I made 4 celebrity chefs' recipes for overnight oats, and the best was served in a cantaloupe (2024)

One of my favorite sweet breakfast options is oatmeal, but I don't always have time to make it in the morning, so the overnight-oats trend is right up my alley.

You just mix together your ingredients, pop it in the fridge, and the concoction is ready to be eaten — hot or cold — the next morning.

Because I'm always on the lookout for more ways to flavor my overnight oats, I decided to test recipes from four celebrity chefs: Alton Brown, Ree Drummond, Nancy Fuller, and Carla Hall.

Here's how they each turned out:

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Brown's involved a slow cooker instead of the fridge

I made 4 celebrity chefs' recipes for overnight oats, and the best was served in a cantaloupe (1)

Paige Bennett for Insider

For Brown's overnight oats, he uses a slow cooker to heat the mixture overnight, and I was looking forward to enjoying some hot oats the next morning.

But I swapped the figs for dates based on my taste preferences.

This was a very hands-off approach

I made 4 celebrity chefs' recipes for overnight oats, and the best was served in a cantaloupe (2)

Paige Bennett for Insider

Overnight oats are pretty easy, but they can get more involved if the recipe requires chopping fruit or toasting nuts or seeds.

This recipe couldn't be simpler though. I mixed everything in a slow cooker and left it on low for about eight and a half hours overnight.

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I made 4 celebrity chefs' recipes for overnight oats, and the best was served in a cantaloupe (3)

Paige Bennett for Insider

But I woke up to an unpleasant surprise.

I was so excited to try these warm oats. But when I opened the lid, I saw the half-and-half had separated, and the whole mixture smelled like spoiled milk.

It was also much more watery than the photos on the recipe page.

These oats definitely didn't turn out like they were supposed to

I made 4 celebrity chefs' recipes for overnight oats, and the best was served in a cantaloupe (4)

Paige Bennett for Insider

I knew I didn't want to actually eat these oats because the spoiled-milk smell was so strong, and I was worried they'd make me sick.

I decided to take a bite and then spit it into the trash can so I could test the taste and texture.

The texture was definitely off. The oats were fine, but the overall mixture was way too watery.

The flavor was lacking, too — unless you happened to get a bite of cranberry — and the dates ended up with a weird, flaky texture.

Part of the issue was likely that figs would have absorbed more liquid than the dates, but I'm not sure why the half-and-half ended up making the entire dish smell so rancid.

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Drummond's overnight oats had an interesting combination of fruits

I made 4 celebrity chefs' recipes for overnight oats, and the best was served in a cantaloupe (5)

Paige Bennett for Insider

I was instantly intrigued by the apple-raspberry combo in the Pioneer Woman's overnight-oat recipe.

I was also excited to see a generous amount of vanilla in the mix, which I thought would taste great with the oats and fruit.

I soaked the oats overnight, but the recipe says just 10 minutes will do the trick

I made 4 celebrity chefs' recipes for overnight oats, and the best was served in a cantaloupe (6)

Paige Bennett for Insider

This was easy enough to whip up.

I mixed everything but the almonds and raspberries and let it soak overnight. She uses a zipper bag, but to skip the single-use plastic, I just used a reusable container.

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The next morning, I added the mix to a bowl and topped it with raspberries and almonds.

The oats were too liquidy, but they tasted amazing

I made 4 celebrity chefs' recipes for overnight oats, and the best was served in a cantaloupe (7)

Paige Bennett for Insider

I noticed right away that the liquid didn't absorb very well into the oats. But my first bite was very good despite the extra liquid.

I tasted the vanilla first, then the sweetness of the fruit, and finally got the crunch from the almonds.

I was also impressed that the apples only softened slightly. I was worried the texture would be weird from sitting in liquid overnight, but they still had a bit of a crunch to them.

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The oats were slightly mushy, but overall, I'd happily try this again with a little less liquid next time.

I was surprised by Fuller's recipe, which serves up the oats in a cantaloupe

I made 4 celebrity chefs' recipes for overnight oats, and the best was served in a cantaloupe (8)

Paige Bennett for Insider

Fuller serves up a hybrid of chia-seed pudding and overnight oats in half of a cantaloupe, then tops the concoction with blueberries and honey.

I was admittedly confused about how this would turn out, but I figured it would at least look cute.

I had to adjust the instructions slightly to get the oats in my fridge overnight

I made 4 celebrity chefs' recipes for overnight oats, and the best was served in a cantaloupe (9)

Paige Bennett for Insider

The recipe says to let the oats sit in the cantaloupe overnight, but I didn't want it to spill since I have very limited space in my fridge.

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Instead, I put all of the ingredients except the blueberries in a container and placed it in the fridge overnight.

Before serving in the morning, I sliced the cantaloupe open, removed the seeds, and scooped the overnight-oat mixture into the center.

I was pleasantly surprised by this extravagant breakfast

I made 4 celebrity chefs' recipes for overnight oats, and the best was served in a cantaloupe (10)

Paige Bennett for Insider

I'm not a huge cantaloupe fan, but the flavor goes so well with the blueberries and honey. Plus eating my breakfast straight out of a giant piece of fruit had fun tropical-vacation vibes.

I like my oatmeal on the thicker side, and the added chia seeds helped it achieve that ideal texture.

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I probably won't ever soak my overnight oats inside the fruit, but I'd definitely make this again exactly the same way.

Finally, it was time to test Hall's fruit-and-nut oats

I made 4 celebrity chefs' recipes for overnight oats, and the best was served in a cantaloupe (11)

Paige Bennett for Insider

Hall's recipe sounded yummy, with dried fruits and toasted almonds among other simple ingredients.

However, the assembly process was different from any of the other recipes I tried.

These parfait-styled oats required a few extra steps

I made 4 celebrity chefs' recipes for overnight oats, and the best was served in a cantaloupe (12)

Paige Bennett for Insider

The preparation for these oats reminded me of making parfaits.

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I had to mix together the fruit and toasted nuts, combine the oats and dry ingredients separately, and stir the yogurt and honey.

From there, I added non-fat milk to the oats and mixed in some of the yogurt.

I made 4 celebrity chefs' recipes for overnight oats, and the best was served in a cantaloupe (13)

Paige Bennett for Insider

Next, I added the oat mixture into two jars, layered the fruit and nuts, and topped it all off with more honey-infused yogurt.

Then I put the lids on and placed them in the fridge overnight.

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It looked very runny, so I was hoping the oats would soak up all that liquid by morning.

The varying textures made these overnight oats really stand out

I made 4 celebrity chefs' recipes for overnight oats, and the best was served in a cantaloupe (14)

Paige Bennett for Insider

After the oats chilled overnight, I added more fruit and nuts to the top and finished with a garnish of fresh mint.

The oats soaked up all that liquid, leaving the texture soft but not mushy.

There were actually a variety of textures, with the soft oats, chewy fruits, and extra-crunchy almonds.

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I would love to try this recipe again and play with the different kinds of dried fruits and nuts.

Brown's recipe didn't work, but the other three were all great

I made 4 celebrity chefs' recipes for overnight oats, and the best was served in a cantaloupe (15)

Paige Bennett for Insider

I probably wouldn't try making overnight oats in the slow cooker again, but I'll definitely be making the other three recipes in the future.

It was hard to pick the best one, but I think I'd put Fuller's unique cantaloupe overnight oats at the top. I wouldn't even make any changes to the recipe, it was that good.

For Drummond's oats, I'd just cut back on the liquid. Otherwise, I loved how sweet they tasted.

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Hall's oats were also delicious with a great contrast of textures. Her original recipe was good, but I'm interested in experimenting with other flavor combinations as well.

Click to check out the other celebrity-chef recipes we've put head-to-head so far.

Read More:

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  • 5 hacks a professional chef uses to make restaurant-quality oatmeal at home
I made 4 celebrity chefs' recipes for overnight oats, and the best was served in a cantaloupe (2024)

FAQs

What not to add in overnight oats? ›

As Best points out, "some of the worst ingredients that are mistakenly added to healthy overnight oat recipes include chocolate sauce, sugar, syrup, and dried fruit."

What is the secret to overnight oats? ›

Add Twice as Much Milk as Oats

Whether you prefer whole milk, rice milk or coconut milk, you can use it. Just make sure to add twice as much milk as oats. Note: You can also use whey, buttermilk or thinned yogurt for a tangier flavor.

Why is everyone obsessed with overnight oats? ›

When you soak the oats overnight, it's almost like you're cooking them, but the process is much longer and slower, and it's done without heat. Hence, it is more nutrient rich than cooked version. Overnight oats contain increased resistant starch.

Why you shouldn't eat overnight oats in the morning? ›

You see, all grains contain something called “phytic acid”—or phytates—in the outer layer or bran, and oats contain more phytates than almost any other grain. So, if this phytic acid is untreated, it will combine with important minerals in our body and block their absorption.

Why shouldn't you put overnight oats in the fridge? ›

If you soak your oats overnight at room temperature (do not put them in the fridge!) between 7-15hrs it allows the natural enzymes and other helpful organisms to begin fermenting the grain and this will neutralise a large portion of the phytic acid.

How do you make overnight oats taste better? ›

Flavorings: This is what makes your oats taste really good. Ground cinnamon is a classic add-in, maple syrup or honey add a hint of sweetness, and a pinch of kosher salt is necessary for a balanced flavor.

How long do overnight oats need to soak before eating? ›

Waiting overnight allows the oats and chia seeds to fully hydrate and soften the oatmeal. We recommend waiting four to five hours for the best experience, but some customers do enjoy eating it immediately for a more textured, chewy oatmeal.

Are overnight oats better with milk or water? ›

Water will also make the oats more gummy instead of creamy. So it's better to use oatmeal with milk. Make the oatmeal with milk instead of water. If you're using almond milk, it will add nice flavor, but won't increase the protein content much.

What not to mix with oatmeal? ›

Whatever you do, steer clear of the worst offenders: dried fruit with added sugars, like Craisins or dried pineapple. "These are almost always made with added sugar, if not also an artificial sweetener, says Pennsylvania-based RD Gina Consalvo. "Always choose a fresh fruit instead." Need hard proof?

What happens to your body when you eat overnight oats everyday? ›

Fiber keeps us full, helps manage blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels, and promotes digestive health, gut health and weight management. So, incorporating fiber-rich foods like overnight oats into your diet can help to bridge this nutritional gap and support your overall health.

What kind of yogurt to use in overnight oats? ›

Easy Overnight Oats Ingredients

Yogurt: Greek yogurt lends richness, flavor, and lots of protein to help you take on the day. Oats: Make sure to use rolled oats. Honey: Honey lends subtle sweetness.

What happens to your stomach if you eat oatmeal everyday? ›

"Oats contain a special type of soluble fiber called beta-glucan," says Michalczyk. "Beta-glucan forms a gel-like consistency in the gut and helps to keep things moving in your digestive tract and keep you regular." This helps with bulking up your stool, making it easier for your bowel movement later.

Is overnight oats better with milk or yogurt? ›

You only need two ingredients to make overnight oats, which are, of course, milk and oats. But it probably won't taste very good, and by adding in Greek yogurt, chia seeds, and a drizzle of your favorite sweetener, you're really creating a well-rounded breakfast.

Do overnight oats spike blood sugar? ›

Oats have a low glycemic index, meaning they cause a slower and more gradual rise in blood sugar levels compared to refined carbohydrates. This slow release of glucose into the bloodstream helps prevent spikes in blood sugar, promoting stable glycemic control.

What not to mix with oats? ›

Some unhealthy toppings for oatmeal include:
  • Sugary syrups like maple syrup or honey.
  • Candied or dried fruit with added sugar.
  • Chocolate chips or other candy.
  • Sweetened whipped cream or heavy cream.
  • Granola or other high-sugar cereals.
  • Sweetened coconut flakes.
  • Artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes.
Feb 13, 2023

What to avoid with oats? ›

Interactions ?
  • Insulin interacts with OATS. Oats might reduce the amount of insulin needed for blood sugar control. Taking oats along with insulin might cause your blood sugar to drop too low. ...
  • Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs) interacts with OATS. Oats might lower blood sugar levels.

Can you make overnight oats wrong? ›

Using the wrong oat-to-milk ratio: If you don't add enough milk, some of the oats will soak up all of the liquid before the rest of the oats can absorb any, creating an uneven texture. Some oats will be very soft while others might still be chewy.

What makes overnight oats better? ›

When soaked overnight, the starch in the oats is naturally broken down, allowing more nutrients to be absorbed by the oats. This causes the oatmeal to swell up and absorb the liquid through every pore, making it a healthy and filling breakfast meal on its own.

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