Vegan overnight oats are SO easy to make! They make for a perfect breakfast or snack on-the-go that’s very nourishing and super delicious. Simply follow these easy steps to learn how to make your own personalized version, how to store them and batch prepare them.
There is something quite satisfying to wake up knowing your breakfast is all ready for you in the fridge. Especially on busy mornings or if you have little ones running around like here: simply prepare them the night before and grab the jar of creamy oats from the fridge when ready to eat. No more prep or cooking in the morning.
Not only will these make your mornings more fun and delicious, but they will make you feel nourished and satisfied too. They are filled with wholesome ingredients that gets your day started the right way.
And there are endless flavor options for overnight oatmeals! You can come up with new ones every time you prepare them. That way, overnight oats can never become boring! You only have to follow a few basic rules to make sure they are tasty with just the right texture, no matter what flavors you are craving.
What are overnight oatmeals
To make it simple, overnight oats are a mixture of raw oats combined with a liquid (usually milk). The mixture is then set aside in the fridge (usually overnight) to give some time for the raw oats to soak up the liquid. The oats will then soften and create a thicker creamy texture that's pleasant to eat and is a great base to flavor the way you want.
I see them as a no-cook version of oatmeal with a creamy pudding consistency. Lots of overnight oats will also include yogurt, seeds-nuts (often chia seeds) and added flavors, like fruits, spices and sweetener.
Why make overnight oatmeals
These delicious raw oatmeal breakfasts have been around for a while and you might already have made them more than once. There are a few reasons why people love them so much, and it is not only because they taste SO good:
- Nutritious: They are such a great way to enjoy more healthy raw oats that contain lots of fiber, healthy fats, antioxidants and protein. You can also boost your overnight oats with so many other wholesome ingredients to make your breakfast extra nourishing.
- Easy to make: Just mix all the ingredients together and your breakfast will be ready in the morning.
- Perfect for meal-prep: You can make a few flavored overnight oats ahead of a busy week, one different for each day to keep things interesting.
- Versatile: Follow a basic recipe to get the texture right and then adjust it to your taste with plenty of flavorful ingredients.
A few basics to overnight oatmeals
#1 The ratio of oats vs liquid needs to be balanced
The goal is to reach a soft, but not too mushy pudding-like mixture. While the oatmeal is resting in the fridge, the oats will soak up the liquid and soften, which makes it more pleasant to eat. All this without any cooking time.
Remember that more liquid is needed to reach that final creamy texture, since lots will be absorbed by the oats. So, the mixture will appear thinner after you have just mixed everything.
Once the pudding is ready, check to see if you need to adjust the texture by adding more vegan milk (for thinner mixtures) or more oats (for thicker mixtures). Just be sure to let sit an extra 10 minutes afterwards.
Also, lots of vegan overnight oatmeals will also include coconut or almond yogurt. If you choose to do so, add less of the plant-based milk to compensate for the added yogurt.
#2 Add flavor and texture to your overnight oats
There are so many different ways you can make your breakfast stand out!
- The easiest way to have your overnight oatmeal taste delicious is to add fresh fruits to it. It is also a great way to follow the seasons: cherries when summer starts, then berries and peaches mid-summer or apples and pears at the beginning of fall. Try adding oranges to your raw oatmeals in the middle of winter for a delicious zesty mixture.
- Add a layer of fruit jam (like this cherry marmalade) in the middle of the jar, or simply on top. Or, add a good dollop of this date caramel for a boost in flavor and sweetness.
- Adding nuts or seeds can improve the texture of the oats. Add sliced almonds, chopped walnuts or pecans. Also, chia seeds are amazing in overnight oats, but try adding other seeds like sesame seeds or poppy seeds for a nice little crunch.
- Dried fruits make for a great sweet addition to overnight oats. Dried cranberries, raisins or even dried blueberries or cherries will not only add more natural sweetness to your breakfast, but also a pleasant chewy bite.
- Spices are an easy ingredient to boost the flavor of your raw oats. Try cinnamon, vanilla extract, cardamom (goes beautifully with blueberries), nutmeg or pumpkin pie spice (especially with apples and pears).
- Using flavored milk is also a great way to flavor your overnight oat. Try using strawberry almond milk or chocolate cashew milk for a fun change.
#3 They need some resting time
You need to allow some time for the oats to soak up the liquid. I have done many raw oatmeals with not much resting time, which was fine. But, I recommend to let it sit in the fridge for at least two hours (overnight is best).
How to make vegan overnight oats
- To a jar, add the raw oats, chia seeds (optional), sweetener and vegan milk. Then, stir until combined and there are no clumps anymore.
- Seal the container and let sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours (or overnight).
- When ready to eat, add spices of choice, your toppings (fruits, nuts, granola, etc) and dig in!
Use a ratio on 1:1 of raw oats vs vegan milk. If using chia seeds, then add an extra ¼ cup of vegan milk per tablespoon of chia seeds used.
*For example, for one person with an average appetite (fits a 12 oz mason jar):
Make the base:
¾ cup rolled oats + ¾ cup vegan milk + 1 tbsp sweetener
+/- (1 tbsp chia seeds + extra ¼ cup vegan milk)
Once the oats is ready to eat, then add:
½-1 tsp spice
½ cup fresh fruits
Nuts, shredded coconut, chocolate chips, etc
You can also add about ¼ cup of vegan yogurt to your raw oats. It adds a nice tangy flavor and makes it even more creamy. You can also add the spice when making the base before the resting time.
Watch how to make it
Tips when making vegan overnight oats
- I love using mason jars when making them. Simply add all the ingredients, seal the cover and shake. Having the mixture already stored in a air-tight container makes it convenient to simply grab-and-go. For this method to work well, choose a jar slightly bigger so there is enough space for the ingredients to move around when shaking it and you will be able to top it with fruits.
- If you try to limit the use of added sweeteners, then add ½ to 1 mashed bananas (better to add just before eating as the bananas can turn brown with time) or chopped dates.
- If preparing many overnight oats ahead of time, then I recommend to simply top the overnight oats with the fruits and nuts instead of stirring them in right away, especially if stored for more than 1-2 days. Or simply prepare the basic recipe, keep plain in the fridge and stir in fruits just before eating.
- Overnight oats are typically enjoyed cold, but you can also warm it up just before eating. Just use the microwave and be sure to prepare your oats in a microwave safe container. After warmed up, then add the fruits and other toppings.
What type of oats to use when making vegan overnight oats?
Rolled oats (old-fashioned style) are best when making overnight oatmeal. Thicker rolled oats help reach a more interesting texture compared to quick cooking oats, where the mixture would become quite mushy. It is also possible to make overnight oats using steel-cut oats!
Meal-prep your vegan overnight oats
Overnight oatmeals are perfect if you love to batch cook. I will often simply make a few basic overnight oats in jars without any flavoring so that I can add the spices, fruits, nuts and other flavoring I feel like eating at breakfast time. But, if you are too busy in the morning and want them all ready to-go, then you can also flavor them ahead of time.
To do this, simply align your jars, then add the basic ingredients (oats + liquid + sweetener +/- chia seeds: see basic recipe above) in each of them. Then, vary the spices in the jars and stir well. Taste and adjust the flavor.
Then, simply top the oats with the fruits and nuts of your choice in each of the jars without stirring them in. This way, the fruits and nuts will stay fresh longer. Stir them in when ready to eat.
Make your vegan overnight oats higher in protein
Here are some ideas of high in protein ingredients to add to your overnight oats to help you avoid that 10 am hunger spike:
- One or two tbsp of hemp seeds.
- A large spoon full of almond butter or peanut butter (or try adding this healthy peanut butter frosting instead of the sweetener).
- Extra chia seeds or nuts (don't forget to add an extra ¼ cup of non dairy milk for each extra tablespoon of chia seeds!)
- Protein powder. This not my thing, but if you have some, add a little for an easy protein boost. This might change the overall taste, though.
- Flaxseeds. They have a fair amount of plant-based protein! Try layering or garnished your overnight oat with this quick and easy flaxseed pudding.
How long can overnight oatmeals be stored in the fridge?
Basic overnight oats can be stored for up to a week in a air-tight container in the fridge.
But again, if making overnight oats with fresh fruits mixed in, then plan on eating them within 2 days. Or leave the fruits out and sitting on top of the oats until ready to eat.
Overnight oats recipes you might like
- Pumpkin orange overnight oats
- Mango overnight oats with almond butter swirl
- Strawberry overnight oats
- Protein overnight oats
I hope you enjoy this guide on how to make vegan overnight oats! If you try them, please leave a comment below to let me know how they were. Your feedback is so helpful!
Vegan Overnight Oats: The Complete Guide
- ¾ cup rolled oats
- ¾ cup vegan plain milk
- 1 tbsp maple syrup - or any other sweetener of your choice
- 1 tbsp chia seeds - optional, add an extra ¼ cup of milk per tablespoon of seeds added
- ½-1 tsp spices - optional, such as cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, pumpkin spice mix, etc.
- flavoring ingredients of your choice - optional, such as fruits, nuts, nut/seed butter, cacao powder, vanilla extract, etc.
- Make the basic recipe: in a jar, combine the raw oats, chia seeds (if using, add an extra ¼ cup of vegan milk), sweetener and vegan milk. Stir to combine until there are no clumps anymore. Let sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Then, when ready to eat, add the spices, fruits and other toppings of your choice, stir well and enjoy while still cold.
- You can also flavor your overnight oatmeals ahead of time to save time on busy mornings. To do so, make the basic recipe (oat, chia, sweetener, milk), then add the spices and stir well. Then, simply top the oats with the fruits, nuts and other toppings and let them sit on top of the oats. Transfer to the fridge until ready to eat. Your overnight oats will stay fresh longer by not mixing the topping ahead of time.
- Old-fashioned type of rolled oats works better than quick cooking as it yields a more interesting texture. I love the old-fashioned rolled oats from Bob's Red Mill.
- Make it nut-free: use oat milk and use pumpkin seed, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seed butter.
- Make it gluten-free: make sure to use gluten-free certified raw oats carefully choose the milk.
- Make it sugar free: add a mashed banana just before eating.
- You can also add about ¼ cup of vegan yogurt to your basic recipe.
- You can also warm up your overnight oatmeal (without any fruits or nuts) if desired.