Baked Carrot Cake Oatmeal – Old-fashioned oats are combined with all the flavors of carrot cake (including that luscious cream cheese frosting!) and baked in the oven until perfectly tender.
Not only does this season bring wonderful flavors like pumpkin and apples, but it also brings comforting dishes like soups and casseroles. But not just dinner casseroles – breakfast casseroles are so popular this time of year, usually around the holidays when you’re feeding a crowd.
I love a great breakfast casserole – sweet and savory alike. Today I am bringing a sweet version of a breakfast casserole that I first made only recently. It’s a baked oatmeal, made with old fashioned oats and lots of yummy flavors that you find in a carrot cake. That’s right, it’s a Baked Carrot Cake Oatmeal.
Baking the oats helps them soak up the flavors and create a firm structure, almost like a cake. But don’t worry – this oatmeal has just enough sweetness without going over the edge. Even the cream cheese icing on top still has a a slight tang to it to remind you that it’s cream cheese.
The easiest breakfast casserole
Out of all the breakfast casserole dishes I’ve made, this baked oatmeal is, by far, the easiest. There’s very little prep, with the biggest step being the first one: toasting the oats and pecans. Toasting these two ingredients before making the oatmeal brings out a nutty flavor in both of them that you won’t get just by baking it.
After the oats and pecans are toasted, they’re mixed with the other dry ingredients and the butter. I like mixing the butter into the dry ingredients vs the wet ingredients because it ensures that it get mixed throughout the oatmeal without clumping up in the cold wet ingredients.
The wet ingredients are mixed separately and then gently folded into the oatmeal mixture. You don’t want to overmix the ingredients because it will create a tough texture in the oatmeal. Then the mixture is poured into a casserole dish.
Cream cheese frosting
Before we place the oatmeal in the oven to bake, it’s topped with a cream cheese frosting that is barely sweetened. To make sure there’s cream cheese in every portion, I pipe the frosting in diagonal stripes. No need for a fancy piping bag, though. I just used a plastic storage bag and snipped off the corner.
The oatmeal is then baked for about 35 minutes, cooled outside the oven for a few minutes, and then ready for everyone to enjoy.
Tips & Tricks
- Make sure you use old fashioned oats for this recipe – do not use instant oatmeal! It will make the oatmeal mushy.
- Do not use store bought carrot matchsticks for this recipe. Those carrot pieces are thicker and will stay firm in this oatmeal. By shredding yourself, you get thinner, softer carrot pieces that are perfect for baked recipes.
Baked Carrot Cake Oatmeal
For the baked oatmeal:
- 2½ cups old fashioned oats
- ¾ cup chopped pecans
- 1½ cups shredded carrots
- ¾ cup golden raisins
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar divided
- 4 tablespoons butter unsalted, melted
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the cream cheese frosting:
- 6 ounces cream cheese softened
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray. Set aside. Set a large skillet over medium heat. Add oats and pecans. Toast them for about 5 minutes, or until you see them start to brown. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat.
- In a large bowl, whisk toasted oats and pecans, shredded carrots, raisins, baking powder, spices, salt, and 1/2 cup of brown sugar until evenly combined. Whisk in melted butter until combined.
- In a separate medium bowl, whisk eggs, milk, and vanilla together until combined. Pour into dry ingredients and fold together just until combined. Do not overmix!
- Pour oatmeal into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons of brown sugar over the top. Prepare cream cheese icing by whisking together softened cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla together. Scoop into a plastic storage bag. Cut off a corner of the bag and squeeze out the icing through that hole into diagonal stripes on the oatmeal in the baking pan.
- Bake oatmeal until set and no liquid remains, about 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before scooping into servings.