Basic Overnight Oats 1.000

(Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)

May 17, 2019

Consider this a template ripe for customizing. The consistency of the oats is springy without being porridge-like — closer, perhaps, to muesli than that of a typical overnight oats recipe.

If you prefer a loose consistency, closer to porridge, use up to 3/4 cup of liquid, and then add more the next morning, as needed. To make it extra-hearty, use 3/4 to 1 cup of liquid and add 1 tablespoon each of chia and flax seeds.

A 2-cup, lidded glass container is ideal for this single serving.

Make Ahead: Stir together the oats and your choice of liquid the night before; the dish will be ready after about 8 hours of soaking and can be refrigerated for a day or so.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 1 servings

  • 1 3/4 ounces (1/2 cup) old-fashioned rolled oats (do not use instant or quick-cooking)
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/3 cup liquid, such as water, milk, apple cider, kombucha (see headnote)
  • 1 tablespoon nut butter (your choice)
  • 1 tablespoon fruit preserves, honey or maple syrup
  • A few spoonfuls plain yogurt (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted nuts or seeds, such as cashews, walnuts or pumpkin seeds (see NOTE)
  • A handful of fresh berries, 1 small sliced banana or other chopped fruit OR 2 tablespoons chopped dried fruit, such as cherries, raisins, cranberries, pitted dates


Combine the oats and salt in the container (or use a bowl) and pour the liquid over them. Use your fingers or a fork to pat down the oats to make sure they are all moistened. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours, and up to 24 hours. The liquid should be totally absorbed.

When ready to assemble, give the oats a stir, then top with the nut butter; the fruit preserves, honey or maple syrup; and the yogurt, if using. Finish with the toasted nuts or seeds and fresh or dried fruit.

NOTES: Toast the nuts or pumpkin seeds in a dry skillet over medium-low heat, shaking the pan to avoid scorching, until fragrant and lightly browned. Cool completely before using.

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Recipe Source

From Washington writer Kara Elder.

Tested by Kara Elder.

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