Introduction: Basic Overnight Oatmeal Recipe

Picture of Basic Overnight Oatmeal Recipe

Overnight oatmeal is the perfect breakfast. If you have never heard of overnight oatmeal before, I know what you're thinking: Warm oatmeal is nice and comforting, but cold oatmeal?!

Don't worry - that's exactly what I thought the first time I tried this a few years ago! But then this became my breakfast for almost every single day of the year. Overnight oatmeal is delicious and especially refreshing during hot summer days. You can even choose to have it warm during the winter if you quickly microwave it. It is also perfect for those of you who don't have much time in the morning to make a proper breakfast. I make my overnight oats the night before, and it's great because if I wake up late the next day, I can eat it on the way to school.

In this tutorial I will share my basic overnight oatmeal recipe, as well as a few creative recipes I made.

Step 1: Get Your Oats!

Picture of Get Your Oats!

You can choose any type of oats you like – steel cut, quick oats, rolled oats, etc. I usually use quick oats, but I've heard from many people that they prefer rolled oats. Either way, it will taste great.

Pour 1/2 cup oats into a jar or airtight container.

Step 2: Combine the Oats With Liquid

Picture of Combine the Oats With Liquid

Just remember the 1:1 ratio. You will soak 1 part liquid with 1 part oats overnight. The liquid can be milk, almond milk, yogurt, etc. Since I used 1/2 cup oats, I will use 1/2 cup milk.

Add the milk to the jar or container.

Step 3: Add a Sweetener and Other Mix-ins

Picture of Add a Sweetener and Other Mix-ins

The sweetener can be anything: brown sugar, maple syrup, agave, honey, jam, a packet of truvia, etc. You can also choose to skip this step if you like the oatmeal itself.

Then add other mix-ins like cinnamon, fruits, nut butter, nuts, vanilla extract, raisins, chocolate chips, mashed banana, seeds, etc. If you want to add something that might get soggy (like granola or cereal), you should add it after the oatmeal is refrigerated (Step 5).

For the oatmeal I made, I added 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp honey, and a handful of frozen mango pieces.

Step 4: Stir and Refrigerate Overnight

Picture of Stir and Refrigerate Overnight

Mix the oatmeal mixture and seal the jar or airtight container.

If you are planning to have your oatmeal for breakfast, put the oatmeal in the fridge the night before and the next morning, your oats should have soaked up all or most of the liquid. It should look thick and creamy!

If you choose not to wait overnight, I would recommend waiting at least 3-4 hours.

Step 5: Add Extra Liquid and Fresh Toppings. Enjoy!

Picture of Add Extra Liquid and Fresh Toppings. Enjoy!

In the morning, add a little bit of extra liquid (about 1-3 tsp), as the oats will have absorbed almost all of the liquid added earlier. I added 3 tsp milk.

Then add your fresh toppings. This can be anything – fresh fruits, granola, cereal, or the things I listed in the overnight mix-in list previously. I just added a handful of fresh blueberries.

Enjoy! You can either have your oatmeal straight out of the jar/container, or you can transfer it to another bowl. If you would like to have your oatmeal warm, you can also put it in the microwave for a few seconds.

Step 6: Overnight Oatmeal Idea: Chocolate Banana Pudding Oatmeal

Picture of Overnight Oatmeal Idea: Chocolate Banana Pudding Oatmeal


For the banana pudding layer:

  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 mashed banana (save the rest for the topping)

For the chocolate layer:

  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp honey (or more if you would like it sweeter)
  • 1 tbsp chocolate chips (optional)


  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • granola (optional)
  • chocolate chips (optional)


  1. In a jar or container, combine ingredients for the banana pudding oatmeal layer.
  2. In another jar or container, combine ingredients for the chocolate oatmeal layer.
  3. Put containers in fridge overnight.
  4. In the morning, add a few teaspoons of milk to the containers if oatmeal is too thick. Pour the oatmeal in another jar, alternating between the banana pudding layer and the chocolate layer.
  5. Top with sliced banana, granola, and/or chocolate chips!

Step 7: Overnight Oatmeal Idea 2: Honey Nut Oatmeal

Picture of Overnight Oatmeal Idea 2: Honey Nut Oatmeal


  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • handful of mixed nuts (mine had cashews, almonds, and macadamia nuts)


  • handful of nuts (I just used almonds)
  • granola
  • drizzle of honey


  1. In a jar or container, combine oats, almond milk, honey, and mixed nuts.
  2. Put jar in fridge overnight.
  3. The next morning, add 1-3 tsp more almond milk if mixture is too thick. Top with nuts, granola, and honey.
  4. Enjoy!


BeachsideHank (author)2015-07-25

We do steel cut oats and water. The night before, in a covered bowl microwave the water to a boil, add the oats, swaddle with pot holders and towel, let sit until morning. Then add coconut, walnuts, Chinese five spice, and molasses, microwave on low for about 15 minutes and have our breakfast tea while waiting. Portion out and enjoy, you'll never get something this good in a restaurant.

millamilo (author)BeachsideHank2015-07-25

Wow, that sounds delicious!

I can't find steel cut oats where I live. I wonder if rolled oats would work?

PlayaSinNombre (author)millamilo2017-12-19

Sometimes steel-cut oats are called Irish Oats, you could look for that. Otherwise, rolled oats are the next best thing.

RajaL9 (author)millamilo2017-02-01

I don't have fridge. Can I keep this overnight in room temp?

BeachsideHank (author)RajaL92017-02-01

I do that with mine every time, leaving it on the stove top, just totally cover after cooking to retain heat as long as possible, no problem if water is the base fluid and no fresh fruit added until next morning.

dsantil71 (author)millamilo2016-01-26

yes rolled oats will work too

nursermk (author)BeachsideHank2015-07-26

Same ratio 1:1 water and oats? I would think those type of oats need more water but perhaps boiling it helps soften the nuggets? The addition of the Five spice is really clever, and the molasses will deepen the flavor. Nice recipe, thanks!

BeachsideHank (author)nursermk2015-07-26

Our recipe is for two persons: 1/2 + 1/3 cup pin oats, added after boiling 2 cups water. My microwave heats the water in about 4 minutes on high. I make up enough dry portions for 3 meals during the week, just heat water, add ingredients, warm up next morn and enjoy. It actually does the cooking the night before, and some folks like it cold, but like I stated we give it a long low warmup time so as to have our tea first. We also add strawberries and blueberries if the market price is right, but it's good to go as above.

I get my oats from:

StevenG8 (author)2015-07-25

For an even healthier variation, use pure fruit juice for the liquid, or a smoothie, which cuts out the milk and sweetener.

rogersba17 (author)StevenG82015-07-26

Actually when you remove the juice from the fiber of the fruit you turn it into a less healthy form of sweetness because it is just sugar water at that point.

dsantil71 (author)rogersba172016-01-26

I totally agree with u, eating whole fruit is better than drinking fruit juice, fruit juice doesn't have any of the dietary fiber that the whole fruit does. A person's body processes fruit juice faster because of that so blood sugar levels will spike & drop faster which is also not good. Plain water to "cook" the oats with cut up fruit is a better option if dairy products are not an option or soy, almond or other milk substitutes can't be used. Most have a high amount of protein & low fat as well.

millamilo (author)StevenG82015-07-25

I've never tried fruit juice before, but that sounds like a great idea. I think apple juice or orange juice might sound good.

You can also try making 'green oatmeal' using a green smoothie!

SophiesFoodieFiles (author)2015-11-28

MMMMMMMM,... I am going to try them all! Yummm!

sullo (author)2015-08-28

best breakfast ever =D


djo4 (author)2015-08-23

Anyone know if you can used flavored oats

MissBetsy made it! (author)2015-08-04

This is my preferred breakfast for a couple years now. Besides nuts, chocolate or raisins I always add a cup of yogurt! That will get you through till lunch break. :D

millamilo (author)MissBetsy2015-08-05

That looks so good! I like adding greek yogurt!

London Lady (author)2015-08-02

This looks sooooo yummy ?. I can't wait to try it out!
Thanks for sharing ???

millamilo (author)London Lady2015-08-02

Thank you! And no problem :)

JoeFriday517 (author)2015-07-28

Trying it out right now, and I can't wait to eat it tomorrow. :D

millamilo (author)JoeFriday5172015-07-29

Thanks for trying it out! I hope you like it!

JoeFriday517 (author)millamilo2015-07-29

I did like it. The texture was nothing I was expecting - creamy and yet chewy. I'm trying it with steel-cut tonight and see how that will work. Thank you for this recipe. :D

millamilo (author)JoeFriday5172015-07-30

I'm glad you liked it :) Tell me how steel-cut goes!

stroland (author)millamilo2015-07-30

The steel-cut oats were great. I did not do anything other than soak them. No hot water, no warming them up, just ate them as they were. I will continue to use this method for oatmeal as well as Bob's Red Mill museli

millamilo (author)stroland2015-07-31

Wow, that sounds great - I should try steel-cut oats soon. Thanks for trying the recipe :)

primosanch (author)2015-07-30

Thanks for the this sweet instructable. I'm looking forward to try this out soon.

millamilo (author)primosanch2015-07-31

No problem. I hope you like it!

gerflash (author)2015-07-30

I've made it twice, with variations. Loved 'em both. Cold oatmeal? Surprise! I thought it'd be a turnoff. Turns out to give me a refreshing start for the day. First version was with sunflower nuts and raisins; second, dried cherries and almonds. I also decided to add a bit more liquid (2% milk) the second time, and it still soaked it all up. Thanks for a so easy and great idea!

millamilo (author)gerflash2015-07-30

Glad you liked it! I sometimes add a bit more liquid too, especially if I add chia seeds or cocoa powder. It makes it a bit creamier.

stroland (author)2015-07-29

I agree about eliminating added sugar. My daughter thought I was strange when I mix raw oatmeal with nuts, seeds, and a little fruit. Like Grapenut said, you get used to it pretty quickly. Not for everyone but I like it.

millamilo (author)stroland2015-07-30

That's not strange at all - I always add nuts and fruits :)

stroland (author)2015-07-28

In the refrigerator right now. Mixed in the other muesli ingredients, nuts, raisins, dates, etc.

stroland (author)stroland2015-07-29

i had some for breakfast this morning and have steel cut oats in the fridge right now. I added some Greek yogurt and a packet of hot chocolate drink mix. Then some almond milk. This morning's meal was great and I am sure tomorrow's will be too. Thanks for the post!

millamilo (author)stroland2015-07-29

I've never had dates in mine. I should try that!

Hope you enjoy!

grapenut (author)2015-07-29

Thanks for teaching me a new way to enjoy an old favorite of mine. In the last few years I nixed adding sweeteners to my oats; but I really increased the use of fruits to make up for it. It was a surprisingly short adjustment period. After about day 2, I was totally onboard with extra raisins, or apples, etc. with a little cinnamon...

millamilo (author)grapenut2015-07-29

Before I always used those sugary instant oatmeal packets, but when I began making oatmeal on my own I started to like the taste of just plain oatmeal without any sweetener. Now I only put a little bit of sweetener or none at all. And I add a lot of fruits instead too! One of my favorites is apple cinnamon:)

saversa (author)2015-07-28

Ooooh man. I totally just made this for tomorrow! Thank you for the suggestion!

millamilo (author)saversa2015-07-29

You're welcome! I hope you enjoy.

gerflash (author)2015-07-28

Some of the best tasting food can be messy. I'm definitely trying this one tomorrow morning! Thanks!

millamilo (author)gerflash2015-07-29

I agree! Hope you like it!

fixfireleo (author)2015-07-28

the picture looks nice but there is NO WAY that is not a mess to eat!

millamilo (author)fixfireleo2015-07-29

It's actually not that messy since it's all in a jar! (except maybe the chocolate banana one since it went all the way to the rim of the jar..) :D

SkinnE (author)2015-07-28

Lovely. I stumbled across this idea not so long ago myself; during the two weeks of summer we get here in the NorthWest of Britain, I wanted to get my oats in the morning, but wasn't keen on hot porridge. So, I soaked my rolled organic oats (Flahavan's are my favourite) in milk overnight, et voila! cold porridge the next morning.

Thanks for sharing your ideas with us.

millamilo (author)SkinnE2015-07-29

I agree, cold oatmeal is great during the summer! No problem, I'm glad you liked it.

Lost Moai (author)2015-07-28

I do thirds. 1/3 oats, 1/3 yogurt, 1/3 milk. Add some blueberries and pecans or flax seeds, a little cinnamon and I'm good to go. I make up a bunch of jars for however many times I'm going to eat it that week with just the dry ingredients. Then the night before I add the yogurt and milk to one jar and shake.

millamilo (author)Lost Moai2015-07-29

I'll try the 1/3 recipe soon! Mixing the dry ingredients in the beginning of each week sounds like a good idea. Thanks for the suggestion!

nursermk (author)2015-07-26

That's great. I am an ICU nurse and work 3 shifts per week (12 hour shifts) and this would be great for me, split it in three containers and have a nice make ahead stick-with-you breakfast with minimal pre-planning. I prefer the steel cut, seems to be more filling. Much appreciated.

millamilo (author)nursermk2015-07-29

I'm glad this helped:)

BJeanBaird (author)2015-07-28

I will try this, I enjoy oatmeal just not the whole cooking process. Thank you.

millamilo (author)BJeanBaird2015-07-29

No problem! Hope you like it.

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