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Can You Heat Up Overnight Oats, Or Should You Leave Them Cold?

It's a cold morning and you've got overnight oats prepared for breakfast. The idea of enjoying them warm sounds appealing, right?

While overnight oats are usually enjoyed as a cold breakfast, thankfully, there is no reason you can't enjoy your overnight oats warm.

Simply microwave them or warm them on a stovetop. If you're using a stovetop to warm them, make sure to add more liquid to your oats to avoid makin' a mess.

In this guide. we'll cover everything you need to know about heating your overnight oats and many different ways you can enjoy them.

Why are overnight oats so popular?

Overnight oats have become a common breakfast meal because they're quick and easy to make and contain high natural protein and fiber content that stimulates metabolism.

They're made by placing oats and other ingredients, like milk, yogurt, honey, and maple syrup into a jar and soaking them in liquid overnight.

Another important reason people love them is their flexibility. You can add different ingredients to enhance the flavor and texture. Some popular choices are fruits, nuts, seeds, honey, and spices like cinnamon or vanilla extract.

In the morning, you'll have a ready-to-go meal that you can enjoy straight out of the fridge or heat them up if that's what you like.

Blueberry protein oatmeal

How to Heat Overnight Oats

There are two different methods you can use to heat up overnight oats: microwave or stovetop.

Heating using microwave:

1. Make sure you're using a microwave-friendly bowl or jar.

2. Add a splash of milk or water to the oats. This will help prevent them from drying out during the heating process.

3. Give your oats a good stir to break up any clumps.

4. Place the bowl in the microwave and heat on high for 1 minute. Stir the oats halfway through to evenly heat each part.

5. Microwave in 30-second intervals and stir between until you reach your desired warmth. If you notice any bubbling, stop immediately.

6. Let them sit at room temperature for a few minutes, so they thicken up.

7. Add your favorite toppings

Remember, the amount of liquid you add determines the texture of the warm oatmeal

Heating using stovetop:

1. Pour a liquid, like water or milk, into a saucepan and heat over medium.

2. When the liquid slightly boils, add overnight oats and reduce the heat to low.

3. Stir constantly until they're warm enough for you. Make sure not to burn them in the process.

4. Cover with your favorite toppings and enjoy.

How To Store And Reheat Overnight Oats

If you're not hungry enough to finish your overnight oats and want to save them for later, it's important to properly store them to maintain quality and taste.

Most overnight oats recipes can typically be stored in the fridge for up to 4-5 days. However, it's best to check for any signs of spoilage before consuming them.

Proper storage and reheating techniques are essential to maintain the quality and safety of overnight oats. Here's how you can store your overnight oats and reheat them when you're ready to enjoy them.

Storing Overnight Oats:

1. Use airtight containers : Transfer your prepared overnight oats into airtight containers to keep them fresh.

2. Refrigerate : Place the containers of overnight oats in the refrigerator as soon as possible. This helps prevent the growth of bacteria and ensures the oats stay safe to eat.

Reheating Overnight Oats:

You can reheat your overnight oats even if you've heated them up before. However, each time you reheat them, the oats go through a temperature danger zone (between 40°F and 140°F) where bacteria multiply.

To minimize any potential risks, make sure to heat them up to 165°F and not leave them out at room temperature for more than 2 hours total.

Multiple reheating can affect the texture, taste, and quality of your oats. They might become too mushy or lose flavor. While there isn't a specific limit on how many times you can reheat them, it's best to keep the limit 1-2 times.

What Happens To Oats When Heated?

1. Softening - Oats swell up and absorb water when heated, which gives a softer texture.

2. Protein change - Proteins, when exposed to heat, slightly change their molecular structure.

3. Nutrient Impact - Some nutrients in oats, like vitamin C, get destroyed to some extent, regardless of the heating method you use.

Why Protein Oatmeal Is a Great Breakfast

Adding protein to your oatmeal is a great way to improve the taste and get a decent amount of protein that will give you energy throughout the day.

You may already be eating oatmeal for breakfast, but if you’re still hungry after breakfast, you should try adding some protein to the mix.

Starting your day with a high-protein breakfast can improve your exercise performance, boost your mood, and keep you full for a long time.

Pea and rice protein helps burn fat and tone muscle, is easier to digest, and has plenty of iron. That’s why we use those 2 types of protein in our premade protein oatmeal packs.

Protein oatmeal packs are a quick and easy way to get a healthy and protein-full breakfast in a couple of minutes. A great solution for a busy morning.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I heat overnight oats?

Yes, you can absolutely heat up your overnight oats without risking losing quality or taste. There is no reason you can't warm your overnight oats. Heated overnight oats are a cozy and satisfying breakfast, especially in the colder months.

Does the texture change when heated?

When cooked, oats absorb liquid, which means the texture will change.

If you want to get a rich and creamy texture on your freshly cooked oatmeal, then you should pour milk or water in the oatmeal during the cooking process.

What are the benefits of heating overnight oats?

Heating up your overnight oats allows you to change the texture by adding liquid, making them softer and easier to eat. Plus, the heat can enhance the flavors and aromas of the ingredients.

Are there any risks to heating overnight oats?

If you overheat the oats, they might become mushy and lose flavor.

There's also a risk of adding too much or too little liquid while heating, which can change the texture.

Is it safe to eat oatmeal left out overnight?

It's generally not recommended to leave overnight oats at room temperature for more than 2 hours. This is because oatmeal can easily spoil and become contaminated with bacteria if left out for too long.

How long until overnight oats go bad?

If you store overnight oats in an airtight jar and place them in the refrigerator, they can last for up to five days without spoiling or losing quality. However, it's best to check for any signs of spoilage before consuming them.

If you're a fan of warm overnight oats and want to reheat them multiple times, it's best to heat them to 165°F and limit reheating to 1-2 times maximum.

Can I use a stove to heat up overnight oats?

Yes, if you prefer using a stove instead of a microwave, you can heat up your overnight oats on the stovetop. Simply transfer the oats to a saucepan and warm them over low to medium heat, all while consistently stirring.

Is microwave cooking better than cooking on a stove?

Yes, microwaving oats is faster and preserves more heat-sensitive nutrients. It may make certain nutrients, like carotenoids , more available to the body, and help with the digestion of vitamin B.

When done properly, microwave cooking is one of the least damaging ways to cook nutrients.


Heating overnight oats is a great way to enjoy a warm and comforting breakfast option. Whether you choose the microwave or stovetop method, be cautious not to overheat and compromise the texture or nutrient content. Experiment with different heating times and flavor combinations to find your perfect bowl of warm overnight oats.

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