Overnight oats are a perfect make-ahead breakfast. They are usually a combination of yogurt and milk combined with oats and sometimes seeds. Sometimes there is fruit in the mix, sometimes additional sweetener. You let the mixture sit overnight so that the oats soften up, creating something with a texture similar to a pudding. This overnight oats recipe is an easy toddler breakfast that you can make ahead of time on the weekend or the night before. It’s incredibly satisfying and nutritious.
When I was pregnant with my first, I craved dairy in a way that was almost hard to believe. It seemed that all I wanted to eat was yogurt and sometimes kefir, but mostly yogurt. I read all of those studies about babies liking the foods that their moms ate while they were in utero and I expected that she would inhale yogurt when the time came.
That couldn’t have been farther from our experience. From the time she started eating until now, she has always felt pretty ambivalent towards yogurt. She spit it out time after time when she was a baby, leaving me to eat the rest of the quart-size containers of whole milk yogurt that I would buy every week. (I didn’t complain.) But since I knew that 2-3 servings of dairy were important for her growth—since it provides calcium and vitamin D for strong bones, as well as necessary fat—I played around with how I served it to see if I could find something she’d find more interesting.
Overnight Oats with Yogurt
Now I do realize that you can get those nutrients from other foods, but she hardly drank milk of any kind from the time I weaned her at 14 months until she was a little over two, and filling up a toddler with leafy greens or salmon with bones is somewhat tricky. (I did try, though, and she thankfully loves salmon cakes!) Eventually, I found that she liked yogurt when there was a little more going on with it—either when topped with granola, or “crunchies” as they are called in our house, or as overnight oats.
How to Make Overnight Oats with Yogurt Step-by-Step
Here’s a look at the simple process of making this overnight oats recipe.
- Gather your ingredients including yogurt, milk, oats (I like the texture of quick oats for little ones and myself, so use those or grind rolls oats in the blender or food processor), seeds, cinnamon, and vanilla. And you’ll need berries.
- Stir everything together in a bowl except for the berries. Add a little sweetener if you’d like.
- Portion into containers (Mason jars or any container with an airtight lid will work!) and top with berries.
- Refrigerate overnight. Mash the berries into the yogurt if desired or just serve.
Healthy Overnight Oats
This overnight oats recipe doesn’t have any added sugars since I like the flavor of the berries and it’s otherwise a pretty straightforward toddler breakfast or baby food. You can always add a little honey or maple syrup if you prefer, or use vanilla yogurt I’d your child is used to sweetened yogurt. You can also get fancy by adding other nuts or fruit. The recipe contains a nicely balanced mix of protein from the yogurt and seeds, complex carbohydrates from the oats, and vitamins from the fruit.
Can I use fruit other than berries?
Sure! Try mango or strawberries. Actually, if you use either of those two fruits, you can add all of the ingredients to a blender and blend smooth for a super creamy version that some kids who prefer smooth textures might prefer!
Can I use dairy-free yogurt?
You can absolutely use a favorite nondairy yogurt if you need to avoid dairy. Just pick one that you or your child likes, use a nondairy milk, and otherwise follow the recipe.
Quick Tips for the Best Basic Overnight Oats
You don’t need to get too complicated to make delicious overnight oats. This one is easy though keep in mind a few tips: It works best with ground rolled oats for quick oats. This helps it to have a less chunky texture which is more appealing for toddlers. If your toddler doesn’t like the thickness, simply add another tablespoon or two of milk and play with which seeds you use. Chia seeds will thicken more than sesame, coconut will add texture and flavor.
This is a great toddler breakfast to pack for daycare, or to have on hand for mornings when you need a quick meal. The yogurt base provides protein and creaminess. You can use regular or Greek yogurt in this overnight oats recipe. Greek yogurt will make it thicker—but it will also have more protein. I like to double the recipe to make a serving for myself, and to vary the ingredients to keep things interesting. These overnight oats with yogurt are a nice way to change up breakfasts between smoothies, muffins, and cereal.
Overnight Oats for Babies
This recipe has a very subtle texture so it’s a nice step up from straight pureed baby foods. It helps babies learn to move more complicated textures in their mouths and is a nutritious way to serve yogurt and oats to babies. Skip the added sweetener if serving to babies.
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This overnight oats recipe makes two toddler-size breakfast portions (or 1 mama-size serving). Double it to make additional servings. You can use frozen fruit and add it to the jars as stated below or warm it for about 30 seconds in the microwave before adding to jars. Both work!
- 1/2 cup whole plain yogurt
- 2 tablespoons milk (dairy or nondairy)
- 2 tablespoons rolled oats, ground in a blender or food processor (or quick or instant oats)
- 1-2 tablespoons sesame seeds, chia seeds, and/or shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1-2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey, optional
- 1/4-1/2 cup blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries
- Combine all ingredients except optional sweetener and berries in a small bowl and stir gently. Taste and adjust sweetness if desired.
- Divide mixture into small storage containers.
- Top with berries. Store in the fridge at least 4 hours or overnight. Serve cold.
Use 1-2 tablespoons nut butter in place of the seeds.
Try frozen mango, thawed and diced, instead of the berries.
Stir in a little all-fruit jam for added sweetness and flavor.