Overnight Oats with Protein Powder are an easy, healthy breakfast meal prep for those busy mornings. They can be customized for whatever sounds good, are packed with protein and fiber, and the best part is they come together in minutes! Plus, the base of this simple recipe is vegan and gluten free.
Overnight Oats are an essential recipe when you want to prepare breakfast in advance. They involve just a few ingredients and no cooking, so minimal effort! You may be thinking of warm traditional oatmeal and wondering how can you not cook oats? Traditional oats rely on water and heat to rehydrate the dried oats while overnight oats rely on liquid and time. These can also be enjoyed cold, straight from the fridge, or hot, heated up in the microwave after they have soaked overnight.
Original overnight oats use yogurt to thicken the oats overnight. Our version is vegan, however, so we use chia seeds and plant based milk to thicken the oats. Chia seeds are a super neat ingredient. They swell and develop a gelatin like outer layer when they come in contact with liquid. This helps to thicken the oats to create the iconic texture of oatmeal. And, in my opinion, overnight oats made with yogurt is too thick and gloopy? If that is a word… When these are made with chia seeds and milk, the texture is far more similar to the oatmeal we are all use to having for breakfast!
And to continue my rant as to why overnight oats are the best breakfast – they’re totally customizable! Simply make the standard base and then add what ever else your heart desires! Even better yet, add everything you want to the same jar as the base for less clean up! We have made five different versions in this post – a cranberry orange white chocolate, blueberry vanilla, cinnamon pear honey, pumpkin pie, and chocolate peanut butter banana. My personal favorites are cranberry orange white chocolate and pear cinnamon honey. The cranberry orange white chocolate is decadent and creamy. It’s also brightened up from orange zest and cranberries to make for a wonderful breakfast enjoyed hot or cold. The pear cinnamon and honey combination I’ve nick named the Mediterranean Dream because pear and honey are native to the Mediterranean. I’m always dreaming of the Mediterranean and love the flavors from there!
Oats Base Ingredients
Oats: Oats are the base of any oatmeal, duh! We prefer to use quick oats (steel cut) that are gluten free. Steel cut oats are sturdier than rolled oats so they hold up better to being soaked overnight. However, traditional steel cut oats are too stiff and tough and will not soften when soaked overnight. Quick cook steel cut is the move here!
Plant Based Milk: The milk is what soaks into those oats and achieves the creamy texture of traditional oatmeal. Certain plant-based milk works really well here because they are thicker than cow’s milk but still provide the moisture needed for the overnight oats. Oat milk, coconut milk in a can, flax milk, unsweetened almond milk, soy milk, and hemp milk will work great! We love Good Karma flax milk with Omega 3 + Protein for extra protein in our protein oats!
Chia Seeds: Traditional overnight oats use yogurt to thicken, but for this vegan version, we recommend using chia seeds. Chia seeds swell when moisture is added, making them a great way to thicken the oats without yogurt.
Vanilla Protein Powder: Protein powder also helps to thicken these oats. Protein powder typically has thickening agents in it because the intent is for people to mix it with milk or water for an on-the-go protein shake. And, shakes are thick and creamy. Plus, it means your breakfast will have a good amount of protein!
Toppings: Add whatever toppings sound good! Check out our favorites below!
How to Make This – Step by Step
Step one: Add oats, protein powder, chia seeds, and milk to mason jar.
Step Two: Add any flavors or toppings you’d like. Keep reading below for some delicious ideas!
Step Three: Cover and shake until well combined. Store in the fridge overnight to set.
Step Four: Enjoy the oats cold or heated up for one minute in the microwave.
Quick Facts and Common Questions
How long do these oats take to make?
This overnight oats recipe takes 5 minutes to prepare and sets overnight.
How much does this make?
This recipe makes one serving. However, the recipe card can be
Does this meet my dietary needs?
The oatmeal base for this recipe is vegan, gluten-free, and refined sugar-free.
What equipment should I plan for this meal?
Five sealable jars or mason jars will be needed for this recipe. Pro tip: the size of your jar will depend on how many toppings you want to add. Be sure to use a jar that’s big enough for you to stir in your toppings!
How long do overnight oats keep?
These oats will last for one week in the fridge, sealed.
Are overnight oats freezer friendly?
Yup! You can freeze overnight oats, just move to the fridge the night before you want to enjoy it so it can defrost by the next morning.
How do I reheat overnight oats?
Reheat overnight oats in the microwave for one minute. It helps to add a splash of milk before microwaving if the oats have dried out. They can also be enjoyed cold!
Can I pack this for lunch?
Yes! Just keep semi-cold or in a thermos.
Does it matter what protein powder is used for overnight oats?
The type of protein powder used doesn’t really matter – it depends on your taste preferences. However, my taste buds do not like stevia or the chalky texture that usually accompanies protein powder. Plus, vegan protein powder has a tendency to be extra chalky. My favorite plant-based protein powders are KOS Vanilla Cream (20 grams of protein per scoop) and Tropeka Vanilla. If not vegan, I Heart Macros is the best for mixing in.
Are overnight oats healthy?
Overnight oats provide ample protein, vitamins, and fiber which make for a nutritious and filling breakfast!
What is the point of overnight oats?
First of all, overnight oats are super fast to prep, it only takes five minutes! In addition to being fast to prep, overnight oats are convenient because they’re eaten in the same container they’re made in. That means there are fewer dishes to wash! Lastly, they provide huge nutritional value that can be eaten on the go. The oats are filling and will provide you with energy to keep you going all morning!
Are overnight oats cold or hot?
Overnight oats are typically eaten cold, but can also be enjoyed hot. If making overnight oats with yogurt, it is recommended they be eaten cold. If making overnight oats with chia seeds, they can be eaten hot or cold. We recommend enjoying overnight oats hot if possible, topped with nut butter.
All substitution options are a 1:1 replacement unless noted otherwise
Oats: Any oats can be used, regular, old-fashioned, or quick cook. Quick cook steel cook is our preferred but regular steel cut should NOT be used. Be aware – not all oats are gluten-free. We love Coaches Oats!
Non-Dairy Milk: Any milk can be used, but my favorites are Flax protein milk, oat milk, cashew milk, and coconut milk. Check out our post all about oat milk substitutions!
Vanilla Protein Powder: Any of your powders can be used, such as chocolate protein powder, including flavors that match the flavor of the oats you are going for. We typically look for protein powders with high protein, like 20 grams per scoop.
When making variations of overnight oats, simply add your ingredients directly to the jar with the oats, milk, protein powder, and chia seeds. Shake all together and let sit in the fridge. This is not only super easy but helps the flavors develop! We have our favorite toppings as five easy recipes listed below for you to try! There are endless varieties that include fresh fruits, fresh berries, nuts, chocolate, spices, Greek yogurt, almond butter, cacao powder, brown sugar, and more!
Overnight Oats Recipe Variations
A Few of My Favorite Things
- 1 tbsp cranberry sauce or cranberry jam, dried cranberries will work too!
- Zest from half an orange or 1 tbsp orange juice
- 1 tbsp white chocolate chips – we love to use Lily’s!
- ¼ cup frozen blueberries or dried blueberries (1 tbsp blueberry jam could also be used)
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
A Mediterranean Dream
- ¼ cup diced pear (skin on is fine)
- 1 tbsp honey
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 2 tbsp pumpkin puree
- 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
- ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
- ½ banana sliced
- 1 tbsp milk chocolate chips or 2 tsp cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp peanut butter or peanut butter powder (any nut butter can be used)
Oats – the all-around wonder food! Good for your gut, good for your skin, good for your heart, the list goes on and on. In a recent study, it was found that the resistant starch found in oats may be beneficial to good bacteria in the gut. Plus, it keeps your gut full. In another study, researchers who ate oats for breakfast reported feeling fuller and a reduced desire to eat. It has also been shown to reduce total cholesterol – win, win, win! And for skin? It has been used to reduce inflammation and even inspired the beauty brand, Aveeno which comes from the botanical name for oats – avena. (Source)
Try these other delicious breakfast recipe ideas!
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- 1/3 cup oats
- 1/3 cup flax milk
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 scoop protein powder
- Add everything to a mason jar or sealable container, including any toppings
- Shake or stir until well combined
- Let sit in the fridge for at least 4 hours but preferably overnight to thicken
- A Few of My Favorite Things - Cranberry, Orange, & White Chocolate
- The Elvis - Peanut Butter, Banana, & Chocolate Chips
- Blueberry Fields - Blueberry & Vanilla
- Pumpkin Roll - Pumpkin & Maple
- A Mediterranean Dream - Pear, Honey, & Cinnamon