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 top it with your favorite combination of fruits, nuts, and sweeteners.

How to make overnight oats for a healthy 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 various ways. Typically oats are cooked in the microwave, boiled, slow cooker, or instant pot and eaten immediately.

However, this recipe requires no cooking! Pour, stir, and let the whole grains sit until the next morning. Allowing the grains to hydrate over 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).

How to make overnight oats

The base recipe is equal parts oats and liquid. That’s it! The base 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. Depending on your texture preference, a batch can be enjoyed for 3 to 5 days.

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 a soft and chewy texture, while the chopped grains will become much softer and porridge-like, especially over several days. Quick oats will soak up moisture within a few hours, whereas old-fashioned take at least 8 hours to hydrate.

Avoid using steel-cut oats. The oat groats are pebble-like in shape and stay hard and chewy even after soaking. It requires cooking to tenderize. If you prefer this variety, I have different methods you can try!

What to pour

Any milk product works great for this recipe to give it a creamy texture. If you’re looking for a dairy-free option, use oat, nut milk, hemp, soy, coconut, or cashew 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 container also works great, providing enough room to add fruit and nut toppings later. If you like to pile on the extras, use a pint jar, which also gives plenty of space for mixing.

Eat cold or warm

There’s no cooking required, so feel free to 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, cardamom, or vanilla extract.
  • Chocolate: Cocoa powder, cocoa nibs, or mini chocolate chips.
  • Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, cashews, or pecans.
  • Fruit: Chopped apples, sliced bananas, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or dried fruit in small amounts.
  • Sweetener: Pure maple syrup, honey, or brown sugar.

Best overnight oats 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 four recipes for you. Let me know which one’s your favorite in the comments section below.


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 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 and topped with almond butter, blueberries, bananas, sliced almonds, cinnamon, and a drizzle of honey. Use almond milk for the base.

Recipe Science

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.

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.
4.86 from 7 votes
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time0 minutes
Total Time15 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American


Base Recipe

  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 cups milk, or plant-based milk


  • 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 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
  • honey


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 (½ cup each) into smaller containers or jars for individual portions.


  • 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.

Recipe Video

YouTube video


  • Meal Prep: Toppings can be added to individual containers or jars right after making the oat base. Use 8 to 16-ounce jars or containers. 
  • Using Quick/Instant Oats: Soak for at least 3 hours. The texture will be softer and thicker. 
  • Storing: Overnight oats can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 3 to 5 days. If adding the fruit, nuts, and other toppings in advance, only store them for 2 to 3 days.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 4 servings
Calories 228kcal (11%)Carbohydrates 33g (11%)Protein 9g (18%)Fat 7g (11%)Saturated Fat 3g (15%)Cholesterol 12mg (4%)Sodium 55mg (2%)Potassium 308mg (9%)Fiber 4g (16%)Sugar 7g (8%)Vitamin A 198IU (4%)Calcium 159mg (16%)Iron 2mg (11%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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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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  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.