This carrot cake baked oatmeal is studded with carrots, pineapple and walnuts and topped with a maple cream cheese frosting. Fancy enough to serve for Easter brunch, but healthy enough to make for weekly meal prep!
Are there certain desserts that you just have to order if you see them on the menu? That’s how I feel about carrot cake. Granted, I don’t always indulge, but let’s just say I really enjoy a good carrot cake. I get my love for carrot cake from my dad because it’s his favorite cake ever.
While dreaming up carrot cake ideas, I decided to try a carrot cake baked oatmeal recipe, kind of similar to my carrot cake overnight oats. It is a little more indulgent than your typical bowl of morning oatmeal so it’s perfect for Easter or Mother’s Day brunch… or just any ol’ Wednesday. 🙂
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Fancy enough for brunch, but simple enough for weekly meal prep.
You can make this in advance for a stress free holiday breakfast.
The carrot cake flavor is… chef’s kiss!
It can easily be made vegan! Just skip the frosting or use vegan cream cheese.
Here’s What You Need:
old fashioned rolled oats – my fave brand is Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free old fashioned rolled oats.
grated carrots – the star of the show here! You can use store-bought grated carrots to save time or just grate 1-2 large carrots to equal 1/2 cup.
canned crushed pineapple – a common ingredient in carrot cake. It adds moisture and a nice sweet flavor to this baked oatmeal. If you’re looking for a substitute, applesauce or mashed bananas will work.
chopped raw walnuts – for some crunch! Feel free to sub in a different nut like pecans or almonds or skip the nuts all together.
raisins – I love the hint of sweetness that raisins add to this oatmeal. If you’re not a raisin fan you can sub in dates, figs or skip them all together.
cinnamon – for a little spice.
vanilla extract – a flavor enhancer.
ground flaxseed – instead of an egg, we’re using flaxseed to help bind the dish together. You can swap the flaxseed for 1 large egg if you prefer.
unsweetened vanilla almond milk – any non-dairy milk works but I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk. You can make your own following my homemade almond milk recipe.
maple syrup – pure maple syrup is the perfect natural sweetener to use for baked oatmeal in my opinion!
sea salt – to bring all of the flavors together.
maple cream cheese glaze – this is optional, but highly recommended! The glaze is what takes this baked oatmeal to the next level. It’s a delicious combination of cream cheese, maple syrup, almond milk, and vanilla. To make the glaze vegan, just use vegan cream cheese!
How to Make Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal
Ready to make this delicious dish? It really doesn’t get much easier… simply add all ingredients for the carrot cake baked oatmeal into a large bowl, mix and pour into a baking dish. Another option is to mix everything together right in your baking dish! Pop it in the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes.
The other part of this recipe is making the maple cream cheese glaze. And let me tell you, even though it is an extra step and totally optional, it is #worthit.
All you have to do is whisk the glaze ingredients together! After the oatmeal is done baking, let it cool for a few minutes and then drizzle the glaze on top. Make sure every serving gets a little of the glaze!
There you have it! A super simple baked oatmeal recipe that is fancy enough for a special occasion like Easter or Mother’s Day, but also perfect for breakfast any day of the week.
What if I don’t have ground flaxseed?
If you don’t need this recipe to be vegan, you can use 1 large egg instead of the flaxseed. You could also use chia seeds or skip the binder altogether. I’ve found that the baked oatmeal still turns just fine without using the egg or flaxseed.
What can I swap the walnuts with?
You can swap for a different nut or seed of choice or omit if you’d like.
Can I make baked oatmeal ahead of time?
Yes, you can totally make baked oatmeal ahead of time. See below for my suggestions on how to prep this recipe in advance.
Can you swap rolled oats for steel cut oats or quick oats?
You can use steel cut or quick/instant oats for baked oatmeal, but you need to follow a recipe that calls for those oats because the liquid ratio is different. I do have a baked steel cut oatmeal recipe I would suggest if you’re looking for a recipe that calls for steel cut oats.
Can I add protein powder to baked oatmeal?
I’ve added a scoop of protein powder without adding in more liquid and it turned out just fine! If you’re adding more than one scoop of protein powder you might want to add more liquid.
My baked oatmeal turned out soggy. What happened?
This recipe is a bit soft, but shouldn’t be too soggy. If yours turns out super gooey or soggy, you might need to cook it longer.
Can You Make Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal Ahead of Time?
This baked oatmeal takes a little over an hour to make so if you want to get a jump start on the prep, you totally can. Either of these options will work great if you want to make the baked oatmeal ahead of time for brunch (or for your meal prep).
Option 1: Bake and Then Reheat Before Serving
Prepare baked oatmeal as the recipe suggests. Once baked, let the oatmeal cool, cover the baking dish and place the oatmeal and the maple cream cheese glaze in the fridge. You can do this 1-2 days in advance.
When ready to serve, take oatmeal dish from fridge, cover with foil and reheat in a 350°F oven for about 20 minutes. For individual portions, set toaster oven to 350°F and bake for 5-10 minutes or reheat in the microwave for 1 minute. If the oatmeal seems a little dry, add a splash of milk when serving.
Option 2: Prep as Much as You Can Without Baking
Mix together your dry ingredients in a bowl, cover and let sit out on the counter until morning.
Mix together all the wet ingredients in another bowl, cover and store in the fridge until morning.
In the morning, simply mix the wet and dry ingredients together, pour oatmeal mixture into your prepared baking dish and bake as recipe suggests.
Make maple cream cheese glaze while the oatmeal bakes.
What to Serve with Baked Oatmeal
This baked oatmeal is perfect for being the star of your holiday brunch! Here’s what else I would serve it with:
As I mentioned, this baked oatmeal is a great meal prep recipe. You can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. When freezing, I recommend cutting the oatmeal into portions, wrapping each in plastic wrap and placing the portions in a large freezer bag. The individual servings make it easier for reheating.
To reheat the entire pan of baked oatmeal: cover with foil and reheat in the oven at 350ºF for about 20 minutes or until warm.
To reheat individual portions: set oven or toaster oven to 350ºF and bake for 5-10 minutes. You can also reheat in the microwave for 1 minute. Once warm, add your toppings and enjoy!
Preheat oven to 375°F and line a 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Add all ingredients for the baked oatmeal in a large bowl and stir until combined.
Pour into prepared baking dish and bake for 50-60 minutes. Check it around 45 minutes and if the top is getting too brown, cover with foil for the remaining time. The baked oatmeal will still be a little soft to the touch but should be cooked through and not jiggly in the middle.
While the oatmeal is baking, prepare the glaze by whisking together the whipped cream cheese, maple syrup, almond milk and vanilla in a small bowl.
Remove baked oatmeal from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes to cool before serving. Drizzle some of the glaze over each portion when serving.
Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
To reheat the whole baked oatmeal, cover with foil and reheat in a 350°F oven for about 20 minutes. For individual portions, set oven (or toaster oven) to 350°F and bake for 5-10 minutes or reheat in the microwave for 1 minute.
Glaze is optional! If you want to keep this recipe vegan or dairy-free simply omit the glaze or use vegan cream cheese to make the glaze.