An easy and comforting breakfast, this vegan apple spice baked oatmeal is made from basic pantry ingredients and amazing Cosmic Crisp Washington state apples. This healthy baked oatmeal recipe is also gluten-free, yet decadent with notes of caramel and warming spices.
This post is sponsored by Cosmic Crisp® Washington state apples however all thoughts and opinions are my own.
A versatile cozy breakfast
I love making breakfast on the weekend- there is no rush to get out the door for school or work, and time tends to tick a little slower. Baked oatmeal is a wonderful way to savor a slow morning. This recipe comes together quickly, involves little preparation, and you can relax with a coffee or tea while its baking, filling your home with the most amazing aroma.
Slow morning aside, did you know this rustic breakfast can also be made in advance and reheated for quick and healthy breakfast during the week? It can!
This version of baked oatmeal is basically apple pie meets healthy oatmeal; it's so good. This recipe is also fairly versatile and can be served with yogurt, milk, or totally on its own (see below notes for optional add-ons and substitutions).
How to make this Flavorful Vegan Baked Oatmeal
This cozy vegan apple spice baked oatmeal is super easy to make. To make this recipe, you'll need only a few very basic ingredients:
- Rolled oats
- Flax meal
- Almond flour
- Brown sugar or coconut sugar
- Baking powder
- Cinnamon and nutmeg
- Almond milk
- Maple syrup or honey
- Olive oil
- Diced apples
After prepping the apples, this recipe is as simple as tossing ingredients in a bowl, pouring it into an 8x8 inch baking dish and baking it.
This Vegan Apple Spice Baked Oatmeal is
- Gluten free (if you use certified gluten free ingredients)
- Comforting and aromatic
- Sweet and cake-like, yet healthy
- Made from everyday staple ingredients
- Able to be made ahead
- Easy to make and store
Apple Variety Matters
Not all apples are equal. Some apples are better for baking and cooking, while others should be for snacking only. There are quite a few apple varieties that don't bake well and, as such, shouldn't be used for this recipe.
Bottom line, mushy grainy apples are not a pleasant mouthfeel and will make your baked goods less than great. There are many apples varieties that work for baking and in order for an apple to be suitable for baking, they should be:
- Firm in order to hold their shape
- Sweet so they add additional flavour
- Juicy so they don't dry out.
Cosmic Crisp Washington state apples: a stellar new apple variety
So what makes a perfect apple in my book? Foremost, it has to be sweet. It also has to be firm and crisp with a skin that yields to my bite. And because apples are one of my favourite fruits to bake with, it also needs withstand heat without becoming mushy.
Cosmic Crisp® apples are all of the above, and then some.
Cosmic Crisp apples are a non-GMO, classically bred apple grown in the Pacific Northwest. They are are a cross between Enterprise and Honeycrisp apples and were naturally bred over a period of 20 years at Washington State University to create a beautiful, tasty, natural, and all around perfect apple.
Cosmic Crisp® Washington state apples are crispier and sweeter than other varieties. They're also large and juicy with a remarkably crunchy texture - they almost *snap* when you bite into them!
Moreover, these apples are great for baking- they withstand the heat of my oven and hold their shape well. They also impart natural sweetness to baked goods.
Cosmic Crisps are Slow to Brown
Another noteworthy quality - Cosmic Crisp® apples are slow to brown. If you have a little kiddo like mine that takes a few bites of an apple and leaves it, well, their slow browning nature means I can salvage those half eaten apples when I find them lying around the house.
Furthermore, when it comes to baking and cooking, the slow browning quality means I can slice them without needing to rush through the rest of my prep- unlike regular apples, they'll stay fresh looking longer. Side note: as a food stylist and photographer, I love this trait.
Overall, Cosmic Crisp apples are a perfect combination of taste, texture, and usability- they are easily my new favourite apple.
Tips to make this recipe
Overall, baked oatmeal with apples is very easy to make. However, there are some key points worth nothing to make sure you get stellar results:
- Use Rolled oats - quick oats can make baked oatmeal mushy and somewhat unappealing
- Use Fresh, unblemished apples- see the next paragraph on how to keep apples fresh; they are infinitely better
- Use an apple variety suitable for baking-as noted above, Cosmic Crisp® apples are a great baking apple and work perfectly in this recipe (peeled or unpeeled).
- Cool in the pan for minimum 20 minutes -this makes for easy serving and cutting and helps the oatmeal hold its shape.
- Use fresh grated nutmeg for better flavour.
Keep Apples Fresh with Refrigeration
Apples are best when you keep them in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. When stored at room temperature, apples ripen 6-7x faster - this goes for Cosmic Crisps, too. Store apples at 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius) in a breathable produce bag to help keep them at peak freshness.
Substitutes and Add-ons
- Any plant-based milk or regular dairy milk will work in this recipe
- Use brown sugar instead of coconut sugar in equal measure
- Use coconut oil or any neutral flavoured oil instead of olive oil in equal measure
- Swap liquid honey for maple syrup in equal measure
- You can peel the apple skins if you like
- Grate the apples instead of dicing them if you prefer
- Add in raisins, cranberries or chopped nut or seeds if you like
- Ground ginger is lovely in this recipe, too! Use about ¼-½ tsp in this recipe.
Make Ahead and Storage notes
This recipe can be made in advance and kept at room temperature for up to a few hours before serving. Baked oatmeal is best served warm, so be sure to pop it in the oven at low temperature for about ten minutes before serving.
Vegan apple spice oatmeal can be stored covered in the fridge for 3-4 days. Simply portion and reheat as needed.
Notes About Gluten
Oats are naturally gluten free, however, be sure to source certified gluten free oats to ensure there is no cross contamination which can happen during the processing period before they arrive on store shelves. Also, be sure to double check all your ingredients to ensure they are certified gluten free if there is a gluten sensitivity, intolerance or allergy.
Where to Find Cosmic Crisp® apples
Cosmic Crisp® apples are available across Canada at most major grocery stores. Ask for them at your local grocer or look for the Cosmic Crisp stand in the fresh produce section. You can also check them out on Facebook @CosmicCrisp or Instagram @thecosmiccrisp or hashtag #AppleOfBigDreams #CosmicCrisp
Looking for More Apple Recipes?
If you enjoy this recipe, be sure to check out some of my other recipes featuring one of my favourite fruits to bake with:
Vegan Apple Spice Baked Oatmeal [gluten-free]
Easy and comforting, this vegan apple spice baked oatmeal is made from basic pantry ingredients. This healthy baked oatmeal is also gluten-free with notes of caramel and warming spices. For substitutions and recipe options, see above section.
- 2 TBSP (13g) ground flaxseed
- 4 TBSP water
- 2 ½ cups (225g) rolled oats certified gluten free if needed
- ⅓ cup (32g) almond flour
- ⅓ cup (50g) coconut sugar or brown sugar
- 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 ¼ cups (310ml) almond milk or plant-based milk of choice
- ⅓ cup (80ml) maple syrup or liquid honey
- 2 TBSP olive oil or vegetable oil
- 2 cups (240g) diced apples (cored) I used Cosmic Crisp apples for this recipe
- apple rings or slices for topping
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8x8” baking dish and set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the flax meal and water. Let stand for 5 minutes to thicken. To a large bowl combine the rolled oats, almond flour, coconut sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, and salt and mix to combine.
To the rolled oat mixture, add the almond milk, maple syrup, olive oil, flax mixture and diced apples. Mix well to combine then pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and spread evenly in the dish. Add optional apple rings or slices to the top.
Bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, or until the edges and top are golden brown. Carefully remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes before slicing and serving.
Leftovers can be stored covered in the fridge for 3-4 days. Portion and reheat leftovers as needed.