Oats are like the chameleon of the breakfast table, occupying many forms and disguising themselves as a bevy of morning meal options. They appear in pancakes, poured into coffee, softened by an overnight soak, or even — can you believe it? — as simply, well, oatmeal. Now there's a new oaty permutation to hit the breakfast table, and this time it's baked.
Baked oats seem to be cropping up all over the internet, especially on a tiny little video-sharing platform called TikTok. Ever heard of it? The crux of the baked oats phenomenon is simple, and much like baked oatmeal: oat flour (or rolled oats ground in a blender), adhered together with a fat and some type of binding agent, flavored with a mixture of your choice, tossed into a ramekin or other small oven-safe container, baked for a short amount of time, and garnished with a topping. It has all the ease, simplicity, and quick deliciousness of your classic mug cake.
Of course, the appeal is its endless variability. On TikTok alone there are countless versions, each tailored to the creator's whims. Take, for example, this oatmeal bake made by @tazxbakes, which is fortified with an egg, lifted with baking soda, and studded with white chocolate and raspberries.
User @justine_snacks made her oat cake with a banana and an egg, and some cinnamon and crushed chocolate. According to her, she's been on the baked oat trend for quite some time now.
Meanwhile, @goldenthekitchen gave her baked oats the crème brûlée treatment. Her rendition is creamy and velvety, and topped with a lightly broiled sugar crust, just like the real thing. She makes another rendition using a banana as a binding agent, topped with mini marshmallows and chocolate.
The baked oats trend has been converting skeptics across the app. "I've never been an oatmeal person, but I decided I had to give this one a go," said user @jackiesfooddiary. "Every recipe seemed to look like actual cake to me." She's not wrong; her baked oats with chocolate chips emerge from the oven looking like a soft, pillowy cookie cake.
Judging from its burgeoning popularity, perhaps this trend is on to something. Recipes vary by person, but the formula for baked oats remains more or less the same:
- Oat flour (or ground oats)
- An egg, milk of your choice, or a smashed banana
- Anywhere from 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- Maple syrup or another sweetener
- Mix-ins of your choice, like vanilla extract, fruit, nuts, or chocolate
These are mixed together in a small oven-safe dish, then baked at 350°F for 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the dish's size. Essentially, these are small cakes made using oat flour, so they're gluten-free, too. I'd swirl mine with some pistachios and dried cranberries, and finish it with a tahini drizzle. Or layer kumquat jam through the center, and top it with chocolate. The possibilities are quite literally endless.
Food52's best baked oatmeal recipes: