Easy Old Fashioned Hermit Cookies

Hermit cookies are a wonderfully old fashioned cookie and this easy 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

What is a Hermit Cookie?

Hermit cookies. They were my Grandma’s most favourite cookies – a New England classic that travelled up the the coast to infiltrate its Canadian neighbours.

The speculation surrounding the name “Hermit Cookies” is that you can tuck them away and they last a really long time. They also freeze beautifully, as uncooked dough balls that you can bake from frozen, or already baked.

While the Canadian version features dates, its American counterpart is just raisins and nuts.

Add the dates, Americans! They’re so luscious and chewy and sticky-sweet; a perfect addition to these lightly spiced gems.

The cookies are sweetened with just brown sugar – imparting an irresistible caramel-ly flavour and chewy texture that will have you reaching for a third, then maybe a fourth… which is not as terrible as you might think, because they’re actually lighter than most cookies.

“Lighter” with air bunnies around it, that is – they’re still cookies, they won’t do sit-ups for you – but they do have 1/2 the amount of butter that many other types do…

They’re jam packed with raisins, dates and walnuts, and scented with warm spices – but these are no spice cookie; the flavours are subtle.

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. If you like to bake, I really recommend you keep parchment paper on hand. Otherwise, just grease ’em well!

The recipe is adapted from my grandma’s Purity cookbook – it’s a treasure, filled with old fashioned Canadian classics.

Easy Old Fashioned Hermit Cookies

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
Servings 48


  • 1/2 cup butter room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 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. 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.
  • Store 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.


Makes 4 dozen cookies.

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hermit cookies stacked up

4.1 16 votes
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1 year 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

Lesli Dodge
Lesli Dodge
7 months ago
Reply to  john

4 stars
Yes! These were too cake like and far too sweet. I like your molasses idea, and I’ll use 1/2 the sugar. Spices are nice though. I will do this again, just a little adapted. Isn’t that what baking is all about?

9 months ago

Changed nothing. They were perfect!

9 months 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!

Barbara Barr
Barbara Barr
8 months 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?

7 months 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!

7 months 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.

Donna Thachuk
Donna Thachuk
2 months ago

Hi Jennifer. Thank you for this wonderful recipe! Hermits were my Mom’s favourite cookie and I found your recipe about a year ago and started making them for her. She said they were so good that I could sell them for $2.50 a piece 🙂 My Mom died earlier this year from covid and I am making these cookies for the celebration of life event we are having in honour of her. Thanks for playing a part in my memories of my Mom. x

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