Let’s Talk Oatmeal

When I first started reading blogs they talked a lot about something called “oats in a jar” and “overnight oats.” I admit, I didn’t get it. At all. But it seemed like all the rage on every blog.

Fast forward a few years…I recently bought some steel cut oatmeal and one morning, while Logan was fussy and not really making it easy for me to fix myself breakfast, I realized that the oatmeal I bought took 30 MINUTES to make! What?! I love oatmeal and I’ve tried all different kinds out there, but this was the first time trying this particular kind.

I was frustrated with myself that I bought something that was supposed to make my life a little easier–and ended up with something time consuming. Grrrr. I complained on Twitter and a few people suggested I do overnight oats. So I did some googling and found some recipes.


This was the first recipe I tried.

I used the recipe as a jumping off point. I did:

1/2 cup of steel cut oats

2/3 cup water

1 tablespoon flaxmeal

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

pinch of salt

handful of frozen blueberries

Then I put it all in the fridge overnight and mixed it up in the morning. I topped the mixture with some slivered almonds and 1 teaspoon of brown sugar. Honestly probably didn’t need the brown sugar since the blueberries were sweet enough but since I used plain Greek yogurt instead of vanilla yogurt, I thought it might lack flavor. Next time I know it doesn’t need the sugar.

It was really tasty. I liked the flavors a lot. The blueberries were sweet enough that it make the dish delicious but not overly sweet. The texture was a little weird. The steel cut oats were really chewy. Not too chewy but chewier than I think regular oatmeal would be. But the upside to that, it wasn’t a bunch of mush like I think regular oatmeal would be. I was also worried that eating cold oatmeal would be gross. It wasn’t.

It was super easy and fast. It was easy to eat while taking care of the baby. It was easy to clean up and not a ton of calories. I liked the convenience of it. I like that I didn’t have to spend 30 minutes cooking the steel cut oats. I think it would be a good breakfast for mornings when I go back to work–either eating at home or taking to work with me to eat it after dropping Logan off at daycare.

I wanted to experiment though and see if I could find the perfect recipe or create my own. I found another recipe and decided to use it as a base to tweak what I did originally. Here is that recipe: OVERNIGHT STEEL CUT OATMEAL (PLUS MIX-IN IDEAS)  (Author: Lovely Little Kitchen.)

Attempt #2

I changed it up a little bit the second time. Here is what I did:

1/2 cup steel cut oats

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon flaxmeal

pinch of salt

1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1/4 cup water

handful of frozen blueberries

This time I mixed the liquid with the steel cut oats before adding the other ingredients. Let it sit overnight, mixed it all together and added some slivered almonds to the top for texture.

Verdict: I liked the texture a little better with more liquid and mixing it in before refrigerating it.


Flavor was still great. I don’t know that I noticed a different flavor using almond milk. To save calories I may just stick with water.

Attempt #3

I realized that I was eating more than one serving. 1/4 cup of steel cut oats is actually a serving, not 1/2 cup like several recipes I saw used. The upside to eating more, I didn’t need a snack mid-morning. But I didn’t want that to become a habit. So this time I made a little bit less to make sure that I was eating one serving and keeping my calories in the right range.

I looked around for other recipes. This one sounded delicious to me.

1/4 cup steel cut oats

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

pinch of salt

1 tablespoon flaxmeal

1 tablespoon peanut butter

The above was 314 calories. Then I topped it with sliced banana and a little agave and slivered almonds the next day. That added around 125 calories more.


Verdict: I think I figured out the right portions of everything! The oats were the perfect chewiness and everything tasted great. I will try this “recipe” with the blueberries. I liked the peanut butter and banana flavor–it was very rich, but it was also higher in calories and tasted a bit decadent. Peanut butter is just a little too much for me I think.

I like the addition of the almonds–I think it adds texture that a dish like this needs (same with the blueberries). I’m glad I spent the time practicing and figuring out the right recipe for this. It will be a great option for breakfasts going forward, at least a few days a week.

Do you have an overnight oats recipe that you love? Link it here!

Author: Lisa Eirene

About Lisa Eirene Lisa lost 110 pounds through calorie counting and exercise. She swims, bikes, runs, hikes and is enjoying life in Portland, Oregon. Her weight loss story has been featured in First Magazine, Yahoo Health, Woman's Day and Glamour.com.

17 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Oatmeal”

  1. So, I admit it…I always look at the overnight oat recipes because, like you mentioned, they’re all over the blogosphere, but I’ve always been skeptical about how good they would actually taste. Do you normally put fruit or nuts into your regular oatmeal? And, do you think that once Logan gets older and you have a little more time for breakfast, will you continue to make the overnight oats…or is this really a stopgap measure to stay healthy now?
    Alleigh recently posted..Snowzilla Day 4 – A Goodbye to Snow with a Snow Roller

    1. Excellent questions. First, it does taste good. I have not tried the overnight oats with anything other than steel cut oats. I plan on trying other kinds of oats to see if there is a difference. What I liked about the steel cut oats is that it was kind of chewy and not just a big glop of goo. My fear with regular oats is that it will be mush. So we will see.

      When I make regular oatmeal (cooked) I usually add a little bit of brown sugar and either dried coconut or nuts on top (slivered almonds are my favorite). I rarely added fresh fruit to cooked oatmeal. I don’t know why. But using the overnight oats and eating it cold I prefer having fruit on top. The slivered almonds or chopped nuts add some nice texture to the cold oats, in my opinion.

      I think this will become a regular breakfast. I like that it’s easy and you spend 5 minutes the night before and then it’s ready in the morning. The one downside is that if you forget or don’t have time to do it the night before, you’re out of luck. I will probably do this breakfast a few times a week going forward.

      1. I use rolled oats and usually microwave them (1/2 cup oats, salt & water, 1 minute, add 1 T peanut butter for another 30 seconds, works out to 244 calories that last me quite a while).

        I’ve also done the rolled oats in a jar with milk and some sort of topping – I used to pull that together in the morning as I headed out the door to work, and by the time I got to them in about a half-hour, they were good. So that could be a decent morning plan if you forget to do the oats the night before.

  2. http://www.theyummylife.com/Refrigerator_Oatmeal

    This site has a great base recipe for the oats, along with lots of different fun and yummy topping combos! I didn’t grow up eating oatmeal, and am not a fan of hot oatmeal, but I love these! So simple and so, so filling, especially with the addition of chia seeds-I’ve never used flax, I’ll have to try it. I like to use frozen berries, as I find they sweeten the oats as they melt without the need for added sweeteners.
    Also, you mention peanut butter is a bit much, have you tried PB2?

    I’ve been a long time reader-congrats on your new babe! He’s so sweet!

    1. Thanks for that link Jenna! I really appreciate it. The recipes look really good. I plan on doing more experimenting (and just got some chia seeds, too) in the future.

    1. I forgot to mention the water bath method allows the oats to sit there and not get burned, so if you oversleep it doesn’t matter. It’s so nice to wake up to a breakfast you just stir and dish out.
      Lori recently posted..Saturday riding

      1. So you eat it cold?? The idea looks great, but I have texture issues with oatmeal and I just don’t think I could handle the texture of cold oatmeal. And I won’t do the crockpot version because I prefer to have a variety of breakfasts during the week.

  3. I definitely think you will like them even better if they are cooked instead of just sitting in liquid overnight. What I do is cook four portions at once. Just boil water with a pinch of salt (use the ratio given on the bag for the steel cut oats of water to oats). Stir in the oats and boil for a minute. Then cover the pot and turn off the heat. Let it sit overnight. The next morning, the oats are perfect! Then you can jazz them up with fruit, milk, whatever you want. I always reheat it in the microwave the next morning and put the rest in the fridge. If you don’t want to eat oatmeal all week, just take the extra portions and pop them in the freezer. Then you can have it cooked and ready to go anytime. Just defrost in the microwave or a bowl of hot water.

  4. when I make overnight oats I always heat them up
    sometimes I stirred in protein powder
    I didn’t like the texture of the oats with the yogurt though

    then I realized I could just make a big batch of steel cut oats on the stove the way I like it, put it in jars and have it ready to go for the week. I warm them up in the microwave (take off the metal lid!) and I add some fruit and nuts and a splash of whole milk

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