Overnight Oats – my new favorite way to eat oatmeal

Mr. Johns and I try to eat oatmeal for breakfast just about every day. Each trip to Costco, I toss a seven-pound bag of organic steel cut oats in the shopping basket because the price is right and I can’t find steel cut oats locally in the quantity that serves us our daily bowls of steaming goodness.

I think it’s about time to skip the oats-aisle because I counted six unopened seven-pounders in the pantry the other day, while looking for a package of rolled oats. Unsuccessful in my search, I was able to buy organic rolled oats in bulk from Blue Water Natural Foods for an excellent price.

Oatmeal is an incredibly healthy addition to your daily diet. Nutrients like fiber (4g per serving) to help you feel full longer, more protein than most grains (5g per serving), magnesium, potassium, and omega 3 fatty acids, just to name a few, fill your bowl of oats.

Oats are one versatile power food, since you can add essentially any fruit, nut, nut butter or other topping to it and have something different every day.

The only drawback I’ve found is that since I don’t use a microwave and do all of my oats-cooking on the stovetop, it takes a while for the oats to cook… especially the coarser steel-cut oats. I’ve tried cooking them in the slow cooker overnight but don’t like how soggy they are in the morning.

For the steel-cut oats, the package says, “Ready in Seven Minutes!” but I’ve found it takes about triple that on the stovetop, with a little more water than directed, for our elevation of over 5,000 feet.

Planning for a recent road trip, I decided that in order for us to get out of the house quickly and still have a filling, nutritious breakfast rather than grabbing food on the road, we were going to try this thing I’d heard about called, “Overnight Oats.” I don’t know what’s taken me so long to add this method of “cooking” oatmeal to our morning menu.

Overnight Oats are oats that you’ve prepared the night before in a jar or other glass container, and you don’t cook them. Instead, you add proper proportions of milk, oats, and other goodies to that jar, stick it in the fridge and let the oats soak up the liquids while you’re snoozing. There’s no need to wait for water to boil, no pot to stir, no sticky pot to clean, and it takes just a few minutes to assemble.

After the oats have soaked up the liquid, you’re rewarded with a delicious, filling meal that you can eat on the go if you want.

I never really gave much thought to the damage that heat causes oats, but soaking them rather than boiling them helps the starches to break down and reduces the natural phytic acid that helps your body soak up the nutrients more effectively. They’re easier to digest than regular cooked oats, which is always a bonus. You can soak just about any type of raw oats, but rolled oats seem to work best.

He was skeptical when I handed him a mason jar and a spoon and told him to dig in. I figured we’d probably be stopping for an early lunch. Instead, we were both surprised at how delicious and satisfying our creamy jars of oats were. It was almost like eating a dessert for breakfast since our oats contained cacao powder, coconut, pecans and maple syrup as add-ins. It was really good stuff and is my new go-to for busy mornings.

As long as you don’t add fresh fruit, Overnight Oats can stay good in the refrigerator for up to five days, which makes it ideal for weekly meal planning on Sundays.

Give it a try, and don’t be afraid to come up with your own flavor combinations.

For one not-huge-but-good-size-for-me-because-I-also-eat-eggs serving, I used 1/3 cup oats.
Because I love ch-ch-ch-chia seeds, I used a whole tablespoon.
Super food raw Cacao, about 1/2 a tablespoon, whatever that measures out to be… I haven’t had enough coffee to do the math and was trying to use minimal tools. Notice the 1/3 cup is still sticking around?


A good splash of Vermont maple syrup for added minerals and sweetness…
I don’t drink milk (because I believe only baby cows should actually drink milk straight up – I cook with half-n-half and heavy cream whenever I can) but I found vanilla almond milk the other day at a local grocer and decided to give it a try. I think chocolate coconut milk would be amaaaazing in this recipe.
Equal parts oats and “milk”…
And this is what happens when I try to photograph and pour at the same time.

Stir it all up. Stick it in the fridge for at least two hours. Enjoy an easy, healthy, no mess, no fuss breakfast… or snack… or dessert, depending on your add-ins 🙂

After three hours in the fridge, the almond milk was absorbed into the oats and ch-ch-ch-chia, and it’s ready to eat!
Almost like a pudding… and SO tasty! You can warm it up if you don’t like it cold. I like it cold.

Overnight Oats Base Recipe – Makes One Serving
½ cup rolled old fashioned oats
½ cup milk of choice (I used vanilla almond milk)
¼ cup non-fat Greek yogurt (optional – I forgot to add this and it was delicious)
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon sweetener of choice, honey, or maple syrup (I used maple syrup)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used vanilla almond milk)

Place all ingredients into a glass jar, bowl or other container and mix until combined. Cover the glass container with a lid or plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Toppings can be added when you’re preparing it the night before, or immediately before serving. If it’s took thick for your liking, thin it with a little more milk or water, if desired.

Mix-in Options:
Almond Joy
¼ cup shredded coconut
1 tablespoon almonds, chopped
1 tablespoon chocolate chips
2 teaspoons maple syrup

Banana Nutella
½ banana sliced
1 tablespoon Nutella (or other chocolate-hazelnut spread)
1 tablespoon hazelnuts, crushed
1 tablespoon chocolate chips

Peanut Butter & Jelly
1 tablespoon strawberry jam
1 tablespoon peanut butter
¼ cup diced strawberries
2 tablespoons peanuts, crushed

Banana Bread
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1-2 tablespoons crushed walnuts or pecans
½ banana, sliced

Cinnamon Apple
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon or apple pie spice.
Use diced apple as your fruit of choice
1-2 tablespoons raisins
Crushed walnuts if desired

Printed with permission of the Alpine Avalanche


2 thoughts on “Overnight Oats – my new favorite way to eat oatmeal

  1. Delicious recipe and interesting options! I will defo try the peanut butter/strawberry jam one. Only, I don’t understand why you keep your oats in the fridge. If you leave them on the counter you will have them pre-fermented, means even healthier. Yes, they will be as tasty as from the fridge if not better (I personally hate cold food, especially if infused with fridge smells). My favorite overnight oats are layered rather than mixed. You know, a layer of oats, a layer of fruit, a layer of nuts so on. All soaked in milk kefir or water.
    You are right, oats are superfood.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Anna- I am so happy you suggested leaving the oats out overnight for the pre-fermentation! I left my half-pint on the kitchen counter last night, and when I opened it this morning, I was greeted with the familiar sound of fermentation… a “whoooosh” from the jar 🙂 The oats had the slight tangy taste I love about fermented foods, and I’m so excited to introduce another fermented item to my diet, so THANK YOU!!!


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