5 Reasons to Try Overnight Oats | Bob's Red Mill
5 Reasons to Try Overnight Oats

5 Reasons to Try Overnight Oats

The popularity of overnight oats is on the rise. Everyone knows oatmeal is a nutritious dish to add to your diet, but overnight oats hold a special appeal and may offer even more benefits than their cooked counterpart. If you are tired of regular oatmeal and are hunting for a make-ahead breakfast that's both delicious and nutritious, overnight oats may be your perfect solution. Plus, a basic oat recipe offers endless possibilities when it comes to toppings and add-ins. From nut butter and dried fruit to cinnamon and brown sugar, you'll never get tired of eating the same breakfast ever again!

Oats are loaded with good-for-you nutrients like fiber, protein, magnesium, potassium, and omega 3 fatty acids, among other things. Plus, oats don’t contain added sugar if you read the labels and avoid certain instant varieties. They also can be eaten different ways, making them one versatile power food. Whether topped with peanut butter, banana and maple syrup or fresh fruit, vanilla and cinnamon, there are endless creative ways to enjoy oats as a satisfying breakfast.

Whether you like your old fashioned oats topped with peanut butter and greek yogurt or slivered almonds and chocolate chips, there are many ways to enjoy both cold and cooked oats. Read on to learn how to make simple overnight oats and find out its many benefits!

What Are Overnight Oats?

Overnight oats are raw oats that have been soaked overnight in liquid: popular choices include almond milk, hemp milk, coconut milk or Greek yogurt. While old fashioned oats are the most common type to use, you can also use steel cut oats, quick oats, or whatever else you have on hand. The oats absorb the liquid during the night, softening them in the same way cooking them softens them, except without the work! You can soak pretty much any variety of oats, although quick cook or rolled oats are often preferred because they absorb the liquid faster than, say, steel cut oats. Thinking about making some for a quick and easy breakfast? Here are five reasons you should try overnight oats this week.

1. Overnight Oats Have Increased Digestibility

When you soak oats overnight, it’s almost like you’re cooking them, but the process is much longer and slower, and it’s done without heat. Soaking helps the starches break down and reduces the natural phytic acid, which may help your body utilize the oats’  nutrients much more efficiently. This may make the oat mixer easier to digest compared to oats that have been cooked, which is great for everyone, but is especially helpful for people with gluten sensitivities. Even oats that are gluten free aren’t always easy to digest, but overnight oats are a game changer for many.

2. Overnight Oats Contain Increased Resistant Starch

Resistant starch is found in all foods that contain starch, but it appears to be present at higher levels with cooled starchy foods instead of cooked ones. RS is a natural carb and helps to improve digestion, aid in weight loss, increase feelings of fullness and decrease insulin spikes associated with eating hot starchy foods.

3. Overnight Oats Are Versatile

Not only are overnight oats quick and easy to make, they are extremely versatile. You can experiment and brainstorm endless variations and stir-ins, which helps to keep things interesting and make breakfast on the go fun and satisfying. All you need to make overnight oats are your oats of choice (we recommend our organic, quick cook rolled oats), your liquid, and a sweetener.

You can use almond milk, Greek yogurt, coconut milk, hemp milk, soy milk, oat milk or even regular cow's milk if you want. Sweeteners can be anything from honey or stevia to maple syrup and more, depending on your preference. Then you can add things like chia seeds, flaxseed, coconut flakes, nuts and nut butters, fresh fruit, cinnamon, dried fruit, berries and even cacao nibs, protein powder or maca powder to your oat mixture. Coconut oil can be a great addition as well and add some energy-giving fats.

4. Overnight Oats Are Time and Money Savers

Ingredients for overnight oats aren’t super expensive, and because they are so filling, you may eat less throughout your day. This makes them ideal for those on a budget. Plus, prepping your oats recipe before bed probably takes less than 5 minutes, and when you wake up in the morning, they are ready to rock! No cooking, no mess, no fuss. You can prep all your add-ins the night before as well and have them ready to stir in, or bag them up to take with you. Yum and done!

5. Overnight Oats Are Delicious

Have we mentioned how tasty overnight oats are? It’s like dessert in a jar, only good for you and is a full meal in itself. And the best part is, a basic overnight oats recipe can be completely customized to suit your preferences. From dried fruit and shredded coconut to almond slices and cocoa powder, the flavor combos are truly endless! You can even save it for later and really eat it like it’s dessert. We promise we won’t tell a soul.

How to Make Easy Overnight Oats Yourself

Try this easy overnight oats recipe to kick off your breakfast the right way, and then experiment with different ingredients, flavors and textures once you’ve got the process down. This recipe uses our Vanilla Protein Powder Nutritional Booster, which gives this overnight oatmeal recipe an added boost of nutrients, and our gluten free rolled oats, which makes it ideal for those intolerant to gluten.

This overnight oat recipe also uses almond butter for extra flavor and creaminess, which places this recipe squarely in our top faves. Almond butter? Bananas? Chia seeds? Seriously, these overnight oats are amazing! Try them and see for yourself.

How to Get Creative With Your Overnight Oatmeal 

Just remember, this overnight oatmeal recipe should serve as a base to help you get started. Once you've mastered this part, don't be scared to get creative with the ingredients you put in your healthy overnight oats! When it comes to fruit, mashed banana, strawberry slices or blueberry jelly are all great ingredients that add a burst of flavor to your oats recipe. To make your oats more creamy and decadent, consider topping with your favorite nut butter or yogurt. Finally, try adding an element of texture. Some creative toppings we like to use include shredded coconut, hemp seeds or slivered almonds. Before taking your first bite, add in maple syrup, honey or your favorite natural sweetener to take your overnight oatmeal to the next level. 

Now that you know how to make healthy overnight oats, it’s time to get started! As you can see, overnight oats are the perfect morning pick-me-up to get your day started on the right foot. With just a little preparation and a touch of creativity, you’ll be able to whip up these tasty little cups in no time at all.

 

41 Comments

  1. Mary Patterson
    in reference to your statement "Resistant starch is found in all foods that contain starch, but it appears to be present at higher levels with cooled starchy foods instead of cooked ones."
    My question is if cooled oats are better, why not cook the oats and then cool them before eating? Thanks
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Mary - if you're looking for more resistant starch then you could potentially cook, then cool your oats before eating. We haven't tested this process and unfortunately don't have a comparison in resistant starch levels.
      Reply
  2. Alexander Mesa
    can I soak your extra thick rolled oats in raw uncooked honey
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Alexander, that's not something we've tried. I'm not sure what end results you're looking for but as honey has an extremely low moisture content, the oats likely wouldn't soften.
      Reply
  3. LNdA
    Are your Oats safe to eat without boiling due to a validated kill step?
    Reply
    1. Sarena Shasteen
      Please reach out to our customer service team for specifics. You can reach them at 800-349-2173.
      Reply
  4. Ruby
    I don't think overnight soaking does that much to reduce phytic acid. The Weston A Price foundation article says soaking in warm water for several days is needed.
    https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/vegetarianism-and-plant-foods/living-with-phytic-acid/
    Reply
  5. Erik
    I love oatmeal, never thought of doing this but it sound fantastic. I bought 12 mason jars and a variety of ingredients, putting it all together tonight and I'm sure breakfast in the morning will be awesome!!!
    Reply
  6. Jerry McAfee
    I have a supply of oak groats and wondering if soaking them for 12 hours would adequately prepare them for eating. You suggest rolled oaks, as I understand, as a better candidate for soaking. Further, are not oak groats more nutritious?
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Jerry - oats all have pretty much the same nutritional value. The only different between Oat Groats and Rolled Oats is that Rolled Oats have been rolled into a flattened shape. They are still whole grain and maintain all the same nutrients. If you find that the oat groats are sufficiently softened to your liking after a 12 hour soak, they're fine to eat! We like them warmed, but that's just a preference.
      Reply
  7. Kim Griffin
    Can you eat oats raw?
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Whitney Barnes
      Hi Kim - Oats are heated as a part of the processing to stabilize the natural enzymes. They are not considered raw. You can eat our oats without any further cooking. Enjoy!
      Reply
  8. rachael
    can overnight oats be soaked in water instead? or is the “milk” product necessary
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Whitney Barnes
      Hi Rachael! You can use any liquid. Milk, yogurt, water or any milk alternative will work here! :)
      Reply
  9. Dianne
    You'll get a creamier result with milk than with water.
    Reply
  10. Andrew Martin
    Hi Whitney just to be clear are you saying to soak all the ingredients overnight such as chia. I put in black sesame seeds too when cooking. Then i ground the linseeds,pumpkin seeds,sunflower seeds and add after cooking is that a good idea and then i add split almonds and ground walnuts and mix that in after cooking. I also add frozen blue berries and mango when cooking is that a good idea ? I have type 2 diabetes and am doing everything i can to avoid memory loss and dementia . I am a 68 male i would welcome any tips at all thank you so much. Andy
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Whitney Barnes
      Hi Andy, yes—you can soak all of the ingredients overnight for ease. Chia seeds and flax will help thicken the oat mixture as it sits. The addition of seeds, blueberries and mango all sounds delicious! :)
      Reply
  11. Simon Orr
    If you just microwave rolled oats for just one minute - will this mean there is still resistant starch as they are just partly cooked. Like to eat something warm in the morning as opposed to cold oats soaked overnight straight from the fridge.
    Reply
  12. Debraj
    Hello,
    This is a very informative article.
    I have one query. Should I drain the water in the morning after soaking the oats overnight? Please inform.
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Debraj! No, you do not need to discard any liquid (milk or water) used to soak unless you prefer a thicker texture.
      Reply
  13. jim
    thank you for the post. would you get a better result soaking at room temperature or refrigerated? would covered milk spoil left out overnight? my appreciation—jim
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Jim, you will want to soak these overnight in the refrigerator, not at room temperature. Enjoy!
      Reply
  14. Lorie
    I share this article on my site so many times. Overnight oats are the BEST and I cannot and will not stop eating them. Thanks so much!
    Reply
  15. eve johnson
    i like a warm breakfast so can you cook the soaked oats, or does it ruin the resistant starch then
    Reply
  16. Donald M Burg
    I eat my overnight oats 6 days a week, Along with an exercise and walking program. I have lost 50 pounds and feel better than I have in years. I mix my oats every morning for the ne t day in a small Pyrex dish that has a lid seal! Saves dishes and it goes from the fridge to the microwave!
    Reply
  17. Maddy
    My overnight oats have thickened into a pudding by the time I'm ready to eat
    breakfast. There is no leftover liquid. They have been in the refrigerator for 24 hours by the time I'm ready to eat.... As soon as I eat breakfast, I make my overnight oats for the next morning. I use 1/3 cup of the Bob's
    Red Mill gluten free rolled oats (organic). 3/4 cup of unsweetened almond milk, (Elmhurst Dairy is thicker than most and it's called Milked almonds) I
    add 1 T of whole chia seeds, I chop one medjool date and soak it in little hot water till it's soft, I add about 5 drops of liquid stevia. (Better Stevia brand,
    flavors I use are either coconut or vanilla). I add 1/2 tsp of cinnamon and about 1/4 tsp of vanilla. Stir, cover container and wait till morning...It's absolutely delicious and I started making this simply due to the concept of resistant starch. My digestion is much better since I starting having overnight oats. I don't like sweet breakfasts. I'm allergic to eggs and dairy so until I discovered this new favorite treat, I was getting tired right after breakfast because carbs were impacting me. I feel no blood sugar spike from eating overnight oats.
    Reply
  18. Linda
    I've heard that whole oats should be soaked overnight and rinsed as well in the morning. I discard the soaking water before rinsing in order to remove the phytates, but don't see that step mentioned on your website. Could you please tell me why this step is neglected?
    Reply
    1. Sarena Shasteen
      Hi Linda, this is a great question. Lectins and Phytates occur naturally in some grains and legumes and the levels of each are not something that we have tested. There is some research that suggests boiling, soaking, or sprouting these foods reduces the levels of Lectins and Phytates, but this is not something that the 3rd party laboratory we work with to obtain nutritional information has tested and quantified. The oats have gone through a kiln toasting process and rolled oats have also been steamed before rolling. You can soak them if you prefer though this may reduce the cooking time needed significantly. We hope you enjoy the oats if you try them and please let me know if we can assist you further.
      Reply
  19. Debbie
    Overnight oats are the best I soak mine in oat milk then in the morning I pour them into my nutribullet add a banana and an apple cut up and then blend it’s creamy and delicious eat with a spoon or add a little more liquid before blending and drink it I’m full until late afternoon no sugar spikes or crashes it’s wonderful. Just wondering how this is with lowering chloresterol?
    Reply
  20. Beatrice
    At the beginning of this article , it states: over night soaking helps break down starches and reduces phytic acid. Where does the Phytic Acid go . Does the Phytic Acid break down as well. Does it get inactivated ? All the content is in the container. Does soaking make the Phytic Acid less potent?
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Beatrice, soaking releasing enzymes that promotes the breakdown on phytic acid, promoting healthy digestion. If you have more questions about this process, we encourage you to speak with a nutritionist.
      Reply
  21. Tom Gumpel
    What's the difference between overnight and steel cut oats?
    Thanks.
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Tom - the term "overnight oats" refers to a preparation method. Steel Cut Oats are a type of oat. You can prepare overnight oats with steel cut oats or rolled oats.
      Reply
  22. Stuart Stevenson
    Stuart Stevenson
    I mixed mine with raspberry yoghurt and put in the fridge overnight - turned out good! This is only the second time i have tried it. I had them heated up in a pan yesterday which was really nice using oat milk. I then added sweet freedom caramel sauce and raisins, was excellent.
    Reply
  23. David
    when hiking in a 500mil plastic jar i ad 9 spoons of rolled oats,3 spoons of sultanas, or dried fruit, fill with water, lid on shake, leave over night, in morning you have soft oats, with oat milk, even tastes awesome in coffee
    Reply
  24. Nancy Thomas
    Thanks for great info.
    Is there any reason NOT to microwave my overnight oats if I want them to be warm?

    Thank you
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Hi Nancy - There's no reason not to microwave overnight oats. It's just a matter of personal preference, some people enjoy them cold and others enjoy them warm.
      Reply
  25. Christy
    Sometimes it's hard to come up with something different for breakfast for my 10 y/o son and me. I have started doing overnight oats fairly often. One thing I have found that we love is mixing baby food with the oats and milk (we use oat or nut milk). Right now I have oats with macadamia milk and mango baby food topped with blueberries, goji berries, and walnuts ready for tomorrow's breakfast. Yum!
    Reply
  26. Anna
    I've just started making over night oats. I don't normally eat breakfast but due to spinal stenosis and s herniated L5 S1 disc I'm on a high dose of pain killers that really increase the appetite. I had some with Kefir yoghurt which apparently is really good for the beneficial gut bacteria. I'm going to try them with nuts and other types of seeds and fruit. I like my oats to be quite thick. Overnight oats are my breakfast of choice now as I don't like to drink milk so I don't like cereal
    Reply
  27. Dewald Grobbelaar
    Dewald Grobbelaar
    Thanks for the info!
    Question: Could I cook (apply heat) the oats the night before and let it cool overnight to have the same effect? And can I reheat in the morning or would that counteract the "overnight oats" effect.
    Reply
    1. Whitney Barnes
      Whitney Barnes
      Hi Dewald, you could prepare them either way depending on your preference. Cooked, then cooled, overnight oats would likely be softer and creamier in comparison.
      Reply

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