Easy Overnight Oats in 3 Steps

Transform a power trio of rolled oats, chia seeds, and Greek yogurt into luscious, creamy oatmeal—without any cooking or mess. The magic happens overnight.

If you haven't hopped on the overnight oatmeal train, you're missing out (especially if you're someone who usually has oats for breakfast). Learn how to make oats overnight so you can speed up your mornings with a grab-and-go breakfast. And we'll share a few of our favorite recipes. Overnight oats, refrigerator oatmeal, chia pudding: The names for this simple breakfast recipe are as varied as its additions, toppings, and flavor possibilities. Follow our three simple steps to make this super-easy no-cook breakfast, then check out our other healthy oatmeal recipes (all of which, naturally, you can make the night before).

How to Make Overnight Oats

If you're not sure where to start, a basic overnight oats recipe is a great starting point for anyone diving into the world of simple overnight oats. It only takes about 10 minutes to prep these recipes, so you won't have to give up much of your evening to enjoy a speedy breakfast tomorrow.

Step 1: Prep for Success

In a large bowl, mix together one 6-ounce carton of plain low-fat yogurt or whole milk Greek yogurt, ⅔ of a cup regular rolled oats, and ⅔ cup of milk.

Now is your chance to get creative—stir in any of your favorite additions. Some of our favorites include fresh or dried fruit, chopped nuts, peanut butter, honey, and chocolate chips. You can also increase the nutritional value of your oatmeal with a tablespoon of chia seeds and/or flaxseeds.

Refrigerator Oatmeal

Step 2: Chill Out

Carefully pour the oatmeal mixture into canning jars; either two 8-ounce single-serving jars or one pint-size jar. Cover the jars and chill in the refrigerator overnight or up to 3 days. Over time, the oats will absorb the milk and become fabulously rich and creamy.

Test Kitchen Tip: A half-pint Mason jar ($13 for 12, Target) makes a convenient (and adorable) one-portion serving to tote with you on busy mornings.

Refrigerator Oatmeal

Step 3: Indulge

And there you have it—heavenly overnight oatmeal as easy to make as it is delicious. To serve this breakfast-in-a-jar, top each with fresh fruit or more of the ingredients you've mixed in. Make your oatmeal pop with a dollop of thick Greek yogurt and a generous drizzle of maple syrup.

Test Kitchen Tip: Our overnight oats recipes call for regular rolled oats, also referred to as old-fashioned oats. (Be sure to grab the gluten-free oats if you have allergies.) You could substitute instant oats if that's what you have on hand, but instant oats are processed to be thinner than rolled oats, so while the recipes will be done sooner, they'll have less texture.

Our Best Ideas for Overnight Oats

The best feature of overnight oats is that they're ready when you are (no matter how many times you hit the snooze button). Here are some of our best recipes to change the flavor of your mornings.

Peanut Butter-Banana Refrigerator Oatmeal
Karla Conrad

Peanut Butter-Banana Refrigerator Oatmeal

Sweet meets salty in this divine breakfast that even the King of Rock 'n' Roll would crave. First, swirl your overnight oats with peanut butter to make them extra creamy. After refrigerating, top with sliced bananas and, if you're feeling daring, bits of salty, melt-in-your-mouth bacon. Of course, if you're already a fan of savory oatmeal, adding bacon is a must.

Cherry Java Refrigerator Oatmeal

Skip the trip to your coffeehouse and instead infuse the flavor of your daily cup of joe into refrigerator oatmeal, using espresso coffee powder and brown sugar. Sweet-tart cherries and rich toasted hazelnuts make this overnight oats recipe feel fantastically fancy. These overnight oats are a great breakfast to pair with your morning cup of coffee.

Orange-Honey Overnight Oats
Helen Norman

Orange-Honey Overnight Oats

This bowl of overnight oats looks so inviting that we're already reaching for our spoons. In this case, it's partially due to its delicious toppings and additions: flaked coconut, honey, and orange zest are mixed in, while toasted coconut and fresh berries make for a delectable topping. This recipe makes six servings, so you can prep your breakfasts for the whole week, or share with the family.

Carrot Cake Refrigerator Oatmeal

Why wait until after dinner to satisfy your sweet tooth when you can wake up to this quick and easy twist on classic carrot cake. Maple syrup and cinnamon sweeten the oats, while shredded carrots, crushed pineapple, and walnuts contribute the perfect amount of bite. This is one oatmeal recipe that always gets us out of bed.

Blackberry-Ginger Overnight Bulgur in blue bowl

Blackberry-Ginger Overnight Bulgur

Of course, oatmeal isn't your only option when it comes to easy overnight grains. You can also make overnight bulgur. Bulgur is a whole wheat grain, so it's a great choice when you're looking to eat healthy. In this recipe, we dressed it up with Greek yogurt, crystallized ginger, and fresh blackberries. You can make this overnight oat recipe using traditional rolled oats as well.

After you've had your fix of overnight oats, you can follow our Test Kitchen's tips on making the best hot-cooked oatmeal at home. Then try some of our best oatmeal recipes. Or you can keep your busy mornings delicious and exciting with even more make-ahead breakfast recipe ideas.

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