Learn how to make overnight oats! This easy, make-ahead breakfast is perfect for busy mornings. Find my base recipe plus 4 fun variations below.
When someone asks me for an easy, healthy breakfast idea, this overnight oats recipe is the first thing I suggest. It’s perfect for busy mornings, as you can make individual servings ahead of time and take them on the go. It’s also satisfying enough to keep you full till lunch, made with simple ingredients like oats, chia seeds, and (optional) yogurt. But best of all, it’s fun.
What could be fun about oatmeal, you ask? Well, this yummy breakfast is endlessly customizable. Once you learn how to make overnight oats, you can experiment with mix-ins like cocoa powder or vanilla extract or pile on toppings like nuts, seeds, and fresh fruit. To get you started, I’m sharing four tasty variations (+ my go-to base recipe!) below. Try them out, and then get creative making your overnight oats your own!
Overnight Oats Recipe Ingredients
When I first started making overnight oats, I kept them really simple, using just oats, almond milk or coconut milk, and maple syrup. But after a little experimentation, I realized that adding chia seeds to overnight oats takes them to a whole new level. They give the oats a delicious thick and creamy texture, sort of like that of chia pudding. They also add protein, fiber, and healthy fats. What’s not to love?
Now, I use these ingredients in my go-to overnight oats recipe:
- Whole rolled oats – Also known as old fashioned oats. Quick oats and steel-cut oats will NOT work here. Quick oats will be too mushy, while steel-cut oats will be chewy and tough.
- Chia seeds – For extra protein and the perfect thick and creamy texture.
- Almond milk – Or any milk you like! Dairy milk and oat milk both work well. Coconut milk adds rich flavor and yields an especially creamy texture.
- Maple syrup – For sweetness. Honey works too.
- And a pinch of salt – To make the oats extra-flavorful.
If you like, you can stir in Greek yogurt as well. It adds more protein and makes the oats extra-creamy. Skip it to make this recipe dairy-free.
Find the complete recipe with measurements below.
How to Make Overnight Oats
My method for how to make overnight oats is super simple! Here’s how it goes:
- Place the oats, chia seeds, maple syrup or honey, salt, and yogurt, if using, in a lidded container or jar.
- Pour in the almond milk, and stir thoroughly to combine. Make sure that there are no chia seeds clumped around the bottom or sides of the jar!
- Cover and store overnight, or for up to 5 days, in the fridge.
When you’re ready to eat, give the oats another stir, add your desired toppings, and enjoy!
If you’re meal prepping overnight oats, set out a Mason jar for each serving you want to prep. Add all the ingredients EXCEPT the milk to each jar. Then, add the milk to one jar and stir that jar together before adding the milk to the next. I find that adding the milk to one jar at a time helps prevent the chia seeds from getting too clumpy. Once you mix up all the overnight oats, cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to eat!
I recommend waiting to add any toppings until the morning you plan to eat your oats. That way, nuts, seeds, and granola will stay crunchy, and fruit will stay bright and fresh.
Overnight Oats Recipe Variations
Now for the fun part: overnight oats variations! Here are four that I really love:
1. Apple Pie Overnight Oats
This variation is perfect for fall! I stir applesauce and warm spices into the creamy oat base and top it off with diced apples and toasted pecans for crunch. If I have them on hand, I also like to add a scoop of my stovetop cinnamon apples to this variation. They taste just like the inside of an apple pie!
2. Peach Crisp Overnight Oats
Topped with sweet, juicy peach slices and nutty granola, this overnight oatmeal is an ode to my favorite peach crisp.
3. PB&J Overnight Oats
It’s a classic combo for a reason! I load up this variation with creamy peanut butter and a strawberry chia jam that packs a HUGE punch of berry flavor. Fresh strawberries and raspberries amp up that flavor even more, and toasted peanuts add the perfect crunch. For a twist on this variation, swap almond butter and toasted almonds for the peanut butter and peanuts.
4. Chocolate Banana Bread Overnight Oats
I stir cocoa powder, mashed banana, cinnamon, and nutmeg into this variation’s base to give it a rich, chocolatey banana bread flavor. Sliced bananas, walnuts, and chocolate chips top it off.
I hope you love these variations! But remember – you can also feel free to make your oats your own. Try stirring spices or protein powder into the oat base, or experiment with toppings like seasonal fresh fruit, dried fruit, coconut flakes, nuts, seeds, or nut butters. If you find a combination you love, let me know in the comments below!
More Favorite Healthy Breakfasts
If you love this overnight oats recipe, try one of these healthy breakfasts next:
Learn how to make overnight oats! This healthy, make-ahead breakfast is easy to customize. Try one of the variations in the recipe below, or experiment with your own combinations of mix-ins and toppings.
- ½ cup whole rolled oats
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- ½ teaspoon maple syrup, plus more for serving
- Pinch of sea salt
- ¼ cup whole milk Greek yogurt, optional
- ⅔ cup unsweetened almond milk
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon or apple pie spice
- Diced apple
- Chopped pecans
- Cinnamon Apples, optional
- Chia Jam, recipe below*
- Peanut butter
- Chopped strawberries
- Chopped peanuts
Chocolate Banana Bread
- ½ banana, mashed
- 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch nutmeg
- Banana slices
- Chopped walnuts
- Chocolate chips
Make the base recipe: In a Mason jar or other lidded jar, place the oats, chia seeds, maple syrup, salt, and Greek yogurt, if using. Add the almond milk and stir until the mixture is well combined and there are no clumps of chia seeds at the bottom of the jar. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or for up to 5 days.
In the morning, top with your desired toppings and serve with drizzles of maple syrup.
For apple pie overnight oats, stir the applesauce and cinnamon into the overnight oat base. Refrigerate overnight. In the morning, top with diced apple, chopped pecans, and cinnamon apples and drizzles of maple syrup, if desired.
For peach crisp overnight oats, make the plain overnight oat base. Refrigerate overnight. In the morning, top with peach slices, granola, and drizzles of maple syrup, if desired.
For PB&J overnight oats, make the plain overnight oat base. Refrigerate overnight. In the morning, top with chia jam, peanut butter, chopped strawberries, raspberries, and chopped peanuts.
For chocolate banana bread overnight oats, stir the mashed banana, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg into the overnight oat base. Refrigerate overnight. In the morning, top with banana slices, chopped walnuts, chocolate chips, and drizzles of maple syrup, if desired.
- 1 pound strawberries
- ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- Pinch of sea salt
- 3 tablespoons chia seeds
Place the strawberries, lemon juice, maple syrup, and salt in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until softened. Use a fork or a potato masher to mash the strawberries, keeping a few a little chunky. Remove from the heat and stir in the chia seeds. Transfer to a jar and let cool, uncovered, at room temperature, then cover and chill in the fridge.