How Long Can Overnight Oats Last?

Nightly oatmeal is one of the best breakfast options for those who are in a constant rush. Just grab a jar of oatmeal from the refrigerator and you no longer have to worry about having a healthy and filling breakfast.

But how long does oatmeal last overnight? You can store oatmeal overnight in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, making it a good meal prep option.

Freezing also works with overnight oats if you want to have some ready for a few months. Keeping oatmeal overnight at room temperature is not recommended.

In this article, you will learn all about how to store oats overnight and how you can make them last longer and maintain the correct texture while they are in the refrigerator.

What are night oats?

Oatmeal is a good breakfast. It is versatile enough not to get bored of eating it even if you do it 7 days in a row.

Besides being delicious, oatmeal also has considerable nutritional value. Oatmeal contains about 5 grams of protein per half-cup serving, which will make for a good start to the day, especially if you are someone who likes to enjoy a delicious breakfast after working out.

Oatmeal in the morning will also keep hunger at bay for a longer period of time as it is high in fiber. As a benefit further, oats are a good source of antioxidants that will have a positive impact on your overall health.

If oatmeal is so good, why don’t more people eat it for breakfast? The answer is simple: people want something quick and easy to do, eat, and make their day.

  • This is what night oatmeal is all about: convenience.
  • They are extremely easy to do. No cooking is required to make overnight oats.
  • Just soak the oatmeal in a liquid and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. You will have a healthy and tasty meal in the morning.
  • Considering that there are a variety of ingredients that you can add to overnight oats, there’s no way you can’t find a combination that works for you.
  • Try adding fresh or dried fruits to oatmeal, seeds, nuts, syrups to your night oats. The options and combinations that come to mind are endless.

Overnight Oatmeal Storage Guide

If you are someone who wants to incorporate overnight oats into your diet, knowing how to store oats is important.

From leaving oatmeal at room temperature to storing it in the fridge or freezer, there are a few things you shouldn’t miss to preserve the best qualities of these pre-made meals.

Can You Make Overnight Oatmeal Without Refrigeration?

You may think that overnight oats made with water, seeds, nuts, and other ingredients that don’t normally require refrigeration, can be left on your kitchen counter and nothing will happen to them.

Leaving oatmeal overnight without refrigeration is a big mistake.

Oatmeal can contain microorganisms that will start to grow once you add liquid to the dried oatmeal. Therefore, it is essential to store oatmeal overnight in the refrigerator.

You can leave the oatmeal overnight at room temperature for no more than 4 hours. You can store dry oatmeal in your pantry for up to 2 years. But when you add liquid to it and leave the oatmeal at room temperature, microbial pathogens start to grow rapidly.

Does Oatmeal Go Bad Overnight?

If you’re whipping up a few servings of oatmeal overnight to have them ready for the week, it’s good to know what the signs are that your oatmeal has gone bad.

Even if you’ve read that overnight oats keep for about 5 days in the refrigerator, you should always check them before eating.

Here are the signs that oatmeal has gone bad:

  • Mold: If you notice mold growing on the surface of your night oats, discard it.
  • Unpleasant smell: Give the oatmeal a sniff test. If they smell bad, don’t eat them.
  • Discoloration: If there are unusual stains on your oatmeal, don’t risk your health by eating it.

How to Store Overnight Oatmeal in the Refrigerator?

To store oatmeal overnight in the refrigerator so that the oatmeal maintains its best qualities and does not change its texture, you need to follow a few simple rules.

Choose the best container for overnight oats

It is important to store oatmeal in the proper container. The general rule of thumb is that oatmeal should be kept in an airtight container.

Glass containers with tight-fitting lids will work best for overnight oats. We love using these 16oz wide-mouth mason jars for overnight oats.

Overnight oatmeal in such containers also looks attractive, which is another reason you would want to eat it for a healthy and nutritious breakfast.

Add ingredients to the oatmeal overnight after refrigerating

When storing oatmeal overnight in the refrigerator, do not add toppings until ready to eat.

Do not store oatmeal overnight in the refrigerator with fruits and nuts. They will get soggy and likely interfere with the texture of the oatmeal.

Almost no fruit is likely to survive if stored in the refrigerator on oatmeal, especially for more than a day. However, fruits like apples or bananas have zero chances of doing so. These fruits oxidize and turn brown very quickly once cut.

It is best to add a handful of berries or garnish the oatmeal with other fruits and nuts in the morning.

If you are preparing porridge overnight for the next day and really want to get everything done with fruit, use berries frozen s. Use smaller berries, like blueberries or raspberries. These will thaw overnight while the oatmeal soaks up the liquid to ‘cook up’.

How long does oatmeal last overnight in the refrigerator?

Stored in the refrigerator, overnight oats will last 3 to 5 days. The oatmeal will retain its best qualities, that is, texture and flavor, during the first days. However, overnight oats will remain safe for consumption for about 5 days in the refrigerator.

Attention should be paid to the expiration date of the ingredients that you are using to make the oatmeal. If any of the products say milk or yogurt, expires earlier, the shelf life of the overnight oatmeal in the refrigerator will change accordingly.

Once you remove the oatmeal from the refrigerator, give it a good stir. As the oatmeal stays in the refrigerator for days, the liquid separates. Stirring the oatmeal will bring the ingredients back together.

Also, it will result in a better texture as the oatmeal at the bottom of the jar is much softer than the top layer where the oatmeal remains a little crunchy.

If you stir the oatmeal and you feel like there is not enough liquid in your oatmeal, you can always add a dash of milk or yogurt.

Tips for storing oatmeal overnight

Knowing some tips always makes work easier. Here are some ways you can extend the life of your night oatmeal and get the most out of it.

By the way, we also have a storage guide for cooked oatmeal.

Use almond milk for overnight oats

Overnight oats made with milk are more likely to spoil than oats made with water. But what can you do if you like oatmeal with milk?

An excellent alternative to using milk to make oatmeal that is too thick is to substitute almond milk. It keeps better in the refrigerator than cow’s milk. The fact that its shelf life is a few days longer than normal milk explains why almond milk is a better option.

Almond milk also makes overnight oats creamy and rich.

Where to put overnight oats in the fridge

If you’re making overnight oatmeal meals, the last thing you want is to wake up to see that all your efforts have been for naught. The oats have gone bad.

When storing overnight oatmeal soaked in milk or yogurt, keep an eye on where you are going to put your breakfast for 5 days.

Do not put oatmeal in the refrigerator door, as the temperature is higher there and oatmeal, especially if it is made with milk, will have a greater chance of spoiling.

To keep oatmeal safe overnight, store it in the body (middle) of the refrigerator.

Meal Preparation Overnight Oats

Overnight oats keep for 5 days in the fridge. If you like chews, their shelf life in the refrigerator is reduced to 2 days.

So how can you make overnight oatmeal for breakfast seven days a week? Here’s how to make your oatmeal overnight:

  • Start by making two jars of overnight oatmeal (two servings).
  • After you finish your breakfast, replenish your breakfast oatmeal by putting a new jar of oatmeal in the refrigerator.
  • To do this, mix 1 part of oatmeal with 1 part (or more) of water or milk and put it in the refrigerator.

Add enough water or milk to the oatmeal overnight

Uncooked oatmeal soaks up the liquid overnight and is ready to eat in the morning. They can have a perfect consistency the next morning.

But what about the next day? Oatmeal can absorb more liquid when sitting in the refrigerator. Therefore, you need to add enough liquid to prevent the oatmeal from drying out overnight.

If you are making food with oatmeal overnight, add a little more liquid than if you were eating oatmeal the next day. This way, you will have creamy oatmeal even a few days later.

Make sure you don’t overdo it with the liquid. Otherwise, you will end up with oatmeal soup.

Experiment with the ratio to find your perfect balance if you plan to prepare overnight oatmeal meals for an extended period.

Overnight Oat Shelf Life

It’s best to store plain oatmeal overnight in the refrigerator, as the more products you add, the greater the chance that the oatmeal will undergo changes in texture and flavor.

Overnight fruit oatmeal

If you like overnight oatmeal with fruit mixes, it’s best to eat it within 2 days. However, they will probably be safe to eat for up to 5 days.

If you don’t mix the fruit with the oatmeal overnight, but simply ‘decorate’ it with it, add the fruit to the oatmeal the day you eat it.

Oatmeal with fruit mixes will certainly look attractive in your refrigerator. But is it the most efficient way to store oatmeal overnight? Not really, as mixing fruit with oatmeal will interfere with the texture of the oatmeal.

Overnight oatmeal with yogurt

Overnight oatmeal made with yogurt will last up to 7 days in the refrigerator. Before making the oatmeal, check the expiration date on the yogurt. If there are fewer days left, eat the oatmeal within those days.

Overnight oatmeal with milk

The shelf life of overnight oats in the refrigerator also depends on the expiration date of the milk you have used to soak the oats.

If the milk from which you have made the oats expires in 3 days, you should eat the oats overnight within 3 days.

If there are no issues with milk expiration, the overnight oatmeal will last up to 5 days.


Can you keep oatmeal overnight in the freezer?

If you need your overnight oats to keep for more than 5 days, you can store them in the freezer.

Normally, overnight oats last up to 6 months in the freezer. However, keep in mind that the longer it stays in the freezer, the more changes the texture and flavor will undergo.

Store your oatmeal overnight in the freezer in freezer-safe jars.

Can overnight oats be heated?

Overnight oats are usually eaten cold. This makes for a quick and easy breakfast. Not only are they ready to be eaten in the morning, but they also don’t need to be heated either.

However, if you want to eat the hot night oats, go for it.

There are two ways to heat your overnight oats:

  • The first method is using the microwave. Just put the oatmeal in a microwave-safe bowl and heat it until you’re happy with the temperature.
  • The second way to heat overnight oats is on fire. Transfer the cold oatmeal to a saucepan and bring it to a simmer.
  • If you think the oatmeal is too dry, you can add water or milk to make it creamier.


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