Overnight oats are a breakfast game changer! Simple, filling, and delicious oatmeal is high in fiber and whole grains. And whipping them up before bed makes weekday mornings a breeze.
For tons of topping inspiration, check out 30+ Healthy Oatmeal Toppings for Kids.
This post was originally written almost 10 years ago, and I had titled it “Swiss Meusli.” This was BEFORE overnight oats started trending online as a breakfast idea. Originally developed in the early 1900’s as a healing food for patients in a Swiss hospital, Muesli is now eaten in Switzerland as an evening dish.
While I originally grew up calling this breakfast Muesli, overnight oats makes a great breakfast food for those who love the filling nature of a grain based breakfast. It’s made by soaking oats or other grains and keeping it in the fridge for several hours or overnight so the liquid absorbs into the grains. If you can remember to prepare this the night before, it makes a quick, easy, and healthy breakfast for busy mornings- without the mess!
What Are Overnight Oats?
Overnight oats is a way to prepare oatmeal for breakfast that changes the texture and flavor of regular cooked oatmeal. Simply combine uncooked oats with a liquid, and any other add-ins you desire, and leave in the refrigerator overnight to allow the liquid to absorb into the oats. In the morning, these oats do not need to be cooked. Just stirred and eaten! This has become increasingly popular in the last few years. Soaked oats are easily digestible, and more appealing for kids who don’t like the texture of cooked oats.
Are Overnight Oats Raw?
Even though YOU don’t cook overnight oats, they’re not a raw food. That’s because old-fashioned oats are steamed and rolled flat (that’s why they’re sometimes called “rolled oats”) before they’re dried and packaged for sale.
This is a good thing: the cooking process helps make oats easily digestible.
How to Make Overnight Oats
Here’s a dead simple formula for making great overnight oats every time:
- 1 cup oats
You can use any type of oats. Rolled oats, steel cut oats, oat groats, or quick oats.
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups liquid
- Any liquid can be added. Popular liquids include milk, almond milk, coconut milk, yogurt, or even juice.
- 1 teaspoon sweetener
- I like honey, but you could also use maple syrup, agave, organic brown sugar, date sugars, or nothing at all!
- Fresh fruit like apple slices, grapes, melons, berries, bananas, etc. are delicious in overnight oats.
- You can add dry raisins, apricots, bananas, dates.
- Optional: Nuts or seeds
- We usually add chopped pecans. But walnuts and almonds are also fabulous!
Put oats, liquid, and sweetener combined in fridge overnight. Add nuts and fruit in the morning.
Are You Supposed to Eat Overnight Oats Cold?
Yes!! This question comes up a lot because we are so conditioned to think of oats as only a hot cereal option. But eating them cold after they are soaked is why overnight oats are different enough for kids to try it who aren’t fans of hot oatmeal. However, you can also heat up overnight oats and eat them warm as well.
Storing Overnight Oats
Many people choose to store overnight oats in glass jars. This is a great way to keep them. Mason jars are inexpensive, portable, and you can stack them on your refrigerator door and it won’t take up much space. That said, any lidded container will do. Keeping it air tight helps keep the oats soft and moist, and prevents them from drying out, which will happen very quickly if you don’t keep it covered.
Overnight Oats Recipe
Strawberries & Cream
Tropical Pina Colada
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 1 cup fresh pineapple diced
- 1/4 cup coconut flakes
- Mix together oats, milk, yogurt, honey, chia seeds and vanilla in a large bowl. Pour into 4 individual containers (I love mason jars) and cover with a lid or plastic wrap.
- Place in the fridge overnight, or at least 4 hours in order for the oats to set up.
- When you are ready to eat, stir the oats and add more milk if they are too thick. Add your favorite toppings and enjoy!
- The overnight oats will stay good in your refrigerator for 5 days covered.
Chocolate Covered Banana
- Make overnight oats according to above directions but stir in nutella when mixing all of the ingredients. Before serving, top with sliced bananas and crushed nuts.
Peanut Butter and Jelly
- Make overnight oats according to above directions but stir in peanut butter when mixing all of the ingredients. Before serving, top with fruit jam and fresh strawberries.
Strawberries and Cream
- Make overnight oats according to above directions but stir in vanilla protein powder when mixing all of the ingredients. Before serving, top with fresh strawberries and a drizzle of cream.
- Make overnight oats according to above directions. In the morning, dice apples. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add apples and cinnamon and saute until apples begin to soften. Top your overnight oats with the cinnamon apples.
Tropical Pina Colada
- Make overnight oats according to above directions, but use coconut milk as your milk of choice. Before serving, top with fresh pineapple and coconut flakes.
Our favorite overnight oats recipes:
I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.Learn More about Natalie