Crunchy Top Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal (Muffins Optional)
I’m always a little sad when I eat my last juicy peach of the summer. My mood quickly cheers, however, when I think ahead to pumpkin!
For a quick pumpkin fix, I enjoy stirring a quarter cup of pumpkin puree into a serving of basic stovetop oatmeal. For a muffin-like version of oatmeal that my whole family enjoys, I turn to this baked oatmeal recipe.
I have long relied on homemade baked oatmeal as an easy, economical, and wholesome way to start the day. Store-bought versions can be delicious but often contain more sugar and oil than oats. Doing it yourself allows you to control the ingredients in a way that still tastes great. This version is sweet enough to satisfy our tastes and cleverly uses the natural sweetness of a freshly grated apple.
There’s probably no food I have experimented with more than baked oatmeal, and I have created many variations of the original, which reminds me of eating a warm oatmeal cookie for breakfast. One thing is certain, the recipe is forgiving and can be adapted in a myriad of ways. So feel free to try it first as written, and then adjust to personal taste by adding some nuts, raisins, shredded coconut, or a little extra pumpkin.
For those who need to keep added sugars to a minimum, the sugar in this recipe can be easily reduced by omitting the topping–although there is something quite special about that sweet crunch on top. As an option, you can forgo or reduce the maple syrup that’s mixed into the oatmeal and keep the crunchy topping. Because it’s right on top, a small amount goes a long way.
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup maple syrup (may substitute honey)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (see note*)
- 1/4 cup melted butter (can also use coconut or canola oil)
- 1/2 cup 100% pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 small apple, grated (I leave skin on)
- 1 1/4 cups milk (I like almond milk; use what you prefer)
- 3 cups old-fashioned oats
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- Butter a 2-quart baking dish or muffin tins. I like a 9-inch square pan or a 10-inch cast iron skillet. (A 9-inch pie plate or 8-inch square pan work, too, if you prefer a thicker baked oatmeal. These pans will require a few extra minutes of cook time.)
- In a large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients except the oats and brown sugar. Then add the oats and mix until thoroughly combined.
- Transfer the mixture to the baking dish or muffin tins. (See notes**) Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or at least 2 hours.
- In the morning, set the uncooked oatmeal on counter while the oven preheats to 375 degrees F. Bake for 27-30 minutes (or about 20 minutes for a muffin pan), or until the oatmeal is just cooked through the center. Remove the pan from oven, sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over top of oatmeal and broil for one minute, watching very closely, or until the sugar melts and begins to caramelize.
- Serve warm with milk, fruit and/or nuts, if desired. Great leftover. Freezes well.
*Pumpkin pie spice is a combination of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice. If you do not have the pumpkin pie spice, use any combination of these that you like, or simply use cinnamon.
**When baking as muffins, I refrigerate the uncooked oatmeal in the mixing bowl and transfer it to the muffin tin once the liquid has been absorbed by the oats. You can make 8 regular muffins or 6 jumbo.
I am always experimenting with my recipes and here is my latest trick: For those who like a little extra “texture”, mix two tablespoons of steel cut oats into the batter and proceed as usual. A quarter to a half cup of chopped nuts and/or shredded coconut are other good options.