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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!

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

  • Author: Camilla
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 40 mins
  • Yield: 12 oat cups 1x


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.


  • 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
  • 11/2 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.

  • Category: Breakfast, Snack


  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 99
  • Sugar: 7 g
  • Sodium: 88 mg
  • Fat: 1.5 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 19.7 g
  • Fiber: 3.6 g
  • Protein: 2.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg


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