Author Topic: Am I doing overnight oats wrong?  (Read 2404 times)

parkerk

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Am I doing overnight oats wrong?
« on: November 12, 2020, 11:41:26 AM »
I feel a little ridiculous posting this, but I need the MMM hive mind to help me figure out what I'm doing wrong with my overnight oats, or if maybe they're just not for me.  I love oatmeal but cooking it in the morning takes time that I don't always have (no microwave).  So overnight oats sounds great!  But every time I make them they just end up kind of soupy and not very soft.  I use quick oats and almond milk with a 1:2 ratio of oats to milk, which is what most recipes seem to call for.  I leave them in the fridge for about 8 to 10 hours, then I add in stuff like peanut butter or fruit when I'm ready to eat them.

Maybe this is just a me thing?  When I make oatmeal on the stovetop I cook it until it's nice and soft and thick.  By contrast the overnight oats feels like eating oat soup. 

So tell me, am I doing something wrong, or does anyone have any suggestions, or am I just doomed not to like overnight oats?

zygote

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Re: Am I doing overnight oats wrong?
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2020, 12:27:09 PM »
I personally think a lot of those recipes call for way too much liquid. I usually do 1/3 cup oats with ~3.5 oz almond milk. Otherwise, there's too much liquid left over and it feels like eating the soggy dregs at the end of a bowl of cereal. That's about a 1 : 1.33 ratio...adjust to your preferred serving size. I use steel cut oats because that's what's cheapest where I shop, but I would guess quick oats work fine too. I also like to add chia seeds, ground flax seeds, and/or hemp seeds to thicken it up and add some texture. Additionally, I recommend adding some kind of spice and some kind of sweetener. I tend to do a little cinnamon and a little maple syrup, but anything would do. All of that goes in overnight with the oats to soak up the almond milk too, and let the flavors develop.

If you still don't like it after mixing things up a little, overnight oats may just not be for you. They're never going to be the same as oatmeal cooked on the stove. You kind of have to think of them as two different foods. If you're comparing them to hot oatmeal, they're never going to meet your expectations.

Edit: Reading the other responses, I think I too am using rolled oats, not steel cut.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2020, 01:30:05 PM by zygote »

Louisville

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Re: Am I doing overnight oats wrong?
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2020, 12:32:52 PM »
If you still don't like it after mixing things up a little, overnight oats may just not be for you. They're never going to be the same as oatmeal cooked on the stove. You kind of have to think of them as two different foods. If you're comparing them to hot oatmeal, they're never going to meet your expectations.
"Overnight" oats are just gross. You're not doing anything wrong- they're raw oats in milk.

sixwings

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Re: Am I doing overnight oats wrong?
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2020, 12:41:35 PM »
I've been eatings overnight oats for 5 years every week day morning and I still love it. I do 1/2 cup rolled oats and 1/2 cup of milk, i also put some frozen berries on top and they thaw overnight and the juices go down into the oats. I also throw on some bananas and plain yoghurt. The texture is similar to cooked oats, but there's definitely some differences, which i dont mind/enjoy. When I cooked rolled oats on the stove I use 1 cup oats/2 cups liquid ratio so maybe your liquid ratio is off a bit. I think quick oats might be a problem too, i doubt they would do well soaking in liquid for 8 hours.

parkerk

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Re: Am I doing overnight oats wrong?
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2020, 01:14:35 PM »
Thanks for the replies everyone.  I'll try using less liquid for starts, at least.  Zygote, thanks for the suggestion about a thickener - I have both flax seeds and chia seeds, I'll throw some of those in and see how it goes.

Sixwings, I'll have to try rolled oats sometime.  I have a giant bag of quick oats that I need to get through first, though!

And Louisville, thanks for confirming that I'm not the only one who doesn't love them as-is!

Cranky

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Re: Am I doing overnight oats wrong?
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2020, 01:16:47 PM »
I ... donít care for them.

Iíd rather set everything up to make oatmeal the night before. Then in the morning, I can pour coffee, start the oatmeal, feed the cats, get dressed and then the oatmeal is ready.

englishteacheralex

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Re: Am I doing overnight oats wrong?
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2020, 01:21:33 PM »
I eat overnight oats (made with rolled oats) almost every day. I use a 1:1 ratio of oats to either cow's milk or nut milk. I always mix in 1/2 t of ground flax, 1 T sunflower seeds, 1 T almond butter, 4 cut up dried apricots, and 1/2 t cinnamon. No sugar. I like the oats best at room temp. The whole mixture is pretty solid by the time I eat it. It is nothing like cooked oatmeal, which I don't like very much because I find it too mushy.

This mixture is not exactly the yummiest thing ever but it's a really nutritious breakfast and it keeps me full for hours. I've been gradually trying to increase fiber and more nutritious foods into my diet as I ease into middle age and this overnight oats mixture has been checking a lot of boxes for me.

bigblock440

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Re: Am I doing overnight oats wrong?
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2020, 01:50:34 PM »
I tried it once with rolled oats, too crunchy.  It seems easier to me to just make a bigger batch when I have time and put the leftovers in the fridge.

jeninco

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Re: Am I doing overnight oats wrong?
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2020, 03:12:08 PM »
Another alternative would be baked oatmeal: https://food52.com/recipes/22622-heidi-swanson-s-baked-oatmeal
(There are tons of varieties out there -- I like the ones that contain some fruit already mixed in.)

I set it up the night before, stick it into an oven programmed to turn on 45ish minutes before I want to eat, and get it hot the first day. After that, it reheats well in the microwave.

Padonak

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Re: Am I doing overnight oats wrong?
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2020, 03:18:09 PM »
Not overnight but here's my recipe

One part oats, 2 part water (give or take, depends on preferences), add salt.
Put in a microwave at 70% power for about 6-7 minutes (this may vary depending on microwave)
Done.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2020, 03:55:28 PM by Padonak »

NotJen

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Re: Am I doing overnight oats wrong?
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2020, 03:31:47 PM »
I love overnight oats - it's what I eat for breakfast almost every morning!

I do 1/2c rolled oats (not quick) and 1/2c almond milk.  So, a 1:1 ratio like englishteacheralex and sixwings.  Sometimes I splash in a little extra milk, especially if I'm using peanut butter powder.  I don't find it crunchy or soupy.  A 1:2 ratio would be too much liquid for me.

I change the mix ins - but usually use half a banana every day.  I also like various combinations of peanut butter powder, homemade jam, berries, dried fruit, nuts, chia seeds, and spices.  I tend to do just the base at night (2 or 3 bowls at a time), and add the mix-ins while my coffee is brewing.  Yummm.

I also do baked oatmeal sometimes when I get extra fruit I need to use up - I freeze the leftovers as "emergency" breakfasts - if I forget or choose not to make oats the night before, or run out of oats or something.

Edit: Reading the other responses, I think I too am using rolled oats, not steel cut.

I didn't care for overnight oats using steel cut.  I prefer my steel cut cooked, and my rolled oats "raw".
« Last Edit: November 12, 2020, 03:35:00 PM by NotJen »

ChpBstrd

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Re: Am I doing overnight oats wrong?
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2020, 08:14:11 PM »
The trick is to put the peanut butter in the oats dry, and thoroughly mix them together (yes, it's a minor PITA) before pouring the milk on and putting it in the fridge.

Try it and you'll see the difference in texture. I'd still add any fruit in the a.m.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2020, 08:28:00 PM by ChpBstrd »

terran

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Re: Am I doing overnight oats wrong?
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2020, 09:27:37 PM »
If you still don't like it after mixing things up a little, overnight oats may just not be for you. They're never going to be the same as oatmeal cooked on the stove. You kind of have to think of them as two different foods. If you're comparing them to hot oatmeal, they're never going to meet your expectations.
"Overnight" oats are just gross. You're not doing anything wrong- they're raw oats in milk.

Agreed.

E.T.

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Re: Am I doing overnight oats wrong?
« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2020, 09:59:57 PM »
I like doing overnight oats with 1:1 oats to almond milk. Then I add hemp powder, chia seeds, pb fit powder and cocoa powder. In the morning if it's not the right thickness I can always add an extra splash of almond milk.

Freedomin5

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Re: Am I doing overnight oats wrong?
« Reply #14 on: November 13, 2020, 04:02:03 AM »
Iíve always made mine with yogurt - Corner Bakery Swiss oatmeal-style. I use quick cook oats, add half milk half yogurt, and toss in some dried cranberries. It always turns out well. I thoroughly mix everything before putting it in the fridge overnight.

Imma

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Re: Am I doing overnight oats wrong?
« Reply #15 on: November 13, 2020, 04:40:29 AM »
I ... donít care for them.

Iíd rather set everything up to make oatmeal the night before. Then in the morning, I can pour coffee, start the oatmeal, feed the cats, get dressed and then the oatmeal is ready.

You leave the oatmeal??

How do you cook them exactly? Because my main issue with cooking oatmeal is that I can't leave the pot for 5 seconds because it will either boil over or burn. Am I doing something wrong?

PMG

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Re: Am I doing overnight oats wrong?
« Reply #16 on: November 13, 2020, 05:29:01 AM »
I donít like overnight oats.

I pour hot water from the tea kettle over oats. Leave them for a few minutes to let them cook. Quick oats are quicker.  Rolled take longer but retain more shape and chew.

Laura33

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Re: Am I doing overnight oats wrong?
« Reply #17 on: November 13, 2020, 06:55:46 AM »
FWIW, I would not use quick oats -- they have been sort of extra rolled and processed, and they tend to get more mushy and just not a good texture.  When I do cook quick oats, I use about half the liquid it calls for, so it's super thick and not goopy-porridgey (or I add extra oat bran to sop up the extra liquid).  Chia seeds will definitely help hold things together, but they have a particular texture when soaked overnight that you may or may not like.

I'm on the weirdo end of the spectrum, because I eat steel-cut oats raw, just mixed into yogurt.  ;-)  My go-to when I am being "good" is plain nonfat yogurt (Siggi's is my favorite) with about 1T each flax seeds, chia seeds, steel-cut oats, and cacao nibs, plus vanilla and a little sweetener.  For some reason, when I eat a bowl of oatmeal, I am starving and shaky about 2 hrs later, but when I eat oatmeal mixed into yogurt with the other stuff, it lasts most of the morning.  Plus I like the crunch and nuttiness better than the mushiness of cooked quick oats.

Moonwaves

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Re: Am I doing overnight oats wrong?
« Reply #18 on: November 13, 2020, 07:01:45 AM »
I ... donít care for them.

Iíd rather set everything up to make oatmeal the night before. Then in the morning, I can pour coffee, start the oatmeal, feed the cats, get dressed and then the oatmeal is ready.

You leave the oatmeal??

How do you cook them exactly? Because my main issue with cooking oatmeal is that I can't leave the pot for 5 seconds because it will either boil over or burn. Am I doing something wrong?
I do this. Put the porridge oats* in a bowl with a little more milk than I would use if I was cooking it directly and cover the bowl with a plate and put it in the fridge. In the morning, I empty the soaked oats into a small saucepan and put in on a medium-low heat. Then I get ready but go back and give it a quick stir once or twice. I live in a small apartment so it is not hard to do this. Because the oats are already well soaked, it only takes between 3 and 5 minutes to heat up and reach my preferred consistency (which is very creamy and not at all watery/oat soupy) at which stage I tip the hot porridge back into the bowl. At that stage, the bowl has enough residual cold left from the fridge to cool my porridge to just right for eating by the time I've finished getting dressing.

Overnight oats sounded good to me until I realised people were basically talking about eating cold porridge.


* Rolled oats - I'm not sure it's even possible to get steel-cut oats here without trying very hard.

Moonwaves

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Re: Am I doing overnight oats wrong?
« Reply #19 on: November 13, 2020, 07:06:59 AM »
Ooh, I also have one friend who belongs to the camp that says porridge is supposed to be salty and not made using milk. I vaguely like the idea of savoury porridge as a with cabbage and bacon (I think I read a recipe for something like this once) but I have tried making just plain porridge with water and don't like it - I find it tastes very metallic or something. I do sometimes mix half water and half milk (a bit of a leftover from weight watchers days of only drinking skimmed milk). 

Metta

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Re: Am I doing overnight oats wrong?
« Reply #20 on: November 13, 2020, 07:23:33 AM »
FWIW, I would not use quick oats -- they have been sort of extra rolled and processed, and they tend to get more mushy and just not a good texture. 

This is exactly right and is the difference between delicious overnight oats and yucky overnight oats. I use plain rolled oats and an equal amount of liquid (soy milk and water currently).

GuitarStv

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Re: Am I doing overnight oats wrong?
« Reply #21 on: November 13, 2020, 07:44:06 AM »
If you still don't like it after mixing things up a little, overnight oats may just not be for you. They're never going to be the same as oatmeal cooked on the stove. You kind of have to think of them as two different foods. If you're comparing them to hot oatmeal, they're never going to meet your expectations.
"Overnight" oats are just gross. You're not doing anything wrong- they're raw oats in milk.

Agreed.

I tried really hard to like them . . . but have to agree.

Either boil some water and pour it over your oatmeal in the morning (then let sit for 5 minutes) or heat 'em up in the microwave.  Use rolled oats and they won't get as mushy as quick oats.

Cranky

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Re: Am I doing overnight oats wrong?
« Reply #22 on: November 13, 2020, 07:52:39 AM »
I ... donít care for them.

Iíd rather set everything up to make oatmeal the night before. Then in the morning, I can pour coffee, start the oatmeal, feed the cats, get dressed and then the oatmeal is ready.

You leave the oatmeal??

How do you cook them exactly? Because my main issue with cooking oatmeal is that I can't leave the pot for 5 seconds because it will either boil over or burn. Am I doing something wrong?

2 cups water in the pan, bring to a boil, add 1 cup Aldi quick oats, lower heat to simmer. Add raisins and cinnamon. Stir. Empty dishwasher. Add brown sugar and butter to oatmeal pan. Turn off heat. Put lid on pan. Go get dressed.

Come back and eat oatmeal with milk on it. If the weather is terrible, I use cream instead of milk.

There may be differences in stoves - mine is gas and as soon as I turn the burner down, it's at a simmer.

Imma

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Re: Am I doing overnight oats wrong?
« Reply #23 on: November 13, 2020, 03:15:13 PM »
I ... donít care for them.

Iíd rather set everything up to make oatmeal the night before. Then in the morning, I can pour coffee, start the oatmeal, feed the cats, get dressed and then the oatmeal is ready.

You leave the oatmeal??

How do you cook them exactly? Because my main issue with cooking oatmeal is that I can't leave the pot for 5 seconds because it will either boil over or burn. Am I doing something wrong?

2 cups water in the pan, bring to a boil, add 1 cup Aldi quick oats, lower heat to simmer. Add raisins and cinnamon. Stir. Empty dishwasher. Add brown sugar and butter to oatmeal pan. Turn off heat. Put lid on pan. Go get dressed.

Come back and eat oatmeal with milk on it. If the weather is terrible, I use cream instead of milk.

There may be differences in stoves - mine is gas and as soon as I turn the burner down, it's at a simmer.

So you boil the oats with water and then add milk in the bowl? That might be the big difference. I always heat the milk, add the oats and let it simmer for a while, while watching it constantly to make sure it's not burning or boiling over. In the meantime I cut some fruit and put that in my bowl, pour oatmeal over fruit, add cinnamon, serve.

This is how my family always made oats, except that we had it plain, maybe with a spoonful of sugar on the weekend.

@Moonwaves that's also a great idea, that way the oats have softened a bit already. I don't actually mind eating overnight oats in summer but I prefer hot porridge in the colder months. Eating raw oats isn't that weird to me, it's basically the same as muesli.

Steel cut oats are not well-known here either, but you can get them in health food stores. I use regular rolled oats.

zygote

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Re: Am I doing overnight oats wrong?
« Reply #24 on: November 13, 2020, 06:58:06 PM »
@Imma It may just be stove and cookware. I always make oatmeal as you describe - add oats and milk/water, bring to boil, and reduce to simmer. At home with my gas stove and nonstick pot, I can leave it alone for a few minutes at a time and it's fine. On vacation at places with stronger gas stoves or electric burners, the heat doesn't go down quickly enough for a true simmer. It just keeps going at a strong boil, and I have to stir constantly to prevent boiling over. I also have a harder time finding a nonstick pot on vacation, and it's much more likely to burn and stick to the bottom.

Dicey

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Re: Am I doing overnight oats wrong?
« Reply #25 on: November 13, 2020, 08:17:12 PM »
Might as well join this party, despite the fact that my method does involve use of a microwave. DH still works and gets up long before my brain will actually function. My method involves the use of talenti Ice Cream containers. I come by my possession of them honestly. I'd never heard of the stuff until a tenant moved out of one of our houses. He left about 50 of these cute containers on a shelf in the garage. Why yes, he was obese and an asshole to boot, which is why his wife finally left him, leaving him to deal with whatever remainded, which is how I came to be in possession of said containers. BTW, they must be hand washed or they will melt. And then you will have to buy more talenti Ice Cream at exhorbitant prices, but, man is it good!

Every other month or so, I fill up each container with 1/2 c. Old Fashion Oats. Then I add unsweerened coconut, about a dozen dried blueberries, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves. I screw on the lid, give it a good shake and stack them in my pantry.

The night before each workday, I dump the contents in a small earthenware bowl. (The sides are about 5" high, so no boilovers.) I add 1 cup of cold water, which is conveniently exactly where the "t" in talenti is crossed, so no measuring cup required. I stick the bowl in the microwave before I go to bed. In the morning, I set the micro for 2'30", and voila, perfect oatmeal, minimal thought or effort required. I top it with a dollop of plain whole milk yogurt and some fresh berries.

I agree that flaxseed and chia would make good additions*, but I've always heard you should grind them just prior to use, and I'm not doing that at 4:45am, so I save that for my weekend waffles. Oh, and I buy everything in bulk at Costco, Winco, and the 99 Cents Only Store, so it's super cheap, even with fresh berries.

*I tried a shake of Turmeric once, but my very un-picky DH said it tasted like dirt, so learn from Dicey's mistake.

Note: canning jars would also work, if you happen to have a supply of them, and they're dishwasher safe. You probably won't have as weird an acquisition story, because canning jars are pretty ubiquitous. It's also a good use for older jars that you don't fully trust in the pressure cooker any more.

englishteacheralex

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Re: Am I doing overnight oats wrong?
« Reply #26 on: November 13, 2020, 08:28:30 PM »
That was useful as anything I've ever read on the forums, Dicey. Thanks.

JLee

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Re: Am I doing overnight oats wrong?
« Reply #27 on: November 14, 2020, 10:39:42 AM »
1:1:1 ratio of rolled oats / yogurt / milk.  Add a tablespoon or two of chia seeds if you want (they'll also soak up some moisture). I also like half of a banana, sliced super thin, mixed in.  Mix together, let sit overnight.  Greek yogurt works too but will result in a much thicker consistency.

They're spectacular, especially with blueberries mixed in as well (or some maple syrup)...anyone saying "it's just raw oats in milk" must be making it wrong. :P


If you still don't like it after mixing things up a little, overnight oats may just not be for you. They're never going to be the same as oatmeal cooked on the stove. You kind of have to think of them as two different foods. If you're comparing them to hot oatmeal, they're never going to meet your expectations.
"Overnight" oats are just gross. You're not doing anything wrong- they're raw oats in milk.

Agreed.

I don't understand this...maybe you all make them differently than me.

Cranky

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Re: Am I doing overnight oats wrong?
« Reply #28 on: November 14, 2020, 11:41:07 AM »
Maybe some people just like raw oats in milk?

As far as I'm concerned, the point of oatmeal is that it's hot. If I want cold cereal there are plenty of cheap choices.

the_fixer

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Am I doing overnight oats wrong?
« Reply #29 on: November 14, 2020, 06:12:04 PM »
My guess is quick oats are the issue.

I use the recipes from Yummy Life and love it. Like having dessert for breakfast in the summer.

https://www.theyummylife.com/Refrigerator_Oatmeal

For anyone that is not a fan give the yummy life recipe a try.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
« Last Edit: November 14, 2020, 07:54:32 PM by the_fixer »

Metta

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Re: Am I doing overnight oats wrong?
« Reply #30 on: November 14, 2020, 07:18:23 PM »
The OP asked about Overnight Oats. Not hot oatmeal.

I make two kinds of oatmeal each night. 1) I set up whole oat groats in the rice cooker to slow cook overnight. This is my husband's favorite thing. He loves getting up, zapping frozen blueberries in the microwave and then ladling hot oat groats over them.

I find this very boring to eat in the morning. Plus I don't know when I'll be hungry. I tried it his way. It's not for me.

I prefer:

2) Overnight Oats. I use rolled oats and combine them with spices, dried or fresh fruits, and soy milk. Then I let them meld overnight. Sometime in the morning or early afternoon when I am finally hungry, I love knowing that Last Night Metta cared enough about Today Metta to make her a little gourmet treat. It is always a different gourmet surprise (or not if I remember what I put in it). It is always a refreshing cold treat, like an oat-based dessert.

There are plenty of right answers here. There is only one wrong way to do it, which is using quick oats when making Overnight Oats.

GuitarStv

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Re: Am I doing overnight oats wrong?
« Reply #31 on: November 15, 2020, 07:18:35 AM »
Just realized that I've passed some sort of elderly citizen milestone . . . as I'm enjoying hot oats with cut up prunes this morning.


Swear I used to be young. . .

JLee

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Re: Am I doing overnight oats wrong?
« Reply #32 on: November 15, 2020, 07:34:29 AM »
Maybe some people just like raw oats in milk?

As far as I'm concerned, the point of oatmeal is that it's hot. If I want cold cereal there are plenty of cheap choices.

They're wildly different, though. I'll have to make some and post a picture.

Cranky

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Re: Am I doing overnight oats wrong?
« Reply #33 on: November 15, 2020, 09:08:08 AM »
Maybe some people just like raw oats in milk?

As far as I'm concerned, the point of oatmeal is that it's hot. If I want cold cereal there are plenty of cheap choices.

They're wildly different, though. I'll have to make some and post a picture.

I've had overnight oats - I just don't think they are that great. I'd rather take a couple of minutes and make the nice hot cooked oatmeal that I do like. So, again - I think some people like raw oats soaked in milk, and some people don't.

sixwings

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Re: Am I doing overnight oats wrong?
« Reply #34 on: November 15, 2020, 09:30:30 AM »
For me overnight oats is super convenient (pre-covid and WFH) I would get up at about 4:30am, walk the dogs, put everything I needed for the day into my bike panniers (work clothes, food for the day, etc.) and bike to the gym. Spend about 1-1.5 hours at the gym and then bike to work, shower, etc there. Then when I sit down at my desk around 7:30-8 I could enjoy a healthy breakfast. I do have some stuff to make hot oats, but I don't really like quick oats and they lose a lot of their nutrition in the processing, and I could only add dried things to it. I much prefer the overnight oats, it just works so well for me.

I really dislike working from home because I loved my morning schedule/routine.