Overnight oats are one of the most popular ways to eat oats – for a good reason! This simple no-cook recipe is versatile, portable, filling, nutritious, and convenient. Scroll down for 30+ creative recipe ideas!
I’ve been making overnight oats since before they were cool! Simple healthy overnight oats can be served chilled or warmed up and are one of the most delicious, versatile, and easy-to-make breakfasts you can dream up!
They’re great for busy people, those who don’t like “gummy” oatmeal, prep day enthusiasts, those wanting to lower cholesterol, and anyone looking for a protein-packed filling breakfast.
While you can definitely get super creative with toppings, you can also just keep the recipe super simple. All you really need are oats and milk, although I think Greek yogurt is a must too! Add seasonal toppings and tweak the recipe to your liking. If you love thicker textures, add yogurt and chia seeds that will really soak up the milk. If you prefer to eat them with more liquid, add a splash more in the morning, muesli style.
What Are Overnight Oats?
Overnight oats are oats soaked in the liquid you put them.
You can use any kind of liquid you like but most commonly milk – for a few hours up to a day or two. You can use any kind of milk you prefer – from cow’s milk to any of the plant-based milks on the market. Because the liquid gets soaked up by the oats, you can also technically use water or juice too. I prefer milk for a boost in protein and a creamy texture and flavor.
Generally the ratio is 1:1 oats to milk, and I like a third component of yogurt for a 1:1:1 ratio. Chia seeds also help the whole mixture gel together if you’d like some fiber too!
That’s the base, and toppings are endless.
There is NO COOKING involved at all! (Although you could heat them just a tiny bit in the microwave to take the chill out.) The only thing you need to make your oats ready to eat is a little time.
Overnight Oats Ingredients
Oats, of course!
Rolled oats are best for texture, but you can use quick oats or instant oats too. Steel cut oats are a bit too tough to “cook” just by soaking alone, but if you have quick cooking steel cut oats like Coach’s Oats they should soak up a lot of the milk and will have a heartier texture.
I like cow’s milk, but you can use almond, coconut and even thinner liquids like coffee or juice.
The oats will still soak up whatever liquid you use without these, but I like both for a thicker texture. Greek yogurt will lend to the thickest texture and highest protein.
Chia Seeds or Flax Seeds
These are each optional but will add an extra layer of “gel” to the oats. I like them for their boost in nutrition as well!
Pinch of salt
I think this is a necessary component! A little kosher salt will do just fine. Just a pinch!
I personally don’t add any, but you can use honey or maple syrup, jam, or fruit puree for a natural sweetener option.
Why are overnight oats the best breakfast recipe for busy people?
- There is no cooking, stirring, or cleaning of pots.
- You can make oats on meal prep day, store them in mason jars or food storage containers, and enjoy them during the week. Use different containers or make one big batch and portion out each morning for breakfast or snacks. Ready to eat at any time!
- When prepared in a jar or container with a lid, you can take them to work with you.
- They’re the perfect travel healthy breakfast that can be made in a mini fridge with no kitchen (or soak oats in water and add pantry staples for a fridge-free option!)
- The recipe is so versatile you can customize it any way you like.
- They never get boring: eat oats everyday and try a new topping each time!
Overnight Oats Health Benefits & Nutritional Info
You’ll hit all of the major macronutrient categories with this recipe: whole grain carbohydrates, protein from milk and yogurt, and healthy fat from chia seeds. This easy breakfast will keep you full all morning long.
My favorite mixture for the most satisfying meal is equal parts old fashioned rolled oats, cow’s milk and whole milk yogurt. You can use any kind of yogurt or milk you like – almond milk, cashew milk, or coconut yogurt.
The basic KERF recipe with 1/3 cup oats, 2% milk, whole Greek yogurt, and half a tablespoon of chia seeds provides just under 250 calories, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, 14 grams of protein, and 9 grams of fat. Super filling without any toppings!
You’ll also get over 100% of your DV for calcium from the milk and yogurt and 26% of your DV for vitamin A.
The fiber content, especially if you use chia seeds, will help aid in digestion and keep you full longer.
Overnight Oats Ingredients
In addition to the base recipe, you can add as many toppings as you can dream up.
I like to use some kind of fruit (to round out a nutritious breakfast!) and then various different textures from there. There are so many different flavor and topping variations, and the creativity is endless!
You won’t want to put anything in you don’t mind getting soggy (i.e. crunchy cereals) the night before, but I love a little crunch the day of.
Topping + Mix In Ideas
- Fresh berries
- Sliced banana
- Peanut butter
- Almond butter
- Chopped nuts
- Chopped apples
- Chocolate chips
- Whipped coconut
- Whipped cream (!)
- Dried fruit
- Chia seeds
- Ground flax
- Hemp seeds
- Cocoa powder
- PB2 or powdered peanut butter
- Vanilla extract
How To Make Overnight Oats
Mix the base together
In a jar or bowl, stir together oats, milk, yogurt, pinch of salt, chia seeds and any spices you’re using.
Add optional mix-in ingredients
You can add any optional ingredients that you don’t mind getting soggy here, like banana or berries.
Store in fridge
Cover and store in fridge for a few hours or overnight. They will keep in the fridge for a few days if you are a prep day gal!
Add crunchy and fresh toppings
Remove from fridge, add toppings, and enjoy immediately or on the go.
Optional: Blended overnight oats
One of my favorite variations is to mix the overnight oats ingredients in the blender, put the blender in the fridge overnight and then blend in the morning. I describe this as a “dough boy smoothie” because the oats give off their floury flavor to a creamy smoothie you can eat with a spoon! Check out this post for more on the how-to.
The Best Overnight Oats Recipes
- 1/3 cup rolled oats
- 1/3 cup milk of your choice
- 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt You can use regular non-Greek yogurt too!
- 1/3 cup fresh or frozen fruit Berries, banana, chopped apple!
- 1 tbsp chia seeds Optional, but they will help it thicken up!
- 1 pinch kosher salt
- 1 pinch cinnamon
- Stir everything together in a bowl.
- Place in fridge overnight.
- In the morning top with something crunchy and something with healthy fats - like nut butter or nuts.
More Oats Recipe Ideas
- In A Near-Empty Nut or Seed Butter Jar
- Patriotic Overnight Oats
- Blended Overnight Oats Mermaid Bowl
- Gingerbread Overnight Oats
- Yerba Mate Overnight Oats with Pistachios and Honey
- Raspberry Coconut Overnight Oats Sundae
- See all of my oatmeal breakfast ideas here!
More OO Ideas From My Friends
- Eating Bird Food: Overnight Oats Four Ways
- Fit Foodie Finds: 8 Ways To Eat Overnight Oats
- Fannetastic Food: Overnight Oatmeal Six Ways
Some KERF variations throughout the years!