A hot, comforting bowl of creamy oatmeal is one of my favorite breakfasts during the cold weather months. For a snowy Sunday breakfast recently, I made this Maple Cinnamon Oatmeal, topped with apples and toasted pecans.
My family loves the classic preparation of oatmeal sweetened with brown sugar, full of plump juicy raisins, and sprinkled with cinnamon. But for today’s recipe, I sweetened the oats with pure maple syrup, and spiced them with cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and vanilla extract. Apples, sauteed with butter and spices are delicious and beautiful on top of the oatmeal. Toasted pecans add crunch, and a drizzle of cream and more maple syrup are the perfect finish for this cozy breakfast.
If you like this recipe, don’t miss my oatmeal topped with blueberry rhubarb compote and chocolate chip oatmeal cookie bars.
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- Old-Fashioned Oats. I prefer using old-fashioned oats, as they’re heartier than quick-cooking oats, but don’t take as long to cook as steel-cut oats. Old-fashioned oats cook in about 5 minutes, and become very creamy as they absorb liquid.
- Milk + Water. This recipe uses a combination of whole milk and water for cooking the oats. You can certainly use just water or just milk. Any milk substitute will work as well, such as almond milk or coconut milk, instead of the whole milk.
- Pure Maple Syrup. Oats taste best with a little sweetener, although personally I don’t like mine excessively sweet. So 1/4 cup maple syrup (that’s 1 tablespoon per serving of oatmeal) is just right. Serve maple syrup on the side, as well, so people can drizzle more on top if they like their oatmeal a little sweeter. A dark or robust maple syrup has amazing flavor. Other sweeteners would work as well, such as honey, agave syrup, or brown sugar.
- Spices + Vanilla. Both the oatmeal and the apples are spiced with a combination of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. I also love grating fresh nutmeg right on top. A splash of good-quality vanilla extract really elevates the flavor of this maple cinnamon oatmeal.
- Apples. To top this oatmeal, I simmered honeycrisp apples with cinnamon, cloves, butter and water, until softened. They look beautiful on top of the oatmeal, and add an “apple pie for breakfast” flavor that’s just delicious.
- Pecans. For a little crunch, top each bowl with a sprinkling of pecans. Toast your pecans to bring out even more nuttiness. Walnuts would be a fine substitution for the pecans, if you prefer.
Simmer the Apples.
Get your apples going first, so they can simmer and soften. Peel, core and slice the apples, then place in a saucepan with water, butter, cinnamon and cloves. Simmer until the apples are softened and the liquid is syrupy, about 10 minutes.
So that I don’t have to wash two saucepans, I scraped the apples into a bowl, and just used the same saucepan to cook the oatmeal in the next step. You can also cook the apples the day before, if you like. Before serving, add a splash of water and warm up in the microwave.
Cook the Oatmeal.
Once your apples are done, you can cook your maple cinnamon oatmeal. Combine everything into your saucepan, and cook over medium heat until the oatmeal is thick and creamy, about 5 minutes. You should stir the oatmeal frequently, so it doesn’t stick.
Serve with All the Yummy Toppings.
Serve the oatmeal immediately, while it’s hot. Top each bowl with the sauteed apples, toasted pecans, a drizzle of cream and maple syrup, and a sprinkling of freshly grated nutmeg. It’s SO GOOD.
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Maple Cinnamon Oatmeal
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- 2 large apples (preferably Honeycrisp), peeled, cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick (or diced)
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp water
- 2 cups old-fashioned oats
- 2 cups water
- 1 ½ cups whole milk
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- pure maple syrup
- pecans or walnuts, lightly toasted and chopped
- freshly grated nutmeg
- In a saucepan, combine the apples and spices. Add the butter and water.
- Over medium heat, bring to a simmer. Cook the apples, stirring frequently, until the apples are softened and the liquid is thick and syrupy, about 10 minutes. If needed, add another splash of water as you cook the apples.
- Scrape the apples into a bowl, and use the same saucepan to cook the oatmeal.
- In a saucepan, combine the oats, water, milk, maple syrup, spices and vanilla.
- Cook the oatmeal over medium heat for 5-6 minutes, stirring frequently, until the oatmeal is thick and creamy.
- Serve the oatmeal hot, topped with the apples. Garnish with chopped pecans or walnuts, a drizzle of cream and maple syrup, and freshly grated nutmeg.
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