With minimal prep work and a variety of delicious toppings, overnight oats are a nutritious and delicious breakfast.

By Kelly Vaughan
January 28, 2020
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overnight oats
Credit: Bryan Gardner

One of the best ways to avoid hitting the snooze button in the morning is by preparing a delicious breakfast the night before. There's no reason to stay in bed when there is an easy and energizing meal waiting for you when you wake up. That's where overnight oats come in. They're the ultimate make-ahead breakfast that tastes good and feels good, too. But what are overnight oats, and how do you prepare them? Below, find everything you need to know about the healthy breakfast treat.

What Are Overnight Oats?

If you find yourself strapped for time when it comes to making breakfast each morning, try making overnight oats. Served cold, this uber-creamy, protein-rich bowl is a fabulous start to your day. Whip up a batch the night before you plan to enjoy them—the process is simple. They require just a quick five minutes of easy prep work; the oats slowly absorb the dairy while you sleep over the course of eight hour. You'll wake up to a delicious breakfast with a thick consistency that offers just a slight bite. Be sure to use old-fashioned rolled oats as they maintain their texture better than quick-cooking or steel-cut oats when soaked.

The Process

Combine rolled oats with milk (both dairy and non-dairy options work) along with cinnamon and a pinch of salt in a small bowl or jar. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, give the mixture a quick stir, thinning out with more milk if desired. Transfer to a bowl and garnish with the toppings of your choice—think fruits, nuts, seeds, and natural sweeteners.

Make It Your Own

Overnight oats transform into an even more appealing breakfast when topped with a variety of sweet and nutritious ingredients, like this Chilled Plum-Oatmeal Pudding. Layer a few tablespoons of crunchy granola, toasted nuts, flaked coconut, sliced bananas, and/or a drizzle of maple syrup for a bite bursting with flavor and texture. Natural sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup perk up the oats while minimizing the amount of refined sugar in your breakfast. Overnight oats are also a great way to utilize seasonal fruit; in the summer, top a bowl with fresh berries and in winter, try pomegranate arils, diced pear, or persimmons.

Whether you eat them at home or transfer them to a mason jar to take on-the-go, overnight oats are a tasty and filling way to start your day.

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