I love overnight oats, mostly because they fit perfectly into my cooking mantra of “quick, healthy, and cheap”. However, since they’re served usually cold straight from the fridge, I don’t generally eat them during the winter and early spring months. Of course, if you prefer them warm you can always use your microwave or stove after they’ve soaked overnight, but the texture may change a bit.

Basic formula

1 part rolled oats

2 parts milk

  • Rolled oats are the best place to start. Quick cook oats will result in a significantly softer and more mushy oatmeal, and steel cut oats will need a longer soaking time (a full day or more) and strong teeth.
  • Use whatever milk you like best, whether it’s animal or plant-based; non, low or full-fat; pre-sweetened or flavored.
  • Place the ingredients in whatever container you like that you can seal (mason jars are handy, but tupperware, or a bowl or mug with plastic wrap over the top works fine too), refrigerate overnight, and enjoy in the morning.
  • They last a week in the fridge so they’re perfect to make over the weekend for weekday grab and go breakfasts.

How to make it “yours”

  • Add yogurt in place of some of the milk. This will up the protein content and make your oats creamier, but you’ll want to decrease your milk by the amount of yogurt you add. (½ C oats, ⅔ C milk, ⅓ C yogurt)
  • Add seeds or nuts. Chia seeds are a popular addition, as they create a pudding like consistency. Shelled hemp seeds are my personal go-to, because they have a great omega fatty acid ratio and are really mild in flavor. Almonds, pecans, walnuts, peanuts, sunflower or sesame seeds – go crazy and try them all. If you use flax seeds, grind them before using – their outer coating is indigestible.
  • Add fruit. Berries, bananas, and apples are some of my favorites, along with raisins and dried cranberries, but use what you like.
  • Spice. Cinnamon, nutmeg, even cayenne or black pepper, vanilla extract – raid your baking pantry and try some new combinations. Spices are great for you and are a fantastic way to bump up the flavor without adding sugar or salt.
  • Sweetener. Depending on your palate and the fruits, milk, and spices you’re adding, you might not need any, so I always suggest you start without. If you do decide to add some, start with small amounts – you can always add more but you can’t take it back out. Adding maple syrup, honey, or coconut sugar will add a slight but distinct flavor; just remember that there aren’t any sugars that are healthier than others.

Here are a few recipes to get you started:

Chocolate Peanut Butter

To your base ratio, add:

2 Tablespoons unsweetened natural peanut butter

2 Tablespoons cocoa powder

Salt and sweetener to your preference

Carrot Cake

To your base ratio, add:

1 Tablespoon seeds of your choice

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large carrot, shredded

¼ Cup raisins

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Salt and sweetener to your preference

Optional:

2 Tablespoons softened cream cheese

Pumpkin Spice

To your base ratio, add:

1 Tablespoon seeds of your choice

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

½ Cup plain pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

⅛ teaspoon ground cloves

Salt and sweetener to your preference

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