Overnight Oats

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Overnight oats are an easy make-ahead breakfast that you can stir together in no time. Today we’ll cover how to make overnight oats, with 8 different delicious flavors, to help you meal prep for the week!

overnight oats with different toppings and flavors in glass jars

Why You’ll Love Them

Overnight oats have all the flavor you love, with a lot less effort. They also have some potential health benefits!

  • Raw oats are good source of resistant starch, which is not digested in the upper digestive tract, so it may act as a prebiotic in the body. (Feeding good gut bacteria.)
  • It is estimated that a 1/4 cup of raw oats contains 4.4 grams of resistant starch, while 1 cup of cooked oatmeal has only 0.5 grams.
  • Resistant starch may help to reduce the caloric density of food, and has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity.
  • Soaking oats overnight may help to lower the phytic acid they naturally contain, especially when you soak them in water or a non-dairy milk (not cow’s milk!). It seems that soaking has almost the same effect that cooking the oats does when it comes to removing phytic acid, even when you don’t drain away the soaking liquid.
  • Since soaking oats may help to the lower phytic acid content, that should help to boost nutrient absorption at the same time.
  • Oatmeal contains more soluble fiber than other grains, which may help you feeling full.
  • The beta glucan found in oats may help to lower cholesterol, too.

Plus, overnight oats are easier to make, since you don’t have to stand over the stove to watch the oatmeal cook.

Ingredients You’ll Need

overnight oats base ingredients in glass bowls on white surface

What’s in overnight oats? 

  • Rolled oats
  • Milk of choice
  • Flax seeds or chia seeds
  • Maple syrup or honey
  • Pinch of salt

That’s the basic formula for overnight oats, and then you can get creative with the toppings from there!

Note: It’s also common to add up to a 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt to the base mixture. Since research suggests that adding dairy to the oats may affect the phytic acid reduction, I prefer to keep my overnight oats dairy-free and vegan, instead. (Use maple syrup to keep this recipe vegan.)

8 flavors of overnight oats in glass jars overhead

You can make overnight oats with oat milk, coconut milk, cashew milk, hemp milk, or almond milk, if you want to try a dairy-free option.

For extra protein, try adding a spoonful of hemp hearts, which are a complete source of plant based protein with all the essential amino acids your body needs. Or you can add a scoop of your favorite protein powder, if you prefer.

How to Make Them

1. Mix. Add the oats, milk, flax seed, sweetener, and any of the topping ideas (below) to a mason jar, or other storage container with a lid.

I like to use a jar that is 14 ounces or larger, to allow for mixing.

milk added to oats in glass jars with flax or chia seeds

2. Store overnight. Secure the lid on the jar, then place it in the fridge to chill overnight, or for at least 2 hours. The oats will soften as they soak.

toppings added to overnight oats in storage jars

3. Enjoy! When you are ready to eat, remove the lid and give the oats a stir. You can enjoy them right away, or add a little extra liquid to help loosen the texture.

As written, the oats are relatively thick the next day, but you can always add more milk or water, as you see fit.

Overnight Oats Flavors

Below you’ll find 8 different overnight oats recipes. It’s easy to mix and match these as you meal prep, so you can have a different flavor for practically every day of the week!

Base Recipe:

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup milk of choice
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

chocolate shavings on top of chocolate oats in glass jar with spoon

To make one of the following flavors, add these ingredients to the base recipe.

Carrot Cake Overnight Oats

  • 1/4 cup shredded carrot
  • 2 tablespoons walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon raisins
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

Banana Bread Overnight Oats

  • 1/2 mashed banana
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons walnuts, as a topping

Coffee Overnight Oats

  • Replace 1/4 cup to 1/2 of the milk with brewed black coffee
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter (this adds creaminess!)

Zucchini Bread Overnight Oats

  • 1/4 cup shredded zucchini
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Chocolate Peanut Butter Overnight Oats

  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter (or try hazelnut butter for a Nutella version)
  • 1 tablespoon cacao powder
  • (Add a few mini chocolate chips on top, if you want a dessert-like breakfast)

Peanut Butter & Jelly Overnight Oats

  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon of jelly (like chia jam), or mix in 1/4 cup fresh or frozen berries

Very Berry Overnight Oats

  • 1/2 cup frozen berries, like raspberries, blackberries, or blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter

Apple Spice Overnight Oats

  • 1/4 cup applesauce (no added sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

You can find even more inspiration by checking out my popular chocolate overnight oats and peanut butter overnight oats.

Curious about other flavors? I also tested a mint chocolate version and a cherry almond version, but I don’t recommend even using an 1/8 teaspoon of peppermint or almond extract in a single serving. It’s just too much!

If you don’t mind making a double-batch of oatmeal, you might be able to use an 1/8 teaspoon of these extracts to make two servings at once.

Storage Tips

Wondering how long overnight oats last? If you’re using homemade almond milk, I recommend making only what you can eat in 4 days.

Homemade almond milk doesn’t have preservatives, which I think makes it taste better, but it can spoil more quickly. If you use a store-bought milk, your oats can keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you make overnight oats made with water? Yes, I tested overnight oats using both almond milk and water, and both “worked” in the sense that the oats became tender overnight. However, the almond milk makes the oats MUCH creamier, and I found that more enjoyable. If you would prefer to make oats with water, I recommend adding a tablespoon of nut butter to help make them creamier.

Can overnight oatmeal be heated? If you’d prefer to eat your overnight oats warm, you can heat them up on the stove, or in a mini crockpot at work, or in a microwave using 30-second intervals. I’d recommend adding an extra splash of liquid in that case, because they will thicken up even more when heated.

Is oatmeal gluten-free? Oats are naturally gluten-free, but they can be contaminated with gluten-containing grains during the manufacturing process. Be sure to look for a “certified gluten free” label if you need to. And when cooking for someone with celiac disease, be sure to check that they can tolerate oats, because not everyone can, even when using gluten-free oats.

Can I use quick-cooking oats? Quick cooking oats become quite mushy when you let them soak overnight, but if you don’t mind a softer texture, then it can work, too.

Can I use steel cut oats? Steel cut oats will not soften overnight in the fridge the same way rolled oats do. If you want a similar texture, you’ll need to briefly cook them, for at least 5 minutes, before letting them soak overnight.

overnight oats with different toppings and flavors in glass jars
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5 from 9 votes

Overnight Oats

Here's how to make overnight oats, with 8 different delicious flavors! Start with the base recipe of oats and your favorite milk, then add in your favorite toppings for an easy meal prep breakfast.
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Keyword overnight oats
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1
Calories 369kcal

Ingredients

Base Recipe

Carrot Cake Overnight Oats

  • 1/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 tablespoon raisins
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons walnuts

Banana Nut Overnight Oats

  • 1/2 mashed banana
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons walnuts

Chocolate Peanut Butter

Coffee Overnight Oats

  • 1/2 cup brewed coffee (replace a 1/2 cup milk with this!)
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter

PB&J Overnight Oats

  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon raspberry jelly (see notes)

Very Berry Overnight Oats

  • 1/2 cup frozen berries (like raspberries or blueberries)
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter

Zucchini Overnight Oats

  • 1/4 cup shredded zucchini
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Apple Spice Overnight Oats

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

Instructions

  • You will need a glass jar with a lid for each serving you want to prepare. Start by adding a 1/2 cup of oats, 3/4 cup milk, 1 tablespoon of flax seeds (or chia seeds), 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, and a pinch of salt to each jar. Make as many jars as you'd like to have on hand for the next 4 to 5 days.
  • Pick from one of the flavors above, and add the additional ingredients to your jar. For example, to make a Peanut Butter Chocolate flavor, add 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and 1 tablespoon of cacao powder to a jar with the base ingredients. Stir well, and adjust any flavoring to taste. You can mix & match the flavors for each jar you make.
  • Cover the jars with an airtight lid and place them in the fridge to soak overnight, or for at least 2 hours. The oats will absorb the liquid, and become soft and tender as they soak.
  • When you're ready to eat the overnight oats, grab a jar from the lid, remove the lid, and stir well. It's ready to eat right away, but you can also add more liquid to loosen the texture, if you'd like to, or you can adjust the flavoring, as needed, by adding an extra splash of maple syrup, or another pinch of salt.
  • Overnight oats can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Notes

Nutrition information is for 1 jar with the "Very Berry" toppings. This information is automatically calculated, and is just an estimate not a guarantee. Each flavor combination will vary, so be sure to check your package labels for the most accurate information.
I used store-bought jam when testing this recipe, but I prefer using homemade chia seed jam when I have it on hand. Alternatively, you can add a 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of frozen raspberries to the PB&J flavor instead of using jam, to avoid extra added sugar.

Nutrition

Calories: 369kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Sodium: 251mg | Potassium: 368mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 341mg | Iron: 3mg

If you try this Overnight Oats recipe, please leave a comment and star rating below to let me know how you like them! And if you try another flavor combination, I’d love to hear about that, too.

Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite oatmeal topping?

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Comments

Alissa

I have overnight oats so much for breakfast, and my toddler loves it too! But i don’t normally put in chia seeds, so I will have to try that!

Karen

I’m definitely going to try this with steel cut oats adding sweet potato as a starch meal.

Rachel

Love overnight oats! My fave is organic oats soaked in coconut-rice milk sweetened with dates and topped with blueberries and peanut butter 😍😍😍

    Michele Quinn

    Wow! Can you supply that recipe? I would love to try that.

Chan

I’ve heard (somewhere) to soak the oats overnight in water, drain, and then add your almond milk – what would be the reason for that vs your recipe above? Thanks!

    Megan Gilmore

    Hmm… that sounds like an attempt to reduce phytic acid. I’ve read somewhere that soaking only reduces it by less than 25%, so I’m not sure it’s worth the hassle to drain them in the morning, but I think adding an acid, like lemon juice or raw apple cider vinegar might be an easy way to neutralize it.

      Michele Quinn

      Can I leave out the maple syrup or will that be gross?

Marie

Yum, I am looking forward to trying these overnight oats this week!

Lewis Johnson

I love making overnight oats. It’s so good.

Haley

Delicious!

Betsy

I am confused. If you are food combining, how can you mix the oats and fruit?

    Megan Gilmore

    If you practice food combining, you won’t mix the fruit and oats. But, you could eat the fruit 30 minutes beforehand and then the oatmeal if you like! Not all of the recipes on my website are properly combined (since I don’t eat that way all the time), but the recipes in my first two books are clearly labeled and have week-long properly combined meal plans, if you need more specific guidance!

Julie H

Could you make this with frozen fruit?

Supriya

I have been reading about preparing overnight oats at room temperature or warmer with something like yogurt or kefir to help with fermentation of the phytic acid. Have you tired this? Do you think it makes much of a difference with digestion?
I love this recipe and want to maximize nutrition! Thank you for all your amazing recipes and wonderful information!

Sandra

I made the berry, coffee and zuchinni. All good but so far my favorite is the berry. I have to admit anything with added almond butter I love. Great quick breakfast.

Kate Ross

These are so good & I love all the options to change it up throughout the week. So easy to make ahead for when I need a quick & healthy breakfast in the morning. Thanks once again for your awesome recipes!

Nathalie

Would it taste ok to heat up the overnight oats in the morning in the microwave or is it best to eat them cold out of the fridge? Thank you!

Teresa

These are great combos. I just made the PB&J one last night and am eating it now. Really does taste like a PB&J (with the crusts cut off – 😂)! Thanks Megan.

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