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FoodHow to Make Overnight Oats (Ultimate Guide)

How to Make Overnight Oats (Ultimate Guide)

Overnight oats are a healthy option for busy mornings. Learn everything you need to know about how to make overnight oats, including the perfect ratio, tips for success, and recipe variations. 

Overnight oats are a healthy option for busy mornings. Learn everything you need to know about how to make overnight oats, including the perfect ratio, tips for success, and recipe variations. 

Everything You Need to Know to Make Overnight Oats

Strawberry Overnight OatsStrawberry Overnight Oats

What are overnight oats?

Chances are by now that you have heard the term overnight oats, even if you aren’t sure exactly what they are. Overnight oats are what they sound like…oats that have been left to soak in liquid overnight. 

Overnight oats are raw oats that are left to soak in liquid for several hours or overnight. The liquid you use can be milk; any kind of milk, such as nut milk or soy milk, will do, or you can use Greek yogurt. After the oats have soaked overnight, you will wake up to a breakfast ready to enjoy. Top it with your favorite fruits or nuts, and carry on with your day!

The reason that overnight oats have become so popular is that they are a healthy and filling breakfast that you can prepare ahead of time. You don’t have to worry about you or your family skipping breakfast because you have a tight schedule on busy mornings. 

Overnight oats are not just “cold oatmeal” they are better! The oats have a creamier texture and a richer flavor because they have been soaking for hours in all those delicious flavors. They also have not been exposed to heat which changes the texture and flavor of the oats. 

While cooked oatmeal will always have its place, especially on a cold winter morning, overnight oats have theirs as well. Particularly in the summer months when you don’t necessarily want a hot breakfast. 

Carrot Cake Overnight OatsCarrot Cake Overnight Oats

What ingredients do you need for the overnight oats recipe?

To make the basic overnight oats recipe, you will need oats, of course, and the liquid of your choice. You can use whatever type of oats that you already have on hand and whatever your personal preference for milk is, be it soy, oat, almond, or dairy. 

There are several different kinds of oats that you can use to make overnight oatmeal, and there is no wrong oat to use, it just depends on your personal preference. Old-fashioned oats, also referred to as rolled oats, are whole oat groats that have been rolled flat. These oats are considered the most nutritious oats because they haven’t been processed. Since they have not been processed, these oats will maintain a firmer bite than other oats when soaked overnight.

If you are looking for a softer, smoother consistency, then you might want to try regular oats for your overnight oatmeal. Regular oats have been grounded and steamed, so they will still have a chunky texture in the morning. Quick oats are very fine, so they will cook, as their name suggests, quickly! These oats will be easy to digest and very soft the next morning. 

Banana Bread Overnight OatsBanana Bread Overnight Oats

How to make basic overnight oatmeal?

Basic overnight oatmeal is very easy to make. The perfect ratio of ingredients is one part oats to one part milk, with an ⅛ part of seeds for additional nutrition and texture. You can also add the flavorings of your choice to this basic recipe, like fresh fruit. 

The oatmeal will take on the flavors of the fruit when it soaks overnight. You can add additional toppings to your overnight oats in the morning before serving, like nuts that you want to maintain their crunchy texture or additional fruit to mix in. 

To make your overnight oats, combine two cups of oatmeal, two cups of milk, and ¼ cup of chia seeds if you want to include them. Chia seeds are optional, but they are a great way to get some extra fiber and healthy omega-3s into your diet.

Once your overnight oats are mixed, you can separate the mixture into individual servings or keep them together in a single container.

Peanut Butter Overnight OatsPeanut Butter Overnight Oats

Overnight Oats Using Quick Oats

You might be wondering if you can use quick oats to make your overnight oatmeal, and yes, you certainly can. Remember, though, that quick oats are going to have a smoother, finer texture when they are left soaking overnight than rolled oats or regular oats will. 

The ratios will be exactly the same, and your oats will be thick, creamy, and delicious when you wake up. 

Overnight Oat RecipeOvernight Oat Recipe

Can I use instant oatmeal packets for overnight oats? 

Yes, you can use instant oatmeal packets for overnight oats if that is what you have on hand. However, if you are trying to keep things healthy, you will want to read the nutrition information and ingredients. Some instant oatmeal packets are healthy, while others are filled with a lot of added sugars that are not very good for you.

Overnight Oats With Banana BreadOvernight Oats With Banana Bread

Overnight Oatmeal Recipe Ideas

One of the wonderful things about overnight oats is the amount of flavor combinations that you can make. You will never get bored with overnight oats, because you will never have to eat the same flavor combination twice. 


Overnight oatmeal will easily take on the flavors of the mix-ins you add to it as it soaks overnight. Mix-ins you might want to add are:

  • Maple Syrup
  • Honey
  • Peanut Butter
  • Dried fruit (it will rehydrate overnight)
  • Cocoa powder 
  • Chia seeds
  • Poppy seeds
  • Fresh fruit
Overnight Oatmeal With Shredded Carrots And RaisinsOvernight Oatmeal With Shredded Carrots And Raisins


You can also flavor your overnight oats by adding toppings to them just before you are ready to enjoy them. Toppings you might consider are:

  • Fresh fruit
  • Chocolate chips
  • Coconut flakes
  • Chopped nuts
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon 
  • A dollop of Greek yogurt

In addition to using mix-ins and toppings for your overnight oats, you may also like recipes for overnight oats with flavors built-in. You can try my peanut butter and jelly overnight oats with creamy peanut butter and “jelly” made with chia seeds and grape juice. 

You might also like my overnight pumpkin oatmeal that’s absolutely perfect for fall. Pumpkin puree, raisins, maple syrup, cinnamon, and vanilla are combined with your oats and milk for a delicious breakfast you’ll be running to the fridge for. 

Overnight Oat VariationsOvernight Oat Variations

Banana Bread

For a banana bread overnight oats, add in 1/2 banana mashed, 2 tablespoons of chopped walnuts or almonds, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.

Peanut Butter

For peanut butter overnight oats, stir in 2 tablespoons of raspberry jam or puree and 1 tablespoon peanut butter.

Carrot Cake

To make carrot cake overnight oats, add in 1/4 cup shredded carrot, 1 tablespoon shredded coconut, 1 tablespoon raisins, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.

Strawberry Overnight Oats

For strawberry overnight oats, mix in 1/4 cup small diced strawberry, 1 tablespoon sliced almonds and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract.

How To Make Overnight Oats In Jars How To Make Overnight Oats In Jars

How To Store and Meal Prep

Many people like to keep overnight oats in the fridge for breakfast for the whole week. It’s nice being able to make breakfast once and eat all week long. So let’s talk about how to store and meal prep your overnight oats. 

Meal Prepping Overnight Oats

To meal prep your overnight oats make sure that you have your airtight containers cleaned and ready to fill. Mix your overnight oats together, and then place them in your containers. If you would like to layer your overnight oats with different ingredients, you can do so as you fill the individual containers. For example, some people like to layer a fruit jam on the bottom, then overnight oats, then another layer of jam, and another of overnight oats. 

How to Store

Overnight oats need to be stored in an airtight container. This is the reason that you see many people store them in a mason jar. The jar lids screw on tightly and you know that they are airtight. However, any airtight container will also work for storing your overnight oats. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do overnight oats keep in the refrigerator?

Overnight oats will stay good in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to five days. This is why many people like to make them on Sunday evenings and then enjoy them throughout the week ahead. 

How Long Do Overnight Oats Stay Fresh?

Overnight oats can be eaten for up to five days after you first make them. Keep in mind, however, that the longer they sit, the softer they will become. If you want your overnight oats to have a firmer texture, then you may want to make smaller batches more often unless the whole family will be enjoying them. You can also make your overnight oats with old-fashioned or rolled oats if you don’t want them to be too soft. 

Can you eat overnight oats hot?

You might be wondering if you can eat overnight oats hot, and yes, of course you can. While many people enjoy being able to snag them out of the fridge and then eat them immediately, you can also heat them up if that is what you prefer. If your storage container is microwave-safe, you can put them in the microwave and stir them every 20 to 30 seconds until they are warm. 

You can also heat them on the stove in a saucepan over low to medium heat. Just stir them so they don’t burn or stick to your pan. 

Overnight Oats With StrawberriesOvernight Oats With Strawberries

More Easy Breakfast Recipes

Overnight oats are a great way to ensure the whole family enjoys a healthy and hearty breakfast, even when there’s no time for a sit-down meal.

You can make overnight oatmeal with so many amazing ingredients that you are sure to find a combination of flavors that everyone in your family will love. 

If you make this recipe, make sure to come back to leave a comment and a rating. Your feedback helps other readers and seeing you make my recipes makes my day.


  • Author:
    Alexandra Caspero

  • Prep Time:
    10 minutes

  • Total Time:
    8 hours

  • Yield:
    1 serving 1x

  • Category:
    breakfast, oatmeal, overnight oatmeal, healthy

  • Method:
    no cook

  • Cuisine:

  • Diet:

  • Author:
    Alexandra Caspero

  • Prep Time:
    10 minutes

  • Total Time:
    8 hours

  • Yield:
    1 serving 1x

  • Category:
    breakfast, oatmeal, overnight oatmeal, healthy

  • Method:
    no cook

  • Cuisine:

  • Diet:


  1. Place all ingredients into a sealable container– either a mason jar or a container with a lid. Stir together, then cover and place into the fridge for at least 3 hours, or soak overnight for 8 hours. 
  2. Enjoy as is, or top with your favorite toppings and enjoy! 


*See post for various mix-in options

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