These chocolate orange overnight oats are easy and so quick to make, plus combine a rich chocolate flavor with a nice zest from fresh oranges. Great for meal-prep, this breakfast is also loaded with plant-based protein and fiber to help you stay full all morning!
I don't think I will ever get tired of overnight oats! To me, it's pretty much like a little jar of creamy dessert, but enjoyed for breakfast. And I can make in about 5 minutes the night before. With an endless array of possible flavors. How can I get tired of that?
And I really hope you find a deep love for overnight oats too! 💜 They can be such an amazing tool to help you reach your health goals, such as losing weight, eating more fiber, limiting processed food or prioritizing a plant-based or gluten-free diet.
The fact that you make them the night before sets you up for success right at the beginning of your day: it's ready-to-go, very filling and hopefully will steer you away from over-snacking all morning. Plus, they are SO easy to prepare! Perfect for the i.cannot.cook.but.i.want.to.eat.better kind of person.
I have TONS of favorite creamy raw oat recipes that I make on repeat, but these vegan chocolate orange overnight oats definitely earned their spot into my own personal rotation. It is very chocolatey with a nice zest that brightens up the whole mixture. It's pretty much like eating a chocolate orange cake, but without having to bake!
Hope you enjoy!
Why this recipe works
- Great recipe if you love sweet breakfasts
- Feels like a nice chocolate treat, but still very healthy and low-in-calories
- Loaded with fiber and fairly rich in plant-based protein
- Easy to customize to your taste
- Amazing for meal-prep
- Can help you feel full and satisfied until lunch time
- Dairy-free, low fat and completely vegan
- Great recipe for toddlers and babies
Ingredients you'll need
- Rolled oats: makes the base of the creamy mixture. Choose the thick kind for best results! (see below)
- Chia seeds: add a great texture and tons of fiber, protein and omega-3 healthy fats.
- Raw cacao powder: I recommend using cacao instead of cocoa for its unprocessed nature, although both will work about the same in most recipes.
- Sweetener: I used coconut sugar, but brown sugar or even maple syrup will work. Simply add to taste.
- Plant-based milk: any kind will work, simply choose your favorite. I recommend using a unsweetened milk so you can control how sweet you want your breakfast to be.
- Orange: you will need some zest from the peel and also add pieces of fruits to the creamy oats. I used a Navel orange, but mandarin, blood orange, tangerine or Cara Cara orange will work too.
What kind of oats to use
You will need to use thick rolled oats (also called old-fashioned oats) for making overnight oats. They are thicker and nicely soak up the milk to soften without turning mushy at all. You will end up with a creamy oatmeal that still has a nice chewy bite.
Quick cooking oats, or minute-oats, are not working as well when making overnight oats as the flakes are thinner and more delicate, which would create a muddy consistency after soaking on the milk. Not that appetizing!
How to make chocolate orange overnight oats
In a storage container or mason jar, combine all the ingredients (oats, chia seeds, cacao powder, sweetener, plant-based milk, orange zest, cubes of oranges and chocolate chips or cacao nibs). Stir well and cover.
Chill + Rest
Transfer in the fridge and let it sit overnight or for at least 2 hours. During that time, the rolled oats and chia seeds will absorb some of the milk and soften to a creamy consistency. No cooking required!
Adjust + Serve
When ready to eat, you can check on the texture: if too thick, simply add a little more milk and if too thin, add a small handful of extra oats, stir and let sit for an extra 15 minutes or so.
Feel free to garnish with cacao nibs, more chia seeds and even more pieces of orange to add more texture or simply to decorate your bowl (see below for more topping ideas).
Watch how to make it
- The longer the overnight oat mixture rest, the thicker it will become. This is due to the fact that the oats and chia seeds keep soaking up the liquid. If your oats are in the fridge for a few days, then you might want to add an extra splash of milk to turn it creamier.
- If you are looking for a very zesty breakfast, then feel free to add the zest of the whole orange!
- You will have to add a sweetener to this overnight oat recipe. Raw cacao powder is very bitter and it simply would not be pleasant without sweetening it (and I don't think that natural sugar from fruits would be enough here). You can use any sweetener (liquid or granulated) and if you don't want to have to use too much, then make it unsweetened at first when you just prepare it and then, right before serving: add a mashed banana and adjust with extra sweetener to taste (do not add the banana the night before).
Substitutions and topping ideas
Overnight oats are highly customizable and fun to personalize! You can follow my guide on how to make vegan overnight oats to get tons of ideas on what to include, such as:
- Nuts and seeds: they add a crunch and more valuable nutrients. Try pumpkin seeds, walnuts, chopped almonds and hazelnuts.
- Vegan yogurt: for more creaminess and a nice tangy subtle flavor.
- More spices: such as cinnamon, chai spices mix or vanilla extract.
- Hemp seeds: you won't notice them much, but they bring valuable amount of fiber and protein.
- Other sweetener: I used coconut sugar, but maple syrup (or brown sugar) would work great as well and would add a nice flavor.
Also, unless you quickly have to grab-and-go in the morning, take an extra minute to top your bowl before enjoying. This will add more texture and make it even more appetizing! Here are a few garnishes to try:
- Cacao nibs or vegan dark chocolate chips.
- Shredded coconut or coconut flakes.
- More fresh fruits such as berries, bananas or more oranges.
- Chia seeds or hemp seeds.
- A drizzle of peanut or almond butter.
- Granola for a nice crunch (try this vanilla almond granola!).
- A dollop of vegan yogurt, such as coconut- or almond-based.
Storage and meal-prep
Overnight oats are amazing for meal-prepping ahead of time. Make a few jars of creamy oats whenever you have more free time, store them in the fridge for up to 5 days, and simply grab-and-eat when hungry. Makes for an amazing breakfast, but also post-work out snack or late night sweet craving treat.
If you are planning on making them 48 hours or more ahead of time, then I recommend to keep the fruits apart and add them only when ready to eat for better freshness.
Yes! My kids prefer warm oatmeal, so for them, I'll simply heat it up in the microwave for a few seconds until warmed up (you can also use the stove). Warming up the overnight oats will thicken the consistency, so be sure to add an extra splash of milk as needed to recreate a super creamy mixture.
Yes! Oats are naturally gluten-free, so this recipe is suitable for gluten sensibilities and celiac disease, as long as you ensure the oats were certified GF (free of potential contaminations).
Yes, this would add even more of a zesty flavor. In this case, I would use ¼ cup of orange juice + ½ cup of plant-based milk. I would NOT recommend to substitute the whole amount of milk for the juice as it would not be as creamy.
For more overnight oats inspiration, check out these recipes!
- Pumpkin spice overnight oats
- Strawberry vanilla overnight oats
- Mango almond butter overnight oats
- Guide on how to personalize overnight oats
- Maple pecan overnight oats
- High-protein vegan overnight oats
- Vanilla overnight oats
I hope you like this chocolate orange 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!
Chocolate Orange Overnight Oats
- ¾ cup rolled oats - thick or old-fashioned style (not quick cooking)
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tbsp raw cacao powder
- 1-2 tbsp coconut sugar - or any other sweetener
- 1 cup plant-based milk
- 1 navel orange - diced
- ½ navel orange - zested
- 1 tbsp mini vegan dark chocolate chips - or cacao nibs
- In a storing container or mason jar, combine all the ingredients together, stir well and cover.
- Let sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours (or overnight) before enjoying. Feel free to top your bowl with more fruits, cacao nibs and vegan yogurt before serving and adjust consistency with more milk as needed.
- Keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. The overnight oats feel more fresh when the fruits are added less than 48 hours as they can turn mushy in liquids overtime.
- The longer the mixture rests, the thicker it will become. Add more milk as needed.