Learn how to make the BEST Overnight Oats ... in minutes! This no cook breakfast couldn't be easier to make (or more delicious). You'll love this simple recipe which includes tons of helpful tips and tasty topping ideas to help you customize the basic Oatmeal!
This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Are you looking for the ultimate make ahead breakfast? Then you're going to LOVE this easy Overnight Oats recipe!
Overnight Oatmeal (aka Refrigerator Oatmeal) is raw rolled oats soaked in milk until they soften. In the process, they become so creamy and delicious. You'll hardly believe that this healthy breakfast took minutes to make and that no cooking was involved!
You can eat these scrumptious Oats hot or cold, and they become even tastier when you pile on fresh fruit, crunchy nuts, and other yummy toppings.
This is the only Overnight Oats recipe you'll ever need! You'll find my go-to recipe below, plus tons of variations, toppings, mix-in ideas, and so much more ... keep scrolling for all the details!
Why You'll Love this Recipe
Never had Overnight Oats before? Here are a few reasons you're going to LOVE this recipe:
- Taste - Most importantly, these homemade Oats taste delicious, creamy, and comforting. You're going to look forward to waking up to this flavor-packed breakfast every day.
- Healthy - This recipe uses nutritious ingredients, including fiber-packed oats and protein-filled dairy. Eating oats aids in digestion, keeps you full longer, and they're low calorie (great for weight loss). Plus, you can pile on healthy toppings, like fruit (adding antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals). Read more about the health benefits of oats.
- Versatile - You'll never get bored with this recipe, because it's so easy to customize it with different toppings and mix-ins. You can even eat the oats hot or cold, depending on the weather (or your preference).
- Grab and Go - Refrigerator Oats are the perfect make head breakfast that's ideal for meal prep (and clean eating). Spend just five to ten minutes prepping a few jars at night, and you'll have a tasty morning meal all week long. Never skip breakfast again!
- Cheap - Rolled oats are inexpensive and one container makes a lot of meals. They're an easy way to stick to your budget.
- Minimal Cleanup - Because you mix everything together right in the same jar (or bowl) that you eat from, cleanup is super simple.
This recipe uses the most basic of ingredients ... you probably already have everything in your cupboard! Here's what you'll need:
- Oats - For the best results, make sure to use old-fashioned rolled oats for this recipe. Instant and steel cut oats absorb milk differently, so they don't work as well. Rolled oats are gluten-free, however there is a risk of cross-contamination. Check the packaging if you have an allergy.
- Milk - Combining oats with milk makes them surprisingly creamy! Choose your favorite milk, regular or plant based. In a pinch, you can even prepare this recipe with no milk, using water instead.
- Maple Syrup - Delicious maple syrup adds the ideal amount of sweetness. This recipe is lightly sweetened, however you can easily add more or less syrup to taste. If you prefer, you may also use honey, brown sugar, or other sweeteners.
- Cinnamon - A little cinnamon is the perfect finishing touch that adds a tasty, classic flavor. Leave it out (or add other spices) if you prefer.
- Salt - Don't skip a pinch of salt! It brings out all the other flavors and keeps things from tasting bland. I prefer to use kosher salt.
- Toppings - Choose your favorite toppings to easily customize the recipe to your exact tastes. Check out the Toppings and Mix-Ins section below for lots of creative ideas!
Vegan / Dairy Free Option
This recipe is naturally vegetarian and can easily be made vegan / dairy free simply by using plant based milk, such as almond milk, soy milk, oat milk, coconut milk. I like soy milk, which is thick, creamy, and has a neutral taste!
You'll Also Need
To prepare this recipe, you'll also need a jar, small bowl, or another food container with a lid. Mason jars are perfect for this recipe, because they have a reusable lid and are easy to transport. I used these cute jam jars for these photos, however a 12-ounce mason jar or a standard 16-ounce mason jar (pint jar) is more versatile and will hold more toppings.
How to Make Overnight Oats
This recipe couldn't be easier to make. The basic Overnight Oats ratio is one part oats to one part milk ... once you memorize those basic proportions, throwing this no cook breakfast together is a snap!
You'll find a detailed recipe card below with measurements, but here's an overview of the steps:
- Combine ingredients. Add the oats, milk, maple syrup, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt to a mason jar or a small bowl. Mix well.
- Refrigerate. After mixing everything together, cover your container, then refrigerate the oats overnight (for best results) or for at least four hours.
- Add toppings + eat. Although you can add your toppings before refrigerating, I personally prefer to add perishable ingredients, like fruit, just before serving. The toppings stay much fresher this way, especially if you're making multiple jars to eat throughout the week. Plus, this makes it easy to vary the toppings, which means you won't get sick of eating the same thing day after day!
And that's all there is to it, your healthy breakfast is ready to eat! Don't forget the toppings and mix-ins though ... you'll find lots of tasty tips below.
This recipe makes a single serving, however I usually make a few jars at one time. That way breakfast is covered for the week. To make multiple servings, simply line up your jars on your counter. Then add your ingredients assembly line-style (first oats, then milk, etc.).
Tip: Overnight Oats are thicker than the regular oatmeal you may be used to. This makes it creamy, plus easy to transport. However, you can always add a little extra milk (or stir in some yogurt) to the soaked oats just before serving if you prefer.
Toppings + Mix-Ins
Now that we've covered the basics, let's talk about the best part of this recipe ... the toppings and mix-ins! It's truly hard to go wrong, but here are some ideas to inspire you:
- Fresh Fruit - My favorite topping for Overnight Oats is fresh fruit! It adds so much flavor, not to mention it's super healthy. Try strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, apricots, peaches, mangos, apples, cherries, bananas, pineapple, kiwi, plums, and more ... anything works!
- Dried Fruit - Of course, dried fruit (think apples, apricots, mango, raisins, dates, figs, peaches, pineapple, even goji berries) also works great. Cut it up into small pieces to make it easier to eat. You could even use a freeze dried variety for a little crunch.
- Nuts - Healthy nuts add a wonderful, crunchy texture to creamy oats. Sprinkle on pecans, almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, and cashews. Choose your faves.
- Chia Seeds - These popular seeds are another typical mix-in. To add them, stir in one tablespoon chia seeds, plus 3 extra tablespoons milk.
- Other Seeds - Don't stop at chia seeds, when there are so many other flavorful options, including pepitas, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, hemp hearts, flax seeds, and sunflower seeds.
- Yogurt - Give your breakfast an extra-creamy twist by topping them with a dollop of yogurt.
- Nut Butter - A swirl of nut butter (such as peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, etc.) is always a welcome addition!
- Citrus Zest - A little lemon, lime, or orange zest (about ½ teaspoon per jar is all you need) is a simple way to add tons of fresh flavor.
- Granola - Top your finished jars with a little granola just before serving for a delicious crunch (a great counterpart to the creamy oatmeal). Try it with my Homemade Granola!
- Coconut - A little shredded coconut is a great way to give your cold Oatmeal a tropical twist. Coconut chips are also tasty and add a great crunch.
- Chocolate - Are you a chocolate lover? Mix in or top your oats with chips or chopped chocolate for a decadent morning treat.
- Spices - This recipe uses classic cinnamon, but other warm spices like ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, coriander, allspice, and pumpkin pie spice work well, too.
- Sweetener - Instead of maple syrup, substitute honey or brown sugar.
Once you've mastered this simple Overnight Oats recipe, you can have fun experimenting! Try one of these flavor variations next:
- Overnight Oats with Yogurt
- Apple Overnight Oats
- Raspberry Overnight Oats
- Almond Joy Overnight Oats
- Banana Overnight Oats
- Strawberry Overnight Oats
- Cranberry Orange Overnight Oats
- Pumpkin Overnight Oats
- Blueberry Overnight Oats
- Mango Overnight Oats
Store plain Overnight Oatmeal in an airtight jar or a covered container in your refrigerator, where it will stay fresh for three to four days. If you add perishable toppings, like fresh fruit, either eat the oats within a couple days or add the toppings just before serving (or the night before you plan to eat it).
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Still have questions about this easy grab and go breakfast? Check out these commonly asked questions:
Overnight oats are raw rolled oats that have been soaked in liquid (milk, yogurt, or water) overnight or until they're softened. It's a no cook method for making oatmeal.
Overnight oats are a healthy, low cal breakfast that's actually good for you. Oats are a great source of fiber, aid in digestion, and keep you full longer. Nutritious toppings, like fruit, also add antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
Overnight oats should soak overnight (for best results) or for at least four hours (if you're short on time).
Overnight oats are typically eaten cold right from the refrigerator, however you can eat them hot if you prefer.
Yes, overnight oats can be heated. Warm them slowly in your microwave, using 30 second intervals and stirring in between. It should take about 60 to 90 seconds total.
Yes, you can use water instead of milk to make overnight oats. They won't be quite as creamy, although if you add lots of other ingredients (like fresh fruit and other toppings) you probably won't notice.
The best container for overnight oats is a mason jar (or other jar), bowl with a lid, or a small storage container. Make sure to use an airtight container with a lid so the oats don't dry out.
Overnight oats need to be refrigerated once the ingredients have been mixed together. They contain dairy and other perishable ingredients that cannot be kept at room temperature.
Plain overnight oats will stay fresh and taste best when eaten within three to four days. If you add perishable toppings (like fruit) eat the oats with two days or add the toppings just before serving.
If your Overnight Oats didn't work, you probably didn't use enough liquid. Try adding a little extra milk or water. It's also possible they didn't soak long enough. For more flavor, make sure to add a pinch of salt and a little maple syrup for sweetness. You can also stir in other flavorful ingredients, like cinnamon (and other spices), fresh fruit, nut butters, and more.
How to Make Overnight Oats
Overnight Oats (Basic Recipe)
- ½ cup old fashioned rolled oats
- ½ cup milk
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- dash cinnamon
- pinch salt
- toppings of choice (such as fruit, nuts, etc.)
- Combine oats, milk, maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt in a mason jar (or small bowl). Mix well.
- Cover mixture and refrigerate overnight (or at least four hours).
- Add fresh fruit or other toppings, then serve. Enjoy!