Easy Overnight Oats Recipe + Tips

Heather Dessinger

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overnight oats recipe

My littles aren’t quite so little anymore, which means they sleep longer and start chores without a word from me. In fact, these days I can usually get through half a cup of coffee before anyone even talks to me, which is . . . well, awesome.

But while my morning routine is more relaxed these days, our family life is bursting at the seams more than ever. There’s jiu jitsu, chess class, sushi rolling class, ukulele practice, sauna sessions, weekly family meetings, and a dozen other things to work into our routine.

Do I love it? Yes.

Does it take a little effort to create room for all these experiences without making everyone feel stressed out and overscheduled? Also yes.

That’s why I love overnight oats. If you don’t already love them too, I think you will soon. We’ll dive into why in just a minute, but first you might wondering . . .

easy overnight oats recipe

What exactly are overnight oats?

Basically, they’re oatmeal that has been made via a cold process (overnight soaking) instead of a hot process (stovetop cooking). Soaking reduces the amount of phytic acid found in oats, making them easier to digest.

Creamy and delicious, overnight oatmeal is also chock-full of resistant starch.

Our bodies can’t digest resistant starch, but it’s the preferred food of many types of beneficial bacteria that live in our digestive tract.

Resistant starch breaks down when heated, so it’s mostly found in cooked and cooled dishes (like potato salad) or never-cooked recipes (like these overnight oats).

Of course, there are a whole lot of reasons to make overnight oats that have nothing to do with gut health. Here are some of them:

Benefits of Overnight Oats

Saves Time On Meal Prep – Overnight oats can be stored in the fridge for up to five days, so you can make a big batch over the weekend to use throughout the week.

Less Mess – There’s no scrubbing of pots or gloopy stirring spoons required.

Customizable + Lots of Flavor Options – The toppings can be easily customized for each person in your family so everyone is happy. Also, there are so many flavor options it’s pretty much impossible to get bored with them.

Travel-Friendly – Batches can be mixed up in individual mason jars for an easy grab-and-go breakfast. Also, because no cooking is needed, overnight oats are easy to prepare on road trips when you don’t have access to a kitchen.

easy overnight oats gluten free

Basic Overnight Oats Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need:

Rolled oats – We use gluten-free old fashioned oats. Steel cut oats and quick cooking oats/quick oats are not recommended.

Yogurt – Greek yogurt, regular yogurt and dairy-free yogurt will all work. I prefer the texture that regular yogurt or my dairy-free coconut yogurt creates, but some people prefer the thicker texture that Greek yogurt yields. All are delicious, so you could try a few different options and see which one is your favorite.

Homemade oat milk, almond milk, dairy-milk or water – Full-fat coconut milk can also be used but I’ve found that it tends to make the consistency a little too thick so I recommended diluting it with water. I use a 50/50 mix.

Chia seeds – Rich in antioxidants like chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, myricetin, quercetin, and kaempferol, chia seeds give overnight oats a creamy, pudding-like texture.

Liquid sweetener of choice – We like maple syrup, but honey will also work. Once you’ve mastered the basic recipe, you can also try variations like substituting strawberry jam, peach jam, or whatever flavor you prefer.

Vanilla extract – Pretty much every flavor combination I’ve tried tastes better with a splash of vanilla so I include it in my base recipe. If you’ve ever been curious about making your own, here’s how.

Pinch of salt – Salt is a flavor enhancer that brings out the natural nutty flavor of the oats.

overnight oats recipe mix ins

Optional Mix-Ins:

There are two basic ways to flavor your overnight oats. One is to mix-in spices or flavored extracts into the base recipe so that they’re evenly distributed throughout the oats, and the other is to add toppings just before serving so they don’t get soggy.

Here are some yummy topping ideas:

  • Fresh fruit like blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, sliced bananas, chopped apples or cherries
  • Dried fruit like raisins, figs or cranberries
  • Chopped nuts for a little crunch factor (almonds, pecans, cashews, etc.)
  • Almond butter or other nut butter
  • Homemade strawberry jam, blackberry jam, or peach jam
  • Flax seeds

And here are some mix-in options that can be blended into the base recipe:

Tips For Making Overnight Oats

Leave your overnight oats plain while they soak overnight, then add toppings like berries or nuts in the morning. That way, your toppings are fresh instead of mushy. There is an exception to this recommendation, though. As I mentioned above, spices and extracts should be added when the base recipe is mixed so they are evenly distributed.

Give your overnight oats a stir before you add mix-ins in the morning. This ensures that the texture is even throughout.

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5 from 6 votes

Easy Overnight Oats Recipe

With endless flavor options and a delicious creamy consistency, this overnight oats recipe is the perfect make-ahead breakfast for busy mornings.
Keyword gluten-free, dairy optional
Prep Time 5 minutes
Soaking Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 5 minutes
Servings 1
Calories 404kcal
Author Heather Dessinger


  • jar
  • measuring spoons
  • measuring cups
  • stirring spoon


  • ½ cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • cup milk, homemade oat milk, almond milk, water or coconut milk (coconut milk tends to over-thicken the oats so I recommend a 50/50 mix of coconut milk and water)
  • ¼ cup yogurt (We use this dairy-free coconut yogurt and love it, but Greek yogurt is also a good option that makes it super creamy)
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1-2 tbsp liquid sweetener (maple syrup or honey – a small amount of stevia or monk fruit could be substituted)
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt


  • Add oats, chia seeds, and salt to a jar. Stir to mix.
  • Next, add in the yogurt, sweetener, vanilla, and milk. Stir, then cover the jar with a lid.
  • Place the jar in the fridge for at least 6 hours. If you're adding spices or flavored extracts, stir them into the milk before pouring.
  • The next morning, add desired mix-ins, then serve.


Calculations are based on dairy milk, maple syrup as a sweetener. Salt is not factored into the estimate. 
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Calories: 404kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 96mg | Potassium: 581mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 331IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 393mg | Iron: 3mg

Overnight oats FAQs

Why are steel cut oats and quick cooking oats/quick oats not recommended?

While you can technically use them, I’ve found that rolled oats yield the best result in terms of texture.

How long do overnight oats last in the fridge?

The base recipe (without mix-ins added) will last up to five days.

Can I make overnight oats without yogurt?

Yes, you can use milk, dairy-free milk or water in place of the yogurt. The overnight oats will not be as creamy but they’ll still be good.

More Healthy Breakfast Ideas

Berry Smoothie With Gut-Friendly Resistant Starch – Quick, kid-friendly and easy to customize with nutrient-dense additions, this smoothie makes an easy snack or breakfast addition on busy days.

Easy Breakfast Egg Muffins With Cheese – These muffins only take 10 minutes of hands-on prep time, and they’re perfect for a sit-down brunch or an on-the-go meal.

Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal With Vanilla Glaze – Something about this pumpkin baked oatmeal makes ordinary mornings feel a little more cozy and warm. Maybe it’s the pumpkin puree that gives it a chewy, creamy texture, or the warming spices, or the vanilla glaze drizzled over the top. Whatever the reason, it’s a family favorite for sure.

easy overnight oats recipe gluten free

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Heather is a holistic health educator, herbalist, DIYer, Lyme and mold warrior. Since founding Mommypotamus.com in 2009, Heather has been taking complicated health research and making it easy to understand. She shares tested natural recipes and herbal remedies with millions of naturally minded mamas around the world. 

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Recipe Rating

11 thoughts on “Easy Overnight Oats Recipe + Tips”

  1. 5 stars
    I strenuously beg to differ on the steel cut oats being unacceptable for overnight oats. I have used steel cut oats exclusively ever since I found out that rolled oats are more processed and CAN contain other ingredients and additives. Steel cut oats are lower on the glycemic index and have more soluble fiber, which acts as a prebiotic, and both are advantageous to diabetics who still want to eat oatmeal occasionally.
    I have made overnight steel cut oats many times, and while they do require more liquid, they are wonderful tasting. I purchase organic sprouted oats, something you can’t do with rolled oats, as far as I know. I have used a similar recipe to yours, using chia seeds, walnut butter, frozen blueberries, cinnamon, salt, adding either heavy cream powder or using 1/2 & 1/2 as part of the liquid, and a small amount of bocha sweet, a 0 glycemic sugar substitute made from the Kabocha plant. It is used like sugar 1/1 and has no aftertaste like stevia, which having tried multiple times, I can’t stand. (same with monkfruit, which to me tastes exactly like stevia!) I also would not recommend using a large quart jar to make this in, as the nut butter and chia seeds caused it to clump rather well, making it almost impossible to get out…my fault as I forgot to add the nut butter until after it was all stirred up, so it clumped together…ANYway, I am now on my way to make it as this post has me hungering for some overnight oats tomorrow, or even later tonight! Oh, I always add a pat of organic grass fed butter to the finished hot product, as that’s how my dad used to make me oatmeal when I was a child…oats, milk, butter and salt…yum.

    • Thanks for the great ideas, Heather. And thanks to Carol for the comment about the steel cut oats. I recently read in The Book of Fermentation by Katz that it is a good idea to soak steel cut oats for about 8 hours or more to encourage a little fermentation. I have tried this and it has great texture and taste. You could put the oats on to soak in the morning and prepare the overnight oats recipe in the evening. I plan to try it!

  2. This recipe seems to be almost identically copy from another popular foodie, Feel Good Foodie.

    Give credit were it is due.

    • Hi Healthy foodie, my comment policy requires the use of a real first name and a valid email address so normally this comment wouldn’t be published, but because it seems clarification is needed I’ve decided to publish it and respond.

      I’m not aware of the specifics of the recipe you mentioned, but I can assure you that the above recipe is likely similar to it and all the other ones for overnight oats on the internet. There are two reasons for that:

      * Overnight oats require a very simple ingredient list – oats, liquid, sweetener, and thickener

      * Ingredients are easier to measure when they follow familiar ratios – 1/4 cup vs 5.5 tablespoons for example

      With that said, the recipe I published was developed in collaboration with my kids, who not only taste tested but contributed their own recommendations. We tried some with flax seeds instead of chia, some with full-fat coconut milk, some with just water, some without yogurt, plus lots of different ingredient ratios and mix-ins.

      I didn’t invent overnight oats or chocolate chip cookies or a whole host of other staple recipes, but I do develop what I publish here, always.

  3. I love to use my twice strainer kefir in overnight oats. The kefir has a greek yogurt consistency. I mix the kefir and oatmeal and leave it in the fridge overnight, then add sweetner (maple syrup), vanilla and anything else I want to put in it.

  4. Oh my goodness! This was so delicious! I had all the ingredients, except for the chia seeds. I used what I had, which was shelled hemp hearts. I am definitely making this again! Thanks Heather!

  5. 5 stars
    I;ve read that you are supposed to rinse and wash the oats in the morning to wash away the phytic acid residue. Couldn’t I add all the fisin ingredients after that (the yogurt, nuts,raisins, vanilla, berries, salt, etc.)???

    • Woops, corrections:
      I’ve read that you are supposed to rinse and wash the oats in the morning to wash away the phytic acid residue. Couldn’t I add all the “fixins” ingredients after that (i.e. the yogurt, nuts,raisins, vanilla, berries, salt, etc.)???