If you’re looking for a quick and easy breakfast that’s both nutritious and delicious, overnight oats are the perfect solution. And the best part? You can make them with just water! No milk or yogurt required. Overnight oats made with water are a fantastic option for those who are lactose intolerant, vegan, or just looking for a lighter alternative to traditional oatmeal.

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A glass cup filled with overnight oats with water and topped with fresh fruits.

Get ready to rock your taste buds and nourish your body with rolled oats—the ultimate whole-grain powerhouse! These versatile oats are a fantastic way to kick-start your day, whether you’re in the mood for a warm bowl of oatmeal or a tasty overnight oats creation.

Speaking of overnight oats, have you tried them yet? Not only do they make mornings a breeze, but they also have an amazingly creamy texture with no cooking required! Plus, rolled oats are loaded with fiber, protein, and essential vitamins and minerals to fuel your body and keep you feeling full and energized. So, next time you’re looking for a healthy and delicious breakfast or snack, grab some rolled oats and get ready to rock your taste buds!

Why you’ll love this recipe

Overnight oats are a delicious and nutritious way to start your day. Here are some of the reasons, it’s my go-to breakfast:

  • Simple ingredients: This is a great base recipe made with just water, so it’s vegan-friendly and super simple to make.
  • Customizable: You can customize it with your favorite toppings for a delicious breakfast that’s ready when you wake up!
  • Low effort: The best part about this recipe is that it requires minimal effort. All you have to do is mix the ingredients together the night before and let them sit in the fridge overnight. In the morning, you’ll have a creamy, flavorful breakfast that’s ready to eat!

Ingredient notes

This basic overnight oats recipe uses just seven simple ingredients that you most likely already have on hand!

  • Rolled oats: Rolled or old-fashioned oats work best for overnight oats. Quick oats or instant oats can also work but will have a softer texture. I don’t recommend using steel cut oats for overnight oats as they will not soften enough for this recipe. Use certified gluten-free oats as needed.
  • Water: No need for any type of milk, water will do just fine! However, if you want your oats creamier or to add extra calories, feel free to use whichever non-dairy milk you prefer whether that’s almond milk, coconut milk, oat milk, or soy milk.
  • Chia seeds: These simple seeds are the secret to thick overnight oats. They create a gel-like consistency that makes overnight oats chewy, not to mention the extra omega-3s they provide! Flax seeds are a great substitute if you don’t have chia seeds.
  • Nut Butter: Since we’re cutting out some flavor and nutrition by just using water, I like to add a nut butter to make it more filling and flavorful. Peanut butter or almond butter are my go-to’s but sunflower seed butter is also great for those with a nut allergy.
  • Maple syrup: A little bit goes a long way and provides some sweetness and flavor that would otherwise be missing. Honey, agave syrup or coconut sugar can be used as well.
  • Vanilla extract: Adds such a delicious aroma, you won’t even notice the final result was made with water!

You can also add in any other ingredients you like such as dried fruit or nuts for extra flavor and nutrition.

Ingredients for overnight oats with water measure out into bowls and spoons.

Reference the recipe card at the bottom of this post for exact measurements.

How to make

To make overnight oats with water, simply combine all of the ingredients in a bowl or jar (a mason jar works great!) and stir until everything is evenly mixed together. Cover the bowl or jar with a lid or plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator overnight.

Next morning, your oats will be creamy and ready to eat! Top with fresh fruit or your favorite toppings and enjoy! See below for more topping suggestions.

Topping and flavor ideas

This overnight oats recipe is delicious on its own but can also be topped with your favorite fruits, nuts, seeds, nut butters, or sweeteners for extra flavor and nutrition.

Some of my favorite toppings and flavors to include per serving are:

  • Apple sauce – 2-3 tablespoons
  • Yogurt – 2-3 tablespoons
  • More sweetener – Up to 2 tablespoons of either maple, agave, honey, coconut sugar, or date paste
  • Cinnamon and nutmeg
  • Jam or jelly – Any flavor!
  • Dairy free chocolate chips – 1-2 tablespoons
  • Shredded coconut
  • Cocoa powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Chopped walnuts or pecans
  • Protein powder – I love making my own pea protein flour and adding it to overnight oats and smoothies.
  • Pinch of salt – Helps bring out the other flavors
Pouring maple syrup over a glass cup filled with overnight oats with water.

Top tips

Here are some top tips for making this overnight oats recipe:

• For best results, use rolled oats. Old-fashioned rolled oats are the Goldilocks of oat varieties when it comes to overnight oats. Quick-cooking oats can become too mushy after sitting in liquid overnight while steel-cut oats don’t soften enough and can still be crunchy after soaking.

• If you want your oats to be extra creamy in the morning add a couple of tablespoons of your favorite yogurt when mixing everything together. I love a good soy yogurt that provides extra protein, or dairy-free greek yogurt.

• Feel free to customize this recipe with any other ingredients you like such as dried fruit or nuts for added flavor and nutrition. See the topping variations section for more ideas.

• If you don’t have time to make this recipe every evening before bedtime, try batching several servings at once! Overnight oatmeal is the ideal make-ahead breakfast for busy mornings because you can meal prep multiple servings at the same time, even in the same container. Just prep ahead, leave them in the fridge until ready to eat, and have a healthy breakfast ready for you all week long!

Frequently asked questions

Is it ok to eat oats soaked in water?

Yes! In fact, oats need to be soaked or heated in some form of liquid for easier digestion . This recipe calls for water but feel free to use any type of milk (I love a good plant-based milk) if desired. You can also use juice but keep in mind that this will change the flavor of your oatmeal slightly so adjust accordingly! Have fun mixing it up with some strawberry juice or mango juice instead of water!

How long will these oats last?

These overnight oats with water will last up to 5 days when stored properly in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

A golden spoon dipped into a glass cup filled with overnight oats that are topped with strawberries and cubed mango.

More easy overnight oat recipes

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A glass cup filled with overnight oats with water and topped with fresh fruits.

Creamy Overnight Oats with Water (No Milk or Yogurt)

5 from 3 votes
Author: Rachel
Did you know you can make overnight oats with just water? No milk or yogurt required! Overnight oats with water are a fantastic option for those who are lactose intolerant, vegan, or just looking for a lighter alternative to traditional oatmeal.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1


  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon all-natural peanut butter optional


  • Add all ingredients to a sealable container and mix well to combine. Cover and place in the fridge for a few hours or overnight to soften and thicken.
  • When ready to eat, top with fresh fruit or nuts as desired and enjoy!


Tip: For more flavor ideas, check out the Topping and Flavor Ideas section in the article above.
Leftovers: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


Calories: 330kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Sodium: 83mg | Potassium: 305mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 8IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 123mg | Iron: 3mg
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
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