Keep this make-ahead breakfast on rotation for an easy and nutritious start to the day.
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homemade healthy Chia seeds and banana overnight oatmeal in jar
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There is nothing easier than making a batch of overnight oats. It's one of those brilliant things that comes together quickly, and the reward is immensely satisfying (and nutritious!). This no-cook breakfast option not only saves you time in the morning, but also cuts out having to figure out the answer to "what's for breakfast?" And if you're into meal prep, this dish is right up your alley.

Overnight oats, simply put, is a mixture of rolled oats, your milk of choice, and sometimes a bit of yogurt. The oats need time to soak up the liquid, and are usually left overnight in the refrigerator to let the mixture thicken and the oats soften until tender. This easy breakfast is infinitely customizable to personal taste and cravings, and because oats are rich in fiber, it's a healthful option. The soluble fiber found in oats has a plethora of benefits, like supporting gut health, increasing satiety, and reducing blood sugar levels and cholesterol. Oats are also higher in protein and fat than other grains, and high in vitamins and minerals. They also contain mighty antioxidants, which may help reduce blood pressure. And when paired with yogurt for extra creaminess, there's the added benefit of a protein boost.

It's a no-brainer to keep overnight oats stashed and replenished in the fridge, especially in hotter months when it's incredibly refreshing to dig into a bowl of creamy grains.

How To Make Overnight Oats

Follow the step-by-step instructions below to enjoy overnight oats at home. Experiment with the flavor profile and add a pinch of ground cinnamon, cloves, ginger, or cardamom, if desired. Or opt for chocolatey overnight oats and add some cocoa powder into the mix. Feel free to prepare the oats in individual serving containers or jars if you'll be taking this on-the-go.

Overnight Oats Recipe

  • 1½ cups dairy or plant-based milk of choice
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
  • A pinch of salt
  • Optional toppings: maple syrup, honey, fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, nut butter
  1. Mix your milk of choice with the oats, vanilla, and salt until combined in a large airtight container.
  2. Store covered in the refrigerator, until oats soften and liquid is mostly absorbed, at least 8 hours and up to 3 days.
  3. Serve as is or with desired toppings.

Overnight Oats Upgrades

Elevate a standard batch of overnight oats with these flavorful and exciting recipe ideas.

PB&J Overnight Oats Recipe
Credit: Antonis Achilleos

1 PB&J Overnight Oats

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Give this nutty and sweet recipe a whirl. This one sings with flavor, thanks to a hearty spoonful of peanut butter that is stirred into the almond milk and yogurt mixture that will hydrate the oats and chia seeds. Loaded with protein and fiber, this recipe is not one to miss.

Overnight Oats With Strawberries and Toasted Almonds
Credit: Jen Causey

2 Overnight Oats With Strawberries and Toasted Almonds

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Easy and fruity, this recipe is simply sweetened with honey and a touch of vanilla extract. Before serving, it gets a topping of juicy strawberries and slivered almonds for some crunch. Feel free to try this recipe with stone fruit or other berries as well.

3 Tropical Overnight Oats

For vacation vibes, swap any milk you would normally use for coconut milk. Then, top off your bowl of oats with chunks of mango or pineapple (or both!), and sprinkle with unsweetened shredded coconut. Bonus points: a generous showering of hemp seeds will deliver healthy fats.

4 Apple Pie Overnight Oats

Borrowing from the creamy and delicious bircher muesli, the secret to this version of overnight oats is a grated apple. Simply stir in a spoonful of Greek yogurt, 1 grated apple, and ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon into the oats mixture prior to chilling. Before serving, drizzle with honey and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds if you have some on hand.

RELATED: 45 Festive, Flavorful Apple Recipes to Make This Fall

5 Mocha Overnight Oats

For a little caffeine pick-me-up, replace half the amount of milk with room-temperature brewed coffee and add 1 teaspoon cocoa powder into the oats mixture before chilling overnight. Before serving, top with magnesium-rich cacao nibs, and for a unique twist, drizzle with tahini.