How To Make Tender Baked Oatmeal Cups

How To Make Tender Baked Oatmeal Cups

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Meghan Splawn
Mar 21, 2017
(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

These baked oatmeal cups are not your average oat muffin. Nope, crack into the thin, crispy exterior of these muffin pan masterpieces and you'll find a moist, creamy interior brimming with breakfast-friendly sweetness and warm spices. One taste and you'll wonder where these hearty, portable breakfast bites have been all your life.

Tender baked oatmeal cups are all about taking the things we love most about baked oatmeal, customizing it for every eater in your kitchen, and turning it into a grab-and-go breakfast or snack. This recipe is pretty basic and easily adaptable, so I bet you have everything you need to make them in your kitchen right now. While you're checking, preheat the oven — you are going to want to bake these ASAP.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

Everything You Need to Know About Baking Muffin Cups

Baked oatmeal cups are essentially a hearty oat muffin, so you'll see that the recipe below is mixed via the muffin method: Wet ingredient and dry ingredients are mixed together in separate bowls before they're combined. However, baked oatmeal cups do not include flour, so the mixture is held together with a combination of egg, dairy, and applesauce. Nut butter is added to the wet mixture for flavor and texture. Portion the batter into a muffin pan and top the cups with your favorite oatmeal toppings before baking.

Here are some pointers for making tender and tasty oatmeal cups that never bake up dry.

Use cooking spray, not muffin liners.

Coat a standard 12-well muffin tin with cooking spray instead of using muffin liners. The baked oatmeal cups benefit from direct contact with the baking pan, resulting in a thin, crisp outer layer. Plus, this means you won't have to fight the finished cups out of the paper liner.

Make them gluten-free (if you want).

These baked oatmeal cups do not require any flour, so use gluten-free oats to make these truly gluten-free. You can also omit the nut butter if you have a nut allergy at home.

Use your favorite combination of sweeteners.

Baked oatmeal cups get their sweetness from a combination of applesauce and maple syrup, but you can easily swap the applesauce for another fruit purée — try mashed bananas, canned pumpkin purée, or even one of your kid's vegetable squeeze pouches. The same goes for sweeteners — maple syrup can be replaced with honey, or you can use a few tablespoons of brown sugar instead.

Top the oatmeal cups with add-ins.

Instead of folding the nuts or dried fruit into the baked oatmeal, sprinkle them on top. This makes it easy to make a batch with several different flavors and customize cups for picky eaters.

Store in the fridge.

These portable oatmeal cups bake up moist and tender, thanks to the milk and fruit. Store them in the refrigerator so they'll last longer; reheat in the microwave or toaster oven to rewarm.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

Have Them Your Way

Its hard to overstate how adaptable this recipe is. Keep the number of eggs, the amount of liquid, and the measure of oats the same, and you can tinker with the other ingredients, making these an ideal vehicle for using up small amounts of pantry ingredients.

Here are some of my favorite combinations.

  • Use pumpkin purée and top with chopped dried apples and pumpkin seeds.
  • Use mashed banana and top with dried blueberries and chopped walnuts.
  • Top the oatmeal cup with mini chocolate chips and plump dried cherries.
  • Swap the almond butter for cashew butter and top with chopped cashews and dried mango.
(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

How to Store and Serve Baked Oatmeal Cups

These baked muffin cups store best in the refrigerator in an airtight container for about five days. They can also be individually wrapped and stored in the freezer for at least a month. Reheat the cups in the microwave or toaster over to enjoy on a cold morning, or eat them cold. You can break them up to serve over yogurt or even in milk. Cut them in half and slather with more nut butter, cream cheese, or jelly for a really luxurious baked oatmeal experience.

How To Make Tender Baked Oatmeal Cups

Makes 12 muffin cups

What You Need

Ingredients
Cooking spray
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk (any kind)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (or other fruit purée, such as mashed banana or canned pumpkin)
1/4 cup nut butter or 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter or coconut oil
1/4 cup maple syrup or honey, or 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, coconut flakes, or chocolate chips (optional)
1/2 cup raisins or other chopped dried fruit (optional)

Equipment
Measuring cups and spoons
12-well muffin tin
Medium bowl
Whisk
Rubber spatula
Wire cooling rack

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven and grease muffin pan: Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F. Coat the wells of a standard 12-well muffin tin very well with cooking spray.
  2. Mix the wet ingredients: Place the eggs, milk, applesauce, nut butter, maple syrup, and vanilla in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth.
  3. Add the dry ingredients: Add the oats, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt and fold with a rubber spatula until combined.
  4. Fill the muffin tin: Divide the oatmeal mixture among the muffin wells, filling each one up to the top.
  5. Top the muffins: Sprinkle the muffins with the nuts and dried fruit if using. Gently press the toppings into the batter.
  6. Bake until golden: Bake until slightly risen, dry on top, and golden-brown, 25 to 30 minutes.
  7. Cool for 5 minutes: Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Run a knife around each muffin and remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Recipe Notes

  • Storage: Muffins can be kept an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Freezing: Individually wrap any muffins you won't eat within a few days in plastic wrap and freeze. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator. Once defrosted, they can also be reheated in the microwave for about 45 seconds if you prefer them warm.
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