Black Forest Overnight Oats

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Black Forest Overnight Oats combine fresh summer cherries with cocoa, nourishing oats, dairy-alternative milk and yogurt, and a dollop of whipped coconut cream to make a delicious, gluten free, and refined sugar free breakfast treat!

Black Forest Overnight Oats

It’s summer and I love fresh cherries.  Seems like an incomplete sentence, but it is just a matter of fact statement!  And if you have been a follower of the blog, you will know this to be true.  Case in pointFresh Cherry Ice Cream, Cherry Coffee Cake, Cherry Skillet Cake, and the namesake to this recipe – Black Forest Cupcakes.

Which leaves me with another matter of fact statement – chocolate and cherries are a match made in summer heaven!  However, summer does come with a couple downsides – it’s a little too much heat to turn on the oven, and sunscreen gets used up way too fast in this house! 

Now, I can’t do anything about the latter because we should all be wearing sunscreen.  However, I can offer you this no-bake, super easy, flavor packed recipe for Black Forest Overnight Oats that double as breakfast, dessert, and a mid-day snack!

Delicious Features of These Black Forest Overnight Oats:

  • Easy – I say easy because there really isn’t any baking science involved in this recipe.  In fact, you can customize it any way you like!
  • Small Batch – This recipe will easily make enough for two people.  Though you can stretch it a little further with smaller servings.
  • No-Bake – My favorite type of recipe!  Though, you will need your stove-top, there is no need to turn on the oven for this one!
  • Breakfast, Dessert, or Snack – Don’t you just love a recipe that serves multiple purposes?!
  • Gluten Free – Yes, oats are naturally gluten free.  But be sure to get the package that says gluten free to avoid any cross-contamination at processing.
  • Refined Sugar Free – Another maple syrup is my sweetener of choice recipe! I know, I know, maple syrup is still sugar, but I love it because it is not as processed and it sits lower on the glycemic scale.
  • Hand-Held, Portable Treat – Which is awesome for summer – no sticky popsicle or ice cream drips with this recipe!
Black forest overnight oats in a glass on black plate

What You Need To Make Black Forest Overnight Oats

ingredients

  • Fresh Cherries – Always fresh, especially if in season.  Though, frozen cherries can work if you want to make the Black Forest Overnight Oats in the winter!
  • Lemon Juice – The lemon juice is for the cherry compote and it simply brightens the cherry flavor.
  • Cocoa Powder – My preference is Dutch processed cocoa powder because I don’t find it as acidic as natural cocoa powder.  However, use whatever you prefer (and have on hand)!
  • Coconut Milk Yogurt – The yogurt makes the overnight oats extra creamy.  My preference is unsweetened vanilla coconut milk yogurt, but you can certainly use any yogurt you like.
  • Unsweetened Canned Coconut Milk – We are only using the coconut solids from the can.  In addition to making the overnight oats creamy, the coconut milk solids make the oats rich and thick.  You may see overnight oat recipes that include chia seeds to give the oats a little more heft.  I opt for canned coconut milk

The canned coconut milk is also used to make the whipped cream topping.  Just like the recipe on the blog for Vanilla Whipped Coconut Cream.

  • Maple Syrup – I like to use maple syrup for its flavor and because it is refined sugar free.  But you can swap in any sweetener of choice.
  • Oat Milk – The oat milk just seems like a great flavor complement to the oats.  Though, I have also made overnight oats using carton coconut milk.  Whatever milk you prefer, swap it in!
  • Rolled Oats – The oats may be the only ingredient that I say don’t swap.  I recommend rolled oats – which may also be called old fashioned rolled oatsI recommend this kind of oat for its size, texture, and ability to absorb liquidQuick oats are chopped up into smaller pieces – which leaves out some of the texture.  And steel cut oats are just too hearty to absorb liquid well.

Equipment 

  • Small Saucepan – To make the cherry compote.
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Serving Glasses

Tips For Making Black Forest Overnight Oats

  • Refrigerate the can of coconut milk overnight – This causes the coconut solids to separate from the liquid in the can.  We are only using the coconut solids for the oats and whipped cream topping.
  • Use old fashioned/rolled oats – I only recommend rolled oats because of their size (they are not chopped up like quick oats), and texture (they still have a bite, but not as tough as steel cut oats.)
  • Look for gluten free labeled rolled oats – Oats are naturally gluten free.  However, if you are looking to stick to gluten free, some brands may process their oats alongside gluten products.  Thus, the oats are cross-contaminated.  Gluten free labeled oats ensure there is no cross-contamination.
  • Use Dutch process cocoa for less acidity – This may totally be a personal preference, but I do find natural cocoa powder to be very acidic (and naturally, it is!)  If you want a bolder cocoa flavor without the acid, Dutch process cocoa is wonderful.
  • Try with an unsweetened yogurt – I say this because we can control the sweetness ourselves with the addition of maple syrup (or any sweetener of your choice).  A lot of yogurt has a lot of sugar in it.
  • Allow the oats to sit overnight – I have taken bites of the overnight oats 2 to 4 hours into their soak time, and found them to still have an unappetizing bite.  Give them time to chill overnight.  They will still have great texture, but it won’t be like eating a handful of oats raw!
  • Use fresh cherries – if in season – Fresh is always best!  I find fresh fruit has a more pronounced flavor and great texture.
  • This recipe for overnight oats is very forgiving – Meaning, you can add/remove flavors, swap ingredients (except for the oats!), and truly make your own.
  • Garnish the Black Forest Overnight Oats with chocolate shavings – Because, why not more chocolate flavor?!  And if you don’t have a chocolate bar, chop up some chocolate chips!
Top view of two glasses of black forest overnight oats on a wood tray

Common Questions For Making Overnight oats

Can this recipe be doubled?

It certainly can!

Do I have to use rolled oats?

I highly recommend rolled oats. For their size and texture. They aren’t chopped up like instant oats. And they still have an appetizing bite after soaking overnight. As opposed to steel cut oats – which I find too tough for overnight oats.

Aren’t oats naturally gluten free? Why the gluten free labeled oats?

Yes, oats are naturally gluten free. However, some may be processed in facilities or alongside other gluten product. Thus, you get cross-contamination. If sticking to gluten free is a must, look for gluten free labeled oats.

All I have is natural cocoa powder. Can I use that instead?

You sure can!

Is the yogurt a must?

I suppose it isn’t, but it does make the oats creamy.

What about the canned coconut milk – do I have to use that?

Again, I suppose you don’t. But it does make the oats thick. Without it, you may have a runnier overnight oat.

Will frozen cherries work?

Yes! But I always recommend fresh if in season. Plus, you can top your oats with a fresh cherry on top.

Can I substitute a different sweetner?

You sure can. I just recommend taste testing along the way to make sure you have achieved your desired sweet level.

Do I really have to let the oats sit overnight?

I recommend it. Otherwise the texture may be too ‘raw’ if they don’t have enough time to soak up all of the liquid.

Two servings of black forest overnight oats on a wood tray

More Breakfast-in-a- jar Recipes

Close of up a single serving of black forest overnight oats on a wood tray

Black Forest Overnight Oats

Yield: 2 Servings
Black Forest Overnight Oats combine fresh summer cherries with cocoa, nourishing oats, dairy-alternative milk and yogurt, and a dollop of whipped coconut cream to make a delicious, gluten free, and refined sugar free breakfast treat!
Prep20 mins
Chill8 hrs
Total8 hrs 20 mins

Equipment

  • 2 – Serving Glasses

Ingredients

Chocolate Overnight Oats

  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, Dutch process
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla coconut yogurt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened canned coconut milk, full fat - refrigerated overnight; only the cream in the can
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons pure maple syrup - or any sweetener of choice; sweeten to taste
  • 1 cup oat milk - or any milk of choice
  • 1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons rolled oats, gluten free

Cherry Compote

  • 1 cup fresh cherries, pitted and halved
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

Instructions

  • Plan Ahead – Refrigerate the can of coconut milk overnight. We are only using the coconut solids from the can.

Chocolate Overnight Oats

  • In a small mixing bowl, stir together the cocoa powder, yogurt, coconut cream, and maple syrup until smooth and creamy. Stir in the oat milk.
  • Sprinkle the oats into the liquid and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate the oats, at least overnight.
  • Whipped Coconut Cream Topping – You can whip up the remaining coconut solids from the can to make whipped cream. Add the coconut cream and 1 tablespoon maple syrup to a small mixing bowl and using a hand held mixer, whip on medium high speed until soft, fluffy, and medium peaks form. Note – Sweeten to taste, but keep in mind the more maple syrup added will add more liquid to the whipped cream.
  • Transfer the whipped cream to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until ready to assemble the oats.

Cherry Compote

  • In a small saucepan, add the cherries, lemon juice, and maple syrup. Heat over medium-low heat until the cherries start to break up and their juices release. About 10 minutes.
  • Transfer the cherry compote to bowl, cover, and refrigerate until ready to assemble the oats. Note – You can add extra fresh cherry halves to the compote to give it more texture.

Assemble the Oats

  • Portion equal amounts of the Chocolate Overnight Oats into your serving glasses. Top with equal amounts of Cherry Compote, and finish with a dollop of whipped cream, chocolate shavings (optional), and a fresh cherry on top. Enjoy!
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Notes

  • Oats – I recommend rolled oats because of their size and texture.  You don’t have to use ‘Gluten Free‘ labeled oats if the recipe does not need to be gluten free.
  • Oat Milk – The oat milk is a nice flavor compliment to the oats.  Although you can use any milk you prefer.
  • Coconut Milk/Cream – To make the overnight oats creamy AND to make successful whipped cream – the can of coconut milk should be refrigerated overnight.  You can swap the coconut cream with yogurt in the overnight oats, and omit the whipped cream topping if you prefer.
  • Coconut Milk Yogurt – This is added to make the oats extra creamy.  Feel free to use any flavor or yogurt you prefer.
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: American
Author: Erin Cernich

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