homemade oreos

homemade oreos

When we arrived to America, I was quick in growing to love American traditions and foods and general popular culture. I ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with great zeal and often dreamt (and still do) of pizza. Hamburgers and French fries, chicken nuggets and fish sticks, potato chips and chocolate chip cookies, sweet potato and broccoli, Fourth of July clambakes and Thanksgiving turkeys – I embraced it all as if it were the most natural thing in the world. I forced these unknown traditions on my parents, arguing with them, a bold and foolish teenager that I was, that these were the new ways of the world, and that we had to let go of our old world traditions because they were archaic that no one, besides my parents and their Russian friends, understood. I was eager to assimilate and become truly, completely, wholly American. If it was American – I loved it blindly and unequivocally.

food processor batterlittle cookie blobs

Except for the Oreos. No matter how hard I tried, I never grew to love them. America’s most popular packaged cookies never quite captured my attention. While the chocolate wafers scored high on my list, the stuffing in the middle did little to entice my palate. Whenever I was given an Oreo, I would separate the chocolate wafers from the stuffing (I would actually scrape the stuffing off and put it in the garbage – the nerve!) and eat just the cookie part. I can hear Oreo fans worldwide shuddering at the thought. And for that, I sincerely apologize. I never meant any harm, I swear.

piping the filling

No matter how hard I tried to love the Oreo, its white stuffing eluded me. It felt grainy and waxy on my tongue, too sweet for me to enjoy, made from something I wasn’t sure of. I once tried to read an ingredient list for it, and I quickly had to put that exercise to rest. I also did that once with Twinkies and didn’t get very far. Some things are better left unexamined. Like the ingredient list of a Twinkie. You’re just opening a Pandora’s box on that one because if the ingredients frighten you as much as they do me, you’ll be dismayed while reading the strange multi-syllabic words. Sometimes, it’s just better not to know.

homemade oreoshomemade oreos

With sadness, I accepted the fact that I was never to become an Oreos fan, when I spotted these homemade Oreos on Smitten Kitchen. The white stuffing made mostly with butter, sugar and a tiny bit of shortening sounded good, so I printed the recipe, filed it, but distracted by work, forgot about it.

homemade oreos & milk

A recent request for homemade Oreos (that sounded more like a challenge at the time), pushed the cookies up to the top of the pile, and boy, am I glad I made them now and not months later. I mean, I’m glad on the one hand and a little worried on the other. Armed with a cookie recipe so easy to make, what is to stop me from making these over and over and over? Mere minutes after I finished creating cookie sandwiches, my batch was six (6!) cookie fewer and I had to refill my glass with more milk. I’d like to think these cookies are good for calcium intake; please don’t tell me otherwise.

homemade oreos

Homemade Oreos
Adapted from Retro Desserts via Smitten Kitchen

Makes 25 to 30 sandwich cookies

Chocolate Wafers Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa (I used a very dark Callebaut)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 to 1 1/2 cups sugar [I used 1 cup of sugar because I didn’t want a very sweet cookie and a very sweet filling]
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1 large egg

Filling Ingredients:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Set two racks in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 375°F.

2. In a food processor, or bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar. While pulsing, or on low speed, add the butter, and then the egg. Continue processing or mixing until dough comes together in a mass.

3. Take rounded teaspoons of batter and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet approximately two inches apart. With moistened hands, slightly flatten the dough. Bake for 9 minutes, rotating once for even baking. Set baking sheets on a rack to cool.

4. To make the cream, place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2-3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.

5. To assemble the cookies, in a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch round tip, pipe teaspoon-size dollops of cream into the center of one cookie. Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. Lightly press, to work the filling evenly to the outsides of the cookie. Continue this process until all the cookies have been sandwiched with cream.


  • Elendae

    Don’t worry, I do the same thing with Oreo filling. My friends think I’m crazy, but I just can’t stand it. I’ve had these bookmarked for a while. They may have to move up on my to-bake list.

  • Maya

    I don’t think i can find shortening in Europe, where I currently am, can I use more butter?

  • Adrienne

    I have no problems with oreos-from-a-bag, though they’re not my favorite cookies, and I can see what you mean about the weird filling. I made these last summer, and haven’t bought a bag of oreos since.

  • Nicole

    You’re right, sometimes it is definitely better not to read ingredient lists on processed foods! Scary stuff (but it still doesn’t stop me from indulging in plastic wrapped goodies every once in a while)! I saw these on Smitten Kitchen too and they’ve been on my list ever since. Now, after seeing your cookies, they’re moving right up to the TOP of my list :-)

  • Ulla

    I love your blog. I had similar experiences with my parents. I was the oldest of four girls and sometimes I felt I was the ambassador to American culture. I never liked Oreo cookies either, glad to know I am not the only one! My mother did not even like pizza, who does not like pizza?
    Those look fantastic!

  • radish

    Maya, I’m not sure – I think that the shortening acts as a stabilizer/texture substance of sorts. I’ll have to think on it.

  • Tea

    Whoa, these look dangerous. I keep on thinking about customizing the filling. How about a little mint in there? Or coffee?
    When I was a kid I loved the filling more than the cookies. Used to open two, then put the two sides with filling together (homemade double-stuff). We should have been friends, we could have swapped the stuff we didn’t like!

  • Leigh

    These have been on my to-try list forever! I’m glad to hear you think they’re easy to make. I like the piping bag idea instead of a spoon or offset spatula. Smart.

  • Angry Brit

    I was never a big fan of oreos either. Score! These look so good, though. I bet they’d be awesome with some mint extract or oil. Oooh! Oooh! White chocolate in the filling? Is that sacrilege?

  • Amanda

    I’ve found Crisco in some shops here in the UK, surprisingly. Also, you can buy blocks of vegetable fat in the butter section – that has to be the same thing, right?

  • Pie

    Maya- I know in other recipes that shortning is usually interchangeable with lard. (which should be readily available in Europe, though i can’t imagine it in Oreo filling) :-P

  • Amanda

    I never really warmed up to oreos either as a kid. It wasn’t until I discovered how great Oreo’s were in ice cream that I became a fan. But, then again, anything with ice cream is a winner in my book.

  • Maris

    Your post almost made me cry. For years I have lived with the secret shame that I HATE the “stuff” in Oreo cookies. I shudder with revulsion at the thought of “double stuff”. In fear for my life, I have hidden my very un-American views on the white bird cage sludge from everyone but my most trusted inner circle (my younger brother used to obligingly EAT all the “stuff” I scraped out of my allotment of the Oreo cookies…*gag*). Now I feel I can finally admit to the world, I HATE STUFF — and I’m not alone. There are others of “my kind” out there. There IS hope, after all!
    I’m going to go bake some cookies…

  • Joanna

    Honestly– I don’t like oreos period. [Mostly because of the filling]
    That was until they recently came out with “cakesters”. The filling is excellent, the cookie is cake-like and I’ve often thought of making my own batch and now it looks like I can!

  • Margaret

    Try softened cream cheese to replace shortening… should provide similar stability and a nice hint of tang. I have a Christmas cookie recipe that is very similar, put mint in the frosting and you have the Christmas oreos…
    I’ve also made with orange extract in the frosting… Any flavor you like with chocolate works here…
    I think I need to go make another batch.

  • radish

    Hi everyone, thank you for such sweet comments – and an extra shout-out to those who secretly hated the “stuff”… we can unite!
    To everyone suggesting alternatives to shortening – THANK YOU — great suggestions!!

  • Jen Jafarzadeh

    I do love the old school oreo, but these look like gourmet, yummy homemade alternatives. Your oreos look a bit like whoopie pies to me, but I’m guessing your cookie part is crispy, not soft. Either way, delicious!

  • Sampada

    These look fantastic….i’m definitely going to give them a try….uphere in U.S. i always have a hardtime trying to find ingredients….one of my friend introduced me to a great resource http://www.myethnicworld.com and i thought i pass great along as well.

  • Adam

    These cookies look so delightfully sloppy and fun. Love the photography and eager to try your recipe. I love oreos, stuff and all, but I love cooking with my wife even more. So, as soon as she’s willing to work with me on these caloric delights, we’re off to oreo heaven… and beyond!

  • Lisa (dinner party)

    These look so incredible. Love the softened cream cheese idea to replace the shortening. I know if I buy a tub of it for this, it will just sit around. Or force me to make more cookies…

  • Dani

    I agree with you wholly on the white filling of Oreos being a little too sweet (so you bet your buns I avoided double-stuffed Oreos like they had the plague). Which is why I always preferred the mint Oreos. Less sweet, a minty taste, plus chocolate. With a glass of milk, it’s pure heaven. :D
    It might be just me, but the newer softer Oero cookies seem to be even sweeter. But anyway, don’t feel too bad. I know many people who don’t like Oreos, even as Americans.

  • Bilitis

    Awesome recipe, I’m going to try it soon!
    Just a tiny remark: Callebaut is Belgian chocolate, not Dutch chocolate ;)

  • maris

    These look way too good to be called Oreos! YUM, thank you for posting these, I’m absolutely going to try them!

  • radish

    Bilitis, Dutch cocoa doesn’t refer to the origin of the cocoa – it merely describes the product. Dutch-Processed or Alkalized Unsweetened Cocoa Powder is treated with an alkali to neutralize its acids. It’s suggested for use in baking. I went with natural unsweetened cocoa and just let you know what brand I used. I wanted a deeper chocolate flavor so I substituted Dutch-processed for a regular one. Hope this helps.

  • moonapple

    hahaha.. I am with you! Back in my home country, we also have Oreo in our supermarket shelves. However, whenever I get to eat them, I always threw the white stuff away and I sincerely doubt the prospect of me eating the double stuffing. However, since I move to the US, I slowly accept the stuffing even thought I know that it is too sweet and (still) the texture is very distinguishable. I am probably more used to fat since I move here. I still can’t eat the double stuffing, though. =)

  • thepinkpeppercorn

    I love that these are made by hand, and that I can understand the ingredients…. unlike the Oreo box! Boxed cookies just don’t do it for me, these look perfect!

  • yulinka

    A package of Oreos from the vending machine was the very first purchase my parents made in the U.S. (after immigrating from Russia). We thought they were the most delicious cookies ever.
    These days, of course, we won’t touch them because they’re too sweet and full of corn syrup!

  • Mark Scarbrough

    Have you seen that “black cocoa,” so dark, from The Netherlands. I’m thinking it would turn these even darker. Lovely look to the cookies. I’m also wondering about a little sweetened mascarpone as the filling. Hmmm. Maybe too fancy for these down-home treats.

  • Adrian

    Wow. I thought I was the only one that did that to my oreos. My boyfriend thinks I’m crazy. I’m definitely going to try this as this is his favorite cookie.

  • Yuliya

    Oh, this is too cute! I will have to try it for sure, as I also have a distaste for the filling in oreo cookies.
    On the other hand, unlike you, I would kill for Russian food! My grandparents always had the best recipes, which have since been handed down to me, however, I can’t seem to make the time to cook any of it, and I know it’ll never be as good as when they made it. ha!

  • Calla

    Isn’t shortening just another word for “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil,” which contains trans fats, which are horrible for our health? I like the cream cheese idea, but would also like to know if there are other alternatives that would keep the filling tasting more “oreo-like” without the trans fats.

  • Kattdancing

    A winter treat in my house was two chocolate wafers with whipped cream between. This cookie receipe should work very well for this favorite of mine. Thanks.

  • radish

    Calla, you can find trans-fat free shortening at Whole Foods, which is where I got mine. You don’t have to have trans-fats in your cookies. The amount, however is quite small either way and it’s spread over dozens of cookies.

  • Irene

    I remember going through that stage – for a while, I didn’t even want to speak Russian. I think it’s a necessary period of adjustment, and from what I’ve seen, everyone comes out of it to rediscover the old ways and traditions and incorporate them into their new understanding. That’s what makes this country so rich in culture, because we have all brought our traditions to a common base understanding.
    Now for the oreos – love them, love them and love them. Especially, I love the chocolate covered oreos. My dad used to get them for me all the time when I was sick, so I always associate oreos with staying home in bed, reading books and munching on cookies with milk.

  • Gill

    I just made these cookies for one of my friends… unfortunately i don’t think shes going to get this batch, they are too tasty!

  • Krispie

    Hi all, just a quick interjection from a born and bred New Englander. These cookies are called Whoopie Pies on the East Coast of the USA. Soft, not-too-sweet chocolate rounds with sweetened shortening in the middle. A staple a bake sales and as take away treats. Delightful!

  • radish

    Hi Krispie, thank for your comment. The filling, actually, is almost all butter and sugar. Whoopie pies also feature a chewier cookie, i believe.

  • UK Foodie

    Thanks for this wonderful recipe, I tried it and it worked perfectly, the cookies were delicious, only one problem, they were all gone in 30 seconds!

  • Jose A. Cruz

    Thanks for the recipe! Sure do look good too from the photo. The Vegetable shortening may seem frightening to some but is essential for the velvety texture such as in American butter cream.

  • Trish

    I am definitely going to try these…tomorrow. I always hated the filling too. I also ate it due to peer pressure. I avoided double stuff like a plague. It just doesn’t feel or taste like a food.
    I stay away from hydrogenated oils and trans fats at all costs, even in small amounts. They are not natural and are unhealthy. Although on occasion, my family wants things like Oreo’s or other junk foods and I will give in if I don’t have anything baked for them. I will use organic shortening, it is palm oil and is not hydrogenated. You can find it at whole foods and maybe even some Wal-Marts. It’s not cheap but it’s not something you use often either. I also want to try the cream cheese idea. I love cheesecake so cheesecake Oreo’s would be even better. I think they would have to be eaten right away or the cheese might go bad. If they were refrigerated the cookies would go soft. Although I don’t think eating them right away has been a problem with any of you so I won’t fret.
    Another thought: If you are using shortening, even this version with the shortening is a ton healthier than the packaged brand of Oreo’s you will end up buying if you don’t make these!

  • Frugal Living

    Oh my god, these look amazing!I’ll definitely have to give this a go.
    I’m supposed to be losing a few pounds but I may have to delay that plan.
    I like the way you introduced the post, much better than just writing down a recipe.

  • Sarah

    I just tried these but my cookies ended up being way too thin and crispy, and I followed the directions! Did you use a measuring teaspoon or a regular metal one? I know mine didn’t turn out correctly and I really want to know why. Any suggestions or did this happen to anyone else?

  • joanna

    I’m going to make these right now…without the filling! I can’t stand it & I’ve always sneaked it into the garbage when no one was looking (or they think you’re weird!). I figure why make it now even if it tastes better than the other stuff when it’s the cookie part I really want.

  • kimmie

    I am SO excited to try this recipe out! I love to make everything from scratch (no mixes for me) and everyone that I know that makes these uses chocolate cake mixes. I can’t wait to make a yummy treat for my family.

    Thanks for sharing and what a very fun website you have. Have a great day!

  • Marc

    They do look very similar to the “whoopie pie”. I thought everyone knew what a whoopie pie was until recently. I guess that it’s a northeast U.S. thing. If you haven’t tried them you should!
    Is the chocolate cookie part crispy like an oreo?
    One of my favorite parts of eating an oreo is it’s crispiness. It wicks in milk wonderfully.

    There is no better bite than a partially crisp, partially soggified, ice cold milk soaked oreo!

  • Radish

    Marc – yes, the cookie part is crispy, which is what makes it more like an Oreo than a Whoopie pie. It’s a really, really tasty cookie! I should make them again – they were SUCH a hit with friends last year!

  • Erica

    I had a friend drop a few of these off for me, as I ventured into a gluten free diet….they just replaced regular flour with a gluten free version…. they were wonderful!!! I can’t wait to make them!!! Thank you for this recipe! I’ve missed a cookie or two! =)

  • Kim

    Yes shortening is hard to find in Europe. In Germany and France a good alternative is Biskin. This is vegetable based shortening, and you will find it with the butter section in the refrigerated section not on the shelf next to oils.

  • William

    I’ve been trying so so hard to stay away from foods with sugar, and yet one little “stumble” and I’m ready to buy the ingredients to make this. As enticing as it seems, I have to be strong. Unless, I can find the perfect sugar substitute. Then, it’s on!

  • AJ

    I have purchased ‘vegetable shortening’ in the past from a store such as Whole Foods that contains NO trans fats. The ingredient: Palm Oil.

  • Diane

    I never much liked the white stuff in the middle, either; and was amazed some years ago when they came out with Oreos DoubleStuff–ed (blech).

    What I am looking for is a cookie that might make a great homemade ice cream sandwich. I see some definite possibilities here!…:)


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