How Much Milk You Actually Need For Overnight Oats

If oatmeal is the quintessential, classic breakfast, overnight oats have become their timesaving counterpart. Beloved as a nutritious, filling, inexpensive, and convenient breakfast on the go, overnight oats are just the thing to whip up when you need a whole week's worth of breakfasts ready to grab and eat. Unlike more traditional oatmeal — be that instant oat packets, old-fashioned rolled oats, or steel-cut oats, which are all cooked on a stovetop or microwave, overnight oats are a no-cook concoction. 

To make this breakfast, just combine oats with liquid — typically milk — stir together in a container, and dress up with almost endless add-ins, from cinnamon to flax seed, fruit, yogurt, or sweetener. The mixture is stirred together and allowed to sit, as the name suggests, overnight in the fridge. The basic recipe for overnight oats is easy to put your twist on, but as a general rule, for the right consistency, start by using a 1:1 oats-to-milk ratio. This is enough milk so the oats absorb the liquid and become soft and creamy, but not so much that they become watery or runny. In other words, the amount to ensure your porridge will be just right. The next morning, or for the whole following week if you prep a large batch, you can enjoy ready-to-eat oatmeal that requires no cooking and only gets better as the days pass. 

Don't be afraid to customize your overnight oats

If you wake up to oats that look either too runny or too dry (the goal here is always a spoonable, creamy porridge consistency,) not all is lost. You can always add additional dry ingredients in a pinch if there's excess liquid. Chia seeds, which absorb up to ten times their weight in liquid are another great "fixer" to remedy overly soggy oats. Just allow them a bit of time to soak up the milk and plumpen, or they'll have a crunchy texture. If your oats are chunky or dry, simply add more milk and stir until the oats have the desired, smooth consistency. 

Like traditional oatmeal, the ingredients of overnight oats remain virtually the same, and every bit as customizable. If you can dream up a flavor or ingredient add-in, there's probably an overnight oat recipe for that. Craving a blend of fruit? Berries, bananas, and dried fruit all work beautifully. Toss in some flax seeds, hemp hearts, or peanut butter for added calories, protein, and fat. Feeling like chocolate for breakfast? Add in cocoa for some decadence. The same flexibility applies to the type of milk you use — so pick your favorite. Traditional milk, soy, almond, oat, macadamia, or whatever else you have on hand works. Observe the 1:1 oats to milk ratio even if you're experimenting with dairy alternatives, for the perfect texture every time.