Okay so, I have to ask – have you guys all been totally holding out on me?  I eat oatmeal for breakfast a lot.  Usually we make a batch of some variety of steel cut oats or a baked oatmeal that I can reheat throughout the week.  I’ve browsed right past overnight oatmeal pins on Pinterest countless times in the past, always thinking “I’ll have to investigate that eventually….” but then never actually getting around to it.  Well, I finally got around to it and now I’m just wondering why the heck I didn’t try this a long time ago.  What was I thinking?

In case you are what I imagine to be one of the few people left who haven’t tried this out, basically all you do is pour some rolled oats into a jar with milk plus other mix ins, shake well, and let stand overnight. During the rest period, the oats soak and eventually soften so no cooking is required. The prep time is super quick (maybe 5 minutes, max) and the best part of course is that it requires zero effort in the morning.  Well, maybe if you consider sprinkling some nuts on top effort.  0.0000001 effort, okay?  This particular version is really reminiscent of banana cream pie – so yummy.  Since the yogurt I use is unsweetened, I sprinkled a bit of turbinado sugar on top just before eating.  The vanilla bean is optional but if you happen to have them on hand, I recommend it – extra vanilla flavor is never a bad thing.  I’m looking forward to trying more flavor variations.  What is your favorite play on overnight oats?


  • ½ cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 tsp. chia seeds
  • Pinch of salt
  • Dash of ground cinnamon
  • Dash of grated nutmeg
  • ½ cup low fat milk
  • ¼ cup low fat plain greek yogurt
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • Seeds scraped from ½ vanilla bean
  • 1 ripe banana, divided
  • Chopped nuts such as walnuts or pecans, for serving
  • Turbinado or brown sugar, for serving


  • 01

    In a jar, combine the oats, chia seeds, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add in the milk, yogurt, vanilla extract and vanilla bean seeds (if using).  Divide the banana into thirds.  Mash two thirds of it well with a fork and add to the jar with the oats. Slice the remaining third and add this to the jar as well. Place the lid on the jar and shake vigorously until the mixture is evenly combined (this may take a minute or two). Refrigerate overnight.

  • 02

    Remove the jar lid, sprinkle nuts and/or sugar over oatmeal as desired. Serve.


  • Sara Kilpatrick

    I eat oatmeal 4 to 5 times a week, but I haven’t yet tried the overnight oatmeal varieties. I think the big turn off for me is that it is usually presented as a cold meal. I like my oatmeal warm. Helps me get moving in the morning! I may have to try this recipe though. It looks delicious! And maybe I’ll try warming it in the microwave if I don’t like it cold :)

  • Lanette

    Sounds yummy. I like the vanilla-raspberry combination myself.

  • annieseats

    I didn’t think I would like the cold oatmeal, but I was surprised to find that it was pretty delicious. I think this flavor combo is good for being a cold dish, since banana cream pie is cold anyway. I’m not sure this particular combo would do well in the microwave because of the banana mixed in, but I’m sure lots of other versions could be easily heated up and taste great.

  • Warm Vanilla Sugar

    Yum!! Banana cream pie for breakfast sounds like the best idea! Love it!

  • AEOT (Up North Preppy)

    I’m obsessed with overnight oats. I’ve only been eating them for approx 4 months as I was fearful of cold oatmeal, but it’s AMAZING! I can’t wait to try the above recipe as I love banana cream anything! My current favorite combos are almond and cherry (I use frozen cherries since the fresh aren’t in season) and banana blueberry. I use Bob’s Red Mill Museli for my oatmeal mix and I love it! Delish!!!

  • Kate

    Can’t wait to try this! I usually make what I call chai tea oatmeal and add crushed cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, and a little vanilla and almond extracts. so easy and with a touch of brown sugar/honey it’s fantastic!!

  • Amanda

    I love overnight oats. Did you know they’re also better for you? When you soak oats (or any grain) with an acidic medium (yogurt, whey, lemon juice, etc.) it helps deactivate the phytic acid inside and makes other nutrients more readily available (and easier to digest). I do it for all my grains–just a few tablespoons of any of those I mentioned mixed with whatever other liquid you’re using does the trick. My favorite combo is oats, milk-yogurt, shredded apple, and dried apricots, topped with almond butter and maple sugar. :)

  • Sara Kilpatrick

    Actually, most of the hot oatmeal recipes I make have banana in them! Granted, they are smashed up and not pretty slices like you have in yours :) I will give this recipe a try. It sounds yummy!

  • annieseats

    I put banana in my hot oatmeal too, but only after cooking the oatmeal (so the banana itself isn’t cooked really). I just find cooked banana has kind of an odd flavor if it isn’t really finessed (like, roasted with butter and brown sugar or something). Although I do like it in some baked oatmeals. I don’t know, just a weird thing with me I guess :)

  • annieseats

    I did not know that but that is awesome! Thanks for the info.

  • Amanda

    no prob! I am a total food nerd so I find that kind of thing totally fascinating ;)

  • I’ve been super skeptical of the whole refrigerated oats thing, but if you say it’s good, I totally trust you! I’ll give it a try tonight!

  • Sara Kilpatrick

    I get what you mean. My daughter hates the smell when I am cooking my oatmeal (with the banana in it). It just doesn’t seem to bother me. I never really thought about adding it after the fact! I do that with the other mix-ins so I should try it with the banana too:)

  • Tracy

    I’ve never made overnight oatmeal! This would be great to throw in mason jars for the week. I’m not a fan of chia seeds, could I leave them out, or are they needed for structural integrity?

  • I’ve been putting off overnight oats also, saying “I’ll get to them someday”. Well maybe NOW is “someday”!

  • This sounds like perfection, Annie! I’m going to go whip some up right now for breakfast tomorrow.

  • David

    I’m usually not a fan of overnight oatmeal, but I’m always a fan of banana cream pie! :)

  • Denise Wesely

    No yogurt in the house. Wonder if I can add a bit more milk??? This looks so good that I’m going to try it anyway. Will add a tsp of lemon for the acid. Wish me luck!

  • Kristi Kay Ellsworth

    I am just starting to learn about the art of soaking grains. This looks quite tasty and so easy…and I am in love with all of the baked oatmeals. This will be good for summer when you don’t want to eat a hot breakfast. Thanks for sharing!

  • rita_n

    I made this last night and had it for breakfast this morning. I made two changes, but it still turned out great: I didn’t bother with taking out my microplane and grating nutmeg so I used a dash of cardamom instead. I also topped it with some frozen raspberries which thawed overnight. Oh, and I used flax seeds instead of chia seeds. It’s a really good recipe and I love that it tastes like banana cream pie :)

  • Sounds like and American, Swiss Birchli Müsli! But also sounds delicious!

  • annieseats

    I think you could probably just omit them. However, I see another reader just made it and commented that she used flax seeds instead. That would be a good option to increase the nutritional content a bit if you don’t mind flax.

  • Emily

    I do an overnight oatmeal on the stove instead of this; boil 3 parts white for 1 part oats, add oats to water, take off stove and cover. In the morning I add 1 part milk and heat for about 10 minutes to finish cooking. But this sounds even easier and you haven’t let me down yet with your recipes so I will have to try it!

  • Emma

    Just enjoyed this for breakfast! Like you and another commenter mentioned, I was initially wary of the whole “cold oatmeal” thing, but it really just works here! Definitely reminiscent of banana cream pie! My favorite part was the gorgeous flecks of vanilla bean throughout. I omitted the chia seeds because I don’t have any on hand at the moment. I can’t wait to experiment with more flavors! I love the almond and cherry combo that another commenter suggested. Maybe with a tiny drop of almond extract?

  • Angie

    I just can’t get myself to try cold oatmeal! This is a beautiful picture though, and the banana cream pie version might be the one to eventually get me to try cold oatmeal!

  • Lauren Ochoa

    I warm mine up in the microwave. My favorite way to make it is very similar to this only instead of bananas I add a spoonful of pumpkin purée. After I nuke it I add a small handful of mini dark chocolate chips and stir them in. Totally delicious in the fall!

  • Kim

    Oh man…I have been on a major oatmeal kick for the past few months (until very recently I was stuck in my childhood belief that oatmeal was mushy and gross…so sad!) to the point where not having oatmeal has been the hardest part of observing Passover for me this year! I can’t wait to try this out next week.

  • banana and nuts are my go to combo for oats. I haven’t done an overnight version yet, it would certainly help on those rushed mornings!

  • Annie Song

    I just made “carrot cake” overnight oats the other day and they were delicious. I added about 2 tbsp. of shredded carrots to my basic recipe: 1/3 C. oats; 2/3 C. unsweetened vanilla almond milk;1/2 banana, cinnamon;1 tbsp. chia/ground flax seed; then some chopped nuts on top in the morning. And thanks for the reminder – I’m going to purchase some reusable produce bags this week. :)

  • Cate Hartnett

    Maybe I’ll give overnight oats another whirl. I have tried them before, but the texture is too chewy for my liking. I just bought some new mason jars, so this will be a good opportunity to use them! :)

  • Frances Ryals

    I love Refrigerator Oatmeal, too! I am excited about summer coming up because my favorite Refrigerator Oatmeal is Peaches and Cream! So good!!

  • Denise

    Evidently I live in a bubble. I’ve never even heard of overnight oatmeal! Until now I considered myself well informed about food trends. Well, I am going to try this tonight!!

  • michelle

    yes! this is wonderful for summer when you don’t want a hot breakfast. we call this “muesli” :)

  • Rachael

    Almond milk, almond extract, dried cherries and a sprinkle of coconut sugar…..delish!

  • I love love overnight oats. Makes the morning so easy. My favourite is to throw in some frozen berries (in the winter no-fresh-berry season obviously) and they’re perfect after defrosting in the fridge. Shredded coconut is also a go to!

  • Barbara

    This sounds great! I’ve made hot overnight oatmeal in the crock pot with milk/almond milk, brown sugar, nuts, and dried fruit. This seems much easier! Thanks!

  • I like making parfaits with overnight oats layered with strawberry banana “soft serve” and granola and/or nuts. So good! It’s been a while since I’ve had overnight oats, I need to remedy that, stat.

  • Erica M Inzer

    I love to make overnight oats in an almost empty peanut butter or Biscoff jar, and then just add a banana, almond milk and some chia seeds. I also think the chia seeds help thicken it up a little so it’s not so soupy. Mmm I love overnight oats!

  • Lauren Smith

    Love your photos! So much prettier than mine. :)

  • annieseats

    Oh you are too kind. Thanks for the great recipe!

  • Jessica Strack

    This is so yummy! Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Maddie Houck

    Would this work with steel cut oats, too? Looks delicious!

  • annieseats

    Hmm, I’m not sure. Possibly but I haven’t tried that. If you do, let me know how it goes!

  • Jessica

    This was awesome! I made one small change and that was swapping Almond Milk for the regular milk. Also used a drizzle of honey vs. the turbinado. This is going to become a staple at our house! Thanks Annie.

  • Hytekblue

    Wow… After two years you would think I would have ran across every version of Overnight Oatsand yet here is another version I really want to try. Off to the store to get some vanilla bean. This looks awesome! Thanks for the Idea!!!

  • Shelby Chubb

    Made this tonight as a smoothie so I could eat it on the road tomorrow morning. Pretty yummy when I test tasted it!