Gluten Free Oatmeal-To-Go

Gluten Free Oatmeal-To-Go, originally uploaded by Kate Chan.

I’m sorry. Is it Thursday already? Holy cats, this is a long week and I am tired!
After couple days of trainings, presentations, workshops and assemblies, I’m officially ready to unpack my classroom. I haven’t been able to get in to my classroom this week because it has been in use. Today I tried to sneak in, but was surprised to find a group of 12 students sitting in a circle on the floor. (Dang it! Why didn’t they unstack the desks for me? That would have been sweet!) Ah well. It means that tomorrow – on my Love’s day off of work (lucky guy, huh?) – I will drag my Love and the Pup to school with me to set up my classroom, clean up and get organized. Ah, we teachers are such fun to have around on Labor Day weekend, huh?

Since it is the end of the month, w have been pushing through adoption paperwork (now the first wave of immigration papers are here on my desk to be completed this weekend too), school preparations, movies, and the last of our groceries before payday. This afternoon, after a day without fresh fruit in the house, I caved and bought some bananas and pears on my way home from work. I can no longer last without fresh fruit/veg in my stomach. It makes me crabby. :)

I even have trained myself to eat something for breakfast. SHOCKING. Seriously. I’m 39 years old and I have JUST NOW begun to eat breakfast? Weird. I have been eating just a few bites of this awesome new chia-based cereal. (I know… but it’s got ginger and cranberries and nuts too!) It doesn’t take much to satisfy my need to eat something in the morning. Now my routine is a couple tablespoons of cereal with rice milk, a piece of fruit and a glass of water. Then I’m satisfied for the day.

Yesterday, however, I started the day with the last piece of fruit and a glass of water. I had a brunch meeting with my department that was going to last through lunch. And so after several hours of spinning my wheels trying to figure out what to make them, I decided to make some oatmeal.

I’ve read about “Amish Oatmeal” or “Baked Oatmeal”, but I’ve never actually tried any of those recipes…. and i wasn’t sure what the texture would be. I needed to make something to share for this teacher-brunch/working-lunch that would appeal to my (1) breakfast needs, (2) high-fiber, gluten-free, health needs, (3) gluten-eating buddies at work and (4) need to make something the night before that I can pack and eat without reheating, etc.

I even called my mom.
At 11:00 PM, her time.
I love my mom. :)

Together we worked out a few ideas for this baked, cut-like-a-cake, oatmeal. I really like how it turned out. Although, some of the oats were a bit bitter (hmmm.. maybe I should keep my oats in the fridge???? Anyone?), so I think I should have added a couple tablespoons of maple syrup to the batter to even them out a bit. Brushing maple syrup on top was the absolute perfect touch.

While this recipe does call for 2/3 cup of brown sugar, it does NOT make the oatmeal taste sweet like a cake. It is still dense, fiber, delicious and healthy oatmeal…. just more bread-like.

For all of you baked-oatmeal eaters/makers, can you tell me what the consistency of that is? I just couldn’t figure it out from the recipes I was checking out. And since I really wanted something I could serve like a coffee cake (I just packed the pieces in some Lock & Lock and was good to go), I wasn’t sure what the end product of a baked oatmeal or Amish oatmeal would be.

So my mom and I devised this on the phone. It was simple. It was delicious and I will be making it again.

What do you guys make for your potluck breakfast/brunch meetings? I’m all about making something the night before and NOT making something sweet. People were already bringing coffee/tea, fruit, cranberry muffins and granola bars. I knew I was going to need something that would nourish me AND make me feel satisfied. Thus my choice of oatmeal.

Here’s what Mom & I devised. I’d love to hear your spin on this and your ideas for my next breakfast/brunch meeting (it’s only 2 weeks away!):

Gluten Free Oatmeal Breakfast-To-Go
2 cups certified Gluten Free Oats (not quick oats)
1 1/2 cups milk (rice or low fat)
2/3 cup brown sugar (measured as packed)
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup applesauce (I used organic, non-sweetened)
1 cup GF Flour Mix (I used a rice-based blend)
2/3 cup chopped walnuts
2/3 cup dried cranberries (or cherries)
3 Tablespoons maple syrup (or more – see note above)


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Combine oats and milk in the mixing bowl. Stir together. Allow to soak for 5-8 minutes while you assemble the other ingredients.
  3. In another bowl, stir together flour, cinnamon, and baking powder.
  4. To the mixing bowl (once the oats have softened in the milk), add the applesauce and blended dry ingredients. Combine well.
  5. Add walnuts and cranberries (or cherries) and mix until evenly distributed.
  6. Lightly spray a 9 x 13″ pan (I used a smaller 8×10″ pan) with cooking spray or line it with parchment paper. Pour batter into pan and smooth to even out.
  7. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in to the middle comes out clean and mostly dry – not sticky or wet looking.
  8. Poke holes with a toothpick (or kebab stick) across the top of the oatmeal bars evenly. Drizzle the syrup atop the oatmeal bars and brush to cover. (Apply more if you wish for a sweeter bar)
  9. Allow to cool. Cut in to bars/pieces.
  10. Store covered or in an airtight container until brunch. (I have three pieces left today that made for a perfect breakfast this morning. They were perfectly preserved/as tasty as yesterday. I’m not sure how long these will last, but predict that they will easily last 3-4 days on your counter top in an airtight container.)

Happy Gluten-Free Eating, All!


  1. You’re genius. And I never ate breakfast! I can’t eat right after I wake up, and I tend to wake up with exactly enough time to throw on clothes, walk the dog, and throw myself out the door. While I am only 26, I too have never been able to eat breakfast. I make up for it at lunch!

  2. jan Marks says:

    Where are you based? I live in Australia and we are told over here that there is no such thing as gluten-free oats.

    Hi Jan –
    Gluten free oats are available in the US. In reality, oats themselves are gluten-free. The issue has been that of contamination by wheat from the field or the processing plant. Now there are a couple places where we can order/buy GF oats (quick oats, regular rolled oats, or oat groats, etc) online or locally. I don’t know what the rules are for Australia (sorry), but I do know that I was thrilled when we could get GF Oats here in the US. I’ve missed them! :)

    And just an FYI – some Celiacs do not tolerate oats well. I don’t eat very much in one sitting and try to spread out my use of oats in cooking so it’s not a daily thing. But oh, maple syrup + oats? It’s a breakfast I took for granted as a kid, that’s for sure!

    Here are a couple links for you to read/see:

    Hope this helps!

  3. Kate,
    I can’t wait to make this! I have never made a baked oatmeal before but have always wanted to. I love breakfast food for lunch or dinner sometimes too:) About your oats tasting bitter, the last bag of GF oats I bought were kind of bitter. It seems like the ones I get have changed for some reason and I can’t digest them as well. They don’t cook up as soft as they used to. I still use them a lot for cooking, but don’t really eat just a bowl of oatmeal anymore. I think this recipe will be perfect for my oatmeal craving! Thanks!

  4. I never thought of an oatmeal casserole before. My favorite breakfast is oatmeal cooked in milk, then add just a touch of maple syrup and alot of peanut butter. This has also become my substitute for PB&J sandwiches. It is very filling and really sticks with you. Maybe you could do something like that for the baked oatmeal?

  5. Aw, I wish I could have oats! :/
    That looks really fab. Do you think it would work with quinoa?

    Hmm Calista, I haven’t cooked a lot with quinoa flakes. However, i bet you could do something with this. I would start out by lessen the milk by half (and the flour). The quinoa flakes are not nearly as hard at oats and don’t need the long soak in the beginning of the recipe either. I think you might be able to do it – I just haven’t tried! :) You’ll have to let me know if it works out for you. -Kate

  6. I’m definitely going to make this. Thanks to you and your mom – I can’t think after 7 p.m.!

  7. I keep my oats in the fridge. :)

  8. Kudos – another great recipe from the brilliance of Kate! How can you go without eating in the AM? Even when I do eat breakfast, I’m looking for food at 10:30 AM. I need to find some snacks for work for the coming week….

  9. This looks amazing!!! I am going to try this this week and see if I can’t get my son to eat it before leaving for school. I may have to leave out the fruit. Thanks for posting!

  10. I agree with Steve, even after a good breakfast, I’m foraging by mid-morning. And this year I’m teaching 4th grade, we don’t go to lunch until 12:35! I think I may institute two snack breaks in my classroom this year. :)

    I first tried baked oatmeal at a scrapbooking weekend and have been a fan ever since! I tend to like mine a little more towards regular oatmeal consistency as opposed to coffee cake. Good luck with the getting-ready-for-school stuff this weekend- my husband and dog were both in my classroom yesterday helping me get things ready, as well!

  11. Those look delicious, I’m definitely going to try them. I usually bring my breakfast to work and these would be perfect! And oatmeal tends to fill me up so I don’t have to go “foraging by mid-morning”!

  12. YUM!!!! I LOVE these! Used teff flour for half the flour in the recipe, and a blend of regular and orange cranberries. Otherwise followed the recipe (which is more than I can usually say!).

    The problem: My kids don’t like them! I thought they would love ’em, but just didn’t go over. Any ideas? I’m guessing they need the oatmeal to either be harder or softer, but not the chewy in-between that I love so much. And hubby won’t eat dried berries. I may try a pumpkin version some time… Or he might do apples.

    So, I’m the only one eating them (trying to decide whether to take them to work for sharing or freeze them just for me). But I do love them! Thanks for the recipe!

  13. This recipe looks great. Regarding the “bitter” flavor, I wonder if that is coming from the walnuts. When I was a kid, my mother always made a coffee cake with walnuts in it. I remember loving the taste of the cake, but there was such a strong bitter flavor whenever I ate a piece with a walnut in it. I grew to dislike the cake for that reason. I wonder now if the walnuts were old, or perhaps reacting with a certain ingredient in the cake. By the way, I saw a hint on the Food Network that you can keep your walnuts fresh by storing them in a ziplock baggy in the freezer. Another hint I use often: when a recipe calls for toasted walnuts, simply put the walnuts in a microwaveable bowl and zap them for about 30-60 seconds. It works like a charm! Thanks for your excellent website!

    • I routinely substitute pecans for walnuts – I frequently find walnuts to be bitter, but I love pecans!

  14. Do you think that this would work with Quiona flakes, for those of us who do not tolerate oats?

    Hmm…. good question. Usually I would respond enthusiastically with the yes, but this recipe calls for a lot of oats. I would definitely give it a try, but I think you will not need to soak the quinoa flakes and you may need to lessen the liquid called for substantially. If you try this, please let me know! – Kate

  15. Kate,
    FYI – This is what I used to do before I had to cut out oats.

    Baked Oatmeal

    The night before:
    1/4 c. oil (I found that I works well to sub applesauce for most of the oil)
    3/4 c. milk of your choice
    2 eggs
    2 c. regular rolled oats

    In the morning:
    1/3 c. sugar
    1 tsp. baking powder
    1/2 tsp. salt
    cinnamon & / or nutmeg
    chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts

    Mix oil, milk, eggs and oats in a bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight. (This is the key, a quick mix up the night before.)

    In the morning, add the rest of ingredients and mix it up.

    Put into 8×8 pan, lightly greased and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

  16. Kate,
    About 6 years ago, like you, I got a craving for baked oatmeal. I had never had it before, but it just sounded so good and warm on a cold morning. A friend had talked about smelling baked oatmeal in the morning as a kid and loving waking up to it, but she didn’t have any idea how to make it either. So I wrote to her mom and got mom’s original recipe! It’s not fancy but my family loves it, and it’s awfully simple and I feel like such a good mom when I start my kids day this way! Here it is:

    LuAnne Shackelford’s Baked Oatmeal

    Combine: 1c. brown sugar
    1/2 c. oil
    2 eggs

    Stir in: 3 c. GF oatmeal
    1 t. salt
    2 t. baking powder
    1 c. milk
    Bake in a greased 8×8 pan at 375F for 30 min.

    You can eat it plain like a cake or you can pour milk over it and eat it like cereal. Enjoy!

  17. Salt will cut the bitterness in most baking….just a 1/2 tsp would probably do it. I’m going to try this recipe now and I’ll add the salt and report back as to how it turned out!

  18. Kate – made these yesterday and, wow!, they’re great. I’m always looking for breakfast ideas and this will now be in my breakfast line-up. Thanks, so much.

  19. After weeks of drooling over this recipe and its picture, I finally made these bars. Oh! my wonderful! They’re delicious and very hearty. Thanks for a great breakfast!

  20. Hi there, do you think this would work made in individual servings, like using a muffin pan? I would love to give this a try today.


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