Cherry Ginger "Oatnola" // Cherry Ginger "Oatnola" //

“Oatnola” is what happens when you marry the crispiness of granola with the warmth and ease of oatmeal. It’s also the quick breakfast alternative when I’ve decided that the day needs more than a bowl of cereal for my little ones. It it the sort of hot breakfast that is actually totally possible in the midst of the harried “Do you have your coat?” “Don’t forget shoes!” “You did brush your teeth, right?” routine that is our weekday mornings.

Fresh ginger wakes up in a hot bath of butter – everyone should be so lucky as to wake up in a butter bath. To that we add oats and toast them in the gingered butter until they shift a shade in color – from pale to honey colored. The addition of a bit of sugar – not too much so that your teeth ache after breakfast, but enough to lure the children from their usual boxed routine. This caramelizes the oats and makes the whole bowl seize and crisp when you pour cold milk over the hot oats. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, there are nuts and seeds and a whisper of spice and then tart chewy dried cherries.

Cherry Ginger "Oatnola" // Cherry Ginger "Oatnola" //

If you want your oatnola more oatmeal then granola, slowly stream in a bit of milk while the whole lot still sizzles in the skillet. If you, like me like it teetering more towards granola, place a heaping scoop of the hot oats into a bowl and pour cold, straight-from-the-fridge milk over. That sizzle and snap you hear is far more satisfying than those little men who dance around proclaiming their snap, crackle and pop.

If you don’t have cherries on hand but do have raisins add those instead. Dried apricots and pistachios would also do nicely. I’ve been known to throw in a few cocoa nibs or even a bit of cocoa powder to transform breakfast (and the milk in your bowl) into a decadent (yet still healthy) chocolate pool.

I find it a solid victory when a nutritious breakfast stubbornly slithers into our hectic mornings. It’s hard to find contenders that satisfy and sustain. So when we do, such as the case with our oatnola, they tend to be on repeat. I hope you enjoy this one as much as we do.

Cherry Ginger "Oatnola" // Cherry Ginger "Oatnola" //



Cherry Ginger "Oatnola"

Serves 4


2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

1 1/2 cups oats

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon maple syrup


1/2 cup toasted pecans (almonds or walnuts are great too)

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

pinch of nutmeg

1 tablespoon sesame seeds (I used white and black)

1/2 cup dried cherries (a like something tart like a Montmorency cherry – often found at Trader Joe’s)

whole milk


A cast iron skillet, I have found, works best here, but I’m sure any large skillet will do the job.

Melt the butter in the skillet until it bubbles. Add the ginger and stir until fragrant. This will happen almost immediately. Stir in the oats to coat them in the butter and continue to cook until they shift in color, turning a light golden. They will also start to smell a bit nutty. Add the sugar and maple syrup then stir well. Cook the oats until again, their color shifts into a deeper brown and they start to caramelize as the sugar cooks. Add a hefty pinch of salt along with the nuts, spices and seeds. Stir just a few minutes more letting everything just come together.

Turn off the heat and stir in the cherries.

For more of an oatmeal texture add enough milk directly to the skillet to your desired consistency.

Otherwise divide the mixture, while hot, to four bowls and top with cold milk. The Oatnola will sizzle and create satisfying clusters. The oats will start to soften in the milk. Eat straight away.

26 Responses to “Cherry Ginger “Oatnola””

  1. Charlotte Rolt

    I love this! Having spent endless occasions trying to get my 21 month old to eat cheerios, weetabix and shreddies with no success, I have discovered this week he was just waiting on me offering up coconut chai granola! The boy clearly has some taste. So I’ll definitely be trying out this one on him, hopefully with lots of success as it sounds just delicious. And worst case scenario, I get to eat his bowl full too. 🙂

  2. Heather

    This sounds so wonderful on a cold morning. I’m going to try it for brunch with my girlfriend’s.

  3. Wei

    Sigh, I always get such photo (and food) envy from your work. Your cookie mix was the reason I started baking – thank you being such an inspiration!

  4. Liz

    This is amazing – I made it yesterday and it kept me warm and full all morning. Now making it for my husband and realized I’m not sure where the maple syrup goes – do you add it at the same time as the sugar? Yum, and thanks!

  5. Aimee @ Food Banjo

    This looks so good and easy! I love recipes like this. And cherry and ginger sound like a fabulous combination. I don’t think I’ve tried those flavors together. Yum!

  6. Sophia

    What a great idea (I am totally earmarking the ginger-cherry combination for future granola experiments). This reminds me a lot of a dessert my mum used to make for us as kids. It didn’t even really have a name but basically involved toasting oats in a pan with some sugar until crispy and golden and scattering this over yoghurt with fresh fruit, a bit like Scottish cranachan but more child friendly.

  7. Krysten

    This looks really good! I love your photography, the pictures are so beautiful they make me want to dive right into the oatnola.
    I find it hard to get a good breakfast in the morning, this seems like something easy that I can do! Thank you for this post! 😀

  8. Kelley

    Not much can tempt me to budge from my usual “quick oats in the microwave” routine (I KNOW, people, I KNOW), but you’ve done it. I’m getting the ingredients today.

  9. Spencer

    Seconding the request for where the maple syrup comes in? Are you using that in addition to the sugar or in lieu of as an alternative? OR just putting it on top once it’s all made? Thanks!

  10. Rebecca

    This is one of the best breakfasts I’ve had in a long time! Oatnola is genius and this combo of flavors is perfect. Thanks, Ashley!

    Ps my husband and I spent Jan 1 in freezing Philadelphia making the winter BBQ meal from Date Night In and it was a great way to kick off a new year!


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