So what are overnight oats?
Overnight oats is an alternative way of preparing oatmeal that doesn’t involve any cooking. Rather than the traditional method of boiling oats, overnight oats are mixed with milk, or a dairy-free alternative, and left overnight in the fridge, allowing the oats to hydrate. While you're sleeping, the overnight oats absorb the liquid and other ingredients, soften up, and form a delicious texture that makes for a great breakfast food. Add in some extras ingredients still, like chia seeds, Greek yogurt, fruit, vanilla, flax, or peanut butter, and you have yourself a delicious and healthy breakfast.
And all of the work happens overnight.
The best thing about overnight oats? Having the perfect overnight oats recipe really is a matter of preference, but there are so many different oatmeal recipes and store-bought options! It won’t, more than likely, take you long to find your favorite flavor of the overnight oats recipe. And if you are worried about getting tired of the same ingredients and oatmeal flavor, overnight oats are so versatile that you can change it up whenever you want. From pumpkin to peanut butter, there are so many different, healthy things you can mix-in, making it easy to switch things up. On top of that, if you’re looking for really convenient breakfast options, there are many delicious store-bought brands too. A great option is Oats Overnight, which comes in many different flavors, including special seasonal ones.
Are overnight oats healthy?
Yes. However, it depends on what ingredients you end up adding to your overnight oats. Overnight oats themselves are very healthy and make for a great breakfast. They contain a wide range of vitamins and minerals, including manganese, phosphorus, calcium, and other essential nutrients. Not to mention, overnight oats also contain protein and fiber!
Despite all of these healthy nutrients, adding ingredients such as sugar and Nutella can quickly turn a super-healthy breakfast into an unhealthy one. With so many nutritious add-ons to choose from, try to stick to adding minimal sweeteners, less-processed ingredients, and healthy add-ins to keep your overnight oats healthy.
Also, something to add is that the least processed oats will have the most nutrients. As a result, if you are aiming for health, choose the less processed oats, such as rolled oats to make your oatmeal with, instead of the more processed ones, like quick oats.
What oats should I use to make overnight oats?
Quick oats, also known as instant oats, or pre-packaged oats, are a great option for overnight oats. Quick Oats are very similar to rolled oats, except they have a finer cut, and are thinner. This increased amount of processing makes them easier to digest. However, since they are processed, they contain less fiber and protein compared to other oats.
You can use instant oatmeal, but keep in mind that instant oatmeal is heavily processed and is steamed, rolled, dehydrated, and then toasted. As a result of it being heavily processed, it takes little prep time and is easy to digest. When you let these oats sit in a liquid of your choosing overnight, be prepared for them to turn into a super thick porridge-like consistency come breakfast time.
Yes, you can have regular oats in the form of overnight oats, but it is important to be aware that regular oats are not nearly as processed as instant oatmeal. Typically, regular oats have only been steamed and grounded, and still retains its fibrous husk. Like instant oats, they come in a powder-like form, but are a lot thicker than their instant oatmeal counterpart. As a result, overnight oats made with regular oats will have a chunkier consistency than quick oats, and will have a lot more nutrients because of the minimal amount of processing.
Old fashioned Oats:
Old fashioned oats, also known as rolled oats, are formed when the whole oat groat, the fiber-rich portion of the oat, is steamed and rolled flat. Old fashioned oats are harder to blend and do not turn into a mushy, more easily digestible texture, as many of the other oat varieties do. However, the different texture is why many people really like to use rolled oats when preparing their overnight oats. The increased texture and less mushy consistency often makes rolled oats the preference for overnight oats connoisseurs.
Can you have overnight oats with water instead of milk?
Yes, you can have overnight oats with water instead of milk, if you are okay with the taste being quite a bit blander. Typically it is recommended that you eat your overnight oats either with milk, or a milk substitute, such as almond, rice, coconut, hazelnut, or soy. If you do decide to consume your overnight oats with water, make sure to add some extra ingredients, such as banana, nuts, or yogurt, for added flavor. The difference in taste is comparable to the difference between having cereal with water, versus cereal with milk. Both are viable options. Typically, one way is better than the other, depending on your preference.
Can you have overnight oats with milk?
Yes, and it is recommended that you make them with milk if you can. As mentioned above, whether you are preparing oatmeal, or overnight oats in a breakfast shake, using milk or a milk alternative is ideal. It’s a perfect combination of consistency and flavor (and a little protein). Eating healthy should taste good. Using milk as the base for your overnight oats allows the oats to absorb the flavor of the milk, making for a creamy, delicious breakfast.
Can you have overnight oats dairy-free?
Yes. There are tons of great-tasting ways to eat overnight oats dairy-free. As mentioned above, you can have overnight oats dairy-free with any of the milk alternatives, such as almond, soy, walnut, hazelnut, coconut, rice, and hemp milk. Each type of milk will give the oats a different flavor, so experiment with the different alternative milk options to see which type you like best.
Overnight Oats Recipes to Try:
1 - Base Recipe
This recipe is a great place to start. Make the base, and then add in any mix-ins of your choice!
The ingredients you will need:
- 2 cups of oats
- 2 cups of milk (dairy or non-dairy)
- ¾ c Greek or non-dairy yogurt
- 1 T Chia Seeds (optional)
- 3 T of honey, coconut sugar, or maple syrup
- Simply stir together and put into individual jars.
- Put the jars in the fridge overnight.
- Feel free to add fruit, nut butters, or any other healthy toppings of your choice right before eating.
2 - Chocolate Chia Surprise
Perfect for any chocolate lover to start your day with a sweet and healthy breakfast.
The ingredients you will need:
- two very ripe bananas
- 4 tbsp of cacao powder
- 4 tbsp of raw honey or coconut sugar
- 3 cups of milk or milk alternative
- 1 cup of rolled oats (you can choose other oat varieties here instead)
- 6 tbsp chia seeds
- In one bowl, mix the banana, the cacao powder, and the sweetener. Make sure to mix everything really good so that it becomes a smooth paste. Add a little bit of water if needed to allow it to mix better.
- Mix in the oats and chia seeds.
- Mix in the milk.
- Stir continuously until it is well-mixed.
- Put it in the fridge overnight.
- If you prefer to have this warm, put the mixture into a saucepan in the morning and cook on low-to-medium heat for about 5 minutes.
3 - Green Sunrise
With a serving of fruit and vegetables to start your morning off right!
The ingredients you will need:
- 2 cups of spinach (kale can be used instead)
- 2 very ripe bananas (the riper it is the sweeter it will be)
- 3 tbsp of chia seeds
- 2 cups of milk or milk alternative
- ⅔ cup of rolled oats (use other oats if desired)
- Using a blender, blend the spinach (or kale), bananas, chia seeds, and milk.
- Add oats to a bowl.
- Pour contents from the blender on top of the oats.
- Place the bowl with the oats and blended smoothie in the fridge and leave overnight.
- In the morning, stir the oatmeal together and enjoy cold.
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