Overnight Oats (5 Healthy Ways!)

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Learn how to make overnight oats for a convenient and customizable healthy breakfast. Rolled oats soak in your choice of dairy product while in the refrigerator until the grains are softened. Then just top with your favorite combination of fruits, nuts, and sweetener.

how to make overnight oats for breakfast

The popularity of overnight oats is on the rise

The moment you wake up your body needs nourishment. To quickly energize your morning, have a batch of overnight oats ready to start your day. Oats are a source of healthy carbohydrates that can be prepared in a variety of ways. Typically oats are cooked in either the microwave, boiled, slow cooker, or instant pot and eaten right away.

However, this recipe requires no cooking! Simply pour, stir, and let the whole grains sit until the next morning. Allowing the grains to hydrate over a period of several hours makes the flakes tender enough to eat. You can also mix-in any toppings, spices, and nutritional boosters that you can dream up. Make a batch for the entire week so you can grab and go!

honey, oats, berries, milk, and chia seeds in pre-portioned individual bowls

Getting in a healthy breakfast

The health benefits of oats are impressive, and they’re a quick and affordable way to add soluble and insoluble fiber, protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals to your diet. According to the USDA FoodData Central, a ½ cup serving (40g) of dried rolled oats provides about 150 calories, 5 grams of protein, 2.5 grams of fat, and 4 grams of fiber (half soluble) [source].

How to make overnight oats

The main components of this recipe are equal parts oats and liquid, that’s it! The base then just needs to sit for at least 8 hours in the refrigerator until the grains soften, hence the name overnight oats. The longer they hydrate together, the softer the grain will be. A batch can be enjoyed for 3 to 5 days depending on your texture preference.

The best oats to use

I recommend using two types of oats, old-fashioned rolled oats (top choice) or instant/quick oats. The thicker flakes will give more contrast for soft and chewy texture, while the chopped grains will become much softer and porridge-like, especially over several days. You’ll notice that the quick oats will soak up moisture within a few hours, whereas old-fashioned takes at least 8 hours to hydrate.

pouring milk into a glass bowl filled with old fashioned oats

What to pour

Any type of creamy milk product works great for this recipe. Dairy milk, oat milk, nut milk, hemp milk, soy milk, or coconut milk are great options. I prefer unsweetened types so that I can limit added sugars. Water is also a flavor neutral option, but I enjoy the richness that comes from milk.

Make a big batch or individual portions

This recipe can be scaled up or down for easy meal prep. You can use a small bowl or large container with a lid to feed a family the next day. Alternatively, individual portions can be made. Just place ½ cup oats and ½ cup milk into a glass cup. An eight-ounce mason jar or small plastic containers work great too, providing enough room to also add fruit and nut toppings later.

photo comparison of oats in a bowl before and after soaking overnight

Eat cold or warm

There’s no cooking required, so you can enjoy overnight oats right away like a muesli breakfast bowl. If you want to warm it up, heat the mixture in a pot over medium-low heat, or simply microwave in 15-second intervals until warmed through. You can also add milk to make the consistency less thick.

Tasty add-ins

  • Protein: Greek yogurt, protein powder, or nut butter.
  • Fiber: Chia seeds, flaxseeds, or oat fiber.
  • Spices: Ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, or cardamon.
  • Chocolate: Cocoa powder, cocoa nibs, or mini chocolate chips.
  • Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, cashews, or pecans.
  • Fruit: Chopped apples, sliced banana, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or dried fruit in small amounts.
  • Sweetener: Pure maple syrup, honey, or brown sugar.

4 delicious recipes to try

Since the base is very neutral in flavor, here’s where I had fun and got creative! To boost the taste and nutrition in each serving I created 4 recipes for you to try. Let me know which one’s your favorite in the comments section below.

Tropical

strawberries and kiwi in a glass cup with overnight oats

An island getaway for your tastebuds! Diced kiwi, pineapple, strawberry, and shredded toasted coconut. Add some diced mango if it’s in season and use coconut milk for the base.

Chocolate berry

raspberries and blackberries in a glass cup with oats

Chocolate lovers, this one’s for you! The oats are topped with blackberries, diced strawberries, raspberries, cocoa nibs, mini-chocolate chips, and chopped pecans. Add in 1 to 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder to the base for an extra chocolatey flavor.

Peanut butter and jelly

peanut butter, slices of strawberry, and peanuts in a glass cup with oatmeal

A wholesome twist on a childhood classic! Strawberry jam, creamy peanut butter, and roasted peanuts on top. I recommend using banana milk if you haven’t tried it yet.

Blueberry almond

blueberries, and slices of pecans and bananas in a cup with oatmeal

Almond extract and chia seeds are added to the oat base. Topped with almond butter, blueberries, bananas, sliced almonds, cinnamon and a drizzle of honey. Use almond milk for the base.

Recipe yield

When overnight oats absorb water and soften, they do not expand like cooked oats. A 2 cup batch increases to about 2 ½ cups, only about 25% in volume. Cooked oats approximately double in volume as the grains swell when heated, giving a sticky porridge-like consistency. Don’t be tempted to eat double the serving size to match the volume, the calories will certainly increase as well.

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Overnight Oats (5 Ways!)

Learn how to make overnight oats for a convenient healthy breakfast! Includes 5 easy recipes with a combination of fruits, nuts, and sweetener.
Pin Print Review
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time0 mins
Total Time15 mins
Servings 4 servings
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American

Ingredients

Overnight Oats Base

  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 cups milk, dairy, nut, oat, coconut or any plant-based milk

Tropical

  • ½ cup plain greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup diced kiwi
  • ¼ cup diced pineapple
  • ¼ cup diced strawberry
  • ¼ cup toasted shredded coconut

Chocolate Berry

  • ¼ cup blackberries
  • ¼ cup diced strawberries
  • ¼ cup raspberries
  • 4 teaspoon cocoa nibs
  • 2 teaspoons mini chocolate chips
  • 4 teaspoons chopped pecans

Peanut Butter and Jelly

  • ¼ cup strawberry jam
  • ¼ cup peanut butter
  • 4 teaspoons roasted peanuts

Blueberry Almond

  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 teaspoons chia seeds
  • ¼ cup almond butter
  • 1 cup sliced bananas
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • 4 teaspoons sliced almonds
  • ground cinnamon, to sprinkle on top
  • honey, to drizzle on top

Instructions 

Overnight Oats Base

  • In a medium bowl, add oats and milk and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight. Alternatively, evenly divide the oats and milk (¼ cup each) into smaller containers or jars for individual portions.

Tropical

  • Evenly divide overnight oats into bowls. Top with yogurt, kiwi, pineapple, strawberry, and toasted coconut.

Chocolate Berry

  • Evenly divide overnight oats into bowls. Top with blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, cocoa nibs, chocolate chips, and pecans.

Peanut Butter and Jelly

  • Evenly divide overnight oats into bowls. Top with jam, peanut butter, and peanuts.

Blueberry Almond

  • Add almond extract and chia seeds to the oats base. Evenly divide overnight oats into bowls. Top with almond butter, bananas, blueberries, almonds, cinnamon, and honey.

Notes

  • The toppings can be added to individual containers or jars right after making the oat base for meal prep.
  • Overnight oats can be stored for up to 3 to 5 days covered in the refrigerator. If adding the fruit, nuts, and other toppings in advance, store for 2 to 3 days.

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Nutrition Facts
Overnight Oats (5 Ways!)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 228 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Fat 7g11%
Saturated Fat 3g15%
Cholesterol 12mg4%
Sodium 55mg2%
Potassium 308mg9%
Carbohydrates 33g11%
Fiber 4g16%
Sugar 7g8%
Protein 9g18%
Vitamin A 198IU4%
Calcium 159mg16%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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3 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Connie says

    Thank you for such a delicious breakfast treat. Making your whole chicken in a pressure cooker tonight. You have a remarkable Blog with so many wonderful recipes. Thanks for sharing.

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