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Carrot Cake Oatmeal (baked)

A dollop of yogurt and drizzle of maple syrup make this baked carrot cake oatmeal crazy good. Satisfying, nutritious and super convenient.

Bake, cut into squares, freeze, then heat a square or two in the microwave for 1 minute when you want a quick on-the-go healthy breakfast or snack. The oatmeal squares are also a great addition to a brunch buffet.

My friend Judi makes this carrot cake baked oatmeal all the time and passed it on to me. The recipe is from Oh She Glows and it’s a great one.

These easy breakfast squares hold together well, but are nice and moist with an oatmeal-y texture.

What’s to love about carrot cake oatmeal

The taste: The oatmeal bake has the flavors or carrot cake but guilt free. It’s sweet and a little chewy with some crunch if you add nuts. Toppings can take it over the top. 

Healthy ingredients : The carrot oatmeal is packed with fiber-rich whole grain oats, carrots (high in beta carotene, vitamin K and potassium), nuts and dried fruit. And only 150 calories per square (ok, not including the syrup). The recipe uses fresh ingredients, nothing processed.

So easy and convenient: The recipe is easy to make and I love that I can portion it, refrigerate or freeze the oatmeal squares and pop them into the microwave whenever I want. Super easy meal prep. To be honest, I eat them more for snacks or dessert than I do for breakfast. Judi often serves them for brunch.

Adaptable to your taste and dietary needsI’ve listed several variations, subsitutes and shortcuts below, including some of Judi’s tips that she’s learned with experience over the years. 

Tailor To Your Taste 

Adjust for dietary needs

  • Gluten free  – use certified gluten-free oats
  • Dairy free – instead of milk, use almond milk, soy milk, oat milk or coconut milk for example.
  • Nut free – leave out the nuts. 

Add-in options 

  • Nuts: some good choices are chopped almonds, cashews, pecans and walnuts. You can, of course, leave them out. 
  • Fruit:
    • For natural sweetness, I use chopped dates or raisins. Dried cranberries, cherries or currents would be good too. 
    • You can also add a grated or finely chopped apple or 1/2 cup crushed (well-drained) pineapple.
    • Add toasted coconut on top or into the oatmeal batter.
  • To add extra protein, beat 2-3 large eggs (or a flax egg for vegans) in a measuring cup then add enough milk to measure 2 1/2 cups in total. This results in a more cake-like texture.
  • Sweetness: If you prefer less sweet, use 1/4 cup maple syrup instead of 1/3 cup.
  • Extra nutrition: add 1 tablespoon of chia seeds or ground flax seeds. 

Topping options

  • Use any yogurt you like for a topping or none at all – Greek, vanilla, plain. I use zero fat vanilla yogurt.
  • For a bit of decadence, try topping the squares with coconut whipped cream from Oh She Glows.
  • Instead of maple syrup, use honey.
  • Or, how about topping the squares with a cream cheese frosting of cream cheese, a drop of milk and maple syrup

Stovetop version

How to make healthy carrot cake baked oatmeal 

Ingredients: grated carrots, baking powder, nuts, dates, oats, pure maple syrup, cinnamon, ginger, vanilla, salt (plus milk, not pictured)
Bake until golden brown.
Cut into individual portions and serve with yogurt and pure maple syrup if you like. Or freeze for an on-the-go breakfast.

Shortcuts

  • Instead of shredding the carrots with a grater, use the grater on your processor or simply grind the carrots finely in the processor (that’s what I did).
  • Ditch the carrot grating altogether and buy matchstick carrots.

Make Ahead 

  • The whole thing can be made ahead, cut into squares to refrigerate or freeze. You can freeze all the squares, then pop them into a zipper sealed bag or airtight container.  Or just wrap individually or two per bag, then freeze.
  • You can also prepare the ‘batter’, pour it into your casserole dish, then place covered overnight in the fridge. Bake the next morning.

Check out these other make-ahead breakfast treats

Or check out our full list of vegetarian brunch recipes for Mother’s Day.

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4.84 from 18 votes

Carrot Cake Oatmeal

A dollop of yogurt and drizzle of maple syrup make this baked carrot cake oatmeal crazy good. Satisfying, nutritious and super convenient. Bake it, cut it into squares, freeze it, then heat it in the microwave for 1 minute when you want a quick on-the-go healthy breakfast or snack. 
Prep Time12 mins
Cook Time35 mins
cool10 mins
Total Time57 mins
Course: Breakfrast, Snack
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 squares
Author: Cheryl

Ingredients

Dry Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups (180 grams) rolled oats (old fashioned oats) (steel-cut oats or quick oats should be ok too)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Wet ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (135 grams) lightly packed shredded carrots, about 3 carrots or finely grind them in processor
  • 2 1/2 cup (591 ml) milk (or almond milk, soy, or coconut milk)
  • 1/3 cup (79 ml) maple syrup (or brown sugar), use less if you like less sweet
  • 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (or 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh)
  • other great additions, Note 1

Topping

  • 1/2 cup (57 grams) chopped walnuts (or other chopped nuts)
  • 1/4 cup (36 grams) chopped pitted dates or raisins (or other chopped dried fruit)

Garnish/Serving suggestions

  • (optional): vanilla yogurt, maple syrup, cinnamon and/or extra shredded carrots

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375F/190C. Grease (or spray with oil) a 2 .5 quart/10-cup casserole (2.37 liter) baking dish e.g. 8" x 11", 7" x 11" or 9"x 9" (in cm: 20 x 28, 18 x 28, 23 x 23).
  • MIX DRY INGREDIENTS: In a large mixing bowl, mix together with a fork – oats, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger powder
  • MIX WET INGREDIENTS and COMBINE: In a separate bowl (medium size), mix together shredded carrot, milk, syrup, vanilla. Then add this to the dry ingredients in the larger bowl and stir to combine well.
  • ADD TOPPING AND BAKE: Pour oat mixture into baking dish. Press down with hands to ensure oatmeal sinks into milk. Sprinkle on walnuts and dates (or raisins) and press down slightly again. Bake for 32-37 minutes until edges are lightly golden brown (I bake for 35 minutes in a 7 x 11" pan – baking time will depend on size of pan). Inside texture will be moist. It firms up a bit when cooled. Cool for 10 minutes,
  • SERVE: Serve in bowls or cut into squares when cooled. Top with vanilla or plain yogurt, a drizzle of pure maple syrup, a sprinkle of cinnamon and/or extra shredded carrots if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes

  1. Optional great additions: 
    • You can also add a grated or finely chopped apple, 1/2 cup crushed (well-drained) pineapple or toasted coconut. 
    • To add extra protein, beat 2-3 eggs in a measuring cup then add enough milk to measure 2 1/2 cups in total. This results in a more cake-like texture.
    • For extra nutrition: add 1-2 tablespoons of chia seeds or ground flax seeds. 
  2. Variations:
    • Nuts: some good choices are chopped almonds, cashews, pecans and walnuts.
    • Dried Fruit: other options are dried cranberries, cherries or currents 
    • Toppings:
      • Use any yogurt you like for a topping – Greek yogurt, vanilla, plain. 
      • For a bit of decadence, try topping the squares with coconut whipped cream from Oh She Glows.
      • Instead of maple syrup, use honey.
      • Or, how about topping the squares with cream cheese, whisked with a drop of milk and maple syrup – like cream cheese icing!
  3. Dietary options
    • Gluten free  – use certified gluten-free oats
    • Dairy free – use dairy-free milk such as almond milk, soy milk, oat milk or coconut milk for example.
    • Nut free – leave out the nuts. 
  4. Make Ahead/Freeze/Store 
    • To make the night before: You can also prepare the ‘batter’, pour it into your casserole dish, then place covered overnight in the fridge. Bake the next morning.
    • To store in fridge: The whole recipe can be made ahead, cut into squares and refrigerated for 3 days
    • To freeze: Flash freeze the squares on a pan for 30 minutes, then pop them into an airtight container and freeze up to 2 months. Or just wrap individually or two per bag, then freeze.
    • To warm: Warm the oatmeal baked squares in the microwave (from fridge, my squares take 20-30 seconds).  
 
Nutrition values are estimates for one square (1/12 of pan) and do not include extra add-ins or toppings like syrup or yogurt. 
 

Nutrition

Calories: 155kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 134mg | Potassium: 225mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 1932IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 118mg | Iron: 1mg
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12 Comments

  1. 4 stars
    I used some coconut greek yogurt on top and it was Devine ! Forgot to grease my baking dish however 🤦🏻‍♀️

    1. Glad you liked it Valerie. You’re right, eggs aren’t needed in the recipe but can be added for those who want more protein.

  2. I just made this with my nine month old in his high chair with no fuss because it was so fast to prep! I didn’t use the cake variation and I used oat milk instead of cow’s milk and added dates and the cream cheese topping. It was very moist, but still held together in really nice squares! Loved it, will be sharing and making again!

  3. 3 stars
    Next time i will alter amounts to be: 2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 cup oil (canola or melted butter), 3 cups oats, 2 eggs, and 1 cup milk. Everything else same. When following the instructions exactly using the 2 egg idea in the text above the recipe (because after reading the recipe i thought it for sure needed something like egg to hold the ingredients together), and after baking 35 mins and cooling, it still falls apart very easily in serving. The flavor is also pretty bland.

    1. Sorry your oatmeal squares didn’t work out for you Paige. I’ve made the recipe many times (without the eggs) and have not had any problem with them holding together, especially after they cool a bit. I also serve them with a blob of vanilla yogurt and maple syrup so no issue with the flavor! Hope they work out better for you next time if you try them again.