A Healthier Pop-Tart Recipe with Oatmeal and Whole Wheat Crusts

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Sneak Preview: Make a healthier pop tart with oatmeal and a whole wheat crust. Fill it with a brown sugar-cinnamon and raisin filling or one of the other variations listed.

BROWN SUGAR-CINNAMON OATMEAL POP-TARTS with cinnamon sticks in the backgroundPin

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Flaky dough containing oatmeal and some whole wheat flour surrounds a sweet filling of your choice. These pop tarts can be frozen ahead and baked fresh for breakfast.


If you’re thinking  “too much trouble,” —don’t go away just yet!

If you are dough challenged… never fear! I have devised an easy method for making these deliciously flaky and tasty pop-tarts with you in mind. 

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Why you will love these homemade pop tarts:

  • You can vary ingredients according to your tastes.
  • You control the portion size
  • Unsurpassed freshness
  • Can be frozen for baking when needed
  • Suitable for breakfast or dessert
  • Not just for kids

What makes this pop tart healthier?

Most homemade pop-tart recipes have more fat than my conscience or waistline can tolerate. But it cannot be avoided entirely. Pop-tarts are, after all, just pie crust with a little filling.

However, I created a crust incorporating oatmeal and whole wheat flour. I used part white whole wheat flour because of its mild flavor and better behavior in pastry. Regular whole wheat tasted too much like cardboard. The oatmeal lends a wonderful nutty flavor.

You could also substitute whole wheat pastry flour for white whole wheat flour.

Instead of the usual brown sugar filling, try all-fruit preserves.

processing the filling in a food processsor bowl.Pin
Add all ingredients for filling to a food processor bowl and process for 1 minute or until raisins are chopped fairly small. Pour into a small bowl and set aside.

The recipe calls for shortening (stick form stored in the freezer is SO convenient) because it makes a flakier product than all butter. But if you are averse to shortening, you can substitute the same amount of butter with good results.  Be sure to freeze the tarts before baking, or they will become melty and greasy.


Do I need special equipment?

The only special equipment you need is two zippered gallon-size plastic bags and parchment paper. See the pictures below.

Healthy pop-tarts are a special treat and/or fun project for your kids, grandkids, or class. Consider letting them help.

strawberry shortcake made with poptartsPin
If you think pop-tarts are only for kids, try breaking a brown sugar-cinnamon pop-tart in two and layer with whipped cream and strawberries for a delicious strawberry shortcake. Or serve them with ice cream.

3 Pop Tart filling variations

  1. Brown sugar-cinnamon filling seems to be a favorite, so I included the directions in the recipe below.
  2. Try thick jelly or preserves–but expect it to leak a bit during baking.
  3. Check out the picture below for an awesome filling using a slice of cold cream cheese and a spoonful of blueberry preserves or lemon curd. You might call them “Cheesecake Pop-Tarts.” Not sure if your kids will like them, but adults go crazy for them.
pop tarts filled with cream cheese and blueberry jarm--for adults.Pin

How to make the oatmeal and whole wheat crust in a food processor:

You don’t have to have a food processor, but it makes for much faster mixing. If making the dough by hand, I recommend you use oat flour instead of oatmeal. Mix dough the same way you would a traditional pie crust.

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Combine oatmeal and flour in the bowl of a food processor and process for 15-20 seconds. Add shortening and butter and pulse 12-15 times. The mixture should be coarse. Don’t go too far with this. You should have small but visible fat lumps throughout.

In another small bowl, whisk together buttermilk and egg. Pour over the flour mixture and pulse 5-7 times. Remove the lid and blade.  Use your hands or a spatula to press the dough together.  All crumbs should come together into a ball.

Kitchen secret for the easy roll-out of the crust

rolling out pop tart dough in plastic bagPin
  • Divide the dough in half and place each in a gallon-size zippered plastic bag.
  • Place the dough ball at the center of the bag. Begin to roll out the dough inside the plastic bag. Roll dough evenly to all four corners.
  • Open the bag and re-close it to remove air or wrinkles. Flip the bag and roll on the reverse side to help with wrinkles. Try to roll it as evenly as possible.
  • Holding the bag up to a window or light will show you where the dough may be too thin or thick. Place the flat dough in the freezer.
  • Repeat the process with the second dough ball.
cutting dough squares for pop-tartsPin
  • Trim the edge of the dough-filled bag on every side using kitchen scissors.
  • Use kitchen shears to cut off the tiniest strip on all four sides.
  • Use a pizza cutter or scissors to cut the squares with the plastic still intact.
Final assembly of pop tartsPin
  • When squares are frozen hard, take them from the freezer. Remove plastic from 12 squares and divide between 2 cookie sheets covered with parchment paper.
  • Place a spoonful of filling in the middle of each square.
  • Remove plastic from the remaining 12 squares. and place one on top of each square with filling. If the dough becomes unmanageable, return it to the freezer until hard. Seal squares with a fork.
freezing pop tartsPin
  • At this point, you can bake or freeze them. If freezing, place tarts in the freezer on a cookie sheet unwrapped until frozen hard. Cut paper around each pop tart and place it into a plastic container or bag with the paper still attached.
  • When ready to bake, place pop-tart with attached parchment paper on a cookie sheet and bake immediately.
frosting baked pop tartsPin

Bake in the oven preheated to 425 degrees F for 15-20 minutes. If you plan to toast later, bake only until very lightly browned. Otherwise, bake until golden brown. Frost if desired when cooled.


small child happily eating a pop tartPin
Brody, my friend’s son, likes them.

Credits

Thanks to Smitten Kitchen for giving me a starting point regarding the brown sugar cinnamon filling. Raisins are optional. Dates would be awesome too. Chopping them finely will fool most raisin haters and keep your tarts from being lumpy.

Also, thanks to Dorie Greenspan for giving me the idea to roll out sticky dough inside a plastic bag. I use the same method with my Pink Shortbread Cookies.


If you have questions or suggestions, email me privately for a quick answer: Paula at saladinajar.com. Hope to see you again soon! 


3 oatmeal and whole wheat pop tarts with icingPin

Pop-Tarts: A Healthier Recipe

Paula Rhodes
Although a little extra effort is involved, these pop-tarts are a special treat with some healthier modifications for a memorable breakfast.
4.34 from 3 votes
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 12 pop-tarts
Calories 168 kcal

Ingredients
  

Filling:

  • cup brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon raisins - optional

Crust

  • ½ cup quick-cooking oats - not instant or old-fashioned
  • ½ cup white whole wheat flour - milder and better for pastry than regular whole wheat
  • 1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • cup cold or frozen shortening - if you are averse to shortening, butter may be substituted. However, pop-tarts should be frozen before baking.
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter - chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • cup buttermilk or plain fat-free yogurt

Instructions
 

Filling:

  • Add all ingredients for filling to a food processor bowl and process for 1 minute or until raisins are chopped fairly small. Pour into a small bowl and set aside.

Dough:

  • Combine oatmeal and flour in the bowl of a food processor and process for 15-20 seconds. Add shortening and butter and pulse 12-15 times. The mixture should be coarse. Don't go too far with this. You should have small but visible fat lumps throughout.
  • In another small bowl, whisk together buttermilk and egg. Pour over flour mixture and pulse 5-7 times. Remove lid and blade. Use hands or spatula to press dough together. All crumbs should come together into a ball.
  • Divide dough in half and place each in a separate gallon-size zippered plastic bag. Place dough ball at the center of the bag.
  • Begin to roll out with dough remaining in the plastic bag. Roll dough evenly to all four corners. Open the bag and re-close to remove air or wrinkles. Flip bag and roll on the reverse side to help with wrinkles. Try to roll it as evenly as possible. Holding the bag up to a window or light will show you where the dough may be too thin or thick. Place flat dough (still in the bag) in the freezer. Repeat process with second dough ball.
  • When frozen hard, remove one bag of dough from the freezer. Let warm 2 minutes, + or -. The dough should not be so hard it breaks, but also not soft.
  • Use kitchen shears to trim all 4 edges of the zippered bag. Use a pizza cutter or knife to lightly mark cutting lines for 12 equal rectangular pieces. Without removing from the bag, cut apart with kitchen shears.
  • Do in this order: Cut bag in half. Cut each of those halves in half length-wise so you now have 4 long strips. Cut each of the 4 long strips into 3 equal lengths.
  • Place squares in the freezer and repeat Step 5,6, and 7 with the second bag. Place those squares back into the freezer for a few minutes until completely hard.
  • When the crust squares are frozen hard, remove them from the freezer. Remove plastic from 12 squares and divide between 2 cookie sheets that have been covered with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
  • Place a spoonful of filling in the middle of each square. Remove plastic from the remaining 12 squares. and place one on top of each square with filling. If at any point, the dough becomes unmanageable, return it to the freezer until hard. Seal squares with a fork.
  • At this point, you can bake them or freeze them. If freezing, place tarts in the freezer on a cookie sheet unwrapped until frozen hard. Cut paper around each pop tart and place it in a plastic container or a bag with the paper still attached.
  • When ready to bake, preheat oven to 425˚F.
  • Place pop-tarts with attached parchment paper on a cookie sheet and bake immediately.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes. If you plan to toast later, bake only until very lightly browned. Otherwise, bake until golden brown. Frost if desired when cooled.

Frosting:

  • 1. Mix 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon butter or margarine and 1 tablespoon coffee (for brown color, but does not really taste like coffee) or milk.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 168kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 21mg | Sodium: 231mg | Potassium: 58mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 135IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 1mg
Keyword breakfast sweets, homemade pop-tarts. brown sugar-cinnamon pop-tarts, oatmeal pop-tarts, pop-tarts, whole wheat pop-tarts
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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48 Comments

  1. MMMM… loves me some pop tarts!

    But I’ll bet yours are even better and no doubt infinitely healthier just from the reduction of preservatives and mystery chemicals. Bravo! they look fantastic!

  2. I love your method!!! I’m actually not really afraid of the flour and the sticky dough, I even enjoy it… but your method is really awesome! And they look delicious! Fantastic!

  3. I just hit “print recipe”!!! I can’t wait to try this on my own! The samples that you brought by yesterday were delicious!!!! I really like your method for rolling the dough out. I always have a hard time getting dough rolled into a square. Now I know you’re trick!!

    Thanks again for figuring this out for me! I’m so excited about experimenting with different fillings and letting the boys help make them!

  4. Those look great! I’ll have to give these a try with my kiddos!

  5. Wow, so many people are making these all of a sudden. I never had a Pop Tart until a few years ago when my son requested them to take to an away swim meet b/c they would travel in his bag. I can’t think that it was all that great, but seeing yours, I might just change my mind…yours looks spectacular!

  6. This is amazing, thank you! I have bookmarked it for future use 😉 YUM!

  7. this is awesome! i will have to try this recipe for sure. thanks!

  8. Ann Hastings says:

    This looks great- you’re amazing, I know Brody LOVED them… Tyler LOVES pop tarts too, so I’ll have to try this out sometime!

  9. THese were/are delicious! For the kid in me, they are great! Definitely worth the calories over the boxed version. Feel free to drop off any of these at my door anytime. They will be eaten. 🙂

  10. Cool. Look like a good rainy day project.

    1. Yep, file it with your gingerbread house.

  11. I saw these in Bon Appetite a few months ago….. and now that I’ve seen yours, truly have to make them. Yours are exquisite – (that means peachy in toaster-pastry talk). I love the flour variations – and brown sugar is my favorite flavor – pop tarts or cream of wheat or oatmeal (all store-bought, of course)! Beautiful, beautiful!

  12. So….last night I had a a dream that I was eating one of your pop tarts…and they were REALLY good! Funny that I’m dreaming about the food on your blog!

  13. tasteofbeirut says:

    These pop-tarts are so beautiful, i would want to order them from you! I refuse to buy any commercial ones anyway! Thanks, you made my day: Outstanding work.

  14. I want to be Brody and be on the receiving end. Great pictures. If I only dedicated my time, like you, to cooking… You have the talent girl!

  15. Brilliant, Paula. LOVE it. My boys love Pop Tarts and always beg me to buy them, but I won’t. Now I can’t wait to make these for them! A jam inside would make them fruity, too. (Duh, Katrina.)
    Love that they are oaty and more healthy.

  16. This looks wonderful! I love that you can choose how big these are what ingredients they contain. My husband would do flips if I made him some of these.

    Your soup above looks amazing, by the way!

  17. tia @ buttercreambarbie says:

    Wow, looks awesome and sounds even better!
    I am def going to make these. I love original recipes and this one is a sure winner I’m sure.

  18. I’m not going to lie. These look so irresistible that I’m NOT going to make them. They wouldn’t be safe from me. Nom nom nom…

  19. Finally made a batch last night! I used a (as close to natural as possible when it’s store bought) peach preserve. They turned out yummy!!!!

  20. omgosh ziplock bags…genius! definitely making these one day! Thanks =)

  21. lisaiscooking says:

    I’ve been thinking about making homemade pop-tarts for so long, and these look so good! Brown sugar-cinnamon was my favorite flavor, and I love the use of whole wheat flour and oats in your version. Must try!

  22. i have made pop tarts a few times and i am still trying to perfect. thanks for sharing. they look wonderful!

  23. These look amazing and delicious! I’ve been trying to stop eating processed foods so this is a perfect way to help!

  24. the brown sugar cinnamon pop-tarts were always my favorite growing up. now i won’t touch that blue box with a ten-foot pole, but i’ll definitely make my own! i love the addition of oatmeal. must try.

    cheers,

    *heather*

  25. Your pop-tarts look perfect! I love your use of oatmeal and wheat flour. I wouldn’t be able to cut so many Ziploc bags, though. That would kill me to waste so much plastic when we already have a surplus of the stuff on this planet. I could just make this the old-fashioned way and help save the Earth at the same time hahaha. You said you made these many times, so I don’t even want to know how many bags you’ve gone through. Great process photos!

    1. You are right. You don’t want to know. But honestly, I could not make these without the plastic bags. Because the dough needs to be rolled out fairly thin, they tear easily and are hard to scoop off the cutting board when rolled like a pie crust. It’s tempting to use too much flour to make them work. When using the plastic bags it’s easy to stick back in the freezer whenever the dough gets a little soft. So easy to handle!

  26. If your facts are indeed straight…161 CALORIES?!?! I can enjoy Pop Tarts again!!!! This is so on my hit list of stuff to make.

  27. These look fabulous and you are a genius for the easy procedure! I can think of loads of good fillings for these. Good work!

  28. Lori Gladden says:

    I can’t wait to try these this summer with my granddaughters! Thanks so much for sharing.

  29. Hey Paula, these are beautiful. I saw them on refrigerator soup and just had to click over to see them.
    They have actually inspired me to try a vegan version of them. I would love to link to you as the blogger that inspired them if they work out! Please let me know if that’s okay with you…
    Oh, and I love the name Paula. It’s my Mom’s name, and will probably be my first daughter’s name if I ever have one.
    Thanks, Stella

  30. My son loves pop tarts and they are only special treats for vacation and such. He will love to help in the making these I’m sure. How fun to do, thanks.

    1. I can imagine your son will have so much fun baking with you. I can’t wait to do the same with my grandson–when he gets a little older.

  31. I just mixed up the dough. It is in the freezer along with some slices of cream cheese. I am going to try fillling mine with blackberry preserves and the cheese. Hope they turn out as beautiful as yours!

  32. steph (whisk/spoon) says:

    OMG–so good! brown sugar-cinnamon is clearly the best store bought P-T, and I love how you’ve whole grained them! delicious!

  33. I love this. It is so easy to make up in advance and cook up when you want. It is also so much healthier than the “pie crust poptarts” other people have made. I am linking up to this recipe on my blog so I hope you don’t mind. I give you all the props. thank you.

  34. I made these and, oh my were they good. Can’t wait to make them again this weekend.
    And they were as easy as they were good 🙂

  35. I have to say that I absolutely love these, and so does my 2-year-old! I had to give up store-bought poptarts b/c they aren’t vegetarian, so I was thrilled to find this recipe! I did make a couple of minor changes to use what I had on hand (1 cup whole wheat pastry flour instead of the white whole wheat and oatmeal). Thank you so much for sharing!

    1. Hi Kate, Great substitution! Especially if you keep that stuff on hand. Thanks for writing.

  36. goin to try this now….wish it comes out as good as yours…shortening resting in the refrigerator lol…..

    1. Hope the pop-tarts turned out well for you. Practice helps.:-). Paula

  37. The ideas you come up with…. WOW

  38. Oh my Gosh!!!! I have got to try these . My Mom brought some Pop Tarts home the other day and I almost fell over in shock! We were never allowed to have these as kids and I didn’t buy them for my kids but I liked the brown sugar ones that they made way back when (I don’t know if they even make them nowadays).These are going on my things to make when we are’t going to have a 100 degree day like we are today:-} And thanks for the great roll out idea.

    1. Hi Joy,
      Yep, too hot to turn on the oven these days. But this would be a great project for this fall.

  39. Ok, I was looking for muffins and stumbled across your strawberry recipe and then this one… These look yummy!! We have not had pop-tarts in years b/c who knows what’s in them…lol! Anyway, I would love to try this recipe when I get a few minutes…and I’m gonna share it on fb now…to prove to my friends, yet again, that I have found the BEST all-around cooking site! Thanks Paula!

    1. Julie, you are so kind! The poptarts ARE a little bit of trouble but that makes them a great treat.

  40. How do you store them and how long are they good for?