Easy Old Fashioned Hermit Cookies

Hermit cookies are a wonderfully old fashioned cookie and this easy homemade Hermit Cookie Recipe is spiced just right and packed with dried fruit and nuts. Truly the best ever.
old fashioned hermit cookies in a pile with a few crumbs

Hermit cookies are a soft, spiced cookie filled with raisins, currents or dates, and nuts.

Their subtle cinnamon and nutmeg flavors and chewy textures will have you reaching for a third, then maybe a fourth.

There is some diversity in recipes with which dried fruits are included.

Many have just raisins and nuts. Others I’ve seen have currants.

In my grandma’s kitchen, hermit cookies included raisins, dates and walnuts.

I love including dates, which have a deep, butterscotch flavour and add moisture to the cookie.

Creaming butter and sugar.

Are Hermit Cookies Healthy? 

Hermit cookies are in fact on the healthy side. With half the quantity of butter in a typical cookie recipe, they are lighter than most.

Plus, they’re jam packed with raisins, dates and walnuts, which are all good for you. 

As a dietitian, I would definitely put them on par with a granola bar in terms of healthiness as a snack option.

Creamed ingredients for hermit cookie dough.

Why Are They Called Hermit Cookies?

The speculation surrounding the name “Hermit Cookies” is that you can tuck them away and they last a really long time.

Perhaps this is why they gained popularity, because they kept well on long trips.

Adding raisins to cookie dough.

What do Hermit Cookies Taste Like?

Hermit cookies are warmly spiced, soft, filled with chewy textures and are utterly delicious.

But just because they are spiced, don’t compare them to a true spice cookie (which have heavier flavours of molasses, cloves and ginger).

The flavours here are subtle.

Hermits are sweetened with only brown sugar, which imparts an irresistible caramel taste.

Nuts and Dried Fruit being added to hermit cookie dough.

What is the History of Hermit Cookies?

Hermit cookies are a very old New England classic recipe, that travelled up the coast to become a beloved recipe on Canada’s East coast as well.

My classic hermit cookie recipe is inspired by my grandmother’s old cookbook from the early 1900s but the recipe itself surely predates that.

Hermit cookie dough in stand mixer.

How to Store Hermits

Keep Hermit Cookies in an airtight container for up to 10 days.

Because they are made with brown sugar, they actually attract moisture for a couple of days after baking.

Keep them stored separately from any cookies that are meant to be crisp, as this tender cookie will soften other cookies around them.

Can you Freeze Hermit Cookies?

Hermit cookies freeze beautifully. You can freeze baked cookies flat on a baking sheet first (to prevent the moist cookies sticking together) then transfer to freezer bags to store up to 3 months.

Thaw at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.

You can alternatively freeze the unbaked dough.

This is the pro way I like to scoop and chill or freeze my cookie dough.

Easy Old Fashioned Hermit Cookies

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Servings 48
Keyword Easy Old Fashioned Hermit Cookies, Hermit Cookies


  • ½ cup butter room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • tsp allspice
  • tsp nutmeg
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans


  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • In a standing mixer on medium speed, cream together butter and brown sugar. Add eggs and beat until mixture is pale and thick – about 2 minutes. Beat in vanilla.
  • Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. Incorporate raisins, dates and nuts (depending on your mixer, you may have to do this part by hand with a wooden spoon).
  • Drop cookies by tablespoonfuls onto a well-greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, about 2 inches apart (you will have to do batches). Bake 10-12 minutes, until edges are set but centres still appear moist. Cool on baking sheet 2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.



PREP THE PANS: Because they haven’t got a lot of butter, it’s really important to prep your baking sheets or they will stick – parchment paper is ideal: easiest removal, practically no cleanup, no need for extra fat. Otherwise, just grease ’em well
HOW TO STORE: Keep Hermit Cookies in an airtight container (up to 10 days) or freeze on a flat surface then transfer to freezer bags to store up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.
PRO TIP: Toast the nuts for a bit in the preheating oven for even more amazing flavour.


Calories: 87kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 1gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 68mgPotassium: 66mgFiber: 1gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 71IUVitamin C: 0.2mgCalcium: 13mgIron: 0.4mg
Keyword Easy Old Fashioned Hermit Cookies, Hermit Cookies

Last Updated on November 18, 2023 by Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD

3.9 34 votes
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2 years ago

4 stars
These are truly a very tasty cookie but I only got 30 cookies instead of 4 dozen. Guess I was over generous in the tbsp. size. I would also like to have
the nutritional value included. Will definitely make again.

2 years ago

5 stars
Since I discovered this recipe a year ago, I’ve made these cookies every month or so. They are perfect as is, I just make sure that I use the brown eggs, and organic dark brown sugar. I’ve tried it with normal brown sugar and white eggs and they just don’t taste as good.
Thank you so much!

Barbara Barr
Barbara Barr
2 years ago

I baked mine for 11 minutes in my perfectly calibrated oven. They turned out quite pale. Not like your pic. I didn’t have the allspice. Any idea?

2 years ago

5 stars
Oh my goodness, where has this cookie been all of my life?! Delicious. Don’t change a thing, perfect subtle flavor that embraces and compliments the dates, walnuts and raisins. Thank you so much….can’t promise these will make it to the Christmas cookie plates. Yum!

3 years ago

Changed nothing. They were perfect!

3 years ago

Added 1/4 cup flour,1/4 cup molasses, 1/2 cups chopped dried apricots, doubled cinnamin,added1/4 teaspoon ground cloves,added 2 tablespoons cider vinager…delicious cookie

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