Make this creamy, thick delicious easy overnight oats recipe for fast and healthy breakfasts. It’s great for busy mornings, and you can customize it with different add-ins and toppings.
If you’ve never heard of overnight oats, this post explains it all. It will also give you a basic overnight oats recipe that you can customize.
We also give you some topping ideas for inspiration and meal prepping tips.
Use this easy overnight oats recipe to create fast and healthy breakfasts that you can enjoy during the week.
What are overnight oats?
Overnight oats are a quick no-cook method of preparing oatmeal. Rather than cooking oats, the oats are soaked in cold milk overnight. The long soaking time softens them so that they can be eaten cold and uncooked.
About This Recipe
- Oats are healthy and packed with nutrients and fiber.
- It is so easy to make you can prep them in less than five minutes.
- You can make and store the oats in sealable containers for convenient grab-and-go breakfasts.
- Easy overnight oats are great for many diets, including gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, sugar free, and vegetarian. Just use diet specific ingredients.
- You will never eat boring plain oats again because you can get creative and have variety by adding different nuts, fruits, flavored yogurts, and other toppings.
- Make easy overnight oats for meal prep because they will last for several days in the fridge.
The first two ingredients listed below (oats and liquid) are essential for making overnight oats and are perfect if you like a simple unflavoured breakfast.
The other ingredients are optional add-ins and topping ideas so that you can add variety to your oats.
Oats – Most recipes for easy overnight oats will tell you that old fashioned rolled oats should be the only oat type you should use. But you can also make it with quick cooking oats and steel-cut oats.
What you use all comes down to the type of texture you like. We have made easy overnight oats with all three, and here is what we found.
- Overnight rolled oats are thick with an almost smooth, creamy texture.
- Quick oats, when soaked overnight, are creamier and smoother than rolled oats.
- Steel-cut oats remain grainy and soften to a chewy and gummy texture. Also, steel-cut oats don’t soak up as much liquid as rolled and quick-cooking oats.
Liquid – is needed to soften the oats. The most common liquid to use is milk or dairy free milk. However, you can also make overnight oats with coffee, tea, water, or fruit juices.
Seeds – are a great addition to any diet because they are a good source of fiber, minerals, and anti-oxidants. You can use chia seeds, basil seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, or any other seeds you like.
Yogurt – use dairy or dairy-free yogurt plain or flavored.
Note: If you make the overnight oats using all yogurt and no other liquid, the overnight oats will be very thick in consistency and almost paste-like, and you might not like eating it this way.
Sweeteners – If you like a sweet breakfast, add a sweetener like; honey, maple syrup, brown sugar, golden syrup, condensed milk, or your favorite sweetener.
Note: If using plant milk like sweetened soy or almond milk, or flavored yogurt, you may not need to add a sweetener to the oats. So, always taste test before adding extra sweetness.
Flavorings – mix up the flavor by adding either vanilla extract or cocoa powder. You can even add spice powders like cinnamon, nutmeg, or cardamom.
Protein – For protein-enriched breakfasts, mix in nut butter like almond butter, peanut butter, Nutella, or use protein powder.
Want some crunch – mix in mini chocolate chips for a firm and crunchy texture. You could also add chopped nuts and allow them to soften overnight for a soft nutty texture.
Toppings – You can add just about anything you like as a topping like fresh fruit, frozen fruit, nut butter, jams, stewed fruit, dried fruits, nuts, coconut, or yogurt.
Note: dried or frozen fruits can either be mixed into the oats or used as a topping. If you enjoy eating dried pieces of fruit or frozen fruit, use these as a last-minute topping.
Or mix them when preparing the overnight oats so that dried fruit will soften and plump up and the frozen fruits thaw.
How To Make Basic Overnight Oats
Our easy overnight oats recipe includes some optional add-ins: yogurt, basil seeds (you could also use chia seeds), and a sweetener.
We like to use equal parts of oats (1/2 cup) and milk (1/2 cup). Then mix in 1/4 cup yogurt usually, our plain homemade yogurt but sometimes use a store-bought flavored one, along with either chia seeds or basil seeds.
These seeds will absorb moisture and swell up to make the oats even thicker. One tablespoon basil seeds will thicken the oats so you can stand a spoon in it.
If this is too thick for you, thin it down by adding more milk or use less seeds (1-2 teaspoons) or leave them out completely the next time you make it.
The sweetener is optional, and we have included it in the recipe because we know some of you like a sweeter breakfast.
So we are using one tablespoon of maple syrup, but you can use your favorite sweetener and add it to taste.
All the ingredients are mixed in one container, sealed, and then left overnight in the fridge to soften.
What to Make Overnight Oats In
Many people like to use a jar to make and store the oats in because jars can be sealed and taken for easy breakfasts on the go.
You will need a wide mouth jar like a mason jar or a sealable leakproof food storage container. Having a wide opening makes it easier to eat the oats straight from the container.
The jar or container should also be reasonably large, with space for toppings and easy mixing.
For a single serve of this recipe with some toppings, I would recommend using something that has a least a 3 – 4 cups capacity. This size will allow room for a generous amount of toppings and easy eating straight from the container.
If you are eating at home, you can make single serves in breakfast bowls or any container with more than one cup capacity.
Toppings for Overnight Oats
Now that you have your basic overnight oats recipe, it’s time to get creative with some topping ideas.
1- Strawberry, chocolate and orange – 1/2 cup (3-4 large) diced strawberries, chocolate bits (like mini chocolate chips or shaved chocolate), one slice of candied orange peel cut into small pieces.
If you don’t have candied orange peel, you could use freshly grated orange rind or diced orange segments.
2. Apple, cinnamon, and walnut – mix 1/2 a large diced red apple, 1 tablespoon chopped nuts, a pinch of cinnamon powder.
For a smoother texture replace the fresh apple with 1/2 cup of apple sauce or grate the apple.
(If making the topping in advance, toss the fresh apple pieces in 1 tablespoon of fresh orange or lemon juice (to stop the apples from going brown) before mixing with the other ingredients).
3. Fruit salad and yogurt – top the oats with pieces of fresh banana, strawberries, mangos, and blueberries tossed in some freshly squeeze orange juice. Then finish of with a spoonful of plain or flavoured yogurt.
4. Peanut butter and strawberry topping – layer on top of the oats: 1 tablespoon strawberry jam (or strawberry compote),1 tablespoon peanut butter, 1/2 cup (3-4 large) diced strawberries, and sprinkle with crushed peanuts.
5. Mango and passion fruit topping – Add diced mango and passion fruit as a topping. The mango can be fresh, frozen, or drained canned mango. Use fresh passion fruit when in season or canned when not in season.
You can make five days’ worth of overnight oats on Sunday night for fast weekday breakfasts.
You can either make single servings of oats in breakfast bowls or individual jars. Then add your toppings before sitting down to eat.
You can also use mason jars or other suitable containers to make single servings of easy overnight oats for grab-and-go breakfasts.
If you are planning on using jars and adding toppings in advance, we suggest that you use:
- 2 cup capacity jars with lids if the toppings are less than half a cup.
- 3 – 4 cup capacity jars with lids if the toppings are more than one cup.
Ultimately you want a big jar with a large opening. This way, you can eat without everything spilling out as you scoop out the first few mouthfuls with a spoon.
Make a big batch
If you don’t want to clutter your fridge with containers of single-serve overnight oats, make one big batch of 5 servings in a container that is at least 6 – 7 cups capacity in size.
When you want a serving, scoop out 1 cup or weigh about 240 grams (8.4 ounces), then add your desired toppings.
Tips For Preparing Toppings In Advance
If you don’t have the time in the morning, you can add most toppings in advance.
Here’s what we like to do when adding toppings in advance.
Prepare individual servings of the base recipe in jars with lids. Place in the fridge for about 3 hours (or you can wait till the next day) to allow the oats to swell and thicken.
Then add the toppings so that they stay on top of the oats instead of sinking in.
- If putting fruits like fresh apples, pears, or other fruits that turn brown quickly, always toss them in some fresh orange or lemon juice to keep them looking nice and fresh for several days.
- Strawberries, grapes, blueberries, and other berries generally keep well for 4-5 days. However, if strawberries are already very ripe and slightly soft when you put them on as a topping, they may not last the time.
- Bananas and kiwi fruit are best added on at the last minute because they don’t look that appetizing when left for several days.
- When adding frozen fruits, put these on first because when they defrost, they will become watery.
- Nuts and other seeds are best added on last and kept on the top to keep them somewhat crunchy when you are ready to eat.
Other Oat Recipes
- No bake peanut butter oatmeal balls
- Peanut butter cookies
- Easy jam bars
- Homemade granola
- Chocolate baked oats
If you make these easy overnight oats, I would love to know the flavor combinations you made. Please come back to this page and leave a comment below to tell me how you went.
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Easy Overnight Oats
- 1/2 cup (55 grams) oats rolled or quick
- 1/2 cup (120ml / 120 grams) milk your choice of milk
- 1/4 cup (60 grams) plain yogurt dairy or non-dairy *
- 1 tablespoon (5 grams) chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon (13 grams) maple syrup or sweetener of your choice added to taste
- Place the oats, yogurt, milk, maple syrup, and seeds into a jar or bowl.
- Stir until well combined. Cover and store in the fridge overnight.
- To serve, add your toppings and enjoy.