Hot Weather, Cool Kitchen: Overnight Oats

There are two import foods I can’t live without: peanut butter and oats.

Let’s talk about oats–I’ll get to the peanut butter later. Sometimes I buy Quaker Oats in bulk from online import stores; sometimes I buy Alishan or Alara jumbo organic oats at Diamond in Omicho Market; sometimes I get Nisshoku oatmeal from the regular supermarket, though I prefer bigger oats. At any rate, there’s a constant supply of oatmeal in my kitchen, which keeps my cereal-obsessed American self quite happy, especially in the dead of the Hokuriku winter when the morning oatmeal warms the kitchen and dining room.

But what about in summer?

Overnight Oats with banana, cherries, and sliced almonds.

That’s where overnight oats come in! It’s like making cold cereal — requires no heat and barely any effort, just 5 minutes before you go to bed!

Note: This section has been edited. It’s come to my attention that the OP of the recipe’s blog has a lot of problematic elements that I was unable to see as a new reader and which have escalated severely since I posted this. I grew more and more uncomfortable with the blog during 2012 and unfollowed around the same time a friend sent me smugnom. The recipe is still good, but I can’t believe I followed the blog for several months before I saw it. My getting weirded out by faux-feminist bloggers is also the inspiration for this post.

I remember when I first encountered the concept (via Homemade Adventure‘s awesome oatmeal series): using nut-butter jars to make the oatmeal so that last little bit at the end that’s impossible to get with the knife or spoon, and I was immediately incensed. How dare people have fancy nut butter when I have to pay through the nose for imported stuff and can’t find enough peanuts in one place to grind my own?! (I told you I was serious about my peanut butter.) Oh, it must be so nice having access to organic sunflower butter and chia seeds! HOW FANCY.


Overnight oats in a peanut-butter jar with banana and whole peanuts


Enough about me and my nut-butter angst! On to the recipe!

An easy trick to remember is that you want a 1:1:1 ratio of oats, milk, and yogurt, though you can certainly alter this to suit the size of oats, the consistency of the yogurt, or the desired final consistency of the oatmeal. Stay cool!

Overnight Oats
Serves 1.
Adapted from “Overnight Oats” 

50 g (1/3 US cup) oats (ôtomiru, オートミール)
80 mL (1/3 cup) yogurt (yôguruto, ヨーグルト)
80 mL (1/3 cup) milk or soy milk (gyûnyû, 牛乳) or (tônyû, 豆乳)

A jar with lid, tupperware, or leftover nut-butter/jam/yogurt jar (about 300-500 mL)

1. Mix oats, yogurt, and milk together in the container.
2. Add in any mix-ins (see below).
3. Store in refrigerator overnight.
4. Serve in jar; if making multiple servings, dish out into bowls.

Optional additions

  • Fresh fruit – add while mixing or before serving
  • Frozen fruit – add while mixing
  • Extracts- a few shakes of vanilla, almond, or coconut extract
  • Nuts – add before serving
  • Dried fruit – add before serving
  • Nut butter – use a nearly-empty peanut-butter jar or add a dollop of nut butter to the top
  • Jam or compote – ditto
  • Sweeteners – if you like your oatmeal sweetened (I don’t), add a little honey, sugar, or maple syrup
  • Spices – try cinnamon, ginger, or nutmeg
  • Flavored/non-dairy milk: try soy milk, flavored soy milk, almond milk, or coconut milk

Favorite combinations

  • Persimmons (either hachiya or fuyu) with cinnamon and walnuts
  • Diced apples and cinnamon with peanut butter or walnuts
  • Bananas and whole peanuts
  • Sauteed bananas, coconut milk, coconut extract, and cinnamon (also good on hot oatmeal)
  • Fresh cherries and almonds

14 Comments Add yours

  1. I am glad you share my love of oatmeal! Persimmons in oatmeal sounds amazing, I would have never thought to try that!

    1. Leah says:

      I’d never had a persimmon before I moved to Japan, but they’ve become one of my favorite fall fruits! The fuyu variety is firm and can be mixed in like apples; the hachiya turns to jelly when ripe, so I mix it in like jam. I’m always looking for new ways to eat oatmeal, too, so your series is great! Sadly, I’ll have to wait to try more of For the Love of Oatmeal recipes until it cools down here, but I’m eying that mocha oatmeal recipe! ^^

  2. jhl03 says:

    This sounds great! I always get major cereal withdrawls and I like oatmeal but not when it’s this hot!! I need to scope out my local grocery for oats again, I know I saw some around town somewhere…This could become a new fave!

    1. Leah says:

      Thank you! If you’re in Chiba, the big AEON grocery stores often have tons of imported food. I don’t know if you get Meji-ya or Yamaya in the east, but they also tend to carry oatmeal. If you can’t find it in stores for some reason, Foreign Buyers’ Club, Tengu, Yoyo Market, and other online retailers have oats. Enjoy, and thanks for the comment!

      1. jhl03 says:

        I went to my local Aeon and bought some this evening! It was 388yen for a 300g bag…but there’s a few other supermarkets that I’ll check next time (I’ve heard the Besia in Cainz is good). I found some slivered almonds on sale, too, so I think it’s meant to be! I’m excited to have this tomorrow morning for breakfast :-) Thanks for the tips!

    2. Leah says:

      WordPress won’t let me reply to your last comment, but that sounds about right for the price. I get 800 g bags for about 800 yen. I’m in love with the Alara/Alishan organic jumbo rolled oats now, but smaller oats work, too! Let me know how it works out ^^

      1. jhl03 says:

        Ah, well that’s good to know…I can get quite a lot of breakfasts out of the bag at least! I’ve had it 3 mornings in a row already, haha, it’s great! I’d been struggling with new ideas for breakfast so this couldn’t have come at a better time. It’s a keeper :)

        1. Leah says:

          So glad to hear it! I really miss the cold cereal from the US, too, so this recipe really helped make breakfast preparations easier!

        2. jhl03 says:

          I do too! The three kinds of corn flakes just don’t cut it for me. Thanks again!

  3. Jenny and Freddy says:

    We hope you are still in Japan! If you are, could you please look on the backside of your “Organic Jumbo Oats”-package by Alara and tell us whats written there? Should be something like “We love organic food, because we care about climate change…” but we dont remember the rest.
    While we were travelling in Japan we ate those oats for breakfast every day and one of us would recite that text as if it was a prayer:)
    We have been looking for it for one hour on the internet already but we couldnt find it…:( Please help us !! :)

    1. Leah says:

      Hi, Jenny and Freddy! I repatriated in June, but I’ll try to find out. Does this look right? If not, I’ll ask my readers and friends in Japan for you!

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