Not Recipes

How to Make Overnight Oats Without a Recipe

By • February 24, 2014 • 165 Comments

Here at Food52, we love recipes -- but do we always use them? Of course not. Because once you realize you don't always need a recipe, you'll make your favorite dishes a lot more often.

Today: Calling all multitaskers! While you sleep, you can cook your oatmeal overnight in the refrigerator. There's no actual cooking -- and no actual recipe -- required. 

How to Make Overnight Oats

Multi-tasking always seems like a better idea than it is. It's just an innocent, time-saving technique until one day, as you're texting, listening to music, and writing an essay at the same time, you end up texting your mom about how annoying your mom is. Whoops!

And when it comes to cooking and baking, some of the most egregious offenses occur when you don't give a recipe the attention it deserves (in my house: sugarless rice pudding is, unfortunately, a true story). 

Luckily, there is a way to cook and sleep at the same time. That might be a bit of an exaggeration, but it is true that you can cook your oatmeal overnight in the refrigerator with no actual cooking -- and no actual recipe -- required. This hands-off oatmeal is an endlessly customizable grab-and-go breakfast that will be waiting for you when you wake up.

How to Make Overnight Oats

How to Make No-Cook Overnight Oats Without a Recipe

1. The only ratio you need to remember is 1:1. You'll soak 1 part rolled oats with 1 part liquid overnight. Use less liquid if you want thicker oatmeal, more if you like it runny. You can use water or any type of milk -- almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk -- and feel free to add a splash of cream, half and half, or even orange juice.

How to Make Overnight Oats

More: Our 10 exciting oatmeal recipes prove that oats are good for so much more than porridge.

2. Sweeten and flavor the oatmeal with whatever appeals to you: honey, agave, jam, maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla extract, citrus zest ... the list goes on. Then get creative: Add nuts, dried fruit, shredded coconut, seeds (chia, flax, sunflower, pumpkin), fruit, jam, or even nut butter.

How to Make Overnight Oats

 

3. Give it a stir, pack it into a jar, then let the jar sit overnight in the refrigerator. 

How to Make Overnight Oats

 

4. In the morning, top with fresh ingredients -- fruits, granola, honey, a dollop of peanut butter -- or simply take the whole jar for the road.

We're looking for contributors! Email [email protected] and tell us the dish you could make in your sleep, without a recipe. Check out what we've already covered.

Photos by James Ransom

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Tags: oatmeal, no-bake, no-cook, overnight oats, overnight oatmeal, breakfast, how-to & diy, everyday cooking, special diets

Comments (165)

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about 1 month ago Ceege

@ Bob

I would think the steel cut oats would work, however, I believe you may need more liquid ratio to oat ratio then stated for regular oats. Possibly 3 liquid to 1 oats as they are so much firmer.

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about 1 month ago Bob

just ordered the 1Lweck jars, good price!

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about 1 month ago Bob

will this work with steel-cut oats?

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about 1 month ago catalinalacruz

Yes.

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3 months ago Kathleen Graas

Thank you for identifying Weck jars!

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3 months ago anne

You're welcome. I love them, too! So cute!

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3 months ago joanne

Anne! I AGREE! I got so tired of the grouchy comments, i was deleting the entire email every time i got one, which is sad! I'm with you. It's a great recipe, i've tweaked it bit, bought the little Weck jars through the Food52 website; Amen.

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3 months ago anne

Why is everyone so bitchy? The woman gave us a nice, FREE, recipe. Geez. Did all of you skip breakfast or something?

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4 months ago Kathleen Graas

Where do I get those jars with glass lids?

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3 months ago anne

Those are Weck jars. Amazon or Crate and Barrel have them. And many other places, I'm sure.

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4 months ago frederika

i soak them first for 24 ours and then dehydrate them grains have a layer that is not good to digest like nuts they are yummie that way

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4 months ago frederika

iff you eat them raw

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4 months ago Donna

How do you dehydrate yours after soaking them? Thanks.

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4 months ago abe froman

awesome idea!!! I can't wait to try this!!!

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4 months ago George George

My favorite oatmeal recipe is to mix it with my morning coffee. It's hot (unlike this recipe) and requires no heating, so you don't need a microwave or other cooking source. I use black coffee, and add a dash of cinnamon, that makes a very tasty, low-cal, low-carb nutritious concoction, but you can use whatever your favorite cup O' Joe.

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4 months ago kitkat

This is genius! Can't wait to try it.

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4 months ago Melanie Hausner Marcec

Why a jar? Can't you put it in any container?

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4 months ago George George

Having done something similar for years, it's been my experience that after a while, paper cups leak and Styrofoam cups are very fragile and don't store or travel well. I guess that's why they suggest a jar.

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4 months ago Melanie Hausner Marcec

I mean, maybe a plastic container like Rubbermaid or Tupperware?

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4 months ago Michele Santos Carlisle Strachan

Great idea! Does the jar need to be glass? Can it soak in any container? Does it need a lid? Is Melissa retarded - Soy, almond and coconut milk is not juice, it's a milk alternative. Coconut juice is coconut water which is completely different than coconut milk.

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4 months ago jackie

My god! "Mix these ingredients up at night and by morning you'll have full-blown Type 2 Diabetes." Jeez, just make an egg and veggie omelet and believe me, your body will thank you for years to come.

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4 months ago Melissa

Just as a note to your recipe. Almond, soy and coconut are not types of milk - they are just juice beverages. Milk only comes from animals such as buffalo, goats or cows for human consumption.

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4 months ago Pete Sloan

I add tabasco to my oatmeal
for a little kick to a sometimes bland breakfast..

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4 months ago Cobranut

Cold oatmeal??? That sounds disgusting.
And just how hard is it to make nice, hot, fresh oatmeal in the microwave anyway?

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4 months ago Sarah Bailey

and if you add a little kefir or acv you'll put the oats in a better form to digest. Sally Fallon has a great article about soaking your grains that I am trying to incorporate more often http://www.westonaprice...

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4 months ago jackie

Good point and I agree. However an egg and vegetable omelet would be much better for one's health. Your body really knows no difference between this oatmeal breakfast and a slice of pound cake.

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4 months ago kitkat

That's not true. Your body needs whole grains, and oats in particular are a great source of fiber and a way to lower your cholesterol. Those with pre-diabetes or diabetics need more fiber than anyone else to lower glucose absorption into the bloodstream.

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4 months ago Mike

Does one need to put a lid on the jar while it is in the fridge overnight? The article does not mention it.

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4 months ago Neal

What do you mean no recipe? If it has more than one ingredient, it is a 'recipe'.

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4 months ago catalinalacruz

Boy, this is a contentious group here this week. I didn't mean it's not a recipe. Just that Jenn doesn't have to print it out (i.e., "have a recipe")because it is so simple to make and has a lot of leeway in the ingredient amounts.

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4 months ago bonnie

I like the jar used in the photos. Anyone know where I can find one like it?

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4 months ago BrindaA

HAHA! That's exactly why I was reading the comments! I'd like to know where to get those jars as well, please!

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4 months ago BrindaA

Found 'em! http://weckjars.com/

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4 months ago nifi

Thanks!