- I made overnight oats recipes from chefs Alton Brown, Ree Drummond, Nancy Fuller, and Carla Hall.
- Something went wrong with Brown’s recipe, and it was pretty much inedible.
- The other three were all good, but Fuller’s just had a little something extra.
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, and which ones I’ll be making again in the future:
Brown’s involved a slow cooker instead of the fridge
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.
However, I swapped the figs for dates based on my taste preferences.
This was a very hands-off approach
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.
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 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.
Drummond’s overnight oats had an interesting combination of fruits
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
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.
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 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.
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
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
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.
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’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.
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
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
The preparation for these oats reminded me of making parfaits.
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.
Next, it was time to layer.
I added the oat mixture into two jars, added 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.
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
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.
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 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.
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.