A cozy breakfast, Apple Walnut Baked Oats with Cranberry Crumble comes together with ease in this hearty breakfast! A snap to pull together, with a make ahead option and perfect for the coldest months of the year. This recipe is vegetarian or vegan and easily gluten free.
Our Fast-Paced Lives
Are you feeling the pinch of the holiday season? I’m still trying to figure out where the year went, as if my head is spinning. A whole year… done. History. How does it zoom by so fast, despite everything this year?
Is it true the older you get the faster it goes?
I’ve been implementing some practices this year that I hoped would slow this train, but it doesn’t seem to be working out. Yoga, most recently, being more mindful, and meditation, are at the top of my list… but I still feel like I blinked and the year is gone.
And while there are some goals I’m happy to have set and completed, there was so much more on my list. How about you? How are you feeling about time and goals?
I often hear the word balance and that we’re striving for this in our lives. I get that when referring to food. But when it comes to daily living and our hurried, full and often over-scheduled lives, I wonder if balance is achievable. Is this a result of our wanting to accomplish so much in a relative short period of time? You overachievers know what I’m talking about.
Your brain is racing 24/7 because you’ve so many ideas and things you want to do, people to see, lists to make, issues to resolve, errands to run, workouts to have, family to spend time with, Instagram and Facebook connections, food to make, eat, sleep, and then there’s time for you… YOU! Where do YOU fit into the equation?
Oh, did I forget to mention, work?
A Time for Slowing Down
Especially during the holiday season.
Which brings me to this Apple Baked Oats with Cranberry Crumble recipe. Warm and cozy, this recipe is for lingering a bit longer at the breakfast table. Baked oats are that kind of cozy. And they help slow us down in a way.
These apple baked oats are more than just oatmeal though. Not that oatmeal is boring. It just needs a little bit of sparkle in the form of spice, crunch and color.
How to Make Apple Baked Oats
Easy and so delicious, the components of this recipe can be made ahead and assembled later. Hehere’s how to make em’ (see recipe card below for full details):
- First, whiz up that cranberry crumble in the food processor, then the date butter.
- Second, mix up the oat/walnut/spice mixture with water.
- Third, stir the date butter into the apples, then start layering the components.
- Next, in a baker, layer the apples and date butter, then the oat mixture, then top the oats with that mouthwatering cranberry crumble. If you want to make this ahead, check the *notes section. It’s doable!
The scent of this intoxicating breakfast wafting through the house on an early Winter morning while sipping a cup of coffee is pure cozy.
This is a breakfast that feeds a small crowd and the best part? It’s a snap to pull together. This baked oatmeal makes room for YOU time in the quiet early morning hours. Okay, maybe a bit idealistic, but hey, something to strive for, eh?
A Few Recipe Notes
- The ingredient list is long, but it’s mostly spices used again throughout each component. Don’t let the list dissuade you.
- Gluten Free? Yes please! Use gluten free oats in place of regular oats.
- Vegan Baked Oats? You got it! As written, this recipe is vegan.
- Make Ahead Ready? Simply whip up the components and assemble the next morning.
I’d love to hear how you take care of YOU, during these crazy Holi-Days, balancing time and goals. Leave a comment below.
More Healthy Breakfast Recipes to Love
- Overnight Peanut Butter Oats
- Overnight Turmeric Chia Oats
- Pumpkin Porridge
- Matcha Ginger-Orange Green Smoothie
- Maple Pecan Granola
- Banana – Oat Waffles
Apple Walnut Baked Oats with Cranberry Crumble Recipe
For the Crumble:
For the Date Butter:
- 1 C Pitted Medjool Dates soaked in hot water for 10 min and drained, 152g
- 1 Tbs Coconut Oil virgin cold-pressed
- 1/2 tsp Cinnamon ground
- 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1/8 tsp Sea Salt
- 1 Tbs Lemon Juice
- 1/4 C Water 102g
- 2 1/2 C Apples medium dice, about two apples, 296g
For the Oats:
- 3/4 C Walnuts 75g
- 2 C Thick Rolled Oats not old fashioned, 190g
- 2 tsp Cinnamon ground
- 1/2 tsp Nutmeg ground
- 1/2 tsp Cloves ground
- 1/2 tsp Star Anise ground** (optional)
- 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 2 1/2 C Water 572g
- Pure Maple Syrup for drizzling
- Preheat oven to 350F (180C). While the oven is preheating, toast the walnuts for both the oats and crumble for about 8-10 minutes or until they are fragrant and toasty. Chop and set aside.
For the Crumble:
- In a food processor add the cranberries, 1/3 C (44g) toasted walnuts, maple syrup, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pulse until a rough crumble forms. Scoop out into a bowl and set aside.
For the Date Butter:
- Wipe out the food processor and add the dates, coconut oil, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, and lemon juice. Pulse a few times just to get the mixture going. Scrape down the bowl. With the processor running, add a steady stream of water. Scrape down the bowl and process again until smooth. The mixture should be thick but spreadable. Mix this up with the apples.
For the Oats:
- In a medium mixing bowl, add the the remaining walnuts, oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, anise, salt, and baking powder. Mix well. Mix the vanilla extract and water and pour over the oat mixture. Stir well.
- Spray the bottom of a medium (at least 8" x 11" or 20cm x 27cm) casserole dish with pan spray.
- Spread the date/apple mixture in the bottom of a casserole dish. Pour the oat/water mixture over the top. Spread evenly. Use your fingers to sprinkle the crumble mixture evenly over the top of the oats.
- Bake uncovered for 40-45 minutes.
- Serve with plenty of maple syrup.
- Store leftovers in a covered container for up to three days. Rewarm at 350F (180C) for 15 minutes.
Baked Oatmeal inspired by Jamie Oliver
Delicious! As a relatively new cook, the detailed instructions and pictures are appreciated. Thanks!
Thank you for your rating, Carolyn, giving the recipe a go and your feedback! So happy to hear the instructions and pictures are helpful.
Thank you so much for this recipe! I made a trial run as baked oatmeal has become my staple contribution to brunch Christmas morning. In the past, before I adopted a plant based diet, my baked oatmeal was full of eggs and whole milk. Your version here is so amazing I don’t think anyone will think it’s vegan merely just an upgrade from the usual apple pie baked oatmeal.
I made it tonight for breakfast this week and my husband had to take the spoon from me as the oatmeal was going in my mouth and not the container 😋
Thank you again!!!
Hi Samantha! Thank you for coming back and leaving a note. I love that you’re already testing holiday recipes… the holidays come so fast, so why not get a jump on them? So happy you enjoyed these baked oats. I love how the flavors come together in the recipe. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your holiday table! :D
Yes, it is true, our perception of time does shift as we age. And mindfulnss is the best tool we have, but it still whizzes by…I take care of myself and seek to slow things down by setting lots of limits on busyness. I say no to a lot of requests and invitations, protecting time alone to meditate, run, be in the woods, create, and be with those closest to me.
Your post, as always, fills my heart and senses, and gives me new ideas! You are a precious gem, Traci, the happiest of holidays to you and Rob from us here on the other coast!
Thank you for sharing Deb. I agree, boundaries are soo good, but not always easy to set. I’m getting better at it, though, the older I get. It’s so important to take care of ourselves. Ah, to be in the woods. Me too and I was just telling Rob the other day, when I’m in the woods, I feel like I’m embraced by mother nature herself. One of my favorite places to be.
Thank you for your sweetness, Deb. I appreciate your friendship. You too have a beautiful holiday my dear. xo
I’m sure this apple and walnut bake can restore balance in the most delicious way, even if it’s just while you’re eating it. LOVE oats and those sticky Medjools! Fabulous, good-for-you food as always Traci.
Thank you, Di. Any amount of time spent restoring balance is a good thing, even if it is while devouring a mouthwatering breakfast, right? xo
I’m in love with these baked oats! Wonderful flavors, thanks for sharing, since I’m always looking for breakfast ideas! I can’t believe the year is almost over. Time flies, I feel sad about it at times! Lets hope for a healthy and happy new year! Pinning to make ahead this breakfast!
Thank you Mira! I like to change up breakfast too… I think I get stuck on one thing because it’s routine or I’m just used to making it. We really enjoy this one! I hope you enjoy it to my dear! xo
Kelly @ Inspired Edibles
I have to start by saying that you have the most thoughtful and giving group of readers Traci. I enjoyed reading the comments as much as gawking over this beautiful breakfast (I almost said dessert because it’s *that* appealing!). Who wouldn’t want to wake up to this warming deliciousness over the holidays… What a great idea to grate the star anise – it has so much body that a little goes a long way and I’ve not seen it sold in ground form either. My mom bought me whole nutmeg years ago (for grating as well) and if she hadn’t, I’m not sure I would have ever discovered just how different it tastes from pre-ground nutmeg – so fresh and peppery – especially good in warm drinks. And as for the frenzy of the holidays, well, I’ll be practicing balance and peace (in chaos and calm) for the rest of my days, x.
Agreed, Kelly!! I love this community and the broader community of bloggers and readers that share life experiences that transcends food love. So happy to have you here too, adding in the conversation. You know, this hits all the food groups! Dessert? Why yes! No doubt a little anise goes a long way.. and I could have bumped it up just a bit here, but I just wanted a hint of it. It’s just enough, not overbearing. You know, since trying whole nutmeg, I don’t use anything else now. I grind it myself and it makes a world of difference! I love it in warm drinks too… most recently in Pots de Creme!! OH MY! Balance and peace… that is my new mantra and wish for you my dear. xo
Lynn | The Road to Honey
Yes. . .you have completely read my mind. I am still scratching my head trying to figure our where the year has gone, why I never feel like I have accomplished all my goals and why I perpetually feel behind. But in this day and age, where things move so fast and we are more connected than ever. . . I think these feelings are universal. That said, balance and mindfulness should always be a goal that we work towards because these really are the key to a happy, more fulfilled life. And what better way to practice mindfulness than with this baked oatmeal? Apples, walnuts, cranberries, maple syrup and a smorgasbord of spices. . . these are all the stimuli needed to awaken my senses and make me very aware of the moment. And since I have been thinking that I needed to add new dishes to my breakfast rotation. . .you can be sure this little dish will be one of them.
It feels good to know others are feeling the same way, Lynn. Like you said ‘perpetually feel behind..’ me too! No doubt, universal feelings… just look at these comments! We are really hard on ourselves! I just want to bake more oatmeal and pause for a while! ‘ to awaken my senses’…. awhhh so true my dear! I hope you enjoy the recipe Lynn! xo
So true Traci, time flies. I too feel the same…sometimes I feel whether I am doing things slower than expected of me!!! Felt better after reading ur post as there is some one who reflects what I feel about time. Coming to the recipe, simply awesome. I have pinned it for reference. Gorgeous pictures and what a lovely blog! Happy Holidays!
Oh Uma, you said it. I do the same thing… I think, ‘jeeze this is taking so longggg….’ I begin to judge my process. Like you, I place these expectations on that have no real basis. Why are we so hard on ourselves? Thank you for stopping by and your kind comments! I hope you enjoy the recipe! :C
Ok so, first of all I have to start from the date butter(?!!)… Whoaaaaa what is that and how come I never thought about that?!!?
And second of all, THESE PHOTOS.. Are you kidding me Traci?! I am coming over now because I am literally drooling over the screen of my computer.
Seriously my friend, these photos are mind blowing. Especially the last one. I am so going to steal that shot. Wait, is that okay??? :))
Much love and hugs. Happy holidays to you and your very well fed (and super lucky) family.
Cheers from Philadelphia!
The girl who cannot wait for it to snow – aka “Ice”
Every time I whizzed up soaked dates for bliss balls (IDK), those dates just looked like butter… so I added a bit of fat and called it butter! hehe… Oh my, Aysegul! You know how much of an inspiration you are to me with your photography.. this makes me so happy! Thank you my dear! Yes, steal that shot! It’s yours! I’d love to see what I can glean from you on it! :D Cheers my dear and you and yours too, have a beautiful, Icy holiday!! xo
Geraldine | Green Valley Kitchen
Thanksgiving to Christmas is such a blur, Traci – too much to do and not enough time! I’m all for a little me time and the idea of having this delicious breakfast made ahead of time makes it a wonderful time saver during these hectic days. And I LOVE the idea of making oatmeal into a crumble. Way to amp up the flavor and texture of oatmeal, Traci. Definitely looking forward to trying this.
Oh, I know… two big holidays back to back… crazy! I’m thinking of your holiday lights inside and out! We really enjoyed this. The leftovers were really nice, with just a short time in the oven before it’s ready. You get to experience those wafting spices again! I hope you enjoy it Geraldine! :D
Sam @ SugarSpunRun
Every DAY this seems to happen to me– I have a list of things I want to accomplish and then I blink and the day is over and my list is not nearly as scratched off as I would have hoped. So YES, 2015 has gone by in a flash and I would love some balance in my life.
This breakfast is not only gorgeous and packed with wholesome ingredients and perfectly paired flavors, it looks like something that could help me to slow down a little bit in the morning, take a few deep breaths over, bring me closer to balance. I feel like the very process of making it would be almost therapeutic (but that’s what baking is to me–usually). Thanks for sharing such a wonderful and stunning dish.
Right… I do the same thing Sam. So how do we get to a spot where we know how much is enough in a given day? It’s a tough question. I’m trying to reduce my daily list and do a better job of spreading it out over the week so that I feel like I accomplish what I need to on a daily basis, instead of feeling frustrated, like I didn’t get anything done! I’m with you… baking is so therapeutic. Thank you Sam!! :D
Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary
I have NO clue where the year went, Traci, but it definitely flew by. And I have to agree with you, I think as we get older the times flies exponentially faster… and that is a huge whomp whomp. As far as balance, oh boy, that is not my forte. With everything that has happened this year I am trying to take more time for myself. But, hmmm ask me how that is going for me next year! :) Anyways, this breakfast is gorgeous, my dear! Only you could make oatmeal a show stopper! That cranberry crumble and date butter just sounds beyond delish! LOVE this! Hope you are having a beautiful day, Traci! Thank you for being such a wonderful food blogging friend. I heart you! XO
Oh my Chey… I HEAR you! Yeah, it is a whomp whomp.. but perhaps its a teacher? To sloooow down? IDK.. Okay.. I’ll ask after the first few months of the year! The date butter and crumble in this really take regular oatmeal over the top with flavor and texture! Oatmeal is hard to photog.. as with anything that looks like a blob on a plate! hehe! #foodbloggerproblems !! Thank you too, Chey for your love and support! I heart you too! xo :D
Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen
Well Traci, I don’t seem to have much balance in my life as of late. It’s work, work, work. My goal for 2016 is to try to relax a bit more and smell the roses. I hope I can do it. Not quite sure, but I’m definitely going to give it a try. Now to this yummy recipe. Oh my friend, you truly have hit the nail on the head with warm and cozy! I can just imagine the smell in your home while this is baking! I LOVE that cranberry crumble! And I’m a sucker for anything with anise, so I love the little hint of it! It’s breakfast perfection!
Oh this is good to hear, Mary Ann. Work can get the best of us, especially for those of us who work from home! It’s hard to step away sometimes.. and where is away!? Oh, you’ll love the anise in this Mary Ann… it’s subtle, but apparent. You can even bump it up some too. I’m a fan, but Rob, not so much! Thank you my dear! xo
2015 seems like it never happened for me too. I think it is true that as you get older the years go by faster because we realise how limited our time here is. To acknowledge that we need to treasure every moment is a gift.
I love this crumble. I love how many spices it has! and I love how gorgeous it looks.
Happy holidays dear Traci. to you and yours… <3
OMGeee! I know, Rakhee! BLINK! I knew you’d love the spices in this! Happy holidays to you my dear! :D
First, I have to say Traci, that is one amazing breakfast. A stunner, how wonderful it would be to bring this out on Christmas morning. I could sit on the breakfast table for hours enjoying this with cups of coffee. Looks so beautiful.
On another note,I could go on and on about how time flies and how we try to be super humans. Why is it that we have to be a perfectionist? I’m so glad you are into Yoga. Brings a lot of insight into many things, like living in the NOW is so so important. I was a crazy lady, with so much to do lists, slept for few hours, worked a lot. I’ve honestly taken a step back to enjoy the NOW, and to space things out. Oh well, it’s almost 2016, just cannot believe it.
Goodnight my friend.
No doubt, where did 2015 gooooo!! Crazy. So glad you’ve found space to step back and soak up the NOW! So powerful Asha. I tell myself all the time to not over-schedule, but then things always take longer than I expect! So I need to back off even more! :D Thank you, my friend! xo
Amy @ Thoroughly Nourished Life
2015 has been jam-packed with awesome things for us, but it has certainly gone by far too quickly! I’m looking forward to a few days off to sit around and just let the old year process before the new one begins. My favourite time to reflect is breakfast time, so I know this crumble will provide the perfect sit and think breakfast treat!
Hey Amy! This is great to hear! Good for you.. taking some time off. We need more of it for sure! :D
Meghan | Fox and Briar
Oh, this breakfast looks so cozy and flavorful Traci! I wish I was a morning person because I love the idea of geting up early and making this breakfast, but instead I will have to try your make ahead instructions. I actually got pretty good at putting myself first this year out of necessity, and once you get used to it, it is pretty great (and easy). That being said, it is a constant struggle to find balance, but I think the most important part is that we are looking for it!
Thank you Meghan! Good for you… putting yourself first, not an easy thing to do. I need to take your lead. I agree.. IDK if it’s something that can be done. I think we all are trying to find it.. but does it exist?! :D
Julia | Orchard Street Kitchen
Wow, what a gorgeous and special breakfast! I would love to be one of those lucky people who wakes up to the smell of this :) With those amazing spices, I bet this is pure comfort food. Oh, and this year flew by for me too. But when I look back at last January, it feels like ages ago! Isn’t time strange like that? I’m just a little creeped out that next year is 2016…the years are sounding a little too futuristic to me!
Anyways, I am in love with this oatmeal and want to try it out asap. I hope you’re having a wonderful holiday season, my friend…take some time for yourself, you deserve it!
For the holidays?! Why yesss… But see, I’d have to get up, put it in the oven then quickly go back to sleep to experience waking up to such wafting, intoxicating aromas coming from the kitchen. : ( No doubt with everything you’ve had going on this year… Zoooom… it’s gone! I am planning some down time… soon! :D Thank you Julia! xo
You are SO RIGHT!!! Where has the year gone? I have no idea & a little sad it went by too fast. Though, I am grateful that this year I came across your blog, and happy to be back drooling at this corner of the internet as often as I can. This post is another winner, Traci. I would continue making this scrumptious baked oats long after new year.
P.S. Happy Holidays, Traci. It has been so wonderful to get to know you through your blog. xoxo
Thaaank you Pang! And me too.. So enjoying Circa Happy!! No doubt as long as apples and cranberries are available… this is on the menu! xo