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Cranberry-Apple Baked Steel-Cut Oat Cups {vegan, gluten-free}

Baked, portable steel-cut oat cups, packed with apples and dried cranberries. Only 99 calories,each, they are vegan, gluten-free, and refined sugar free.

Let it be known: I take requests. Happily.

This one comes direct from Denise, who asked if I might consider some pucks made from steel-cut, as opposed to rolled, oats. It is my pleasure to share the delicious results of my first (I plan on offering several) such puck: Individual, On-the-Go, Baked Steel-Cut Oats, loaded with apples and cranberries. They are toothsome with the soft and chewy oats, naturally sweet from the fruit, gluten-free, vegan, have a mere 99 calories per (very filling) puck, and travel well (these were another of the puck options I packed for the baseball journey).

They have great eye appeal, too, which is an added boost for beginning the day.

If you have not tried steel-cut oats before now, I hope that this recipe will encouage you to give them a try. They are made from the entire oat groat that has been cut rather than steamed and rolled (rolled oats). The results are hearty, rich and so satisfying.

If you have tried steel-cut oats, then you know that the one downside is that they take a long time to prepare: upwards of 50 minutes, with ample stirring involved, too. It’s possible to curtail the time, with slow cookers or insta-pots/pressure cookers, but I chose to combine two methods to simplify all and make individual portions, too:

(1) Pre-soaking;  and (2) baking.

Pre-soaking is exactly as it sounds: cover the oats with water, refrigerate overnight, and then drain when ready to use. This dramatically plumps the oats and slashes the subsequent cooking time.

Next-up, baking. Pre-soaking comes into play here, too. There is no need to pre-soak the oats when making a larger batch in a baking dish; you can add plenty of liquid and allow it to slowly absorb. But this is a problem when cooking in miniature form (namely, muffin cups). Pre-soaking the oats means less liquid needs to be added to the cups, plus the overall baking time is dramatically decreased (no dried-up oats!).


I will come up with less fruity steel cut oats soon, but these are packed with apples and dried cranberries. The sweetness from the combination eliminates the need for added sugar and keeps the oats creamy and flavorful. The cups will be full before you add the milk to each cup:

A generous spoonful of psyllium husk holds these together like a charm, rendering them perfectly portable for a week+ worth of instant breakfasts.

You can play around with the fruit here; think peaches or apricots during these last weeks of summer, then pears when fall approaches. The dried fruit is flexible, use whatever variety you prefer. These are wonderful cold, or gently re-warm in the microwave for 20 to 30 seconds, and they make a great snack in addition to a (literally) handy, filling breakfast to-go.


More to come re: steel-cut oats as back-to-school days and cooler weather approach!

Yield: 12 oat cups

Baked Steel-Cut Oat Cups {vegan, gluten-free}

Baked Steel-Cut Oat Cups {vegan, gluten-free}

Baked, portable steel-cut oat cups, packed with apples and dried cranberries. Only 99 calories,each, they are vegan, gluten-free, and refined sugar free.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • water for soaking
  • 2 large apples, peeled and chopped (pretty fine)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon whole psyllium husk
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (more or less to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1-1/2 cups nondairy milk, divided


  1. The day before making these, place the oats in a bowl or container and fill with water to cover the oats by about 1/2 an inch. Refrigerate at least 12 hours. When ready to proceed, drain the oats, discarding water.
  2. Preheat oven to 375F. Grease or spray all 12 cups of a standard size muffin tin (or line with silicone or foil liners for easier removal; paper liners do not hold up well).
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the drained oats, apples and cranberries. Sprinkle with the psyllium, cinnamon, and salt; stir to combine.
  4. Divide mixture evenly between cups (cups will be nearly full). Pour 2 tablespoons of milk over each cupful of oats mixture.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 24 to 27 minutes until tops are golden brown. Cool completely in tin before removing. Serve room temperature, chilled, or re-warmed (microwave for about 20 to 30 seconds).


Storage: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1 week or freezer for up to 3 months.

Baking Tip: Don't fret if some of the liquid bubbles up on the sides of the cups as the bake; once you remove the pucks from the cups, the mess remains on the tin, not the pucks.

Nutrition Information

Serving Size

1 cup

Amount Per Serving Calories 99Total Fat 1.5gSaturated Fat 0.2gCholesterol 0mgSodium 88mgCarbohydrates 19.7gFiber 3.6gSugar 7gProtein 2.6g

Did you make this recipe?

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Tuesday 7th of September 2021

Could I use water instead of milk


Wednesday 8th of September 2021

That should work fine, Natalie! 😊

Noora shiraz

Thursday 23rd of January 2020

I really wanna make this, but I dont really have plant based milk as an option, would dairy milk also work ?


Thursday 23rd of January 2020

Hi Noora,

Yes, you can definitely use dairy milk :)

Karen O

Sunday 12th of January 2020

I made these with dried apricots (chopped), dried cranberries, 2 Tbsp chia seeds (soaked in water) and pumpkin seeds. I used oat milk to top them off. I baked them in silicone muffin pans and they were perfect. I had no trouble getting them out of the pan. I placed the silicone on a cookie sheet for stability and it also caught some overspill. I'm putting these on my breakfast rotation.


Monday 13th of January 2020

Your variation sounds so delicious, Karen! Thanks for sharing the chia seed option , in particular. So glad that these worked so well for you 😊


Sunday 5th of January 2020

Hello! Is there a version of this that is sliceable or spoonsble? in a pan? I don’t want to do individual


Wednesday 8th of January 2020

Hi Rebekah,

You can make this in an 8-inch or 9-inch square pan (same quantities), and leave out the psyllium husk so that it is spoonable. Should still be same temp and time (may need a few more minutes, but not much, if any) :)


Thursday 28th of November 2019

I don't have psyllium husk in my pantry, but I have flax seeds and xanthan gum . Would either of those be a good substitute?


Thursday 28th of November 2019

Hi Dani, I think the flaxseed should work fine— I suggest two tablespoons to replace the psyllium. Just let them cool before attempting to remove them and I think all will go well! 😊

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