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