The flavors of carrot cake are positively perfect together. Sweet and crunchy carrots, tender raisins, tangy cream cheese frosting—it’s a combo that shouldn’t work together, but absolutely does! I’ve been known to turn dessert flavors into healthy breakfasts (like I did with Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins and with Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Squares), so it should come as no surprise that I took a riff from my favorite springtime dessert and turned Carrot Cake into healthy overnight oats.
Mixing up these oats is a great way to feel like you are getting a decadent dessert without actually eating a decadent dessert. Welcome to the magic that is overnight oats!
What are overnight oats?
Instead of cooking your oats on the stove or in the microwave, overnight oats are made by mixing rolled oats with liquid and other mix-ins, and then letting it rest in the fridge overnight (hence the name!). In the morning, you have a cup of ready-to-go oatmeal that—since you can eat it cold straight out of the fridge—makes for a super speedy healthy breakfast. If you’re new to making overnight oatmeal and want a full primer (plus lots of other easy-to-make recipes), check out our Overnight Oats 101 post.
What makes overnight oatmeal so great?
Overnight oats have been in regular rotation in my kitchen for years now. They really are the perfect healthy breakfast package for those of us low on time. Here’s why:
- They are quick to make-ahead. Overnight oats take just a few minutes to mix up in the evening—we’re talking you could make these during a commercial break during your favorite show!
- They taste super good. This porridge is thick, hearty, creamy, and a lot like eating pudding for breakfast!
- They are customizable. Make your overnight oats vegan, gluten-free, or whatever flavor you want with just a few swaps. We’re making Carrot Cake Overnight Oats here, but once you get the hang of things, you can make whatever your imagination dreams up! We do a deep dive in substitutions and add-ins in our How to Make Overnight Oats post.
- They are a healthy way to start the day. You are in complete control of your overnight oats, so you can make them as nutrient-dense or as decadent (or both) as you’d like!
- It’s easy to make lots of servings at once. Overnight oats are a staple of my weekly meal prep for good reason—I can mix up an entire week’s worth of breakfast in just a few minutes.
Do you eat overnight oats cold? Can you heat them up?
Most fans of overnight oats eat them cold—it’s part of the convenience of a meal prep breakfast that you can just grab-and-go. But if cold oatmeal isn’t your thing (or it’s just too chilly outside to eat it), you can absolutely warm up these carrot cake oats. Just heat them in the microwave for 30-60 seconds, stirring frequently, or in a small saucepan on the stove until heated to your liking.
What do I need to make carrot cake overnight oats?
For this tasty breakfast, you’ll need our standard overnight oats ingredients: plain Greek yogurt, rolled oats, milk, chia seeds or ground flax meal, vanilla extract, salt, and honey or maple syrup. For the carrot cake flavor, you’ll add:
- 1 large carrot, peeled and shredded on a box grater
- Softened cream cheese
- Ground cinnamon
Can you make these oats vegan? Gluten-free? Sugar-free?
Yes! Since overnight oats are super customizable, you can make this recipe fit into your dietary needs. Swap out the milk for water, nix the chia or flax seeds, and choose different (or no) yogurt. We cover all the substitutions you can make in our in-depth overnight oats post. Here are some specific swap ideas for this carrot cake overnight oats recipe:
- Make it vegan: Use plant-based milk, plant-based yogurt, plant-based cream cheese, and maple syrup for sweetener.
- Make it sugar-free: Drop the sweetener and use a whole banana. Or use stevia or monk fruit sweetener in place of the maple syrup or honey if you prefer.
- Make it gluten-free: Make sure to use certified gluten-free oats.
Here are some more amazing overnight oats recipes:
I promise you’re going to love the world of overnight oats once you dive in! Enjoy.