Healthy meets indulgent in this easy Banana Overnight Oats recipe! There’s all the delicious flavors of creamy oatmeal and decadent bananas foster in one easy to make, grab-and-go breakfast treat! Flavored with warm cinnamon, cozy maple syrup, nutrient-rich chia seeds and creamy peanut butter, this no-cook oatmeal recipe is an all-time favorite! You only need 10 minutes of prep to enjoy make-ahead breakfasts, snacks and desserts all week long!
Continue to read on for comprehensive tips on making, storing and freezing banana oats! Plus, don’t miss the in-depth step by step photos and recipe video included in this post! Looking for more easy breakfast ideas? Try these delicious family favorites: Healthy Banana Breakfast Cookies, Easy Banana Nut Muffins, Cereal Breakfast Popsicles, and Vanilla Peanut Butter Bliss Balls!
Update: This post was originally published in February 2016. I’ made updates to the post below to include more information about overnight oatmeal. Plus, I took new photos and added a recipe video to show you how easy Banana Overnight Oats with Chia Seeds are to make!
Hello, friends! How was your weekend? As always mine was pretty good, but not long enough. But really, are they ever?
Exhaustion and not enough R&R are just a few of the reasons it is so important to eat a hearty breakfast. Especially on a Monday, right?! And, since breakfast happens to be my favorite meal, it’s only appropriate I share one of my favorite ways to start the day – with creamy, dreamy overnight oats!
Banana Overnight Oats
This isn’t just any ‘ole breakfast though, this is healthy meets indulgent serious breakfast business, people.
Have you hopped aboard the overnight oats bandwagon yet? If you have, awesome!! Then you already know how delicious they are. If you haven’t, trust and believe, this creamy banana topped treat is a fantastic place to start!
Rolled oats are incredibly nutritious! They are a great source of fiber, loaded with important vitamins and contain more protein than most grains. Plus these banana overnight oats have the added health benefit of chia seeds, which are loaded with nutrients, antioxidants, protein and omega-3 fatty acids! Basically, these oats are winning in the health benefits department!
This no-cook oatmeal is sweet and savory with notes of warm cinnamon, cozy maple and delicious pops of jelly-like chia seeds. But, that creamy dreamy bowl of oatmeal heaven becomes epic with the addition of bananas foster on top. The banana topping is sticky, crunchy, nutty and takes these overnight oats from delicious to EPIC!
Rich in fiber and highly customizable with various add-ins or toppings, these oats in a jar are a healthy and tasty meal option!
Why you will love this recipe
- This cold oatmeal recipe uses easy to find ingredients and affordable pantry staples!
- Fast to prepare – these overnight oats only require 5 minutes of hands on preparation!
- Unlimited, totally customizable toppings! Pile on your favorite toppings for the ultimate oatmeal experience!
- Creamy and hearty in texture with plenty of sweet and savory flavor!
- Overnight oats store wonderfully and pack well, making them perfect for grab-and-go breakfasts and snacks!
- They are perfect for batching – you can easily double or triple the recipe since this ‘refrigerator porridge’ gets better as it sits!
What are overnight oats?
Overnight oats, also known as overnight oatmeal, are essentially a no-cook, cold oatmeal. They’re made up of raw oats soaked in a sweetened liquid, most commonly milk, overnight. The lengthy soaking process softens the oats and gives them an ultra-creamy consistency similar to thick porridge.
Since overnight oats require less than 10 minutes of hands on preparation and minimum ingredients, they are perfect for easy convenient breakfasts and snacking on-the-go!
How are they different from oatmeal?
Oatmeal is a warm meal cooked on the stovetop or in the microwave. On the other hand, overnight oats are raw and meant to be eaten cold, straight from the refrigerator!
What ingredients do I need for overnight oats?
- Oats: You need 1/2 cup of old-fashioned rolled oats for this recipe. You can use gluten-free oats if you would like! (See below for more information on what type of oats to use in this recipe.)
- Milk: For the liquid part of the recipe, you need 1 cup of milk. You can use full fat, 2%, or low-fat milk. Or, you can use a plant-based milk product, such as almond milk, oat milk or cashew milk! (See below for more information on what milk to use in overnight oats.)
- Chia Seeds: Chia seeds help give the overnight oats a thicker, pudding-like consistency! Plus, they add a nutritional boost of fiber, protein and healthy omega-3’s!
- Nut Butter: A touch of nut butter make these oats even more creamy in texture while adding a slightly nutty flavor. I tend to use peanut butter, but any creamy nut butter, such as almond butter, will work great!
- Sweetener: Overnight oats can be bland on their own and need a touch of sweetener! I like to use a combination of pure maple syrup and light brown sugar for a rich flavor; however, you can use honey or agave.
- Extract: Vanilla extract adds a delicious depth of flavor!
- Seasonings: Ground cinnamon adds a delicious warm, inviting flavor while a generous pinch of Kosher salt enhances all the flavors!
- Toppings: The best part of overnight oats are the toppings! There are limitless ideas and flavor combinations you can try out! I’ve included an insanely delicious banana fosters topping in the recipe below! (See below for more topping ideas!)
What type of oats can I use?
Plain old-fashioned rolled oats are the best option for overnight oats. Rolled oats perfectly soak up the liquid overnight while become deliciously creamy in texture.
You should avoid both quick and steel-cut oats when making overnight oats. Quick-cooking oats will become too soggy when you soak them overnight, while steel-cut oats are too firm and will not soften after soaking overnight.
What milk for overnight oats?
You can use any type of milk to make banana overnight oats! Both dairy and non-dairy milk alternatives work great; however, it is important to use a non-sweetened kind of milk.
Dairy milk options: Dairy milk is the most common type of liquid to make overnight oats. You can use full fat, 2%, low-fat and skim milk. Full fat will provide the best flavor and texture.
Non-dairy milk options: Overnight oats also work with any type of milk alternative. Almond milk, oat milk, cashew milk or coconut milk all work great – just make sure you use an unsweetened variety!
Other options: If you are looking for a different milk option, you can also use yogurt thinned out with a bit of water or Kefir (a fermented milk drink) to make overnight oats!
How to make banana overnight oats?
These banana oats are incredibly easy to prepare are only require 5-10 minutes of hands on preparation! They’re the perfect grab-and-go breakfast to keep full all morning long!
(Don’t forget to scroll down for the detailed instructions in the complete printable recipe at the bottom of the page.)
- Make the Oats: In a large sealable jar, whisk together the liquid and flavoring ingredients. Pour in the oats and chia seeds. Stir vigorously or tightly seal the jar and shake to combine the ingredients together.
- Refrigerate: Place jar in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
Make the Banana Topping (optional): In a large skillet melt the butter until slightly foamy. Add in the maple syrup, brown sugar and cinnamon. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the extracts and allow the mixture to come to a gentle simmer. Cook 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in the bananas and stir to coat. Cook until slightly caramelized and softened. Stir in the walnuts and a pinch of salt. Cook until shiny, about 1 additional minute. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to use.
- Serve: Give the oats a good stir, making sure to thoroughly combine and mix everything together. Spoon the overnight oats into individual jars or bowls and top with bananas. Sprinkle with cinnamon and enjoy right away!
How to make overnight oats at home step by step photos:
Tips for the best overnight oats
While cold oats are incredibly fast and easy to prepare, there are some common pitfalls and mistakes! Follow the simple tips below for making the perfect overnight oats!
How long to soak overnight oats?
Given the name, you would assume oats need to soak overnight, however that is not the case! No-cook oatmeal, or overnight oats, get their creamy texture from slowly soaking in liquid (milk). I takes approximately 4 hours for the oats to absorb the liquid and start to soften.
If you are in a rush, you can soak the oats for just 2-4 hours. With this quick-soak method, the oats will be a bit more runny and not as creamy or soft as oats that have soaked overnight; however, they are great if you are in a pinch!
For true, creamy no-cook oatmeal with the best sweet and savory flavor, I recommend letting the oats soak in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours. As the oats sit for a longer period of time, they will become more tender and flavorful.
Tips for success
- Use enough liquid: Overnight oats need enough liquid to soften and transform into a creamy, porridge-like consistency. If the you don’t use enough liquid, the oats will soak up all the liquid and the mixture will very dry. If you use too much liquid, the oats will be quite soupy. Use a ratio of approximately 2 parts liquid to 2 parts oats for the best consistency.
- Season properly: Oats are incredibly bland without any seasoning or added flavor! Besides, cold food always needs more seasoning than hot foot, so it’s important to add a bit of seasoning to your overnight oats. Sweeteners, such as brown sugar and maple syrup, add a rich flavor, while ground cinnamon and a pinch of salt is imperative for the best taste!
- Use the correct kind of oats: Old-fashioned rolled oats are the best variety of oats to use when making overnight oats. While other varieties, such as steel-cut and instant, are delicious, they don’t make good overnight oats!
- Refrigerate at least 4 hours: No-cook oatmeal gets its creamy texture from soaking up liquid. For the best taste and spoonable consistency make sure you allow your oats to soak for at least 4 hours.
- Stir before serving: You must re-mix the oats before serving! As the oats sit in the refrigerator all the flavored liquid will settle to the bottom. This means that while the oats at the bottom of the jar might be super flavorful and chewy, the top can still be bland and slightly crunchy! It’s important that you give them a good stir to ensure everything is well-combined before you take your first bite!
Tips for serving banana overnight oats
Wondering how to top your oats, what to serve with them or if you can heat them up? From topping your no-cook oatmeal with warm bananas to serving it with yogurt, there are plenty of ways to spruce up your oats and turn them into a full blown meal!
The best toppings for banana overnight oats
Toppings are optional, however they add an extra layer of enticing flavor and texture to no-cook oatmeal! Plus, toppings are the fun part! Get creative and experiment with different combinations of ingredients to create overnight oats you and your family love! Below are a few ideas to get you started.
- Basic Banana: Top your oats with fresh banana slices and sprinkle with ground cinnamon.
- Nutty Banana: Garnish your overnight oats with slices of banana, a dollop of your favorite nut butter and crushed walnuts. Finish it off with a dusting of cinnamon and a generous drizzle of pure maple syrup.
- Banana Foster: The caramelized bananas (pictured here) are my favorite topping! They take these oats to the next level of yum, plus they are so easy to make! I’ve included instructions in the recipe below! (See below for more information on Bananas Foster topping!)
- Nutella Banana: This combination is perfect for dessert! Top your oats with fresh banana slices and a generous liberal dollop of Nutella.
- Chocolaty Nutella Banana: Add finely chopped hazelnuts and mini chocolate chips to the above Nutella Banana!
- Banana Almond Joy: Top your overnight oats with slices of bananas, coconut flakes, sliced almonds and mini chocolate chips!
- Peanut Butter, Banana & Jelly: Don’t knock it till you try it! Top your oats with a dollop of creamy peanut butter, your favorite jelly or jam, and slices of bananas! For a decadent spin, try frying your slices of bananas!
What is Bananas Foster topping for oats?
Bananas Foster is a delicious dessert consisting of bananas, vanilla ice cream and a sauce made up of brown sugar, cinnamon, butter, banana liqueur and dark rum. Typically the alcohol in the sauce is added last and ignited on fire.
Bananas Foster was created in the New Orleans’ restaurant, Brennan’s, by Paul Blange and Ella Brennan in 1951. In the early 50’s, New Orleans was a major port of entry for bananas being shipped from Central and South America. In order to promote bananas, the owner of Brennan’s challenged his chef, Blange, to include bananas in a dessert. Meanwhile, Holiday Magazine had asked Owen to provide a new recipe to include in an article spotlighting the restaurant. Thus, Bananas Foster was born, which is named after Owen’s friend, Richard Foster, who was a local business leader.
This bananas foster topping for overnight oats is a toned down version of the classic dessert. There is no alcohol or vanilla ice cream, just deliciously caramelized bananas in a warm, inviting sauce with plenty of crunchy walnuts!
Do you eat no-cook oatmeal cold or hot?
Overnight oats are typically enjoyed cold since they’re made from refrigerated milk-soaked oats. However, you can eat oats hot or cold!
- Cold overnight oats: Simply grab the oats from the refrigerator, give them a thorough stir and enjoy!
- Room temperature oats: Remove the oats from the refrigerator and give them a good stir. Allow the oats to sit out on the counter for about an hour before enjoying! You can use the time to have your morning coffee, work out, get the kids ready for school – whatever!
- Warm oats: If you like super-soft oats, warm overnight oats are for you! Gently heat the oats in the microwave for 1-2 minutes prior to enjoying! Make sure you stir the oats at least once while you are warming them up!
What to serve with oats?
Banana overnight oats are hearty and filling enough to serve as a stand-alone meal; however, you can also serve it as a part of a breakfast or brunch spread! See below for some of my family’s favorite dishes that perfectly complement no-cook oatmeal!
- Fresh Fruit + Nuts: Your favorite fresh seasonal fruit or mix of fruits sprinkled with your favorite toasted nuts! We love raspberries with walnuts or blackberries with almonds!
- Dairy: A cup of your favorite flavor of yogurt or cottage cheese is a creamy, health choice! Top it with a dollop of jam for a touch of fruity flavor!
- Smoothie: Nutrient-rich smoothies or smoothie bowls are a delicious way to keep things light!
- Breakfast Cookies: Everyone loves a healthy cookie for breakfast!
- Granola: Crunchy granola bars or granola cups are a great way to pack in more fiber!
- Breakfast Sandwiches and Wraps: Make-ahead breakfast wraps and egg sandwiches are a family favorite!
- Eggs: Load up on protein with your favorite style of eggs or make it hearty with an omelet!
- Breakfast Meats: Do you have a meat eater in your family? Load up on the crispy bacon, ham, sausage or Canadian bacon!
Tips for storing and freezing banana overnight oats
Food safety is important when it comes to storing and freezing no-cook oatmeal! Follow the simple tips below for properly storing and freezing oats!
How to store overnight oats?
You should store oats in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Plastic or glass storage jars with an airtight and watertight seal, such as Mason or Weck jars, are the perfect container for storing your oats!
Things to consider when selecting a storage container for oats:
- Size: Oats will swell and double in size after soaking overnight. Make sure you select a jar or container that won’t overflow! I like to use a 24-32 ounce container for storing oats in the refrigerator and then a smaller container for individual servings. When serving, keep in mind you will need to leave room for your yummy banana topping!
- Material: Glass or plastic works best for storing oats. Glass will not stain or absorb any odors; however, plastic will not shatter and is better for packing!
- Shape: The shape of your container is up to your personal preference. However, make sure you select a container with a wide mouth opening – this makes it easier to insert the spoon and eat the oats!
How long do they last?
Properly stored, overnight oats will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It is important to note the oats will continue to soften the longer they sit in the refrigerator. If incredibly tender, creamy banana overnight oats are your jam, simply prepare them a few days in advance! If not, I recommend eating the oats within 3 days.
Can you freeze no-cook oatmeal?
Overnight oats freeze beautifully, making them perfect for grab-and-go meal prep! Make a big batch of oats and store them in your freezer to ensure you always have quick and easy breakfasts available throughout the hectic work week!
To freeze overnight oats
Follow the below steps and precautions when freezing overnight oats to ensure they keep their best quality!
- Mix the oats: Prepare the oats as directed in the recipe.
- Refrigerate: Let the oats sit in the refrigerator for 2 hours to absorb some of the liquid and soften slightly before freezing.
- Portion it out: Transfer the oats to individual, single-serving, freezer-safe containers for easy grab-and-go meals.
- Leave space before sealing: The oats will expand during freezing, so make sure you leave some room in the container before sealing!
- Freeze: Store the overnight oats in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- To use: Let the oats thaw in the refrigerator overnight before enjoying!
Pro-tip: Do not add any toppings, including fruits or nuts, to the oats until right before serving!
These sweet and savory banana overnight oats will have you getting up on the right side of the bed in the morning! Creamy and packed full of protein, these oats make a delicious breakfast or mid-day snack!
What are you waiting for? Get on these oats and double up on the bananas foster topping! Your tummy will thank you!!
Until next time, friends, cheers – to next level oatmeal!
The best Banana Overnight Oats recipe with chia seeds plus step-by-step video👇
Banana Overnight Oats Recipe
- Large Sealable Jar
- large skillet
For the Oats:
- 1 Cup Milk (or milk alternative, such as almond milk)
- 1 TBS Pure Maple Syrup
- 1 TBS Brown Sugar - packed (SEE NOTES)
- 1 TBS Creamy Peanut Butter (or any creamy nut butter)
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- Kosher Salt - to taste
- 1/2 Cup Rolled Oats
- 2 TBS + 1 tsp Chia Seeds - leveled
Bananas Foster Topping:
- 3 TBS Unsalted Butter
- 2/3 Cup Pure Maple Syrup
- ¼ Cup Brown Sugar - packed
- ½ tsp Cinnamon
- 3 tsp Real Rum Extract (SEE NOTES)
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract (SEE NOTES)
- 3 medium Firm Bananas – peeled and sliced into coins
- ½ Cup Walnuts - chopped
- Make the Oats: In a large sealable jar, whisk together the milk, maple syrup, brown sugar, peanut butter, cinnamon, vanilla extract and pinch of salt. Pour in the oats and chia seeds. Stir vigorously or tightly seal the jar to thoroughly combine the ingredients together.
- Refrigerate: Place jar in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
- Make the Bananas Topping: In a large, deep-sided skillet melt butter over medium heat until slightly foamy. Add in the maple syrup, brown sugar and cinnamon. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the extracts (or real rum) and allow mixture to come to a gentle simmer. Cook 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in the bananas and stir to coat. Cook until slightly caramelized and softened, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the walnuts and a pinch of salt. Cook until coated and shiny, about 1 additional minute. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to use.
- Serve: Give the oats a good stir, making sure to thoroughly mix the everything together. Spoon overnight oats into individual jars or bowls and top with caramelized bananas. Sprinkle with cinnamon and eat right away.
- Sugar: I used light brown sugar, but you can use dark brown sugar.
- Milk: You can use any type of milk or alternative milks, such as almond or coconut milk, to make these oats. If you are looking for a milk substitute, you can also use thinned out yogurt or keifer!
- Storage: Overnight oats will keep, covered in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 5 days.
- Topping Storage: Bananas foster topping will keep, covered in the refrigerator for 2 days. (Great as a topping on pancakes or waffles!)
- For Creamy Oats: For a smooth, creamy oats add ½ cup frozen sliced banana and place in a blender (after refrigeration). Blend until smooth.
©No Spoon Necessary. All images and content are under copyright protection. Please do not use any images without prior permission. Please do not republish this recipe without prior consent. If you want to reference this recipe, please do so by linking directly to this post.