Creme Brulee Oatmeal

Just to set the record straight, this is a breakfast item, not dessert, though it certainly could qualify for an after meal treat. On a trip down to Marco Island in my home state of Florida, we had a similar breakfast (though made with steel-cut oats and real custard from stratch) and I knew I had to create a shortcut version of it.

Quick cooking oats make it an almost instant-breakfast, as they only take 2 minutes to prepare. Instead of home-made custard that you’d normally find in a creme brulee, I used vanilla pudding found in a little plastic container.

I’m all for the shortcut, especially in the mornings, when I am not fully quite functional until my 2nd cup of coffee.

About Cinnamon: Korintji vs Saigon

Okay, let’s talk about cinnamon a bit – I’ve just come back from my client, McCormick on a whirlwind 24 hour trip to their headquarters near Baltimore. Fellow McCormick Gourmet bloggers also included Jenny of Picky Palate, Shauna of Gluten Free Girl and Nicole of Pinch My Salt.

We got to hang with McCormick’s Chief Spice Buyer, Al Goetze, whom I’ve affectionately dubbed “the Spice Spy” as he lives in the Cayman Islands and travels around the world in search for the best spices

Today’s lesson is about Saigon Cinnamon, which I’ve used in this recipe (though you could substitute with any ground cinnamon for recipe). Cinnamon is one of those spices that plays really well in both sweet and savory dishes — and this Banana Oatmeal Cinnamon Creme Brulee is just not complete without warming, exotic, ground cinnamon.

When I first met fellow food blogger, Diane of White on Rice Couple, she gifted me several slabs of cinnamon bark that she brought back from her recent trip to Vietnam. She taught me to take a little nibble of the bark – and WOW! Just a sliver woke up my mouth with it’s intense sweet/spicy flavor! That photo to the left is Vietnamese Cinnamon that Diane shot.

The following is information from the McCormick Cinnamon Field Report:

Most cinnamon you buy here in the States is mostly from Indonesia and called Korintji (photo to the right). Vietnamese cinnamon, also known as Saigon, is the most coveted and exotic cinnamon available. Though, in America, we’ve only been able to enjoy its premium taste during the past decade, Saigon is well worth a try. The word for cinnamon in Vietnamese is que (pronounced “kway”).

Almost all Vietnamese cinnamon is grown on small farms with trees cultivated from seedlings. The best bark comes from trees that are 15–25 years of age. As a result, only a small quantity — less than 1,000 tons — of premium bark is harvested each year. At harvest time, the farmers cut down the trees and remove the bark, in three-foot sections, with a small knife. The first three feet from the base of the tree have the thickest bark and highest flavor concentration. The higher up the tree, the thinner and less flavorful the bark.

The difference between what you’re familiar with and Saigon Cinnamon is that the Korintji has a more balanced, sweet and subtle taste. Saigon cinnamon has double the amount of volatile oil of Korintji. The volatile oil is what delivers the flavor and aroma — higher content means greater intensity.

• Saigon cinnamon (available in the McCormick® Gourmet Collection®) is best used in dishes that have a more complex flavor, such as sweet potatoes, roasted vegetables, oatmeal raisin cookies, pecan pie, brownies, chocolate desserts, coffee, spiced cider, spiced nuts, steak rubs, marinades and vinaigrettes, chili, and stews.

No spice rack is complete without two essential types of cinnamon — Korintji and Saigon. Think Korintji for sweeter, balanced flavor and Saigon for a more robust, intense taste.


Creme Brulee Oatmeal Recipe

Servings: 4 Prep Time: 5 Cook Time: 5

Recipe inspired from Tropiks restaurant at Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort.

If you don't have Saigon Cinnamon, don't worry, you can use any ground cinnamon you want!


3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (1/4 tsp table salt)
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup instant vanilla pudding or ready-made vanilla pudding
2 bananas, sliced
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I used McCormick Gourmet Saigon Cinnamon)


1. If using instant pudding, cook according to package instructions.

2. Bring water to boil, stir in quick-cooking oats and cook until thickened, about 1-2 minutes. For thinner oatmeal, add just a bit more water. Divide oatmeal amongst 4 oven-proof bowls.

3. Place oven rack near top and turn on broiler. Top each bowl with vanilla pudding and banana slices. Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon on top. Place in broiler until sugar melts and begins to bubble.

More recipes using Saigon Cinnamon

Cinnamon Chocolate Fondue

Chile Chocolate Brownies

Roasted Pears with Almonds, Cranberries and White Chocolate Drizzle

Moroccan Chicken Tagine

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Comments 36

  1. Mike Hébert

    Oh my! Thanks so much for the cinnamon lesson! I use Saigon myself (from King Arthur Flour) but am very happy for all the info. If I ever get into breakfast…I’ll certain give it a try.

  2. Arlene

    Thanks for the cinnamon lesson. I love creme brulee and I do make steel cut oats (big batches). I’ll have to pick up some ff/sf vanilla pudding and give this a try.

  3. Mary at Deep South Dish

    I love messing around with oatmeal too – some of my breakfast “creations” could probably qualify pretty close to a dessert too but it’s nice to include them on occasion! 🙂 Jaden, if you love steel cut oatmeal but want the speed of quick cooking, check out Coach’s Oats. I was involved in a competition last year using those and was introduced to them. They are wonderful.

  4. Kori

    I love trying new oatmeal creations too! And totally agree that easy and quick is the way to go in the morning, so thank you for this idea! Sounds and looks delicious!

  5. Stef at

    Thanks, Jaden, for the cinnamon lesson! I *LOVE* McCormick’s Gourmet Spices… their Poultry Seasoning is the BEST – I won’t use anything but theirs.

    Sorry, I digressed there for a second. Now, as for cinnamon I haven’t used theirs because I get mine at Costco and it’s labeled “Saigon Cinnamon”. Now I know why it’s so expensive. Your explanation helps me understand why and I will pass this along to friends and family as some have complained that the Costco cinnamon was expensive. I LOVE it and use it daily, sometimes twice a day.. I put some on my cereal every morning. Reminds me of a woman I used to work with… she put cinnamon on “everything”.

    I add cinnamon to my steel cut oats, too. YUMMMM! 😀

    I definitely have to try your recipe. Thanks for sharing! 😉

  6. Nathalie

    This looks fantastic. I plan on making smitten kitchen Den’s vanilla pudding so I might actually go with the scratch/long version. I might even trick my husband into eating oatmeal.

  7. Brenda S 'Okie in Colorado'

    This sounds so good. One of my favorite breakfast is oatmeal banana pancakes.

  8. Cari

    This has got to be the breakfast of all breakfast to convert any oatmeal dislikers out there! It looks absolutely stunning and I can’t wait to try it out on the kds!

  9. Adam

    We just got a torch for Christmas and we need a reason to use it. I think we just found the recipe we need to try 🙂

  10. Cookin Canuck

    Great information on cinnamon, Jaden. I have become enamored by Saigon cinnamon and I can imagine it would work beautifully in this oatmeal dish.

  11. Sherri M

    I love mcCormicks Saigon cinnamon. The taste is so much more pronounced and like you said, it fits in both sweet and savory dishes (think spaghetti sauce or mexican, especially). Thanks for the lesson.

  12. Sue

    What a great recipe and information on the cinnamon. I love oatmeal and put cinnamon in almost everything I bake. I am going to try the Saigon soon. Thanks!

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  16. Music Lover

    If you want quick oatmeal that actually tastes good, I recommend “McCann’s Steel Cut Irish Oatmeal, Quick & Easy.” 5 minutes in the microwave and you have very good oatmeal, way better than quick rolled oats. At Amazon, you can get 6 1-pound boxes of it for less than $20.

    Has anyone tried the McCormick’s Roasted Saigon Cinnamon?

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