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Basic Overnight Oats

These Basic Overnight Oats are the ultimate easy, make-ahead, healthy, delicious breakfast (no cooking required)! Once you know this simple base recipe, you can add limitless combinations of mix-ins and toppings!

If you’re a fan of oatmeal but have never tried making overnight oats, don’t waste another minute!

Whip up a batch right now so that, tomorrow morning, you can enjoy these glorious, wonderfully creamy, almost-like-dessert oats that are sure to become a breakfast favorite!

I have loved oatmeal since I was a little girl. A warm bowl of oatmeal with a little maple syrup, brown sugar and butter has always been pretty hard to beat in my book.

Eating cold uncooked oatmeal soaked in milk and yogurt overnight never crossed my mind…until the whole overnight-oats-in-a-jar thing happened, that is.

Total breakfast game-changer!

Now, don’t let the thought of eating cold oatmeal throw you. I know it sounds a little weird at first, especially for those of us who grew up eating hot oatmeal, but listen to me…this is definitely not the same as cooked oatmeal that has gotten cold, gloopy, and icky.

This recipe is it’s own thing, and it’s a good thing, and you just have to think of it as something totally different.

When prepared this way, the oats are super creamy and delicious. It’s almost like eating pudding or dessert for breakfast!

Now you definitely want to try it, right?

basic overnight oats in a jar with a spoon in it

Trivia: Did you know that overnight oats are actually not a new thing? They were introduced back around 1900 by a Swiss doctor named Maximilian Bircher-Benner.

That original recipe (often referred to as Bircher Muesli) was basically oats soaked in water overnight and then mixed with apples, nuts, lemon juice, and sweetened condensed milk.

There are tons of recipes out there for overnight oats, but this basic recipe is where you want to start. It’s so simple but so delicious.

From here, you can experiment with all sorts of flavor combinations by way of mix-ins and toppings (like my Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats and Chocolate Cherry Overnight Oats).

Let’s get started!

INGREDIENTS YOU NEED:

  • Old-fashioned rolled oats
  • Unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or the milk of your choice)
  • Vanilla yogurt (regular or Greek)
  • Vanilla extract
  • Maple syrup (or the sweetener of your choice)
  • Salt

If you have an Instant Pot, check out my recipe for Easy Instant Pot Vanilla Yogurt. It is so creamy and is excellent in these oats!

HERE’S A QUICK LOOK AT HOW TO MAKE BASIC OVERNIGHT OATS:

three images showing how to make basic overnight oats

THAT’S IT! Less than 5 minutes of prep time, and you’ll have one awesome breakfast waiting for you in the morning.

Since these will last for 3 to 5 days in the fridge, you can even prepare enough for the whole week all at one time!

TIPS & TIDBITS:

  • I use and recommend regular old-fashioned rolled oats because I think they result in the best texture, but you can also use quick oats (the texture might be a little more mushy). Try both and see which one you like better!
  • Can you use steel-cut oats? Technically, yes…BUT just know that they will be really, really firm and chewy – even after sitting for several nights. If that’s your thing, go for it! I love cooked steel-cut oats (check out my recipe for Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats), but for overnight oats, not so much.
  • Any milk will work. Just don’t use water. Water is so not creamy.
  • Sweeten the oats to your taste or leave them unsweetened – up to you. I like maple syrup, but any sweetener will do.
  • I use a 16-ounce (2-cup) jar for each individual serving. This leaves plenty of space to stir things up and there’s lots of room left for add-ins and toppings – and it’s perfect if you want a grab-and-go breakfast.
  • If you’d like to make a big batch rather than individual servings, increase the ingredients accordingly and mix everything together in a large bowl.
  • To me, overnight oats are best eaten cold. But, hey, if you want them warm, go ahead and heat them up.
spoonful of overnight oats being taken from a jar

MIX-INS AND TOPPINGS

These Basic Overnight Oats are delicious as is, but they are even more delicious when you add some mix-ins and toppings.

My favorite way to eat them? I mix in some mashed super ripe bananas (which ups the creamy factor and sweetness even more!) and top it with strawberries or blueberries and sliced almonds. Heaven.

Here are just a few ideas:

  • Fruit (fresh, frozen/thawed, or dried)
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Peanut butter or other nut butters
  • Jam or preserves
  • Cocoa
  • Coconut
  • Other flavored extracts
  • Pumpkin
  • Cream cheese
  • Chocolate chips
  • Chocolate hazelnut spread
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg

Add your mix-ins and toppings either before you let the oats sit overnight or wait until serving. It really just depends on how fresh you want those things to be when you serve the oatmeal. If you want to add something crunchy, definitely wait until serving.

two jars of basic overnight oats with spoons in them

I eat these overnight oats several times a week. They make a great healthy breakfast on busy mornings. If you make them in a jar, you can even grab one and take it with you!

I hope you try this recipe for Basic Overnight Oats and love it as much as I do. Thanks for visiting today!

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basic overnight oats in a jar with a spoon

Basic Overnight Oats

These Basic Overnight Oats are the ultimate easy, make-ahead, healthy, delicious breakfast (no cooking required)! Once you know this simple base recipe, you can add limitless combinations of mix-ins and toppings!
5 from 4 votes
Print Recipe Rate/Comment Pin Recipe
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Refrigeration Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 1
Calories: 283
Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!

Ingredients

  • ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk, or the milk of your choice
  • ¼ cup vanilla yogurt, regular or Greek
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup, or the sweetener of your choice, to taste
  • 1 pinch salt

Instructions

  • Place all of the ingredients in a 16-ounce jar or a bowl and stir until well combined.
  • Cover and refrigerate overnight (at least 8 hours).
  • In the morning, give it a quick stir; enjoy as is or add your choice of mix-ins and/or toppings.

Notes

  • I use and recommend regular old-fashioned rolled oats because I think they result in the best texture, but you can also use quick oats (they may be a bit more mushy). Try both and see which one you like better!
  • Although you can technically use steel-cut oats, I don’t recommend them. They will be very firm and chewy, even after several nights in the fridge!  
  • You can add mix-ins and toppings either before you let the oats sit or you can wait until serving. It depends on how fresh you want those things to be when you serve the oatmeal. If you want something to stay crunchy, though, definitely wait until serving to add it.
  • Overnight oats will last in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. They will get softer the longer they sit. 
Did you try this recipe? I’d love to see it!Mention @nowcookthis or tag #nowcookthisrecipes!
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Recipe Rating




Patricia Hill

Monday 3rd of April 2023

Mine were too runny - followed the recipe - I thought it would be thicker.

Michelle

Monday 3rd of April 2023

Hi, Patricia! Thanks for trying my recipe. Sorry they didn't turn out as you had hoped. These oats shouldn't be runny, so I'm not sure what happened. You could always try using less milk (or maybe letting them sit longer) to get the consistency you prefer.

Janie

Sunday 12th of March 2023

Absolutely love this recipient.. I do add cinnamon to it as well and drop a few rasberries in there..

Michelle

Monday 13th of March 2023

Thank you, Janie! That sounds delicious!

MJ

Sunday 29th of January 2023

Thx for giving us a super simple, super tasty overnight oats recipe!

Michelle

Sunday 29th of January 2023

You're welcome, MJ...so happy you enjoy them! Thanks for taking the time to comment and rate the recipe!

Jess

Thursday 21st of October 2021

Overnight oats are super overwhelming when you try to find recipes so I'm so glad I found this one ! Super yummy & super easy, even started making different flavours like cookie dough and Oreo! :)

Michelle

Thursday 21st of October 2021

Thank you very much, Jess! I'm really happy that you like this recipe! It is a great base for making other flavors...the ones you made sound delicious!

Patricia

Thursday 3rd of June 2021

Thank you for the basic way to make these overnight oats. I could not find it any where else but here. You answered all my questions that I had about them.

Michelle

Thursday 3rd of June 2021

You're welcome, Patricia! I'm so glad you found exactly what you were looking for!