Overnight oats is my favorite meal-prep breakfast for busy mornings. This easy recipe, made with coconut milk and simple ingredients, is a tropical flavor combination based on my overnight oatmeal recipe.
Prep a jar of oatmeal the night before and enjoy a nutrient-dense, ready-made breakfast the next morning.
If you love this recipe, you’ll also love high-protein overnight oats, overnight oats with frozen fruit, chocolate peanut butter overnight oats, overnight oats with yogurt, baked oatmeal cups, and baked oatmeal with blueberries.
What Kind of Coconut Milk Can You Use to Make Overnight Oats?
You’ll need 1 cup of liquid to make this recipe. The liquid of choice for coconut overnight oats is coconut milk.
There are 3 different types of milk you can use to make this recipe. All have great coconut flavor and give the oatmeal a creamy texture.
- Full-Fat Coconut Milk From a Can: Thick and full of healthy fats, this is my favorite kind of coconut milk to stock in the pantry. When you open the can, you’ll find a thick layer of cream on top and coconut water on the bottom. Before opening, shake the can (or stir after opening). You’ll need to dilute the shaken milk with water for overnight oats: use 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk.
- Light Coconut Milk From a Can: This option is much lighter than the full-fat version. If your coconut milk is very light and watery, you can get away with using 1 cup. If it’s on the thicker side (this will vary by brand), it’s best to dilute the milk with water (1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup coconut milk).
- Coconut Milk Beverage From a Carton: This option is very light, like almond milk but with a coconut flavor. Use 1 cup of this milk option; no need to dilute with water.
This recipe makes a single serving (1 jar). If you’d like to make oatmeal for multiple days or multiple people, double or triple this recipe. I love to make multiple jars on the weekend; the perfect grab-n-go breakfast during the week.
- 2/3 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- pinch of salt
- 1/2-1 serving vanilla protein powder (a good source of protein and a great way to add extra protein to the oatmeal)
- (optional) 1-2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut (add a delicious coconut flavor and healthy fats)
- 1 cup coconut milk from a carton or light coconut milk from a can OR 1/2 cup water + 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk from a can
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup or honey
- 1/2 cup mango or pineapple chunks (fresh fruit or frozen)
Optional Extras for Flavor (Choose one or multiple options)
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon orange or lemon zest (grated from the rind of a lemon or orange)
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
What are the best kind of oats to use?
For this recipe, use old-fashioned rolled oats or quick oats. You’ll find both options at any grocery store. Both options soften perfectly with the liquid, making a delicious oatmeal that you can enjoy cold, without cooking the oats.
Avoid using steel cut oats. Steel cut oats have a different texture and don’t work as well in this recipe.
Substitutions & Variations
- Chocolate Coconut Overnight Oats: I make chocolate overnight oats often. Instead of vanilla protein powder, use chocolate protein powder for a tropical variation.
- Seasonal Fruit: Instead of mango or pineapple, add fresh strawberries, fresh blueberries, or fresh raspberries. Or, chopped kiwi.
- Frozen Berries: Instead of tropical fruit, like mango or pineapple, add frozen berries. You’ll need to reduce the liquid amount to 2/3 cup because frozen berries contain more water. Here’s how to make overnight oats with frozen fruit.
- No Milk? Use Water Instead: If you don’t want to use milk, use 2/3 cup of water instead. Without the added milk, the protein powder will make creamy oatmeal.
- Use a Different Milk: If you don’t want to use coconut milk, use your favorite milk instead: cashew milk, almond milk, or dairy milk. This is what I use in my go-to base recipe. You’ll still get the coconut flavor from the shredded coconut.
- Add Nut Butter: Stir in 1-2 tablespoons of your favorite nut or seed butter: almond butter, peanut butter, cashew butter. Or, if you can’t tolerate nuts, use sunflower butter.
- Add Ground Flax Seeds or Hemp Seeds: Mix in 1 tablespoon for extra fiber and healthy fats.
How to Make Coconut Milk Overnight Oats
This recipe requires prep in advance. Make the oats at least 4 hours before consuming, or up to 4 days in advance. A great healthy breakfast option (or snack) to keep prepped in the fridge.
Step 1: Combine Dry Ingredients
Add the dry ingredients to a meal-prep jar or small bowl: oats, chia seeds, shredded coconut (if using), protein powder, salt.
If you’re adding any extra dry ingredients (cinnamon, flax seeds, orange or lemon zest, etc.), now is the time to add one or a few of these ingredients.
Step 2: Add Liquid Ingredients
If you’re using light canned coconut milk, or coconut milk beverage from a carton, add 1 cup to the oats.
If you’re using full-fat canned coconut milk, add 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup water to the oats.
Add vanilla extract, if using.
Give all the ingredients a good stir with a fork until well combined.
Step 3: Add Fruit
Top the oatmeal with your fruit of choice: mangoes or pineapple (fresh or frozen). Do not stir the fruit into the oatmeal. Let the fruit rest on top of the oatmeal.
Step 4: Refrigerate Overnight
Secure a lid on the jar or bowl and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight (8 hours), before consuming. As the oats rest in the fridge, the mixture will thicken. The oats may be made up to 4 days in advance.
Before eating, stir the fruit into the oatmeal. Top with your favorite toppings, or enjoy as-is.
If you want to add anything extra, before enjoying, here are a few ideas for toppings that will add different flavors and additional nutrients to your oatmeal:
- Plain Greek Yogurt or Coconut Milk Yogurt: Add a scoop of your favorite yogurt for extra protein, creaminess, and probiotics. Stir in the yogurt as you enjoy the oats.
- Nut or Seed Butter: Add a scoop of peanut butter, sunflower butter, almond butter, or cashew butter. Or tahini (made from sesame seeds; also used to make salad dressing and hummus).
- Nuts and Seeds: Sprinkle with your favorite nuts or seeds, like pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, etc.
- Granola: Top with homemade granola, homemade grain-free granola, or a store-bought granola (like Purely Elizabeth brand).
- Bananas: Slice up 1/2 or 1 whole banana and add the slices on top of the oatmeal.
How to Store This Make-Ahead Breakfast
The oats may be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days in an airtight container.
My favorite storage jars are Weck Jars: beautiful and functional. Mason jars are also fantastic. The wide-mouth 8 or 16-ounce mason jar is the best option for overnight oats.
More Favorite Oat Recipes
The best thing about oats is their versatility! Want another healthy breakfast idea using oats? You’ll also want to make my other easy overnight oats recipes and baked oatmeal recipes.
Find easy and healthy breakfast ideas, from the fluffy scrambled eggs to einkorn muffins and overnight oats, in my breakfast section of the blog.
Meal Prep Overnight Oats with Frozen Fruit
- 2/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2-1 serving vanilla protein powder
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1-2 tablespoons shredded coconut (optional)
- 1 cup cup coconut milk see notes below about specific types of coconut milk and adjustments needed
- 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup or honey
- pinch salt
- 1/2 cup chopped mango or pineapple fresh or frozen
Optional Extras for Flavor:
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon or cardamom
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon or orange zest (grated from the rind of a lemon or orange)
- Add all the dry ingredients to a meal-prep jar or small bowl: oats, chia seeds, protein powder, salt. If you're adding cinnamon or cardamom, now is the time.
- Add the milk to the oat mixture. If you're adding any extra liquid ingredients (maple syrup, honey, lemon or orange zest, vanilla extract, etc.), now is the time to add one or a few of these ingredients.
- Stir all the ingredients together with a fork until well combined.
- Spoon the fruit on top (mango or pineapple). Do not stir the fruit into the oats, just let the fruit rest on top.
- Secure a lid on the jar or bowl and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight. As the oats rest in the fridge, the mixture will thicken.
- The oats may be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days in an airtight container. Before eating the oatmeal, stir in the fruits and add any toppings (if desired). Enjoy!
- Eat the oats cold, straight from the fridge, or warm for 1-2 minutes in the microwave or stove-top for warm oatmeal. You'll need to add 1-2 tablespoons of additional water or milk when reheating on the stove-top.
- Type of Coconut Milk: If you’re using light canned coconut milk, or coconut milk beverage from a carton, add 1 cup to the oats. If you’re using full-fat canned coconut milk, add 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup water to the oats. Full-fat coconut milk is too thick for this recipe and needs to be diluted.
- Meal Prep: Make this recipe up for 4 days in advance. Store in the fridge. Before serving, add your favorite toppings.
- Topping Ideas: Top the overnight oats with almond or peanut butter, tahini, honey or maple syrup, nuts, yogurt, granola, or coconut flakes.
- The nutritional value is calculated based on using a coconut milk beverage from the carton.
I love adding full-fat coconut milk to my overnight oats. Let me know which kind of coconut milk you like best?