How to Make Overnight Oats + Best Recipes

Not too long ago, I’d measure out oats in my bowl, add water or milk, and warm up the mixture in the microwave. Wait a few minutes, and then breakfast was served. Then, one day, I learned how to make overnight oats.

After I tried a few recipes, and I never went back to the heat, wait, repeat method. I mean, why would you when making them the night before is so easy? Check out the video and see how they’re made.

I showed you the strawberry version to demonstrate how they are made, but of course, I’m also going to share tons of other recipe options below so you can make this make-ahead breakfast a staple at your house too.

What Are Overnight Oats?

There’s a reason overnight oats are all the rage out on the internet. It’s one of the best kept secrets to having a delicious breakfast on hand that’s practically cooked itself.

image: small glass jar filled with oats and milk. Six small bowls with toppings surround the jar. Including blueberries, chocolate chips, sliced strawberries, shaved coconut and peanut butter.

Overnight oats are when you take oats + liquid, mix the two, and refrigerate the mixture overnight. In the process, the oats soften up and absorb the liquid. Of course, you can add fruit, nuts, nut butter, sweeteners, add-ins, and toppings until your heart is content.

Overnight Oats Basic Recipe

The basic recipe consists of mixing oats and milk in a jar for single-serve or in a bowl for more servings.

You can use dairy milk or a dairy-free alternative like almond milk, soy milk, hemp milk, coconut milk, or oat milk. In a pinch, and if you’re going to add other add-ins, you could use water. But be advised that the taste will be far from what people rave about when they talk about overnight oats being awesome.

image: Oats and milk in a small glass jar.

Overnight Oats Ratio

It’s happened to the best of us; you set out to make ovenright oats and in the morning you find a thick paste of oats and other add-ins. Or, the opposite, a too-runny mixture that is far from the deliciousness you were promised.

To make perfect oats, you’ll need the right liquid to oats ratio. This is in part affected by the type of oats you use to make them.

  • Old-Fashioned or Rolled Oats: 1/2 cup oats + 1/2 cup liquid
  • Steel-Cut Oats: 1/4 cup steel-cut oats + 1/2 cup liquid

Can you use Quick Oats?

I don’t recommend using quick oats when making overnight oats. They are so thin that they’ll practically dissolve in the mixture leaving you with a cream-of-oats-like meal.

image: oats in a small glass jar.

Best Oats for Overnight Oats

The best oats to use are either old-fashioned oats (also called rolled oats) or steel-cut oats.

The reason for this is because they are thicker in texture, and they take longer to absorb liquid. In the morning, you’ll have a delicious breakfast that still has the consistency of oatmeal.

How Long do Overnight Oats Take?

Since they don’t require cooking, they take time to soak in the liquid added to the jar or bowl. They are called “overnight” because they require 8 hours at a minimum to soak in the liquid.

This, of course, is a personal choice. Many people love overnight oats made with old-fashioned oats after just 4 hours of soaking. Steel-cut oats will take closer to 12 hours to soften up.

image: three small jars filled with overnight oats, sliced strawberries and topped with strawberries.

Should They be Served Hot or Cold

I personally love eating overnight oats cold, right out of the refrigerator. Some people like them warm. Like most meals, this is a personal preference.

Can You Microwave Them?

You can use the microwave to warm them up for about a minute, mix to combine and check that they are heated through.

Do I need to add Yogurt?

While most recipes out on the internet make you feel like yogurt is part of the recipe, I rarely add yogurt to my recipes.

Adding yogurt to your overnight oats will thicken the mixture and make them creamier. Adding yogurt, about 1 tablespoon per serving, will thicken up your oat mixture and make them heavenly. This step is completely optional, of course.

image: closeup of glass jar filled with strawberry slices and overnight oats

How Far in Advance Can I Make Overnight Oats?

One of the claims to fame of overnight oats is that they can be made ahead and kept in the fridge for several days. If you’re making them without fruit, you can make them up to 5 days in advance.

When using fruit in your recipe, I recommend no more than 3 days since the fruit loses its texture and taste different -especially berries.

If you’re using steel-cut oats, you can also make them as far as 5 days ahead. Their thicker texture will hold up great.

Therefore, if you’re using old-fashioned oats (or rolled oats), I recommend making them 4 days in advance. This is why my recipes are for 4 servings so you can have a couple of days worth in the fridge.

What are the best Jars to Use?

Most recipes call for 8-ounce mason jars. These are available in glass or plastic. If you have young kids, these freezer jars are great for making oats and freezing smoothies. 

You can also make these recipes in a large bowl, cover it with plastic wrap or a lid, and then measure out the mixture into individual bowls.

The biggest takeaway for the best “jar” is that the container has a lid to prevent any spills in the refrigerator and that they are covered airtight.

Toppings and Add-Ins

What’s great about making oatmeal with overnight oats is that it’s a “base” for terrific add-ins. Below are some great ways you can customize your one-bowl meal.

image: toppings and ingredients  laid out in bowls on a counter top. Including large bowl of oats, and milk. Small bowls of brown sugar, chocolate chips, shaved coconut, fruit, and more.

Some of my favorite toppings:

  • ground flaxseed, 1/2 teaspoon per serving
  • honey or maple syrup, 1 teaspoon per serving
  • hemp seeds, 1 teaspoon per serving
  • chia seeds, 1/2 teaspoon per serving
  • nut butter, 1 teaspoon per serving
  • protein powder, 2 tablespoons per serving
  • fresh fruit, 1/2 cup per serving
  • dried fruit, 1 tablespoon per serving
  • chopped nuts, 1 tablespoon per serving

Whether you add the add-ins before you refrigerate or after, the possibilities are endless!

image: Overnight oats in a glass jar topped with bananas and spices.

Healthy Overnight Oats Recipes

If you’re looking for healthy breakfast recipes, you’re in luck! In this blog, I have lots of them for you to enjoy! I nearly always use old-fashioned oats in my recipes but in case you want to try the recipes out with steel-cut oats, I’m adding those in here too.

Recipes with Old-Fashioned Oats:

Recipes with Steel-Cut Oats:

How to Make Overnight Oats + Strawberries & Cream Oats Recipe

Everything you need to know about how to make overnight oats: ratios, add-ins, toppings, and recipes for a delicious breakfast every time.

  • Author: Laura Fuentes
  • Yield: 1 jar 1x
Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 cups old fashion oats
  • 2 teaspoons ground flaxseed
  • 3 cups milk, your choice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups strawberries, sliced

Instructions

  1. Place four jars on a flat surface. Fill each jar with 1/2 cup oats, 1/2 teaspoon ground flax, 3/4 cup milk, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir to combine. Top with strawberries and refrigerate.
  2. In the morning, stir to combine. Warm-up if desired or enjoy cold.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 213
  • Sugar: 3.9g
  • Sodium: 140mg
  • Fat: 2.9g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.6g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 34g
  • Fiber: 6.1g
  • Protein: 6.9g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Keywords: how to make overnight oats, overnight oats recipe, easy overnight oats, overnight oat ideas

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