overnight oats 101

Posted on May 11, 2011 in Food

It occurred to me a couple of days ago that I talk quite a bit about overnight oats, but have never explained what they are or how to make them. Silly me!

Basically, overnight oats are a cold version of oatmeal. Instead of cooking them on the stove or in the microwave, the oats sit in the fridge overnight and absorb the liquid they are mixed with. You never cook them. Overnight oats are my absolute favorite summer breakfast! Cold, sweet and filling, they always taste totally decadent. It’s like eating dessert for breakfast. I am a little embarrassed to admit that I go to bed early on nights when I know overnight oats are waiting for me for breakfast. Breakfast can’t get here quickly enough.

Truthfully, you can use anything to make overnight oats, but I have my go to mix that never fails me!

Classic Overnight Oats Base

Makes one serving.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 (heaping) cup oats
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 2/3 cup milk of choice (my favorite is vanilla almond milk, if you use an unflavored milk, try adding a bit of honey or syrup to sweeten the oats)
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients well.
  2. Refrigerate overnight.
  3. In the morning, stir well and top with favorite yummies!

When you first mix up the oats, they may appear a bit lackluster and runny (like the above photo). But in the morning they will be thick, creamy, fluffy and a little bit doughy (like the below photo, same bowl after sitting in the fridge overnight). Yum!

Don’t let the base recipe hold you back. Try adding mix-ins. A spoonful of cocoa for chocolate overnight oats. Peanut butter. Honey. Your favorite jam. The possibilities are endless!

When you are ready to eat your oats, top them with your favorite toppings. Fruit, nuts, coconut, chocolate chips, and granola all come to mind, but my absolute favorite overnight oats topping is banana soft serve. The combination is out of sight and makes for an incredible sundae-like breakfast!

Want some more awesome overnight oats inspiration? Check out these great combos from one of my favorite overnight oats evangelists, Angela:

Go forth and don’t cook your breakfast!

20 Comments

  1. My Friend Jackie eats thiss all the time. I think I will try it when I get home from work tonight. Seems like it would be a quick and easy breakfast for before I head to the gym. Thanks for the recipe!

    • SO GOOD! Let me know how it turns out. :)

  2. Thanks for sharing the recipe and different combos! I’ve been wanting to give over night oats a try–the hot regulars just haven’t been calling to me lately, and I still crave something substantial for breakfast–but I never knew quite how to execute it.

    • You must try it! :)

  3. Hi Cassie!
    First things first, I ADORE ADORE ADORE your blog :) I am constantly checking into it for new posts, and I think that you are a wonderful inspiration for so many people! I just wanted to ask, real quick, about your overnight oats – instead of using plain yogurt, could I substitute in a flavored Greek yogurt? That’s my yogurt choice, and wanted to get your thoughts on using that instead. Thanks <3

    • Absolutely! Use whatever yogurt you have around! It’ll just flavor the oats the flavor of whatever yogurt you use. Thanks for reading! :)

  4. Hmm, I tried to make the overnight oats once, but I had to leave out the chia seeds b/c I couldn’t find them here. Do you think that might be why I hated the oats? They look so amazing in the pictures, but mine were so blah. I read chia seeds form some kind of gel when they get wet. Does that make a big difference for the texture? Maybe I should give it another try when I hunt down some of those hard-to-find seeds.

    • The chia seeds help the texture. They help thicken them up and make them fluffy, but they don’t really effect the taste very much. If you find them a little bland or unsweet, try adding a little maple syrup, honey or jam to it before you stick them in the fridge. And I highly recommend the banana soft serve on top!

  5. I’m always hearing about overnight oats, but never came across the classic recipe- thanks so much for posting! I tried them for the first time last night/this morning and I’m totally sold. Adding cocoa and peanut butter made it taste just like a “no bake” cookie. :)

    • Yay! I’m so glad you liked them!

  6. I will have to try the overnight oatmeal. Sounds great for the summer.

  7. I want to make these, is this recipe intended as a single serving? I am a calorie counter, so I need to figure out the calorie content per serving. Thanks for the great tip!

    • It makes one BIG serving. As in it totally stuffs me and keeps me full for hours (especially with the banana soft serve on top), but you could definitely split it in half and make a smaller breakfast.

  8. I love how you write that you get excited when you know overnight oats are waiting for you in the morning!! I’ve experienced the SAME THING EXACTLY. I know the feeling :) I usually put some walnuts and banana in mine… yum. Great post!

    Leah

    • Oooooh! That sounds yum, yum, yum! Like banana bread overnight oats. :D

  9. I found you through Pinterest a few weeks ago and WOW, love your blog! Getting great ideas. I have my first batch in the fridge right now. Did it on impulse, so didn’t have chai seeds. I threw in some wheat germ for the hell of it. And honey. Sounds like I need to hunt down chai seeds! Does the type of oat make a difference?

    • You know, I’ve never tried it with anything other than rolled oats. I don’t see why others wouldn’t work. And you definitely need to find some chia seeds! They definitely change the texture. They thicken it up nicely!

  10. Can you use greek yogurt? Or does it have to be just plain yogurt? Can wait to make this, sounds really good and easy!

    • Greek yogurt works! :)

  11. Brilliant idea! I tried overnight oats once before, but they were a gross and sloppy mess even after sitting overnight. These look MUCH better and hey, let’s face it, every recipe you’ve ever given me has been brilliant. This would be an EASY, filling and lasting pre-race breakfast for marathon days!

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