Overnight oats is a no-cook method for making oatmeal. The basic idea is that you allow old-fashioned oats to soak in milk overnight (or for a few nights), so by the time you are ready to eat them in the morning, they are soft and easy to digest.
You can add ingredients to overnight oats before soaking overnight, or you can mix in ingredients after for a delicious breakfast.
Typically, overnight oats are served chilled, straight from the refrigerator. You can also grab the container from your refrigerator in the morning and head off to your office and eat them once you arrive (or on your commute if you are not driving).
Or you can warm overnight oats in the microwave for 30-45 seconds to warm them quickly if you prefer.
Overnight Oats Basic Ratio = 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats + 3/4 cup milk
This is what I usually make for one serving. I’ll add other things to this, but I’ll share more about that below. If you want to double or triple this to make multiple servings you easily can.
You can use any kind of milk you prefer. I typically use 2% dairy milk, as that’s typically what we have at our house. But, anything from whole to skim milk works, or a non-dairy option like soy milk, almond milk, or another option that you prefer.
Here you can see (on the right) the more soupy-liquid version is the overnight oats before they have soaked overnight. The mug on the left is the overnight oats after two nights of soaking.
You can make overnight oats up to five days ahead of time. They get softer the longer they soak.
If you want to sweeten the basic ratio recipe, I will typically add some chopped fruit to the bottom (or mixed in), a tablespoon or two of fruit jam, or stir a little honey or maple syrup into the milk before combining with the oats.
Check out this video for the process:
You can make overnight oats with:
- Yogurt – I will usually substitute 1/4 cup of the milk for 1/4 cup of yogurt or mix in a little yogurt after the oats are already done.
- Protein powder – stir a little into the milk before soaking.
- Peanut butter – or any nut butter you prefer
- Fresh fruit – chopped up and added before soaking or after.
- Fruit jam – added to the bottom of the container before soaking, so it’s like a store-bought fruit bottom yogurt. Simply stir before eating.
Now that you know the basic ratio for overnight oats and some ideas for ingredients you can add, here are four ideas for overnight oats.
I also love this Elvis overnight oats recipe with peanut butter and banana.
Need something quicker? Try this 5 minute oatmeal recipe.
While I love basic overnight oats, they can be a little boring and I don’t love a cold breakfast in the winter. For that reason, I highly recommend you try overnight BAKED oatmeal, which is typically made in larger quantities and can be rewarmed throughout the week if it’s just you eating it.
- Overnight Baked Blueberry Muffin Oatmeal – one of my favorite recipes on our whole site.
- Overnight Baked Apple Oatmeal – tastes like autumn
- Overnight Baked Banana Bread Oatmeal – a healthier alternative to banana bread
- Pineapple Upside Down Overnight Baked Oatmeal
- Strawberry Shortcake Overnight Baked Oatmeal
If you love overnight oats, you might also love these cookie recipes:
- No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies – my all-time favorite cookie
- No Bake Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies – the autumn version
- Lisa’s Basic Oatmeal Cookies – the only classic oatmeal cookie recipe you’ll ever need
- Cowboy Cookies – oatmeal, chocolate, coconut, pecans—these are fun!
Frequently Asked Questions
Are overnight oats healthy?
If you are looking for a simple, whole food breakfast that is also high in fiber, overnight oats can be a great option.
Why make overnight oats?
For an easy, no-cook, and fast breakfast option. Once you make the oats the night before, you will have breakfast ready in the morning with little to no effort at all.
Can I use water instead of milk in overnight oats?
Yes, but the results may be pretty bland in flavor. Milk adds a creaminess as well. But water will work if you prefer to use it in place of a milk option.
You can store overnight oats in any reusable glass or plastic container that has a lid. I will sometimes use a coffee mug and add a lid by covering it with a small piece of aluminum foil.
You should let your oats soak for at least eight hours (overnight) and you can make them up to five days ahead of when you plan to consume them.
What do you mix into oatmeal? xo. Emma
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- ½ cup old-fashioned oats
- ¾ cup milk
- Stir the ingredients together.
- Store in a container with a lid for at least 8 hours.
- Mixture can be stored for up to 5 days.
- Serve chilled or warm in the microwave.
Notice: Nutrition is auto-calculated, using Spoonacular, for your convenience. Where relevant, we recommend using your own nutrition calculations.