Recipe Rescue: Buttery Oatmeal Bake gets a Healthy Makeover with a Recipe for Apple-icious Oatmeal Bake

Six years ago at a neighborhood brunch, Kelly J. of Marietta, GA tasted an oatmeal bake so rich, so sweet and so irresistibly delicious that she immediately asked her friend for the recipe. Half a dozen years later, she still makes the dish especially on days when her 14-year old daughter, Claudette, heads off to softball.  “Claudette plays competitive softball. Sometimes she plays in tournaments that last all day and into the night, so she needs a hearty breakfast before she goes,” Kelly told us.  And with husband Dave as one of the team’s coaches, he too benefits from a stick-to-your ribs breakfast.

The original Oatmeal Bake called for half a stick of butter, half a cup of sugar, an egg, 2 cups of milk,  and 1 ½ cups of oatmeal.  Kelly typically added a chopped apple.  “I wanted to cut back on the butter and sugar but I was afraid the recipe wouldn’t come out right if I changed it.”  So Kelly, who recently discovered our Cooking with the Moms podcast on iTunes and heard us talk about our Recipe Rescue blog series, decided to send us her family’s favorite breakfast dish in hopes we’d give it a healthy makeover.


When we got her email, the recipe definitely got our mouths watering, but we agreed it could benefit from less fat and sugar, and we also felt it needed something more. In the end, we trimmed the butter from 4 tablespoons down to 2 and cut the sugar from half a cup to a third. We kept Kelly’s apple (we suggest you don’t peel it to get extra fiber and nutrients) and added half a cup of finely chopped pecans for heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and great quality protein.

Apple-icious Oatmeal Bake

Makes 6 to 8 Servings

You can find this recipe in our second cookbook, No Whine with Dinner.

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups 1% low-fat milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 medium red apple, unpeeled and cut into ¼-inch dice (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup coarsely  chopped pecans
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling

1.  Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Lightly oil or coat an 8 x 8-inch baking pan or dish  with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

2.  In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar and the butter until well combined.  Whisk in the egg until creamy and then whisk in the milk and vanilla.

3.  Stir in the oats, apple, pecans, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.  Place the mixture evenly in the prepared pan, sprinkle with additional cinnamon, and bake about 30 minutes, or until the top turns golden and the oatmeal is set.

Nutrition Information per Serving:  250 calories, 12g fat (3g saturated, 4.5g monounsaturated), 300mg sodium, 30g carbohydrate, 16g sugar, 3g fiber, 7g protein, 15% calcium
Original Recipe per Serving:  240 calories, 10g fat (5g saturated, 2.4g monounsaturated), 300mg sodium, 33g carbohydrate, 21g sugar, 2g fiber, 6g protein, 15% calcium

Print Recipe

Even though our rescued recipe has slightly more total fat, the bad-for-you saturated fat is lower and the good monounsaturated fat is higher. We also have less sugar and more fiber. Kelly and her family loved the new recipe.  “I thought it was great,” said Kelly.  “Now I’m eating something a little bit healthier with the nuts and apples and less butter and sugar.”  As a third grade teacher, Kelly told us it’s important to be a good role model for her students, and in turn, she’s now more conscious of what she serves her family. Ten-year old Julia actually suggested her mom add more apples the next time she makes the recipe!

Getting her girls to eat breakfast can sometimes be a challenge given everyone’s early morning schedules during the school year.  “This recipe is so easy …Claudette could make this herself the night before and then heat up a serving before school in the morning.”

So the next time your kids say, “I’m not hungry,” or, “I don’t have time to eat breakfast,” just make this yummy oatmeal bake and perhaps they’ll change their minds!

16 responses to “Recipe Rescue: Buttery Oatmeal Bake gets a Healthy Makeover with a Recipe for Apple-icious Oatmeal Bake”

  1. Kelly Jones says:

    Well…we love this post! My family is tickled to be featured on your blog. Thank you for making over my recipe and helping me be creative in the kitchen with many more great recipes on your site(s)!

  2. Jodi Bitler says:

    I can’t wait to try this too. We are in such a rush in the morning-the make ahead and heat up idea is perfect for my daughter in the morning. She is going to be a senior in high school and still needs a good start to her day. Thanks Kelly for continuing to be an inspiration!

  3. Elizabeth J. says:

    Kelly is my friend, and I’ve been hearing about this oatmeal bake. Now that I, too, have the recipe “made-over”, I’ll be fixin’ it up! Thanks, Kelly, and Makeover Moms!

  4. K says:

    Well I’ve been looking for a healthier Oatmeal Breakfast Bake for awhile, and as luck would have it, I followed you today on Twitter and what’s the first post that appears? Oatmeal Bake! It was meant to be.

  5. linda dressel says:

    Thanks, Kelly for a great new breakfast idea!!! When you are sick of eggs, this would be a nice treat!!!!

  6. Katrina Slayton says:

    If Kelly’s recipe is anything like her teaching, then it’s certainly a WINNER! Can’t wait to try it! Katrina

  7. Katrina Slayton says:

    If Kelly’s recipe is anything like her teaching, then it’s certainly a WINNER! Can’t wait to try it!

  8. Cindy H says:

    Anything Kelly Jones touches turns SWEET! She’s a great Mom, Wife and SUPER TEACHER.

  9. Kristin says:

    This recipes looks so yummy. I can’t wait to try it.

  10. Jill Scanlon says:

    Could the oatmeal bake be made in individual portions (cupcake liners, as muffins) or dropped onto a cookie sheet as cookies? and served for on-the go?
    Actually, I’m just going to try it!

  11. Making the oatmeal bake in individual portions is a fabulous idea! You could try small glass pyrex bowls or even muffin tins (spray them well). The batter is too runny to make drop cookies but do let us know if you try the individual portions before we do!

  12. Colleen says:

    I made this earlier this week for my family. We absolutely loved it! I did add a few more apples. My 6 year old even said it was a “filling” breakfast!

  13. Cindy says:

    I tried this recipe with my picky crew and they liked it! I cut down the brown sugar to 1/4 cup and added a splash of vanilla (just because I like vanilla!). I would make it again!

  14. Maria Bodoh says:

    Absolutely SCRUMPTIOUS!!!! Omigosh, is this fabulous.

  15. Teresa E says:

    I there any way to adapt this recipe for steel cut oats?

    • Liz says:

      Oh gosh. That’s blast from the past. I have not made that recipe in a long time. I wonder if you should just add a bit more liquid or a quarter cup less of the oats. Steel cut has a chewier texture. Without testing it, I can’t make any promises! Give it a try and let me know how it turns out. Fingers are crossed. I’d just say a bit more liquid…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *