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Holiday Baked Cranberry Oatmeal

Treat friends and family with this crowd-pleasing brunch dish

Baked Cranberry Oatmeal, Brunch, Raisins, Recipe, Pam Anderson

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Brunch suggestion: Holiday Baked Cranberry Oatmeal served with ham, a spinach salad and muffins.

En español | The inspiration for my new favorite brunch recipe, Holiday Baked Cranberry Oatmeal, came last summer when we hosted out-of-town relatives for the weekend. On Sunday we invited everyone — including little kids and picky teens — for a big brunch. I would have baked my usual strata, made with bread and milk, but one of my nieces is gluten- and dairy-intolerant. What to serve? Gluten-free, dairy-free breakfast casseroles are about as rare as vegan barbecue.

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That's how I seized on baked oatmeal. Since it was summer, I flavored it with blueberries, but it's just as good with cranberries for fall and winter.

You can tweak the recipe as needed: Oatmeal, the main ingredient, is naturally gluten-free, and if you want to eliminate the flour in the crumble, simply sub in rice flour. To reduce cholesterol, replace the butter with coconut oil. And if you prefer regular milk over nut milk, use a mix of whole milk and water instead.

You might serve Holiday Baked Cranberry Oatmeal with a spiral-cut ham, a spinach salad with orange and grapefruit sections, and a big basket of muffins. Offer up small bowls for the baked oatmeal: Drizzled with a little milk, it's the perfect brunch treat.

Holiday Baked Cranberry Oatmeal

Serves 8 to 12

  • 3 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1-1/2 cups brown sugar, divided
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest (zest of about 1 orange)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
  • 3 cups almond milk (or 1-1/2 cups whole dairy milk mixed with 1-1/2 cups water)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries, divided
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (or rice flour)
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted but not hot (or coconut oil)
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix oatmeal, 1 cup brown sugar, baking powder, salt, orange zest and 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl whisk milk, vanilla and eggs. Stir milk mixture, then 1 cup of cranberries into oatmeal mixture; turn into a 13-by-9-inch pan. Bake until oatmeal is just starting to set, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix flour, butter, walnuts and remaining brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Crumble mixture over the almost-set oatmeal, and scatter remaining cranberries. Continue to bake until crumble is golden brown, about 20 minutes longer. Serve warm, with a splash of milk (either coconut or dairy).

AARP food expert Pam Anderson is a best-selling cookbook author and blogger at threemanycooks.com.

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