Protein Overnight Oats 12 Ways

I’m big on breakfast and I’m a morning person, which usually means that on weekdays I’m in the kitchen by 5 AM cooking up my first meal before I walk the dog and head to the gym. But some days (or weeks) spending that extra time making a warm breakfast just doesn’t sound appealing. And others, I’m craving sweet vs. savory — one of my other favs is banana oatmeal breakfast cookies!

Protein overnight oats are super convenient to grab on the go, and only take a few minutes to prep the night before! If they’ll be my breakfast for the week, I’ll make a big batch at once. Plus, you can get so creative with flavors and toppings that they really never get old.

Each serving has about 30 grams of protein, which will help keep you full and satisfied longer than only eating fast digesting carbs like toast or a banana. This will vary slightly depending on the protein powder you use. I use chocolate Gold Standard whey protein, which has 24 grams of protein per serving.

3 flavor ideas for overnight oats

What Do I Need to Make Protein Overnight Oats?

You only need a few ingredients that you likely already have in your pantry! While overnight oats are often photographed in mason jars, you can make them in a bowl, small tupperware, or large tupperware if you’re making a big batch. If you’re like me, your oats will probably look like a beige, mushy mess, but they taste great and that’s all that matters, right?

If you want thicker oats add less milk (½ cup) and thinner more milk (1 cup)

ingredients for overnight oats

Necessary Ingredients

  • Oats: I typically use rolled oats (also called old fashioned oats). You can also use quick cook oats, though they tend to get soggier after being soaked overnight. Steel oats are also an option. Though you’ll want to use ⅓ cup steel cut oats to ⅔ cup liquid.
  • Milk: Any kind of milk will work! I prefer almond. You can also substitute half of the milk for yogurt, which will give you a thicker, creamier texture. If you want thicker oats, add less milk. If you want thinner oats, add more. Anywhere between ½ cup and 1 cup will work. 
  • Protein powder: Again, most protein powders will work. I add 1 scoop (31 grams). 
  • Salt: Okay, this isn’t technically necessary, but it helps bring out subtle flavors, enhancing the nuttiness of the oats.

Optional Ingredients

chia seeds, nuts, honey, and oats
  • Sweetener: Honey, maple syrup, sugar — it’s dealer’s choice if you’d like your protein oats to be slightly sweeter. I typically don’t add sweetener because I try to limit added and refined sugar in my diet and, in my opinion, the protein powder adds enough sweetness on its own. Adding some mashed banana can also add sweetness.
  • Chia seeds: Throw in a tablespoon for added texture and a few more grams of protein. 
  • Yogurt: Like we mentioned, yogurt can replace some of the milk for a creamier texture and flavor. Greek yogurt is also high in protein. There’s about 6 grams per ¼ cup.
  • Vanilla and spices: To make your protein oats more exciting.
  • Toppings: Go crazy! Add fruit, nuts, and whatever else your heart desires.

Once you have all your ingredients, how do you make protein overnight oats? It’s easy! Mix together protein powder and liquid first to make sure the protein powder doesn’t clump. Add oats, salt, and whatever else you’re including. Cover and place in the fridge overnight.

12 Protein Overnight Oats Flavor Ideas

There are endless possibilities for flavoring your overnight oats. Here are some of my favorites! 90% of the time I use chocolate whey protein (surprise, surprise), and throw in whatever spices or fruit I have on hand. But, vanilla or unflavored protein also works well, especially for variations like carrot cake or cranberry orange where you want other flavors to shine.

Neapolitan

Reminiscent of those ice cream sandwiches you’d eat as a kid, this protein oats variation is packed with vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry flavor. Mix vanilla protein powder and a teaspoon of cocoa powder into your oats. You can either top with strawberries or make a quick sugar-free strawberry compote by heating five cut strawberries and about two tablespoons of water until you can easily mash the berries. Let cool and layer on top of your overnight oats!

Apple Cinnamon 

scoop of apple cinnamon overnight oats

If I ever eat oatmeal out of a packet, I reach for apple cinnamon, so this is one of my favs! For the liquid, use ⅓ cup almond milk and ⅓ cup unsweetened applesauce. Mix in ½ teaspoon of cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon of ground ginger (optional). Top with sauteed apples and a dash more of cinnamon.

Peanut Butter & Jelly

What time is it? Peanut butter jelly time! Mix in a tablespoon of peanut butter to your five base ingredients. I prefer heating my peanut butter slightly so that it mixes easily. The next day, top with a tablespoon of jam.

Mocha

cocoa powder and instant coffee

Can’t get enough caffeine in the morning? Add a little extra to your protein oats! You can either mix in 2 tablespoons of coffee or cold brew when preparing your oats, or add 1 teaspoon of instant coffee. Use chocolate protein powder or 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder to make it a mocha.

Lemon Poppyseed

If you’re craving a lemon poppyseed muffin, you’ll love these flavor-packed overnight oats. Add 1 teaspoon of poppyseeds, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon of lemon zest to your oats. For extra creaminess, use ⅓ cup of almond milk and ⅓ cup greek yogurt. This one tastes great with vanilla protein powder. 

Cranberry Orange

This zesty, tangy, and sweet combo is just right. Use ¼ cup orange juice and ½ cup almond milk for the liquid. You could also swap orange juice for a teaspoon or orange extract. Throw in some frozen or dried cranberries and ⅛ teaspoon of ground ginger. Top with orange slices and more cranberries.

Chai

Sub your chai latte for this protein overnight oats recipe. Add ½ teaspoon of cinnamon, ½ teaspoon cardamom, ¼ teaspoon ground ginger, ¼ teaspoon ground cloves, and ¼ teaspoon nutmeg. Use half Greek yogurt for the liquid for a thicker texture. Vanilla protein powder is recommended.  

Carrot Cake

Almost as good as the real thing, add ¼ cup of carrots, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, and ½ teaspoon nutmeg to your oats. You can also add 2 tablespoons or raisins. In the morning, top with Greek yogurt and walnuts. 

Pumpkin Spice

While you could just mix in some pumpkin spice, go the extra mile by adding ¼ cup pumpkin puree, ¼ cup Greek yogurt, and ¼ cup almond milk for the liquid.Throw in ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, and ⅛ teaspoon cloves or 1 teaspoon of pumpkin spice seasoning for the perfect fall flavor.

Almond Joy

This is my go-to if I want a sweet treat. Sub almond milk for coconut milk or coconut yogurt. Add 1 tablespoon of shredded coconut and chocolate protein powder. Top with sliced almonds and a pinch of extra coconut.

Pina Colada

This tropical overnight oats recipe will take you on a tropical getaway. Use ⅓ cup coconut milk and ⅓ cup coconut yogurt for the liquid. Top with a pinch of shredded coconut and fresh or frozen pineapple.

Matcha

rolled oats and matcha

This one’s easy! Just add 1 teaspoon of matcha powder to the basic oat recipe. Top with whatever your heart desires. Vanilla protein is recommended.

Can You Heat Up Overnight Oats?

You don’t have to, but you can. Make sure the oats are in a microwave safe container and microwave at intervals or 30 seconds, stirring in between, until your oats are heated.

How Long Can Protein Overnight Oats Be Stored in the Fridge?

For best consistency, eat overnight oats after 2-3 days of being in the fridge. Sometimes I’ll meal prep a big batch and keep for 4-5 days. They’re still good by then, but will be mushier than when fresh.

jar of overnight oats closeup
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Protein Overnight Oats

This quick, protein-rich breakfast never gets old! Take this base recipe and spice it up with some of the variation ideas above.
Course Breakfast
Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings 1

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup almond milk (or liquid of choice)
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 dash salt

Instructions

  • Stir together almond milk and protein powder until there are no clumps.
  • Mix in the rest of the ingredients.
  • Cover your container and place in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Remove from fridge and stir the ingredients together. If you’d like the oats to be more watery, add a splash of almond milk.
  • Add toppings of choice and enjoy!