Sweet Surprises: Chocolate Icebox Cookies for Unexpected Guests

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Sneak Preview: Keep these Chocolate Icebox Cookies (aka refrigerator cookies) with oatmeal in the freezer at all times. Optional chocolate chips and pecans add flavor to this easy slice-and-bake recipe.

Refrigerator Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies stacked on a plate with milk in the background Pin

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That moment when you’re kids, grandkids, or Eddie Haskell-like neighbor kids start going through your pantry looking for something to eat: Will they find a) a nearly-empty bag of crumbled corn chips, b)some stale saltines, or c) leftover marshmallows from last Christmas?

My solution is to make these rich and fudgy slice-and-bake Chocolate Icebox Cookies. These slice-and-bake cookies, stowed safely in your freezer, are ready to spring into action when unexpected guests ring your doorbell, transforming an unexpected visit into a memorable culinary experience.

Five Reasons Why You Will Delight in This Recipe

  1. Although the raw slices appear to contain coconut, it’s actually oatmeal, which gives a wonderful chewy texture to the baked cookies.
  2. Oatmeal always makes me feel less guilty about eating cookies.
  3. Store the unbaked roll of cookie dough in the freezer for up to three months.
  4. The subtle almond flavor makes them especially tasty.
  5. If you like raw cookie dough (I’ll never tell), the cookie dough tastes kinda like fudge before it’s baked.

You’ll be deemed the “baker of the year” when the fresh-baked cookie aroma permeates your house.

Recipe Inspiration

Thanks to my friend Beth P. for putting me on to these cookies many years and memories ago.

This recipe is slightly adapted from a similar recipe in Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book(paid link) for Chocolate Oatmeal Refrigerator cookies.

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • UNSWEETENED CHOCOLATE: To substitute for this important ingredient, combine six tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder with two tablespoons of oil or melted butter. Stir together. I’ve tried it. Works great.
  • BUTTER: I can’t recommend substituting margarine for butter, but it will probably work. The original recipe called for shortening, so that’s another option.
  • BROWN SUGAR: Pack your measuring cup to measure brown sugar accurately.
  • EGG: I always use a large egg.
  • VANILLA AND ALMOND EXTRACT: You don’t need much, but the almond extract is the secret ingredient in this recipe.
  • FLOUR: Bleached or unbleached all-purpose flour is fine.
  • SALT: Use a table or sea salt. If you substitute Kosher salt, add a pinch more.
  • OATMEAL: Quick oats or old-fashioned oats are both acceptable. Instant oatmeal with added sugar and flavorings is not suitable.
  • PECANS: These are optional but not for me. I always toast pecans in any recipe so they won’t be toasted in the baking process. Try toasting nuts in the microwave. It only takes a couple of minutes.
  • MINI CHOCOLATE CHIPS: You don’t have to use the mini chips, but when frozen inside the dough, they are easier to slice than regular chips.

How To Make Chocolate Icebox Cookies

mixing the brown sugar and butter until fluffyPin
Use a large bowl and electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment to beat the room-temperature butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
adding egg, vanilla extract, and almond extractPin
Add the egg, vanilla extract, and almond extract.
mixing sugar and butter with egg and extractsPin
Mix until combined.
adding flour, salt, and baking sodaPin
Add flour, salt, and soda, along with chocolate, to the butter-sugar mixture.
mixing in oatmeal, pecans and chocolate chipsPin
Mix well. Stir in oatmeal, pecans, and chips.
making a log of doughPin
Divide dough into two logs. Wrap in wax paper or plastic wrap.
log of cookie dough wrapped to put in the refrigerator or freezerPin
Chill for at least 4-5 hours or overnight. You can also freeze the log.
slicing raw icebox cookie dough to make cookiesPin
When the dough is firm and hard, slice it into 1/4-inch slices and place each on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet. Bake at 350˚F (180˚C) for 10-12 minutes or until the cookie is puffy but still soft in the middle.

Do not overcook, or cookies will be hard when they cool. Remove cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Does the oatmeal make them OK to eat for breakfast?

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are these cookies called icebox cookies?

Refrigerators used to be called iceboxes before electricity was invented. My grandmother called her electric refrigerator an “icebox” for her entire life. Since these cookies have been around for a while, I suspect the original recipe was created by somebody with personal experience with an icebox.

What’s the difference between icebox cookies and slice-and-bake cookies?

They are the same. However, slice-and-bake cookies usually refer to the rolls of dough you can buy in a supermarket.

How long can I keep the dough in the freezer?

If you keep them double-wrapped, the dough logs will last up to 3 months. Don’t slice them until you are ready to bake.

How can I slice frozen chocolate oatmeal cookies without destroying them?

Don’t substitute regular-sized chocolate chips for miniature chips. They are REALLY hard to slice.

Use a sharp knife.
Try a serrated knife. However, a cheap, serrated knife will make it worse. A Victorinox serrated knife is my favorite. It doesn’t tear cookies or bread if you saw it patiently with a steady hand.
The frozen dough will slice cleaner than the refrigerated dough. However, frozen dough that is too hard can be nearly impossible to slice. Let it sit out of the freezer until soft enough to slice.

Any suggestions for leftover cookies?

Yes, use this recipe for leftover chocolate chip cookies to make truffles, but use these chocolate cookies instead.

Parting Thoughts: If you love chocolate and oatmeal together, I highly recommend my Irresistible Chocolate Granola. My Low-Calorie Granola is good if you’ve already eaten too much chocolate. If you would rather eat cookies than breakfast, I suggest these Easy Raisin Bran Crunch Cookies.

Help at Your Fingertips: For questions or suggestions, email Paula at saladinajar.com. If you need help, I’m happy to troubleshoot via email (faster than leaving a comment). Attach pictures and as many details as possible for the best advice.

Yield: 48 cookies

Double Chocolate Icebox Cookies with Oatmeal and Chocolate Chips

A chocolate slice-and-bake cookie dough with oatmeal and mini chocolate chips–a long-time family favorite.

Rate this recipe

(5 stars if you loved it)

5 from 14 votes


Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes


  • 2 squares (56 g) unsweetened chocolate
  • ½ cup (113 g) butter
  • 1 cup (220 g) brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large (50 g) egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup (120 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (81 g) quick or old-fashioned oats
  • ½ cup (54 g) chopped pecans
  • 1 cup (180 g) mini chocolate chips


  • Melt 2 squares (56 g) unsweetened chocolate in a microwave for 2 minutes on MEDIUM and set aside to cool.
  • Mix 1/2 cup (113 g) butter and 1 cup (220 g) brown sugar, packed until light and fluffy. Add 1 large (50 g) egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1/2 teaspoon (½ teaspoon) almond extract, and continue to beat. Blend in cooled chocolate. Add 1 cup (120 g) unbleached all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon (½ teaspoon) baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon (½ teaspoon) salt. Stir in 1 cup (81 g) quick or old-fashioned oats, 1/2 cup (54 g) chopped pecans, and 1 cup (180 g) mini chocolate chips.
  • Mold into a long cylinder and wrap in waxed paper. Refrigerate at least 4-5 hours or overnight.
  • Cut cookies with a sharp knife into 1/4-inch thick slices. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 °F (180˚C)for 10-12 minutes. It is difficult to tell when they’re done because you won’t see any browning. The entire cookie should be puffed up but soft in the middle.


DO NOT OVERBAKE or these cookies will be hard when cool. Mine are always done in 10 minutes (when coming out of the fridge), but your oven may be different. Allow an extra minute or two if the cookie dough is frozen.


Serving: 2cookies | Calories: 82kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 58mg | Potassium: 29mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 73IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 1mg

All images and text ©️ Paula Rhodes for Salad in a Jar.com

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This recipe is adapted from a similar recipe in Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Paula, wow! These look like a keeper. I love an easy freezer dough cookie. Have you made these with coconut before? I wonder how they would be with coconut subbed for oatmeal. What a gem that book is!

  2. 5 stars
    I love refrigerator cookies and raw dough! These look like I need to have a roll in my freezer! We camp in a 5th wheel alot in the Summer and it’s always fun to pull out a log of cookie dough to bake. These look like a contender for my favorite! 🙂

  3. Stumbled on this post looking for “oatmeal icebox cookies,” but had to leave a comment: I too once got my mom to agree to letting me make a cake for the purpose of eating the batter. When she said yes, I was so surprised I checked that she had understood the request. Later, when I was partway through one cake pan’s worth of batter, I felt sick. However, my mom denied having given any such permission.

  4. Lucero De La Tierra says:

    This recipe looks divine. I wonder if I can make these gluten free and still have the batter hold together similarly. One of my munchkins is gluten intolerant and I’ve had to make concessions with anything bread or flour related. I’ll have to give it a try and let you know 🙂

    1. Hi Lucero,
      I rarely dabble in gluten-free recipes so I have no idea. But if you try it and it works I would love to hear about it.

  5. Meal Plan Mom (Brenda) says:

    These are definitely going on our “must try this summer” list which is steadily growing longer! I am looking forward to the extra time the kids and I will have to play in the kitchen. Thanks for sharing!

  6. 5 stars
    Paula, wow! These look like a keeper. I love an easy freezer dough cookie. Have you made these with coconut before? I wonder how they would be with coconut subbed for oatmeal. What a gem that book is!

  7. Tracey @ Kitchen Playground says:

    I, too, am known to make a batch of cookies purely so I can eat the raw dough. While I love the baked cookies, the raw dough is even soooo much better! I knew I liked you!!!

  8. Paula, I enjoy your blog so much! Thank you for all the time and effort you put into it. The photographs are delectable and your cheerful prose is a sunbeam. These chocolate yummers appeared on my blog reader just as I was wondering what to bake for my eldest son’s preschool closing ceremony tomorrow. I’ll send the kids home with chocolatey smiles and a secret serving of oatmeal (heh, heh, heh)!!

  9. 5 stars
    I love refrigerator cookies and raw dough! These look like I need to have a roll in my freezer! We camp in a 5th wheel alot in the Summer and it’s always fun to pull out a log of cookie dough to bake. These look like a contender for my favorite! 🙂

  10. That roll of raw cookie dough looks so delicious, it’s practically begging me to reproduce it in my own kitchen. I can just picture nibbling these with a tall glass of cold milk… 🙂

  11. The Café Sucré Farine says:

    Wow, do you have any left? I’ve got my cold milk ready and I’m waiting…….and drooling……:) – they look awesome!!!

  12. Cookie dough is one of the best foods ever! All that talk about coconut makes me want to add some to this recipe!

    1. Jill, I thought of adding coconut and maybe even adding peanut butter so they would be similar to chocolate no-bake cookies like my mom used to make. But that all seemed like too much when they are perfect the way they are. pr

  13. I love cookies with oatmeal in them but have never made anything like this. They look delicious.

  14. Ha. A friend from Bible study years ago used to say, “If it has an egg in it, it’s breakfast.” : )

    1. Kirstin, I used to use the egg argument to justify eating pudding for breakfast. Love it.

  15. I will be whipping up a batch of these this weekend! They look divine!

  16. Betty @ scrambled hen fruit says:

    I love dough that you can keep on hand in the freezer- it’s so handy for those emergencies when you need cookies (or dough) in a hurry. These cookies look delicious! 🙂

  17. looks like a yummy cookie, then again I haven’t met to many cookies I haven’t liked 🙂 And I do think you could count this for breakfast since it had oatmeal in it.

  18. Such a timely post. I just mentioned to John I was in the mood for a cookie. We are plumb out of desserts here (can you believe it?) Nothing in the freezer ~ Nada!

    I love that there is oatmeal for a chewy texture. The little flecks look neat too. I can see why this recipe has been around for many years and many memories 🙂