The Ultimate Guide to Overnight Oats


What Are Overnight Oats?

All about oats

Is the feeling of sleepily fumbling around the cereal cupboard in a search for something tasty and nutritious to start the day with a familiar scenario? Or grabbing a piece of toast to eat on the run because you simply don’t have the time to sort anything else? Or, even worse, skipping breakfast altogether?! We’ve all been there. 

Imagine waking up to find your breakfast ready to eat in a handy little pot, without you having to do anything apart from roll out of bed and grab a spoon. Well, with overnight oats, it’s a reality! Delicious soaked oats with and a whole host of tasty toppings – from chocolate and nuts to fruit and seeds – layered in a delightfully photogenic jar; what’s not to like? Saving all that decision making that can be a real chore on those early, busy mornings is exactly the reason why overnight oats have become such an overnight sensation. They’re super convenient and super tasty, and there’s next to no skill required. Job done!, It really couldn’t be easier. But as you’ll see later, they’re too good just to have for breakfast….

Are Overnight Oats Gluten-Free?

They can be - as long as you use gluten-free ingredients. Oats are naturally gluten-free although because they’re grown ‘in the wild’ can be contaminated by other gluten bearing grains during the growing, harvesting or milling processes.  Nairn’s Gluten Free Scottish Porridge Oats are expertly grown, harvested and milled to ensure that they’re free from gluten before arriving at our dedicated, state of the art gluten-free bakery.  They’re also tested to ELISA standards – the system approved by Coeliac UK.

Water, Milk or Milk Alternative?

Depending on what you use to soak your oats in, it’s a breakfast that can vary dramatically. Milk is the obvious choice – the higher the fat content the creamier the results. Some recipes suggest using yoghurt or kefir for a nice thick bowlful – some even say fruit juice works well. You can use water, but why not ring the changes and try a popular dairy alternative for vegan overnight oats like soya, almond or even oat milk?



Portion Size

This all depends on how hungry you are! Finding your perfect balance of oats and your preferred ingredient to soak them in isn’t an exact science. Try starting with around 1:1 oat to liquid ratio, a small mug is a good measurement to start with. Don’t worry if it looks too watery at first, your oats will absorb most of that excess when left to chill in the fridge overnight.

Recipes & Topping Ideas

Topping ideas

The possibilities and combinations are endless – it’s great to start personalising your overnight oats! You can opt for a range of healthy toppings that are packed with nourishing fruit and seeds or if you’re feeling more indulgent, you can dress up your overnight oats with rich, chocolate or caramel flavours. You’d be amazed – some overnight oats can be so deliciously ‘dessert-like’, you’d think you were tucking into a real treat even though they’re healthy. And now, thanks to plant milk alternatives you can also enjoy a vegan overnight oats!

Apple and Cinnamon Overnight Oats

Apple And Cinnamon Overnight Recipes

Ingredients for 1 serving(s)

  • 45g Nairn's Gluten Free Porridge Oats
  • 2 tbsp Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp raisins
  • 1 apple grated
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 250ml almond milk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

Chocolate And Banana Overnight Oats

Chocolate And Banana Overnight Oats

Ingredients for 2 serving(s)

  • 1 cup Nairn's Gluten Free Scottish Porridge Oats
  • 1 cup oat milk
  • 1 heaped tbsp honey
  • 1 heaped tbsp desiccated coconut
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder (or more to taste)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • Handful of hazelnuts
  • Favourite nut butter to top

Peanut Butter Jam Overnight Oats

Peanut Butter Jam Overnight Oats

Ingredients for 2 serving(s)

  • For the oats
  • 3 cups of almond milk (other dairy free milks are ok)
  • 2.5 cups of gluten free oats
  • 3 tsp maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp peanut butter
  • You'll also need
  • 4 tbsp peanut butter
  • 4 tbsp raspberry jam
  • A handful of fresh raspberries
  • 2 small jam jars (to serve)

Blueberry Protein Overnight Oats

Blueberry Protein Overnight Oats

Ingredients for 1 serving(s)

  • 50g Nairn’s Gluten Free Scottish Porridge Oats
  • 1/2 cup blueberries (frozen or fresh)
  • 1/2 ripe banana
  • 1 tbsp protein powder
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 125 ml unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp acai powder (optional)

Mango And Pineapple Overnight Oats

Mango And Pineapple Overnight Oats

Ingredients for 1 serving(s)

  • 1/3 cup of Nairn's Gluten Free Scottish Porridge Oats
  • 1 tbsp Chia Seeds
  • 1 tsp Linseed
  • 1 tbsp Toasted Coconut Flakes
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Milk
  • 2 tbsp Coconut Yogurt
  • For the Puree: 1/4 cup Mango, diced
  • 2 tbsp Water
  • Additional toppings: Kiwi, Pineapple and Banana Slices

Health Benefits

Healthy Oats

Because the main ingredient is (obviously!) oats, there are naturally plenty of health benefits to be had from indulging in a bowl of overnight oats for breakfast. Because of their low G.I. (glycemic index)

"oats are a great source of slow release energy to help fuel the day ahead."

As they’re high in fibre too, they can help keep you fuller for longer and might keep you away from reaching for a sugary mid-morning snack. Oats are also a great source of essential vitamins and minerals. They contain vitamin B1 (which helps us efficiently create energy from our food), vitamin B6 (great for mood-boosting), folate (supports a healthy immune system, important to have while pregnant), iron, zinc, magnesium and phosphorous to name but a few.

Good For Your Gut

While we’re on the subject of health benefits – yes, overnight oats are especially good for your gut. Each portion is high in soluble and insoluble fibre which not only keeps our digestive systems ticking over, but actually feeds the bacteria living in our gut, keeping the lining healthy. The gut is widely referred to as the “2nd Brain” and we’re learning more and more about how gut health affects many other areas of our wellbeing in general (including our immune systems, skin, brain function, weight and even psychological health), so this is a huge benefit.

Fitness & Exercise

Pre/Post Workout

Overnight oats are fantastic for fuelling you up prior to hitting the gym, running trail or your weekly game of five-a-side. Carving out that all important part of the day to fit in some exercise isn’t always easy – and that’s where overnight oats come into play. It’s so simple to throw a bowl together that you needn’t worry about having to dedicate the usual prep time that’s often involved with exercise-friendly nutrition. Overnight oats (and oats in general) are easy on the digestive system so you shouldn’t feel full or uncomfortable by the time you start your routine – everyone’s different though so make sure you give yourself enough time to digest before you get going.

If you’re the sort of person who always needs a little something to replenish themselves after exercise, you may well find yourself reaching for the overnight oats. Protein is essential for repairing the marginal amount of damage you do to your muscles and oats are a great source of the stuff. Our Gluten Free Scottish Porridge Oats contain 4.7g or protein per 40g serving for example.

"It’s not only that which makes Overnight Oats such a handy post-workout food it’s the fact that they’re so customizable."

A handful of nuts and seeds, chopped banana, peanut butter or your favourite protein powder can be easily mixed in to up that protein content even further.

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