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Healthy Breakfast Idea: Apple Baked Oatmeal Recipe

Apple cinnamon baked oatmeal

What smell will fill your house on Easter morning?

Between hunting for eggs (we hide…ahem, I mean, the Easter Bunny hides…the real hard-boiled eggs), getting dressed up pretty, and going to Mass and making sure we get there an hour early to get a seat, breakfast needs to be simple.

Healthy Breakfast Idea: Apple Baked Oatmeal

One of our favorite breakfasts ever (other than anything with bacon, a rarer treat now than it used to be when we ate a Standard American Diet with $1.88/lb. junk bacon!) has got to be soaked baked oatmeal. It takes two full days to make it, but mom loves it too because the morning it needs to be served, it just goes into the oven and takes zero prep.

Come to think of it, that’s probably why my family loves it so much – mommy is never running around stressed in her pajamas wondering when she’ll have time to get dressed between the pancake flipping and lunch packing and diaper changing! (To the organized people who are about to comment on the efficiency of packing a lunch the night before – I know. I usually do, but there are those days when the goal is missed…and then I just pray that the baby doesn’t wake up until breakfast is served!)

Your kids CAN make their own healthy breakfast!

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Apple Baked Oatmeal Is a Hit for Everyone

All the props for this base recipe go to Kelly the Kitchen Kop and her friend Sue, whose daughter was actually my mother’s helper last year. I’m telling you – this is a real food recipe that anyone loves and can make. My brother and his wife even prepare it for dinner sometimes.

Soaked baked oatmeal is made with a simple procedure, and when it’s incorporated right into the recipe like this, folks won’t even wonder why they’re doing it – they’ll just get more minerals without even knowing why.

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apple cinnamon baked oatmeal

Come to think of it, I should give oatmeal to the food pantries, along with some easy soaking guides or at least a “how to cook oats” for those who have never done it without a packet. (Did you see yesterday’s Monday Mission to give real food away, and the handy real food donation printables I provided?)

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Original Apple Baked Oatmeal

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.7 from 9 reviews
  • Author: Katie Kimball
  • Prep Time: 36 hours
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 36 hours 40 mins
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Breakfast


Units Scale

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  1. Two nights before you want to eat baked oatmeal at breakfast: Mix the oats, flour, and liquid together. If you have a 9×13 glass pan with a lid, I recommend mixing the oats right in there to save a dish. Allow to rest at room temperature, covered, for 24 hours.
  2. The night before you need the quick breakfast: Beat oil, sweetener and eggs until glossy (I use my KitchenAid mixer). The cold eggs generally made the coconut oil solidify a bit, but don’t worry about it. Just beat.
  3. Add the baking powder, salt (Use the code kitchenstewardship for 15% off of your first purchase), cinnamon and vanilla. Beat in the oats mixture, then add raisins and fruit, stirring to combine.
  4. Pour back into that 9×13 glass dish, put a lid on it, and refrigerate overnight. If you don’t have a lid, try one of these methods to avoid using plastic wrap.
  5. In the morning, put the pan (uncovered) right from the fridge into a cold oven and turn on to 350F. Bake for 30-40 minutes until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean and the oatmeal is not mushy to the touch.
  6. Serve warm with milk and extra syrup if you prefer. Store covered, either at room temperature or in the refrigerator. It’s pretty doggone good cold, too…I might be the type of person to buzz by a dish and snitch a bite here and there throughout the day!


For the liquid, choose from buttermilk, plain homemade yogurt (or store bought), raw milk, half milk/half yogurt, half water/yogurt, half whey/yogurt – good if you have whey to use up. If you don’t have raw milk, as long you mix it with half yogurt or cultured dairy, it should be fine for the soak overnight, but don’t use 100% pasteurized milk as the only liquid.

For the sweetener, just about anything goes, including cutting it in half or more, since you can always add maple syrup to the top when you serve the dish if it turns out a bit not-sweet-enough. I prefer maple syrup or honey, but I’ve used sorghum, sucanat, brown sugar and date sugar and various combinations of the above.

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Apple cinnamon baked oatmeal

Cook’s Notes:

  • Why add flour? Freshly ground whole wheat, spelt, and buckwheat are added to oats for soaking purposes and phytase only. If you’re not soaking, skip the flour.
  • How to make it faster: Just soak the oats overnight or for 24 hours (breakfast to breakfast) and mix up all the other ingredients in the morning when you’re going to serve it. The overnight refrigeration is not necessary; it’s only for the morning convenience of having everything done.
  • How to make it with fewer dishes: Honestly, I’ve taken to mixing everything up in the 9×13 dish. How lazy is that? But no one has noticed any difference in the end result, so I highly recommend it. Just mix up the oats and liquid, then the next day, push that to one side and whisk the eggs, oil, and sweetener on the other half of the pan. Start mixing everything up well at this point (a potato masher or super-strong whisk may come in handy to incorporate everything well. Make sure you sprinkle things like salt and baking powder evenly over the whole mixture.

Next, try out our soaked pumpkin pie baked oatmeal, or make your own flavor combinations with this baked oatmeal recipe formula (our family’s other favorite, cherry almond, is included!)

Leave a review if you enjoyed this apple baked oatmeal recipe! Thank you!

More Healthy Breakfast Recipes

apple cinnamon baked oatmeal
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84 thoughts on “Healthy Breakfast Idea: Apple Baked Oatmeal Recipe”

  1. Just found this, sounds delicious. I am making greek yogurt weekly and looking for years for whey. Can I use half water and half whey for the liquid? Thanks!

  2. Can you please explain why it is ok to let the milk/yogurt/buttermilk sit out on a counter at room temperature for 24 hrs and why this doesn’t grow bacteria and make you sick? I’d love to try soaking the oats and not skipping that part, but it makes me pretty nervous!

    1. Carolyn @ Kitchen Stewardship

      It’s ok because you’re using cultured dairy or raw milk which has enzymes still so it will ferment vs going bad. I totally get the feeling though, I’d feel a bit nervous as well even though I know it’s fine!

  3. I was so excited to find your posts about soaking oatmeal. I never liked oatmeal growing up but as an adult I wanted to like oatmeal but after literally 3 spoonfuls my stomach felt like a lead balloon.

    I wanted to ask about the buttermilk. My son is sensitive to dairy, can you recommend an alternative? Would a cultured coconut yogurt work?

    1. Carolyn @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Hi Sarah, You just need an acidic medium in the soak. You can use lemon juice or apple cider vinegar in water to be dairy-free. About 2 TBS per cup of water. Coconut milk yogurt should work too!

  4. Thanks for the recipe, which I just found. Am I correct in my thinking that these soaked oats are almost fermented, whi I know is super healthy? Thank again!!

    1. Carolyn @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Hi Diane, I believe that in order for the oats to begin fermenting they’d need a starter added (like some yogurt or whey) or they’d need to soak for a bit longer than this recipe calls for. So it would depend on what liquid you use. I usually just use water when I make this recipe, but there are fermented liquid options in the recipe!

      1. Hi Carolyn, Thanks for your reply! I did use whey from some yogurt I made but I didn’t let it sit for a full 24 hours. They tasted great!!

  5. My kids and I love this recipe! I always have to double it so we can enjoy it for a few days. Thanks Katie for another great recipe!

  6. Our family loves this recipe! It’s simple (as long as I remember to plan ahead!) and delicious. We make it at least once a month. I love serving a healthy meal without any refined products.

  7. Okay, I totally started this soaking at the wrong time – 11am. Is it better to soak it all the way until tomorrow night (which would be closer to 32 hours) and then mix it to leave in fridge overnight or should I mix it up at 24 hours and then leave it in the fridge for about 20 hours before cooking it for my breakfast?

    Also, do you cover it with something breathable like a towel or something airtight?

    1. Hi Amy! Either would work – how sour it gets will depend on the temp in your house. I’d just smell it at lunchtime tomorrow and then at dinner, and if it seems like it’s getting too sour, mix it up. I cover it airtight, but it doesn’t really matter. 🙂 Katie

    1. Wynter,
      There’s nothing wrong with rinsing – like it doesn’t hurt the phytic acid process – but I only drain and rinse whole grains in their whole form, like rice or whole oat groats. I just can’t rinse rolled oats, too much is lost! 🙂 Katie

  8. I usually rinse my soaked oatmeal and add a bit more water to make regular oatmeal–my family doesn’t like the “yogurty” taste. How would I alter this recipe if I rinse the oatmeal?
    Thanks for your reply!

    1. Hi Wynter,
      Personally I thought rinsing soaked oatmeal made a mess and wasted too much of my oatmeal, so I never do it. For this recipe, I’ve shared it with many, many non-real-food eaters and they all love it. Totally zero yogurt taste (maybe it’s all the honey!!). 😉 So I would never bother rinsing. If your family doesn’t like the tang of soaked oatmeal, I highly recommend using whey (strained from yogurt like this). 1 Tbs. whey per cup water is a totally totally different flavor experience than 1 Tbs. yogurt. You truly can’t taste it at all.

      Enjoy! 🙂 Katie

      1. Thanks! I’ll try using just whey. 🙂 (I rinse rolled oats in a sieve–so no loss of goodness!) I appreciate the effort you put into your blog. It has a lot of helpful information, and I consult it for the instructive info as much as the recipes!


  9. I have a TON of quick oatmeal (it’s actually quite ridiculous how much of it we have). Is there a way to make this with the quick oatmeal? What is the reason for not using quick oats? This recipe sounds delicious, but I only want to use what I have. Also, can all-purpose flour be used instead of wheat? I don’t use wheat flour.

    1. Hi Alexis,
      Quick oats just aren’t quite as “whole” – I’ve never tried it, but I imagine it couldn’t be a total disaster even if it’s a little different. The whole wheat flour is only to add a certain thing to the soaking process, and that’s not in all-purpose flour, which is wheat flour actually, just not *whole* wheat. You can just skip the flour if you only have white flour. 🙂 Katie

  10. Hi Katie. Thanks for sharing recipe. This is a big hit with our whole family! So far we’ve made cherry almond and apple cinnamon (added soaked walnuts). We have a family of 5, and the bake is so filling that it lasts us at least 3 or 4 days (so long as we only allow it at breakfast). I agree, it’s good hot or cold!

      1. I made this for breakfast and even though my kids didn’t eat it (two said they didn’t like the cherries and one didn’t like the flavor and texture) I’ve already eaten about a quarter of it over the course of the day. I give up on the kids – next time I’ll just make a half-batch just the way I want it ;).

  11. So how should this smell after sitting out the counter? I soaked oats in a covered dish in raw milk and my kitchen is about 79 degrees now in warm georgia. It smells kind of yeasty… Is this okay?

    1. Erin,
      I so often make it with yogurt that I can’t remember “just” raw milk. If it’s yeasty but not turning your nose, I’d think it’s ok? Raw milk is truly fine at room temp – if not mixed with the oats, it would curdle and make a sort of cream cheesey stuff and whey. Trust your nose though! If it smells like you don’t want to eat it, don’t do it. I find that even if it smells really sour after the soak, adding all the other ingredients and baking it always ends up turning out awesome!!
      🙂 Katie

  12. I made a half qty to try this morning after soaking overnight. I made it in silicone muffin cups and they took about 25 mins and came out really well. I didn’t add raisins, just 2 peeled, diced apples and a handful of slivered almonds and they were sweet enough. Made 12 smallish muffins. I might try blueberries next time – or even chocolate chips. Thank you.

  13. This looks wonderful! I absolutely love your site and started making my own bone broth thanks to you (:

    I’m planning on making these oats for breakfast tomorrow morning so I soaked the oats last night. I only had sweetened vanilla yogurt (store bought) so I mixed that with pasteurized whole milk. A little less than half the liquid was yogurt, and it smells fine this morning but I am so nervous about it making myself or my husband sick. Is it safe that I soaked with pasteurized milk and sweetened yogurt? Does the grain soaking effect work in the refrigerator or only at room temperature?

    Thank you!!!

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  15. So, to make this gluten-free, I need to leave out the wheat or buckwheat. But that also leaves out the phytases, which are the reason why we soak the oatmeal in the first place, right? And any flour I use, even if it’s gluten-free, needs to be freshly ground, which is not possible in my kitchen. What would you suggest doing? Just leaving out the flour altogether?

    1. Heidi,
      Buckwheat is gluten-free, so you’re good there – I always hope that some is better than none even if not freshly ground, but many are now saying that soaking is just fine in plain water – so, as long as your tummy doesn’t hurt when you eat oats, soak them however it works for your family!! 🙂 Katie

  16. I made this today and it was yummy! I used half homemade yogurt/half water for the liquid, half pears/half apples for the fruit, and maple syrup for the sweetener. I did not have raisins on hand, so I omitted them and this was plenty sweet and delicious.

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  18. I was surprised by how sweet this recipe turned out. Man!
    I only used 1/4 c sweetener (maple syrup), and I cut the raisins to 1/2 c. I used home canned (unsweetened) applesauce (1 c). And the result was so sweet my husband would barely eat it (and he is not a picky guy, generally–I’m pretty sure he still eats donuts at work when they are available).
    So… I was bummed. I will try cutting the applesauce by two thirds and cutting the sweetener all together next time, maybe adding more yogurt to give it more moisture?
    Has anyone tried this? I just can’t handle sugar, even natural sugars, in the morning.

    1. Juliana,
      It is a lot of sweetener for the oats – maybe you’d prefer chopped apples instead of applesauce? I don’t know if you’d even need more yogurt since it’s pretty soupy anyway. Good for you to have a well-trained palate that doesn’t like sugars! 🙂 Katie

    2. Juliana –
      Our family does not eat any type of concentrated/processed sweeteners (including honey, maple syrup, stevia or anything on this list (, and very little fruit (especially dried, which is easy to overeat). Therefore, I skipped the sweetener and dried fruit, instead using 1 cup of cooked butternut squash, and a handful or so of raw shredded coconut and chopped walnuts. Took about 45-50 minutes of baking to get to the consistency I thought would be agreeable. Served it topped with raw yogurt and cacao nibs. Yummy, and not too sweet! (Note that I also added less salt, which I do when I don’t add the sweetener that the recipe calls for, otherwise it would taste salty). When I stopped eating concentrated sweeteners, even though it was very challenging for 3-4 months, it has paid off in that now I can fully taste and appreciate the delicate sweetness of foods like cucumbers, cinnamon, and cashews…things I would never have described as sweet when I was addicted to overly sweetened food.

      1. Good to know – thanks for sharing. I’ve been trying to cut down my sugar intake lately and it’s hard – some days I feel like everything I see has sugar added to it! I don’t have any cooked – think it’d work with just the applesauce and no sweetener? I’ll still leave the raisins in – you’re way ahead of me there – but won’t use cherries as all the ones we have have sugar on the ingredients list :(.

  19. I love reading your recipes, but have a son allergic to eggs and dairy. He would love baked oatmeal. Any ideas what to sub for the eggs?

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      For this purpose, I am guessing the flax replacer would do fine, and use coconut milk or water for the liquid. 🙂 Katie

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  21. Would this recipe work if you wanted to make muffins out of it instead of using a glass dish?

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      I’ve never tried that, but i can’t imagine it wouldn’t turn out. Super fun idea! 🙂 Katie

  22. I was wondering if anyone has tried to double this recipe in a 9 by 13 pan. The unsoaked baked oatmeal my family loves uses twice as much oatmeal, is much thicker and lasts for many more meals. It’s just easier to make the oatmeal once a week (to use for 4 meals) than twice a week.

    We like bananas (for sweetness…cut down on some sweetner) and blueberries (fzn), with a handful of raspberries thrown in. Yummy combination!

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      I bet it would work fine! It is rather a thin serving, hmmmm… I should use bananas to cut down on sweetener more often – and this recipe is SUPER sweet! 😉 Katie

  23. Just wondering if you could soak with kefir? I can’t buy buttermilk where I live, and plain yogurt is hard to find, too…


    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Yes, absolutely! I forget to include that on the list because I don’t make it, but kefir is perfect for soaking. 🙂 Katie

  24. Hi, I’m just discovering this recipe now and have a question. I notice that you specify to cover the dish before putting it in the fridge the night before you bake it. Does that mean you leave it uncovered as the oats are soaking the day before? Would there be any reason not to cover it during that time? Thanks!

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Eek, I lost your comment for a while here! I cover both times, just didn’t mention it in the soaking step of the recipe, I guess. 🙂 Katie

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  27. Hi. Trying this recipe, but just wondering how its ok that the yogurt/milk stays out for 24 hours. Can you explain? Thanks!

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      As a cultured product, yogurt is a lot more stable at room temp than many people think. Don’t use store milk alone to soak, but raw milk will only sour, or “clabber” at room temp and is still safe to eat. If you’re uncomfortable with the soaking part, the recipe will taste the same if you just skip it. 🙂 Katie

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  29. Louise Baker

    Thanks for this lovely recipe. Have you ever tried to adapt it to use up leftover cooked porridge? I soaked a big batch of oatmeal last night, since the entire family said they wanted porridge for breakfast. But when the time came, everyone’s plans had changed, so I was left with 2Cups uneaten (soaked) porridge. I’ve just made it up anyway, and added 1/2C coconut flour to soak up some of the extra cooking liquid. Fingers crossed (it’s baking now)…

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Interested to hear how it goes! That’s not something I’ve tried… 🙂 Katie

  30. I made this recipe this morning with all steel cut oats. Tasted delicious, but was a little crumbly. Looking at the picture I was expecting a brownie like texture and slightly chewy, but mine was not. Tasted good though and will be making it again and experimenting with different flavors.

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      I wonder if steel but oats require more liquid – how many cups liquid do they take when cooking normally? I’m glad it worked out, flavorwise! 🙂 Katie

  31. Hey Katie,
    If I don’t have time to soak it, will it change the taste of it? Can I just mix it all together the night before and not change the taste?

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      I’ve never tried it, but my guess is that you’d be just fine. In fact, that may be the way my brother and his wife make it. 🙂 Katie

  32. This looks delicious. Wondering if you think I could use goat milk kefir for the liquid or is that too thick?


    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      I usually use straight plain yogurt, as thick as it gets, so I’m sure you’d be golden! 🙂 Katie

  33. Hi Katie,

    Thanks so much for sharing this delicious recipe! I want to try it but am dairy-free, is there a good substitute I can use? Thanks again!

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      I can only imagine that coconut or almond milk would work just great, and I wonder if just water would do okay as well…it’s been so flexible with everything I tried, I think it will be super versatile for dairy-free, too. 🙂 Katie

      1. Sounds yummy, but the coconut milk would not do anything to break down the phytic acid in the oats?? See above comment to Rebecca about using apple cider vinegar for a dairy free version that will still make nutrients more available.

  34. Our family LOVES this recipe. I first found it, possibly through one of your links, a year or so ago. I can’t wait for the pumpkin pie variation.

    I always use 1/4 cup butter or coconut oil and 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce instead of the full 1/2 cup of oil and we really love it this way. Also I always use honey for the sweetener, sometimes even less than half a cup. I can’t imagine adding any extra sweetener because it is so perfectly sweet already!

    I think it’s great that you recommend a cherry almond variation. I hadn’t thought of cherries, but we have tried the same variation with craisins and almond extract instead and it is excellent too!

  35. KATIE! Are you on PTE? Can I add you as my friend? Or you add me? I would love to have access to these recipes on PTE… my user name is ” lmilla “…

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      I am, sort of, but I’m bad at it! I don’t always import my recipes – but you can use that little import bookmarklet and pop this right in there in about 30 seconds….

      Someday I’ll get around to it on my PTE (kitchenstewardship is my user name) but for now, this recipe’s on a scrap of grease-stained paper! 😉 Katie
      🙂 Katie

      1. OK! I’ll import it in, and then you can use it as my friend! I have an obscene amount of recipes in there – 600+! – and all the real food recipes are tagged “real food” (so you don’t have to wade through my Weight Watchers recipes and other eating fads that I’ve gone through!) – I also have Nourishing Traditions and grain-free recipes as well, if anyone else would like to add me as a friend to share recipes!

  36. Marie Dysangco

    Hi Katie,

    Just wondering if this can be done with steel cut oats entirely, and if so, would there be any modifications in preparation? Thank you!

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Hmmmm…my DH won’t do steel cut oats (makes me sad) so I’ve never tried it. I wonder if the soaking would make it so that you don’t have to modify? I see a commenter above did half and half with no problem. worth trying an 8×8 pan to see what would happen, I’d think – I’d love to know the answer now!
      🙂 Katie
      *waves at floormate*

      1. Steel cut oats takes roughly twice as much liquid as rolled oats, so I think the logical thing to do would be to cut the amount of oats in half if you are going to use all steel cut. I just made this recipe with almost all steel cut oats (I only had about half a cup of rolled oats in the pantry), and it seemed to work out well–nice resulting texture and moisture.

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      I’ve never tried it myself, but I’m about 99.9% sure that coconut milk or ANYthing would be great, since it’s been so versatile and successful with all the combos I have tried. You’ll love it! 🙂 Katie

    2. Rebecca,
      I’ve never soaked my oats with dairy – always water and apple cider vinegar (2 C oats, 2 C water, 1/4 C ACV for overnight soak. Then add 2 more C water and 1 tsp salt and cook to desired consistency). Now, I have not tried this recipe, but plan to soon. So you’ll probably need to tweak the proportions a bit (less liquid? more salt b/c of vinegar?), but I’m sure it would work out just fine. Good luck 🙂

  37. After hearing people recommend Kelly’s recipe over and over again, I finally tried it a couple of weeks ago… OH MY GOSH IT IS SO GOOD! Seriously. Try it if you haven’t.

    I used half steel-cut and half rolled oats, which gave it a great chewy texture. I’d recommend freezing the leftovers as individual portions wrapped in plastic wrap (or a green alternative, of course). Just heat ’em up with some milk later for quick breakfast!

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