Our best tips and recipe for making overnight oats. These are quick to prepare, last in the refrigerator for days and can be adapted based on your favorite oatmeal toppings.
Related: We love our everyday oatmeal!
We try our best to start our day with a healthy breakfast, but sometimes run out of time to prepare it. This simple overnight oats recipe is our secret weapon for busy weeks.
- Overnight oats are easy to make, healthy and taste great.
- There’s no fancy ingredients or equipment required.
- You can take advantage of seasonal ingredients. Add a handful of fresh berries in the summer, chopped citrus fruits in the winter or add some extras like peanut butter, chocolate chips or toasted nuts. Frozen fruits work, too.
- They are easy to make vegan and dairy-free.
- You can store overnight oats in the fridge for a few days.
How to make overnight oats
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:
- Chia seeds — Just like when making chia pudding, the chia seeds added to these overnight oats absorb moisture and make the final product thicker and creamier. I also love the extra nutrition they provide. Chia seeds are rich in polyunsaturated fat (as omega 3 fatty acids), fiber, protein, calcium, phosphorous and zinc.
- Dairy or Non-dairy milk — The type of milk you use is completely 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)
- Vanilla extract — You only need a tiny amount (too much and the flavor will be overpowering. If you have decided to add a vanilla flavored milk, this may not be necessary.
- Optional spices — I love a dash of cinnamon, but other warm baking spices like nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, allspice, ginger and cloves are also delicious.
- Optional honey or maple syrup — I leave this until serving. A small drizzle just before eating the oats is a nice touch.
- Optional toppings — Nut or seed butter (try homemade peanut butter or homemade almond butter), fruit, nuts, seeds like hemp seeds or pumpkin seeds and chocolate chips.
To prepare the oats, simply mix the oats, chia seeds, milk and vanilla together cover and then refrigerate overnight. The oats technically last up to five days, but we find the texture gets a little 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 banana or apples, I prefer to add them just before serving. Fruits that don’t brown like blueberries are fine to add on day one.
FAQ: 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
- Strawberry Banana Baked Oatmeal
- Creamy Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding
- Soft and Creamy Scrambled Eggs
- Smashed Avocado Toast with Egg
- Spinach Feta Breakfast Burritos
- Make Ahead Ham and Veggie Breakfast Sandwiches
Our Best Overnight Oats
Overnight oats are extremely simple to prepare and mean you have an easy, healthy breakfast ready for you the next morning. They even last up to five days in the fridge. (We prefer the texture on days 1-3, but the oats are still tasty on day 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 simply make a big batch in a larger mixing bowl/container. Just make sure that you cover them well when stored in the fridge.
You Will NeedBasic Overnight Oats
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Dash fine sea salt, optional
1/2 cup dairy or non-dairy milk (we use unsweetened non-dairy milk)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extractOptional 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
- 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 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.