Oatmeal Muffins with Raisins, Dates, and Walnuts

Please welcome Garrett McCord as he shares his favorite oatmeal muffin recipe. ~Elise

When I was a kid my dad made my brothers and me breakfast every morning. We often didn’t get to see him much since he came home late at night, so mornings were always boy bonding times in our house (probably much to the relief of my mom who could sleep in and get ready for work without being bothered). When it got cold out he would start making us piping hot bowls of oatmeal. He would throw in walnuts, raisins, and dates if we had them in the pantry. Next, he would pour a bit of milk over it and complete the dish with a dusting of brown sugar and cinnamon that he kept pre-mixed in a can.

Now an adult, I still do the same preparation once the air begins to get brisk, and I start eating oatmeal every morning. These days, though, I switch it up a bit. Usually, I go with pepitas and dried papaya. Other times hazelnuts, almonds, and dried pineapple. However, sometimes I forego traditional oatmeal all together and prepare my dad’s classic fruit-n-nut combo into oatmeal muffin form. A preparation that makes for a nice change every now and again.

These muffins are the perfect breakfast bread for any morning. They’re best served right out of the oven when they’re still hot and will melt and soak up any butter you spread on.

Oatmeal Muffins with Raisins, Dates, and Walnuts Recipe

  • Yield: Makes 12 muffins

Feel free to switch out the walnuts for pecans, the raisins for cranberries or candied ginger, and so on.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of rolled oats
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup of finely chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1/3 cup of raisins
  • 1/3 cup of chopped dates
  • 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup), melted and cooled
  • 1 cup of buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, beaten

Method

1 Preheat the oven to 400°F and grease a twelve-slot muffin tin or line the slots with paper baking cups.

2 Mix together the rolled oats, flour, brown sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, walnuts, dates, and raisins. In a separate bowl mix together the buttermilk, egg, vanilla extract, and butter.

3 Pour the wet ingredients into the dry mixture and stir together. Be sure not to over-stir as that will cause the muffins to develop too many gluten bonds. It should be thick and gloppy. About 10 seconds of stirring should do; just enough to barely bring the ingredients together. Scoop into prepared muffin tray and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the tray for a minute or two before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

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30 Comments

  1. Jennifer Jo

    This is very similar to a muffin recipe I use (http://bit.ly/a9QGF3), except that I soak the oats in the buttermilk overnight and use some whole wheat flour. This date, raisin, and nut combo would be delicious.

  2. Becka

    I moved to Ecuador about a year ago and still have not bought myself a muffin pan. But, these look so good they have me craving a good muffin. I will be on the lookout for a muffin pan this week so I can try these.

    PS, These are a perfect muffin for me because due to celiac’s I will need to replace the white flour with a GF flour. Because the ratio of white flour is so low, I am almost guaranteed a success!

  3. Frances

    This sounds totally yummy! Would it change the outcome of the recipe to leave out the raisins? Thanks so much for your fabulous site!

    Yes, you can leave them out. ~Garrett

  4. Wietje

    Awesome. What’s the best way to store and reheat muffins? I have not been very successful doing this. Thanks, Garrett.

    Once you bake the muffins toss them in a sealed bag and freeze them. To bake, just pop them on a baking sheet and throw them in a 350F oven for 5-10 minutes. Muffins, once made, have a short shelf life so they should be eaten within a day or two. ~Garrett

  5. a.m. ryan

    I wrote and lost my comments, so here it goes again.
    I like your recipe but the baking soda is a no-no for people on a salt-restricted diet, like me. I would cut down on the salt also, on my own.
    Could you increase the baking powder and reduce the baking soda?
    Also, a stick of butter for 12 muffins, (eaten with additional butter), would be yummy, but lethal with cholesterol.
    Can you streamline this recipe?
    Many thanks.

    I would say you can try with increasing the powder. The soda uses the buttermilk as the acidifying agent for creating carbon dioxide for lift. The baking powder alone may work fine. As for the butter, well, you might try oil. I haven’t, so I can’t say what the result will be. You may simply need a different recipe. ~Garrett

  6. Patricia Stebbins

    Sounds really great. I’ve been substituting an equal ratio of fat free greek yogurt for the butter (or oil) and get excellent results. Would it work with this recipe?

    I think you could get away with that in this recipe. Never tried it before, so I can’t say for sure. ~Garrett

  7. Diane

    I made these this morning and they are delicious!

    a.m. ryan, you can sub out the 1/2 tsp baking soda for 1 tsp baking powder, but then you should also replace the buttermilk with regular milk (buttermilk’s acidity is neutralized by the baking soda, which also creates the rising action)

  8. Ron

    Is there a simple substitute for the buttermilk? I simply don’t have it on hand on a regular basis and if there is a substitute it would be very convenient. Thanks – looks like a great recipe!

    Put a teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a cup of milk and let it sit for 10 minutes to make a good buttermilk stand-in. ~Garrett

  9. sunnyt

    Would apple sauce be a good replacement for the butter/ or oil?

    I hear applesauce can work, but I haven’t tried it so I can’t say what the results would be. ~Garrett

  10. liliana

    Before trying it, how much is 400 F in C?
    What quantity of butter is a stick?
    Thanks.

    1/2 cup of butter. 205C is 400F. ~Garrett

  11. Celia

    These were delicious, especially warm out of the oven!

  12. Eloise Lepore

    These were GREAT!

  13. Don

    This looks great. I’m always looking for healthy breakfast alternatives. Is there any reason I couldn’t use whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour?

    It might be a bit heavier and not rise as much, but I think you should be fine. You might want to try just using half whole wheat first and seeing how that works first. ~Garrett

  14. Kim

    Just wondering what kind of oatmeal this calls for. Is it the quick 1 minute type or the traditional slow cooking kind of oatmeal? They look so yummy, I can’t wait to make them.

    Rolled oats are what you want. Not the shredded or steel cut oats. ~Garrett

  15. Anju

    I made these today with my 2-year-old son. It’s a great recipe that’s simple enough to let kids help out with the measuring and pouring and mixing. And the muffins – when they came out of the oven – were to die for! Probably the best muffins I’ve ever made. They were a little crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside – delicious! And the texture – because of the added oatmeal and dates – was refreshingly complex. Thanks so much!!

  16. Maria Brann

    All of you who think the recipe for oatmeal muffins is so great must never have tasted a really good muffin. They are horrible and I have been cooking for over 60 years. I may try them again and either grind up the oats or cook or soak them first. Ugh!

  17. Susan

    I made these muffins today and they are really wonderful. They have such a tender crumb and just the right amount of chewiness from the fruit. They are lightly spiced and perfectly sweetened, too. They don’t need any frosting but that dab of apple butter I put on half was a perfect pairing. Thank you so much for this recipe, Garrett.

  18. Kari

    These worked great with spelt flour and sucanat (unrefined sugar) and oats. I used dried cherries and pecans with the dates. I used a mini-muffin pan. Also, I made the batter a night ahead and though the oats absorbed the moisture they still cooked up great–big hit with the kiddos.

  19. Frank

    We don’t have buttermilk where I live. What can be used instead?

    Add a teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to every cup of milk you plan to use and let stand for 10 minutes. That gives you a good buttermilk substitute. Worse comes to worse, you could probably use yogurt or sour cream. ~Garrett

  20. Julie

    I just made these muffins. They were great! My husband really like them too.

    I made couple of healthy substitutions:
    1. I used whole wheat pastry flour instead of AP
    2. I used 1/4 cup canola oil and 1/4 fat free greek yogurt instead of butter
    The substitutions worked out fabulously now the muffins have more vitamins/minerals/fiber (from the WW pastry flour substitution) and less saturated fat plus more protein (from the canola oil and greek yogurt).

  21. Annie

    Thanks for this great recipe, Garrett! I loved the chewiness of the oats in these muffins. I substituted 1/4 c. applesauce and 1/4 c. canola oil for the butter, which worked just fine. I’m glad to have another satisfying and relatively healthy breakfast option.

    Glad to hear that it worked so well for you. =) ~Garrett

  22. Evelyn

    I’m eating one of these muffins right now, still warm from the oven. I used pecans and raisins since I had no dates on hand. The muffin is moist and chewy and has just the right amount of sweetness. Very easy and very good!

  23. danielleinnh

    Tried these muffins a while back. Aside from omitting the dates and using raisins that had been plumped in hot water (and then drained and excess water squeezed out) I followed this recipe to a T – which in itself is a remarkable act for me! I would have to say that right out of the oven I found them to be extremely greasy. Even after cooling to room temperature they were far greasier than I like (the taste was delicious though). After a month or so in the freezer (and popped, frozen, into the toaster) they did not seem nearly as greasy. Next time I make them I will reduce the amount of butter. Still, a great recipe and one that I am glad that I remembered where I found it so that I can make them again.

  24. Adrian

    These are absolutely delicious! Used dried pineapple instead of dates and pecans instead of walnuts. Did mini muffins for my husband to take on his flight with him for our toddler in case she needs a healthy and substantial snack. Tried them right out of the oven and they are SO good!

  25. K

    I tried these with the 1/4 c oil and 1/4 c greek yogurt substitution mentioned above, and they turned out so tender and delicious! I have already made them twice in the past week. I love that the muffin itself is just barely sweet, with more sweetness provided by the dried fruit. Thanks for a great recipe! One note — perhaps my oven runs hot, but I found they only needed to bake for 12-14 minutes.

  26. Steph

    Lovely recipe! The muffins came out very moist and tender. Two minor changes: (1) I didn’t have dates so used 2/3 cup raisins and I didn’t pre-soak them to rehydrate either. (2) I didn’t have buttermilk so I used 1 cup fat free milk and 1 tbsp vinegar substitute and let stand for 10 minutes instead. Worked like a charm and it’s perfect for a post Hurricane Irene lazy Sunday.

  27. marcela

    BEST MUFFINS EVER, hands down, especially fresh from the oven with a pat of whipped butter. Ridiculous!!!

  28. Lisa

    This is one *seriously* awesome muffin! It had a tender crumb, even after cooling, and everything just seemed to meld together! I followed the recipe as printed and used raisins that had been soaked (in rum!) It was everything I always want my muffins to be, and yet seldom are; especially when oatmeal is concerned. Thank you for sharing!!!

  29. emily

    OK quick question: How should I adjust the baking times if I make these in a mini muffin pan OR an oversized muffin pan? Is there a general rule when changing the type of pan? It seems as though I should lower the baking time if making minis and raise it when making oversized muffins.

    Yes, you will need to adjust the baking time. For mini-muffins you usually check around ten minutes. Not sure on the oversized. ~Garrett

  30. Susan

    I have to tell you again, after all these years, how wonderful this recipe is. I have made these muffins many, many, Many times since published but I’ve made a batch a day for the past 4 days at my visiting, pregnant daughter’s request. She says they are the answer to her craving for a lightly sweet yet reasonably fiber-full, breakfast treat. Every time I’ve served I’ve had to supply the recipe. Thank Garrett again for me, Elise.

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