you already keep many of these on hand. Most are fairly common baking ingredients!
Oats. They’re the most important ingredient in any oatmeal cookie recipe! To make these breakfast cookies, you’ll need instant oats. They’re also called “quick cooking” and “one minute” oats — but they’re not the ones that come in individual packets with flavors like apple cinnamon or maple brown sugar!
Instead, instant oats only contain one ingredient (oats!), just like old-fashioned rolled oats, yet they differ in one very important way… Instant oats are smaller and thinner. This size difference means they soften faster, which gives your healthy gingerbread breakfast cookies the best soft and chewy texture!
Hint: Instant oats are often sold right next to the old-fashioned rolled oats at the grocery store. If you don’t see them, look for containers with their other names: quick cooking or one minute!
Tip: You can easily make these healthy gingerbread breakfast cookies gluten-free. Swap in certified gluten-free instant oats; they work perfectly!
Flour. To make these breakfast cookies healthier, I opted for whole wheat flour. It has more fiber and micronutrients, and it also adds to their beautifully cozy flavor.
Tip: If you’d like to make these healthy gingerbread oatmeal breakfast cookies gluten-free, then see the Notes section of the recipe. I’ve shared my top recommendations there!
As expected, the ginger adds that iconic bright and spicy gingerbread flavor (along with another key ingredient, which we’ll cover momentarily!). The other three create a much deeper, richer, and cozier profile — especially the nutmeg and cloves. I use them in just about every gingerbread-flavored recipe that I share because they add such an incredible flavor!
Side note… Whenever I open my jar of cloves, which tends to happen a bit more during the holiday season, I chide myself for not baking with it more often — or even making it the star flavor of recipes. I do that all the time with cinnamon, so why not cloves?? It tastes and smells just as cozy! Clove cookies, muffins, scones… Or maybe even clove rolls instead of cinnamon rolls. Have you ever considered doing that before? Or am I the only one??
Anyway, moving on…
Butter. Traditional cookie recipes often call for a stick or two, but you only need 1 ½ tablespoons to make these! That helps keep your healthy gingerbread breakfast cookies low calorie and low fat. They’re still beautifully soft and chewy though, and part of that is because…
You’ll melt the butter! I found that created an even better chewy texture. I also love how that eliminates the need to set out butter far enough in advance for it to soften naturally. Win-win!
Egg white. It helps bind together the other ingredients. The egg white also adds a little protein boost to these gingerbread breakfast cookies!
Molasses. Besides ginger, this is the other key ingredient in gingerbread cookies. While ginger adds the bright spicy taste, molasses provides that iconic deep, rich, almost earthy sweetness. I haven’t found anything that creates a similar flavor, so I don’t recommend substituting anything for it, if at all possible!
To make these cookies, you’ll need regular unsulphured molasses — not blackstrap. The former is much sweeter, whereas blackstrap molasses has a bitter taste to it. I grew up using Grandma’s molasses (it was an important ingredient in my dad’s homemade bread rolls!), and that’s still the kind I most often turn to today.
Tip: You can usually find molasses on the baking aisle near the other sweeteners! If it’s not there, then check the breakfast aisle near the oatmeal and pancake mixes. For some reason, certain stores stock maple syrup and molasses there instead.
Milk. Because these are gingerbread oatmeal breakfast cookies (not “dessert” ones — but I do have a regular “dessert” version here!), you’ll use half the amount of sweetener. To compensate for the “missing” other half, you’ll add milk to your cookie dough to achieve the same consistency. Just about any type will work, so feel free to use what’s already in your fridge!
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST GINGERBREAD OATMEAL BREAKFAST COOKIES
Found all of your ingredients? Good! Let’s talk about how to make the best gingerbread oatmeal breakfast cookies. This recipe is simple and straightforward (I promise!), but I also have some tips for you.
Measure correctly. I know… You’re probably sick of me repeating this. But even if you’re rolling your eyes or skip straight past this bit like the end credits of a Hollywood movie, I’m going to stress it again.
It’s extremely important to measure all of the ingredients correctly. Use this method or a kitchen scale (← that’s the one I own!) for the dry ingredients. This is particularly important for the flour and oats! Too much of either one will dry out the dough and make your cookies cakey, bready, or dry. This is especially true of the oats because they act like tiny sponges and soak up lots of moisture. (Too many oats is the #1 culprit of dry oatmeal cookies!)
For the molasses and milk, use liquid or regular measuring cups — not a kitchen scale! Scales measure weights, not volumes. Just about every liquid ingredient has a different density, so they have different weights per volume. Therefore, unless you’re willing to do the math to convert each one… Measuring cups are more accurate for these!
Chill the dough. This cookie dough is wet and loose when you first mix everything together — and that’s intentional! It helps create a moist and chewy texture in your gingerbread breakfast cookies. Chilling helps stiffen the cookie dough and makes it easier to work with, so pop your bowl in the fridge for a bit. A brief 30 minutes is all it needs!
Scoop + shape. The cookie dough will still be somewhat sticky after chilling (again, that yields a beautifully chewy texture!), so use a spoon and spatula to drop mounds of it onto your baking sheet. I use these mini spatulas. They’re so handy — and really cute too!
These breakfast cookies don’t spread while baking, so flatten the mounds of cookie dough and smooth out the edges before sliding the pan into the oven. They’ll look the same before and after baking — just no longer raw!
That’s right… I don’t use any cookie scoops or special equipment to make my cookies look this round. Only these mini spatulas and some patience.
Bake. These gingerbread oatmeal breakfast cookies bake really quickly. I was surprised; they finished baking a couple of minutes sooner than any of my other oatmeal cookie recipes! So keep an eye on them and don’t stray too far from the kitchen.
These cookies are done baking when the centers still feel a little soft and underdone. The residual heat from the warm baking sheet will cook those centers all the way through while you let the cookies rest before transferring them to a wire rack. This is my favorite trick for soft and chewy cookies! If you pull them from the oven when those centers are still a teeny bit moist, your cookies will stay soft and chewy for days… If not an entire week!
Reshape. This is entirely optional — but it’s another one of my tips for beautifully round cookies! The moment you remove the baking sheet from the oven, grab a butter knife, and gently smooth out any lopsided edges. Act fast! The cookie dough sets quickly, so you only have a couple of minutes to redo those edges and nudge them back into place. (This doesn’t change the way they taste, only the way they look!)
FAQS ABOUT GINGERBREAD OATMEAL BREAKFAST COOKIES
Are these healthy gingerbread oatmeal breakfast cookies gluten-free, low calorie, low fat, low sugar, or clean eating?
Yes — to everything! These gingerbread breakfast cookies are clean eating, low fat, low calorie, and low sugar (compared to many traditional recipes!). I’ve also included options to make them gluten-free, dairy-free, and nut-free in the Notes section of the recipe.
Can I use old-fashioned rolled oats?
Kind of! Measure the same amount of old-fashioned rolled oats; then pulse them in a food processor or blender until they’re ⅛ to ¼ of their original size. This makes them smaller and thinner (like instant oats!), so your cookies should have about the same soft and chewy texture.
What about a different flour?
Yup! White whole wheat flour, whole wheat pastry flour, and all-purpose flour are great substitutes. Oat flour (gluten-free, if needed!) also works, but be really careful when measuring it because it tends to be more absorbent than wheat-based flours.
Can I use a whole egg?
You sure can! Just reduce the milk by ½ tablespoon to compensate for the added liquid volume from the yolk.
Can I substitute something for the molasses?
I strongly recommend against it, if at all possible. The molasses is required to produce the classic gingerbread flavor. (See the “Sweetener” header in the “Key Ingredients to Make Healthy Gingerbread Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies” section above for more information!)
However… I know that molasses can be difficult to find outside of the US. In a pinch, you can substitute pure maple syrup, honey, or agave. They’ll produce the same soft and chewy texture — just keep in mind that the flavor of your cookies will be different!
What about a different milk?
Absolutely! Almost any kind will work, so you’re welcome to use whatever you already have in your fridge.
My cookies turned out cakey, bready, or dry. Why is that?
There are a few potential culprits! First, too many oats or too much flour — or not enough molasses or milk. Make sure you’re measuring each of these the right way! (See the “Measure correctly” header in the “How to Make the Best Gingerbread Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies” section above for more information.)
Second, don’t overbake your cookies! That will also yield a cakey, bready, or dry texture. (See the “Bake” header in the “How to Make the Best Gingerbread Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies” section above for more information about how to determine when your cookies are ready to come out of the oven!)
I’d like to make them sweeter. Is there a way to do that?
Yes! You can substitute pure maple syrup, honey, or agave for an equal amount of milk. (For example, add 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup, and reduce the milk by 2 tablespoons to compensate.) I also have a true “dessert” version of these gingerbread oatmeal cookies here, if that’s more up your alley!
How should I store these healthy gingerbread oatmeal breakfast cookies? And how long do they last?
Store them in an airtight container. They should last a couple of days at room temperature, but I tend to store them in the refrigerator to make them last longer (ie closer to a week, if not more!). These gingerbread breakfast cookies also freeze really well!
Now all that’s missing is a glass of milk to go with them… Or maybe even a mug of homemade hot chocolate instead!
And when you make your own, 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 gingerbread oatmeal breakfast cookies!
Healthy Gingerbread Oatmeal Breakfast 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 tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
- ⅛ tsp ground cloves
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 ½ tbsp (21g) unsalted butter or coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
- 1 large egg white (room temperature)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ cup (60mL) molasses (room temperature)
- 5 tbsp (75mL) nonfat milk (room temperature)
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the butter or coconut oil, egg white, and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Stir in the molasses. Stir in the milk. Add in the oat mixture, and stir until just incorporated. Chill the cookie dough for 30 minutes.
- Using a spoon and spatula, drop the cookie dough into 15 rounded scoops onto the prepared sheet. Flatten to ⅜”-thick using a spatula. Bake at 325°F for 7-10 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…
♡ Healthy Gingerbread Muffins
♡ Healthy Gingerbread Pancakes
♡ Healthy Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls
♡ Healthy Gingerbread Oatmeal Snack Cake
♡ The Ultimate Healthy Gingerbread Cookies
♡ Healthy Pumpkin Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies
♡ Healthy Apple Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies
♡ …and the rest of Amy’s healthy oatmeal cookie recipes and healthy gingerbread-flavored recipes!