There’s deep pleasure in creamy chilled oats, an easy make-ahead breakfast that blends the comfort of hot porridge with the fun of crunchy cereal in cold milk. After a season of feasting, it’s a welcome meal that tastes like an indulgence but leaves you feeling great.
It also fits just about any New Year’s resolution to eat well, a nod to its origins. Around 1900, Dr. Maximilian Bircher-Benner popularized Swiss-German muesli at his sanitarium in the Alps. He mixed water-soaked oats, grated apple and nuts with condensed milk and yogurt.
This modern version forgoes the one-note sweetness and pasty thickness of the original. Instead, it layers flavors and textures like crackling nuts, chewy fruit, seeds and oats suspended in milk with a loose swish like melted ice cream.
This recipe tastes better than most other overnight oats because of salt, which draws out the grain’s inherent sweetness. But its play of creamy and crunchy is what will help it win the year.
If you like your oats hot, heat them up. For more sweetness, add fresh fruit, more dried fruit, or brown sugar, honey or maple syrup. The greatest joy in this jar may just be making it your own.
By Genevieve Ko
- 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1/4 cup dried fruit, cut into small pieces, if needed
- 1 tablespoon chia, flax, poppy or sesame seeds
- 1 cup milk or unsweetened dairy alternative, such as almond or oat milk
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Maple syrup, honey or brown sugar (optional)
- 2 tablespoons chopped or sliced nuts, toasted
Mix oats, dried fruit, seeds, milk and salt in a pint jar or 2-cup airtight container.
Seal tightly and refrigerate at least 5 hours or up to 5 days.
Uncover, stir well and taste. Stir in some sweetener if desired.
Top with nuts just before eating. Makes 2 cups.
Nutritional information unavailable.