Simple Sundays | Overnight Refrigerator Oatmeal

I may have been living under a rock, but if you were like me a few weeks ago, you would have thought that oatmeal could only be eaten piping hot off the stove or baked in a cookie or dessert. My soon to be sister in law – actually, my sister’s soon to be sister in law (for us, it’s one big happy familia, so I’ll just call her that) — messaged one day sharing her new favorite breakfast: an Overnight Refrigerator Oatmeal loaded with healthy fruits and chia seeds. I was instantly intrigued. No cook oatmeal? Chia seeds?

After a little investigating I soon learned that this has been wildly popular, at least on the internet, and I can understand why. Is it incredibly healthy? Absolutely. We all know oatmeal is a solid way to start the day, our grandmothers taught us that, but with the chia seeds, it is a delicious source of antioxidants and fiber, and a great way to enhance your hydration. Chia seeds are rather hot with athletes right now – I imagine that some of our Olympians are noshing on chia seeds as they compete in this summer’s Games.

But good-for-you stuff aside, I have become hooked on overnight oatmeal. It’s wonderful for summer mornings that start with the promise of an active day ahead. Open the fridge, and it’s ready – hearty and healthy, and perfect with fresh fruit. I love how the chia seeds puff up into little teeny gels, it’s like having tapioca pudding. I may not be running marathons or competing, but it gives me the boost I need for my own day’s hurdles.

More Overnight Oatmeal Inspiration

Skinny Overnight Oats in a Jar, SkinnyTaste
Coconut Mango Overnight Oatmeal, Oh My Veggies
Overnight, No-Cook Refrigerator Oatmeal, The Yummy Life
Overnight Oats, Two Ways, Pepper Lynn

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Overnight Refrigerator Oatmeal

Yield: 1 serving

Prep Time: 3 minutes

Cook Time: 5-8 hours

Total Time: 8 hours

What I love about this recipe is that there are no hard or fast rules. Don't like soy milk? Use skim milk. Or almond milk. Use fresh or dried fruit, or both. Drizzle some maple syrup. Make this a mid day snack with carob chips and nuts. The possibilities are endless.


1/4 cup oats
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1/2 cup vanilla soy milk
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
1 tablespoon shredded coconut
1 tablespoon crushed walnuts
fresh fruit


In a 250 ml or 8 oz mason jar, combine the oats, chia seeds, vanilla soy milk, dried fruit and nuts. Cover with lid and shake until combined. Refrigerate for at least 5 hours or ideally, overnight. Top with fresh fruit in the morning and enjoy!

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by Liren Baker on July 29, 2012

39 Responses to “Simple Sundays | Overnight Refrigerator Oatmeal”

  1. Kelley {mountain mama cooks} July 29, 2012 @ 7:32 am (#

    Love this idea. I had no idea how simple it was. Can’t wait to try this soon!

    • liren replied: — July 29th, 2012 @ 9:39 am

      It really is simple, and so versatile! Hope you like it, Kelley!

  2. Rowena @ Apron and Sneakers July 29, 2012 @ 8:32 am (#

    I love oatmeal but I always cook them. Maybe I should give this a try as a way not to add heat to the house. The temp is rising here and cooking doesn’t help the situation! Thanks for the idea!

    • liren replied: — July 29th, 2012 @ 9:40 am

      I love oatmeal, and consider it my favorite winter breakfast. But this way of preparing it is awesome, especially when it’s a hot summer morning!

  3. Jean July 29, 2012 @ 9:22 am (#

    I have been intrigued by overnight oatmeal since seeing it on the web, too. Hubs has it every morning (the steel cuts) so there’s always a wait before he can dig in. Glad to know it works and with regular oats, too. This looks like such a nutritious breakfast but what a treat at the same time.

    • liren replied: — July 29th, 2012 @ 9:41 am

      I would be very curious to find out if it can be done with steel cut oats, too, Jean. But I suspect your hubs will like this, too! It’s so nutrient dense, perfect before a bike ride. I think I’m going to swirl some peanut butter in my next batch :)

  4. Lisa { AuthenticSuburbanGourmet } July 29, 2012 @ 10:46 am (#

    What a fantastic idea! I have never tried this but so intrigued. Your photos are simply mouthwatering. Need to try this after we get our new fridge, since popping back and forth to the garage fridge is not ideal. :-) Happy Sunday!!!!

    • liren replied: — July 29th, 2012 @ 11:06 am

      Thank you, Lisa! Thank goodness you have a garage fridge to hold you over until your new one arrives. When it does, do give it a try, I think you’ll really like it! Enjoy your Sunday, too :)

  5. ally July 29, 2012 @ 1:33 pm (#

    fabulous recipe & stunning photography!

  6. Laura (Tutti Dolci) July 29, 2012 @ 4:03 pm (#

    I love this idea for the summer, especially when the mornings are warm and the last thing I want is a bowl of hot oatmeal. But chilled with fresh summer berries? Perfetto!

  7. Mollie July 30, 2012 @ 9:58 am (#

    Thank you for the shout out Liren! I love the post! Thanks for sharing it on your blog…think I’ll go home today and make more :) Yum Yum!!!

  8. Nealey @ Dixie Caviar July 30, 2012 @ 1:12 pm (#

    I’ve been wanting to try overnight oatmeal for ages! Yours looks especially delicious.

  9. Ursula July 30, 2012 @ 11:04 pm (#

    This has long been a staple of Swiss breakfasts, typically called Bircher Muesli there. You can actually buy bags of ready mixed oats, nuts & dried fruit, and just add your liquid to soak the night before.

    When we make it, we use some of the Swiss staples – grated apple, or applesauce, and yogurt. The yogurt adds a wonderful creamy texture. I prefer plain greek-style yogurt, but fruity works too. And if you want an even lovelier tang, try a spoonful of sour cream in the mix. You can add this the night before, with the milk, or simply stir it in the next day before eating.

    • liren replied: — August 2nd, 2012 @ 6:58 pm

      Ursula, thank you for your insight! I do remember Muesli from when I visited Switzerland years and years ago, but did not make the connection – you are so right! I will have to try it with apple sauce as well as yogurt, sounds perfect!

  10. Joan Nova July 31, 2012 @ 2:23 pm (#

    I must have been living under the rock next to you. Never heard about it, but it looks very interesting especially the way you present it.

  11. Norma-Platanos, Mangoes and Me! July 31, 2012 @ 5:34 pm (#

    Me too…but I do own a bafg of chia seeds and you made this look so good I am going to try it. I can’t wait to see the wedding pictures…

  12. Larry Picard August 1, 2012 @ 5:42 pm (#

    Thanks to you and my work-wife, Julie, I’m about to be the most popular guy in the Brooklyn Team In Training Marathon Team! (And the guy at home is gonna love this, too…) This is unbelievably delicious, nutritious and easy! Thanks!

    • liren replied: — August 2nd, 2012 @ 6:59 pm

      Larry, I remember seeing you on Julie’s FB page! I did’t realize *you* were her dear office hub! :) I am so glad you (and everyone you share it with) are enjoying it!!

  13. Tracy August 2, 2012 @ 6:43 am (#

    I tried this last night/this morning and it was so delicious! I omitted the coconut (because I don’t like the stuff) and nuts (because I didn’t have any on hand) and it was simple and delicious. I too am a huge fan of oatmeal in the winter, but can’t handle such a warm breakfast on a hot summer day. Thanks for sharing this one! It is definitely going into my rotation.

    • liren replied: — August 2nd, 2012 @ 7:00 pm

      SO glad you enjoyed the overnight oats, Tracy! I think I will be enjoying this well past the summer months :)

  14. As A Verb August 3, 2012 @ 11:49 am (#

    I can’t wait to try this out! I love oatmeal for breakfast but I’m always rushing out the door with no time to throw it all together & then of course the summer heat. Excited to give this a shot, thanks!

  15. Holly August 4, 2012 @ 12:58 pm (#

    I discovered chia seeds a few months ago too, and they are definitely my new favorite breakfast. Never thought of adding oatmeal though. Usually I keep it simple with fruit and almond milk. I may try some oatmeal this week.

  16. Priscilla - She's Cookin' August 4, 2012 @ 10:57 pm (#

    Love oatmeal in the winter to warm my tummy and this is definitely a great way to enjoy it during the summer months, too! And another way I can incorporate chia seeds :)

  17. Jo August 22, 2012 @ 7:09 am (#

    Love this,going shopping for chia seeds!!…I’m visiting from Lee Caroline-A world of Inspiration(Ivy an Elephants).

    • liren replied: — August 22nd, 2012 @ 2:01 pm

      Welcome, Jo! I’m so glad you found me via Lee Caroline :) Hope you enjoy the oatmeal, I am hooked!

  18. marla January 18, 2013 @ 8:19 am (#

    Love this recipe! Will be linking back to this in my upcoming post :)

  19. Lyndsey February 23, 2013 @ 2:01 pm (#

    This recipe has become an absolute staple for me — it’s amazing. I use steel cut oats and it works perfectly. I also substitute unsweetened almond milk for soy, and add vanilla extract, nutmeg, and some protein powder. If I need a splash of sweetness, I’ll add a tiny bit of maple syrup before eating. Vegan, raw, and the most convenient hearty breakfast ever — even during the winter!

  20. Jennie @themessybakerblog July 20, 2013 @ 5:59 am (#

    I love cold oatmeal in the summer. Really, it’s just too hot for its hot counterpart. This looks delicious. Pinned!

  21. Jessie September 23, 2013 @ 4:21 am (#

    I tried the greek yoghurt version of overnight oatmeal last night and found the flavor a little tangy and acidic for my taste. Looking forward to giving this soy milk option a go. Thanks for sharing!

  22. mar October 3, 2013 @ 4:34 pm (#

    I finally got brave and tried this.. I was scared to eat COLD oatmeal. I eat it EVERYDAY now for breakfast and sometimes a snack. I go a little over on the oatmeal and milk (I use unsweetened almond milk). I also do almonds, chopped instead, but still good with walnuts. Thanks for sharing.

  23. Katie January 23, 2014 @ 10:52 am (#

    I was just introduced to this myself. So my rock must have been buried! lol
    Anyway, I am curious to know if anyone has tried this in a container other than a mason jar. I have a toddler, & a sometimes clumsy tween, plus so much that I would be nervous about the jars breaking. So if anyone has any thoughts or has tried it I would appreciate hearing about it.

    Thanks for the great idea as ANYTHING that helps to make mornings nutritious & fast are greatly appreciated.

    • Liren Baker replied: — February 21st, 2014 @ 9:46 am

      This works just as well in a plastic container, Katie! I definitely understand the concern with jars and little ones :) If I am not taking it anywhere, I’ll just mix it in any bowl, and just eat it straight out of the fridge! Hope that helps.

  24. MultiTestingMom February 21, 2014 @ 8:25 am (#

    Wait a minute…you don’t cook it?!

    • Liren Baker replied: — February 21st, 2014 @ 9:47 am

      Nope, no cooking! Super easy and healthy, and you’ll be surprised at how soaking the oats results in a texture similar to cooked, just colder. It’s like a breakfast pudding :)

  25. Hannah Barham June 18, 2014 @ 11:09 pm (#

    What a great idea! I’m not a fan of the chia seeds on their own, but with oats sounds so good. nice!

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  28. Peter August 13, 2015 @ 4:20 pm (#

    Did you use Old Fashioned oats or which kind so I can replicate this delicious oatmeal

  29. Katy November 20, 2015 @ 3:21 am (#

    Yum! I am looking for new breakfasts for my toddler, will have to try this!

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