How to Make Overnight Oats in 5 Simple Steps

Learning how to make overnight oats helps you create an easy, delicious breakfast with lots of versatility.

As Holly McKee-Clark, culinary specialist for Beachbody, puts it, “Oats are a low-maintenance canvas — just tack on your favorite flavors both sweet and savory.”

We’ll show you how to make overnight oats in five simple steps.

And just in case, we included a few recipes below to help you get started!

What Are Overnight Oats?

As the name implies, overnight oats are a no-cook technique for making oatmeal.

By soaking oats overnight in the fridge, they slowly absorb the liquid and soften to a pudding-like texture without the help of a microwave or stove.

Of course, you don’t have to eat overnight oats cold.

If you prefer hot oats, pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds to a minute.

Step 1: Pick a Container

A large jar or bowl is perfect for batch-making a large amount of overnight oats at once.

Or you can use cute, individual Mason jars to divvy up a pre-portioned breakfast that’s truly grab-and-go.

Step 2: Add Oats Plus (optional) Chia Seeds

Side view of overnight oats mixture in a jear

Make sure to pick rolled oats for the best texture that’s creamy and just right.

Though the name implies your oats should sit overnight, you can get away with a little as a two-hour soak!

Note that while you could use instant oats or steel-cut oats, one may be too mushy and the other too tough. Both would require playing around with the soak time.

Though you don’t need chia seeds to make overnight oats, McKee-Clark says, “Chia seeds were made for overnight oats. They plump up just perfectly and pack a protein punch.”

Chia seeds can make your oats creamier — just remember to add more liquid if you use them.

Step 3: Add a Base Liquid

You’ll want a 2:1 ratio of liquid to oats for an appealing consistency.

The consistency may look thin, but the oats will soak up the liquid overnight.

If your oats are too thick after soaking, stir in a tad more base liquid or plain water to loosen it up.

  • Unsweetened milk (dairy, almond, soy, rice, coconut)
  • Plain yogurt (or flavor of your choice)
  • Plain Greek yogurt (if you prefer a protein boost), plus a little water to thin it out

Note that if you added chia seeds, add more liquid. This is a forgiving recipe, so if you didn’t add enough liquid, you could still do it the next day.

Ingredients for overnight oats

Step 4: Add Flavor Enhancers

Here’s where you need to choose: will those overnight oats be savory or sweet?

Then, think about your favorite flavors. Do you like apple cinnamon, pumpkin pie, or chocolate peanut butter?

We’ve listed common flavor enhancers below, but it’s still a matter of personal taste and what you have in your kitchen.

Savory overnight oats might be less familiar territory, but McKee-Clark is confident you can make it work.

Her favorite flavor combination:

  • Stir in a teaspoon (just one!) of melted butter (organic, grass-fed, if possible) and a tablespoon of Romesco when making your oats.
  • Heat them up in the morning (1-2 minutes in the microwave).
  • Top with a poached egg and a sprinkle of fresh parsley for a Mediterranean twist.

“A little shredded cheddar cheese, Greek yogurt, crumbled turkey bacon, and green onions on top could be another yummy take,” she adds.

Sweet Flavor Enhancers Savory Flavor Enhancers
 Sweeteners

  • Pure maple syrup
  • Honey
  • Reduced-sugar jams or jellies
  • Flavored protein powder (Vanilla, Strawberry, or Café Latte Shakeology)

Herbs, Spices & Flavoring

  • Cinnamon
  • Vanilla
  • Cocoa powder
  • Pumpkin pie spice

Fats

  • Peanut butter
  • Almond butter
  • Cashew butter
  • Sunflower butter
 Herbs, Spices & Flavoring

  • Fresh herbs (chives, basil, green onion)
  • Garlic powder
  • Ginger powder
  • Miso
  • Bouillon powder
  • Salt and pepper

Fats

  • Butter
  • Tahini
  • Cheeses like Romesco, Parmesan, cheddar

Step 5: Add Sweet (or Savory) Mix-Ins

Finally, you’ll want to give your overnight oats more body and texture with a variety of mix-ins! Don’t be pressured to add all of the mix-ins.

These are simply inspirations that you can turn to as you make overnight oats week after week.

Dried or firm mix-ins (think apple, nuts, or raisins) can soak overnight, while things like egg or chopped avocado should really be mixed in right before you eat. All we can say is, let common sense guide you.

Once the mix-ins are in, give your overnight oats a good stir and let the oats rest overnight!

Sweet Mix-Ins Savory Mix-Ins
 Fruit

  • Apple
  • Banana
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Dried raisins, cranberries or figs

Nuts & Seeds

  • Almonds
  • Pecans
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Shredded coconut
 Vegetable

  • Finely grated carrots
  • Peas
  • Sauteed veggies
  • Sauteed mushrooms
  • Chopped avocado (add the day of)

Protein

  • Crumbled turkey bacon
  • Chickpeas
  • Egg (cook the day of)

4 Easy Overnight Oats Recipes

Strawberry Shakeology overnight oats

If the steps for making overnight oats still feel vague, you may need the guidance of a tried and true recipe. Thankfully, we have a few up our sleeves!

These protein-packed overnight oats recipes feature popular flavor profiles that our Beachbody community loves.

And, they’re one more thing you can make with whey or plant-based vegan Shakeology:

Are overnight oats healthy?

Yep! Oats are well-known as a nutritious choice for breakfast because they’re filling and full of fiber.

Now, is it bad to eat overnight oats every morning?

Not for us creatures of habit who love routines — overnight oats can save you the headache of figuring out what to do for breakfast.

Bonus: It’s a surefire way to score fiber and do something good for your body bright and early.