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Overnight Oats Recipes That Go Way Beyond Cinnamon and Honey

By Ariane Resnick, CNC
July 29, 2022
Image credit: Eating Bird Food

Oats are one of the healthiest foods around. People who eat oats regularly have been shown to lower their cholesterol levels (both total and LDL), can help stabilize blood sugar levels, and are a rich source of polyphenols, which reduce inflammation that is a risk factor for heart disease. Basically, we should all be eating more oats, and although we might often associate this nutritious whole grain with sugar-laden breakfasts and desserts like maple-and-brown sugar oatmeal and oatmeal raisin cookies, oats are capable of a whole lot more. Oatmeal is so mild that it can play really well with a whole host of ingredients, both sweet and savory, so the best overnight oats recipes use this versatile grain as canvas for a wide range of big flavors. 

Read next: The Best Items to Buy from Trader Joe’s for Really Fast, Low-Lift Lunches, According to Nutritionists

We’ve gathered up the most inventive overnight oats recipes to get you good and excited for breakfast. Because these are all make-ahead in style, you can easily batch up your week in advance, and enjoy a fresh flavor combination however often you want to switch things up. 

1. Savory Curry Cashew Overnight Oats

Savory Curry Cashew Overnight Oats

Image credit: Punchfork

It takes just a quarter teaspoon of curry powder to transform a sweet recipe into a savory one, like with these savory curry cashew overnight oats. The raisins and cashews add flavor and crunch, along with fiber and protein, respectively. Curry powder is an excellent pick-me-up for the morning, helping to reduce inflammation while adding some zing to your day. If you have some extra time, these oats could be taken in an even more savory direction with a poached egg on top.

2. Brownie Batter Overnight Oats

Brownie Batter Overnight Oats

Image credit: Eating Bird Food

Dessert for breakfast? This brownie batter concoction is one of the best overnight oats recipes, in our opinion, because it has all the chocolate flavor you could ask for — but it’s secretly packed full of protein and contains no refined sugar. You could also easily swap out the tablespoon of maple syrup for a noncaloric sweetener if you prefer. With brownie-standard, healthy ingredients like vanilla and walnuts, you’ll get the experience of brownie batter, but with all the wholesome benefits of oats. 

3. Green Monster Vegan Overnight Oats

Green Monster Vegan Overnight Oats

Image credit: Oh She Glows

If a green smoothie is your go-to morning beverage, this green monster vegan overnight oats recipe is exactly what you need. By adding a large handful of spinach or kale to your oat mixture, you’ll be effortlessly starting your day with a heap of antioxidants. And thanks to the banana and almond milk, you don’t even have to taste them. Plus, the hack of making the oats directly in a cereal bowl saves from having to wash a separate mixing bowl.

4. Pina Colada Overnight Oats

Pina Colada Overnight Oats

Image credit: Craving Something Healthy

If you like pina coladas, these pina colada overnight oats will bring you one step closer to the tropical getaway you’ve been dreaming of. They’re surprisingly hearty, being full of nonfat Greek yogurt, shredded coconut, and macadamia nuts (which you could sub out for almonds, if you don’t have any on hand). Coconut extract isn’t a terribly common ingredient, but although this recipe would be delicious without it, we recommend finding a bottle if you want to add another tool to your toolkit: it lends a remarkable depth of flavor, and just might be your new baking bestie extract for other recipes, too. 

5. Overnight Miso Barley Oatmeal

Overnight Miso Barley Oatmeal

Image credit: The Little Epicurean

Miso is one of the best ways to add umami to a meal: in addition to lending a savory, salty quality, miso is full of gut-friendly probiotics. This overnight miso barley oatmeal goes full savory with black pepper, scallions, and sesame oil, making a breakfast porridge that’s sure to satisfy. This recipe does involve some stovetop cooking, but soaking the pearl barley and oats overnight shortens the cooking time dramatically.

6. Carrot Cake Overnight Oats

Carrot Cake Overnight Oats

Image credit: Life Made Sweeter

Cake for breakfast is a questionable life choice, but these carrot cake overnight oats let you have your cake and eat it, too. We suggest adding more than the one tablespoon of carrots suggested (maybe up to a third of a cup?), since it will enhance the carrot-cake experience while providing additional fiber and vitamin A. We’d also throw in some dried ginger in addition to the other spices listed. Using the optional Greek yogurt will provide a tang reminiscent of cream cheese frosting, so we highly recommend that, too. 

7. Mint Chocolate Chip Overnight Oats

Mint Chocolate Chip Overnight Oats

Image credit: Beaming Baker

Though typically associated with ice cream, mint chocolate chip makes for a lovely morning flavor combo, as used in these mint chocolate chip overnight oats. Fiber- and protein-rich chia seeds help to thicken the oats, while coconut cream adds silkiness and makes the dish more filling. Opt for sugar free chocolate chips to keep things as healthy as possible, and choose a natural (AKA not alkalized) cocoa powder for maximum benefits.

8. Orange & Vanilla Overnight Oats

Orange & Vanilla Overnight Oats

Image credit: Green Kitchen Stories

Who doesn’t have nostalgia for creamsicles in the summertime? These orange and vanilla overnight oats are sure to have mass appeal. Where a creamsicle offers little by way of nutrients, these oats are packed with sunflower and pumpkin seeds, then topped with a beautiful medley of fresh fruit. Note that there’s no milk in this recipe, and that it should be avoided: mixing milk (even non-dairy) with citrus juice would cause it to curdle. You could try this with grapefruit or blood oranges, too. 

9. Maple Banana Peanut Butter Pecan Overnight Oats

Maple Banana Peanut Butter Pecan Overnight Oats

Image credit: Radiant Rachels

If too much is never enough for you, you’ll get a kick out of maple banana peanut butter pecan overnight oats. One of the best overnight oats recipes on this list, it only contains a single teaspoon of maple syrup, and instead gets the rest of its sweetness from a ripe banana that goes in the microwave. When you mix the banana with peanut butter and heat them together, the result is a sweet sauce. Be sure to use natural peanut butter as suggested, since other versions often contain less-awesome ingredients like palm oil and corn syrup.   

Read next: These Make-Ahead Salads Will Make Your Week Easier (and Won’t Get Soggy)

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