How to Make Overnight Oats + 11 Flavors to Try
11 Awesome Flavors of Overnight Oats! Overnight oats are a delicious make-ahead breakfast the whole family will love. And with this many flavors (and inspiration for more!), you’ll never run out of ideas! (Gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan-friendly)
Overnight oats are nothing new–this healthy breakafast has been on the scene for years–but it seems like they’re going through a big revival lately, as I see recipes popping up all over the place. Everyone makes their oats a bit differently–some people love adding yogurt for a more muesli effect, some people always add chia seeds, some only add mix-ins right before serving.
But almost any way you make them, overnight oats make a delicious meal-prep breakfast you can make with pantry staples any time!
I thought I’d walk you through the basics of overnight oats, as well as 8 different ways to make them (one for every day of the week!). Let’s get to it!
OUr Overnight Oats Recipes, AT A Glance:
OVERNIGHT OATS: THE BASICS
WHAT ARE OVERNIGHT OATS? Overnight oats are a yummy, no-cook way to prepare oats. They’re oats that have been soaked in milk, which makes the oats more easily digestible and makes them a great meal-prep breakfast. They’re usually mixed with other ingredients for taste, such as sweetener (maple syrup, honey, or sugar), a *little* salt, and extras like vanilla, nuts, seeds, fruit, etc. The texture is soft and creamy without being soggy or gluey.
DO YOU REALLY HAVE TO SOAK THEM OVERNIGHT? Nope! I’ve found oats will start to soften in about 20-30 minutes, so if you’re in a pinch, you don’t need to refrigerate them overnight.
DO YOU EAT OVERNIGHT OATS HOT OR COLD? Most people eat overnight oats cold, straight from the fridge. The soaking process makes the oats easier to digest, and they’ll still taste great cold. If you don’t want to eat them cold, you can absolutely heat yours through. Since the oats are soaked, they’ll likely cook faster, so keep that in mind as you heat them on the stove or in the microwave.
WHAT KIND OF OATS DO YOU USE FOR OVERNIGHT OATS? I typically make my overnight oatmeal recipes with rolled oats (sometimes labeled “old-fashioned oats”). You can use quick oats in a pinch, though they get a bit softer, and some people prefer using steel-cut. I personally find steel-cut oats remain too chewy for my taste but do what works best for you!
WHAT ARE THE BEST JARS FOR OVERNIGHT OATS? I love my Weck jars and use them for All The Things, but I also use these glass containers with lids regularly. Anything you can cover will work!
MY BASIC RECIPE FOR OVERNIGHT OATS
WHAT’S IN YOUR BASIC OVERNIGHT OATS RECIPE? My easy overnight oats recipe has pretty straightforward, pantry-staple ingredients I always have on hand. We’re talking:
- 1/3 CUP ROLLED OATS. Rolled oats are my fave for overnight oats because they soften without getting mushy. If you’re gluten-free, be sure you’re using certified gluten-free oats!
- 2 TSP. CHIA SEEDS. Chia seeds make these oats nice and creamy, and–bonus!–add some healthy fats and proteins which help this breakfast stick with you. Not a chia person? You can skip them–your oats just won’t be quite as creamy)
- 1/2-3/4 CUP MILK. You can use whatever milk you typically drink for your overnight oats. You can use whatever milk you typically drink for your overnight oats. We’re dairy-free, so I usually opt for a non-dairy milk like almond milk, but you can use cashew milk, oat milk, or dairy milk depending on your needs. (Soy milk, rice milk, hemp, etc. all work, too!)
- 1-2 TSP. SWEETENER (I LIKE MAPLE SYRUP OR HONEY). You can go as light or heavy as your tastebuds dictate, but I typically go with 1-2 tsp. of pure maple syrup or honey in my oats. You can use whatever sweetener you like, to taste.
- A TINY PINCH OF SALT. To round out the flavors and keep my oats from tasting flat, I add a tiny (less than 1/8 tsp.) pinch of salt.
- A LITTLE VANILLA OR GOODIES! To give my overnight oats a little flavor, I like adding a few drops of vanilla or cinnamon, but you can flavor these ALL kinds of ways! (Keep scrolling for ideas!)
You’ll mix everything together in a bowl, then chill at least 30-60 minutes, up to overnight. Give it all a good stir in the morning (add a splash of milk, if needed), and dive in!
From there, you get to choose your flavor by adding some mix-ins…
MIX-IN IDEAS FOR OVERNIGHT OATS
You can mix and match basically any goodies you like once you’ve mastered the basic overnight oats recipe, such as…
- NUTS & SEEDS (almonds, cashews, pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, etc.)
- FRESH FRUIT (bananas, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, peaches, etc.(
- DRIED FRUIT (coconut, raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries, dried blueberries, etc.)
- FREEZE-DRIED FRUITS (freeze-dried strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, mango, pineapple, etc.)
- NUT BUTTER OR SEED BUTTER (peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, chocolate hazelnut butter, sunflower seed butter, etc.)
- FUN EXTRAS (vanilla extract, cinnamon, almond extract, chocolate chips, cacao nibs, cocoa powder, powdered peanut butter, protein powder, etc.)
THINGS GET REALLY FUN WITH A FEW CLASSIC COMBINATIONS. HERE ARE 11 FLAVORS OF OVERNIGHT OATS TO TRY…
Strawberry Banana Overnight Oats
Strawberry-banana is such a yummy classic combination! I love how the natural sweetness of the fruit really comes into play here. This fresh, fruity breakfast is fantastic on a busy morning! (Don’t miss the extra toppings I love adding in the morning!)
Healthy Chocolate Peanut Butter Overnight Oats
Wake up to a yummy meal prep breakfast with our peanut butter chocolate overnight oats recipe! It’s delicious, and easy to make in advance. (Gluten-Free, Vegan)
Blueberry Muffin Overnight Oats
Creamy, delicious overnight oats with a blueberry muffin twist! You’ll love this combination. I switch between using cinnamon and my chai spice mixture. Plus, there are some YUMMY topping options in the most I think you’ll LOVE.
Chunky Monkey Overnight Oats
This overnight oats recipe was totally based on ice cream. However, this version is 100% breakfast approved–creamy peanut butter banana overnight oats with a little coconut and *maybe* a little chocolate…
Chocolate Hazelnut Overnight Oats
You can totally have chocolate for breakfast when it’s served like this! These chocolate hazelnut overnight oats get their chocolate kick from unsweetened cocoa powder, and when you pair them with the crunch of some hazelnuts…you get major Nutella vibes. #winning
Healthy Pumpkin Overnight Oats (That Taste Like Pie!)
We channel pumpkin pie vibes into this healthy overnight oats recipe. I love this so much during the fall and winter months!
Cinnamon Raisin Overnight Oats
All the flavors you love in an oatmeal raisin cookie turned into overnight oats! This meal-prep breakfast almost feels like cheating…
Raspberry Overnight Oats
A delicious twist with a bright, fresh raspberry layer on the bottom that’s LOVELY stirred into the creamy overnight oats. There are so many delicious ways to top these oats, but my favorite involves even more raspberries, some sliced almonds, and a few cacao nibs or mini chocolate chips for good luck. 😉
Almond Joy Overnight Oats
A gorgeous chocolatey breakfast that’s made from good-for-you ingredients but tastes like a treat. Count me in! Pro tip: toast the coconut if you can–it adds amazing flavor!
Cherry Almond Overnight Oats
Creamy overnight oats loaded with tangy cherries and crunchy almonds. This yummy overnight oats recipe is one of our favorites! Plus, you can totally swap out the dried cherries for fresh when they’re in season.
Honey Almond Overnight Oats
Creamy overnight oats studded with crunchy almonds and a kiss of honey. This honey almond overnight oats recipe is dynamite on its own, but it’s also the perfect “home base” for adding all sorts of yummy toppings–berries, peaches, etc. I love that you can change it up based on what’s in season!
Hi, they look lovely! Can you put them into the freezer or only the fridge?
Mia – For overnight oats, they will not work well frozen. Only the refrigerator works for these. You CAN freeze cooked steel-cut oats, so if you’re looking for a make-ahead freezer breakfast, I’d go the steel cut oats route. Hope that helps!
What size is the jars?
Mine were 7oz jars, which can hold just under 1 cup. You can put them into any size jars you like!
I have my strawberry/banana oats in my fridge for breakfast tomorrow. So excited for breakfast tomorrow.
I hope you love them as much as I do!
Thank you for the information provided on the variety of oats, I have Quick Cooking Oats at home and I never knew that these can be used for overnight oat recipes.
My pleasure, Betty! I hope you enjoy them!
I’ve been wanting to try overnight oats for a while! This gives me a great start!
Does it have to be a glass container, or can it be plastic?
You can absolutely make it in a plastic container! Hope you love them!
IS it possible to make overnight oats from raw oats? Or do you have to toast them? I tried making overnight oats before but it was too soggy and mushy for me. I prefer chunk, super dry oats. How would you recommend I alter a recipe for say, chocolate banana overnight oats, if i don’t like water, liquidy, soggy oatmeal, however still need the convenience of making oats overnight as opposed to in the morning? Please help! Haven’t been able to figure this out.
Deneza – It sounds from this that overnight oats aren’t for you. The texture on these will always be soft because of the nature of the recipe. You might instead prefer doing something like slow-cooker oats or a baked oatmeal recipe (like this berry or pumpkin version). Or, you might prefer making a batch of granola, which will last for several days. I hope this helps!
Hi Emily ,I eat Hot Oatmeal everyday, I smash a banana & cut up an Apple in a bowl as my oatmeal cooks on the stove for 20 min adding milk as needed, I pour the Hot oatmeal over the banana & Apple, chia seeds ,flax seeds ,cinnamon,some brown sugar Yummy! Your recipes are inspiring me to go cold Lol You did a GREAT PRESENTATION & Great Job Thanks 😊
That sounds DELICIOUS! I’m totally trying your oatmeal!!!
This is a great recipe.
Thank you very much
Emily this is awesome. Thank you so much for sharing
Thank you so much!!
Wow this is so great I have been in to the Quaker Oats ones this is a way better way of controlling what is in them as well as sugar and calories and Oatmeal Cookie omg yummmm going to the market tomorrow !!!!! Thanks for this!!!
Oh, I hope you love it!
I have overnight oat about 4 times a week and I have never thought to toast the oats first. I am definitely going to try this!!
It’s a subtle difference, but I really like it that way!
I just made the blueberry version and added peaches!!! YUM!! I want to make the chocolate hazelnut version – looks amazing!! Where do you buy your hazelnuts, Emily?
Jessica – I’m so glad you enjoyed the blueberry version. Adding peaches sounds amazing! As for the hazelnuts…you can find them in the bulk bins at Sprouts or Whole Foods often (Which is great, since you can buy just what you need). Otherwise, Trader Joe’s and Costco have great prices!
Thank you so much I will check those places!! Love your stuff – my kids are especially crazy for your popsicle recipes 😀
I’m so happy to hear that! Thank you for sharing!
So excited to try these!! Do you think adding steel cut oats will help with the mushiness that some others have said they don’t like? Or do you think preparing them at lunch time instead of dinnerime would help soak up some more of the liquid do they wouldn’t be too chewy?
Kelly – You could certainly try it. I haven’t personally liked the chewiness of the steel cut oats for overnight oats. But that could very well be personal preference!
I love this recipe, its perfect
Do you happen to have a calorie count on the overnight oats?
Each one is different, based on what you add to it. You can choose the one you like and plug the ingredients into a free calculator–My Fitness Pal is my favorite (the app or the website). 🙂