Baked Carrot Cake Oatmeal with Cream Cheese Glaze has all the classic cake flavors in a delicious, healthy, filling breakfast or brunch dish.
This goes down as one of my all time favorite baked oatmeal recipes. I have always loved carrot cake, so Carrot Cake Oatmeal is a no brainer. Packed with all the traditional carrot cake fixings, even the cream cheese frosting (!), this is a special breakfast treat you can feel good about. It keeps great so make up a big batch and eat leftovers during the week for breakfasts on the go.
This recipe has been a long time coming since I have been hiding shredded carrots (and zucchini) in my kids' morning banana oats for the past year. My youngest isn't the best eater, so anywhere I can sneak in some vegetables, you better believe I am. And every time that I do this with carrots, I think about making these carrot cake oats.
Finally, I decided to make them earlier this week, thinking they would be perfect for a holiday brunch. Trust me, they are. With the warm spices and amazingly delicious cream cheese glaze, we couldn't stop eating this and as someone obsessed with carrot cake, this was hard to put down.
Since we are talking about breakfast here, these oats are not as sweet as a traditional carrot cake but you can always add extra sweetener if you need or serve it on the side. You could also double the sugar in the glaze if you want a more "frosting" tasting glaze.
Looking for another sweet oatmeal idea? Try this Chocolate Baked Oatmeal.
How to Make Carrot Cake Oatmeal
Like any good carrot cake, this baked oatmeal starts with a big pile of shredded carrots. If possible, you want to shred the carrots yourself since pre-shredded carrots tend to be dry. You want freshly grated carrots for the best results.
To that, you'll add the other classic ingredients - raisins, coconut, and in our house - applesauce. While my people opt for crushed pineapples, we have always preferred our carrot cake with shredded apples or applesauce. Trust me. The pairing of apples and carrots just works. With that said, if you are partial to crushed pineapples, just swap those in.
Next comes the spices. You can use any combination of spices you like. Personally, we like a combination of cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice (or cloves), and a pinch of nutmeg. I am not a huge nutmeg fan, so usually, we leave it out but I included it in the recipe since it is a classic carrot cake flavor.
Then you just need the oats, milk, maple syrup, eggs, and vanilla extract. Old fashioned rolled oats work best. Instant will get mushy and steel-cut oats won't cook all the way through. For sweetener, maple syrup gives it that earthy, warm sweetness but you could also use brown sugar or honey.
The eggs help the baked oatmeal to set so it has some texture and becomes kind of like an oatmeal bar. Lastly the vanilla extract warms everything up and brings out the other flavors in the recipe.
I almost forgot about the glaze! The glaze is so easy to make. You just need cream cheese, powdered sugar (or maple syrup), vanilla extract, and water. Stir it until it is smooth and then drizzle or spread it all over the oats.
Easy Ingredient Swap and Recipe Ideas
Baked oatmeal is generally pretty forgiving and you can swap in ingredients and still get delicious results. Here are some ideas and easy swaps so you can use what you have at home.
- Oats: This recipe turns out best with old fashioned rolled oats but in a pinch, you could also use quick-cooking oats. The texture will just be a bit softer. Instant oats won't really work. If you want to use steel-cut oats, reduce the steel cut oats to 1 cup and use 3 cups of milk.
- Carrots: This is carrot cake oatmeal, so the carrots are critical. Ideally, you want to shred or grate your carrot right before cooking. You will get a cup of shredded carrots from one large carrot. If you only have the pre-shredded variety, they will work as well. They just are less flavorful and a bit drier. If you are running low on carrots, you could use half carrots and half shredded zucchini. One last option is using frozen, defrosted carrots. Just dice them up really small since no one wants to bite into a huge piece of carrot in their morning oats.
- Applesauce: Any type of applesauce or pear sauce would work. You can also replace with canned crushed or diced pineapples, canned pears, canned apples, or canned pumpkin. If you only have fresh apples, grate them before adding them to the oatmeal. Mashed banana works as well but it will change the flavor.
- Eggs: If you are out of eggs, you can replace it with a flax or chia egg. Combine 1 tablespoon of chia seeds/flaxseed meal with 2.5 tbsp of water for each egg. Let rest for 5 minutes before using it. You can also leave them out completely, but the end result will be more like a traditional oatmeal and not as "set."
- Chia seeds: Leave these out if you don't have them or replace them with flax seeds. They just kick up the nutritional content but aren't necessary.
- Raisins and coconut: You can use any dried fruit in this recipe and could skip them if you don't have them at home. Many people like to add some toasted walnuts as well for crunch.
- Milk: Any milk will work in this recipe.
- Maple syrup: Any sweetener will work - pure maple syrup, honey, brown sugar, coconut sugar, or white sugar.
Meal Prep and Storage
This recipe will keep in the fridge for 4-5 days. It can be eaten cold, room temperature, or you can warm it up in the microwave. You can also cut this oatmeal into bars and freeze it for later. Just make sure to freeze it without the glaze.
More Baked Oatmeal Recipes
Baked Carrot Cake Oatmeal with Cream Cheese Glaze
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- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup shredded carrots (freshly grated is best)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (or crushed pineapple)
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 2 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 tbsp chia seeds (optional)
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1/8 tsp. nutmeg (optional)
- 1 Pinch salt
- 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup maple syrup (more to taste)
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup reduced fat cream cheese
- 1 tbsp powdered sugar (or maple syrup)
- 1 tbsp warm water
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- Nutritional Information
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* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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