What are Overnight Oats? – that is the question! Many wellness gurus claim that overnight oats are the easiest, quickest, healthiest, and simply the greatest breakfast on earth. There are even some who eat them every day because of their convenience, but… What are overnight oats, anyway? Are they worth the hype? We’ll answer that and more in this complete breakdown!
Ah, breakfast. The most important meal of the day, and for some, the most challenging to prepare.
We know all too well that putting together a tasty and healthy breakfast every day can be tricky, especially when mornings are super busy. Between getting the kids ready for school, walking the dog, taking a shower, and dealing with the alarm going off later than expected, finding time to grab something hearty to eat seems like Mission: Impossible. But amidst all the chaos, there is something that may help you start the day on the right foot… Overnight oats.
So.. What Are Overnight Oats & Why Are They So Popular
Long story short, overnight oats are the perfect breakfast for those who are always running out of time. They are oats that, instead of being cooked on the stove or in the microwave, are soaked overnight — hence their name — in milk to absorb the liquid and soften. The result is a no-cook oatmeal, that’s both creamy and filling.
The point of overnight oats is to simply let the oats soak overnight so that the next morning, you have a ready-to-eat breakfast — and that’s their biggest charm. They’re a real time saver that you can make in batches, which also happens to be easier to digest (more on that later), healthy, and most importantly, delicious. Plus, it’s a blank canvas on which you can experiment with endless toppings and new flavors. No wonder they are so popular!
What’s the difference between overnight oats and regular oatmeal
While the main ingredient of both regular oatmeal and overnight oatmeal is the same, that doesn’t mean they are the same thing. The main difference between the two is the prepping method — overnight oats only need liquid and a fridge, while oatmeal must be cooked. Therefore, overnight oats are more practical.
Another big difference is that oatmeal does not retain as many nutrients as its cold counterpart. Recipes for overnight oats often call for old-fashioned rolled oats, which contain more vitamins, proteins, and minerals than the heavily-processed oats that are usually used for oatmeal. Also, as overnight oats are eaten uncooked, they don’t lose nutrients.
Texture and flavor-wise, the two are quite similar, but overnight oats tend to be smoother. Regular oatmeal is also smooth, but because oatmeal flakes don’t absorb much liquid during the cooking process, they sometimes end up too chewy.
Are overnight oats eaten cold or hot?
Since it’s a grab-and-go breakfast, overnight oats are usually eaten cold. That’s a plus if you’re in a warm month, but if you’re in the middle of winter or are used to warm breakfasts in the morning, you can heat it.
The quickest and mess-free way to heat overnight oats is to use the microwave. You’ll simply need to transfer the mixture to a microwave-safe container, add a splash of extra liquid, heat it in 30-second intervals, and stir until it reaches the desired temperature.
However, if you have a little more time or don’t have a microwave, you can heat it using a regular pot and your trusty stovetop. You’ll have to add some extra liquid to the oats, set the heat on medium-low, and stir them until you feel they’re warm enough.
Are overnight oats healthy? Do they help with weight loss?
Besides the main question of this post, “what are overnight oats?”, another question that keeps coming up on the internet is, “are overnight oats really healthy?”. And the answer is yes, they are quite healthy.
Naturally, oats are high in fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals such as manganese, phosphorus, and zinc. But once they are soaked in milk, their nutritional value improves greatly — even more so if you top them with antioxidant-rich fruits. In addition, since they are made from natural ingredients, they are free of harmful chemicals and substances that can negatively alter your health, if you opt for organic oats.
Now, when it comes to losing weight, overnight oats are not the key to weight loss. However, they do pack more carbs and fiber than regular oatmeal, so they can keep you fuller for longer. That may help you on your fitness journey, but at the end of the day, what will really make you lose weight is a caloric deficit and a good exercise routine.
What are the benefits of eating overnight oats?
The main benefit of overnight oats is how easy they are to make, but health-wise they also have many interesting benefits. Starting with its high fiber content that improves stomach health, and may even help keep blood pressure levels stable, lower cholesterol levels, and improve insulin sensitivity.
In addition to giving you an energy boost in the morning, its high protein content can not only keep you fuller longer but can also help your body repair muscle fibers after a heavy-weight training session.
And last but not least, overnight oats are low in phytic acid, which is an acid — a.k.a anti-nutrient — that obstructs digestion and impairs the absorption of certain minerals such as iron, calcium, and magnesium. Oats naturally have this anti-nutrient, but once they are soaked, it goes down resulting in better digestion and better mineral intake.
Basic Ingredients You’ll Need To Make overnight oats
Nowadays you can find all kinds of recipes where different ingredients are added to overnight oats to give them unique textures and flavors. But in reality, the basic ingredients are just two: oats and liquid.
Rolled oats are the go-to oats for overnight oats, no matter if they are regular or gluten-free. Both work and are perfect for a creamy, rich consistency, which is not the case with other types of oats.
As for the liquid, you can use anything from whole milk and skim milk to plant-based milk and even plain water. We like to use coconut milk for extra creaminess, but you can use whatever you like.
The rest of the ingredients are entirely optional. You can add yogurt, mix-ins, seeds, spices, nuts, and more! The possibilities are endless.
What to add to overnight oats: Popular Mix-ins and toppings
One of the many great things about overnight oats is that they allow you to unleash your creativity and just have fun. You can do this by using a myriad of toppings and mix-ins, such as:
- Fresh fruit. One of the most popular toppings ever. You can use chopped strawberries, kiwis, bananas, peaches, berries, mango, and more.
- Granola. Who doesn’t love some glorious granola? Besides adding crunchiness to the smoothness of oats, it’s an excellent source of fiber.
- Dried fruit. Just like fresh fruit, it’s a healthy topping, which can also add some crunch to the mix. Our favorites are dried apples, coconut flakes, and raisins!
- Nuts. Nutritious nuts are the perfect match for overnight oats. You can top them with almonds, cashews, peanuts, pecans, pistachios, and any other nut that crosses your mind.
- Seeds. Chia seeds are one of the most popular toppings for oats, but they are not the only ones. Other seeds that are just as good are pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and hemp seeds.
- Chocolate. We chocolate lovers like to put chocolate in anything, including overnight oats. You can use it as a mix-in or as a topping.
- Peanut butter. This is one of the quintessential mix-ins for oats, both delicious and creamy.
- Jam/jelly. Adding layers of berry jam or jelly to your jar of midnight oats will give it delicious layers of fruity flavor. You can even make PB and J oats!
- Spices. Cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, and ginger are one of the many spices you can use. Each has its own unique twist.
Again, oats are like a blank canvas. Adding layers of fresh fruit, nuts, or even a spoonful of peanut butter will make every bite an explosion of flavors!
How To Make Flavor-Packed Overnight Oats When You’re Short On Time
Overnight oats are already pretty convenient on their own, but if you’re really pressed for time and need a super quick breakfast, it’s best to turn to a pre-packaged alternative.
The good news is that there are several pre-packaged overnight oats on the market that include all the ingredients you need. The bad news is that while they are extra convenient, they are not as healthy and don’t match the taste of oats made from scratch.
However, there is one specific brand of overnight oats that we here, at FAQK love! We wanted something that is healthy, flavor-packed and didn’t feel like eating pre-packaged mush, and we found it! We’re talking about (drumroll please…) Oath Oats!
What is Oath all about?
In an oat hull (pun intended), Oath Oats is all about oats. Specifically, it’s an oat-based brand that offers gluten-free, refined sugars-free, and vegan overnight oat mixes, all inside colorful, sustainably made pouches.
Their mission is to be as convenient as possible, but without sacrificing taste, wholesomeness, or sustainability. They use only sustainably sourced whole ingredients (no weird unpronounceable names) straight from the U.S. and Canada, and are passionate about making sure overnight oats are above all else, two things — delicious and natural.
At the moment, Oath Oats has 4 main overnight oat flavors::
- Almond Butter & Jelly
- Crunchy Dark Chocolate (our favorite!)
- Maple Roasted Almond
- Mountain Wild Blueberry
But they are currently in the process of adding more in the near future.
The best part? You can prep them in just 4 easy steps! 1. Shake the pouch to distribute the ingredients, 2. Mix ½ of overnight oats with your liquid of choice in a container, 3. Cover the mixture and chill it in the fridge for at least 4 hours (if it’s overnight, even better), and 4. Enjoy the creamy, oaty goodness! As easy as 1234.
If you’ve already tried their overnight oats but can’t get enough of whole grains, Oath also offers crunchy granola and tiny but mighty granola bars. And yup, they’re just as delicious as their overnight oats.
Oath’s Founder is Yumna Jawad of Feel Good Foodie, a website where she shares healthy recipes with wholesome ingredients and shows (whenever she can) her love for oats. This time she wanted to prove it by developing a product for fellow oat lovers — and she sure hit the nail on the head!
Where to get Oath overnight oats
For now, Oath overnight oats are only available online on their website — where you can get 15% off your first subscribe and save order. But shhh, that’s between you and us!
However, the Oath Oats team is keeping in touch with various retailers so that they will soon be available in other locations, both online and in physical stores.
P.S: Oath is also partnering with No Kid Hungry, a national campaign committed to ending child hunger and poverty in the U.S. In their own words, they want to “give back to a cause that’s close to all our hearts”, and we couldn’t agree more. If you’d like to support No Kid Hungry, you can do so directly from Oath’s website without the need to shop their products — no strings attached. Every little bit helps!
How To Set & Store Overnight Oats
Ok so, you’ve got your favorite rolled oats, your go-to toppings, and the liquid that will bring it all together… But how do you make overnight oats? Simple, all you need to do is follow a 1:1 ratio of milk to oats the first time you make it Then, depending on how that test batch turns out, add more or less liquid to suit your taste.
You can also add any mix-ins like chocolate or peanut butter, toppings like coconut flakes, or spices like cinnamon or nutmeg. The time you save in prepping the oats can be used to brainstorm which flavors you can combine. Then all you have to do is let it set overnight in your fridge and enjoy the next day!
As for storage tips, we suggest that you store your overnight oats inside the fridge — in the middle part —, preferably in glass containers. If you leave them out of the fridge for too long or store them in a warm, humid environment, they will go bad before you know it. Remember that bacteria loooove dairy.
How Long Do Overnight Oats Need to Soak?
Overnight oats need to soak for at least 2 hours, no less. If you soak them for only an hour or 30 min, the oats won’t have time to absorb enough liquid and will end up with a runny, lumpish texture. That is why it is best to soak them for 2+ hours or better, overnight (12 to 16 hours).
The idea behind soaking the oats is not just to make them soft and creamy. Keeping them in liquid for several hours also helps them retain their original nutrients, load up on other ones, and flush out anti-nutrients.
What are the best containers/jars for overnight oats?
The best containers/jars for overnight oats are the ones that are both easy to clean and made from durable materials. Glass is our go-to material because it is quite durable (unless you have butterfingers), won’t stain, and won’t absorb odors or flavors. You can choose from mason jars to weck canning jars, to any storage containers with airtight lids. There are even sets of breakfast jars that include tiny spoon holders, how cute!
However, if you are a fan of Tupperware® and prefer snap-on lids, any plastic container will work as well. The plus side to them is that they’re much sturdier than glass containers and more practical, but let’s face it — they’re not as aesthetically pleasing. That can be a drawback if you want to post your #overnightoats to your feed.
How long do overnight oats last in the fridge?
If you prepped a week’s worth of overnight oats, it’s easy to lose track of their freshness. Their peak flavor will always be on the first day, but they can stay yummy and fresh in the fridge for about 5 days. If you leave them in there for longer, you may end up with a mouthful of straight up nasty oats — especially if you used milk or other ingredients that are about to expire. Always check the expiration dates!
Also, if your oats have been sitting in the fridge for a couple of days, make sure to give them a good stir before eating. It will bring all the ingredients together and give the mixture a smoother consistency.
What type of oats for overnight oats?
The best type of oats for overnight oats is old-fashioned rolled oats. They hold their shape much better inside the fridge, while steel-cut oats, instant oats, and quick-cooking oats don’t do as well. When soaked, they end up with a too-runny, or too-chewy texture.
What size mason jar for overnight oats?
Most overnight oats recipes call for ½ cup of oats and ½ cup of milk, so you want an arsenal of mason jars that have plenty of room for those measurements. Anything from 8 to 16 oz. can work — as long as they can handle hearty portions of oats and have airtight lids.
Do you eat overnight oats warm or cold?
Overnight oats can be eaten either warm or cold, but most often, they are eaten cold. There is no need to warm them up — unless you want to. Either way, they will taste great.
If you prefer warm oats, you can microwave them in 30-second intervals, or pour them into a pot and heat them on the stovetop.
Does soaking the oats make them easier to digest?
Yes! Actually, soaking your oats at night for 12 to 16 hours lowers their phytic acid content, a substance that blocks the production of digestive enzymes. It makes it softer, gut-friendly, and much easier to digest. That’s a huge plus if you’re an oat lover but your stomach isn’t.
Can you make overnight oats with steel-cut oats?
While steel-cut oats are less processed than rolled oats, they absorb liquids differently. Steel-cut oats cook — or in this case, absorb liquids — much slower, resulting in a chewy, somewhat dense mixture.
If that doesn’t bother you, you can use it for your overnight oats. But keep in mind that they will lack the characteristic smoothness that rolled oats provide.
Can you make overnight oats with instant or quick-cooking oats?
Technically, you can make overnight oats with instant oats, but it’s not the best choice.
You see, quick-cooking oats are, as the name suggests, oats that have been processed for quick cooking. They’re quite thin and will soak up liquids in the blink of an eye, so if you use the same amount of liquid you would normally use with rolled oats, you’ll end up with a soggy mixture. But if you really want to use them, then we suggest you reduce the amount of liquid by at least a tablespoon or two.
Now, if you mean instant oatmeal, that’s a no-no! Those little packets are full of highly processed oats and additives that will result in runny, wannabe overnight oats.
Which is healthier, oatmeal or overnight oats?
Both are healthy, but in terms of nutritional content, overnight oats are a step ahead. In addition to delaying digestion, the phytic acid found in oats impairs the absorption of certain minerals. Soaking it reduces its content of this acid, but cooking it, not so much.
Also, as mentioned above, the type of oats used in oatmeal tend to be highly processed (quick-cooking oats), which have fewer nutrients than rolled oats. But if you don’t use quick-cooking oats, the nutrient content of oatmeal is quite similar to that of overnight oats — only slightly lower due to the cooking process.
Is it healthy to eat overnight oats every day?
Yes, but in moderation. You can totally enjoy them on a daily basis as a healthy and filling breakfast, but not as breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You know what they say, too much of a good thing is a bad thing.
BTW, some people with digestive issues don’t tolerate uncooked oats very well, so before incorporating overnight oats into your everyday diet, make sure they don’t interfere with your gut health.