Food & Recipes

How to Make Overnight Oats for Meal Prep

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If you’re wondering how to make overnight oats for the first time, you’re definitely not alone. The trendy breakfast always looks so adorable on social media, but not everyone who posts these images shares their exact recipes.

That said, after you check out a couple of different overnight oatmeal recipes online, you can get a pretty good idea of what you might need. After experimenting with a few different flavors of overnight oats myself — peanut butter, blueberry, and even “carrot cake” — I came up with a general and customizable list of steps to follow every time I have a craving for the scrumptious and satisfying meal.

How to Make Overnight Oats At Home

how to make overnight oats at home

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

1. Gather a batch of lidded Mason jars — preferably all the same size — to portion individually for separate meals. I usually use four Mason jars for my meal prep, but you can easily bump that number up to five if you want overnight oats for breakfast every day of the workweek. While some suggest using standard 1-pint Mason jars to get the job done, you might find that you prefer smaller jars. A lot of it depends on how many ingredients and additional toppings you want to use.

2. In each jar, add 1/2 cup rolled oats, a pinch of salt, and then 1/2 cup of almond milk (or other non-dairy milk of choice). These are probably the most important basic ingredients for overnight oats, but even with these, you have a bit of leeway. If you don’t happen to have rolled oats on you, quick-cooking oats will also work. And this is also a fun opportunity to experiment with any non-dairy milks you want to try (macadamia and cashew are both fun and tasty options).

3. Add the ingredients that you want to shine the most in your final overnight oats recipe. Since I adore peanut butter, I often add a tbsp. or two of softened peanut butter to each jar. You can copy this tip with other alternative nut butters as well, such as almond butter and cashew butter. Sometimes I add a pinch of a favorite spice for a seasonal flavor (such as pumpkin spice around autumn). If you want an ultra-creamy overnight oatmeal experience, you might also consider adding up to a 1/2 cup of non-dairy yogurt, such as coconut yogurt. 

(Side note: Some people use dairy-based milk and yogurt for their overnight oatmeal recipes, but I typically prefer plant-based overnight oats because I find they typically last a bit longer.)

4. Gently mix the ingredients together in all the jars, seal them up tight, and put them in the fridge. Then, let them sit there in peace for at least one night before cracking one open. We know it might be tempting to peek in there and try one beforehand, but patience is really the key to excellent overnight oats.

5. Stir a sweetener if desired, then add whatever toppings you want. From honey to agave to stevia, there are plenty of sweeteners out there that mix well with overnight oats. Pick whichever one you like the best, and then the world is pretty much your oyster when it comes to toppings. Sliced bananas are a popular choice, and so are antioxidant-filled blueberries. P.S. For a protein boost, try adding a tbsp. of chia seeds or an extra drizzle of nut butter on top.

6. Enjoy!

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