Chai-Spiced Baked Oatmeal

February  6, 2014

Each Thursday, Emily Vikre (a.k.a fiveandspice) will be sharing a new way to love breakfast -- because breakfast isn't just the most important meal of the day. It's also the most awesome.

Today: Baked oatmeal, just right.

Oatmeal from Food52

Shop the Story

You know how things sometimes just don’t quite work out the way you envisioned them? Yeah. This was originally supposed to be a savory baked oatmeal -- twinged with miso and sesame oil, stuffed with greens and mushrooms. It seemed like such a good idea! Actually, I still think it’s a good idea, but somehow it didn’t play out properly in the execution. It wasn’t bad, but it was a little weird. Good...ish. Mostly weird, if I was to be honest with myself about it. At any rate, I didn’t feel the need to save it and eat it for breakfast the next day.

Okay then, fine. A change of plans was in order. I decided I would use leftover parsnip purée from the parsnips I was preparing for dinner to make chai-spiced parsnip pancakes. Doesn’t that sound good? I know! I think I’ll actually still try them some time. But, we ate all of the parsnips. No leftovers, no pancakes. Oops.  

At the risk of sounding dramatic -- because breakfast, or at least uncertainty in breakfast, is nothing if not dramatic -- things seemed dire. If we had been out of coffee beans as well, I would have given up right there. But this story has a happy ending because we weren’t. And so, fueled by two cups of coffee on an empty stomach and the realization that I still had chai spices and leftover oats, I decided to make a chai-spiced baked oatmeal. And, while I was in the process of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat (oh yes friends, victory comes scented with cardamom and black tea) I figured I may as well rub it in defeat’s face, so I made maple-syrup cloaked pears to top it all off. And it was so good. Sometimes when things don’t quite work out the way you envision them, they wind up working out better. Even the leftovers are better.

Oatmeal froM Food52

Chai Baked Oatmeal with Maple Pears

Serves 6

Chai Baked Oatmeal

2 1/2 cups milk -- I prefer whole milk (nondairy substitutes work as well)
2 tablespoons your favorite loose leaf chai blend
2 1/4 cups old fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans (optional)
1/3 cup maple syrup (preferably grade B for its stronger flavor)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons melted butter
Maple pears for serving (see below)

Maple Pears

2 to 3 large pears -- I've been into red Comice pears lately
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons maple syrup

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here. 

Photos by Emily Vikre

Listen Now

Join The Sandwich Universe co-hosts (and longtime BFFs) Molly Baz and Declan Bond as they dive deep into beloved, iconic sandwiches.

Listen Now

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Karen
  • lorraine.coleman2
  • Lisa
  • Fairmount_market
  • Midge
I like to say I'm a lazy iron chef (I just cook with what I have around), renegade nutritionist, food policy wonk, and inveterate butter and cream enthusiast! My husband and I own a craft distillery in Northern Minnesota called Vikre Distillery (, where I claimed the title, "arbiter of taste." I also have a doctorate in food policy, for which I studied the changes in diet and health of new immigrants after they come to the United States. I myself am a Norwegian-American dual citizen. So I have a lot of Scandinavian pride, which especially shines through in my cooking on special holidays. Beyond loving all facets of food, I'm a Renaissance woman (translation: bad at focusing), dabbling in a variety of artistic and scientific endeavors.


Karen February 10, 2014
This was wonderful. I made a blueberry compote to go along with it and I added dried cranberries to it. It can be your breakfast or dessert with vanilla ice cream. Love that it makes enough for a weeks worth of breakfasts.
fiveandspice February 16, 2014
Glad it turned out well for you. I'm sooo eating it with ice cream next time! :)
lorraine.coleman2 February 9, 2014
Could you use stone ground oats?
fiveandspice February 9, 2014
I think you might be able to, but you'd probably have to bake it for longer, so it might require more liquid. I haven't tried it.
Lisa February 9, 2014
"Loose leaf chai blend" - Could I open my Bigelow Chai Tea bag and use that?
fiveandspice February 9, 2014
Totally. Actually, you could probably just stick a couple tea bags in the warm milk. Then you wouldn't even need to strain it, just pull the tea bags out when it tastes strong enough to you!
Lisa February 9, 2014
Thank you!
Lisa February 9, 2014
Fairmount_market February 6, 2014
This looks delicious. Perfect for a predicted snow day tomorrow.
fiveandspice February 8, 2014
Thank you so much! And yes, soooo perfect for a snow day!
Midge February 6, 2014
Yum! And I really want those plates ;)
fiveandspice February 8, 2014
Thanks Peggy! And, the plates are from Anthropologie. I don't know if they still carry them, but I love'em!