Short of time in the morning and too busy to prepare a healthy breakfast? These healthy overnight oats recipes are easy to meal prep, full of goodness and you’ll love the delicious flavors.
Overnight Oats Meal Prep
If it’s anything like my house, mornings can be a bit of a rush. It’s easy to abandon plans for a healthy breakfast and pick up a tempting snack on the way to work. Often these snacks are full of sugar and unsaturated fats – not the best start to the day when you’re trying to eat better and lose weight.
This blog post may contain affiliate links. This means I receive a commission if you make a purchase through my links, but this is at no additional cost to you. Please read my disclaimer for more information
What Are Overnight Oats?
Overnight oats are simply raw rolled oats soaked in a liquid overnight. This simple process turns the hard little flakes of oats into a soft, creamy breakfast porridge. There’s no need to cook your oats in a microwave or on the stove.
You can make overnight oats with any type of milk, water, or even juice! I like to add some flax or chia seeds to recipes as they help to thicken the mixture and add an extra nutrient punch.
You can make all sorts of flavor combinations with overnight oats, from sweet to savory. The possibilities are endless!
The Health Benefits Of Overnight Oats
These overnight oats recipes are a healthy breakfast idea that works in both summer and winter. Here are some of the reasons why overnight oats are super healthy!
- Full of protein – Oats are high in protein and contain eight of the nine essential amino acids our bodies need to function. Combine with soy milk (or cow’s milk for non-vegans) for a complete protein-rich breakfast.
- High in fiber – Oats are rich in soluble fiber, which has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels, protect against heart disease, and aid digestion.
- Low in sugar – Oatmeal is low to medium on the glycemic index – it’s slowly digested and metabolized with a low impact on blood sugar levels.
- 100% whole grains – rich in antioxidants and incredibly nutritious.
Basic Overnight Oats Recipe
I love that you only need two ingredients to make overnight oats!
- Rolled Oats – you can use any type of oatmeal but old-fashioned rolled oats work best.
- Liquid – this can be milk, water, or even juice. Water is a good choice if you’re concerned about calories. The downside is your oats won’t be as creamy and could be a little runny. Avoid juice for weight loss – it’s full of sugar and can leave you feeling hungry. Milk works best. If you’re vegan choose from any plant-based non-dairy milk such as soy, oat milk, or almond milk. Soy is good for protein. Be wary of using coconut milk if you’re trying to lose weight – it’s very high in calories.
- Chia seeds or flax seeds – these superfoods are packed with healthy fats omega 3, antioxidants, protein, and fiber. They’re a great way to thicken your oats. Just half a tablespoon does the trick.
- Sweetener – This is down to personal preference. If you want to sweeten your oats try a little maple syrup or a natural sugar-free sweetener such as stevia. You could also add some mashed banana or unsweetened applesauce.
- Vanilla extract – adds a lovely flavor to your oats without adding any calories!
- Yogurt – for an extra creamy breakfast add a spoonful of yogurt on top of your overnight oats. Greek yogurt is wonderfully indulgent. Soy, coconut, or almond yogurt are good vegan options.
- Toppings – the fun part! Be creative and add whatever toppings you like. Fresh fruit, nuts, and seeds all work well.
The Best Basic Healthy Overnight Oats Recipe
Admittedly the best overnight oats healthy recipe can be down to personal preference – some people like them thick, some like them runny. I like mine somewhere in the middle – creamy, filling, and nutritious.
What is the best overnight oats recipe?
After a lot of trial and error I find this is the best overnight oats recipe:
1/2 CUP OF OATS + 1/2 CUP OF MILK
If you’re using flax or chia seeds to make overnight oats, the basic recipe is:
1/2 CUP OF OATS + 1/2 CUP OF MILK + 1/2 TBSP FLAX OR CHIA SEEDS
By all means, play around with the recipe to find what works best for you. You might need to add a little more liquid if your oats are too thick, or a little less if they’re too runny.
Adding more flax or chia seeds will make your overnight oats recipe thicker and creamier.
Some people like to add yogurt to their overnight oats recipe. This can be stirred into the mixture before leaving overnight. I find 1-2 tablespoons of yogurt (about 1/8 cup) is just the right amount but some people like to add more.
How To Make Overnight Oats (2 Simple Steps)
I love that this healthy recipe is so easy to make:
- Add your oats to a mason jar or bowl, mix in your optional ingredients (flax or chia seeds, yogurt, sweetener), and pour on your liquid. Stir well.
- Cover your overnight oatmeal mixture and leave in the fridge to soak overnight (or for at least 2 hours). It will be ready the next morning.
That’s all you have to do! It takes me less than 5 minutes. It really is the easiest make-ahead breakfast and perfect for meal prep on a budget!
Do I need to leave the oats soaking overnight?
For the best results yes – the longer you leave your overnight oatmeal mixture the thicker it will be. 2 hours is the absolute minimum – it’s best to refrigerate overnight.
Are overnight oats too thick or too thin?
- Too thick – add more milk and give the overnight oats a good mix.
- Too thin – stir in more oats and leave for at least 30 minutes before eating.
Are Overnight Oats Good For Losing Weight?
The answer is, yes! Overnight oats are a healthy breakfast idea that’s a great option if you’re trying to lose weight. They’re full of protein, high in fiber, and packed with nutrients.
Plus, with all the protein and fiber content, they’re very filling and will help to keep you feeling full until lunchtime – no more mid-morning snacking!
That said, there are a few things to watch out for if you’re looking for an overnight oats recipe for weight loss.
Tips – Healthy Overnight Oats Recipes For Weight Loss
- Portion control – just because something is healthy doesn’t mean you can eat unlimited amounts. It’s always best to measure quantities to hit your weight loss goals and keep an eye on your portion size.
- Liquid – whichever liquid you use will affect the number of calories. The nutritional information for the basic recipe is based on soya milk. Replacing with water reduces calories but full-fat milk or coconut milk will significantly increase calories.
- Extras – The overnight oats recipes are full of healthy ingredients. This doesn’t mean they are all low in calories. Check the calories in the descriptions. Nut butter, cocoa, nuts, and seeds can all significantly increase your calorie intake so be careful with quantities. On the plus side, nuts and seeds are full of healthy fats and protein-rich – a few will help to keep you fuller for longer.
8 Overnight Oatmeal Recipes (Healthy + Delicious)
#1 BLUEBERRY PICK ME UP
PROTEIN: 11g CALORIES: 260
Blueberries are bursting with antioxidants and are high in nutrients. It’s one fruit that won’t raise your blood sugar levels. Better still, they are delicious and make a low-calorie overnight oats recipe for weight loss that’s creamy and ultra-fresh! Add some optional banana slices for sweetness.
#2 BANANA & PEANUT BUTTER
PROTEIN: 15g CALORIES: 350
A match made in heaven – banana and peanut butter is one of the most popular flavor combinations. It’s also a delicious and healthy way to start your day! This high-protein overnight oats recipe will power you through your morning. Try making it with unsweetened almond milk for an extra nutty punch
#3 MATCHA PROTEIN
PROTEIN: 41g CALORIES: 360
This is the big one if you’re looking for a high protein healthy overnight oats recipe. Choose whey protein or pea protein for a plant-based option and combine it with the magic of matcha green tea powder. Some yogurt adds creamy sweetness. Add some optional blueberries and granola for a striking protein-powered breakfast dish!
#4 TROPICAL SUNRISE
PROTEIN: 11g CALORIES: 280
This mango overnight oats recipe is one of my all-time favorites. The sweetness of the mango is perfectly balanced with the tartness of the yogurt. It’s a light and refreshing start to the day. An alternative is to swap the mango for pineapple for a pineapple overnight oats recipe.
#5 CHOCOLATE & COCONUT
PROTEIN: 12g CALORIES: 260
One for chocolate lovers and still surprisingly low in calories! Make this healthy overnight oats recipe with plant-based milk for a dairy free version. With a delicious flavor, it’s an indulgent way to start your day!
#6 VERY BERRY OATS
PROTEIN: 11g CALORIES: 285
Go berry crazy with this overnight oats recipe. Light, fresh, and naturally sweet, this is a healthy breakfast option that’s perfect for summer. You can use any berries you like but I love this raspberry overload!
#7 APPLE PIE OATS
PROTEIN: 10g CALORIES: 330
The taste of mom’s apple pie in a jar! This healthy breakfast recipe is made with cinnamon, maple syrup, and a small chopped apple. It can be eaten cold but I like to pop mine in the microwave briefly for a warming start to the day!
#8 OVERNIGHT PASSION
PROTEIN: 10g CALORIES: 250
Try and eat overnight oats with a bit of passion! This healthy breakfast recipe is all about the fruit and it’s another good recipe for weight loss! Passionfruit is deliciously sweet and makes a perfect topping for these light and refreshing oats. Top with an optional physalis and transport your breakfast to a tropical island!
Overnight Oats Tips & FAQ
These are some of the questions I’m always asked about overnight oats…
The term oatmeal can describe different types of oats or it’s used in the US to mean the oatmeal recipe of whole grain oats cooked in milk or water over the stove, (or in the microwave), instead of the Scottish term porridge.
There are different types of oatmeal:
Instant oats or quick oats – these tend to be too soft for overnight oats and end up like cold porridge.
Rolled oats – also called old-fashioned oats, are perfect for overnight oats. They retain their texture overnight and make wonderfully thick and creamy overnight oats.
Steel-cut oats – these make overnight oats with even more texture and can be quite chewy. It’s really down to your personal preference – give steel cut oats a try!
Overnight oats are delicious eaten cold or heated up. I tend to eat them cold in the summer and warmed up in the winter! Some people will say they are meant to be eaten cold but it’s really up to you.
Yes, you can make them with water but I prefer to use milk for a creamier consistency. You can use any type of milk – I always use plant-based milk and soy is my favorite for its high protein content.
They will last in the fridge for up to five days so they are perfect for meal prep. Just make sure you store them in an airtight container.
No, you don’t have to but it does make them easier to transport if you’re taking them to work or on the go. Plus, they look really pretty in jars!
At room temperature, bacteria can start to grow so it’s best to store them in the fridge overnight. If you do leave them out, make sure they are in an airtight container and eat within two hours.
Yes! Overnight oats are perfect for meal prep and freezing. Just make sure you thaw them overnight in the fridge before eating.
Yes, oats are naturally gluten-free but there can be cross-contamination with other cereals. It’s best to use certified gluten-free oats – always check the label to be sure.
Yes, they are! Just make sure you use plant-based milk and toppings.
No, you don’t need to but they can taste better with a little sweetness. I sometimes add a drizzle of maple syrup to mine. You could also add some fruit for natural sweetness.
No, you don’t need to but it will make them more filling and satisfying. Take a look at my recipe below for Matcha Protein Overnight Oats.
Yes, they are perfect for meal prep! You can make a whole week’s worth of overnight oats in just a few minutes on a Sunday night.
A meal prep tip is to add your toppings just before you eat your oats – it keeps the toppings wonderfully fresh!
Store overnight oats in an airtight container and they will last in the fridge for up to five days. Glass jars or containers are best. They never absorb food smells and of course, they’re reusable!
My personal favorite toppings are fresh fruit, nuts, and seeds. I also love to add a dollop of yogurt for extra protein.
I hope you enjoy these overnight oats healthy recipes. Oatmeal is a good addition to any healthy diet and these recipes are a delicious way to eat it!
Overnight oats can help you lose weight by keeping you full and satisfied until lunchtime. They are also low in calories and high in fiber which helps with weight loss.
Do you have any tips for making overnight oats? Let me know in the comments below! And be sure to try out these recipes!
More Breakfast Recipes To Love
- Quick & Easy Vegan Breakfast Recipes (Plant-Based Ideas You’ll Love)
- 9 Healthy Breakfast Ideas For Your Office Meeting
- Vegan Breakfast Meal Prep (Healthy Recipes & Ideas)
- 1/2 cup (40 grams) rolled oats
- 1/2 cup liquid - water or milk of your choice - (soy milk, oat milk, almond milk, skimmed milk, semi-skinned milk)
- 1/2 tablespoon flax or chia seeds
- Maple syrup (or sweetener of your choice) - to taste
- Vanilla extract - to taste
- 1 - 2 tablespoons yogurt
BLUEBERRY PICK ME UP
- A handful of blueberries
- 1/2 sliced banana (optional)
BANANA & PEANUT BUTTER
- 1/2 sliced banana
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
- A small handful of cacao nibs (optional)
- 2 teaspoons matcha green tea powder
- 1/4 cup of vanilla protein powder (whey or plant-based)
- 2 tablespoon yogurt (vegan or milk based)
- Handful of blueberries (optional)
- A small handful of granola (optional)
- 1/2 cup freshly sliced mango
- 1/2 sliced banana
- 2 tablespoons coconut yogurt (optional)
- A small handful of coconut flakes (optional)
CHOCOLATE & COCONUT
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- A few drops of vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon shredded coconut
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter (optional)
- Optional sprinkles (dark chocolate chips, chia seeds, shredded coconut)
VERY BERRY OATS
- 1 full cup of berries (raspberries, blueberries or strawberries)
APPLE PIE OATS
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 small apple chopped into small pieces
- Extra cinnamon for dusting (optional)
- 2 tablespoons of yogurt (vegan or milk based)
- 1 passion fruit
- 1 physalis (optional)
- Add your rolled oats to a large 8oz glass jar or container. If you're using flax or chia seeds stir them into the oats.
- Add the optional maple syrup (or sweetener of your choice), pour in the water or milk, and mix well.
- Cover with a lid or wrap and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours (overnight is better).
- When ready, eat with your favorite toppings (see recipes and suggestions below).
BLUEBERRY PICK ME UP
- In the morning, when the oats are ready, stir the optional sliced banana into the overnight oats mixture.
- Top with blueberries. If you're warming up your overnight oats add your berries after heating for extra freshness. Warming up the berries with the oats makes them jammy and gooey - give it a try!
BANANA & PEANUT BUTTER
- In the morning, when the oats are ready, top with the peanut butter.
- Arrange the slices of banana on top.
- Sprinkle with a few cacao nibs.
- At the matcha powder and protein powder to the overnight oats mixture the night before (stage 2).
- In the morning, when the oats are ready, top with yogurt.
- Finish with the optional handful of berries and sprinkling of granola.
- Make the basic recipe with coconut milk.
- In the morning, when the oats are ready, stir the banana slices into the overnight oats mixture.
- Top with yogurt (optional).
- Arrange the mango slices on top of the mixture with the (optional) coconut flakes.
CHOCOLATE & COCONUT
- Mix the unsweetened cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and shredded coconut into the oats mixture before leaving overnight.
- In the morning top with the peanut butter (if using) and your choice of sprinkles - dark chocolate chips, chia seeds, shredded coconut.
VERY BERRY OATS
- In the morning, when the oats are ready, stir 1/2 cup of berries into the overnight oat mixture.
- Top with the remaining berries.
APPLE PIE OATS
- Add the cinnamon to the oats mixture before leaving overnight.
- In the morning spoon the maple syrup over the oats and top with the pieces of apple.
- Warm the oats and apple in the microwave for 30 to 60 seconds.
- Dust with extra cinnamon (optional).
- In the morning, when the oats are ready, spoon yogurt over the oats.
- Top with the pulp of the passion fruit.
- Finish with the physalis (optional)
Vegan overnight oats - use plant-based milk, yogurt, and protein powder in the recipes. Soy milk and yogurt provide the most protein.
Gluten-free overnight oats- use gluten-free rolled oats.
Healthy overnight oats for weight loss - for lower calories use water instead of milk in the basic recipe. Coconut, nut butter and seeds are calorie-dense so be mindful of quantities.
Meal prep - store the overnight oats without toppings in an airtight container in the fridge. Will keep for up to 5 days but 2-3 is more realistic. Otherwise, the oats get really soft.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 200Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 0.5gCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 5gProtein: 10g
Nutritional information is an estimate only. It's based on the basic recipe using just rolled oats and soy milk. You can find protein content and estimated calories for the different recipes in the blog post above.