Overnight oats are porridge’s cooler friend – in every sense. Their hands-off approach suits anyone short on time (or who just can’t be bothered with faff in the morning) and can be adapted to favour any taste. I’m a big fan.
When I first dabbled in overnight oats, I only added honey, peanut butter, and a few bits of frozen fruit. But after taking to Twitter for recommendations, I realised there’s a whole world of oats fun to be had.
Here, a range of chefs and foodies tell me their favourite ways with oats. For all the recipes below, mix the ingredients together the night before, cover the bowl or pot (or put a lid on your jar) and leave in the fridge overnight.
MasterChef champion Simon Wood likes his overnight oats with tinned fruit on top. For 120g of oats (which serves two), add 200ml of milk, half a can of tinned fruit and half of the syrup the fruit comes in. Mix the milk and oats in a bowl with the syrup from the fruit. Cover and pop into the fridge overnight, then in the morning, top with your tinned fruit and serve.
PB and jelly
Ligia Lugo, culinary expert, and co-founder of The Daring Kitchen, likes to eat her oats with peanut butter and jam, mixed in with milk. “If I am feeling extra fancy I add some peanuts and strawberries as well,” she says.
Foodie and photographer, Stacey Horler, suggests toffee apple-style oats. Add coconut milk, two tablespoons of flaxseeds, one to two tablespoons of maple syrup and a teaspoon of cinnamon. For the apple, fry coconut oil with maple syrup, a splash of water and sliced apple. Cook until soft and add to the top of your oats.
Carrot cake style
Laura Matthews, registered nutritionist, says using spices – such as cinnamon or ground ginger – is the best way to boost flavour. “My favourite overnight oat combo is ‘carrot cake’,” she says, “so think mixed spice, grated carrot, orange zest and raisins mixed with yoghurt and oats. Serve with slices of fresh orange and a handful of walnuts!”
Apple and lemon
Cesar Fernandez, chef and home economist at Miele GB, says: “One of my favourite ways to jazz up overnight oats is to mix oats with a grated apple, the zest of half a lemon, a few raisins and water. Just before eating in the morning, sprinkle some coconut sugar on top. Sweet and delicious!”
Peanut butter and sultana
Justine Murphy, chef and owner of the Mymuybueno Cookery School, loves loads of combos, but her favourite is peanut butter and sultana. To this, she adds chia seeds, maple syrup, almond milk and a pinch of salt, too. “You can really mix and match to taste with your favourite fruits and spice,” she says.
Blueberries and banana
Chef and pop-up restauranteur Jimmy Garcia uses chia seed and maple syrup too, then jazzes the mix up with blitzed banana. “Don’t forget to add fresh blueberries either,” he adds. “Deeelish!”
Avocado and dates
To add texture to overnight oats, food stylist Alssya Owens, blends an avocado – a good alternative to banana and higher in omega-3’s – then adds dates for natural sweetness and Pink Himalayan salt or sea salt. “I’ll pour this over a chia-seed-rolled oat mix (because who can pick just one!) with a dash of cinnamon to up the ante on my morning meal,” she says. “Give a good stir and leave in the refrigerator overnight to set. Voila!”
And finally ...
Irini Tzortzoglou, MasterChef Champion 2019, chef and author, adds a drop of liqueur to her – though this may be best eaten as a dessert! “I often use liqueurs to flavour my oats, depending on the mix of ingredients I use, from rich coffee cream and chocolate ones to aromatic rose or fresh and tangy kumquat or limoncello,” she says. “One tablespoon is enough to add another dimension.”