Caramelized Banana Oatmeal

We love to teach different cooking techniques for all different types of outdoor adventure. One of our most adventurous occasions happened in December when we got to work with Subaru and some tough mountain bikers deep in the heart of Death Valley National Park.

The location was findable by GPS coordinates only (and no phone service), about 40 miles down a washboardy single lane dirt road. We packed our rented rear-wheel drive Sprinter van full of gear, food and about 200 gallons of water and headed out. Luckily we made it to within 1/2 mile of camp before we got stuck. Even more luckily, a few magical helpers saved us from a $4000 towing fee- but not before dinner was supposed to be ready. We decided to unpack and start cooking while we worked on digging the van out, and got a lot of practice packing/unpacking it by the end of the weekend (which is good news because we’ll probably buy one soon).

The rest of the weekend went smoothly for us, and we enjoyed wowing the event’s participants with the possibilities of incredible food in the backcountry.

Breakfast included our signature Cheddar Bacon Pancakes, but we made this caramelized banana topping for those that preferred a sweeter option. We recommend this for your trip, but we especially love how it tastes in oatmeal, which is how we’re presenting it here.

The recipe here uses rolled oats because they cook quickly on a camp stove. If you have the forethought, try making steel cut oats using our Overnight Steel Cut Oatmeal recipe. The slightly chewy texture is great with the soft bananas.

Caramelized Banana Oatmeal


4 servings

Prep Time / Cook Time


Activity Guide

Car Camping


  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 3 1/4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or butter
  • 6 bananas, peeled and sliced into 1 1/2 inch slices
  • 4-6 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 big pinches of salt
  • juice of one orange
  • milk, to taste
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans (optional)


  • Cast iron skillet
  • Knife
  • Medium pot
  • Mixing spoon
  • Stove


For the oatmeal:

  1. Bring the water to a boil with a big pinch of salt. Stir in the rolled oats. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

For the bananas:

  1. Meanwhile, make the bananas. Heat the coconut oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the banana slices and then sprinkle about 4 tablespoons of the brown sugar on top, along with a pinch of salt. Let cook, without stirring, for a couple of minutes. Once the bananas start to get a bit browned, add the orange juice and then stir gently so that the bananas are coated in the sugar mixture. Taste for sweetness and add the remaining sugar if desired.
  2. To serve, top bowls of plain oatmeal with the caramelized bananas, a little milk, and some toasted pecans.

2 thoughts on “Caramelized Banana Oatmeal

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *