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Too busy in the morning to prep a healthy breakfast? This easy overnight oat recipe with 6 scrumptious flavors is going to help you!
Have you ever tried overnight oats?
I discovered this healthy breakfast while looking for a “grab-and-go” solution for my busy mornings. You see, I am a bit of a night-owl, and I don’t like to wake up too early.
When I used to go to the office, my alarm rang only 30 minutes before I had to get out of the door. Which didn’t leave me much time to get ready and leave the house, let alone cook and eat breakfast.
Plus, I don’t know about you, but I do love a sweet breakfast.
That’s when I discovered the power of delicious overnight oats! And never looked back ever since.
What are overnight oats?
Overnight oats are exactly what the name implies: simple raw rolled oats soaked overnight.
Instead of cooking your oats on the stove or in the microwave, you can actually eat them raw by soaking them in milk overnight (or at least 2 hours before eating them, to give them enough time to absorb the liquid and soften them to reach the perfect texture).
All you have to do is put all the ingredients in a jar and let them rest in the fridge. By the next morning, you’ll have a perfect healthy breakfast that doesn’t require any cooking.
I love this way of preparing oats because they are creamy and have a hearty and rich texture. They remind me of a delicious pudding. I prefer them to the gluey (shall I say “slimy”?) texture of cooked oatmeal.
What ingredients do you need for this overnight oats recipe?
This is what you need:
● Rolled oats: well, you can’t really make overnight oats without oats! Good old wholegrain rolled oats work best for this recipe.
● Milk: you do need something to soak your oats with. Your choice: you can use any kind of milk! Full-fat, semi-skimmed, or skimmed milk. Or you can also use plant-based milk like almond milk, coconut milk, oat milk, or cashew milk. I make mine with oat milk: an oatlylicious combination!
● Chia seeds: Chia seeds are packed with antioxidants, protein, fiber, and omega-3’s. Adding just half a tablespoon helps to thicken your oats and make them extremely creamy and satisfying.
● Flax seeds: Similar to chia seeds in terms of nutrition, they can help to reduce hunger and appetite. Plus, they’re often less expensive. They have a slightly nuttier texture. I like both and normally use whatever I have in my food cupboard.
● Yogurt: You can use greek yogurt or coconut or almond yogurt for a vegan option. Yogurt adds a tangy flavor and makes your oats extra creamy. You can add it into the mix or use it as a topping. And with greek yogurt, you’ll get an extra boost of protein!
● Sweetener: Forget sugar when it comes to overnight oats. Natural sweeteners work like a treat. Maple syrup (vegan) or honey are my favorites. They dissolve and mix really well with the milk. Since I started using oat milk, I have to admit that I find my oats sweet enough without any additional sweetener. Give it a try!
● Toppings: There is no limit to your imagination here! Fresh and dried fruit, nuts, any kind of nut butter, chocolate, Nutella, seeds, and any different combination of spices.
The best base recipe for overnight oats
Depending on how you prepare your overnight oats, the end result can be indulging, nutritious, and filling: the perfect way to start your day.
What is the best overnight oats ratio?
After testing different ratio of ingredients, this is what works best for me:
1/2 CUP OATS + 1/2 CUP LIQUID + 1/2 TBSP CHIA SEEDS
You should try this recipe as it is, and then you can play with it as much as you like. This ratio gives my oats a rich, dense texture. If you like your oats a bit wetter, simply add more milk. You can also add more chia seeds for a thicker end result (or substitute them with flax seeds).
To make your overnight oats, simply add your oats and chia seeds to a small jar or bowl. If you have a sweet tooth, add your preferred sweetener. Mix with a spoon and pour your preferred milk on top. If you are going to eat your overnight oats cold, you can also add the yogurt at this point.
Give the mixture a good stir. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight. This will allow the oats to soak and soften.
In the morning, just grab one of the jars, add your favorite toppings and enjoy it at home or on-the-go.
That’s it! It takes much longer to write it down than to do it. It’s a 5-minute recipe perfect as a make-ahead breakfast or snack (I love my peanut butter version after a workout).
6 Healthy overnight oats recipe ideas
1. Delicious Berry
PROTEIN: 8.5g CALORIES: 298
This is one of my old-time favorites overnight oats. The mix of juicy strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries remind me of summer mornings. It uses the base recipe with oat milk, but I normally add 1 teaspoon of honey to this to help with the fruit’s sharpness. You can easily make it vegan by swapping the honey for maple syrup.
2. Coffee & Walnuts
PROTEIN: 12g CALORIES: 365
Need a double dose of coffee to get going in the morning? Then, these coffee and walnuts overnight oats are perfect to start your day. I am not a great coffee lover myself (I actually don’t drink coffee at all!), but Dan loves coffee, and I made this special version just for him, and it’s his favorite.
He prefers oats soaked in almond milk with greek yogurt on top for a protein boost. If you want to make it vegan, just substitute Greek yogurt with coconut yogurt.
3. Apple Pie
PROTEIN: 13g CALORIES: 397
If you are in the mood for some autumn flavors, you should try this apple pie overnight oats recipe. It’s spicy, hearty, and delicious. I normally warm this up in the microwave in the morning, and the smell of cinnamon takes over the entire kitchen. It’s made with the base recipe, maple syrup, cinnamon (mixed with the oats before soaking them to give it time to infuse them), fresh apples, and pecans on top.
I normally add the apples on top for this recipe before warming them in the microwave. I don’t normally recommend heating the fruit, but warm apples make it smell and taste ever more like a homemade apple pie.
4. Indulgent Double Chocolate
PROTEIN: 15g CALORIES: 498
Ok, if you are in for a decadent treat for breakfast, this is the overnight oats recipe you want to try! I normally eat this at the weekends only. As much as I use my healthy vegan Nutella version to make this, a double dose of chocolate cannot be justified every day!
This chocolate overnight oat recipe is made with dark cocoa powder, oat milk (but you can use any milk you like), and maple syrup. Top it with some Nutella (use my recipe for a vegan, healthy option), coconut yogurt, and some crunchy toasted hazelnuts.
A mouth-watering combination to die for!
5. Peanut Butter
PROTEIN: 17g CALORIES: 478
A classic recipe: peanut butter overnight oats! If you love peanut butter, you are not going to be able to stop eating this. One word of warning: this version is super filling (and packed with protein). If you prep this in the morning, make sure to pack a light lunch!
I made this the other day and wasn’t hungry until 3:00 pm!
I normally avoid adding a sweetener in this recipe, as the peanut butter is flavorful enough and tends to take over. If you are craving some fresh fruit, you can add some banana slices, raspberries, or strawberries on top too!
This is also perfect as a vegan snack after a run or a gym workout (or home workout, because if you are like me, you probably don’t go to the gym!).
6. Tropical Feast
PROTEIN: 10g CALORIES: 346
My favorite summer version! I love how colorful this look. And it tastes awesome. I call it “Virgin piña colada overnight oats.” It’s made with coconut milk, coconut yogurt, banana, and mango slices.
I normally eat this cold in the summer, and because I never warm it up, I add half of the coconut yogurt in the oat base recipe to give it a sweeter and creamier texture. Summer breakfast, here I come!
Benefits of overnight oats
I hear you asking:
Are overnight oats healthy?
Their creamy texture makes them delicious, but are they actually good for you? You’ll be delighted to know that the answer is yes!
Oats are rich in fiber, plant-based protein, and B vitamins. They are 100% whole grains, which means they are not heavily processed like other types of cereals. They are low in sugar and can help to increase your metabolism.
Oats also contain a good amount of iron, which helps keep your muscle healthy. And the zinc contained in them can help to regulate hormone imbalance.
So, make sure to add them to your breakfast!
Overnight oats FAQ and top tips
What’s the difference between oatmeal and overnight oats?
Oatmeal is made by cooking rolled oats with milk over the stove or in the microwave. Overnight oats are eaten raw and are made by soaking the oats in the liquid of your choice overnight.
Do you eat overnight oats cold or hot?
This is my game-changer top tip if you like a warm breakfast. You see, when I first discovered overnight oats, I was reluctant to try them because I don’t like a cold breakfast, especially in the winter months. But if you don’t add yogurt to your container and leave out the toppings, you can heat your overnight oats in the microwave. 45-60 seconds make them just warm enough to be delish! If you don’t have a microwave handy, you can also heat them on the stove, but I suggest adding more liquid, or they might get too thick and dry.
Can you make overnight oats with water?
Yes, you can. I tried using water instead of my favorite oat milk, and it worked. Of course, the final result was much blander and less creamy. If you want to use water, I strongly suggest adding a sweetener to add a bit more flavor.
Can you make them with quick oats?
I prefer using rolled oats, as you can get a firmer texture. Quick oats will become too soggy. But the choice is yours.
Can you make them with steel-cut oats?
Steel-cut oats have the opposite problem of quick oats. They won’t soften enough and will remain chewier and more difficult to digest. If you want to try them, make sure you leave them to soak for longer and add a bit more milk.
How long do overnight oats take to make?
Just 2-3 minutes to put all the ingredients in a container. You then have to leave them to soak for a minimum of 2 hours, but I prefer to leave them overnight for a thicker and creamier texture. Plus, another couple of minutes to add your toppings when you are ready to eat them.
How long do overnight oats last?
They can be stored in a sealed jar or airtight container for up to five days in the fridge. The longer you leave them, the softer and creamier they will become. Make sure you use very fresh milk if you want to leave them for 5 days. I normally prefer to leave them for no more than 2-3 days. If I leave them any longer, I find they become a touch too soft for my liking.
Can I leave them at room temperature overnight?
According to the USDA, food that has been left out of the fridge for more than two hours should be thrown away. That’s because, at room temperature, bacteria grows incredibly fast and can make you sick. Unless you are preparing your oats and are going to eat them after 2 hours, stick them in the fridge.
Are overnight oats gluten-free?
As long as you use certified gluten-free oats.
Are overnight oats vegan?
If you use plant-based milk and do not add greek yogurt or honey, you can make delicious vegan-friendly overnight oats.
Are overnight oats good for meal prep?
They are PERFECT for meal prep. There couldn’t be an easier breakfast to meal prep for the week. You can prep all your weekday breakfast pots on Sunday evening, put them in the fridge, or just portion the oats in your favorite containers and then add the milk the night before.
Where can I store overnight oats?
I prefer glass to plastic for many reasons:
- Less use of plastic, which is always a good thing
- They are reusable
- No matter how many time you use them, they don’t change color
- They never absorb any food smell
But they can be a bit on the heavy side if you need to take them with you.
Lighter alternatives to glass jars are airtight containers like these BPA-free plastic jars.
Remember, you want a container with a wide opening, or it’ll be harder to mix them and eat them.
More breakfast recipes you’ll love
If you liked this recipe, I think you’ll love these breakfast ideas too:
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup milk of your choice (oat milk, almond milk, coconut, soya milk, skimmed milk, semi-skimmed milk, etc.)
- 1/2 tablespoon chia seeds or flax seeds
- 1 tablespoon sweetener of your choice (optional)
- 1 teaspoon honey (use maple syrup for vegan version)
- 1/2 cup mixed berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, etc.)
COFFEE & WALNUT
- 1 teaspoon instant coffee
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 5 walnuts, half
- 2 tablespoon greek yogurt (or coconut yogurt for vegan version)
INDULGENT DOUBLE CHOCOLATE
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 apple, small
- 5 pecans
- 2 tablespoon peanut butter (natural or salted, creamy or crunchy)
- A handful of peanuts or other nuts
- Fresh fruit, optional (bananas, raspberries, blueberries)
- A few raw cacao nibs (or chocolate chips)
- 2 tablespoon coconut yogurt
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- freshly sliced mango
- fresh banana slices
- coconut flakes
- Place the rolled oats and chia seeds in an 8oz glass jar or container and stir with a spoon.
- Add the sweetener of your choice (if required) and the milk, and mix well.
- Cover the container with a lid or wrap and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours (but overnight gives a better texture).
- The next day, open the container and add your desired toppings (see options below).
DELICIOUS BERRY OVERNIGHT OATS
- For this berry version, make sure to add honey to the base recipe the night before. I prefer to use oat milk, but you can use any milk you like.
- The next day, add the berries on top. If you want to eat this warm, make sure you add the berries after warming the oats.
COFFEE & WALNUT OVERNIGHT OATS
- Add the instant coffee with the rolled oats and chia seeds and mix well, before adding the maple syrup and the liquid (almond milk is what we prefer).Instead of instant coffee, you can add a shot of espresso and a bit less milk.
- The next day, top with greek yogurt and walnuts.
APPLE PIE OVERNIGHT OATS
- Add the cinnamon with the rolled oats and chia seeds and mix well, before adding the maple syrup and milk of your choice.
- If you plan to warm this up and would like more of an apple pie taste, add the apples on top of the oats as soon as you take them out of the fridge.
- Warm oats and apples in the microwave for 45-60 seconds. I don't normally recommend heating up the fruit, but warm apples are delicious!
DOUBLE CHOCOLATE OVERNIGHT OATS
- Add the cocoa powder with the rolled oats and chia seeds and mix well, before adding the maple syrup and milk of your choice.
- The next day, top it with some Nutella (use my recipe for a vegan, healthy option), coconut yogurt, some crunchy toasted hazelnuts, and cacao nibs.
PEANUT BUTTER OVERNIGHT OATS
- Mix the base recipe.
- The next day, top with peanut butter, nuts, and raw cacao nibs. If you want, add some fresh fruits as well.
TROPICAL "VIRGIN PINA COLADA" OVERNIGHT OATS
- Mix the base recipe. For optimum "piña colada" taste, make sure to use coconut milk. If you are not planning to warm this up, add 1 tablespoon of coconut yogurt to the base recipe before putting it in the fridge. This will create a creamier end result.
- The next day, top with mango slices, banana slices, the remaining coconut yogurt, and some coconut flakes.
If you have any more questions about overnight oats, feel free to drop me a note in the comments.