When my husband and I were in San Francisco a few years back, I spent a Saturday morning walking to the Ferry Building Farmers Market, where I stumbled into a little patisserie shop called Miette.
While my husband was out for a morning run, I was gobbling up delicate and fanciful macarons and the most delicious buttermilk panna cotta with fresh strawberries.
I have a deep affinity for buttermilk, and I personally feel like it’s the most under-appreciated of all dairy products. My morning at Miette reminded me how versatile this tangy, thick milk can be, and how beautifully it pairs with strawberries.
While I would love to eat panna cotta every day, it’s just not realistic, so I set my sights on creating Strawberry Buttermilk Overnight Oats. This slightly sweet, ready-when-you-are cold breakfast is prepared the night before; it's healthy, and a great way to use up any leftover buttermilk.
What’s the Difference Between Overnight Oats and Oatmeal?
The first difference: Overnight oats are prepared the night before and kept cold in the refrigerator, while oatmeal is usually made on the stovetop the morning you want to eat it, though you can make oatmeal in the slow cooker or pressure cooker as well.
The second difference: Overnight oats are often eaten cold. That’s how I prefer them and how this recipe is intended to be eaten.
If the idea of eating cold oats doesn’t sit well, we have a Hot Overnight Oat Recipe just for you. (I’ll be honest, it took me a bit to love cold oats, but now I can’t imagine my mornings without them, especially as the temperature rises.)
The Best Oats for Overnight Oats
I prefer old fashioned oats, also called rolled oats, because I like the texture. They are chewy but firm, and not too soft or mushy. You can use instant or quick cooking oats if that’s what you have on hand, but they could end up mushy. Given that this is a no-cook oatmeal recipe, you really don’t need instant oats.
I would stay away from steel cut oats for this recipe. They won’t absorb the moisture quite as easily as the other varieties, and the texture could be a bit too hard to enjoy.
Best Ratio for Overnight Oats
I personally appreciate a recipe that I can commit to memory. That’s why I use this ratio:
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup oats
- 1/2 cup yogurt
- 1/2 cup berries
For some extra flavor, I also often add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract and a few teaspoons of honey.
This ratio creates pretty thick overnight oats. You can always increase the liquid by a 1/4 cup if you want it to be a thinner consistency.
How to Adapt This Recipe?
Overnight oats are easy to adjust to your individual preference. Though most of the ingredients are easy to switch, I would use old fashioned oats whenever possible.
- Swap buttermilk for oat, soy, almond, or regular dairy milk.
- Swap plain yogurt for a sweetened variety.
- Stir in a spoonful of strawberry jam.
- Use any berry you have on hand—blueberries, raspberries, and even apples make wonderful overnight oats. I’m partial to roasted rhubarb.
Make This Overnight Oat Recipe Even Easier
I added my yogurt and strawberries in the morning, but you can absolutely make this a grab and go breakfast. A pint-sized mason jar is the perfect size for these oats. Add the oats, buttermilk, vanilla extract, yogurt, and honey. Stir to combine. Add the berries and stir again. Your oats will be 100 percent ready to eat in the morning.
I make them in a Ball jar when I know I have to leave my house early in the morning (I’m a late-morning breakfast person), so I can eat around 10 a.m. when I get hungry.
When I’m at home, which is often because I work from home, I just mix the oats and buttermilk in a bowl with the extract. In a separate bowl, I combine the honey and the strawberries. I let them both sit covered in the fridge overnight. In the morning, I top my oats with yogurt and spoon the strawberries over the top.
How Far in Advance Can You Make Overnight Oats?
I typically make overnight oats the night before and eat them the next morning. My husband, on the other hand, will mix up an entire week’s worth on a Sunday night and grab one every morning. Either one will work, but I wouldn’t make them more than five days in advance. Just enough to get you through the work week.
More Great Recipes With Oats
- Strawberry Almond Oat Smoothie
- Grab and Go Oatmeal Chia Cups
- Oatmeal Buttermilk Pancakes
- Strawberry Oatmeal Muffins
- Oatmeal Almond Butter Breakfast Cookies
Strawberry Buttermilk Overnight Oats
- 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
- 2-3 teaspoons honey
- 1 tablespoon toasted slivered almonds (optional)
Soak the oats and prepare the strawberries:
In a small bowl, combine old fashioned oats, buttermilk, and extract. In a separate small bowl, combine honey and sliced strawberries. Stir to combine.
Cover the bowls and place in the fridge to soften overnight:
Oatmeal cups can also be prepped and kept refrigerated up to 5 days in advance.
Add the yogurt and berries:
In the morning, the oats should look thick and creamy. Top with yogurt, and spoon the strawberries and any juice that they’ve released over the yogurt. Sprinkle with almonds. Eat!
Alternative instructions: Combine everything except the almonds in a pint-size jar. Stir to combine. Place in fridge overnight, or for up to 5 days. Top with almonds. Eat.