Baked Apple Oatmeal combines the warm, fall spiced comfort of a baked apple and the crunch of apple crisp with the hearty, fiber rich goodness of baked oatmeal, the extra protein from eggs and milk, along with a nice serving of fruit. It’s a perfect breakfast choice that’s also easy to take with you on the go.

Slice of Baked Apple Oatmeal on a plate with apples and pears and cinnamon by themerchantbaker.com

Hey baked oatmeal lovers, I’ve developed a new, next level baked oatmeal that’s perfect for fall!

I’ve been working on an apple version of baked oatmeal for a couple of years now and, as usual, while all the different variations I’ve worked on were completely fine, none rose to that “must make again” level….until now.

Seriously, this baked oatmeal stacks up to something special. Let’s start with the basics…

Overhead photo showing a slice of Baked Apple Oatmeal on a plate with apples and pears and cinnamon by themerchantbaker.com

What is baked oatmeal?

Baked oatmeal is simply another way of cooking oatmeal. Typically, oatmeal is made stove top or in the microwave, cooked in a liquid that creates a creamy bowl of hot cereal. 

There’s also instant oatmeal, made with a more processed oat and prepared by adding boiling water or by heating with water in the microwave. 

For baked oatmeal, in addition to the liquid that helps hydrate and cook the oats like as is done in typical oatmeal, we add eggs, some additional fat and baking powder.

Of course, those are just the basics. Depending on the type of baked oatmeal made, all kinds of different variations can be made with different ingredients.

In fact, do you know what one of the top recipes on my site is? You might be surprised, but it’s these Baked Banana Oatmeal Cups

Side photo of a slice of Baked Apple Oatmeal being lifted out of baking pan by themerchantbaker.com

Is baked oatmeal like a muffin or cake?

I know it kind of looks like cake, but it’s not. If you’re expecting cake, you’ll be disappointed. You need to expect oatmeal.

Now, the texture will depend upon how much liquid or moisture is added. All of my recipes for baked oatmeal have structure to them. They will hold the form of a muffin. You’ll be able to slice it up like cake. 

It’s more moist than cake and dryer than regular oatmeal.

Placing oatmeal mixture into halved apples for Baked Apple Oatmeal on a plate with apples and pears and cinnamon by themerchantbaker.com

How sweet is baked oatmeal?

Well, it’s as sweet as you make it. I try not to add much sugar, if any, to the base oatmeal mixture. In my banana oatmeal cups, I only add 2 Tablespoons of brown sugar and let the natural sweetness of the banana and the sprinkle of chocolate chips add the rest.

In today’s recipe, there is no added sugar to the base oatmeal mixture. All of the sweetness comes from the apples and topping.

For me, and even my kids? That was enough added sweetness, but I’m also the kind of person that needs no extra sweetness at all in oatmeal.

For my husband? He drizzled honey on top of his. To each his own.

Halved apples filled with oatmeal mixture and ready to bake Baked Apple Oatmeal on a plate with apples and pears and cinnamon by themerchantbaker.com

I figure, you can always add more sweetness at serving time if you want it.

Are we good here? Not cake, not muffin….it’s oatmeal. Alrighty then, let’s move on.

Back to developing this recipe. Over the years, I’ve tried making it with applesauce or chopped apples and while those were good, I thought they weren’t all that amazing.

You know I like making dessert inspired baked oatmeal. Remember the blueberry pie baked oatmeal? Or, the ultimate carrot cake baked oatmeal? Those are two winning variations on the whole baked oatmeal theme. 

So, I thought about the blueberry pie baked oatmeal I made and how I could expand on that idea, but with apples. Combining the idea of baked apples and apple crisp and baked oatmeal seemed like a winning path to take. Let’s break down what those things are and then how I used them.

Overhead photo showing a slice of Baked Apple Oatmeal on a plate with apples and pears and cinnamon by themerchantbaker.com

What is a baked apple?

Traditionally, baked apples are prepared by coring an apple and stuffing it with a mixture of sugar, spices, nuts, raisins and butter. Of course, there are many variations of baked apples, but basically you stuff the apples, then bake them in some type of liquid until they’re tender. 

What is apple crisp?

Apple crisp is different than a baked apple in both it’s preparation and ingredients. Typically, cut apples are placed in a baking pan and then a crumble mixture of oats, sugar, spices, butter, flour and nuts are sprinkled on top. Once baked, the apples become tender and the topping is golden and crisp.

Four images showing the process of making Baked Apple Oatmeal by themerchantbaker.com

How do you make baked apple oatmeal?

I basically used an apple crisp like topping, but then used it as stuffing, somewhat like a baked apple.

We start with making the topping. It comes together quickly with melted butter, flour, brown sugar, spices, pecans, and yes, more oats! Just stir that mixture up and set it aside. That’s right, no cutting in butter or any of that stuff. 

I actually like to put on a glove and just work the mixture together with my hand. Couldn’t be easier.

Then, in another bowl, whisk up the dry ingredients. I like to whisk up the wet ingredients separately, but it’s not necessary. You could add them all in and just whisk until it’s all combined.

Breaking up eggs when they’re in a lot of liquid (in this case milk) can be frustrating. That’s why I like to whisk the eggs and oil first and get them fully combined before adding the milk. 

Once everything is mixed up, just pour it into a baking pan that’s been sprayed with oil. 

At this point, the mixture is going to be very loose, so you’ll want to insure you’re spreading the oats evenly around the pan.

Sliced apples on parchment paper for Baked Apple Oatmeal by themerchantbaker.com

How do you core half of an apple?

I cut each apple in half, then used a measuring spoon to scoop out the core. You can use a regular spoon or a melon baller. You just want to get rid of the core and create a small cavity for the filling.

Then, I used a sharp knife and notched out a “v” on either end of the apple to get rid of the stem and blossom ends of the apple.

Oh, and I didn’t peel the apple. Feel free to if you wish, but I wanted to keep it simple and I don’t really have any issue with including the peel in this recipe. I prefer to keep those extra nutrients.

Now, just nestle each apple half right into the oatmeal mixture. This is going to make six servings, so space them out however you’re going to want to cut them later.

Two images of oatmeal and apples in a baking pan to make Baked Apple Oatmeal by themerchantbaker.com

Is a 9″ baking pan necessary to make baked oatmeal?

No. You can bake this in any baking pan that can hold the recipe. A 9″ baking pan holds about 8 cups. You could use an 11 x7″ baking dish or a 9″ deep dish pie plate.  I wouldn’t go with a small and deep casserole dish because you need lots of surface area for your apples and topping.

In retrospect, I thought it might have been fun to do this in a cast iron skillet and position each apple in a pie slice location. In any case, it would make a really pretty presentation. 

Two images of oatmeal and apples in a baking pan to make Baked Apple Oatmeal by themerchantbaker.com

Topping the apples

Once the apples are placed in the pan, spoon the stuffing generously into each apple cavity. Don’t worry about being messy, just make sure the apple is generously covered.

Then, sprinkle the remaining topping over the rest of the oatmeal mixture. This will insure there is a bit of sweetness in every bite.

Finally, I decided to be a little extra and dot the top with butter and another sprinkle of cinnamon. You don’t have to do this, but I love the flavor of salted butter on oatmeal and the extra bit of fat helps the topping get golden brown. Totally optional. I’ve done it both ways and both are great. Be extra or not. It’s all good.

Two images showing the before and after baking of oatmeal and apples to make Baked Apple Oatmeal by themerchantbaker.com

By the way, the whole salted butter and oatmeal thing came from eating buttered toast with our oatmeal as kids. Don’t ask me why we were eating toast AND oatmeal, but there was something about dipping that buttery toast into sweet oatmeal that was a treat. It’s the whole sweet and salty thing…but I digress…

As the oatmeal bakes, the mixture will rise up to completely envelop those chock full of spicy goodness apple halves. The topping will become crispy and yes, your kitchen will smell like fall. Someone is bound to ask, what are you baking? It smells delicious!

And your unexpected answer will be, “Oatmeal.” :)

Overhead photo of Baked Apple Oatmeal by themerchantbaker.com

How soft do the apples become while baking?

When you make baked apples, they are baked in a liquid and can become very tender. 

When you insulate apples in a mixture that is wet, but has oats that are going to absorb all of that moisture, they won’t magically cook into apple pie tenderness.

That wasn’t my goal. I wanted to maintain some of the texture of the apples as a counter balance to the soft oatmeal. 

So, they will become more tender than they are raw, but the apples will still have a fair amount of bite left to them. 

If you desire a much more tender apple, a quick remedy is to pre-cook them.

Side angle photo of Baked Apple Oatmeal by themerchantbaker.com

After you cut them and core them, place the halves in the microwave in a bowl with a bit of water, cover them and cook until desired tenderness. Then, you can proceed with the recipe, stuffing and baking them as directed.

I happen to like the way the apple cooked, with a bit of bite left, as did my family, with the crunchy nuts and chewy topping mixed with the soft oatmeal. But, like I said before, we all have preferences. Know yours and do what you love for you.

Can I make baked oatmeal ahead of time?

Yes! I often bake it the night before, let it cool and store in the refrigerator. 

I have never tried this, but you can also mix everything up and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator, then bake it in the morning.

My guess is that having the raw oats soak overnight will result in a different texture when they bake, but I can’t speak from experience here. I think it would still be great, just slightly different.

Side photo of a slice of Baked Apple Oatmeal being placed on a dish by themerchantbaker.com

How to reheat baked oatmeal

The easiest and fastest way to reheat it is in the microwave. Lightly cover it and heat to desired temperature. It won’t take long, probably a minute or so depending on how powerful your microwave is, how cold your oatmeal is and how big of piece your reheating.

If you don’t have a microwave, you could also reheat it in the oven the same way you’d reheat anything in the oven. I’d probably reheat at 350 or 375. You might want to add a spoonful of water so that it doesn’t dry out while reheating and cover it to keep the moisture in. Once hot, you could let it broil for a minute to re-crisp the top. 

I know. It’s like 1960 in here right now when all we had was ovens and stoves, no microwaves, air fryers, etc, etc. I’d be too impatient to wait for it to heat up in the oven. This is why I love my microwave. But hey, anywhere there is heat, there is an opportunity to re-heat, right? 

A fork piercing a slice of Baked Apple Oatmeal on a plate by themerchantbaker.com

Can I freeze baked oatmeal?

Yes! Generally, baked oatmeal freezes very well. With this particular recipe, you also have the apple to contend with. It should freeze fine, sort of like you’re freezing an apple pie. 

I would wrap each piece individually in plastic wrap, then place the pieces into a freezer bag.

Then, if I knew I wanted to serve them the next day, I would place the pieces I wanted to use in the refrigerator overnight to start thawing.

The microwave would be my choice for the quick reheat and I would be on my way.

How to serve baked oatmeal

You can serve it hot. It’s also great at room temperature. 

You can serve it as is and eat it with a fork. Or, you can mash it up in a bowl and add additional sweetener and milk if you wish.

This particular recipe, which I think is great as is, would also taste amazing drizzled with cream, or maple syrup, or honey….or… dare I say it, buttermilk caramel sauce or apple cider caramel sauce? Yeah. Do that. Don’t tell your mom I said so ;)

Really, what you end up with is a comfy stuffed apple filled with all kinds of good stuff baked right on top of a hearty oatmeal filled with fiber from both the oats and the apple, extra protein from the eggs and milk, healthy fats from the olive oil, but topped with a little extra special sweetness.

Baked Apple Oatmeal. It’s delicious and will definitely up your baked oatmeal game.

And yes, even though this is meant for breakfast, no one says you couldn’t treat it as a healthier dessert option.

A fork holding a piece of Slice of Baked Apple Oatmeal on a plate with cinnamon sticks by themerchantbaker.com

My daughter took her baked apple off of  her piece, set it aside and saved it for last, you know, as if it was dessert. Just sayin’…

Baked Apple Oatmeal

Baked Apple Oatmeal

Yield: 6 Servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Baked Apple Oatmeal combines the warm, fall spiced comfort of a baked apple and the crunch of apple crisp with the hearty, fiber rich goodness of baked oatmeal, the extra protein from eggs and milk, along with a nice serving of fruit. It's a perfect breakfast choice that's also easy to take with you on the go.

Ingredients

  • For the crumb topping:
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 Tablespoons melted salted butter
  • For the oatmeal:
  • 3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 1/4 cups milk, I used 1 %
  • 3 apples
  • Additional toppings before baking:
  • 1 Tablespoon salted butter
  • Cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9" square pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Make the topping. In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, flour, oats, nuts and cinnamon until combined. Add melted butter and stir until well combined. Set aside.
  3. Make oatmeal mixture. In a large bowl, whisk oats, salt, cinnamon and baking powder together until combined.
  4. In a medium bowl or 4 cup measure, whisk eggs and olive oil until well blended. Add milk and whisk until blended.
  5. Pour egg mixture over oat mixture and stir until well combined.
  6. Pour oat mixture into prepared baking pan, insuring oats are spread evenly throughout the pan. Set aside.
  7. Wash apples. Cut each apple in half. Using a spoon or melon baller, core each half, creating a small cavity. Use a sharp knife to make a v cut to remove blossom and stem ends.
  8. Place apple halves into the baking pan, nestling them into the wet oatmeal mixture.
  9. Spoon topping generously on top of each oatmeal half, filling the cavity and covering most of the exposed top of the apple. Lightly press filling on top of apple to secure it. (Don't worry about being too neat, we'll be sprinkling the topping everywhere in the next step. You just want to insure each apple gets ample topping.)
  10. Sprinkle remainder of topping over the rest of the oatmeal mixture.
  11. Dot the top with a tablespoon of butter and sprinkle some cinnamon over all. I didn't really measure the butter. I just took bits of butter and scattered them all over. Cover pan tightly with foil.
  12. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes or until oats have absorbed all liquid and topping is golden brown.
  13. Remove from oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.
  14. Serve warm as is or topped with milk, cream or additional sweetener like brown sugar, honey, maple syrup etc.

Notes

*Use old fashioned rolled oats for the best texture. I've never used quick oats in baked oatmeal, but they should be fine. You'll just get a different texture.

*I used Fuji apples, but any apple that's good for baking is fine. I did not peel mine, but feel free to peel yours if you don't like eating the skin.

*Because they are insulated by the oatmeal, the apples will not fully cook into super tenderness as in apple pie. They will be partially tender but still have strong texture. If you want softer apples, precook them in the microwave before using them in the recipe. See blog post for notes on that.

*I think there's plenty of sweetness as is in the recipe due to the apples and crumb topping. If you want more sweetness baked in, add 2-4 Tablespoons of brown sugar to the base oatmeal mixture. I like to let everyone add their own additional sweetness at the table. Some great choices are brown sugar, honey, maple syrup or even caramel sauce.

*Raisins would be a nice addition. If you choose to add raisins, I'd use about 1/4 cup and add them to the oatmeal mixture so that they can soften up in the liquid during baking.

*You can use any milk in this recipe, even water, if you'd prefer.

*I used olive oil, but you can use any oil. I prefer using an oil that is liquid at room temperature so that it combines easily with the other liquids without solidifying.

*The salted butter bits on top are completely optional, but really delicious.

*Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator. They reheat easily in the microwave. I usually bake mine the night before so that it's ready to just heat and eat in the morning.