This easy gluten-free oatmeal breakfast bake is wonderful for Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s Day brunch. It’s also one of my go-to healthy breakfasts year-round. The ingredients are so simple — you probably have all of them on hand — but the end result is incredible.
Sometimes you wake up on Christmas Day and realize that while you planned a delicious dinner, you forgot to plan anything for breakfast. And maybe you eye your pantry and fridge to try to figure out what to make that won’t be sad and depressing since it’s Christmas Day after all. And then maybe this magical recipe is born. Okay, not maybe — that’s exactly what happened with this recipe over eight years ago. If you’re ready to start baking, jump to the recipe at the bottom of this post!
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Oatmeal Apple Breakfast Bake
This apple oatmeal breakfast bake is now one of my staples for breakfast during the week and I always make it on the morning of Christmas Eve too. (I typically reserve Christmas morning for German Pancakes since that’s what we always had growing up!)
And, pro tip, the leftovers pair really well with ice cream so it makes a great healthier dessert as well –– sort of like an apple crisp! The texture of baked oats is entirely different from other types of oat preparations and it’s my absolute favorite. It’s still slightly firm and it absorbs the flavors beautifully from the other ingredients. Think of this like an elevated baked oatmeal recipe.
This recipe is incredibly versatile and you can easily make many substitutions with solid results. I make a slightly different iteration almost every time but the apple and pecan combo is my absolute favorite.
It’s is a twist on apple cinnamon baked oatmeal (but better). After you try my favorite combo, feel free to experiment and adapt to whatever you have on hand or to your preferences. I’ve made it with blueberries and almonds – something about baked oatmeal with blueberries is just so classic and delicious. I also like raspberries and walnuts paired together, and recently did a pear and pecan combo. Both were delicious! Frozen fruit works well in baked oatmeal too. Just don’t let it thaw before you mix it in!)
Old fashioned oats (or regular, if GF isn’t necessary) – If you use steel cut oats, soak them for 20 minutes prior to making this recipe. Oats are the perfect gluten-free whole grain ingredient. They are a healthy carb and packed with fiber to help keep you full!
Apple, chopped –– apples are great to eat in the morning because they’re rich in dietary fiber!
Maple syrup – this recipe calls for 1/3 a cup, but you could use 1/4 cup or even 1/2 cup depending on how sweet you want it to be
Combine the oats, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, 1/2 c. of the pecans and half of the chopped apple. Stir to combine and spread into the 9×9 greased pan. Sprinkle the remaining apple and pecan halves on top.
In a large bowl, whisk the maple syrup, milk, egg, earth balance and vanilla extract. Pour over the oatmeal mixture/ dry ingredients.
Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown (add 5 minutes until it looks perfect) and the liquid has set. Tent the pan in aluminum foil if it needs more time but has already started browning on the edges. This will prevent any burning while making sure it gets cooked all the way through.
Let it sit for just a few minutes and serve warm. Sprinkle with a little extra salt on top. The smell itself is enough to make the family excited for breakfast.
I serve this with champagne or mimosas, a little vanilla greek yogurt and extra maple syrup and cinnamon since that all feels more special. During a regular week, I like it with black coffee and plain yogurt. And, I always, always warm it in the microwave if I’m not eating it straight from the oven. It’s absolutely delicious!
If you want it to be really sweet, you could also add some brown sugar to the recipe, or switch the maple syrup out. You could also try using honey, but I really do prefer maple syrup.
For a healthier alternative, you could use unsweetened applesauce instead of butter. I’ve never tried this, so let me know how it is.
If you like giving baked goods as gifts, this would be a perfect alternative to cookies or somethings similar. Bake this in a foil tin pan, and tie with a ribbon. I would much prefer to receive something I could eat as a meal (and imagine how excited kids would be to have this for breakfast!). Just make sure to attach a note telling them to heat it up before serving.
While I definitely think the apple pecan combo is the best of all, I have tried lots of other variations in the past, and none of them disappoint. Blueberries and almonds is a close second to my favorite combo, and you could also ad in any frozen berries you have on hand. I’d love to try this with blackberries for a summer option later in the year.
This recipe is similar to cobbler, where you truly cannot mess it up.
This recipe make excellent leftovers. It will keep in the fridge for 3-5 days (although it’s best fresh). It also freezes extremely well for a quick midweek breakfast. Let it cool completely, cut into squares, store in an airtight container or place in ziplock bag and then pop in the freezer . Then, just reheat it for 30-60 seconds. My husband loves when I make this on Sunday afternoons so he can have it for breakfast all week. It’s quick and he likes it much more than is usual RX bar as he’s running out the door!
This easy gluten-free oatmeal breakfast bake is wonderful for a healthy breakfast year-round, but dresses up nicely for special occasion brunches, like New Year’s, Christmas or a girls’ together.
2 cups gluten-free old fashioned oats (or regular, if GF isn’t necessary)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup pecans, divided
1 apple, chopped
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 2/3 cup almond milk (or milk of your choice)
3 Tablespoons Earth Balance, melted (or butter)
1 Tablespoons vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and coat a 9×9 pan with non-stick spray. Chop 1/2 of your pecans.
2. Combine the oats, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, 1/2 c. of the pecans and half of the diced apple. Stir to combine and spread into the 9×9 greased pan. Sprinkle the remaining apple and pecan halves on top.
3. Whisk the maple syrup, milk, egg, earth balance and vanilla extract. Pour over the oatmeal mixture.
4. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and the liquid has set.
5. Let sit for just a few minutes and serve warm. Sprinkle with a little extra salt on top.
I like to chop the pecans that I mix in and then top with pecan halves. But you can do all chopped if you prefer.
I hope you and your family love this hearty breakfast recipe as much as we do, whether you make it for a regular work week or for your Christmas morning brunch! If you try it, let me know what you think. And as always, please comment on this post if you have any recommendations or changes! I am always open to re-testing recipes.