This is one of the base recipes as seen in our Whole Life Meal Plan. Overnight oats are great for breakfast and can make busy mornings a breeze. This recipe teaches a basic overnight oats ratio so that you can customize any bowl of overnight oats to your taste!
Three Must-Know Cooking Skills
For recipe success, learn how to:
Culinary Tips for the Basic Overnight Oats Recipe
Want to make a quick and healthy breakfast for the entire week or for the whole family? To speed up prep time, make a big batch in a bowl, then distribute into individual servings.
If adding nuts, toast them first for best flavor.
If adding berries, wash and add them in the morning or whenever you plan to eat the oats. Washed berries turn mushy very quickly!
- Oats: use old-fashioned or quick oats. Old-fashioned oats create a firm, chewy texture, whereas quick oats create a soft, mushy texture. Do not use steel cut oats, as these have to be cooked for optimal digestion.
- Milk: use regular or dairy-free milk. Don’t have milk? You can also make overnight oats with water, but they won’t taste as creamy.
- Greek Yogurt: substitute regular plain yogurt. Choose a fat content that works for your overall diet. Choose sugar-free varieties and sweeten to your taste. Don’t have yogurt? Simply leave it out. Want to make your overnight oats vegan? Substitute a plant-based yogurt.
- Mix-Ins: use nut butter, flaxseeds, chia seeds, cocoa powder, or coconut flakes. If using nut butter, don’t worry if it doesn’t combine thoroughly. It will soften overnight and be easier to mix when ready to eat.
- Sweetener: use any variety – agave nectar, brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup. You can also use jam, juice, or pureed fruit in place of sweetener.
- Flavor Extract: use any variety – vanilla, almond, coconut, etc.
- Spices: use any variety of sweet spices – allspice, apple pie spice, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, or pumpkin pie spice.
We love buying our spices from The Spice House. Click on the picture below to view & try out hundreds of flavorful spices and herbs!
Base Recipe Variations
Remember that this is a base recipe, so the goal is for you to customize it to your taste!
Feel free to add a splash of flavor extract, such as vanilla, almond, or coconut, to your taste.
Serve overnight oats hot or cold.
Need some overnight oats recipe inspiration?
Check out some of our favorite variations, then have fun exploring other flavors, ingredients, and textures!
Take a look at our stovetop oatmeal base recipe and its variations for even more ideas!
Use these kitchen tools for recipe success!
Overnight Oats are a Healthy Breakfast
The first meal of the day can affect how you feel for the rest of the day. A balanced breakfast should contain fiber-rich complex carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats. The featured ingredients in this healthy overnight oats recipe are oats and Greek yogurt. This recipe also contains natural sweetener, but a much lower amount than many breakfast cereals.
Oats are a whole grain and are a good source of fiber and complex carbohydrates. Fiber is important for digestion, satiety, stable blood sugar, good cholesterol, and healthy gut bacteria. Complex carbohydrates are important for steady energy and focus. (1, 2)
Making overnight oats with Greek yogurt creates a creamy texture and taste. Plus, it adds a nutritional boost! Greek yogurt is a great source of protein, calcium, and gut-friendly probiotics.
Less Sugar than Breakfast Cereal
Many breakfast cereals contain large amounts of added sugars that don’t support health. By making refrigerator oats, you get to control the amount of added sugar that you eat! Learn how to make your own healthy cereal here!
The fruit in this recipe also adds natural sweetness along with antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. The spices also add a taste of sweetness without contributing extra sugar.
Overnight oats aren’t just for breakfast! They can also be a great snack or post-workout treat.
Serve hot or cold.
How to Store Overnight Oats
Store overnight oats in the refrigerator. They’ll be ready to eat the next morning but can be stored for up to one week. The longer the oats are held in the refrigerator, the mushier they will become.
If storing for more than a few days, add fresh fruit in the morning for best taste and texture. This is especially important for quick-to-spoil fruits like berries.
Want more healthy breakfast recipes?
Check out these healthy base recipe breakfast ideas, then adjust to YOUR taste! Also, be sure to check out this healthy oatmeal recipe roundup article for more ideas!
Overnight Oats Base Recipe
- ½ cup old fashioned or quick oats
- ½ cup milk or milk alternative
- 1 teaspoon natural sweetener (or to taste)
- Dash flavor extract and/or spice (or to taste)
Toppings or mix-ins to YOUR taste
- ½ cup fresh fruit
- ¼ cup fruit or vegetable puree (pumpkin, sweet potato, etc.)
- ¼ cup Greek yogurt
- 2 Tablespoons dried fruit
- 1-2 Tablespoons seeds, nuts, or nut butters
- ½ – 1 Tablespoon mini chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
- Combine oats, milk, sweetener, flavor extract and/or spices in a bowl or jar.
- Mix-in or top with ingredients to your taste, or add them in the morning.
- Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Enjoy cold!