This easy Overnight Oats Recipe is a healthy and delicious breakfast made with gluten-free rolled oats, chia seeds, milk, yogurt, and a touch of vanilla. Learn how to make overnight oats and enjoy topped with fresh fruit and crunchy mix-ins!
It’s fair to say that Overnight Oats are quite possibly my favorite easy breakfast. At least for my family. By some miracle, these humble little oats make everyone in my family happy.
Packed full of fiber and protein, I have several different overnight oat recipes on constant rotation at my house – pumpkin is my favorite.
Incredibly easy to prepare and clean up, you can also meal prep the heck out of these oats. Make a big batch of a few different flavors on Sunday night and enjoy this easy make-ahead breakfast all week long!
What Are Overnight Oats?
Overnight oats are an alternative way of preparing oatmeal.
Rather than cooking raw oats on the stovetop or microwave with boiling water, here you combine rolled oats with cold milk, yogurt (optional), and chia seeds. A much more hands-off cooking technique, the oats, and the chia seeds absorb the liquid from the milk and yogurt as you sleep or go on with your day. Four to six hours later, you have ready-to-eat luscious oats that are creamy, chewy, and delicious.
Can You Make Overnight Oats with Steel Cut Oats?
Yes, you can absolutely make overnight oats with steel cut oats. However, given their tough exterior and chewy texture, steel cut oats need to be mixed with boiling water and “cooked” longer, at least 8-12 hours. Read this post to learn how to make overnight steel cut oats.
What Ingredients Do You Need For Overnight Oatmeal?
- Oats: Make sure to use plain old-fashioned rolled oats. Do not substitute with instant oats or quick-cooking oats as they are very different from old-fashioned oats. Learn more about the different types of oats.
- Milk: Dairy milk or plant-based milk – your choice! For a little added sweetness, I’ll sometimes use sweetened vanilla soy milk or almond milk, but I’ll usually just use skim cow milk. For super-rich and creamy oats, try making them with canned coconut milk.
- Greek or vegan yogurt (optional): Adding yogurt is an easy way to add extra creaminess and yummy, healthy protein.
- Chia Seeds (optional): Chia seeds help give your oats a pudding-like texture (have you tried chia pudding yet?) They’re optional but highly recommended. PLUS, chia seeds come packed with Omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, and have no flavor at all.
- Vanilla Extract (optional): Also optional, but a nice added flavor.
- Sweetener (optional): I didn’t add any sweetener here. If, however, you feel it needs a little more sweetness, honey, maple syrup, and agave syrup are all popular options.
- Toppings: The toppings and add-ins are where you can really have some fun. Try mixing it up with fresh or frozen fruit like mixed berries, sliced banana, peaches, or passion fruit. Nut and seeds, spices, chocolate chips, protein powder, and peanut butter are all fantastic.
How to Make Overnight Oats
- Transfer the rolled oats to a large container or large mason jar with a secure lid.
- In a separate bowl stir together the yogurt (if using) with the chia seeds and mix well to combine. Adding the chia seeds to the yogurt (rather than the milk) helps prevent the chia seeds from clumping together.
- Add the milk, vanilla extract, and yogurt with chia seeds to the oats. Mix well.
- Cover with an airtight lid and store in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours to overnight.
- When ready to serve, dump the toppings directly into the jar or divide them into bowls and add toppings.
Can You Heat Up Overnight Oats?
Overnight oats may be enjoyed hot or cold. To heat them up, transfer your jar or bowl filled with oats – uncovered – to the microwave and heat for 30-60 seconds. I recommend stirring every 20-30 seconds to prevent them from bubbling over. Wait until after the oats are warm to add your favorite toppings.
Are Overnight Oats Healthy?
Yes, base recipe overnight oats (those made with old fashioned oats and low-fat milk or water) come with plenty of health benefits.
- Oats are a good source of carbohydrates and fiber. A half cup of rolled oats contains 4 grams of fiber.
- They also contain more protein than most grains (5g per serving).
- Oats contain important antioxidants including avenanthramides, which are only found in oats.
- Overnight oats keep you feeling full for a longer amount of time thanks the the extra fiber and protein. This may, in turn, help you lose weight.
To prevent this nutritious breakfast from becoming unhealthy, wait until after they have soaked overnight and you’re ready to serve before sweetening. Give them a try first, you may be surprised by how delicious they are without added sugar. Also, swap flavored yogurt for plain yogurt instead.
How Long Do Overnight Oats Last?
I find that this overnight oats recipe tastes best and has the best texture when enjoyed within 3-4 days. However, stored safely in the refrigerator, you may continue enjoying your favorite oats for up to 5 days.
Tips and Tricks
- Add enough liquid. The ratio should be somewhere around 2:1. So, for every 1 cup of oats, add approximately 2 cups of liquid. If you’re adding yogurt (as with this recipe), you can reduce the total amount of liquid by one quarter to one-half. As you can see in this recipe, I added a ratio of 1:1:1 or 1 cup oats, 1 cup milk, and 1 cup yogurt. My oats turned out thick with a perfect creamy texture. If you prefer yours to be a little less thick, add an additional half cup milk.
- Speaking of yogurt, I highly recommended adding a scoop. Yogurt is creamy and full of added protein. It’s like a win-win everywhere.
- Sweeten later. It’s easy to turn this healthy breakfast into an unhealthy one. Top with some fresh berries, your favorite nuts or seeds, and a teaspoon of honey if needed.
- Be sure to use the right kind of oats. Rolled oats are what you’re after when it comes to making the best overnight oats.
- Add the chia seeds at the same time as the yogurt and milk. As far as all those other toppings? Most are better off added later- such as fruit and nuts.
- Always mix well before serving.
- Play with different flavor combination, toppings, liquid to oat ratios, and have fun!
- Make extra and enjoy all week long!
More Breakfast Recipes,
- Freezer-Friendly Croissant Breakfast Sandwich Recipe
- DIY Healthy Instant Oatmeal Recipe
- Muffin Egg Cups (Breakfast Meal Prep)
- Sweet Pepper and Sausage Breakfast Hash
- Breakfast Naan Pizza with Sautéed Mushrooms and Shallots
- Papaya Breakfast Bowls
- Homemade Bakery Blueberry Muffins
- Berry Yogurt Muffins
Have you tried making this Overnight Oats Recipe? Tell me about it in the comments below! I always love to hear your thoughts. And tag me #theforkedspoon on Instagram if you’ve made any of my recipes, I always love to see what you’re cooking in the kitchen.
Overnight Oats Recipe
- Fruit (fresh or frozen)
- Nuts (slivered almonds, cashews, pistachios, pecans)
- Seeds (chia seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds)
- Dried fruit (cranberries, blueberries, raisins)
- Sweetener (honey, maple syrup, brown sugar)
- Nut butter (peanut butter, almond butter)
- Spices (ground cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg)
- Transfer the oats to a large container – Transfer the rolled oats to a large mason jar or container with a secure lid.
- Mix the yogurt with the chia seeds – In a separate bowl stir together the yogurt with the chia seeds and mix well to combine. Adding the chia seeds to the yogurt (rather than the milk) prevents them from clumping together.
- Mix everything together – Add the milk, vanilla extract, and yogurt with chia seeds to the oats. Mix well.
- Refrigerate – Cover with an airtight lid and store in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours to overnight.
- Serve – When ready to eat, you can dump the toppings directly into the jar or divide into bowls and add toppings.
- Le Parfait reusable glass jars are my favorites for prep and storage.
- If you prefer not to add yogurt, replace it with 1 cup of milk, for a 2:1 ratio of milk to oats.
- Make it vegan: Use plant-based milk, plant-based yogurt, and maple syrup (instead of honey) as a sweetener.
- Make it gluten-free: Use certified gluten-free oats.
- Make it sugar-free: Omit the sweetener all together or use mashed or pureed fruit in the base recipe (this is especially great with frozen fruit).
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)