Overnight Oats Base Recipe

This is one of our base recipes. Overnight oats are great for breakfast and can make busy mornings a breeze. This recipe teaches the 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:

Measure Weight vs. Volume
Measure Wet vs. Dry Ingredients
Toast Nuts in the Oven

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.

Ingredient Substitutions

  • 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. Want to make your overnight oats vegan? Simply leave out the yogurt or substitute a plant-based yogurt.
  • 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.
  • Spices: use any variety of sweet spices – allspice, apple pie spice, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, or pumpkin pie spice.

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 other mix-ins of your choosing: chia seeds, flax seeds, coconut flakes, cocoa powder, nut butter, flavor extracts, etc. 

Need some overnight oats recipe inspiration?

Check out some of our favorite variations, then have fun exploring other flavors, ingredients, and textures!

Banana Nut



Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana

Apple Pie


Chocolate Cherry Almond

Pumpkin Pie

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 of any variety 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)

Greek Yogurt 

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! earn how to make your own healthy cereal here!

The fruit in this recipe also adds natural sweetness along with antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Serving Suggestions

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!

Kefir Smoothie Base Recipe

Greek Yogurt Smoothie Base Recipe

Homemade Granola Base Recipe

Whole Grain Pancakes Base Recipe

Baked Oatmeal Cups Base Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Overnight Oats base recipe with spices and oats
Overnight Oats Base Recipe
Prep Time
8 mins
Total Time
8 mins

Overnight oats are great for breakfast and can make busy mornings a breeze. This recipe teaches the basic overnight oats ratio so that you can customize any bowl of overnight oats to your taste!

Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Yield: 1 serving
  • ½ cup old fashioned or quick oats
  • ½ cup milk or milk alternative
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon sweetener (brown sugar, honey, maple syrup)
  • Dash of spice (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg)
  • Toppings of choice (fresh or dried fruit, nuts)
  1. Mix oats, milk, yogurt, sweetener, and spices in a bowl. Top with additional ingredients or add them in the morning.

  2. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

  3. Enjoy cold!

Recipe Notes

Use any variety of sweetener and adjust to taste. You can also use jam, juice, or pureed fruit in place of sweetener.


Use any variety of sweet spices to taste – allspice, apple pie spice, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger,  nutmeg, or pumpkin spice.


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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Vahishta (yes another one)

    I first tried it on a cruise ship and have been making it since. Add Apple, nuts and cranberries. Chopped apricots when I have those.

  2. RecipeFollower#1

    Another great staple in my house! Super easy and delicious. I love to make mine with a little brown sugar and cinnamon. I usually top with berries and banana and sometimes nuts or granola (recipe from your website!) for a little texture. I usually make a few at once and it keeps very well in the fridge. Thank you!

  3. Cheryl

    Is the oats amount before or after cooking?

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