Do you remember that recipe on the back of the Nestle Tollhouse butterscotch chips bag for butterscotch oatmeal cookies? They’re lovingly called Oatmeal Scotchies, and have been a favorite in households for generations. And now, we can enjoy them too! I recently tried some amazing dairy-free butterscotch chips, and whipped up my version of dairy-free oatmeal scotchies. I even made some improvements on their recipe (IMHO!).
These Dairy-Free Oatmeal Scotchies are like Nestle’s, but Better!
A common problem with the classic recipe for oatmeal scotchies is excessive spreading. Many people end up with very flat cookies and overly crisp edges. This issue is exacerbated if you substitute dairy-free butter alternative for the butter. To mitigate the spread, I use half organic shortening and half butter alternative. The shortening helps maintain the shape and soft, chewy texture. For more notes and tips, see the FAQs below.
What’s the Texture of these Dairy-Free Oatmeal Scotchies?
Just like the classic Nestle recipe, these are chewy in the middle with a lightly crisp edge. They are supposed to be a little flat, but still nicely rounded around the edge. You can cook them less time for a doughier, chewier middle, or for more time to get a crisper cookie.
Where Can I Get Dairy-Free Butterscotch Chips?
The ones I used are from Chocolate Emporium, a dairy-free, gluten-free, and kosher parve chocolatier. They sell online exclusively, but the dairy-free butterscotch chips are a good price. For bakeries and retailers, they also offer bulk discounts, including cases and pallets.
Can I Use All Butter Alternative instead of Shortening?
As mentioned above, using all dairy-free butter alternative will cause the cookies to spread more, and they will burn more easily. Using half butter alternative gives these dairy-free oatmeal scotchies a buttery flavor without compromising the texture.
Can I Use All Shortening instead of Butter Alternative?
You can! You might not need to refrigerate the dough if using all shortening, as the dairy-free oatmeal scotchies will hold their shape and spread less with all shortening. However, they won’t have as much buttery taste. You can use a butter flavor shortening, if desired.
Will Rolled Oats Work?
The classic Nestle recipe lets you use quick or old-fashioned rolled oats. This dairy-free butterscotch oatmeal cookies recipe has the same versatility. So you can use quick or rolled oats. I prefer the texture of quick oats in cookies. Rolled oats create a more profound chew, while quick oats meld a little more with the cookie.
The Edge Is Crisping too Quickly. How Can I Fix It?
Basically, the edge is cooking before the center can heat up. This can happen with oven variations and convections ovens. You can reduce the oven temperature to 350°F or even 325°F if needed. You might need to tack on an extra minute or two of baking time. If you refrigerated the dough, you can also scoop it onto the baking sheets and flatten it for more even cooking, or let it warm to room temperature before baking the cookies. Or just roll with the crispier edge. We think it’s delicious!
Can These Cookies be Frozen?
Yes, you can freeze the cookies or the dough! I personally like to bake the cookies and then freeze them. They’re great straight out of the freezer! If you want to freeze the dough, scoop the dough by the heaping tablespoon onto parchment paper (they can be close, but not touching). Freeze the dough scoops. Once solid, put them in an airtight freezer bag in the freezer. It helps to let them come to room temperature before baking or to flatten them per the tip about about crisp edges.
Special Diet Notes: Oatmeal Scotchies
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, and vegetarian. Just be sure to use the shortening, butter alternative, and dairy-free butterscotch chips that suit your dietary needs.
For gluten-free dairy-free oatmeal scotchies, try substituting your favorite grain-based gluten-free flour blend. I have not tested these butterscotch oatmeal cookies without gluten, but a good friend swears by King Arthur Measure for Measure Gluten-Free Flour as an even swap in cookies. Do not substitute a single flour or a grain-free flour, like coconut flour or a nut flour. They will not perform the same.
For egg-free and vegan options, see my Egg Substitute Guide. Keep in mind that I have not tested this dairy-free oatmeal scotchies recipe without eggs. If I was testing it with an egg substitute, I might increase the flour slightly. Thicker doughs work better with egg-free cookies. If you confuse eggs with dairy, you’re not alone! See this post: Are Eggs Dairy?
- 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt (see Salt Note below)
- ½ cup (1 stick) dairy-free butter alternative
- ½ cup shortening (I use Spectrum)
- ¾ cup brown sugar, packed
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3¼ cups oats (I prefer quick oats or a combo of quick and rolled oats)
- 1⅓ cups dairy-free butterscotch chips (I use Chocolate Emporium)
- Preheat your oven to 375°F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
- In a mixing bowl, cream the butter alternative, shortening, and sugars. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until creamy.
- Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and and beat until combined.
- Fold in the oats and butterscotch chips.
- If the dough is too sticky to handle, cover and refrigerate it for 30 minutes.
- Scoop the dough by the heaping tablespoon onto your prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. The dough will be a bit sticky.
- Bake the cookies for 8 to 12 minutes. They become golden around the edges first, so at 8 minutes, they will be a little golden but doughy in the middle, at 10 minutes they will be chewier in the middle, and at 12 minutes, they will be completely golden and more crispy. The time might vary a touch by oven, so keep an eye on them!
- Slide the cookies off the baking sheet using the parchment paper or let them cool a few minutes on the baking sheet before removing them.
Nestle Variation: Another flavor option is to use the zest of an orange in place of the vanilla extract. You could also use both the zest and the vanilla.