This easy overnight oats recipe is a healthy simple breakfast that you can make ahead for busy mornings and customize with many add-ins and toppings!
Happy New Year! Like many of you guys, I’ll be pressing the reset button on my eating habits in the new year. One of those easy feel good habits I’ve had since 2013 is preparing overnight oats at night while preparing my kids’ lunches. I get asked a lot of questions about how I prepare my overnight oats. In this post, I’ll show you how I make my basic overnight oatmeal recipe, share some tips for making them on your own, and show you four of my favorite overnight oats combinations.
This overnight oats recipe is a great healthy breakfast that you can prepare in advance and it can last all week. So it makes it a great meal prep idea for Sunday night to prepare for the work week.
What are overnight oats?
If you’ve never had overnight oatmeal, they’re basically a no-cook method of making oatmeal. So, instead of cooking oatmeal on the stovetop or in the microwave, you soak the raw oats with milk. That soaking process allows the oats to absorb the liquid and soften them enough to eat uncooked. You only need to let the oats soak and rest in the fridge for 2 hours. But, it’s ideal if you soak it overnight…hence the name overnight oats!
The next morning you have a ready-to-eat, delicious, creamy bowl or jar or “oatmeal.” The consistency is like a porridge or pudding. It makes for an easy convenient breakfast that has a more dense and creamy texture than warm oatmeal.
Best of all, you reap all the healthy benefits of oats in a fun grab-and-go breakfast:
- They contain more protein than most grains (5g per serving).
- They’re a rich source of fiber, which helps you feel fuller longer (4g per serving).
- They’re high in antioxidants which may help lower blood pressure levels.
- They can help you lose weight by making you feel more full and slowing down the emptying of your stomach.
What ingredients do you need for overnight oats recipe?
- Oats: This is really the only ingredient that’s non-negotiable. Make sure to use plain old-fashioned oats and not quick oats because the consistency is best with rolled oats. You can also use gluten-free oats.
- Milk: For the liquid part, you can actually make this with water! But it’s more common to use milk. You can use full fat, 2% or low-fat milk. You can also use plant-based milk like almond milk, coconut milk, cashew milk or oat milk.
- Chia Seeds (optional): These seeds are packed with tons of nutrition, and they help give the oats a pudding-like texture. So I always like to include them in my base recipe.
- Greek or vegan yogurt (optional): This gives the oats a tangy flavor, creamy texture and boost of protein.
- Vanilla extract (optional): This enhances all the flavors that go into the overnight oatmeal as well as giving it sweetness without any sweetener.
- Sweetener (optional): Use honey or maple syrup to sweeten the mixture, especially because oats can be somewhat bland on their own.
- Toppings: This is where you can have some fun with fresh fruit, dried fruit, nut butters, nuts, seeds and spices (like cinnamon, nutmeg or cardamom). There are so many topping ideas and combinations, and I think that’s what makes this such a great versatile recipe!
How to make basic overnight oats?
It’s all about the ratios in my opinion to get the consistency you like. So I recommend you start with my suggested ratio below and then add more milk or use less milk until you find what works perfectly for you! Once you nail down the ratio of the basic overnight oats recipe, the sky’s the limit with the flavor combinations and toppings.
Here’s my simple ratio:
1 part oats + 1 part milk + 1/8 part seeds
To start, combine old fashioned oats and chia seeds. You can use a bowl, a mason jar or just some glass cups like I did here.
Next add the Greek or vegan yogurt and vanilla extract.
And then add the sweetener of choice and the milk. Then mix the overnight oats together until you see no clumps. Next, seal or cover with a lid, and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight.
The next morning, grab a spoon, add your favorite toppings and dig in!
Overnight Oatmeal Recipe Ideas
Peanut Butter Jelly: It’s like having a peanut butter jelly sandwich in overnight oats form. I layer peanut butter, strawberry jelly, fresh cut strawberries and crushed peanuts. It has a sweet and salty taste that reminds me of my childhood.
Apple Pie: With the combination of chopped apples, pecans, maple syrup and ground cinnamon, this variation is a great fall recipe that has a warm sweet taste and satisfying crunch from the fruit and nuts.
Banana Nutella: The name of this recipe says it all. You’ve got bananas and you’ve got Nutella…can it possibly go wrong? I would highly recommend this one for anyone who’s skeptical about trying overnight oats, especially kids. The banana and Nutella together have a rich decadent taste that makes it feel like you’re enjoying dessert, instead of a nutritious breakfast. I know Nutella is not the healthiest, but a dollop of it here is no biggie. I also add crushed hazelnuts and chocolate chips to enhance the flavor.
Almond Joy: We’re all familiar with the popular chocolate bar, and I was frankly obsessed with it growing up. So this recipe reminds of of those flavors and it’s probably one of my most favorite ways to make overnight oats. I use shredded coconut, crushed almonds, mini chocolate chips and maple syrup.
Tips for making the best overnight oats
- Make it inside of a jar or a mason jar (with measurement lines on the side). This way you can measure, mix, chill, carry and eat the overnight oats all in one convenient container.
- Use plain old fashioned rolled oats, not quick oats. Quick oats will get too soggy when soaked with milk. And do not use steel cut oats because they won’t soften enough to eat just with milk unfortunately.
- Warm it up if you prefer warm oats in the morning. Although overnight oatmeal is typically served cold, you can definitely eat them warmer. Just place them in the microwave for one minute and be sure to use a microwave-safe jar. I do this for my daughter who hates cold food in the morning.
- Make a bunch for the week. Because overnight oats typically stay good in the fridge for up to 5 days, I recommend making a batch on Sunday and having it on hand in the fridge for the whole week. Be careful if you’re adding fruit beforehand because they will typically not remain fresh for more than a couple days.
If you’ve tried this healthy-ish feel good Easy Overnight Oats recipe or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!
For more oatmeal recipes:
Easy Overnight Oats
- ½ cup rolled old fashioned oats
- ½ cup milk of choice
- ¼ cup non-fat Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 tablespoon sweetener of choice honey or maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Peanut Butter & Jelly
- 1 tablespoon strawberry jam
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter
- ¼ cup diced strawberries
- 2 tablespoons peanuts crushed
- 1/4 cup diced apples
- 1 tablespoon pecans chopped
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ banana sliced
- 1 tablespoon Nutella
- 1 tablespoon hazelnuts crushed
- 1 tablespoon chocolate chips
- ¼ cup shredded coconut
- 1 tablespoon almonds chopped
- 1 tablespoon chocolate chips
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- Place all ingredients into a large glass container and mix until combined.
- Cover the glass container with a lid or plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight. Toppings can be added the night before or immediately before serving.
- Uncover and enjoy from the glass container the next day. Thin with a little more milk or water, if desired.
- Make it vegan: Use plant-based milk, plant-based yogurt, and maple syrup for sweetener
- Make it gluten-free: Use certified gluten-free oats
- Make it sugar-free: Omit the sweetener all together or used mashed or pureed fruit in the base recipe