Lest you think I’ve been giving pumpkin all the love so far this fall, let me set the record straight.  Both pumpkin and apples have been seeing plenty of action in my kitchen in the last few weeks in many forms.  Surprisingly the leading apple dish so far is not a dessert at all.  It’s this apple cinnamon baked oatmeal.  This rendition of baked oatmeal arose when I signed up to bring in breakfast for my coworkers.  Per my usual, I waited until the last minute to decide what to make and then I was scrambling.  The pumpkin cream cheese muffins have long been a coworker favorite so that was a no-brainer, but as much as I wish cupcakes disguised as muffins could pass for a well-rounded breakfast, I know that’s not the case.

A bit of brainstorming and scrounging through our pantry led to this variation on one of our other favorite breakfasts, baked pumpkin oatmeal.  Bananas are replaced with cooked cinnamon apples, applesauce is subbed for pumpkin, and dried cranberries and/or raisins are tossed in for good measure.  I knew this was bound to turn out well, but I made a very, very large batch to bring in to work and after seeing it come out of the oven, I worried only a small fraction would get eaten.  I mean, this doesn’t exactly win in a beauty contest against those sassy little muffins.  But there was no need to worry.  The dish was fully devoured and many people were asking for the recipe.  So here we have it!  Keep in mind that a good amount of prep for this dish can be done in advance.  I cooked the apples, mixed up the dry ingredients, and whisked the wet ingredients together the night before baking.  The next morning all that was required was soaking the steel cut oats, mixing everything together, and baking.  This is breakfast comfort food in my book.

  • Yield about 8 servings


For the cooked apples:
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
3 large apples, peeled and sliced (your favorite variety)
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tbsp. brown sugar

For the oatmeal:  
1 cup steel cut oats
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
4 cups hot water
3 cups old-fashioned oats
6 tbsp. brown sugar
¾ tsp. salt
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. grated nutmeg
1 cup dried fruit, such as cranberries or raisins
½ cup milk
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
¼ cup pure maple syrup
2 tsp. vanilla extract


  • 01

    Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Stir in the apple slices, cinnamon, and sugar.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are golden brown and caramelized, about 15 minutes.  Remove from the heat.

  • 02

    Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Place the steel cut oats in a large bowl with the butter.  Pour the hot water over the oats and cover the bowl.  Let stand for 20 minutes.

  • 03

    After the steel cut oats have finished soaking, stir in the old fashioned oats, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Stir in the dried fruit.  In a bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the milk, apple sauce, maple syrup, and vanilla.  Stir the liquid mixture into the oat mixture.

  • 04

    Spread the cooked apples over the bottom of a lightly greased 2 quart-ish baking dish.  Pour the oatmeal mixture on top of the apples.  Bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving.