/Apple Cranberry Baked Oatmeal
Apple Cranberry Baked Oatmeal

Apple Cranberry Baked Oatmeal

I have an intense love for cranberries, but you can usually only find them in the supermarket for a few months out of the year. So this year, I bought a couple extra bags and tossed them in the freezer so I could enjoy them for months after the season had ended. Well, that day is today and I used some of my cranberry stash to make this delicious Apple Cranberry Baked Oatmeal. And if you didn’t happen to stash any cranberries last fall, you can sometimes find them in the freezer section year-round. Baked oatmeal is one of my favorite breakfast meal preps because it’s SO easy to make and the leftovers are great. Plus, it’s freezer-friendly!

Close up overhead view of a casserole dish full of cranberry apple baked oatmeal and a wooden spoon scooping some out.

What is Baked Oatmeal?

Baked oatmeal is a lot like bread pudding, but instead of chunks of hearty bread baked into the custard, it’s rolled oats. The end result is a soft, moist, scoopable oatmeal that is not at all gloopy like those instant oatmeal packets. It’s filling, rich, slightly sweet, and one of my absolute favorite ways to enjoy oats.

Ingredients for Apple Cranberry Baked Oatmeal

Baked oatmeal recipes are super simple by nature, and this apple cranberry version is no exception. Here’s all you’ll need to make this baked oatmeal recipe:

  • Applesauce: Unsweetened applesauce keeps the baked oatmeal soft and moist, adds a delicious apple flavor, and provides some natural sweetness to the baked oatmeal so you don’t have to add as much sugar.
  • Eggs: Eggs combine with the milk to create the custard that helps the baked oatmeal bake firm up into a scoopable texture instead of the thick porridge-like texture that you get with stovetop cooked oats.
  • Brown Sugar: A little extra sugar helps balance the tart flavor of the cranberries and makes the baked oats just sweet enough that you feel like you’re having a treat.
  • Vanilla: Vanilla extract helps the oats taste extra rich.
  • Cinnamon: A touch of cinnamon gives the baked oatmeal a warm and cozy flavor.
  • Salt: Salt helps all of the individual flavors of the oatmeal pop.
  • Baking Powder: A small amount of baking powder gives the baked oatmeal loft so it’s not quite so dense.
  • Milk: Milk softens the oats and combines with the egg to create a rich custard.
  • Cranberries: Cranberries give the baked oatmeal a deliciously sweet-tart flavor and gorgeous pink color. We used cranberries that had been previously frozen, but you can use fresh as well.
  • Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats: Oats are the main ingredient, the star of the show. Make sure to get old-fashioned rolled oats instead of quick oats because they have a lot more texture and will keep your baked oatmeal from being too mushy.

Is It Breakfast or Dessert?

Baked oatmeal can be served as either breakfast or dessert! It’s only slightly sweet, so it’s still a balanced breakfast, but it’s delicious enough that I’d happily eat it as a dessert or sweet treat. If you want to make it even more dessert-like, try topping it with a simple streusel before baking. Just combine ¼ cup flour, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 2 Tbsp white sugar, and 3 Tbsp softened butter until it forms a crumbly mixture that resembles wet sand. Sprinkle that over the baked oatmeal before baking and it turns this baked oatmeal into a decadent dessert!

How to Serve Baked Oatmeal

People always ask if baked oatmeal is supposed to be served hot or cold, and the answer is that it can be enjoyed either way! I love it when it’s still warm out of the oven and topped off with a splash of cold milk. But when I’m eating the leftovers for meal prep, sometimes I eat it cold and sometimes I warm it in the microwave. It’s totally up to you!

Whether you enjoy it hot or cold, I love to add a little milk or half and half to my bowl, or even a scoop of Greek yogurt for extra protein. If you have any walnuts on hand, they would also make a great topper for this Apple Cranberry Baked Oatmeal flavor. Or, if you want it a little sweeter, try topping it with some maple syrup!

How to Store The Leftovers

To store the leftovers of your baked oatmeal for meal prep, divide it into single portions and place them into air-tight food storage containers. They can be refrigerated for up to five days. Or, once cooled in the refrigerator, you can transfer them to the freezer for longer storage (about 3 months). To reheat frozen baked oatmeal either let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then microwave until hot, or reheat straight from the freezer using the microwave’s defrost function.

Overhead view of cranberry apple baked oatmeal in a bowl with a golden spoon.
Baked oatmeal being scooped out of the casserole dish with a wooden spoon.

Print

Apple Cranberry Baked Oatmeal

This Apple Cranberry Baked Oatmeal recipe is an easy, warm, and comforting breakfast that is perfect for fall and winter meal prep.
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine American
Total Cost $3.51 recipe / $0.59 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6
Calories 220kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened apple sauce $0.95
  • 2 large eggs $0.28
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar $0.14
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract $0.30
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder $0.04
  • 1 cup milk* $0.48
  • 1 cup cranberries (frozen or fresh) $0.67
  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats $0.58

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Add the apple sauce, eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder to a large bowl and whisk together until smooth. Add the milk and whisk until smooth again.
  • Slice the cranberries in half (no need to thaw if frozen) and add them to the bowl of wet ingredients along with the rolled oats. Stir until everything is evenly combined.
  • Pour the oat mixture into a 2-quart casserole dish. Bake the oatmeal in the preheated 375ºF oven for 45 minutes, or until the surface is a light golden brown and it is no longer sticky in the center. Serve hot or refrigerate until ready to eat.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 220kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 5g | Sodium: 292mg | Fiber: 4g
Overhead view of cranberry apple baked oatmeal in the casserole dish, freshly baked.

How to Make Cranberry Apple Baked Oatmeal – Step by Step Photos

Wet ingredients for the baked oatmeal in a bowl.

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. In a large bowl, whisk together 1.5 cups of unsweetened applesauce, 2 large eggs, ¼ cup brown sugar, ½ teaspoon vanilla, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¾ teaspoon baking powder.

Milk pouring into the side of the bowl with the applesauce mixture.

Once the previous ingredients are evenly combined, add 1 cup of milk and whisk again until evenly combined.

Sliced cranberries and dry oats added to the bowl.

Slice one cup of cranberries in half (if frozen, no need to thaw) and add them to the bowl along with 2 cups of old-fashioned rolled oats. Stir the cranberries and oats into the milk mixture.

Baked oatmeal mixture in the casserole dish before being baked.

Pour the oat mixture into a 9×9-inch (or 2-quart) casserole dish.

Baked oatmeal in the casserole dish after coming out of the oven.

Bake the oatmeal for 45 minutes or until it’s golden brown on top and the center is no longer wet.

Baked oatmeal being scooped out of the casserole dish with a wooden spoon.

Serve the apple cranberry baked oatmeal warm or divide into single portions and refrigerate until ready to eat!

Milk being poured over a bowl of cranberry apple baked oatmeal.

I like to enjoy my Apple Cranberry Baked Oatmeal with cold milk poured over top! 🤤

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