Overnight oats are a fast, nutritious and filling breakfast. Once you have this basic recipe down, you can have fun with flavors and toppings. These overnight oats are vegan, dairy-free and simple to make.
Convenient and easy, overnight oats are great for busy weekday mornings, camping, road trips, traveling or anywhere where you can't cook.
We taste tested four different recipes for these basic vegan overnight oats. We liked them all for different reasons, which we will share with you, so you can decide which you would prefer. We're sharing our favorite, which is also the thickest and creamiest option!
We love oats and enjoy them in a variety of different recipes, like 3-ingredient banana oat cookies, banana oat bars and cherry berry oatmeal. They're even an ingredient in my BBQ bean burgers. This overnight oats recipe is arguably the easiest one of them all.
🧄 Ingredient notes
Must have ingredients
There are just two must-have ingredients for basic vegan overnight oats:
- Old-fashioned rolled oats - do not use quick oats for this recipe, they turn out mushy. Don't use steel cut, they don't get soft enough to enjoy with this method. You want old-fashioned rolled oatmeal for this method of cooking oats.
- Plant-based milk - any vegan milk you enjoy should work here, like almond milk (pictured), soy milk, oat milk (for that double oat flavor!), coconut milk, cashew milk and rice milk. You can use unsweetened or sweetened original varieties, if you like. Vanilla milk works great, too. If using a sweetened milk, you may want to reduce or omit the added sweetener.
Optional, but recommended ingredients
Add these three optional ingredients for the creamiest and thickest vegan overnight oats, with added fiber and protein:
- Maple syrup - adds a slight maple flavor, along with unrefined sweetness. Adjust the amount of maple syrup up or down, based on your preferred sweetness. Omit, if you desire.
- Ground flax - adds health benefits of added fiber, along with omega-3. Flaxseed also thickens the oatmeal slightly.
- Plant-based yogurt - amps up the creaminess and protein. I used Forager unsweetened vanilla cashew yogurt here. Vegan yogurts made from cashew, soy, coconut, almond and oat will all work here. If using a sweetened yogurt, you may want to reduce or even omit the added maple syrup.
📋 Substitutions and variations
Here are some suitable substitution options for the ingredients:
- Plant-based milk - Can you make overnight oats without milk? Yes! You can make them using just water. See below for pictures of what it looks like made with just water. Or, you can get creative by using steeped tea (herbal chai tea and prepared matcha are both delicious) or even fruit juice, like apple juice, to soak the oats in.
- Maple syrup - use another sweetener like sugar, brown sugar, date syrup, agave nectar or coconut sugar instead. Or, omit the added sweetener altogether.
- Flax - use chia seeds instead of ground flaxseed. Or, omit them.
- Nut-free - make this nut-free by using a nut-free plant milk, such as soy milk, rice milk or oat milk.
- WFPBNO - make this whole food plant based no oil by using plant-based milk and yogurt with no added oil or refined sugar.
- SOS-free - make this salt-, sugar- and oil-free by using a plant-based milk and yogurt with no added salt, sugar or oil. Omit the maple syrup, if desired.
What about variations on this basic vegan overnight oats recipe? There are alternate ways you can make a basic overnight oats without dairy milk or greek yogurt. Here are four vegan options, along with the benefits of each method.
#1 - Best vegan overnight oats!
- Ingredients: rolled oats, plant-based milk, maple syrup, ground flaxseed and plant-based yogurt
- Creamiest and thickest option
- Added protein, fiber, prebiotics and probiotics from the yogurt and flax
- Requires 5 ingredients to make it. If you don't have all 5 ingredients, still make your overnight oats, just use one of the options below.
#2 - Good option, with added fiber
- Ingredients: rolled oats, plant-based milk, maple syrup and ground flaxseed
- Creamy and thick option
- Added fiber and prebiotics from the flax
- Requires 4 ingredients to make it. If you don't have all 4 ingredients, still make your overnight oats, just use one of the options below.
#3 - Simple and creamy
- Ingredients: rolled oats, plant-based milk and maple syrup
- Creamy and simple option
- Not as thick, more runny consistency, like a cereal, since we've omitted the flax.
- Only requires 3 ingredients to make it. If you don't have all 3 ingredients, still make your overnight oats, just use the option below.
#4 - Simple overnight oats without milk
- Ingredients: rolled oats, water and maple syrup
- Simple, easy and healthy option to make overnight oats. No milk required. For more flavor, instead of water, try using chai tea, prepared matcha tea or herbal tea to flavor the oats.
- Not thick, more runny consistency, like a cereal
Step by step instructions for how to make basic vegan overnight oats.
Add rolled oats to a pint-size mason jar or container that holds at least 2 cups.
Pour in plant-based milk.
Add maple syrup (or other preferred sweetener) to jar.
Add ground flaxseed (or chia seeds) to jar.
Add plant-based yogurt to jar.
It will look like this when you've added all your ingredients.
Screw on your lid and then shake it all up! Or, use a spoon to mix all the ingredients together.
Place jar in refrigerator overnight or at least 2 hours. When you're ready to eat them, pull it out of the fridge and eat cold or warm up in microwave for 30-60 seconds. This is what it looks like after soaking overnight.
⭐️ Expert tips
- If you want to make your overnight oats look pretty, mix them up in a separate container. Then, once mixed, spoon into a jar, glass or bowl and carefully add other toppings to create clean layers. Then, refrigerate. Or, create layers just before eating or serving.
- Use a canning funnel to add ingredients to jars without making a mess
- a container to hold your overnight oats
- measuring spoons and cups
What is the best container or jar for overnight oats?
Wide Mouth Mason Jar - Pint Size - why?
- Perfect size - This jar holds 16 ounces or 2 cups, which gives you plenty of room to make your oats, as well as plenty of room for any toppings you want to add.
- Less mess when filling - The wide mouth opening makes it easier to pour in your measured ingredients without spilling them everywhere.
- Easy to eat out of
You can buy these types of jars at Walmart and some well-stocked grocery stores for about $12 for 12 jars with lids. You can also buy the wide mouth mason jars online at Amazon, but they are more expensive there.
Tip: The best container for a double serving of overnight oats is a wide mouth mason jar in quart size. This will hold 1 cup dry oats + liquid and any toppings you want. This is great for serving those who need or want a larger breakfast.
🥡 Make ahead and storage tips
Overnight oats are perfect for meal prep and batch cooking. Make them Sunday night to have breakfast ready to go all week long. Store overnight oats in the refrigerator, combined, for up to 5 days.
This recipe does not stand up well to freezing.
🫐 Toppings and flavor combinations
The possibilities are truly endless for delicious toppings and flavor options for overnight oats. Try these toppings:
- Fresh fruit - add fresh fruit, such as blueberries, banana, strawberries, peaches, cherries, blackberries, raspberries, mango, pineapple and more. Fresh fruit will taste freshest when it's added the day you plan to eat the overnight oats, since fruit breaks down pretty quickly. But, you can add it the night before. Fruit (fresh or frozen) is a low calorie topping, so is a great choice for weight loss.
- Frozen fruit - add frozen fruit the night before and it will thaw and flavor your oats overnight! We especially like adding frozen cherries and frozen assorted berries.
- Spices and extracts - Add flavor without added sugar or calories by using spices, such as: cinnamon, cardamom, pumpkin pie spice, allspice, nutmeg, apple pie spice, vanilla or almond extract.
- Tea - Replace some or all of the milk called for in the recipe for steeped tea! Our favorites so far: matcha, chai tea and chocolate rooibos.
- Preserves, jam, jelly and pie filling - Omit stand-alone sugar and instead use your favorite fruit preserves, jam, jelly or pie filling to sweeten your overnight oats. Cherry pie filling + overnight oats = cherry pie oats. Apricot preserves + dried apricot + overnight oats = apricot oats. You get the drift.
- Nuts and seeds - A higher calorie addition, sparingly add chopped nuts or seeds for texture and flavor. Our favorites: walnuts, pecans, hemp seeds.
- Chocolate chips - A little goes a long way with this high calorie topping. Looking for inexpensive vegan chocolate chips? Trader Joe's semi-sweet chocolate chips contain no dairy and are about $2 a package.
Here are some vegan overnight oat flavors we have personally tested and loved!
- Cherry pie, using cherry pie filling
- Cherry berry, using frozen cherry berry blend
- Cherry overnight oats using cherry jam and frozen cherries (or fresh)
- Fresh banana (tastes like bananas and cream)
- Banana cinnamon
- Fresh blueberries (tastes like blueberries and cream)
- Blueberry jam + fresh or frozen wild blueberries
- Blueberry pie, using blueberry pie filling
- Fresh strawberries (tastes like strawberries and cream)
- Fresh peaches (tastes like peaches and cream)
- Chocolate chai walnut
- Matcha latte
- Matcha raspberry
- Matcha strawberry
- Apple cinnamon
- Chocolate chip
- Apricot cardamom
- Applesauce raisin cinnamon
- Maple and brown sugar
- Fresh blackberries or frozen blackberries with blackberry jam
- Blackberry pie, using canned premium blackberry pie filling
- Peach cardamom brown sugar
- Banana chocolate chip
- Biscoff (for a truly indulgent, dessert-for-breakfast kinda overnight oats)
Yes! You can make overnight oats with water. Use equal amounts of oats and water and refrigerate overnight or at least 2 hours.
The ratio of liquid to oats for overnight oats is 1:1, with added thickening from chia seeds or ground flax and added creaminess from yogurt. If not using yogurt, chia or flax, then the ratio of liquid to oats is 3:4 (slightly less liquid than oats).
Yes, use regular old-fashioned rolled oats for overnight oats. They work the best!
Yes! Add frozen fruit to overnight oats the night before and it will thaw overnight.
For one serving of vegan overnight oats using ½ cup rolled oats, ½ cup plant-based milk, 2 tablespoons yogurt, 1 teaspoon flaxseed and 2 teaspoons maple syrup, the calories are 239. The toppings you add to this basic recipe will affect the calories. The lowest calorie toppings you can add are: fresh fruit, frozen fruit and spices. The highest calorie toppings you can add are: nut butters, seed butters, nuts, seeds and chocolate.
Yes! Instead of milk, you can use water, steeped tea or fruit juice for your liquid.
💜 More recipes you'll love
If you love this basic vegan overnight oat recipe, check out these other plant-based breakfast recipes!
How to Make Basic Vegan Overnight Oats
- Glass jar, pint-sized or bowl, container with cover
- ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- ½ cup plant-based milk almond milk, soy milk, oat milk, etc.
- 2 tablespoons plant-based yogurt cashew yogurt, soy yogurt, coconut yogurt, etc.
- 1 teaspoon ground flaxseed or chia seeds
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup or other sweetener (sugar, brown sugar, agave nectar, coconut sugar, date syrup)
- 1 cup fresh strawberries diced
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 1 banana sliced
- 1 peach pitted and diced
- Add all ingredients to a glass jar, bowl or container that will hold at least 12 and up to 16 ounces (this allows space for the oats and any toppings you add later). Stir everything together. Add toppings you know will store well now. (Be careful with certain fruits that don't keep well cut, like banana).½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats, ½ cup plant-based milk, 2 tablespoons plant-based yogurt, 1 teaspoon ground flaxseed, 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- Place a lid or cover on the container. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
- Add optional fresh fruit topping. Eat cold or microwave for 30-60 seconds to warm up. Prepared overnight oats will stay good stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.