Recipes > Breakfast > Overnight Oats Base Recipe

Overnight Oats Base Recipe

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!
overnight oats base recipe in a white bowl topped with blueberries and chopped peans

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:

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.

If adding berries, wash and add them in the morning or whenever you plan to eat the oats. Washed berries turn mushy very quickly!

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.
  • Sweetener: use any variety – agave nectar, brown sugar, honey, coconut sugar, or maple syrup. You can also use jam, juice, or pureed fruit in place of sweetener.
  • Flavor Extract: use vanilla, almond, or coconut for best flavor.
  • Spices: use cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom, allspice, nutmeg, apple pie spice, pumpkin spice, or make your own spice blend!

Base Recipe Variations

Remember that this is a base recipe, so the goal is for you to customize it to your taste! Keep it simple or spice it up!

Use these additional ingredients for even more flavorful oats.

  • Fruit: use any fruit of your choosing. Diced apple, diced pear, sliced banana, fresh berries, and frozen blueberries are just some ideas!
  • Fruit or Vegetable Puree: use mashed sweet potato, pumpkin puree, mashed banana, applesauce, or pureed butternut squash.
  • 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.
  • Dried Fruit: use any dried fruit – raisins, chopped figs, cranberries, cherries, and dried blueberries all work well. If using larger fruits such as dried apricots, figs, or prunes, dice into smaller pieces before adding.
  • Nuts, Seeds, or Nut Butter: sliced or slivered almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, ground flax seeds, or hemp seeds all add great texture and nutrition. Toast before adding for better flavor. 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.
  • Coconut Flakes: use unsweetened coconut shreds, flakes, or smiles.
  • Mini Chocolate Chips: substitute dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks for best flavor. We don’t recommend using milk or white chocolate, as these are not generally healthy options.
  • Cocoa Powder: mix cocoa powder in with the milk and oats, or add just a dash before serving.

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!

Banana Nut



Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana

Apple Pie


Chocolate Cherry Almond

Pumpkin Pie

Equipment Recommendations

Use these kitchen tools for recipe success:

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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)

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! 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.

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! Also, be sure to check out this healthy oatmeal recipe roundup article for more ideas!

Kefir Smoothie Base Recipe

Greek Yogurt Smoothie Base Recipe

Homemade Granola Base Recipe

Whole Grain Pancakes Base Recipe

Baked Oatmeal Cups Base Recipe

overnight oats base recipe in a white bowl topped with blueberries and chopped peans

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!
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 8 minutes
Total Time 8 minutes
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 1 serving


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 or frozen fruit
  • ¼ cup fruit or vegetable puree (pumpkin, sweet potato, etc.)
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons dried fruit
  • 1-2 Tablespoons toasted nuts, seeds, or nut butter
  • 1-2 Tablespoon toasted coconut
  • 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!


Scroll to the ingredient substitutions section of the article for more ideas on how to change this recipe to your taste!
Check out these recipes for flavor inspiration!
Banana Nut
Chocolate Peanut Butter
Apple Pie
Chocolate Cherry Almond
Pumpkin Pie
Cherry Blueberry
Keyword Overnight Oats

This Post Has 16 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?

    1. Laurie

      Cheryl you don’t cook it! Just mix and put in fridge overnight.

  4. Joe s

    Great basic recipe. Have made just 3 so far and your right, the possibilities are almost endless. Thanks!!!!!!!

  5. Kelly

    How long would you recommend heating it for in the microwave if you want them warm in the morning?

    1. I would say microwave it in 30 second intervals, stirring each time. I’ve never actually tried them warm, so would love to hear how they taste!

  6. WineGuy22

    I’ve made this one many times for my little boys. So many, that they ask for it weekly! Their favorite is to add dried cherries, but do go with blueberries sometimes as well.

  7. Sharon

    Going to make them for the first time tonight, they sound yummy 😋 and I’m sure I’ll love them 😊

  8. Amy

    Is the consistency of this recipe thin enough to drink?

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