Easy Overnight Oats

Busy mornings are no match for overnight oats – the delicious, make-ahead breakfast ready when you are! Get our best overnight oats recipe and tips for customizing your flavor combinations.

Overnight Oats with peanut butter, berries and toasted coconut.

Mornings can be chaotic! We all want a healthy breakfast, but we don’t always have the time. Enter overnight oats!

  • Overnight oats are a delicious and easy make-ahead breakfast.
  • Enjoy them for up to 5 days when stored in the refrigerator.
  • Get creative with seasonal toppings! Try fresh berries in summer and citrus in winter, or add favorites like peanut butter, chocolate chips, or toasted nuts. Frozen fruit works perfectly, too.
  • This recipe is naturally vegan and dairy-free.

This easy overnight oats recipe takes just 5 minutes to prep and is a lifesaver on those crazy, rushed mornings.

Overnight Oats with berries on top

Basic Overnight Oats Ratio

What I love about overnight oats is that once you know the basic ratio of oats to milk (or non-dairy milk), you can make endless variations with YOUR favorite ingredients.

To make a batch of overnight oats you will need 1 part oats to 1 part liquid (milk or non-dairy milk).

  • For a single serving, use 1/2 cup rolled oats + 1/2 cup of liquid.
  • To bump up the protein and sticking power of your oats, add chia seeds or flax seeds. For 1 serving of oats, I like 1 tablespoon of chia or flax seeds.

Overnight Oats Ingredients

We make our overnight oats with old-fashioned rolled oats. They are easy, inexpensive, and add a nice texture. You can try other oat varieties, but keep in mind that the overall texture will change. Steel cut oats, for example, might be a bit chewy. Skip the quick oats for this, as they will turn to mush.

In addition to the rolled oats, we add the following ingredients:

Chia seeds — Like when making chia pudding, the chia seeds added to these overnight oats absorb moisture and make the final product thicker and creamier.

Dairy or Non-dairy milk — The type of milk you use is entirely up to you. Some recipes also add a spoonful of yogurt to the mix. I usually skip this, but it’s always an option and helps to make the oats even more hearty. For homemade non-dairy milk, try homemade oat milk.

Vanilla extract — You only need a tiny amount (too much and the flavor will be overpowering. The vanilla may not be needed if you have used vanilla-flavored non-dairy milk.

Optional Ingredients

  • Spices — I love a dash of cinnamon, but other warm baking spices like nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, allspice, ginger, and cloves are also delicious.
  • Honey or maple syrup — I leave this until serving. A small drizzle just before eating the oats is a nice touch.
  • Toppings — Nut or seed butter (try homemade peanut butter, cashew butter, or almond butter), fruit, nuts, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, or chocolate chips.

How to Make the Best Overnight Oats

To prepare your overnight oats, mix the oats, chia seeds, milk, and vanilla. Cover, and then refrigerate overnight. The oats technically last up to five days, but the texture gets slightly soft after day three.

As for the additional toppings like nut butter and fruit, you can add them before storing them in the fridge or just before you plan to eat them.

If I’m adding fruit that browns, like bananas or apples, I prefer to add them just before serving. Fruits that don’t brown, like blueberries, are fine to add on day one.

Overnight Oats Variations

  • Apple Cinnamon: Stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of unsweetened apple sauce, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and top with our Extra Easy Cinnamon Apples.
  • Peanut Butter & Jelly (my son’s favorite): Stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons peanut butter, 1/4 cup thawed and frozen or chopped strawberries, and a few chopped peanuts on top.
  • Banana Nut: Stir in 1 small banana (mashed), 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, chopped walnuts, and a drizzle of maple syrup or honey.
  • Protein Overnight Oats: Stir in 1 scoop vanilla or chocolate protein powder or 1/4 cup Greek yogurt, and 1/4 cup fruit of choice.

Are Overnight Oats Served Hot or Cold?

It’s up to you! Typically, they are served straight out of the fridge, but there’s no reason why you couldn’t microwave them for a minute or two to warm them up.

More Easy Breakfast Recipes

Easy Overnight Oats

  • PREP

Overnight oats are simple to prepare and mean an easy, healthy breakfast is ready for you the next morning. They last up to five days in the fridge. (We prefer the texture on days 1-3, but the oats are still tasty on days 4 and 5). The recipe below makes one serving, but you can make as many servings as you like.

A 1-pint mason jar is perfect for one serving, or use a small bowl that you can cover well when stored in the fridge. When making a large batch, you can prepare multiple jars or make a big batch in a larger mixing bowl/container. Just make sure that you cover them well when stored in the fridge.

Makes 1 serving

You Will Need

Basic Overnight Oats

1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1/2 cup dairy or non-dairy milk

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Dash fine sea salt, optional

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Optional Ingredients

1 to 2 tablespoons nut butter or sunflower seed butter

1/2 cup fresh or frozen fruit

1 to 3 tablespoons chopped nuts, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds or shredded coconut

Drizzle of honey or maple syrup


    1In a jar or small bowl, stir the oats, chia seeds, cinnamon, and salt together. Add the milk and vanilla and stir to combine. Cover with a lid and refrigerate overnight or up to 5 days.

    2When you are ready to serve, add your desired toppings and if the oats seem too thick, an extra splash of milk.

    3**To add nut or seed butter in the beginning, combine the oats, chia seeds, cinnamon and salt together. Add the nut or seed butter as well as a splash of milk. Stir until mostly combined, and then stir in the remaining milk and vanilla.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Best Jars to Use: A 1-pint mason jar or container is ideal for a single serving (our photos show a double serving).
  • Serving Hot or Cold: Typically, we enjoy overnight oats served cold, but you can warm them up in the microwave if you’d prefer. Use a microwave-safe container and microwave until warm (about a minute).
  • Gluten-free: Be sure to use certified gluten-free ingredients.
  • Vegan/Dairy-free: Use dairy-free milk like oat, almond, cashew or hemp milk. Use maple syrup instead of honey as a sweetener.
  • Nutrition Facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values.
Nutrition Per Serving Serving Size Full recipe with 1 tablespoon nut butter and 1/2 cup berries / Calories 336 / Total Fat 14.6g / Saturated Fat 1.6g / Cholesterol 0mg / Sodium 252.1mg / Carbohydrate 47.6g / Dietary Fiber 12.2g / Total Sugars 8.2g / Protein 11.9g
AUTHOR:  Adam and Joanne Gallagher
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2 comments… Leave a Review
  • Rita mercer September 15, 2020, 2:00 pm

    This isn’t cooked, don’t the oats become mushy?

    • Joanne January 2, 2021, 1:18 pm

      Hi Rita, Some people do find overnight oats softer than when cooked traditionally on the stove. It really depends on your preference, some love the texture and ease of overnight oats, while others prefer cooked oats.


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