Today, I’m sharing my Easy Overnight Oats recipe – the basic recipe that can be a base for countless toppings and flavor combinations! With an option in the recipe card for turning this single serving into a 4-Day Breakfast Meal Prep!
I’ve sung the praises of overnight oats many times before, and made them more times than I can count. Their convenience and versatility makes them a super easy (and totally addicting) breakfast option. Especially, if (like me) you enjoy the convenience of a recipe you can make in advance and devour all week long.
You mix up the ingredients, let them sit in the fridge, and voila – in the morning you have a sweet custard-like breakfast flecked with softened, fiber-rich oats. No cooking needed. Quick and easy to assemble with a great balance of protein, slow-digesting carbohydrates, and healthy fats all in one dish.
Overnight oats lend themselves to taking on so many different flavor profiles that the combinations are truly endless. The recipe renditions you can make are limited only by your imagination and unique personal taste. This variety means you can eat it day-after-day without getting bored. Just change up your toppings each morning to keep your palate interested. Or find your favorite and eat it on repeat one week, switching it up with a whole new flavor profile the next week.
I chose to showcase four of my go-to flavor combos that go well with this basic base recipe:
Love the idea of MEAL PREP but...
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- Chunky Monkey – Banana slices, cashew butter, mini chocolate chips, cinnamon
- Tropical – mango, pineapple, coconut chips, slivered almonds
- PB + J – peanut butter, berry jelly, strawberries, hemp seeds
- Berry Cheesecake – blueberries, raspberries, almonds, ground flaxseed
They are a combination of pantry staples and fresh / frozen fruit, making it easy to mix and match ingredients to suit whatever you’re in the mood for or whatever produce is most readily available. The ultimate healthy breakfast you can enjoy year-round.
You could make one serving of these each night, to save yourself precious time in the morning the next day. OR…you could make four servings at one time and save yourself time ALL WEEK LONG. I am firmly in support of the latter option (also known as meal prep!).
Meal prep sounds like a chore until you realize how much time it saves you in the long run. It’s a small upfront time investment that reaps major rewards for the rest of your week.
Get the ingredients out once, measure the recipe once, clean up once, and then eat (without cooking, without thinking) FOUR mornings in a row. That’s why I included instructions in the “notes” section of the recipe card of how to turn this one serving recipe into a 4-day meal prep.
Meal prepping this one meal of the day saves you time and mental energy – so you have more time in your morning to:
- Sip coffee, etc…
Overnight oats are pretty portable too! So if you have a morning commute or just prefer to dig into breakfast over morning emails at the office, you can just pack a spoon and be on your merry way.
Not to mention how affordable rolled oats are. You can save some dough by visiting the bulk bins of your neighborhood store and buying your oats there (instead of in packages). Keep an eye out for sales (like Whole Foods 20% off all bulk foods sale that rolls around every now and then) so you can stock up when prices drop.
But I eat overnight oats for many more reasons than just their portability, affordability, and ease of preparation. I eat them for their health benefits too.
Oats are a great prebiotic food (not to be confused with probiotic food). Prebiotics are types of fiber that feed the good bacteria (aka probiotics).
And having good bacteria in your gut and digestive tract is really important – they regulate inflammation, protect you from the bad bacteria, and help your immune system. Some of them even produce short-chain fatty acids (which help nourish the cells lining your colon – creating a stronger barrier against bad bacteria, viruses, and other harmful substances passing through your system).
So if you take probiotic supplements or make an effort to incorporate probiotic foods in your diet, eating foods with prebiotic fiber can help out in a major way. Eating a balance of prebiotic and probiotic foods supports your efforts to foster communities of friendly bacteria in your gut and help them thrive.
Overnight oats can actually be considered a synbiotic food because it contains both a source of prebiotic fiber (rolled oats) and a source of probiotics (the live cultures found in yogurt). I don’t just eat Greek yogurt for the high protein content, I have also found a lot of gut balancing benefits to incorporating it into my diet too. The creamy taste and thick texture are just an added bonus!
I use rolled oats (not quick cooking or instant oats) because of their exceptional texture – to me they taste more flavorful and hearty. They also take longer to digest than a quick cooking or instant oat (which are smaller sized pieces). Rolled oats are exactly what the name suggests – a whole oat that has been rolled flat. So they are porous enough to soak up the liquid but not so porous that they disappear entirely into an overly mushy texture once soaked. They hold their shape relatively well and make for a tastier overnight oat recipe.
Many overnight oat recipes don’t use yogurt at all, they just soak the oats in milk / nut-milk and let them soften. While these totally get the job done and are delicious in their own right, I’m one of those people who is suuuuper picky and particular about texture. And the truth is that I just ended up wishing these simply-soaked oats were hot cooked oats the whole time I was eating them. And I wasn’t left feeling very full or satiated afterwards either.
I first started making them as a way to prep a week’s worth of breakfasts that Billy and I could each take to work with us. So the need to eat it without a microwave was essential. As was the need for them to keep us full until our lunch breaks. So adding yogurt solved both of these problems for us – it morphed the soaked oats into more of a cheesecake-y custard texture, kept me feeling fuller for longer, and made it something I could enjoy eating cold.
Cracking into one of these jars in the morning just makes my day a little simpler before it even starts (and totally feels like I’m sneaking in a little dessert for breakfast).
I’ve always been partial to sweet breakfast dishes (like overnight oats!) – how about you?? Are you team sweet -or- team savory?
MORE HEALTHY MEAL PREP RECIPES:
Easy Overnight Oats recipe – a healthy breakfast recipe that serves as a base for countless toppings and flavor combinations! With an option in the notes section below that tells you how to turn this single serving into a 4-Day Meal Prep.
(for one serving)
- ½ c rolled oats
- ¼ c plain unsweetened Greek yogurt*
- ½ c unsweetened almond milk
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbs coconut nectar**
- pinch of cinnamon
- fresh fruit
- nuts + seeds
- nut butter
- shredded coconut
- chocolate chips
- chia seeds
- ground flaxseed
- MIX ALL INGREDIENTS: Add rolled oats, yogurt, almond milk, vanilla extract, coconut nectar, and cinnamon to a lidded container. Mix until well combined, seal and store in the fridge. Let oats soak overnight and enjoy the next day. Will keep for up to a week in the fridge. You can either add toppings fresh each morning or you can add them ahead of time for easy grab-n-go breakfasts and snacks.
*I used full-fat Greek Yogurt for the best taste and a balance of healthy fats
**or sweetener of choice – like honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, or liquid stevia.
4-Day Meal Prep Grocery List
- 2 c rolled oats
- 1 c plain unsweetened Greek yogurt
- 2 c unsweetened almond milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 tbs coconut nectar
- 4 tsp chia seeds (optional)
- 4 tsp ground flaxseed (optional)
4-Day Meal Prep Method
- Follow same instructions as above (using the measurements for one serving per container), then repeat until you’ve created 4 jars of overnight oats.
- Serving Size: 1 serving