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.


Maple Vanilla Oatmeal Bars

Breakfast Fridaaaayyyy, people!

Today I'm sharing a recipe that I've been meaning to make for awhile now. And by awhile, I mean years. Why do I even make to-do lists?

This post is sponsored by Rodelle. All products have been tested and approved by my taste buds.

Soft Batch Maple Vanilla Oatmeal Bars |

My goal was to make a breakfast bar that actually holds you over the entire morning, doesn't fall apart when you bite into it, and is also super thick and chewy. Too much to ask? I think not.

Oh, they also must be studded with Rodelle vanilla beans and laced with a subtle hint of maple syrup.

It's like oatmeal to go. Handheld oatmeal! Whatever you want to call it, I've finally landed on the keeper recipe. It only took a week of my life to figure this one out, with the slightest of tweaks each round. 

Ground Oats + Walnuts for Soft Batch Maple Vanilla Oatmeal Bars |

The point of this recipe was to provide a super nutritious, handheld breakfast, with tons of chew and light on the sweetness. Easy for the kiddos to grab + go, but equally as awesome for adults. They're not supposed to be like bread or cake or muffins. This is an every-day-of-the-week type breakfast.

However, you can jazz it up with a dutch chocolate drizzle when you feel like you need a little treat-yo-self action. Like on a Friday. Like I just did today. Paired with a pumpkin spice latte from Angela

And speaking of Angela, I'm in the home stretch of photographing her second cookbook! I've been shooting 6-7 days/week for the past 3 months and eating my face off the entire time. I cannot even begin to explain how killer the recipes are. Every single one of them!

And the collaboration doesn't stop there! I'm now photographing for her blog! It started with that pumpkin spice latte I mentioned above. Pretty dang cool. Someone pinch me.

Soft Batch Maple Vanilla Oatmeal Bars |

Now back to these oatmeal bars and those tiny flecks of vanilla beans.

Do you ever think about things like, how were vanilla beans discovered? Who split the first one open and was all, "let's mix these into some muffins or ice cream!" I'm well aware that was probably not how they were first used. But, if you've ever actually tasted vanilla beans straight from the pod, your first thought probably wouldn't be to add them to food. They're pretty potent when not dispersed in something sweet. So I'm curious when the first person decided to use vanilla beans in cooking. Someone tell me!!! (I'm aware of the site called Google.)

Rodelle Vanilla Beans used in Maple Vanilla Oatmeal Bars |

I've been continuously impressed with the quality of vanilla beans I've used from Rodelle (and their extracts!). They're almost juicy when you slice into them and have a hefty amount of beans inside. You may remember my first collaboration with Rodelle a few months back. You know, the vanilla muffins. I so appreciate their attentiveness to not only the quality of their products, but to how they treat their farmers and give back to the farming communities. 

Dutch Chocolate Drizzle on Maple Vanilla Oatmeal Bars |

Now. As far as toppings go, it's all up to you. PB + jelly is one of my favs but the dutch cocoa drizzle isn't too shabby either. 

These bars are substantial. They're thick + chewy and meant to be that way. They're very similar in texture to a Bobo's Oat Bar, if you've ever tried one of those. If you slice them into 5 bars it's like eating 1/2 cup of oatmeal with walnuts, almond butter, and a few other ingredients mixed in. Breakfast of champions.

Maple Vanilla Oatmeal Bars |

Print Recipe!

Maple Vanilla Oatmeal Bars

gluten-free + vegan // yields: 5 servings

  • 2 1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup walnut halves + pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons creamy natural almond butter (oil drained off top and stirred well)
  • 1 Madagascar bourbon vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • 1 teaspoon Madagascar bourbon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup water

Preheat your oven to 350° F. Line an 8x4" bread pan with parchment so it covers the bottom and long sides of the pan only. Grease the small ends of the pan with coconut oil.

Place oats in your food processor and process for about 8-10 seconds until coarsely ground. You want some whole oats to remain. (Refer to photo 2.) Empty into a large mixing bowl. Add walnuts to the processor and process until you're left with pebble-sized pieces. A few larger pieces are fine. Empty into the mixing bowl and add the salt. Stir well.

Melt the coconut oil and pour into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Whisk in the maple syrup, almond butter, vanilla beans, and vanilla extract vigorously, until fully combined. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix with a large spoon until the dry ingredients are fully incorporated. Use your hands if needed.

Pour in the water and mix with a large spoon until fully incorporated. Let sit for 5 minutes. The texture should be like very thick oatmeal. Empty into the pan and spread firmly with the back of the spoon or a spatula. Make sure it's level and spread from edge to edge. Bake for 16-20 minutes. The center will be slightly soft to the touch (not wet) and the edges will be more firm.

Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 30 minutes in the pan. Carefully lift the block out by the parchment sides and place on a cooling rack (with parchment still attached). Let fully cool. Remove parchment. Slice into 5 bars or 10 squares.


  • If you don't have vanilla beans on hand, simply substitute 2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (in total).
  • Store in a sealed container on the counter or in the fridge. Top as desired before eating. Heat before eating if desired. Bars hold together really well and don't need refrigeration to stay together. Perfect for packed lunches or breakfast to go! If adding the chocolate drizzle, you'll want to keep them refrigerated.
  • You can most likely double this recipe and bake in an 8x8 pan. Baking time may increase slightly. A 9x5 pan will also work. Bars will be slightly thinner and bake time will decrease by a few minutes. If you don't have parchment paper, thoroughly grease the pan with softened coconut oil. Cool in the pan for 45 minutes, then loosen the edges with a butter knife. Cover the top of the pan with one hand and flip over. Place right side up on a cooling rack and let fully cool.

Dutch Chocolate Drizzle

  • 1 tablespoon unrefined coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons dutch processed cocoa, sifted (or unsweetened cocoa/cacao powder)
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped (or 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract)

Melt the coconut oil and pour into a small mixing bowl. Whisk in all other ingredients until smooth. Pour into a small ziploc bag and seal. Cut a tiny corner from the bottom of the bag and gently squeeze to drizzle over the bars. Refrigerate bars until chocolate has hardened. Eat or keep stored in a sealed container in the fridge. Chocolate softens quickly at room temp.

Thick and Chewy Maple Vanilla Oatmeal Bars |

Happy weekending. 


This post was sponsored by Rodelle. Opinions are always my own and products are thoroughly tested before sharing. Thank you for supporting the occasional sponsored post that helps fund all the deliciousness you find here!