These Chocolate Overnight Oats taste like you’re eating dessert for breakfast. It takes less than 10 minutes to stir together, and this rich, chocolate oatmeal makes the perfect make-ahead breakfast or snack.
How Do You Make Overnight Oats?
To make overnight oats, you simply stir together the ingredients in a jar with a lid, then stick it in the fridge overnight. No cooking required!
The oats will soften as they soak in the fridge overnight, similar to the way they soften when cooked, only there’s less effort involved.
This recipe works best with old-fashioned rolled oats. If you only have steel cut oats on hand, try my Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats recipe for another hands-off method!
Are Raw Oats Safe to Eat?
If you’re concerned about eating overnight oats because they haven’t been cooked, keep in mind that old-fashioned rolled oats are not technically raw. Oat groats are steamed before they are rolled, so the heat should destroy any harmful bacteria in the process.
Benefits of Soaking Oats
Not cooking your rolled oats may actually have some health benefits, too!
- Uncooked oats are a good source of resistant starch, which acts as a prebiotic in the body. A 1/4 cup of uncooked rolled oats has 4.4 grams of resistant starch, but 1 cup of cooked oats has only 0.5 grams.
- Resistant starch are thought to feed good bacteria in the gut, which may help to lower the risk of colon cancer.
- Soaking oats in water (not cow’s milk, FYI) is also a great way to reduce the phytic acid naturally found in oats, which, in turn, may help to boost iron absorption in the body.
This is why I use homemade almond milk (which is simply almonds & water blended together) or hemp milk to make this recipe, instead of traditional dairy milk or yogurt. It may help to boost the mineral absorption in your breakfast!
Do You Eat Them Warm or Cold?
Overnight oats are meant to be eaten cold, especially if you’re interested in the potential resistant starch benefits mentioned above. However, you can warm them up if you want to!
I like to add an extra splash of almond milk to my overnight oats to help loosen-up the texture, but it’s pretty similar to eating cooked oats… only cold. The texture is less “gummy” when you add in the extra milk, so I highly recommend it, just before serving.
My Favorite Add-Ins
You need only 4 ingredients to make Chocolate Overnight oats, but you can make them more hearty and filling by adding in some extras.
Here are some add-ins to consider:
- Ground flax seed. This thickens the oats (just like they do as a flax egg), without adding any sort of crunch. Flax seeds are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which may help to lower the risk of a heart attack.
- Chia Seeds. These little seeds will also thicken the pudding, but they won’t go quite as unnoticed as the ground flax. Similar to my chocolate chia seed pudding, you’ll see the plump chia seeds throughout the overnight oats after this mixture chills.
- Hemp Hearts. This is one of my favorite sources of complete plant-based protein, and adding a spoonful to your overnight oats won’t affect the flavor or texture. Hemp seeds may also help to lower blood pressure levels and promote heart health.
- Peanut Butter. Who can resist a breakfast that tastes like a peanut butter cup? Adding a spoonful of nut butter, like peanut butter or almond butter, will add extra creaminess, along with satiating fats to help keep you feeling full longer.
Whichever option you choose, I typically add 1 tablespoon per serving. In the case of hemp hearts, you can add up to 3 tablespoons, for up to 11 grams of extra plant-based protein. (But you will start to slightly notice their flavor in that case.)
How Soon Can You Eat Overnight Oats?
After mixing the oats and liquid together, the oats won’t be soft enough to eat for at least 2 hours. However, I recommend making overnight oats at least 12 hours in advance to get the full soaking benefits mentioned above.
So, if you want to eat breakfast at 8am the next morning, be sure to get them in the fridge by 8pm the night before. You can store overnight oats in the fridge for up to 4 days when you use homemade almond milk, but keep in mind that the oats will be extra-soft and creamy by the last day.
This recipe is so easy to stir together, I usually make 3 at a time. It’s easy to change up the add-ins for each day, so you won’t be having the exact same breakfast every single morning.
Chocolate Overnight Oats (Dairy-Free!)
- In a 12- or 14-ounce glass jar with a lid, stir together the oats, almond milk, cacao powder, and maple syrup. Stir in one of the optional add-ins, if desired.
- Cover with a lid, then store in the fridge overnight, or roughly 8 to 12 hours.
- When you're ready to eat, grab the jar from the fridge and remove the lid. Stir well, and add in an extra splash of almond milk, if desired to loosen up the texture even more. You can eat it right away!
- You can double or triple this recipe, as needed, to make multiple servings. Overnight oats will keep well in the fridge for up to 4 days when you use homemade almond milk.
- For the most nutritional benefit, I recommend using a non-dairy milk to make overnight oats, instead of cow's milk or yogurt. (See the post above with links to the research why.) If you don't have a non-dairy milk on hand, water will work best for mixing.
- This recipe works best with old-fashioned rolled oats, instead of quick cooking or steel cut oats.
- Nutrition information is for 1 serving, without any of the optional add ins. This information is automatically calculated, and is just an estimate, not a guarantee.
More Healthy Make-Ahead Breakfast Ideas
- Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal
- Pumpkin Seed Granola
- Sweet Potato Toast
- Healthy Granola
- Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding
If you try these Chocolate Overnight Oats, please leave a comment below letting me know what you think! And if you make any modifications, I’d love to hear about those, too. We can all benefit from your experience.
Reader Feedback: Have you tried overnight oats before? Now that you know they might be healthier than regular oatmeal, does that make you more likely to make them? I’m totally hooked lately!