Crunchy Top Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal (Muffins Optional)

By Ann Fulton

Pumpkin and warm spices join a short list of kitchen staples in this hearty breakfast that may be prepped in advance and enjoyed throughout the week.
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Pumpkin and warm spices join a short list of kitchen staples in this hearty breakfast that may be prepped in advance and enjoyed throughout the week.


From sweet pies, muffins, cookies, and cakes to savory soups, vinaigrettes, and even butter, there are so many ways to enjoy pumpkin.

For a quick pumpkin fix, I’ve long enjoyed stirring a quarter cup of pumpkin puree and a hearty sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice into a serving of basic stovetop oatmeal, finishing with a sprinkle of brown sugar and a spoonful of chopped nuts.

For a muffin-like variation on the stovetop approach that my whole family enjoys, I turn to the following baked oatmeal recipe.

For years, I’ve 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, dare I say better? You can also work around most dietary restrictions, making the baked oatmeal dairy, gluten, soy, or nut-free as needed.

Along with the pumpkin, this baked oatmeal cleverly incorporates the natural sweetness and moisture of a freshly grated apple. If you’re in a hurry, a half cup of applesauce (or one of the pantry-stable, single-serve 4-ounce cups), may be substituted. That said, you can grate a small apple quickly with the aid of a handheld grater-no need to peel it either.

There is probably no food I have experimented with more than baked oatmeal, and I have created many seasonal renditions of my most basic recipe, which reminds me of eating a warm cinnamon oatmeal cookie for breakfast. If there’s one thing I’ve learned after preparing countless batches over the years, it’s that the recipe is very forgiving and can be adapted in a myriad of ways.

In other words, you can feel confident in the outcome no matter what kind of milk you use, if you use honey instead of maple syrup, or if you feel compelled to add nuts, raisins, shredded coconut, and so on.

I’ve made outright mistakes over the years, such as mixing up the baking soda and powder or absentmindedly adding too much milk or eggs. Despite the more egregious oversights, however, never has an outcome been bad. On occasion, a mistake has even led to a new recipe.

Note that I have burned the brown sugar topping, a seemingly bad outcome. (One would think I could walk away from the broiler for one minute without being distracted!) If the same should happen to you, the burned flecks can simply be scraped off. Now, of course, I stand beside the oven, watching attentively, until the sugar is caramelized. It doesn’t take long.


Pumpkin and warm spices join a short list of kitchen staples in this hearty breakfast that may be prepped in advance and enjoyed throughout the week.

The brown sugar topping balances the modest use of sweetener in the body of the oatmeal. It may be omitted (as it is in the photo, above) if you prefer a less sweet breakfast, although the crunch it provides is rather appealing. ; )

I credit this topping (shown in the photo, below) as what won my kids over to the world of oatmeal when they were little. I’ve always found that a little sugar goes a long way when it hits your tongue first. If you like the concept but ultimately prefer less sweetness, you may use two to three tablespoons as a happy medium. Optionally, you can reduce the maple syrup that’s mixed into the oatmeal and keep the crunchy topping. As mentioned, the recipe is flexible and forgiving.

Pumpkin and warm spices join a short list of kitchen staples in this hearty breakfast that may be prepped in advance and enjoyed throughout the week.

Note: As printed, the recipe is an update of the original recipe, which was first posted in 2012. In the original recipe, I used 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice. The pumpkin spice craze that has swept over the country in the years since seems to call for a slightly more assertive flavor. Diehard pumpkin spice fans may wish to further increase the spice to 2 teaspoons, or shore up the warm flavors with an extra sprinkle of cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg, and/or ginger. A small pinch of cloves would likely add a little something special as well.

Pumpkin and warm spices join a short list of kitchen staples in this hearty breakfast that may be prepped in advance and enjoyed throughout the week.

Another big thank you to the talented Donovan Witmer for coming to my kitchen and snapping photos. The pictured coffee and oatmeal in the dish were his breakfast…and he approved!

Pumpkin and warm spices join a short list of kitchen staples in this hearty breakfast that may be prepped in advance and enjoyed throughout the week.

A fun nutrition fact from our dietitian Emily:
Canned pureed pumpkin offers the same nutritious benefits as fresh pumpkin puree, and can be used in sweet and savory dishes alike. It’s high in fiber and contains a wide variety of vitamins, most notably Vitamin A. Though they may look similar, pureed pumpkin is different from pumpkin pie filling which includes sweeteners, spices, and other additives, and is typically used to make pumpkin pie.

For those who are curious…
The reason we don’t list nutritional breakdowns next to each recipe is because the numbers can change significantly depending on brands people buy and how exact the measuring is. In saying that, if you email me separately, I can provide you with my best estimations on the nutrients you would like to know more about in this recipe. I’m happy to help! 

Crunchy Top Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal (Muffins Optional)
Yield: 6 generous servings or 8-9 average pieces
Whether enjoyed hot from the oven or reheated throughout the week, this prep-ahead breakfast tastes like something you'd get from a fancy cafe–and is definitely worth waking up for!
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup (80g) maple syrup (may substitute honey)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice*
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup melted butter (may also use coconut** or vegetable oil of choice)
  • ½ cup (130g) 100% pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 small apple, grated (I leave skin on; could substitute ½ cup applesauce)
  • 1¼ cups (300ml) milk of choice
  • 3 cups (270g) old-fashioned oats (certified gluten-free if necessary)
  • ¼ cup (50g) brown sugar
  1. 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 deep dish 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.)
  2. 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.
  3. Transfer the mixture to the baking dish or muffin tins. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or at least 2 hours.***
  4. In the morning or when ready to bake, set the uncooked oatmeal on counter while the oven preheats to 375℉. Bake for 25 minutes, give or take 5 depending on oven and pan dimensions (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.
  5. Serve warm with milk, a dollop of yogurt, fruit and/or nuts-although plain is good, too. Leftovers may be covered and refrigerated. Gently reheat or enjoy cold. The baked oatmeal freezes well, too.
Notes & Helpful Hints

*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 using melted coconut oil, it is helpful to bring the cold ingredients to room temperature before mixing so the oil doesn’t immediately re-solidify upon contact. If little bits harden throughout when chilled, don’t worry. They will melt and redistribute when baked.
***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. In a time pinch you may bake the oatmeal right away. The rest gives the oats time to absorb the liquid and plump up, which slightly enhances the finished baked oatmeal.


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The Fountain Avenue Kitchen

originally posted 9-26-12

The photo above, from the original 2012 post, shows the oatmeal baked in a 10-inch cast iron skillet. It is just one of the many pan options that will work. The square baking dish, below, measures in between the standard 8- and 9-inch square pans. Any baking dish that is roughly a 2-quart size will work. You may choose based on what you own and whether you prefer a thinner or thicker baked oatmeal. Simply adjust the cooking time up or down a few minutes as needed, as a thinner oatmeal will cook faster than a thick one.

Pumpkin and warm spices join a short list of kitchen staples in this hearty breakfast that may be prepped in advance and enjoyed throughout the week.

I’m always experimenting with my recipes and here are a few other things I’ve tried: 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 offer other complementary options.


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  1. nona estabrook

    My mother in law would make oatmeal one day and the left over would go in a bowl till next day then take it out slice it off and fry it in butter and pour homemade syrup over the top it was awesome and my kids loved it .

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    1. Ann

      Hi Terri and thank you for asking. You are more than welcome to blog about this recipe. I have used this technique for other recipes, too. It is great for avoiding overcooked oatmeal and a lot of mess…makes a delicious breakfast easy!

  3. Sara

    Awesome! This is the 4th recipe I’ve tried from your site and so impressed with them all. My life is complete now that you have introduced me to baked oatmeal:)

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  5. Rila Hackett


    I’ve loved all of your baked oatmeal recipes and this one was no exception. I made two batches of it last week — one in a casserole dish and one in muffin form. I brought the muffins into work and they were a huge hit. Several folks asked for the recipe and it was so easy to copy the link and send it to them. Folks seem to really appreciate healthy, flavorful, and easy to make recipes. Thanks for giving us lots of options, Ann!

    1. Ann

      You are so kind to pass along the wonderful feedback, Rila! I am so glad you–and your coworkers–enjoyed this version and appreciate your passing along the link. That was so thoughtful of you to take a batch to work, by the way. Your coworkers are lucky to have you!

  6. Mary Lou Keller

    Just ate my piece I brought in and it is fabulous! Not too sweet, just right with the crunchy brown sugar glaze on top. So good Ann!

  7. Mary Lou Keller

    Thanks! I’m out the door usually by 6:30 in morning so having something ready to grab and eat at work makes much easier.
    I also did better job of carmelizing the brown sugar on top this time.
    This will make Monday bit easier to take knowing I have this to look forward to. 🙂

  8. Mary Lou Keller

    I made this today, assembled it this morning and put in the fridge and baked it later this afternoon. Smelled heavenly, but I am saving it for breakfast tomorrow. Can’t wait to try it!

    1. Ann

      I love it when I have a baked oatmeal ready to go first thing in the morning…makes the morning routine so easy! I hope you enjoy the pumpkin version and that you think it tastes as good as it smells: )

  9. Mary Lou Keller

    AH! Found another one I am going to make, and I have my great-great grandmother’s cast iron skillet to use, it will be perfect!

  10. Tricia

    sounds delicious – do you think you could completely replace the old fashioned oats with steel cut?? and do you have any info on the nutritional facts?

    1. Ann

      Hi Tricia,
      The texture would be different with all steel cut oats. I have cooked with them a lot, and after much experimentation, found a way to make them in a similar fashion. I will share that recipe one of these days soon! I haven’t entered my recipes into a calorie/nutrition program, but several people have mentioned two– and MyFitnessPal. I hope that helps!

  11. Mim &Jake Ober

    Great reviews on my muffins that i made for the coffee station today at church today !!! Iadded a few things to the recipe !!! I added cranraisins and nuts I also put steel oats As part of the oatmeal amount !!! I didn’t have enough oatmeal !! Everyone loved them !!! Keep giving ideas !!THANKS MIM

    1. Ann

      Thank you very much for the feedback, Mim! I am thrilled they were a hit at church. How wonderful of you to make them for everyone!

  12. Christine

    I made this today & it was great! I added some mascarpone (like in your peaches and cream baked oatmeal recipe) then sprinkled chopped walnuts along with the brown sugar on top. Very yummy. My husband had 2 servings!

      1. JANE

        Hi there – I just mixed the batter but didn’t read ahead that you recommend waiting 2 hrs. before baking. Would it spoil the dish if I didn’t wait? I want to cook ahead for this week’s breakfasts as I wouldn’t have time before work to cook it. Thanks.

        1. Ann Post author

          Hi Jane, In a time pinch you may absolutely bake the oatmeal right away. I’m sorry I didn’t see this comment right when you left it. Hope that you enjoy the baked oatmeal throughout the week!