Overnight Oats – Basic Ratio + 15 Recipes

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.

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.

Jump to Recipe

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.

If you love overnight oats, you might also love these cookie recipes:

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

overnight oatmeal in a bowl with chopped strawberries
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5 from 1 vote

Overnight Oats – Basic Ratio

how much milk to use when making overnight oats
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Keyword overnight oatmeal
Prep Time 2 minutes
Soak Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 2 minutes
Servings 1
Calories 263kcal
Author Emma Chapman

Ingredients

  • ½ cup old-fashioned oats
  • ¾ cup milk

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

Use any dairy or non dairy milk you like. 
You can substitute 1/4 cup milk with the same amount of yogurt for a creamier consistency. 
You can mix some protein powder in with the milk before combining with oats.
You can stir in other ingredients to the overnight oats like: fresh fruit, nuts, nut butter, fruit jam, or yogurt. 
See post for lots of other overnight oat recipes plus other great recipes that contain oats. 

Nutrition

Calories: 263kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 22mg | Sodium: 72mg | Potassium: 421mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 296IU | Calcium: 246mg | Iron: 2mg
  • 5 stars
    We love adding chia seeds to our overnight oats to add texture. And we made some the other day with orange zest and cocoa – it feels like dessert for breakfast! 😋

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