Adaptable Oaty Biscuits

These will be some of the quickest, easiest, tastiest and most adaptable biscuits you’ve ever made and eaten. I’ve called them “adaptable” because there are so many combinations of the “extras” that you can use and a choice of syrups. I’ll suggest a few combinations, but then it’s up to you. Go for it.

Makes: About 25 small biscuits; maybe 18 larger.

Level: Very easy

Time: 30 minutes hands on & prep. then 15 minutes baking + cooling. (+ Another 20 minutes if you can’t get them all in the oven in one go.)

Equipment: Nothing special, just a bowl a saucepan, wooden spoon and baking trays.


  • 150g/5½oz porridge oats
  • 150g/5½oz plain flour
  • 200g/7oz various extras (see below for ideas)
  • pinch of salt
  • 100g/3½oz unsalted butter
  • 150g/5½oz light soft brown sugar
  • 60g/2oz maple syrup or golden syrup or honey or treacle or a mixture
  • 1½ Tbsp boiling water
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda


1. Heat oven to 170°C / fan 150°C / 325°F / Gas 3.  Line two large baking trays with non-stick baking parchment.

2. In a large bowl, mix the oats, flour and “extras” with a pinch of salt, then set aside.

3. Heat the butter, sugar and syrup in a medium saucepan. Once melted, remove from the heat. (NB Treacle will give a much darker biscuit than the other syrups)

4. Boil a kettle then mix the boiling water and bicarbonate of soda in a small bowl, pour this into the butter and sugar mix. It will froth up so quickly stir to combine. Mix this into the dry ingredients and stir until everything is fully coated and all combined.

5. Make balls of the mixture and put on the lined trays, leaving lots of space between them. Flatten each ball slightly. (walnut size = medium biscuits)

6. Bake for 13-15 minutes. (*Even though I have a fan oven I still change the trays around halfway through baking to ensure an even bake, but I have to move quickly to avoid losing too much oven heat.)

7. When baked, the biscuits will be a nice golden brown colour. Leave them on the trays for at least five minutes then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Ideas for the “extras” Most of these I’ve tried and they’ve all worked well. It’s best to chop the extras fairly small, otherwise the biscuits can crumble before they’re fully baked.

  • A mixture of raisins, sultanas and currants
  • Apricots and white chocolate chips
  • Walnuts and dark chocolate
  • Pistachios and glace cherries (I’ve not tried this one yet, but it sounds good)
  • Dates and pecan nuts (Likewise, one to try soon)

If you want to see more recipes for cookies and biscuits click here. And for lots of lovely tray bake recipes click here.

A Later addition

Since posting the above recipe I’ve made several adaptions, the most notable being my Chocolate Rum & Raisin Oaty Cookie version, which I posted separately. I also made a white chocolate and apricot version which was really good.

More recently I produced an Apple and Ginger version. Rather than create a whole new page I’ll put the ingredients below. It needed a little longer in the oven (15 – 18 minutes) due to the wetness of the apple. Also, with the addition of apple they won’t keep as long as cookies with dried fruit. (But in our house that’s not an issue.)

Ingredients for Apple and Ginger version

  • 150g/5½oz porridge oats
  • 150g/5½oz plain flour
  • 1 – 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 100g/3½oz apple pieces, diced small
  • 100g/3½oz crystalised ginger, various sizes (Stem ginger might be OK instead)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 100g/3½oz unsalted butter
  • 150g/5½oz light soft brown sugar
  • 60g/20z honey
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1½ Tbsp boiling water