Using a few simple ingredients and 1 bowl, throw these healthy apple cinnamon baked oatmeal cups in the oven. They’re ready in about 30 minutes. The whole family, kids included, love them. Try the other flavors listed, too!
These Baked Oatmeal Cups Are:
- Refined-sugar free (no added refined sugar)
- Definitely healthy
- Easy & quick
- Soft-baked & moist in the center
- Chewy on top
- Garnished with crunchy coarse sugar
- Dairy free if using dairy-free milk
- Gluten free if using certified GF oats
The fall season may mean saying GOODBYE to pool days, but it also means giving a big HELLO to favorite seasonal flavors like apple cinnamon bread and comforting snacks like pumpkin oatmeal bars. And of course, plenty of pie crust and Thanksgiving pies! With fall flavors on my mind, I tested out a muffin version of my baked oatmeal. These oatmeal cups are a little more solid and sturdy than the creamy baked oatmeal, so they’re awesome as a portable breakfast or snack. And if you’re still in summer mode (I totally am!), swap the apples for blueberries or strawberries. These were so good!
Are They Oatmeal? Are They Muffins?
Ingredients in Baked Oatmeal Cups
You need 11 simple ingredients for my baked oatmeal cups. Each is important!
- Milk: Milk softens the oats and keeps the centers moist. I reduced the amount from my baked oatmeal so the oatmeal muffins are a little more solid.
- Eggs: Eggs provide protein and structure.
- Maple Syrup: Pure maple syrup sweetens and flavors these baked oatmeal cups. If needed, honey is a wonderful substitute.
- Unsweetened Applesauce: Applesauce adds flavor and takes the place of butter or oil. I love using applesauce to replace all or some oil in certain baked goods, like my morning glory muffins.
- Oats: Unlike applesauce muffins where oats are simply part of the dry ingredients, here the oats are the entire base of the recipe. Old-fashioned whole rolled oats are the best and also what I recommend for oatmeal raisin cookies. Quick oats work, but the centers of the oatmeal cups aren’t as moist. Steel cut oats require extra prep, see recipe note.
- Baking Powder: Baking powder prevents the oatmeal cups from tasting dense.
- Cinnamon & Nutmeg: Can you eat an apple baked good without either?! If you have any in the house, feel free to use apple pie spice instead.
- Vanilla Extract: Vanilla extract adds flavor.
- Salt: Salt adds flavor.
- Apples: Grab your favorite apple variety, peel it, and chop it into bite-size pieces. I usually use Granny Smith or Honeycrisp. Any variety works. No need to pre-cook the apples before adding to the oat mixture.
Baker’s Tip: The batter is liquid-y. When you’re dividing the batter between the muffin cups, make sure you have both liquid AND oats/apples in each. Spoon batter all the way to the top of each. The recipe yields 12 apple cinnamon baked oatmeal cups.
1 Bowl, No Mixer Recipe
Besides taking approximately 2 seconds to prep, these oatmeal cups only require 1 bowl. No need to break out your mixer; instead, fold the mixture together by hand. They’re done in about 25 minutes. It’s practically shocking how easy these are.
Little work → big reward.
I usually prep these or regular baked oatmeal in the beginning of the week, then refrigerate for quick breakfasts or snacks. Reheat in the microwave for a few seconds to warm them up. They freeze and thaw beautifully, too!
Who doesn’t crave a little variety?! Instead of apple, try any of these flavors.
Flavors & Add-Ins
- Pumpkin: See my pumpkin baked oatmeal cups. I swapped applesauce for pumpkin and reduced the milk to make up for extra pumpkin.
- Blueberry: Leave out the nutmeg, reduce cinnamon to 1 teaspoon, and swap apples for fresh or frozen blueberries. No need to thaw.
- Banana: Swap the applesauce for mashed banana.
- Chocolate Chip: Swap apples for chocolate chips. If desired, leave out the nutmeg.
- Peanut Butter / Nut Butter: Reduce applesauce to 1/3 cup. Add 1/2 cup nut butter. Leave out apples and nutmeg, if desired.
Using a few simple ingredients and 1 bowl, throw together these healthy apple cinnamon baked oatmeal cups. They’re soft and moist inside with chewy tops and plenty of flavor. Make them ahead and enjoy all week long!
- 1 and 1/2 cups (360ml) milk (dairy or nondairy)
- 2 large eggs*
- 1/2 cup (120ml) pure maple syrup*
- 1/2 cup (120g) unsweetened applesauce
- 3 cups (240g) old-fashioned whole oats*
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 heaping cup (120g) peeled chopped apple*
- optional: 1/2 cup (50g) chopped walnuts or pecans
- optional: coarse sugar for topping
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Generously spray a muffin pan with nonstick spray. If using muffin liners, spray them with nonstick spray. The oatmeal cups stick to the liners a bit regardless, so I recommend skipping them.
- Whisk all of the ingredients together, except for the apples (and nuts and coarse sugar), in 1 large bowl. Using a spoon or rubber spatula, fold in the apples and nuts (if using). Batter will be a little liquid-y. Spoon batter evenly into muffin cups, making sure both the oats/apples and liquid are in each. Fill all the way to the top. See photo above. If desired, sprinkle the tops with coarse sugar.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned and top appears set. If the tops appear to brown very quickly, tent a piece of aluminum foil on top.
- Cool for 5 minutes before serving. Cover leftover oatmeal cups tightly and refrigerate for up to 1 week.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Bake the oatmeal cups, cool completely, and store in the refrigerator all week for easy breakfasts. Reheat in the microwave or bake in a 350°F (177°C) oven for 5-6 minutes. To freeze, bake and cool oatmeal cups. Cover tightly and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature. Warm to your liking.
- Don’t: Do not make oatmeal batter ahead of time. The oats will soak up all the liquid! Whisk it all together, then bake right away. See make ahead instructions above for alternative.
- Eggs: Eggs bind the ingredients and add wonderful flavor. If needed, you can replace the eggs with 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce or mashed banana.
- Sugar: I recommend pure maple syrup because the flavor is outstanding and the baked oatmeal is extra moist! Instead, you can use packed brown sugar, coconut sugar, or honey.
- Oats: Whole oats give you the best texture. You can use quick oats instead, but they soak up more moisture so the centers won’t be as moist. If using steel-cut oats, soak the oats in the milk for 30 minutes, then stir in the rest of the ingredients. Add a few extra minutes to the bake time. The oatmeal cups are best with whole oats.
- Apples: Use your favorite variety such as Granny Smith, Fuji, or Honeycrisp. You need about 1 medium apple.
- Nutrition Information Per Oatmeal Cup (with unsweetened applesauce and unsweetened almond milk using Spark Recipe Calculator): Calories 138, Total Fat 3g, Carbohydrate 26g, Dietary Fiber 3g, Sugars 11g, Protein 4g.