These Overnight Oats with Water are made with simple ingredients and less than 5 minutes of prep time! While overnight oats are typically made with milk, they can just as easily be made with water.
This basic overnight oats recipe is simple, filling, and completely customizable.
This is the perfect recipe for those mornings when you need a grab-and-go breakfast or snack.
If you're a morning person, I'm jealous of you! This recipe is for all my friends who need a delicious breakfast that's easy and pairs well with a cup of coffee.
What are Overnight Oats?
Instead of cooking oatmeal on the stovetop or microwave, you simply soak the oats in the liquid overnight to create a make-ahead breakfast that tastes just as great!
Overnight oats are a no-cook method to make oatmeal. Raw oats are mixed with milk or water and soaked overnight or for at least 2 hours.
After the oats have absorbed the liquid, you are left with a soft, creamy, and nutritious breakfast or snack.
Can you make overnight oats with water?
Some people might disagree with me but yes, you can! The addition of milk to overnight oats creates a creamy texture whereas water won't add any creaminess but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
We can compensate for the lack of creaminess and flavor with other nutritious ingredients like mashed banana, plant-based yogurt, or nut butter.
Despite being made with water, this recipe is still creamy, flavorful, and an incredibly delicious and filling breakfast!
I also want to encourage you to add extra flavor with toppings like nuts, fruit, and cinnamon.
Overnight oats are typically made with milk but you can still have a creamy bowl of overnight oats that won't lack in flavor or creaminess by using water!
Old-Fashioned Oats: I highly recommend using Old-Fashioned Oats (Rolled Oats) instead of quick-cooking oats. Quick oats will be thinner and have a mushy consistency which is not ideal.
Chia Seeds: This is optional but chia seeds are a healthy addition and I love the texture that it adds. They really help soak up the liquid as well!
Water: These overnight oats without milk are still creamy and delicious despite being made with water.
Vegan Yogurt: Plant-based yogurt is going to give these oats a nutritious boost while also making them more filling and creamy! I recommend using an unsweetened variety or you'll need to adjust the maple syrup.
Maple Syrup: Just a tablespoon for sweetness! If you like sweeter oats, add more. If you like less sweetness, add less.
Vanilla Extract: Vanilla adds a lot of flavor to the oats. You can also add cinnamon, nutmeg, or even pumpkin pie spice for some additional flavor.
You don't need anything fancy to make overnight oats. I recommend buying a few jars with lids so you can prep your overnight oats in advance to have them on hand for a few days.
I recommend either 8-ounce jars or 16-ounce jars.
An 8oz jar will be filled to the top with oats and the toppings will overflow a bit so the jar won't close whereas a 16oz jar will perfectly fit your oats and toppings and still close- this is ideal for a grab-and-go breakfast!
How to Make This Recipe
Step 1: Add the old-fashioned oats, water, vegan yogurt, chia seeds, maple syrup, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt into a jar that has a lid.
Step 2: Stir well to combine and seal the lid tight. Place in the fridge overnight or for at least 2 hours.
The next morning, remove the lid and stir well.
Add any desired toppings and enjoy tasty simple overnight oats!
Topping & Additions
This recipe for overnight oats is a very simple base and could use some flavorful additions and toppings!
That's the fun about oats, you can change them up and make new flavor combinations every day.
- Fresh Fruit: This one is the one I typically go with. Chopped mangoes, bananas, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries work best!
- Jam: Store-bought or homemade. My favorite is my homemade strawberry jam.
- Chocolate: Mix in cocoa powder or chocolate chips!
- Nut butter: Drizzle your favorite nut butter over the top. I love almond butter and peanut butter.
- Chopped Nuts & Seeds: Walnuts, almonds, and pecans would be great as well as seeds like sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, or pumpkin seeds.
- Granola: Add a crunchy topping like your favorite vegan granola.
- Carrot Cake: Stir in shredded carrots, coconut, and cinnamon.
- Apple Pie: Chopped apples, cinnamon, and a drizzle of maple syrup.
- Pumpkin Pie: Whisk in a spoonful of pumpkin purée, and pumpkin pie spice, and top with whipped coconut cream.
- Cinnamon Bun: Stir in cinnamon and top with a vanilla powdered sugar drizzle.
Tips & Tricks
Don't skimp on toppings! These oats are made with water and if you add just oats and water- you're in for a very bland and boring experience. Add nut butter, yogurt, apples, bananas, or whatever delicious toppings you enjoy!
Salt your oats! I know this sounds weird but trust me. It will help balance and bring out the flavors and won't make your oatmeal salty.
Wait to add toppings: This is important, trust me. Take the extra few seconds in the morning to add the toppings fresh. It will taste much better!
Use the appropriate jar: An 8oz jar will be filled to the top with oats and the toppings will overflow a bit so the jar won't close whereas a 16oz jar will allow room for toppings and the lid to close. The 16oz jar is preferred if you're taking the oats on the go.
Water: Any plant-based milk will work for this if you prefer to use plant milk instead. You can use almond milk, soy milk, hemp milk, oat milk, cashew milk, or coconut milk.
Chia Seeds: If you don't like chia seeds, you can replace them with ground flax seeds. I wouldn't omit this ingredient entirely because it helps soak up the liquid and adds a boost of nutrition.
Maple Syrup: Agave syrup is a great replacement for maple syrup.
Vegan Yogurt: I love the addition of vegan yogurt because it adds creaminess and a boost of plant-based protein. You can use mashed bananas, pumpkin purée, or apple sauce in replace of it but it will change the overall flavor of the oats.
Storage: Store your creamy overnight oats in an airtight jar or airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Frequently Asked Questions
Overnight oats are meant to be eaten cold unlike regular oatmeal but if you tried it and aren't a fan, simply heat them in the microwave until warm- about a minute or so!
Overnight oats made with quick oats tend to fall apart and get mushy much faster. If you want to use quick oats, eat them within the first day.
Yes, simply replace the water with your favorite non-dairy milk, or check out my post on Overnight Oats with Almond Milk.
Yes! Check out my post on Overnight Oats with Frozen Fruit.
Steel-cut oats will work but keep in mind that they will need to be soaked longer and will remain dense and chewy.
More Overnight Oat Recipes
Overnight Oats with Water
- ½ cup Old-Fashioned Oats
- 1 tablespoon Chia Seeds
- ½ cup Water
- ¼ cup Vegan Yogurt see above for substitutes
- 1 tablespoon Maple Syrup or Date Paste
- ½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- ¼ teaspoon Cinnamon optional
- Pinch of Salt
- Add the old fashioned oats, water, vegan yogurt, chia seeds, maple syrup, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt into a jar that has a lid. Stir well to combine and seal the lid tight. Place in the fridge overnight or for at least 2 hours.
- The next morning, remove the lid and stir well. Add any desired toppings to the top and enjoy.
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