You are going to love this easy recipe for Overnight Oats! It's the best basic oatmeal recipe, takes just minutes to prepare, and is easily customizable to your favorite flavors.
This Overnight Oats recipe uses rolled oats, your favorite milk, and any number of mix-ins and toppings.
I've previously made Chocolate Overnight Oats, Blueberry Overnight Oats, and Strawberry Overnight Oats, but this recipe is different because it's simply flavored with vanilla and cinnamon, unsweetened, and a blank canvas for your creative oatmeal additions.
OVERNIGHT OATS RECIPE
The simple overnight oats recipe that I'm sharing with you is my all-time favorite. This is the go-to recipe that I make when I'm looking for a healthy breakfast that will give me tons of morning energy.
In the hours while you sleep, oats and milk hang out in the fridge, getting perfectly soft and thick. They will be ready to eat when you wake up hungry.
Overnight oats are perfect if you aren't a morning person. There's no thinking or cooking involved in the early hours. Simply grab your overnight oats from the fridge and dig in!
The recipe makes two servings, so you can share with your spouse, your kids, or just enjoy a larger serving all to yourself!
The most fun part of these overnight oats is choosing what to have with them! I'll share tons of flavor options and oatmeal topping ideas below.
INGREDIENTS IN OVERNIGHT OATS
Gluten Free Oats - Of course, we need oats to make overnight oats! If you're shopping, look for old-fashioned rolled oats. The types of oats labeled "quick" or "instant" will turn mushy overnight, and steel-cut oats will stay too hard. I recommend using Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Old Fashion Rolled Oats.
Milk - Any kind of milk can be used to make overnight oats. Dairy or any variety of non-dairy milk will work including oat milk, almond milk, hemp milk, or soy milk. You can even use water, but milk makes a much better final product.
Cinnamon - I love the little bit of spice that a dash of ground cinnamon adds to oatmeal. To me, oatmeal is not quite right without it. This ingredient is not required though, so leave it out if you prefer.
Vanilla - This gives your overnight oats a warm, delicious flavor. Again, you have options when it comes to flavor, so keep reading.
Toppings - Your only limit is your imagination when it comes to overnight oats toppings. Berries, seeds, and nuts are a great place to start.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT GLUTEN FREE OATS
If you're new to eating gluten-free, or just curious, you may be wondering why I need to specify "gluten free" oats. Oats aren't wheat, right? Shouldn't they be naturally gluten-free?
It's true that oats are a completely different grain than wheat, and in their pure form, they don't contain gluten. The issue is that not all oats are pure.
Oats can be contaminated with gluten in two ways. One is that during processing there could be cross-contact with wheat. The other, more complicated issue is called agricultural comingling. This is where oats, as they are growing, can be contaminated with wheat grains due to shared equipment, storage facilities, and even natural activities like wind and birds.
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY OATS ARE GLUTEN FREE?
There are many oat producers that go through extra steps now to ensure that their product is free from gluten. These steps include following a "purity protocol" and mechanically sorting the grains. Some companies do both of these things, while others choose one or the other methods.
Products that have been verified as gluten-free by a third party will be labeled as "certified gluten free" and will be the safest. Consuming oats that are not certified can be risky.
HOW TO MAKE OVERNIGHT OATS
I'm not sure that a recipe can get any easier than this one!
- Mix the oats, milk, cinnamon, and vanilla in a medium-sized bowl or jar.
- Cover and place in the fridge overnight (for at least 12 hours for the best texture).
- Stir, and enjoy cold with your choice of toppings.
OVERNIGHT OATS FLAVOR OPTIONS
This is the fun part! Cinnamon and vanilla give this overnight oats recipe a great, but basic flavor. You can do so much more. Try some of these flavor options for your overnight oats.
Peanut Butter - Add 1-2 tablespoons of peanut butter (or any nut butter) to the recipe.
Easy Fruit Flavor - Choose your favorite fruit jam or preserves and stir in 1-2 tablespoons before chilling. You can also include chopped or pureed fresh or frozen fruit.
PB&J - Add the peanut butter AND the Jam!
Chocolate - Chocolate syrup does a great job of making your overnight oats a chocolatey delight! For extra fun add some mini chocolate chips too.
Make it Sweet - As written, this recipe is unsweetened. Add a teaspoon or more of honey, agave, regular or brown sugar, or your favorite sugar substitute.
New Flavors - Instead of vanilla extract, try coconut, almond, or your favorite baking extract.
BEST TOPPINGS FOR OVERNIGHT OATS
Seeds- Seeds are a tasty way to get some nutrition and a bit of crunch. Try chia, sesame, pumpkin, or flax seeds on your overnight oats.
Nuts - Slivered almonds are one of my favorites, but you can use any nuts that you like.
Fruit- If there is fresh fruit in the fridge, it's going in my oatmeal. Berries, chopped apples or pears, peaches, pineapple, and bananas are some of my favorites.
Coconut- Sweetened or unsweetened flaked coconut is delicious in overnight oats.
Granola- Add some crunch by including some of your favorite granola or cereal on top.
Honey, maple syrup, or brown sugar can be added the night before or drizzled/sprinkled on top before you eat.
DO YOU EAT OVERNIGHT OATS COLD OR HOT?
Overnight oats are meant to be enjoyed cold. If we wanted hot oatmeal, we could just cook it in the morning, right? We're trying to save precious morning time by making our breakfast the day before! That said, you can warm up your overnight oats if you'd like to. Just microwave them in a bowl for a minute or so to take the chill off.
HOW LONG CAN I LEAVE OVERNIGHT OATS IN THE FRIDGE?
You should give your oats at least 12 hours to soak in the fridge before enjoying them. After that point, the oats have absorbed all of the milk that they are going to absorb, and so the mixture can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days. This makes it perfect for meal prepping!
PREP OVERNIGHT OATS FOR A WEEK
To make 5 servings of overnight oats using this recipe, use 2.5 cups each of oats and milk, mixed with 1 ¼ teaspoons each of cinnamon and vanilla extract.
WHAT IS THE BEST OVERNIGHT OATS RATIO?
When I make overnight oats, the basic ratio is one part old-fashioned oats to one part milk. So if I want 2 cups of oats, I'll use two cups of milk, and if I want ½ cup of oats, I'll use ½ cup of milk. This overnight oats ratio is super simple to remember, you might not even need to write it down!
I like this 1:1 ratio because I find that the oats are perfectly thick and not too liquidy when I make them this way. If you prefer your overnight oats thinner, you can add additional milk. For thicker oatmeal, add less milk.
You can also add greek yogurt into the mix! The ratio for that looks like 1:1:½. Use 1 cup oats, 1 cup milk, and ½ cup of greek yogurt to create a thick, creamy overnight oatmeal with extra protein.
CAN I MAKE OVERNIGHT OATS WITH YOGURT?
Yes! Follow the ratio in the previous paragraph. You can't use only yogurt though. You need to use both milk and yogurt in overnight oats, or you'll end up with a very gluey mixture. Add half as much greek yogurt as milk. It's also acceptable to add the yogurt in the morning instead. Just stir it in with your berries. Yum!
WHY ARE MY OVERNIGHT OATS MUSHY?
If I had to guess, I'd probably say that you're using the wrong type of oatmeal. Make sure that you are using rolled old-fashioned oats, rather than quick or instant oats.
HOW CAN I ADD PROTEIN TO OVERNIGHT OATS?
Adding Greek yogurt is an excellent way to get some extra protein into your breakfast. You can also include a serving of your favorite protein powder. Results will vary based on the type and brand, so you may need to try out a few different types before you find one that's really tasty in oatmeal.
Did you make these overnight oats? Please leave us a comment below letting us know what you thought.
- 1 cup rolled old fashioned gluten free oats
- 1 cup milk (dairy or non-dairy)
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Toppings (all optional): fresh berries, yogurt, honey, chocolate chips, peanut butter
- Mix the oats, milk, cinnamon, and vanilla in a medium sized bowl or jar.
- Place in the fridge overnight (at least 12 hours).
- Stir and top with your choice of toppings. Enjoy cold.
- This recipe makes two servings of overnight oatmeal. You can enjoy both servings by yourself, or split the mixture into smaller containers. You can also cut the recipe in half to make a single serving.
- Don't use quick oats or instant oats to make this recipe. They will get mushy.
- Be sure to use "old-fashioned" oats, never quick or instant oats for this method. Check labels to be sure that your oats are gluten-free too. I recommend using Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Old Fashion Rolled Oats.
- Get creative with flavors and toppings. This recipe is like a blank canvas!
- You can add ½ cup of greek yogurt to the recipe. This will make your overnight oats thicker, and add protein.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 543Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 198mgCarbohydrates: 63gFiber: 7gSugar: 41gProtein: 16g
This nutrition info is based on the exact ingredients and brands that I used a the time. It may not be 100% accurate. Please check your ingredients nutrition labels.