Treat yourself to this amazing cherry overnight oats recipe. It is easy and quick to whip up together and becomes ultra creamy and unbelievably tasty the next morning. Great for meal-prep, 100% vegan + dairy-free and naturally gluten-free.
You might already know how much I LOVE overnight oats: they are my go-to healthy breakfast and I eat them most mornings, really! I enjoy how fast I can whip them up together in the evening especially when I'm tired. Then, they turn into the most creamy and rich dessert-like breakfast pudding during the night without any extra effort. Amazing!
I am also always on the look out for more ideas to flavor overnight oats. And now that summer that has just arrived, what's better than making a cherry overnight oats recipe to get the most of the stone fruit season?!
I wish we could appreciate the outstanding cherry yumminess simply by looking at the pictures: the oats are actually soaking in a sweet milky cherry mixture, so there is so much goodness in each bite. All it takes is a quick blend to combine the milk with the cherries, sweetener and a little vanilla extract (or almond extract!) and then let the oats soften within the delicious concoction.
I also included some almond butter for a nice boost of creaminess and some chia seeds for an added tapioca-like fun consistency. But, they also add more good-for-you omega-3 fats, fiber and plant-based protein to your breakfast to help you not get hungry too quickly in the morning.
There are endless ways you can make overnight oats (check out my customizable overnight oats post!), but this version is made quite simply to keep the flavor focus on the cherries and also, it is made completely vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free so it fits many diets. Just keep reading: I will share a ton of variation ideas on how to make it your own!
Let me know if you gave it a try! ❤️
Highlights of this recipe
- So creamy and rich in texture, feels like dessert for breakfast!
- Filling and ultra nourishing
- Super flavorful and lightly sweetened mostly naturally, thanks to the addition of sweet cherries
- Loaded with antioxidants from the cherries
- Packed with fiber, healthy omega-3 fats and plant-based protein
- Quick to make and perfect for meal-prep
- Versatile and easy to customize to your preference
- Amazing on-the-go breakfast, but can also be enjoyed as a snack or even a healthy dessert, especially if garnished with chocolate
- Naturally vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free
- Rolled oats: I recommend using thicker type of rolled oats, such as old-fashioned oats for best texture. Using quick cooking oats might result in a consistency that's too mushy, although will still work out fine.
- Chia seeds: optional, but highly recommended. The seeds complement the soft pudding-like texture from the oats and boost the mixture with more nutrition.
- Cherries: the star of this recipe! you can use both red or yellow cherries and feel free to use frozen cherries when they are not in season. I used a packed cup to mix in the overnight oat mixture, but actually even added a bunch of extra cherries as well for more texture and goodness. So be sure to have plenty!
- Plant-based milk: use your favorite kind, although I recommend oat milk for overnight oats, it is so creamy and rich on its own! I love the oat milk from Oatly.
- Sweetener: maple syrup works well here as it adds sweetness, but also a nice caramel-like taste. Use any sweetener you like!
- Almond butter: absolutely optional, although it adds such an incredible creamy texture to the oat mixture! It also make the recipe higher in protein and fats to make this recipe more satisfying and filling. You could swap for peanut butter, although this might overpower the overall taste a little bit too much.
- Vanilla extract: also optional and swap for almond extract if you want (use less then the vanilla extract), which is a classic combination of flavors with cherries!
How to make cherry overnight oats
This is the ultimate breakfast meal-prep recipe! Overnight oats literally take 5 minutes to whip up together and they are perfectly creamy and ready for you to enjoy the next morning. The only thing is that you will have to plan ahead to allow them enough resting time for the magic to happen!
Prepare the cherries
If using fresh cherries: clean them in cold water and then remove their pit. I like to press in the middle of each cherry using a straw to push the pit out.
If using frozen cherries: they should be already pitted, so simply let them thaw either overnight in the fridge or a few hours at room temperature. Or warm them up slightly using the microwave without letting them become too warm. They will be more blend-able that way.
Blend + Combine
In a blender, add the milk, sweetener, vanilla extract, almond butter and pitted cherries.
Blend until as smooth as you wish: you might blend on high for a uniform mixture or only pulse a few times to keep some pieces of fruit intact.
In a large jar, add the oats and chia seeds, and then, pour the cherry milk over. Give it a good stir or seal + shake until all combined.
You can also add extra pitted and halved cherries in your overnight oats for extra texture and sweetness, but I recommend to simply let them sit over the oats and incorporate them in the mixture only when ready to eat. This will preserve their freshness better.
Transfer the oats in the fridge overnight or for a minimum of 4 hours for best creamy texture.
That being said, I often do speedy overnight oats where I combine the ingredients first thing once I wake up, let them rest for an hour or so while I get everyone ready for the day, then enjoy before getting out of the house. This makes for a more textured oat mixture, but requires less planning ahead, which works well for me.
Serve and enjoy
When ready to eat, check on consistency and adjust with more milk, if necessary.
Also, taste and add more maple syrup to balance the sweetness of the mixture to your preference.
To serve, divide the overnight oats in between 2 serving bowls or jars and then, garnish with more cherries and chopped almonds. Enjoy!
- If using frozen cherries, then look for a bag of sweet cherries. Your grocery store might keep frozen sour cherries, which I think works better for pies where you add more sweetener to the recipe. A mix of sweet + sour cherries should be ok (sold at Hannaford), but you might have to adjust the amount of maple syrup to compensate.
- The bright red color you will get once just blended will likely fade away to a paler color overnight, which is a bummer but an expected process due to the oxidation of the cherries (fruit's exposure to oxygen). You can appreciate this simply by watching my quick video or having a peak at my in-process pictures... While the appearance might change overtime, know that the taste and nutritional value of the overnight oats will remain the same!
Serving suggestions and favorite toppings
Overnight oats are usually eaten cold straight from the fridge just like that. BUT, if you have a few extra minutes in the morning, then you can add more to it and include more texture + fresh flavors. Here are some of my favorite ideas:
- Yogurt: I often include vegan yogurt in my overnight oats, such as this vanilla yogurt from Silk. You can incorporate some of it within the mixture or, as seen in my vegan vanilla overnight oats recipe, create some layers alternating between both to make a dessert-like appetizing parfait.
- Crunch: add more texture to your breakfast by garnishing with granola or chopped nuts or seeds. Pecans, almonds, walnuts and this vanilla almond granola would all be amazing choices.
- Sweeter: if the cherries aren’t that sweet or simply if you like sweeter recipes, then simply add more maple syrup. Or add some fruit jam to help boost their sweet flavor!
- Dessert: this recipe can easily be turned into a stunning dessert that combines flavors similar to a vegan black forest cake! In that case, incorporate about 1-2 tablespoons of raw cacao powder and add more sweetener to balance out the flavors (cacao is a little bitter). Also, stir in a few vegan dark chocolate chips and garnish with whipped cream (we love my vegan coconut whipped cream or I'll often use this store-bought oat whipped cream to make it more convenient).
Overnight oats are generally super versatile and so forgiving, so feel free to add extra ingredients as you wish to boost the flavor and nutrient content. Here are a few ideas:
- Spices: especially cinnamon or nutmeg.
- Antioxidant boost: I absolutely love cacao nibs in overnight oats for their crunch and mild bitter chocolaty taste too. But the best part is their high content in antioxidant!
- Higher in protein: add a spoonful of protein powder, more nut or seed butter or if you have some cooked quinoa sitting in the fridge, then add some! Quinoa overnight oats are incredibly filling and loaded with plant-based protein!
- Hemp seeds: mostly flavorless and unnoticeable, but they bring a heaping serving of high quality plant protein and good-for you fats.
You can keep this recipe in the fridge for up to 3-5 days and stir well before serving.
Makes for such an amazing make-ahead meal idea: don't hesitate to make more so you can have a few ready-to-go jars of goodness in the morning or to enjoy as an afternoon snack.
If you want to include extra cherries in the mixture, then simply keep them sitting right on top of the oats and stir them in just before eating. This will help preserve their freshness.
Also, keep in mind that the longer they rest, the softer and creamier the mixture will become. It might get on the thicker side after resting for a few days, meaning that you might have to add a splash or two extra of milk before enjoying.
Then, simply pit the cherries and chop them very small. Mix the pieces in the jar with the oats and the rest of the ingredients.
If you are out of milk, then yes, you can make it using water. In that case, consider adding some vegan yogurt to compensate for the lack of creaminess.
Yes you can! Overnight oats are typically enjoyed cold, but you can warm them up using the microwave 30 seconds at the time or until heated through. This can be a good option for a cozy breakfast during the cold months.
You can opt for dried cherries, although this would not give the creamy oats the same result. Fresh or frozen cherries are juicy and ooze some sweet liquid into the oats, which is something that dried cherries would not provide.
No they don't, I actually often make them the same morning and just let them rest for 1-2 hours. The more you let them rest, the creamier the mixture will become and the softer the oats will be. If you let them rest for a shorter period of time, the oats won't have have much time to soften, but still will be very delicious!
More overnight oats recipe to try
- Guide on how to personalize vegan overnight oats
- Quinoa overnight oats
- Pumpkin overnight oats
- Chocolate orange overnight oats
- Vanilla overnight oats
- Overnight oats using frozen fruit
- Strawberry almond butter overnight oats
- Mango swirl overnight oats
- Maple pecan overnight oats
- High-protein peanut butter overnight oats
- Overnight oats without chia seeds
I hope you enjoy this cherry overnight oats recipe as much as we do! If you try it, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how it was. Your feedback is so helpful!
Cherry Overnight Oats
- 1 cup fresh or frozen cherries (about 16 cherries) - pitted, plus more for serving
- 1 cup plant-based milk
- 1 tbsp almond butter
- 2 tbsp maple syrup - or to taste
- 1 tsp vanilla extract - or ¼ tsp almond extract
- 1 cup rolled oats - old-fashioned style
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- If using fresh cherries, then start by pitting them. If using frozen cherries, then let them thaw slightly: overnight in the fridge or for a few hours at room temperature or warm up slightly in the microwave (don't let them get warm).
- Then, transfer the cherries to a blender and add the milk, almond butter, sweetener, vanilla extract and sweetener. Blend until smooth or simply pulse to break up the fruit while leaving some pieces intact.
- To a large glass storing container or jar, add the oats, chia seeds and then, pour the cherry milk over. Stir to combine and then seal. Transfer to the fridge and let it chill overnight (or at least 4 hours).
- When ready to enjoy, check on consistency and adjust by adding more milk if needed (the longer it rests, the thicker it becomes). Divide in 2 serving jars or bowls and garnish with more cherries, if desired. You can also top with dark chocolate, chopped almonds, vegan whipped cream, etc. Enjoy!
- Storage: you can meal-prep a few of them ahead of time and keep them in the fridge for up to 3-5 days. It will get thicker over time, so you will likely have to add some extra milk after resting for a few days.
- You can include extra pieces of cherries, although I recommend to let them sit over the overnight oats and only incorporate them when ready to eat. This will preserve the freshness of the fruit better.
- Customization ideas include: cinnamon, vegan chocolate chips, vegan yogurt (add to the mixture or layer when serving), hemp seeds, etc. Check out the blog post for more ideas!