Strawberries and Cream Baked Oatmeal

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Fresh, sweet flavor is the highlight of this seasonal favorite, which offers make-ahead convenience and countless ways to customize.

Fresh, sweet flavor is the highlight of this seasonal favorite, which offers make-ahead convenience and countless ways to customize. It’s a deliciously wholesome way to start your day, and in a pinch, frozen berries may be used.

 

 

 

 

I clearly remember the first time I served this seasonal addition of my original baked oatmeal recipe. My younger son, who was a rather picky fourth grader at the time, asked if I would make it for breakfast every day. After a few more bites, he asked if I could bring enough to school for a class snack. It was an unequivocal vote of approval from one of my toughest critics!

Because Overnight Crunchy Top Baked Oatmeal was such a hit with my readers when I first started this blog, I used that recipe as the initial springboard when I began creating seasonal variations.

Baked oatmeal, after all, offers a healthy, make-ahead breakfast with broad appeal. Even those who shun “mushy” stovetop oatmeal have been known to happily dig into this more muffin-like alternative. What could be better than a menu of flavors to choose among?

And if there’s anything I’ve learned over the many years of making baked oatmeals for my family, it’s that these recipes are endlessly versatile and incredibly forgiving.

Despite the fact that recipe perfection had seemingly been achieved, there is occasionally reason to deviate from the plan.

Perhaps you are out of an ingredient. Or maybe you’re cooking for someone with a food allergy. Maybe you’re trying to reduce your sugar intake. All of these issues and more can be accommodated easily and successfully within the following recipe framework.

A throwback photo from 2012!

 

How to adapt the recipe as written

For starters, to achieve the luxurious flavor of sweet cream suggested in the recipe title, I originally reached for coconut milk instead of traditional milk or actual cream. The mild tropical flavor pairs beautifully with the berries, and the use of coconut oil further complements the flavors and creates a delightful aroma while baking.

• In the years since I created the recipe, however, I’ve used almost every kind of milk with good results.

• Similarly, while I personally adore the subtle flavor afforded by coconut oil, melted butter or vegetable oil may be used instead. (Generally speaking, I use safflower oil as my go-to vegetable oil, but even a fruity or mild olive oil could be used here.)

This recipe is flexible that way. And there’s more.

• Don’t have fresh strawberries? While fresh, seasonal berries afford the best flavor and natural sweetness, frozen offer a worthy alternative. In this case, I don’t thaw the berries but rather allow them to sit at room temperature for a few minutes, which softens them just enough to easily slice with a sharp knife.

• If you really enjoy coconut and/or nuts, you may stir some in or use as a topping. ⇩⇩

Fresh, sweet flavor is the highlight of this seasonal favorite, which offers make-ahead convenience and countless ways to customize.

• Though the recipe calls for real maple syrup to be used in the oatmeal (and the flavor is lovely!), any type of sweetener, syrup or granular, could be used instead. Brown sugar is my top pick for the broiled topping, but coarse sugar or regular granulated would also work.

• Looking to reduce your sugar intake? You can scale back without dramatically changing the texture of the baked oatmeal. In my recipes, I do always try to use the least amount of sugar needed to achieve great taste. But to further decrease it in this case, I’d start by reducing the sweetener in the body of the recipe by a tablespoon or two. I would then reduce the broiled brown sugar topping to three tablespoons. Ultimately, the crunchy, sweet topping means that you get an initial taste of sweetness, which in turn makes it harder to detect less added sugar throughout.

• I initially used the grated apple to enhance flavor and reduce the amount of oil and sweetener needed, although I’ve used applesauce (even mashed overripe banana) many times since as a quick substitute. Conveniently, single serving applesauce cups are easy to have on hand and just the right size. When using an apple, I reach for a sweeter variety like Fuji or Honey Crisp and don’t bother to peel before grating (although you may).

• Additionally, I’ve mentioned a variety of pan sizes that may be used depending on what you have in your kitchen.

• Prefer to bake grab-and-go muffins instead of a casserole? There’s a simple adjustment for that, too. ⇩⇩

Fresh, sweet flavor is the highlight of this seasonal favorite, which offers make-ahead convenience and countless ways to customize.

• Finally, the oats will plump up and absorb the flavor of the liquidy mixture as they sit. ⇩⇩ So while I developed this recipe with the idea that it could be assembled the night before and baked in the morning, sometimes we just don’t want to wait. Happily, there are options in this department, too.

Fresh, sweet flavor is the highlight of this seasonal favorite, which offers make-ahead convenience and countless ways to customize.

So while my family has always adored this dish precisely as the recipe reads, they’ve been quite happy (and often unaware) when I’ve deviated. By sharing the many possibilities, I’m hoping you will feel confident to try with the ingredients you have on hand and to bake now or later, depending on what suits your schedule.

 

Fresh, sweet flavor is the highlight of this seasonal favorite, which offers make-ahead convenience and countless ways to customize.
Strawberries and Cream Baked Oatmeal
Yield: 8-9 servings
This delicious breakfast began as a prep-at-night, bake-in-the-morning recipe, and it works quite well that way. Over the years, however, I've discovered quite a few adjustments that can successfully be made, both in terms of baking method and flexibility of ingredients.
Ingredients
  • 1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk (I use light; could substitute milk of choice)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup (80g) pure maple syrup (could use honey)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ cup (60g) coconut oil, melted (could substitute melted butter or vegetable oil of choice)
  • ½ cup applesauce or one small apple, grated (may leave skin on)
  • 3 cups (288g) old fashioned oats
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup sliced or chopped strawberries, plus a few sliced berries reserved for the top
  • ¼ cup (48g) lightly packed brown sugar
  • Optional: ½ cup or so of unsweetened shredded coconut or slivered/sliced almonds (or chopped nuts of choice)
Instructions
  1. Grease a 9-inch square pan or 10-inch ovenproof skillet and set aside. (Alternatively, a 2-quart round casserole dish may be used. These are typically deeper, so the oatmeal will likely take an additional 5 minutes, give or take, to bake. An 8×12 Pyrex also works well, but a 9×13 is too big.) See notes for muffin adjustments. 
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the oats and the brown sugar. Stir in oats and combine well. (If using optional coconut or nuts, add them now. Optionally, you may simply sprinkle ¼ cup or so over the top before baking.) Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and spread to evenly distribute. Place the sliced, reserved strawberries on the top. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for as little as an hour or two, or as long as overnight. (It’s not a deal breaker if you bake immediately, but this gives the oats time to absorb the liquid and plump up, which slightly enhances the finished baked oatmeal.)
  3. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375℉. Allow the oatmeal to sit on the counter while the oven is preheating. Unwrap the oatmeal and bake for 25 minutes, give or take 5 minutes depending on oven and baking dish variances, or until just cooked through the middle. (Tip: start checking for doneness at 20 minutes until you know how long this takes in your oven.)
  4. Remove from the oven, switch the oven setting to broil, and sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the top. Broil the oatmeal for about one minute, watching very closely so as not to burn, or until the sugar is melted and the top is golden.
  5. Serve and storing: The baked oatmeal may be served hot, room temperature or cold from the fridge. You may eat the oatmeal as is or drizzled with milk, additional fruit, and/or nuts. I usually bake the day before for an at-the-ready breakfast the next morning and like to gently reheat individual pieces in the microwave. The oatmeal will keep for up to a week when tightly covered and refrigerated. It freezes well, too.
Notes

When making muffins, refrigerate the uncooked oatmeal mixture in the mixing bowl, and then transfer it to the muffin tin once the liquid has been absorbed by the oats. Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until cooked through. Often, I will top the muffins with a teaspoon of brown sugar, some sliced almonds, and a slice of strawberry prior to baking instead of following the broil step. The recipe yields 8 regular muffins or 6 jumbo.

Helpful hint: If I’m making muffins and want to bake them sooner than later, I reduce the milk to 1¼ cups, as it’s difficult to evenly distribute a soupy oat mixture to the muffin tins. This isn’t necessary with the baking dish version, and I do ultimately prefer the recipe with the higher amount of liquid.

A few more things:
For a slightly less sweet topping, you may reduce the brown sugar topping by a tablespoon or two.
Fresh, seasonal strawberries provide the best flavor and natural sweetness, but I have made this oatmeal many times with frozen berries, and it still tastes quite good. In this case, don’t thaw the berries. You will be able to slice them easily with a sharp knife once they have sat at room temperature for just a few minutes.

The Fountain Avenue Kitchen https://fountainavenuekitchen.com/
Fresh, sweet flavor is the highlight of this seasonal favorite, which offers make-ahead convenience and countless ways to customize.

Occasionally, I bake the oatmeal in a 10-inch springform pan so I can transfer it to a cake platter. (I put candles in it for a fun birthday breakfast cake” and sometimes pipe letters on it with melted white chocolate!) Your largest spatula will aid in transferring the baked oatmeal from springform pan to serving platter. If you use a springform pan, allow the oat mixture to rest in the mixing bowl for at least an hour or two, and then transfer to the pan for baking. The oats will absorb the liquid and reduce the possibility of liquid seeping through the crevices of the pan. For added leak protection, place the pan on a baking sheet or wrap the bottom with a piece of aluminum foil prior to baking.

Fresh, sweet flavor is the highlight of this seasonal favorite, which offers make-ahead convenience and countless ways to customize.

 

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Comments

    1. Ann

      Thanks, Sarah! I make baked oatmeal a lot because my kids love it, too. You may like the original and pumpkin version also. I have a few different recipes I really must share, too. Hope you like!

      Reply
    1. Ann

      Thanks for the thoughtful comments, Joan and Allison. The way my boys eat this, I could make a double batch several times a week: ) The advance prep does make the morning routine easier!

      Reply
  1. Javelin Warrior

    I am featuring this post in today’s Friday Food Fetish roundup (with a link-back and attribution), but please let me know if you have any objections. It’s a pleasure to be following your creations…

    Reply
    1. Ann

      Thank you for asking and you are most welcome to share! I will pop over to check out the other recipes!

      Reply
  2. Stacie Skelly

    Oh my word! I have tried several of your baked oatmeals and loved them all, however got some strawberries at market over the weekend and decided to try this one for something new. I mixed it up this afternoon with the intention of baking tomorrow, however decided to bake it tonight and then couldn’t wait to taste! Again, oh my word! Definitely my favorite! Love, love, love! I keep going back through the kitchen to snitch another bite.

    Reply
    1. Ann

      Hi Stacie! You sound like me! I can never wait and am always stealing bites: ) I am thrilled you loved this one. Coincidently, my younger son just asked for it so I might need to get some of those strawberries, too!

      Reply
  3. Stacie

    Meck’s had really nice ones! FYI, my husband and oldest son, (who actually prefers his baked oatmeal plain), both loved this version as well. Kind of bummed, because that means it’s going to go fast!

    Reply
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    1. Ann

      Thanks so much for the great comment, Emma, and welcome! So glad to find another oatmeal fan. If you like this recipe, I have quite a few variations you may enjoy, too!

      Reply
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  7. Triina

    I’ve never baked oatmeal before. Can I use quick rolled oats instead of old fashioned oats? Is there a difference?

    Reply
    1. Ann

      Quick and old fashioned (also called 5 minute) oats are the same nutritionally speaking, but the old fashioned oats are a thicker cut. They are, therefore, a bit sturdier and will create a better texture in the baked oatmeal. If you use quick oats, the end result would probably taste good but not have quite the same texture. I hope this help, Triina!

      Reply
  8. Amie

    My boys go through several of your baked oatmeals every week. I have to get the huge bags of oats from Costco to keep up with the demand for the oatmeal and granola. It’s only going to get worse as the get older 🙂

    Reply
  9. Lois

    Ann …………Awesome. Got up this morning and baked it before we went to church. Will spread this recipe to friends and family. Big thank you again!

    Reply
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  11. Becky

    I’ve made your apple version of this baked oatmeal many, many times and love it. But I had to comment and let you know how delicious this version is! I made it for the first time this morning, and my son gobbled it up and asked for more. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Ann

      Thank you for the great comment, Becky! Although the apple version was my first and original favorite, there are now many other versions that we enjoy as much. This one happens to be my younger son’s favorite!

      Reply
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  13. shasta

    I am anxious to try this for my family. Would you mind sharing what brand of oats you use? Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Ann

      Hi Shasta,
      I have used a variety of different brands, all with good results. Typically, however, I use Bob’s Red Mill or oats available in bulk at one local store. They key for this recipe is choosing the type labeled as rolled or old fashioned oats, which are the kind that cook in 5 minutes (as opposed to quick, instant, or steel cut oats). Hope that helps!

      Reply
  14. KC

    Made 2 batches, one for home one for my dear brother. Also put coconut on top. Everyone loves this and we will make again and again. Thank you!

    Reply
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  16. Rila

    We went strawberry picking the other day and figured it was the perfect timing to make this recipe. We loved it! Thanks for a great recipe!

    Reply
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  18. Thrift at Home

    One of my friends just recommended this recipe to me and it looks so good. However, I have only frozen strawberries right now. . . what are your thoughts on using those in this recipe? I froze some strawberries last summer because we weren’t going through them quickly enough and now I don’t know what to do with them (other than smoothies).

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      I’ve made this with frozen strawberries, partially thawed, and it worked beautifully. Hope you enjoy!

      Reply
  19. Mary Chairs

    So far this is my dad’s favorite! I didn’t have applesauce so I grated an apple. I put in coconut and strawberries. Perfection!

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Fantastic, Mary! Coincidently, I just returned from Market having bought more strawberries with this in mind…among other things. Strawberries are so good right now!

      Reply