9 Awesome Ways with 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–they’ve 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!
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.
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. 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 oats 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!
MY BASIC RECIPE FOR OVERNIGHT OATS
WHAT’S IN YOUR BASIC OVERNIGHT OATS RECIPE? My basic 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. We’re dairy-free, so I usually opt for almond, cashew, or oat. (Soy, dairy, rice, 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 OR SEED BUTTER (peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, chocolate hazelnut butter, sunflower seed butter, etc.)
- FUN EXTRAS (vanilla, 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 8 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!)
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.
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
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!
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…
PUMPKIN OVERNIGHT OATS
We channel pumpkin pie vibes into this healthy overnight oats recipe. I love this so much during the fall and winter months!
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. 😉