Coconut Chai Baked Oatmeal

Uhhh, so after 1 month I'm back with another oat-based recipe. How creative of me. What happened to my brain? And my memory? Forgive me?

At least it's not in bar form again. And it does have a nice, wintery-holiday vibe going on this time. And I know you've been dreaming about this exact coconut chai baked oatmeal recipe...Right? Yep. I knew it.

Chai Baked Oats with coconut + pecans |

The reasons we'll both be okay from two oatmeal-ish recipes in a row:

1 - This oatmeal bake is not only gluten-free but vegan! 

2 - It's 100% date sweetened! 

3 - The texture is super creamy, more like stovetop oatmeal.

4 - It's loaded with chai flavor and will make your mouth do a happy dance.

5 - You've been loving the oatmeal bars (thanks for letting me know!), and I figured you needed a holiday breakfast recipe to feed a crowd! 

6 - This will keep your guests from feeling hangry for hours!

cinnamon sticks for coconut chai baked oatmeal |

Don't get freaked out when you scroll down and see the ingredient list. It's mostly spices! And you can really modify the spices however you want. If you don't like cardamom (I'm not the biggest fan) feel free to remove it (even though I realize it's crucial for chai). Or if you want to go lighter on the ginger, feel free! 

You can even keep things simple and use only cinnamon if you so choose! 

cardamom pods for coconut chai baked oatmeal |

These chai baked oats are a no-fuss recipe, perfect for whatever upcoming holidays you're celebrating. The wet ingredients are combined in your blender, then you mix with the dry, pour in your pan, and wait for them to bake. Done + done!

oats + spices for coconut chai baked oatmeal |

Now where's the coffee?

Coconut Chai Baked Oatmeal recipe (gluten-free + vegan!) |
Coconut Chai Baked Oatmeal served with coconut cream |

Print Recipe!

Coconut Chai Baked Oatmeal

gluten-free, vegan // yields 4-8 servings (depending if this is a main dish or side)

  • 8 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 3/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans, divided
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 tablespoons gluten-free oat flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger (or 1 teaspoon dried ground ginger)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon clove
  • 1, 13.5oz can light coconut milk (about 1 3/4 cups)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • optional toppings: toasted flaked coconut, nut butter, full-fat coconut milk, maple syrup

Soak pitted dates in a bowl of hot water for 15 minutes. 

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350°. Grease a 9x5 casserole dish with softened coconut oil. (If using an 8x8 pan, bake for 3-5 minutes less. Avoid using anything larger.) 

In a large bowl, add the oats, 1/4 cup pecans, coconut, oat flour, and spices (including salt). Stir until fully combined.

Drain water from the dates and place in your blender with the milk, water, coconut oil, and vanilla. Blend until smooth (you'll see little flecks of dates in the mixture). Pour into the dry bowl and mix until fully combined. (Mixture will be very soupy.)

Pour into the greased pan. Top with remaining 1/4 cup of pecans. Bake for 24-30 minutes. Middle will feel soft (and even look a big wet) but the edges should be firmer and light golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes (it will thicken as it sits) then serve hot with desired toppings. 


The consistency should not be fully firm. It should be more like stovetop oatmeal with quite a bit of creaminess. For firmer, thicker baked oatmeal, cook on the longer end of the bake time.

Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container. Add a few splashes of milk before reheating. The bake fully firms when refrigerated.

Creamy Coconut Chai Baked Oatmeal recipe |

Thanks again for hanging in there while my blogging schedule has been so sporadic. I do have a few fun posts coming up in the next few weeks so make sure to stay tuned! And be sure to keep an eye on my Instagram account for an awesome giveaway with Earlywood coming next week!

Lastly!! My amazing + talented friends over at A Couple Cooks just launched their own podcast this week! I highly recommend you check it out. They're full of inspiration, have great kitchen tips to share, and are super down to earth. I'm hooked already.

Happy Friday. Happy weekend. Lots of hugs.


vanilla bean chai spice pumpkin pudding

I’m keeping things short today for the following reasons:

  1. It’s dessert.  Why not just get right to it?
  2. My gluten free baked doughnut book manuscript is due on December 1st!  All 101 of the recipes, 55 photos, and everything else that makes a cookbook a cookbook.  If you’re thinking I have my time mapped out practically by the hour up until December 1st, you are correct.
  3. It’s Thanksgiving week, and I know you’re busy prepping, traveling, or maybe just taking a load off.

This recipe is the perfect little addition to your Thanksgiving brunch or dessert menu.

Unless that is your hand mixer decides to die, so you end up whisking whipped cream by hand.  Then it may take a little longer…

I always try to do something a little different with pumpkin pie each year.  Not that this is actually pumpkin pie, but pretty similar.  Last year I used coconut milk and infused it with vanilla beans, and this year I loaded it up with chai spices and vanilla beans.

I also added a walnut, oat, and date-sweetened crust that adds a delicious chew with each bite.

Don’t let the though of homemade pudding scare you.  It’s incredibly easy, taking about 15 minutes to whip up and then a few hours in the fridge to firm.

I used a combination of eggs and arrowroot starch for this pudding but also made an egg-free version in case you’re out of eggs, don’t eat eggs, or are vegan. [far right side in the photo below]

The vegan option is on the healthier side, using chia seeds to thicken the mixture into pudding.  If you’re looking for a vegan option with a bit more decadence, check out my cashew pumpkin cream.  I think making a half and half mixture of the chia pudding and cashew pumpkin cream would be perfect. 

Print this!

Vanilla Bean Chai Spice Pudding

gluten-free // yields about 6, 1/2 cup servings

  • 1 1/3 cup 2% milk
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons half & half
  • 6-8 tablespoons coconut sugar [sucanat or pure cane sugar]
  • 3 tablespoons arrowroot starch
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 vanilla bean pod, sliced + scraped
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon all spice
  • 1/8 teaspoon clove
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  1. Prepare dessert cups with crust before starting the pudding. 
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and whisk until fully combined and smooth. 
  3. Place the 1/2 scraped vanilla bean pod in the mixture.
  4. Pour the mixture in a large pot over medium heat stirring constantly until it starts to simmer.  About 5-8 minutes.
  5. Reduce heat slightly and simmer for 1 minute to finish cooking the egg.  Stirring constantly.
  6. Remove from heat and pour through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl.
  7. Portion into serving cups as desired and place plastic wrap directly on top of the pudding to avoid a skin from forming.
  8. Refrigerate for at least 4-5 hours until fully set.
  9. Top with whipped cream and crust crumbles.

notes: Cornstarch can be substituted for arrowroot.  If you don’t have a vanilla bean, stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract after removing the pudding from the heat and before pouring through the strainer.

Vegan Pumpkin Chia Pudding

vegan, gluten-free // yields about 6, 1/2 cup servings // updated from an older version of pumpkin chia pudding

  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree
  • 10-14 medjool dates, pitted
  • 6 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon all spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon clove
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  1. Place all ingredients in a high speed blender, starting with 2 cups milk and 10 dates.
  2. Blend on medium working up to high until fully smooth.
  3. Add a bit more milk if needed to keep the mixture moving, but you’re looking for a thick, pudding-like consistency. 
  4. Taste and add more dates [for sweetness] if desired and blend until smooth.  Or, add a tablespoon or 2 of maple syrup.
  5. Scoop into serving dishes and place plastic wrap over top. 
  6. Mixture will thicken a bit as it chills in the fridge.  Serve once chilled.
  7. Top with coconut whipped cream and crust crumbles.

Oat Walnut Date Crust

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup gluten free rolled oats
  • 6 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons + 1 teaspoon unrefined coconut oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  1. Preheat your oven to 300*.
  2. Place the oats and nuts on a baking sheet and toss with 1 1/2 teaspoons melted coconut oil.
  3. Roast for about 15-20 minutes, stirring 1-2 times until light golden brown.
  4. Let cool completely. This can be sped up in the fridge or freezer.
  5. Place the pitted dates in your food processor and turn on until completely broken down and a ball of dough forms.
  6. Place the nut and oat mixture into the food processor and turn on until small crumbs form.  About 15-20 seconds.
  7. Add in the vanilla, cinnamon, and salt and pulse around until fully combined.
  8. Mixture should look crumbly but should easily press together between your fingers.  If it’s not holding together process in 1-2 more dates.
  9. Fill the bottom of the serving cups with as much crust as you like.
  10. Crumble on top of the pudding if desired.

We are incredibly lucky to have such a great group of friends here in Colorado that we’ll be spending our 4th Thanksgiving with.  I’m very much looking forward to a day with amazing food and even better company, but my Ohio family will be missed!

Hope you all have a thankful, relaxing, and delicious Thanksgiving.

See you next week!