Breakfast is ready when you are with this make-ahead pan of lightly sweet baked oatmeal. Toppings can be endlessly varied to suit your morning cravings.
I skip breakfast all too often, and most of the time my morning begins with a cup of coffee and whatever is closest to hand – a cookie or whatever sweet baked thing I’ve made the day before. This year I’m making an effort, or at least leaning into, a more nutritious way to start the day.
This baked oatmeal has been a real game-changer. I can make a pan on Monday and enjoy breakfast all week long, varying toppings along the way to change the flavor so it doesn’t get boring. And oats are so filling and packed with good vitamins, minerals, and fiber – I’m not starving by lunchtime.
Make it in a 13×9 pan.
This recipe makes a big 13×9-inch pan, which might be considered ‘family size’. If you’re just feeding yourself, then this recipe halves easily into an 8×8 pan. It’s incredibly easy to stir together and is very lightly sweetened with brown sugar. That is to say, you won’t have a sugar crash after eating a slice.
I call this the perfect baked oatmeal because it really is the perfect blank canvas for any topping you’d like to add. Some baked oatmeal recipes add berries in the mixture before baking, but I’ve found this reduces its longevity. Berries get mushy, and neighboring oats take on a weird texture. This version is just oats and a few walnuts for some healthy omegas in the mix.
Choose your toppings!
Toppings can be anything you have on hand. I love this with a drizzle of maple syrup and fresh berries, but you could simply have it with a pat of salted butter. A smear of peanut or almond butter is nice on top of a warm slice, and becomes melty and delectable. Jams and jellies are also welcome additions. Or, put a slice in a bowl and add a splash of milk on top. This recipe reminds me just a little bit of my favorite Homemade Apple Pecan Granola – full of oat-y goodness and the toppings can be endlessly varied.
It seems crazy to claim that a dish as humble as this is life-changing, so instead I’ll say it’s ‘week changing’. It’s been nice having something more healthful ready to hand, and it’s provided a way to add much needed energy and heart-healthy fiber to my mornings.
Perfect Baked Oatmeal
- 4 cups old fashioned oats
- 1 cup light brown sugar packed
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt fine grain
- 4 cups whole milk or dairy-free milk
- 4 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Lightly spray a 13×9 pan with cooking spray or propellant free olive oil spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, sugar, nuts, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Mix well.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, and vanilla. Add the milk mixture to the oat mixture; pour over the melted butter. Stir until all the ingredients are well incorporated.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the middle is well set. Cool slightly before cutting into squares.
- Baked oatmeal keeps well in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat slices in the microwave before serving.