Overnight Oatmeal

Oh, oatmeal, you're not pretty, but you are oh so good.
Oh, oatmeal, you’re not pretty, but you are oh so good.

Breakfast is, as people love to say, the most important meal of the day. It also takes place before I’m fully awake.  Basically, I feel way more awesome each day if I eat breakfast.  But if breakfast isn’t stupid easy — I’m talking pretty much fireproof — I put it off, start work, and wonder why I’m falling asleep cranky at 10 am.

So oatmeal is a great breakfast.  But making it from scratch is more than I’m capable of in the mornings.  And instant oatmeal is good in a pinch, but rather lacking overall. The solution is overnight oatmeal.

This is more of a concept than a recipe, but I’ll give you my favorite options and some other ideas.

Basic Overnight Oatmeal

Mix equal parts regular (not instant) oats and non-dairy milk in saucepan or spill-proof, microwave-safe travel container.  Then add another 1-2 Tablespoons of non-dairy milk — more if you like thin oatmeal, less if you like it thick.  Put in fridge overnight.  In morning, heat up.  Eat.

It may take you a little testing to figure out how much oatmeal you need for a good breakfast.  For me, 1/3 cup oatmeal works pretty well, so long as I add some nuts and fruit. Here are a few of my favorite recipes:

Perfect Oatmeal

  • 1/3 cup steel-cut oats
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon good cinnamon*
  • 1 teaspoon maple sugar or maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon almond flour or ground almonds
  • 2 Tablespoons dried cherries (you could chop these, but I leave them whole)

Mix all ingredients in a leak-proof container, throw in bag on the way out the door, and microwave at work.  2-3 minutes on high works for most microwaves. Perfect.

*A note on cinnamon — there are actually a ton of varieties of cinnamon.  If you’ve never experimented with them, oatmeal is a PERFECT canvas.  My personal favorite for this is China Tung Hing cinnamon.

Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal

  • 1/2 cup oats, not instant
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons canned pumpkin
  • 2 teaspoons rice protein powder or ground nuts
  • 1 Tablespoon dried cranberries
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon mini allergen-free chocolate chips (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon ground flax (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons non-dairy milk

To this one, I add a palmful of walnuts right before heating.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Oatmeal
Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Oatmeal

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Oatmeal

  • 1/3 cup steel cut oatmeal
  • 1 Tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoons golden raisins
  • 2/3 cup rice milk

This one takes a little longer to cook in the morning, because of the steel-cut oats, but the texture is great.

The possibilities are endless, honestly.  Let us know what you come up with.


    1. For a while I was doing crockpot oatmeal overnight, so there was something toasty and delicious to wake up to. Turns out, though, I can’t digest that much fiber or something. Lame.

    2. I’ve done the overnight in the crock pot before but I certainly need to try this version. It would be more convenient to do single servings. Does it try to boil over in the microwave?

      1. Sarah — just make sure your container is a little more than double your oatmeal. I think my little pyrex is 1.5 cups, and my oatmealsis only a little over 2/3.

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