Soaked overnight for easy digestion, this gluten-free chocolate baked oatmeal takes a few minutes to stir together in the morning, then bakes while you get the kids ready! The baked oatmeal recipe variations are endless, too… Add in some cinnamon or chocolate chips, dried fruit or crispy nuts.
Do you need inspiring breakfasts to get you going each fall and winter? Back to school got you down?
Overnight Baked Chocolate Oatmeal is everything warm, chocolate-y and comforting! Just what we need to make the mornings cheerful! (And to get through the day!)
Why Should You Soak Baked Oatmeal?
When baked oatmeal is soaked in the traditional manner, the goal is to make oats easier to digest and more nutritious.
Unsprouted grains contain phytic acid, a mineral absorption blocker. Grains need to be soaked or fermented (with an acidic medium or by sourdough) before cooking to neutralize the phytic acid.
Some grains contain large quantities of phytase, an enzyme that aids this process. Oats, however, are very low in phytase.
I have added buckwheat groats to this breakfast casserole because they are high in phytase! When oats soak with buckwheat, the latter’s phytase helps to break down both of the grains’ phytic acid!
Buckwheat groats are also delicious! We often enjoy them alone as Instant Pot Buckwheat Porridge.
How To Soak Oats With Buckwheat
To soak oats, we need an acidic medium. I use whey or raw apple cider vinegar in the warm soaking water.
I also add the raw buckwheat groats (2 cups oats to 1 cup buckwheat). This makes a nutty, rich, nubby baked oatmeal.
The acid medium and warm soaking water activate the phytase in the buckwheat! After 12 to 24 hours, the grains’ phytic acid is significantly reduced.
I soak my grains overnight. In the morning, I rinse the grains and proceed with cooking.
Baked Chocolate Oatmeal comes together very quickly and bakes while we’re getting ready for our day.
Leftovers on the following mornings are extra fast! Baked Chocolate Oatmeal is great served warm or cold.
Is It Healthy To Eat Raw Oatmeal?
Actually, no. Oats need to be cooked as well as soaked.
So, yeah, all those thousands of soaked oatmeal recipes you see online with oats soaked overnight in the fridge and not cooked … no reduction in phytic acid happens.
The soaking process needs to be warm to activate the phytase. This soaking step significantly, but not completely, reduces phytic acid.
Cooking raw soaked oats further neutralizes anti-nutrients — not only phytic acid, but also lectins (plant compounds that contribute to leaky gut). So cooking oats is important.
What’s Your Favorite Way To Make Oatmeal?
Brown sugar, cream, berries? 🙂
I grew up eating oatmeal with these toppings, and loved every bowl! But you might be asking, “What are some other yummy ways of preparing oats?”
Baked … Chocolate!
This Baked Chocolate Oatmeal recipe elevates oatmeal to a whole new level of dreamy!
I love that this recipe is baked, because it means I can run around the house getting myself and the kids ready while the oven does the work (no stirring a pot!).
I also like that leftovers are in a casserole dish, ready in the fridge for busy mornings — just cut out a square, serve and go. Or pour warm milk over the top and serve with a spoon.
I love that this recipe is chocolate, because chocolate gets everyone excited and happy! 😉
And I love that this recipe takes an old favorite from my childhood and updates it in a new and special way, creating a new favorite.
Baked Oatmeal Variations
Once you’ve baked this recipe (and hopefully loved every bite of it!), feel free to make variations. Spiked with a few other special ingredients, this breakfast treat can take on a flare unique to your family:
- Add dried fruit for a more festive breakfast. Dried figs, dried cherries or dates all work well. Stir 3/4 cup chopped dried fruit in with the oats and buckwheat just before baking.
- For extra protein and crunch, stir 1 cup crispy walnuts or pecans into the oatmeal before baking.
- If gluten is tolerated, substitute rolled rye for the buckwheat.
- Increase the protein content by stirring 1/4 cup collagen powder in before baking.
- For an extra indulgent version of this recipe, fold 1/2 cup Fair Trade chocolate chips in with the oats before baking.
- Substitute Fair Trade cocoa powder with roasted carob powder, or use half cocoa and half carob.
- Or leave as-is. The basic recipe is already pretty awesome. 😉
Overnight Chocolate Baked Oatmeal (easy back-to-school breakfast)
Soaked overnight for easy digestion, this gluten-free chocolate baked oatmeal takes a few minutes to stir together in the morning, then bakes while you get the kids ready! The baked oatmeal recipe variations are endless, too... Add in some cinnamon or chocolate chips, dried fruit or crispy nuts.
- 4 cups pure water warm
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup buckwheat groats raw
- 1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar or whey
- 1/4 cup grass-fed butter melted and still warm (or coconut oil)
- 3/4 cup maple syrup
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder or roasted carob powder
- 2 cups raw milk or creamy coconut milk or homemade creamy nut milk
- 2 large eggs lightly beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup chocolate chips fair trade (optional)
The night before you intend to bake...
Place water, rolled oats, buckwheat groats, and raw apple cider vinegar in a large glass bowl.
Soak 12 to 24 hours.
The next day...
Pour soaked oat mixture into a large, fine-mesh colander.
Rinse well under running water and drain.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Grease an 8x11" (or 9x9") rectangular baking dish.
In a large bowl, whisk together warm butter and maple syrup.
Add cocoa and whisk again until a kind of ganache is formed.
Whisk in oats, buckwheat, milk, eggs and sea salt.
Transfer to prepared baking dish.
Bake uncovered for 45 to 50 minutes, until dry and somewhat firm on the surface and darkened around the edges.
As an optional step, about 35 minutes through the baking time, briefly remove baked oatmeal from oven to sprinkle the surface with chocolate chips.
Allow to cool slightly, if desired.
Cut into 9 squares.
Leftovers are good cold or reheated gently in a low temperature oven. Pour warm cream or milk over heated up leftovers.
Baked oatmeal lasts well in the fridge, covered, for up to 5 days.
- Baked Chocolate Oatmeal is pretty rich! So we love it with warm milk poured over the top, eaten with a spoon.
- Top baked oatmeal with whipped cream, berries, crispy walnuts/pecans, warm berry compote or Greek yogurt and Fermented Cranberry Sauce (yum!).
- Add to lunch boxes. (My husband brings Overnight Baked Chocolate Oatmeal in his lunch! I love the nubby texture when it's cold.)
- Enjoy with herbal coffee or your favorite hot beverage.
- Add some scrambled eggs, grass-fed hot dogs or sausage on the side for extra protein and to keep you going all morning!
Do you have any suggestions for oatmeal flavorings or recipes?
It’s hard to go wrong with chocolate! Try adding 1 teaspoon cinnamon to the mix for a Mexican chocolate flare.
Put a dollop of nut butter on top for extra protein. Or serve with Instant Pot Pumpkin Butter for a fall twist!
Looking for more quick and easy breakfast recipes?
Here are a few of my favorites:
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Is there something I could substitute for the buckwheat groats? The recipe sounds delicious!
Can raw cacao powder be used instead of cocoa in this recipe.
Sierra Keehn says
I’m also wondering about a substitute for the buckwheat groats. You mentioned rolled Rye, is that the same as just rye flour?
My daughter made this oatmeal bake and it finished baking just after dinner. We couldn’t even wait for breakfast to try it! Tastes like a healthier version of brownies… SO GOOD! Definite winner and a recipe that will become a regular in our house!
Megan Stevens says
Hi Kelsey! Thanks for the feedback and so happy you guys are enjoying it! 🙂
We just made this and I think cacao powder would work great!
Julie Johnson says
Hi! I remember a soaked, baked oatmeal recipe from her from a couple of years ago – but it wasn’t chocolate! Can I just take the cocoa out, will it still work? Thanks!
Megan Stevens says
Hi Julie, no, I’m sorry, it won’t. I would go with another baked oatmeal recipe, because the cocoa is a major ingredient, so the recipe will change if you take it out. Hope you find just the right one! 🙂
I made this this morning, it’s very yummy, but I am surprised it goes into an 8″ pan. It’s much thicker than your photos and it took about 30 minutes longer to bake. Is this really supposed to be for a 9×13 pan instead?
Megan Stevens says
Hi Melissa, thanks for sharing your experience and for your clarification. I’m so glad you’re enjoying the oatmeal! My dish, the one pictured, is 8″x 11″. A thicker oatmeal and longer baking time sounds right for 8″x8″. We’ll definitely correct the 8″x8″ dish I indicate in the recipe! I appreciate your feedback! 🙂
Megan Stevens says
Hi Diane and Sierra, I’m sorry to delay in responding. The Reply feature isn’t working for us right now, so I was waiting so you’d get my reply. I’m going to reply here for now and hope you see the response. The best substitute for the buckwheat groats is rolled rye. Sierra, rolled rye is the whole rye berry but rolled to be flat. So it’s not flour. Rolled rye looks a lot like rolled oats, but it’s browner is color. Rolled rye works best because it contains an enzyme that helps to break down the antinutrients in oatmeal. You could also use rolled wheat or barley, if those are tolerated. These rolled grains can be purchased in bulk from certain health food stores or online. I hope that helps! 🙂
Can you use digestive enzymes instead of buckwheat or rolled rye like you can do to make oat milk?
Megan Stevens says
Hi Donna, yes, raw cacao powder can definitely be used instead of cocoa. 🙂
Beverly Horner says
Do steel cut oats work for this recipe?
Megan Stevens says
Hi Beverly, no, sorry, they need to be rolled oats.
This is delicious. Made a weeks’ worth of breakfast (5 times the recipe) for our family (4 boys, husband, and I). I did cut back the maple syrup from 3/4 cup to 1/4 cup per batch and we loved the results. Also added some soaked/dehydrated pumpkin seeds to the batter.
Hi, can I use raw buckwheat flour instead of buckwheat groats?