Overnight Oats are a healthy, delicious and easy way to have breakfast already made and waiting for you in the fridge.
What are Overnight Oats?
Overnight oats are simply a different way to prepare oatmeal. Instead of cooking the oats in boiling water, you soak them overnight in a liquid such as water or milk. In the morning, your oatmeal is ready to eat. Packed into jars, this is also a very transportable breakfast for grab & go mornings.
How Overnight Oats Work
When the oats soak for hours in liquid, they soften and break down, taking on a delicious creamy texture, which makes for a healthy and delicious breakfast.
Which Type of Oats to Use For Overnight Oats
Oats are available in different stages of processing. Oat groats are the whole form. They require a very long cooking (or soaking) time, so the best oats to use for overnight oatmeal are steel cut oats, or rolled oats (also called old fashioned oats). Steel-cut oats, because they are less processed, will have a chewier texture, while rolled oats will be creamier.
Which of the two types of oats to use is up to your preference. However, It’s important not to use instant oats (the ones that you buy in little packets). Instant oats contain high amounts of sugar and other ingredients, and they are highly processed. This means so they won’t stand up well to a long soak.
Get the complete low down on Oats 101 here: Types of Oats
How Much, and What Kind of Milk to Use For Overnight Oats
While I am using cashew milk here, you can use dairy milk, or any other nut milk, including almond. Other great milk choices are coconut milk, rice, soy, or oat milk. The important thing is to try for a 2 to 1 ratio of milk to oats for the right consistency.
Add-ins and Toppings
This Maple Walnut recipe is delicious, but there is no limit to what you can add to your overnight oats.
Some Add-in and Topping Ideas:
- Seeds – flax, chia, pumpkin, sunflower
- Dried Fruit – raisins, cranberries, dates, mangos, apricots
- Fresh or Frozen Fruit – apples, pears, cherries, peaches, pineapple, mango, banana, etc
- Berries – blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries
- Nuts – walnuts, peanuts, pecans, almonds, macadamia
- Sweeteners: maple syrup, honey, brown sugar, molasses
- Spices: turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves
- Other – nut butters, preserves, coconut
Why Oats are Good For You
Oats are an extremely nutritious whole grain. First, because they are rich in soluble fiber, which helps to lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels, as well as promote a feeling of fullness. Secondly, oats are high in many vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, iron, manganese, copper, magnesium, selenium, and phosphorus, all of which are important to overall health. Finally, oats are higher in protein than most other grains.
Of course, just how healthy your overnight oats are, depends on your add-ins and toppings. Too much sugar, jam, chocolate chips, cookie crumbs, etc, will turn your healthy breakfast into a dessert.
Are Oats Gluten-Free?
Although oats are naturally gluten-free, they are often processed in facilities where other grains, such as wheat and barley, are also processed. This can cause cross-contamination, so if you are celiac or are gluten intolerant or sensitive, it’s important to look for oats that are certified gluten-free.
Can Overnight Oats be Heated?
Although they are delicious if you eat them cold from the fridge, yes, you can heat your oatmeal, if you prefer it warm. Just pop your jar into the microwave for a minute or two.
How to Make Maple Walnut Overnight Oats
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Maple Walnut Overnight Oats make a delicious, healthy, and hearty breakfast, perfect for busy mornings.
In a bowl, combine all ingredients except the berries
Divide the mixture between 4 half-pint jars, or similar sized containers with lids
Put containers in the fridge overnight
In the morning, give the jar a stir
Enjoy cold, topped with berries and extra maple syrup if desired, or heat in microwave 1-2 minutes before adding toppings
I used certified gluten-free oats in this recipe to make it gluten-free.
Overnight oats can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. However, they will have the best taste and texture if used within 2-3 days.
This recipe makes four servings which lasted 2 mornings for 2 people.