Overnight No-Cook Oatmeal Yogurt Cups

By Ann Fulton

This classic recipe for overnight oats offers meal prep convenience and is loaded with fruit and staying power.
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This classic recipe for no-cook overnight oats offers meal prep convenience and is loaded with fruit, fiber, and protein-packed staying power!

 

Overnight oats have a lot going for them.

The no-cook, prep-ahead recipe makes the morning routine a breeze with its winning combination of protein, calcium, fiber, and Omega-3s. And it tastes great!

In fact, I enjoy this easy breakfast-in-a jar so much that I’ve created many seasonal versions. The following recipe is my original, however, and I find myself returning to it every fall.

Fresh berries and juicy peaches are a mainstay of our summer breakfasts, and I’m always a little sad when their season comes to an end. But frozen fruit can ease the transition, and it works surprisingly well in these grab-and-go cups.

Because they maintain their plump sweetness, frozen blueberries are my favorite. Unlike their perishable counterparts, the quality of frozen blueberries is consistently good, as they’re frozen at the peak of ripeness. You can keep a stash of them on hand and transfer the berries directly to the oat cups. No thawing, washing, or chopping is needed.

Now, I know what some of you may be thinking. Uncooked oats? Eat them cold? And you’re right. It sounds strange–until you try.

Think of this as a cold, fruity porridge–refreshing and filling at the same time.  After an overnight soak, the oats become creamy. I like the texture to be fairly thick with the slightest bit of soupiness.  The first time around, I suggest following the recipe. Then, if you prefer your oatmeal cup a bit thicker or thinner, simply add or subtract a tablespoon of milk or a teaspoon or two of oats until you have the perfect consistency for you.

The recipe is quite flexible, so feel free to experiment further. For example, almond extract is a nice option to the vanilla. It delivers a bigger flavor punch, so when using, you may wish to start with just 1/4 teaspoon. With regard to sweetness, I like two teaspoons of pure maple syrup, but feel free to adjust to your taste buds.  If you like a little crunch, toss in some toasted nuts or granola before digging in. Chopped banana is another welcome addition. Reheating is an option but not necessary (I never do).

However you mix your personal-size oatmeal cup, I am willing to bet that if you eat one for a few days in a row and find the combination that suits you best, you will find yourself looking forward to these–maybe even craving them.  I’m always happy to quickly mix a few jars in the evening and have breakfast ready and waiting!

This classic recipe for no-cook overnight oats offers meal prep convenience and is loaded with fruit, fiber, and protein-packed staying power!

When fresh berries or peaches aren’t in season, frozen blueberries work especially well.

Add the dry ingredients to as many jars as you wish. That way, the quick, night-before prep is even quicker!

Add the dry ingredients to as many jars as you wish and store in a cupboard or pantry. That way, the quick, night-before prep is even quicker!

This classic recipe for no-cook overnight oats offers meal prep convenience and is loaded with fruit, fiber, and protein-packed staying power!

I made this variation in 2013 as a part of a strawberry feature in the June issue of Susquehanna Style. A big appeal of these healthy cups (beyond the convenience and great taste, of course!), is their versatility.

Overnight No-Cook Oatmeal Yogurt Cups
Prep Time: 5 min
Total Time: 8 hours
A 12- to 16-ounce jelly or Mason jar is an ideal size for this healthy, make-ahead meal. Put the lid on and store in your refrigerator for up to three days for a speedy, satisfying breakfast. Frozen fruit is a surprisingly delicious option and allows you to whip up these single-serve cups any time of year.

Yield: 1 serving
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup (32g) old-fashioned oats (the kind that cook in 5 minutes, gluten-free if necessary) plus an extra teaspoonful for topping
  • ⅓ cup (80g) Greek yogurt (nonfat, 2%, or whole; plain or vanilla, as desired)
  • ⅓ cup (80ml) milk (I use almond milk but, again, use what you prefer)
  • 1 teaspoon (4g) chia seeds (may omit if you don’t have them)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (or ¼ teaspoon almond extract)
  • 1-2 teaspoons pure maple syrup (optional/to taste; may sub sweetener of choice)
  • ½ cup fruit, frozen or fresh (see notes)
Instructions

Add the oats, yogurt, milk, chia seeds, vanilla or almond extract, and maple syrup to a 12- to 16-ounce jar. (You may use a cereal bowl or large mug if preferred.) Stir to thoroughly combine.

Fold in the fruit. Sprinkle an extra teaspoon of oats (I like a slightly rounded teaspoon) over the top and do not stir. In the morning, stir and enjoy straight from the jar.

Storage: The jars can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

For serving: In the morning, feel free to stir in other traditional oatmeal toppings. Lately, I’ve been adding a tablespoon of toasted, slivered almonds (which I toast in bulk, cool, and store in an airtight container in the fridge, where they will keep for several months) and a rounded tablespoon of homemade granola.

Notes

While I do vary the fruit, my personal favorite when using frozen fruit is blueberries, and I sometimes add half of a chopped banana in the morning. Strawberries, peaches, mango, raspberries, and cherries are also delicious. I keep bags of frozen fruit on hand and add while still frozen. For the larger pieces of fruit, chop before adding. Frozen fruit can be cut fairly easily without thawing.

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Comments

    1. Ann Post author

      Hi John, That should work well. I’ve used bananas on occasion, and when mixed in, they hold up well overnight without browning. Alternatively, could stir them in just before serving. I’ve also used a variety of plant-based milks in these cups as well as plain yogurt. Based on your various choices, simply adjust any added sweetener according to taste.

      Reply
  1. Barbara

    I’m just wondering if I could use oatmeal that comes flavored and in a box of packets. I am trying to use them up and your idea seems great. Years ago I did this using just Greek yogurt and loved. So, do you think it would work with the packets of flavored oatmeal?

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      You definitely could, Barbara. The instant oats will make for slightly less texture because of the finer cut, but you could offset that by stirring in a spoonful of chopped nuts and/or granola just before eating. You may also find you enjoy the various flavors they impart. Also, these muffins are a satisfying way to use instant oatmeal packets. I love them! https://fountainavenuekitchen.com/oatmeal-packet-mug-muffin/

      Reply
  2. Judy Levy

    I love this overnight breakfast as I need to grab it an go by 7 am for work. My daughter, who is a healthy eater, suggested I give up my carbs (muffins, toast) for breakfast and switch to something healthy since I am 57 yrs. old and pre-diabetic due to high carbs.

    So happy to have a new favorite breakfast!!

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      And I am so happy to read your comment, Judy! Thank you for letting me know, and I will think of you as I enjoy my overnight oats tomorrow morning!

      Reply
  3. Maritza

    I have been using this recipe for years. One of my favorite go to breakfast meals. I found using the ziplock screw top containers much easier to use.

    Reply
  4. Brian Rice

    I love this recipe! I just discovered it in February, and I have made it about 8 times since then. I always double it to make a serving for myself and one for my wife because one 5.3 oz yogurt container is almost exactly 2/3 cup. I sweeten it with honey instead of maple syrup. My wife particularly likes it with raspberries or strawberries, I have found I prefer blueberries or peaches. And I love your suggestion to use frozen fruit–a great way to have fresh fruit taste when fresh is not in season!

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Brian, I’m so happy that you and your wife have become fans! These jars are a staple around here for sure, and frozen fruit makes them extra convenient year round. Thanks for taking a moment to comment!

      Reply
  5. Mary Lou Keller

    Ann this is my go to recipe for overnight oats! I have made this so many times! My first year of Weight Watchers I had it every single morning and always with blueberries. I use the Wyman’s wild blueberries, because I love how small they are and can get a really large bag of them. Also this is one of the recipes I no longer look at the recipe for, I have it memorized!
    I have added maple powder (or maple sugar) instead of the syrup for a very mild sweetness.

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      This makes me smile, Mary Lou…and I had my bowl this morning! Thank you also for the blueberry reminder. I really like the wild ones but haven’t had them in a while so will have to look out for Wyman’s!

      Reply
  6. Carl

    I made this last night and it was wonderful!
    I made homemade yogurt in the instant pot as well as homemade vanilla essence!
    The combination is lovely

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Carl, I bet it was extra special with your homemade yogurt! I’m thrilled you enjoyed and appreciate your comment.

      Reply
  7. larry

    I love this recipe-I’m in my 80’s and choose to be independent as long as possible. I love eating breakfast and I am able to make this up late afternoon or early evening so when I get up in the morning, I can eat my breakfast and be set for a good day. I use fresh organic blueberries and mix at times with fresh raspberries or strawberries. I often at times change ingredients of chia seeds, crushed almonds and/or chopped walnuts.Thanks so much for a great heathy breakfast. Truly awesome!

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Your comment makes me so happy, Larry! I’m delighted you enjoy this recipe and love your independence, energy and ability to mix things up. My older son has just taken a liking to these, so I’ve been making quite a few lately, too!

      Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      It’s a no-cook meal, Janet. The oats soften and absorb the liquid as they sit overnight and can be enjoyed cold in the morning!

      Reply
  8. mi meh

    This looks incredible! I can’t wait to try it. Sadly i don’t like eating breakfast and i could eat this at lunch time but me and my co workers share foods so bringing this would be something. I want to ask if i can eat this for dinner?
    Thanks!

    Reply
  9. joshua

    Do you cook the oats first or do you just mix it right in the night before, and then eat it the next day.

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      No cooking necessary. Just mix in the dry oats, let them sit overnight, and then enjoy in the morning!

      Reply
  10. Josephine

    I just ate this for breakfast. First time making overnight oats. Instead of chia seeds I used small shredded coconut. I also only put a small bit(less than a teaspoon)of maple syrup in. I only have frozen strawberries and blackberrys so those went in. And vanilla essence not extract.
    Very yummy, quite similar to a smoothie in that it is cold and thick.
    I thought too that a 1/3 C of oats wasn’t very much but it filled me up. If you are making this for a bigger snack or have half now and half later, I would definitely up the measurements.
    Will definitely be making again and playing around with the ingredients.

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      I’m so happy you enjoyed this and appreciate all your feedback. This recipe easily allows for customization, and I’m glad you were able to work so well with what you had on hand!

      Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Old fashioned oats provide better texture in the overnight oats, Victoria. In a pinch, you could try the recipe with instant and see how you like.

      Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      No need to sterilize, Jean, since you aren’t canning and sealing the jars for storage. You could also use an empty jelly jar or container of similar size.

      Reply