So what are overnight oats? Overnight oats is simply a different way of preparing oats. With overnight oats, the oats are soaked in a liquid (usually any type of milk) overnight and eaten cold.
When explaining what overnight oats are to those unfamiliar, I often get the same reaction, "you eat them cold"? Yes, overnight oats are typically consumed cold, but can be warmed if you prefer.
Why is it worth eating cold oatmeal? Because it's tastes good and is good for you.
Overnight Oats Ingredients
Overnight oats offers endless flavor combinations with a few simple types of ingredients:
Rolled oats make the best overnight oats. Quick cook oats are softer and won't retain their form and texture as well. Steel cut oats don't absorb the liquid as well. For added texture, you can throw in a handful of steel cut oats but I wouldn't recommend using only steel cut oats.
Chia seeds and flax seeds are my go-to seed additions. Chia seeds are essential to help soak up the liquid. They also add healthy omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants, iron, protein, and calcium. Flax seeds add a nutty flavor and great texture.
It's super easy to add extra protein to overnight oats by adding your favorite protein powder. Adding protein powder not only creates a hearty and satisfying breakfast, it also adds a great creaminess to the finished product.
Walnuts are a great option for overnight oats. They hold up well overnight and are one of the more reasonably priced options. But, if you're not a fan of walnuts, pretty much any other nut works too.
I prefer to use freeze-dried fruit to my overnights oats, but you can also use dried fruits too. Again, pretty much anything goes here.
The bonus ingredients are my favorites. I love mini chocolate chips (a common bonus ingredient in my Banana Peanut Butter Overnight Oats and Chocolate Espresso Overnight Oats). You can also add mini freeze-dried marshmallows, fresh fruit, nut butters, and yogurt.
Any type of milk or milk substitute is perfect. You can also use water if you don't have any milk handy.
Overnight Oats are Good For You Too
They may come in flavors that sound more like dessert than breakfast, but overnight oats are actually good for you too.
Sure, you get all the regular benefits of eating oats in any form that you're probably familiar with: they're heart healthy, made from 100% whole grains, and high in fiber, but eating uncooked oats has it's own unique benefits.
By not heating the oats you're preserving the resistant starch found in oats. This starch helps with digestion and calorie burning and makes you feel full for longer.
Soaking oats instead of cooking them also helps to break down phytic acid, to increase your ability to absorb nutrients. This is helpful when you've packed your overnight oats with other nutrient-rich ingredients.
How to Make Overnight Oats
Sold on the idea of a healthy dessert for breakfast? Here's how to make overnight oats.