How to Make Sweet and Savory Overnight Oats

For those who want to roll out of bed and have breakfast served.

Overnight oats give you something to look forward to as you lay down to sleep for the evening. After all, the make-ahead breakfast is meant to soak while you’re dreaming, and fully comes into its own in the six to eight hours you leave it in your refrigerator. If you’re busy and don’t necessarily have time in the morning to boil oatmeal or scramble some eggs for breakfast, overnight oats are a surefire way to plan ahead and take care of your appetite. What’s even better is you can get experimental. Make overnight oats savory or sweet, fruity or chocolaty, with dairy-free milk or even chicken broth. 

The base of your overnight oats should be this: one cup of oats to 1½ cups of your liquid of choice (soy milk, almond milk, chicken broth, and coconut milk can all be used). Of course, you can always adjust the liquid component to your preference—if you like runnier oats, then add ¼ cup more. If you prefer a thicker version, lessen the liquid. Feel free to use rolled oats or steel cut. Because steel cut is a bit tougher, I’d recommend increasing the amount of liquid that you pair with it. With that in mind, here are three different ways to prepare overnight oats:

Peanut butter overnight oats

Peanut butter is the base of many beloved combinations: PB&Js, chocolate peanut butter cups, or the Elvis sandwich. Add a tablespoon of PB to your base of overnight oats and stir well, ensuring that the peanut butter is thoroughly mixed. For this particular recipe, I love to use oat milk or soy milk because the heartiness of those two dairy-free milks tastes especially complementary to the peanut butter. In the morning, top it off with sliced banana and bacon if you’re a fan of Elvis, a scoop of jelly for a more nutritious PB&J, or chocolate shavings because it’s perfectly acceptable to have chocolate in the a.m.

Savory congee-inspired overnight oats

Oats don’t always have to be cinnamon apple or blueberry-flavored. It’s possible to have a hearty, salty version of overnight oats to start your day. Instead of using milk, add chicken broth to your oats, plus a sprinkle of garlic powder, ground ginger, black pepper, salt, a teaspoon of soy sauce, and a splash of sesame oil. In the morning, microwave the base and top it with a fried egg, scallions, and pork floss. It’s not congee, but it’s just as good.

Raspberry and chocolate overnight oats

Dessert for breakfast is perfectly acceptable, right? I mean, we eat stacks of pancakes drizzled in syrup and blueberry muffins with brown sugar crusts—what’s wrong with a chocolate-pudding inspired meal? For these overnight oats, use your preferred chocolate milk as the liquid. Top the oats with cocoa powder, raspberries, and chocolate curls. Indulge—chocolate is satisfying, no matter the time of day. 

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Kat Thompson is a senior staff writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @katthompsonn.