How to Make Overnight Oats

Right this way to easy breakfast meal-prep.

Updated on April 12, 2024
Overnight oatmeal with raspberries, currants and tahini in jar. Healthy breakfast concept.


How to make overnight oats with raspberries

Photo by: vaaseenaa/Getty Images

vaaseenaa/Getty Images

By Heath Goldman and Emily Saladino for Food Network Kitchen

Don’t let the name fool you: overnight oats take just a few minutes to prepare. A no-cook wonder, this popular breakfast gets its beauty sleep overnight in the refrigerator and is at its best the following morning. Learning how to make overnight oats means you can have a wholesome and filling breakfast any day of the week — all you have to do is remember to quickly combine a few ingredients the night before. Here’s everything you need to know about overnight oats.

What Are Overnight Oats?

Overnight oats are uncooked oats that you soak overnight in the refrigerator in a container of yogurt, milk or another liquid. While oatmeal is meant to be eaten hot, overnight oats are cool and creamy. Like oatmeal, overnight oats can be made with different flavor profiles by switching up its soaking liquid and what you mix into it.

How to Make Overnight Oats

To make overnight oats, simply combine old-fashioned rolled oats with a liquid such as milk and, if you like, a sweetener, then let the mixture sit overnight in the refrigerator.

Overnight, the oats absorb some of the liquid and soften up, becoming delightfully chewy. The best oats for overnight oats are old-fashioned rolled oats because they maintain their texture during the overnight soak, so your overnight oatmeal is creamy, not mushy. However, if you’re in a pinch, you can use other types of oats by modifying your process.

Part of the fun of overnight oats is that you can customize them with different sorts of toppings — from berries to chocolate chips — so you never get bored. We prefer to stir in lighter fruit like berries the night before and add heavier fruits like banana slices in the morning, so the fruit doesn’t all sink to the bottom. Similarly, we recommend saving crisp toppings like nuts and cereal for topping just before you eat the oats in the morning, lest they get soggy. The sky’s the limit when it comes to mix-ins, but some of our favorites include: chopped mango, pomegranate seeds, hazelnuts, chocolate, tahini, banana slices, strawberry slices, orange zest and ground cardamom.

You can make overnight oats with old-fashioned rolled oats in three easy steps.

Step one: Combine the oats and liquid. Stir equal parts old-fashioned rolled oats and a liquid such as milk in a jar or container with a lid. If you’re adding any sweeteners or fruit like berries, stir those in now as well.

Step two: Cover and chill. Cover the container or seal the jar’s lid and store in the refrigerator overnight.

Step three: Enjoy! The next morning, your overnight oats will be smooth, creamy and ready to eat. If you’re using heavier fruit like pineapple chops or crisp mix-ins like nuts, sprinkle them on top of your oats and dig in.

Overnight Steel-cut Oats

Steel-cut oats are chopped up pieces of oats. They take longer to cook than rolled oats because the latter has been steamed and rolled out into large flakes. To make overnight steel-cut oats, we recommend soaking them for at least two nights instead of one.

Overnight Instant Oats

Instant or quick oats are steamed longer than rolled oats and rolled out into even flatter flakes. While you can use them to make overnight oatmeal, instant oats are wont to dissolve, so you’ll end up with a more pudding-like creation (but hey, it’ll still be tasty and nourishing).

Overnight Oats Using Yogurt vs Milk

You can use cow’s milk, oat milk or any plant-based milk to make overnight oats. For richer, creamier results, we also like adding regular yogurt or plant-based yogurt. The best ratio of milk to oats is 1:1 oats to milk. If you want to add additional creaminess with yogurt, you can add half as much yogurt as milk, for a ratio of 2:2:1 for oats:milk:yogurt.

Healthy Homemade Overnight Oats Oatmeal with Chia and Peanut Butter


Healthy Homemade Overnight Oats Oatmeal with Chia and Peanut Butter

Photo by: bhofack2/Getty Images

bhofack2/Getty Images

The Best Overnight Oats Containers

You can make and serve overnight oats in any sort of vessel, although we like making them in the container that we plan on eating them in. Typically, we make overnight oats in jars that we can grab and eat on the go or at the kitchen table.

How Long Do Overnight Oats Last?

We recommend storing overnight oats in the refrigerator in airtight containers for up to five days. That means if you're meal-prepping on Sunday, you can make a work week’s worth of overnight oats and not have to think about breakfast again until Saturday. How convenient.

Overnight Oats Recipes

Openers and Cookmark and FN Star Winner and Ayesha Key Lime Pie

How to make overnight oats with three flavor profiles.



Our go-to overnight oats recipe can be customized with different flavor profiles, including spiced mango, chocolate-hazelnut or classic strawberry-banana.

Photo by: Stephen Johnson ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All rights Reserved

Stephen Johnson, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All rights Reserved

Fresh blueberries, lemon zest and a dash of brown sugar get a double dose of almond in this make-ahead breakfast. There's almond extract stirred into the milk and slivered almonds sprinkled on top.

Food Network Kitchen’s Healthy Overnight Carrot Cake Oats for Year of Oats/Drunk Pies/Diners, as seen on Food Network.


Overnight oats with carrot cake flavors

Photo by: Renee Comet ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Renee Comet, 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Inspired by sweet and nutty carrot cake, these overnight oats are packed with fiber and protein.

Overnight oats with blueberries

This easy overnight oats recipe can be made right in the jar you plan to serve it. Packed with yogurt, milk, freeze-dried blueberries and flax seed, it's a hearty way to start your day.

Related Links:

Next Up

What Are Steel Cut Oats?

And how are they different from rolled oats?

How to Make Oat Flour

And how to use this versatile, wholesome alternative flour.

What Is Porridge?

And how is it different from oatmeal?

How to Make Oat Milk

Plus, how to use it in place of dairy milk.

How to Cook Quinoa

Learn how to cook quinoa to fluffy, nutty perfection by following these five simple steps.

How to Rinse Quinoa

Four easy ways to wash the popular ancient grain.

What Is Corn Flour?

Learn what sets corn flour apart from cornstarch, cornmeal and masa harina, plus how to use and store it.

Grits vs Polenta: What's the Difference?

Plus, a step-by-step guide for making each.

What Is Hominy?

Plus, how to cook it and what to make with it.

How to Make Scrambled Eggs: A Step-By-Step Guide

Here, how to make fluffy scrambled eggs two ways.

More from:

Cooking School

Latest Stories