Make Your Own Overnight Oats (or Seven Grain Oats)

Updated on January 11, 2020
Maggie Bonham profile image

MH Bonham is an award-winning author and editor. Bonham is also the author of more than 40 books as well as thousands of articles.

overnight oats
overnight oats

Let's face it. Oatmeal can be boring if you're eating it the same way every day. Sure, I grew up eating oatmeal with sugar, milk, and a pat of butter; and the oatmeal you can buy in packs with different flavors is pretty handy. But what if I told you that you could make tastier oatmeal for a mere fraction of what it costs prepackaged in the grocery store—and that you don't have to prepare in the morning?

I discovered overnight oats and immediately recognized how wonderful they could be. Not only are they healthy for you, but you can customize your oats to match your preferences on each and every day.

overnight oats
overnight oats

Choosing Your Oats (or Other Grains)

  • With this recipe for overnight oats, you need to find some old fashioned rolled oats.
  • Do not use quick oats, because they don't taste as good, and they end up mushy.
  • Steel-cut oats won't work as well because they need a lot more time and maybe even heat to soften.
  • One thing I realized is that I could change the oats to whatever rolled grains I cared for. We have Cream of the West 7-Grain Oats here in Montana, which makes for a nice change from plain oats. We also have rolled spelt, rolled barley, rolled wheat, and other grains that will work. The reason why I recommend this particular brand is that it is natural and organic (a huge plus), and it's far more convenient and cost-effective to buy a single, pre-mixed box rather than search all over for each individual grain and mix them together.

oats in a bowl
oats in a bowl

What You Will Need to Make Overnight Oats

Making overnight oats is easy, but you will need a few basic tools.

  • One is a refrigerator or some sort of refrigeration. You really can't make this without keeping your ingredients chilled, or you run the risk of cultivating nasty bacteria that will make you sick.
  • You'll also need a wide-mouth pint mason jars with screw-type lids that you can close. I recommend Ball brand simply because they're the best out there. As a bonus, if you can, you'll be able to use the rest of the jars for canning. Even if you don't can, you can stage your dry ingredients in the jars so you just have to add milk and the wet ingredients and put the jar in the refrigerator before you go to bed. You then just wake up and your oats are ready without a fuss.


Cook Time (Actually, no cooking involved!)

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 4 hours
Ready in: 4 hours 5 min
Yields: 1 serving
2.7 stars from 3 ratings of Overnight Oats

Base Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats, rolled grains, or 7-grain cereal
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt, (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup milk (cow, goat, almond, nut, or coconut)

Notes on the Base Ingredients

The milk amount should be the amount necessary to just cover the ingredients. You will need to increase or decrease the amount listed depending on your customizations.

oats in a glass jar
oats in a glass jar

Optional Ingredients

Now, here comes the fun part. You can mix and match the following ingredients to make your own customized overnight oats. You may even think up other ingredients to add. Just remember to add enough milk to cover all ingredients.

Dried Fruit

  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons dried cherries
  • 2 tablespoons dried apricots, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons dried diced apples
  • 2 tablespoons dried blueberries

Baking Chips

  • 2 tablespoons semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons white chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons yogurt chips
  • 2 tablespoons salted caramel chips
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon chips
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter chips


  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 tablespoon candied ginger, chopped

Fresh Fruit

  • Chopped apples
  • Sliced strawberries
  • Chopped apricots or peaches
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Huckleberries
  • Blackberries
  • Chopped mangos
  • Chopped banana
  • 2 tablespoons chopped coconut


  • 2 tablespoons peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons pecans
  • 2 tablespoons almonds
  • 2 tablespoons walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons cashews

Other Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon instant chai tea mix
  • 1 teaspoon matcha (plain or flavored)
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons yogurt (plain or flavored)
  • 2 tablespoons jam or preserves (your choice)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon protein powder



  1. Mix all required dry ingredients together in a pint mason jar with a screw-type lid.
  2. Add all dry optional ingredients.
  3. Close lid and shake well. If you're planning on storing the overnight oats for later, do so now.
  4. If you're making overnight oats for the next day, add wet ingredients, including milk. Stir or close the lid and shake well.
  5. Screw cap on tightly. Put in refrigerator and leave there overnight or a minimum of four hours.
  6. Open jar. Stir, pour into a bowl, and enjoy.

© 2018 MH Bonham


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    • profile image


      21 months ago

      Looks great Maggie. Also, what a healthy option. Morning is such a rush so this is a great idea.. Can also give to my son. Thanks for sharing.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      21 months ago from Houston, Texas

      That is an ingenious idea to make this healthy type of oatmeal meal ahead of time using refrigeration and time instead of heat to prepare. I like this!


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