These lemon cheesecake overnight oats are creamy, citrusy, and will make you feel like you're eating dessert for breakfast! They're made with nutritious ingredients like whole rolled oats and chia seeds to keep you feeling satisfied throughout the morning.
Did somebody say cheesecake for breakfast? This healthy lemon cheesecake overnight oats recipe will make you feel like you're having dessert in the morning instead of oatmeal! It's made with a handful of nutritious ingredients and is easy to meal prep for busy mornings.
There are 3 things I absolutely love about this recipe. Real cream cheese makes these oats tangy and creamy just like cheesecake! You can easily meal prep them on Sunday night and have breakfast ready to take on the go for school or for the work week.
And despite the name, cheesecake overnight oats are made with a handful of simple, wholesome, and healthy ingredients to keep you fueled up during the day. This is the perfect healthy breakfast recipe that tastes like an indulgent dessert.
Here are some notes about the ingredients used. For quantities and the full instructions, see the recipe card below.
- Oats- Use whole rolled oats or old-fashioned oats. They're great because they're packed with whole grains and fiber and have the perfect texture. Quick cooking oats, on the other hand, tend to soak up too much liquid and turn soggy, so skip those. Steelcut oats aren't the best either because they won't soak up enough liquid.
- Chia seeds- Chia seeds are fantastic for thickening overnight oats because they have a unique ability to absorb liquid. Not only that, but they come packed with fiber, minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, and a bunch of other health benefits. You can find chia seeds at health food stores or most regular grocery stores. If you have leftovers, use them in chia pudding, banana bread, or even some protein balls!
- Cream cheese- Use full-fat cream cheese that comes in a block rather than whipped cream cheese or "cream cheese spread" in a tub. This adds the perfect tangy flavor and makes the oats extra thick.
- Greek yogurt- Yogurt adds protein, calcium for bone health, and probiotics to the recipe. Use full-fat, plain Greek yogurt for the best texture and flavor. If your yogurt is sweetened, reduce the amount of maple syrup in the recipe.
- Maple syrup- This ingredient adds sweetness and a comforting, warm flavor. When it comes to maple syrup, feel free to use any variety you prefer. Just be sure to check the label and opt for "pure maple syrup" rather than maple-flavored or pancake syrup for the best taste.
- Vanilla extract- A splash of vanilla enhances all the flavors and contrasts the zesty lemon perfectly.
- Lemon juice- Make sure to use fresh lemon juice, not lemon juice from a bottle. Freshly squeezed lemon juice has the most punchy citrus flavor.
- Milk- Any plant-based or dairy milk works to add creaminess and moisture. I opted for almond milk here.
- Cream cheese: Vegan cream cheese works in this recipe. My favorite brands are Tofutti and Violife.
- Maple syrup: Use a liquid maple syrup substitute like honey or agave nectar.
- Greek yogurt: Non-dairy Greek yogurt, coconut yogurt, skyr, or sour cream are good substitutions.
- Lemon juice: If you aren't a lemon fan, use a different type of citrus like lime, orange, or grapefruit.
Helpful Equipment and Tools
You'll need a few simple tools to make this recipe, like measuring cups, measuring spoons, a large mixing bowl, and a for or whisk. As for storage, use whatever containers you have, like mason jars, Tupperware, or glass Pyrex.
Step by Step Instructions
Here's how to make lemon cheesecake overnight oats! Before you start, consider microwaving the cream cheese for 10-15 seconds. This will melt it slightly and make it easier to mix in.
STEP 1: First, add the oats, chia seeds, cream cheese, Greek yogurt, maple syrup, vanilla, lemon juice, and milk to a large mixing bowl.
STEP 2: Next, use a fork or a whisk to combine the ingredients together. Try to eliminate as many lumps of cream cheese as you can. Cover with plastic wrap and set in the fridge.
STEP 3: Let the oats thicken in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours but ideally overnight. Once they've thickened, transfer them into individual jars or containers for serving. Top with a dollop of yogurt, a candied lemon slice, or some lemon zest and enjoy.
- Soften the cream cheese. Whisking the cream cheese into the oats might be a bit difficult. To make it easier, allow the cream cheese to soften at room temperature for about an hour or pop it in the microwave for around 10-30 seconds. This will make it much easier to mix!
- Adjust the sweetness. If you're using sweetened yogurt, reduce the maple syrup by 1-2 teaspoons. Ultimately the sweetness is up to you so adjust it to taste!
- Let the oats soak long enough. The oats need to soak for at least 4 hours but ideally overnight, hence the name "overnight oats". If they don't soak long enough, you'll be left with a pool of liquid in the bottom of the bowl.
- Add toppings after refrigerating. There are tons of fun toppings you can add to these oats, but make sure to add them after you've let them chill. If you add toppings before putting the oats in the refrigerator they'll get soggy!
Additions and Variations
There are so many fun ingredients and toppings you can add to cheesecake overnight oats! Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Lemon zest: Grate some fresh lemon zest into the oats for an extra burst of citrusy flavor.
- Graham cracker crumbs: Sprinkle some crushed graham cracker crumbs on top of your oats to mimic the crust of a traditional cheesecake.
- Fresh berries: Top your oats with fresh berries like blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries. Not only do they add a pop of color, but they also provide a delicious contrast to the creamy lemon flavor.
- Lemon curd: Stir lemon curd into the oats or add a dollop on top for even more lemon flavor.
- Crushed nuts: Sprinkle some crushed almonds or walnuts on top for some crunch.
- Poppy seeds: Stir in a teaspoon of poppy seeds for a subtle crunch. Lemon poppyseed is such a classic combo!
- Coconut flakes: Sprinkle toasted coconut on top for a tropical twist.
- White chocolate chips: Gently fold in a few white chocolate chips for an even more indulgent treat.
Storage and Freezing
Overnight oats stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 4 days stored in an airtight container. If they're a bit too thick, dry, or stiff, add a splash of milk before serving.
Transfer your oats to a freezer safe container and freeze them for up to 3 months. Let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight when you're ready to serve.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you use certified gluten free oats, yes!
You can! Just use vegan cream cheese, vegan yogurt, and plant-based milk.
Oatmeal and overnight oats are both healthy choices, but the benefits of each differ depending on if you soak or cook the oats. Soaking them helps to break down starches and reduce natural phytic acid that oats have. This makes them easier for to digest and their nutrients more bioavailable.
Overnight oats are usually eaten cold, and I don't recommend warming these up. The texture of the cream cheese and yogurt will change when warmed.
More Breakfast Recipes to Try
Lemon Cheesecake Overnight Oats
- 1 large mixing bowl
- 5 jars to store the oats in
- Add the oats, chia seeds, cream cheese, Greek yogurt, maple syrup, vanilla extract, lemon juice and almond milk to a large mixing bowl. Whisk vigorously until smooth.2 cups whole rolled oats, 2 tablespoon chia seeds, ⅓ cup cream cheese, ⅓ cup Greek yogurt, 3 tablespoon maple syrup, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 3 tablespoon lemon juice, 2 cups almond milk
- Cover the bowl in plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator to thicken for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Once the oats have thickened, evenly distribute them between 5 jars or other serving containers.
- Top the oats with yogurt, lemon zest, fresh berries or other toppings and enjoy.