Overnight Oats (Recipe & Tips)
Good morning! This summer, I’ve been making batch after batch of overnight oats, and taking notes. Overnight oats are a healthy, make-ahead breakfast option, but they’re not always enticing enough to get me out of bed. Today, I’m going to share everything I’ve learned with you, along with my favorite overnight oats recipe.
Overnight oats are typically served chilled, straight from the refrigerator, so they’re perfect for warmer months. They keep well in the refrigerator for up to five days—make them on Sunday night, and you’ll have breakfast covered for the workweek.
As you’ll see, I always make my overnight oats with old-fashioned rolled oats (instant/quick-cooking oats would turn to complete mush). Then, I add some chia seeds for a more pudding-like texture and even more fiber. Would you believe that one serving of these overnight oats contains nearly half of your daily fiber requirements? Sexy.
Here’s a breakdown of the ingredients:
Oats: You can’t have overnight oats without oats. Overnight oats are typically made with plain old-fashioned oats. I much prefer them with homemade toasted muesli instead, which offers more texture and flavor.
If you want to go the easier, more traditional route, use old-fashioned oats and add a touch of cinnamon.
Chia Seeds: Technically, these are optional, but I love how chia seeds absorb moisture and make the final product more creamy and luscious. Chia seeds contain healthy omega-3’s and, like oats, lots of fiber.
Nut butter: Almond butter or peanut butter makes these oats even more creamy, while adding delicious savory, nutty flavor.
Milk of choice: You can use your favorite milk here (almond milk, coconut milk from a carton, homemade cashew milk, homemade pecan milk or cow’s milk). I suppose you could use water instead of milk, but the final result won’t be quite as creamy or flavorful.
The amount of liquid is key to the final consistency—I like my overnight oats really thick and creamy, with concentrated flavor. If you prefer a looser consistency, add a little more milk.
Fruit: Now that we’ve formed the base of the oats, I like to add fruit. If you’re following my formula with just 1/2 cup milk and using a fruit that stores well for a few days (as in, sliced strawberries, not sliced bananas or apple), you can go ahead and toss the fruit on top of the oat-and-milk mixture.
In fact, you can top the oat mixture with frozen raspberries or blueberries and they’ll defrost overnight. (Don’t try this with frozen strawberries or other large chunks of frozen fruit; they release too much water). Or, you can wait to top your oats with fruit before serving.
Optional sweetener: Overnight oats are generally sweet enough for me as-is. However, add a drizzle of sweetener if that makes your oats more enticing!
Here’s my favorite recipe for overnight oats! Feel free to make it your own. Overnight oats are a simple, healthy breakfast that you can make ahead for busy mornings. The recipe below yields 1 serving, so make as many servings (each in a separate jar) as you’d like. Overnight oats will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
⅓ cup homemade muesli, or old-fashioned oats plus ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon almond butter or peanut butter
½ cup milk of choice for a very thick consistency, or up to ⅔ cup milk for a lighter consistency
½ cup fruit (I like fresh or frozen blueberries or raspberries, or sliced fresh strawberries)
Drizzle of maple syrup or honey, if desired
In a jar or bowl (a 14-ounce working jar or 1-pint mason jar is perfect), combine the muesli (or old-fashioned oats and cinnamon), chia seeds and nut butter. Add a splash of the milk and mix the nut butter into the oats. Then add the rest of the milk and stir to combine.
Top with your fruit of choice. (If you used more milk than ½ cup and you want your fruit to stay on top, wait to top the oats until you’re ready to serve. If you’re using fruit that doesn’t store well, like sliced apple or banana, wait to top the oats until you’re ready to serve.)
Place the lid on the jar and refrigerate overnight, or up to 5 days. When you’re ready to serve, add a drizzle of maple syrup or honey if you’d like, and enjoy chilled.
Make it gluten free: Use certified gluten-free oats.
Make it vegan: Choose one of the dairy-free milk options listed above. If adding additional sweetener, use maple syrup instead of honey.
Make it nut free: Omit the nut butter or replace it with sunbutter. If you’re using muesli, follow my instructions for making nut-free muesli in the recipe notes for that recipe.
Warm it up: Overnight oats are typically served chilled. However, if you prefer warm oats, you can heat them in the microwave. Just use a microwave-safe jar and stir frequently while you’re warming them up. Since the oats are so thick, I’m not sure this would work well on the stovetop, but you could give it a try.