I’m sure you’ve seen these overnight refrigerator oats on other blogs or food sites. They aren’t anything new and amazing in the world. Just to my kids. I have been making these this week so they have a quick and mostly healthy breakfast before school and it turns out they were a hit! That rocks, because they are so easy too, and I can easily “customize” them so everyone has something they like.
The first batch of overnight refrigerator oats had chia seeds, which my oldest will eat, my middle will tolerate and the youngest wouldn’t even try. Then I switched to ground flax. I win.
Then I was asked to make strawberry oats. Well, since we’ve been gluten-free (we’re almost fully grain free, but, well, oats!) I haven’t really been buying or making preserves in the sheer quantity we used to use them, and we had no strawberry preserves shoved to the back of the fridge either. Want to know what I did have? Fig preserves, orange marmalade, apricot preserves, the last dregs of plum-vanilla preserves (from my batch a couple of years ago!), and more fig, peach, apricot, and blood orange preserves (not together, four separate jars) in the pantry. Oh, and I tossed a jar of crystallized blueberry preserves, and a similar jar of sour cherry. I found it really odd I didn’t have strawberry. So I made peach.
- 8 or 12 oz jars - I used both wide mouth quart mason jars, which I found to be huge and 8 oz quilted jelly jars, which were just right. Recycled jars from other products worked too!
- ½ Cup steel-cut oats. I bet oat groats would be good too! Most recipes call for rolled, but I don't even buy those, and steel-cut worked out just fine
- 1 Tbsp chia seeds, or ground flax (whole flax seeds would work, but I prefer ground)
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup - the real stuff
- 1 tsp brown sugar or sugar substitute, but if you substitute, I'd add some molasses in, since that's the flavor you want from the brown sugar anyway
- ½ Cup almond milk or whatever dairy you use - unsweetened vanilla almond milk was relish!
- 1 Tbsp peach preserves
- 1 - 2 Tbsp diced peaches. I used frozen, and each jar got roughly 2 peach slices, diced
- ½ Cup almond milk or whatever dairy you use
- seriously, just throw some stuff in there. we've made all sorts, using everything from preserves to dried fruits to fresh fruits. flax seed, chia seed, protein powder, anything. really.
- Add everything to your jar in the order shown. Basically, oats, anything else that's dry, then wet, then milk. Cover and refrigerate overnight. I make these around 9 or 10 PM and the boys eat them around 6AM. Then the girl eats one around 7:45 if she eats at all. They keep for a few days without getting mushy. I've been told you can heat them in a pan of hot water. I suspect you can microwave them. We eat them cold.
- Seriously, you can toss anything in there. I even threw a tiny scoop of probiotic powder in there since my kids refuse to take the chewable probiotics.
- I'm thinking raisins in the next batch, and maybe some craisins for my oldest since he prefers them over raisins. Some cinnamon.
- I like to cut out processed sugar, but I do let some slide through (ahem, brown sugar) and preserves certainly aren't low in processed or natural sugars either. It's a balancing act.
Kids can help make overnight refrigerator oats too! It’s fairly neat. You would have to go out of your way to make a huge mess, barring spilling a completed jar. It’s all measuring, so yay learning! My kids love to help cook. This isn’t really cooking, but it is using cooking implements, so it’s a good intro to cooking for the younger set, and a good make your own damn breakfast for the older set.
Quick note – this just barely fits in the 8 oz quilted jelly jar. You have to wait for the milk to settle into the oats a bit; It will overflow if you pour too quickly! I found the pint jars to be much too big, you could easily double the recipe in those, but really, the ½ cup of oats is plenty for breakfast IMO.