Overnight oatmeal is an easy make-ahead breakfast that you prepare the night before. I love this recipe because you can add a million different toppings, and they all taste delicious. This recipe also has my special instructions on how to make High Protein Overnight Oats!
I was a little bit late getting on the overnight oats train.
I think everyone started making overnight oats during the years that I was still completely carb-phobic.
It wasn't until recently that I gave them a try! Let me tell you; I haven't looked back since.
Now that I've figured out how to make this recipe, I make it so many different ways, each with exceptionally delicious results.
What I love about this Basic Overnight Oats Recipe
- This recipe is so easy; even your kids can make it!
- Once you have the formula down, you can adapt this recipe to add whatever toppings you like.
- A batch of overnight oatmeal keeps in the fridge all week long so you can grab it on the go and always get a healthy breakfast in.
Foodology Geek Recipe Notes
The ingredients in overnight oatmeal are pretty flexible. Once you get the basic overnight oatmeal recipe down, the variations are virtually endless.
- Oats: I use gluten-free old fashioned oats. Don't use quick oats; they will end up being too soggy after they soak up all of the milk.
- Chia Seeds (optional): Chia seeds add an extra boost of Omega-3 fats to these simple overnight oats. The chia seeds mix with the milk and give the base of the oatmeal a chia pudding consistency. I like the texture of the oatmeal with chia seeds.
- Protein Powder: I usually use vanilla or unflavored whey protein. Find your favorite flavor of protein powder. Even chocolate can be great with the right toppings.
- Milk: You can use whatever kind of milk you chose. I usually make my overnight oats with almond milk. You can use water in this recipe, but milk will give you a thicker and creamier consistency. If you use dairy milk, you can use full-fat, 2%, or even skim milk. Non-dairy options include almond milk, coconut milk, or cashew milk.
- Greek Yogurt (optional): Greek yogurt is also optional but adds a little extra protein to this easy overnight oats recipe.
Flavor and Toppings
- Sweetener: I typically use maple syrup or honey to sweeten my overnight oats. If you are using jam or fruit, you can leave out the sweetener.
- Vanilla Extract (optional): Vanilla extract adds a warm vanilla flavor to your oatmeal. Vanilla enhances the taste of your oats and goes well with all the toppings that you might add.
- Kosher Salt (optional): A pinch of salt also enhances the flavor of the oats. You can leave it out if you want to.
- Toppings and Mix-Ins: This category is endless. For the most part, I top my overnight oats with fresh fruit and nuts. But the combinations are endless.
- Get your overnight oats container ready: You have a few different options. My favorite containers are Mason jars or Weck jars. Any sealable container will work. You'll want if to be able to hold about 2 cups. You want room for all those toppings.
- Add the Dry Ingredients: Start by adding the dry ingredients to your container. Mix them up with a spoon.
- Add the Wet Ingredients: Add the greek yogurt (if you are making your overnight oats with yogurt), and then the milk. You'll also add the sweetness, vanilla, and salt at this step.
- Mix: Use a spoon or a small spatula to mix everything until combined.
- Store: Cover each container. If you are using glasses or mugs, you can cover the containers with plastic wrap.
To make the best overnight oats, you have to find the right ratio of oats to milk. Start with the suggested ratios and then adjust them if you find you want to add more milk or less milk.
The overnight oats ratio to start with is 1 part oats ➕1 part milk ➕⅛ part seeds.
Sometimes I even add a little bit more milk in the morning before I eat my overnight oats.
Varieties of Overnight oats
- Peanut Butter or Peanut Butter and Banana Overnight Oats: To make simple peanut butter overnight oats, add a few tablespoons of peanut butter. For other peanut butter varieties, you can add peanut butter + bananas. Or peanut butter + jelly.
- Cherry Vanilla Almond Overnight Oats: Add fresh cherries and slivered almonds.
- Tropical Coconut Mango Overnight Oats: Add freshly chopped mangoes and a few tablespoons of coconut cream. For an added tropical twist, you can also add some dried, flak coconut.
- Vanilla Fig Overnight Oats: Make sure to use the vanilla in the recipe and then add a tablespoon of fig jam and then a few chopped dried or fresh figs.
- Berry Overnight Oats: Add fresh strawberries and blueberries and some chopped or slivered almonds.
- Banana Nutella Overnight Oats: Add a tablespoon of Nutella and some sliced banana. You can also add some chopped hazelnuts or almonds for crunch.
- Apple Overnight Oats: In the morning, add a diced apple and a few walnuts. I also like to add a little sprinkle of cinnamon.
Maybe you've never heard of overnight oatmeal, or you have but can't imagine how eating uncooked oatmeal might taste. Overnight oatmeal is made by mixing rolled oats with milk and leaving them in the refrigerator overnight.
You can also add chia seeds, greek yogurt, and even protein powder. These add-ins add a little bit more protein to this already healthy breakfast. The milk soaks into the oats as the mixture sits in the refrigerator overnight. You end up with a creamy, al dente texture that is nice to eat.
In the morning, you can mix in a variety of toppings — usually fresh fruit and nuts. The sky is the limit here. The combinations are endless.
Overnight oats take about 5 minutes to mix up. Then you put them in the refrigerator to sit overnight. After about 4-5 hours, they are good to go. The longer they are in the fridge to more liquid, the oats will absorb.
Yes, I use Bob's Red Mill gluten-free oatmeal! Most oats are relatively gluten-free but can be processed in facilities that also process wheat. If you have a gluten allergy, make sure that you get oats that are certified gluten-free.
I use regular steel cut oats when I make this recipe. A lot of overnight oats recipes call for instant oats. Both are fine to use. The steel-cut oats will give you a chunkier, chewier texture, which I like in my oats.
Overnight oats will keep for several weeks in the fridge.
Oats are pretty high in carbs. But you can make a few substitutions that will give you the texture and flavor of overnight oats without all of the carbs. Check out this post I found for a Keto Overnight Oats Recipe.
A few more of my favorite Breakfast Recipes
- Healthy Pumpkin Oatmeal Recipe
- Duck Hash with Poached Eggs and Pickled Onions
- Paleo Breakfast Bowl
- Fail-Proof Cinnamon Rolls
- Hawaiin Pineapple Sweet Rolls
- Gluten-Free Breakfast Sausage Frittata Recipe
- Peanut Butter Banana Protein Shake.
- 2 tbsp peanut butter
- 2 tbsp unsweetened dried coconut flakes
- ½ cup mango diced
- coconut cream
- 3-4 tsp fig jam
- 3 dried figs diced
Cherry Almond Vanilla
- 2 tbsp slivered almonds
- ⅓ cup fresh cherries chopped
High Protein Overnight Oatmeal
- ⅓ cup Steal Cut Oats
- 2 tbsp Chia Seeds
- 1 scoop Protein Powder Vanilla Whey, or your favorite brand
- 1 cup Almond Milk
Prepare Each Jar Of Oats
- Add the basic oats ingredients to each jar. Stir to mix.
- Refrigerate oats overnight.
Peanut Butter Oats
- Stir in a few tablespoons of your favorite peanut butter.
Coconut Mango Oats
- Stir in a few tablespoons of dried coconut flakes. Add chopped mangoes and them top off with coconut cream.
Vanilla Fig Oats
- Stir in a 3-4 teaspoons of fig jam and the chopped figs.
Cherry Almond Vanilla Oats
- Add chopped fresh cherries and slivered almonds.