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This easy baked oatmeal is full of moist shredded carrots, crunchy nuts, warm spices, and hearty oats. All the classic carrot cake flavor without all the layers or the frosting!
If you’ve ever perused my site, you know I am a carrot cake connoisseur (official job title aside from wife, mom, and recipe developer). In fact, in 2021, I finally shared my beloved carrot walnut cake recipe (also in cupcake form!) and you all loved it.
Alongside that cake and those cupcakes, I actually have a few other carrot-cake inspired recipes around these parts including carrot cake waffles, soft-baked carrot cake granola, and carrot cake coconut macaroons.
What I love so much about carrot cake is how it takes an unsuspecting vegetable and turns it into something on the sweeter side while still maintaining a level of earthiness that reminds you these ingredients came from nature herself.
But today is all about those carrots surrounded by sweet and aromatic vanilla, warm spices, and slightly bitter walnuts. What a combination!
The ingredient list for this carrot cake oatmeal bake is simple, and you’ll see that it’s very similar to that of my carrot cake, except we’re leaving out any flour and we’re not using butter or oil to hold anything together (does that mean we can call this “healthy carrot cake,” or is that pushing the limit?).
That means that, as written, this carrot cake baked oatmeal is completely gluten-free, and you can easily make it dairy-free or vegan as well.
The base of the oatmeal is old fashioned oats (do not use quick oats), cinnamon, a touch of nutmeg, salt, and baking powder.
The wet ingredients consist of unsweetened applesauce (consider making your own!), brown sugar, milk (use something like unsweetened almond milk or oat milk if you want to keep it dairy free), one egg (make a flax egg to keep it vegan), and fresh carrots (shredded, of course).
I love adding nuts to my baked oatmeal recipes, but you can certainly leave them out if you have an intolerance/allergy or simply don’t like them. You could even replace them with raisins, if you prefer!
WHY USE VANILLA EXTRACT?
One last ingredient that you’ll add to this carrot cake baked oatmeal that I don’t actually include in the carrot cake recipe its modeled after is vanilla extract.
The reason I don’t use vanilla extract in my carrot cake or carrot cake cupcakes is because in those instances, we’re adding a creamy cream cheese frosting to the cake. Since this baked oatmeal is meant to be enjoyed as is, I did want to add a bit of a sweet complement to the whole dish in a simple way.
My favorite brand of vanilla extract (and a lot of other baking ingredients) is Rodelle, as they embody exactly what it means to be “fair trade,” working directly with vanilla famers in Madagascar to source their vanilla beans for their baking products. I have been working with them since 2016 and they are my go-to for Dutch processed cocoa, almond extract, and anything vanilla.
The particular vanilla extract I used in this carrot cake baked oatmeal recipe is Rodelle’s Fair Trade Vanilla Extract. You can use that link to find Rodelle products near you!
HOW TO MAKE BAKED OATMEAL
The process for putting together baked oatmeal is really simple.
You’ll combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, then combine the wet ingredients (minus the carrots) in a separate bowl.
Once everything is together, you’ll fold in the carrots and nuts, if using, to round out the mixture.
Then, all you have left to do is bake it!
This carrot cake baked oatmeal takes about 45 minutes to fully bake, at which point, you don’t have to wait to dig in (another plus to making your carrot cake baked oatmeal style instead of waiting for cake layers to cool before you can even do anything with them).
You can bake this baked oatmeal in a large casserole dish or you can turn it into baked oatmeal cups in a muffin pan. See the recipe notes for instructions on that method.
What I love most about baked oatmeal is how versatile it is to eat. I usually like mine warmed in a bowl with milk (use your milk of choice if cows milk is not your preference), but I’ve also eaten it more like a slice of cake (emulating the classic dessert) with some pure maple syrup drizzled on top.
This baked oatmeal recipe makes a great simple and hearty breakfast, an easy snack, or a way to curb that craving for regular carrot cake. No, it’s not just like eating cake, but it can get the job done!
We also love whipping up a batch of baked oatmeal on a Sunday night so we have easy breakfasts for the busy mornings of the school and work week.
Cut it up into individual servings so it’s ready to go, keep it all together so you can enjoy at your own leisure, or check out those instructions for muffin-style oatmeal cups. Whatever you do, don’t miss out on my personal favorite way to enjoy cake for breakfast… Sort of.
Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal Recipe
- 2 and ½ cups (200g) old fashioned oats1
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 and ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (244g) unsweetened applesauce2
- ⅓ cup (67g) firmly packed light brown sugar
- ¼ cup (60mL) milk any
- 2 teaspoons Rodelle Fair Trade Vanilla Extract
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup shredded carrots approximately 1 large carrot
- ½ cup (40g) chopped nuts optional; I like walnuts
- Preheat oven to 350ºF (177ºC). Spray a 2.5 quart casserole dish (or 8" or 9" square baking dish) with non-stick spray. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine oats, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In another medium bowl, whisk together the unsweetened applesauce, brown sugar, milk, vanilla, and egg until smooth. Add to dry ingredients and stir until all of the oats are coated.
- Carefully stir in shredded carrots and nuts, if using. Pour batter into prepared baking dish, dispersing mixture evenly, and bake uncovered for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown and oats no longer feel moist when you touch them. Serve immediately. I like mine in a bowl with milk. Baked oatmeal will keep well in refrigerator, covered, up to 5 days. Unbaked oatmeal freezes well, up to 3 months. Thaw in refrigerator or at room temperature, then bake as usual.
- Old fashioned oats: do not use quick oats. The recipe will not turn out the proper texture. Be sure to use certified gluten free oats if you want to keep this recipe truly gluten free.
- Unsweetened applesauce: if you prefer sweetened applesauce, reduce brown sugar to ¼ cup.
- Vanilla extract: my preferred brand of vanilla extract is Rodelle.
- To double recipe: bake in 9″ x 13″ baking dish. Increase baking time by 4-5 minutes.
All nutritional values are approximate and provided to the reader as a courtesy. Changing ingredients and/or quantities will alter the estimated nutritional calculations.