Are you out of chia seeds but still want to make overnight oats? No worries! This recipe for overnight oats without chia seeds is simple, versatile and healthy, plus it is a perfect make-ahead breakfast or snack. The basic overnight oats recipe requires 3 ingredients and you will find many ideas on how you can customize it. Fully vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free.
Overnight oats are my go-to easy breakfast most mornings.
I can whip up a big batch at the beginning of a busy week and let it thicken in the fridge without any effort. Then, I simply scoop the yummy creamy oats into a jar layered with fresh fruits, yogurt or whatever I feel like. Perfect quick breakfast on busy mornings! Overnight oats definitely are my ultimate meal prep plant-based recipe.
But, I often get "What can I use instead of chia seeds in overnight oats?". Chia seeds can be expensive and its tapioca texture might not be your thing. Or, you might have run out of it. If this is your case, then this overnight oats recipe without chia seeds is for you. You actually don't need chia seeds to make overnight oats!
Making a no-chia seeds overnight oats recipe using just oats is ultra simple, but I thought I would still give this recipe its own space on the blog.
This recipe is principally made using 3 kitchen staple ingredients: thick rolled oats, plant-based milk (such as oat milk) and sweetener of choice (I prefer maple syrup).
Then, I also like to include a small spoonful of almond butter for extra nutrients and bonus creaminess, but you don't have to. You can also add any flavoring ingredients of your choice, such as a pinch of cinnamon and some vanilla extract.
All you have to do is: 1- combine all the ingredients in a container, 2- place it in the fridge for at least 4 hours, ideally overnight, 3- enjoy your delicious breakfast with fruits the next morning. It is that easy and only takes 3-5 minutes of prep time.
The result is a nutrient-packed and unbelievably creamy pudding-like texture you can customize in endless ways. Perfect for a healthy breakfast, but also great for after-school snacks, post-workout treats and even dessert, especially if paired with strawberries and a chocolate sauce.
I hope you give it a try. Let me know how it turned out! ❤️
Why this recipe works
- Perfect meal prep recipe for quick breakfasts on busy mornings
- Made with healthy ingredients and LOADED with fiber, plant-based protein and healthy fats.
- Can be personalized in so many ways
- No-cook breakfast
- Delicious and ultra-creamy
- Nutritious and filling recipe
- Fits many diets: vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free and easy-to-make nut-free
Ingredients you will need
- Rolled oats: thick or old-fashioned oats are best to make overnight oats. Quick oats (or worst, instant oats) lose all texture after soaking in milk, making the overnight oats too mushy. On the other side, steel-cut oats aren't working either as they need to be cooked to be soft enough to enjoy. That being said, if you only have quick-cooking oats, then yes, you can still make it, although the consistency will be a little runnier and soft. Look for certified gluten-free oats if necessary.
- Plant-based milk: I love oat milk for making overnight oats as it is already so creamy and slightly sweet from the natural sugar from rolled oats. But, you can use your milk of choice, such as almond milk (adds a delicious nutty flavor) or soy milk (adds more protein). Coconut milk also is great for adding flavor and making overnight oats ultra-rich!
- Sweetener: I like pure maple syrup for making overnight oats. It has a delicious caramel-like flavor and the consistency works well in a pudding-like texture. You can also use agave nectar. In a pinch, you can also use a little brown sugar if that's all you have.
- Almond butter: you don't have to use it, but it adds such an amazing creamy and rich consistency. Also, it boosts your breakfast with more plant-based protein and healthy fats to help you stay full longer.
- Vanilla extract: optional, for flavor.
- Ground cinnamon: optional, you can also add different spices, such as nutmeg or pumpkin spice mix.
How to make overnight oats without chia seeds
Making overnight oats with or without chia isn’t so different other than adjusting the amount of milk you need.
Roughly, keep in mind that you will have to combine about the same amount of rolled oats and milk, then adjust the sweetener and flavoring ingredients to your taste. It is so easy!
In an airtight container, combine the rolled oats, plant-based milk, maple syrup, cinnamon and vanilla extract. Stir to combine until it is uniform and then, cover.
Chill and rest
Transfer to the fridge and let it rest for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Garnish and enjoy
When ready to eat, then give the overnight oats a good stir. If it is thicker than what you want, then add a little more milk and stir again. You can also taste and adjust sweetener.
Serve as you wish with fruit jam (I layered mine with the strawberry rhubarb compote in this vanilla barley breakfast bowl), fresh fruits, nuts, etc (see below). Enjoy!
- The longer the overnight oats rest, the thicker it becomes. So, make sure to check on consistency and add more milk if needed. Especially if you are just grabbing and-go to enjoy later at work, adjust the consistency before leaving the house!
- Try to add the fresh fruits last minute or just before enjoying. You can also simply mix the basic overnight oats together and then top with the fruits without stirring them in (keep them on top while you store them). This helps keep their freshness, which is great if you are planning on meal-prepping a few overnight oats at a time.
- If you are avoiding any added processed sweetener, then instead of maple syrup, you can add a mashed banana or chopped dates. Apple sauce can also help sweeten it naturally.
This recipe combines simple ingredients and makes for a perfect base to create your own breakfast. Make the pudding-like overnight oats and then serve with what you have.
I also recommend to vary the way you serve this recipe. Just switch the fruits, nuts, sauces, etc, to keep your breakfast interesting each morning.
Here are my favorite toppings or adds-on when serving:
- Fresh fruits: as seen in the pictures, I topped it with blueberries and yellow ground cherries (straight from my garden!). Other fresh fruits that work great are bananas, mango, strawberries, raspberries (you can also mash them for a saucy result), pineapple, pear, blackberries, etc.
- Frozen fruits: I make overnight oats using frozen fruit all the time, especially when I run out of fresh fruit at the end of the week. You can slightly thaw them in the microwave before incorporating them into the overnight oats. Check out my overnight oats with frozen fruit recipe for inspiration!
- Nuts/seeds: hemp seeds are great in overnight oats since they are mostly undetectable and add a heaping serving of healthy fats and plant-based protein. You can include about 1 tablespoon per serving. Also, try adding chopped walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds or pecans to add texture and nutrients. For the best crunchy texture, then enjoy it right away!
- Yogurt: layering overnight oats with yogurt is an easy way to create fun layers of texture and add extra flavor. I used the vanilla soy yogurt this time.
- Granola: you can add a small handful of yummy granola over the top just when serving just to add a nice crunchy topping to the otherwise very soft consistency. A great option is my easy 5-ingredient vanilla almond granola or try this turmeric superfood granola for a nice boost of antioxidants.
- Dessert-like: up for a nice treat? Then, feel free to serve overnight oats with a vegan chocolate sauce, tahini caramel, fruit jam, date caramel spread or simply toss in a few vegan chocolate chips.
Variations to the recipe
Other than simply playing around with how you serve overnight oats, you can also add more flavorful ingredients to the mixture. Here are a few ideas:
- Protein-packed: add more of the almond butter or switch to peanut butter to add more protein to your breakfast. Other protein-rich ingredients to consider are hemp seeds, protein powder, almond meal (or almond flour) or cooked quinoa (check out my quinoa overnight oats!).
- High-antioxidant: stir in a spoonful of raw cacao powder to make a chocolatey version, but also to add a ton of healthy free radical-fighting antioxidants. Raw cacao nibs also are great! Cacao can be bitter, so you might have to add more sweetener. Also, you can add antioxidant-rich matcha green tea powder to your overnight oats!
- Fiber-boosted: this overnight oats recipe is already rich in fiber, but to add even more of it, then blend in some ground flax seeds. Chopped prunes also is great to include more fiber in your meal or try psyllium husk!
- Spiced up: you can play around with the spices as you wish. I like a combination of vanilla and a little cinnamon, but if you are looking for a version that is stronger in spice flavor, then add more of it and also try including nutmeg, ground cardamom, pumpkin spice mix, ground ginger, chai mix, etc.
- Ultra creamy texture: you can also stir in some vegan yogurt for a creamy consistency.
Storage tips and how to meal prep
This is the perfect make-ahead breakfast recipe!
You can make a big batch of it on Sunday night, store it in separate individualized portions and enjoy them throughout a busy week. 16 oz mason jars are great for that and you can flavor them differently to keep things interesting.
Don't forget to check on texture just before enjoying them since they often get thicker while resting. Also, add the fresh fruits only when ready to eat or keep them on top of the overnight oats to preserve freshness.
How long do overnight oats last?
You can make them up to 5 days ahead, although I think they are best when eaten within 3 days.
Yes, you can! Overnight oats are typically enjoyed cold straight from the fridge or at room temperature, but if you are a hot oatmeal kind of person, then you can also easily warm it up. Simply use the stove or the microwave and add some more milk if needed (warming them up will make them thicker).
Yes, you can. Feel free to make a big batch and thaw some the next week.
Yes, totally. If you run out of milk, then simply make it with water and ideally, add some vegan yogurt to make it richer and creamier.
I actually make overnight oats often the morning of when I need them. I get up early, prep the mixture and let it rest until I am hungry, which is about 1-2 hours later. In that case, the oats are more chewy and the overall texture is thinner and less creamy, but I like it like that. For a creamier result, then aim to have it rest for at least 4 hours.
Make sure to use a nut-free plant-based milk (such as oat milk) and also, omit the almond butter or swap for sunflower butter or pumpkin seed butter.
More overnight oats recipes to try
- Cherry overnight oats
- Quinoa overnight oats
- Vanilla overnight oats
- Chocolate orange overnight oats
- Maple pecan overnight oats
- High-protein overnight oats
- Mango overnight oats
- Strawberry overnight oats
- Pumpkin orange overnight oats
I hope you like this overnight oats without chia seeds 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!
Overnight Oats without Chia Seeds
- ¾ cup rolled oats - old-fashioned style
- ¾ cup plant-based milk of choice - I used oat milk
- 1-2 tbsp maple syrup - or other sweetener of choice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of cinnamon
- ½-1 tbsp almond butter or ¼ cup of vegan yogurt - optional, to add more creaminess
- In an airtight container, combine together the oats, milk, sweetener, vanilla extract, cinnamon and almond butter, if using. Then, cover and let it rest in the fridge overnight (or for at least 4 hours).
- The next day, give the oats a good stir and add more milk if needed. Then, taste and adjust sweeteness.
- To serve, you can layer with vegan yogurt or fruit jam (I used a strawberry rhubarb compote to make mine) and top with fresh fruits, nuts, seeds, granola, etc. Enjoy!
- Storage tips: you can make a big batch and keep it in the fridge for up to 5 days. The longer it rests, the thicker it becomes, so adjust with more milk as needed.
- I share many ways you can serve this recipe in the blog post, so be sure to check it out!