Overnight oats have become a popular breakfast option for many people looking for a quick, healthy and delicious morning meal. The basic concept involves soaking oats and other ingredients like milk or yogurt overnight, allowing the oats to soften so you can enjoy creamy oatmeal in the morning without having to cook it. While the oats soak, the liquid ingredients infuse the oats with flavor. This leads to a tasty breakfast you can grab and go in the morning.
When making overnight oats, an important decision is choosing the right container to prepare and store them in. The container impacts both the portability of your breakfast, as well as how well the oats will soak and infuse overnight. Here are some of the best options for overnight oat containers and the pros and cons of each.
Mason jars are one of the most popular choices for overnight oats. These glass jars have an airtight seal, allowing you to vigorously shake or stir the oats to fully incorporate the liquid ingredients without making a mess. Mason jars come in a variety of sizes like 8 oz, 12 oz and 16 oz. A 16 oz mason jar is a good choice for most overnight oats recipes.
The pros of mason jars include:
- Airtight lids prevent leaks or spills in your bag
- Durable glass construction won’t absorb odors or stain
- Various sizes to fit your preferred portion of oats
- Allows you to fully mix ingredients by shaking
- Glass won’t retain flavors between uses like plastic can
- Versatile for using jars for food prepping and storage
The potential downsides are:
- Glass is heavier than plastic containers
- Jars can break if dropped
- Temperature changes can cause lids to seal too tightly
Overall mason jars are a smart choice for overnight oats. Their airtight seal works perfectly for mixing up oats and carrying them on-the-go. Just be mindful of the added weight over plastic containers.
Plastic Storage Containers
Plastic storage containers are another excellent option for overnight oats. They are lightweight and come in just as many sizes and shapes as glass jars. Round single-serving containers are ideal for portable overnight oats. Larger rectangular containers are great for meal prepping several servings at once.
The benefits of plastic containers include:
- Lightweight compared to glass
- Variety of portion sizes and shapes
- Clear plastic lets you view contents
- Stain resistant
- Attachable lids often seal tightly
- Microwave and dishwasher safe
The downsides to be aware of:
- Plastic can absorb odors and stains over time
- Less durable than glass so more prone to cracks
- Not as airtight as mason jars
- Can’t be shaken vigorously to mix ingredients
Plastic works well for overnight oats, especially if you want lightweight and portable containers. Just keep in mind plastic won’t seal quite as tightly or last as long as glass. Properly sealing containers and avoiding vigorous mixing will minimize any leaking issues.
Silicone food containers offer a flexible, lightweight option for overnight oats. Silicone has a tight seal when the lid is on properly. It is durable and flexible so these containers are great for carrying in bags without worry.
The main pros of silicone containers:
- Lightweight and collapsible for portable storage
- Tight lids form a good seal to prevent spills
- Withstands heat well so can be used for hot oats
- Stain resistant and won’t absorb odors
- BPA-free and non-toxic
- Doubles as stretch lids for bowls
The potential cons to keep in mind:
- Prone to staining from strongly colored foods like turmeric
- Not as durable for frequent use as glass or hard plastic
- Not recommended for microwave use
- Can retain some food odors over time
Silicone makes a handy container for overnight oats if you want something collapsible and lightweight. The seal works well if the lid is on correctly. Take care when packing it to avoid spills.
Factors to Consider
When selecting an overnight oats container, here are some key factors to keep in mind:
- Portion size – Choose a container size that matches the serving of oats you want for breakfast or meal prep.
- Airtight seal – A tight seal prevents spills and allows you to mix vigorously.
- Durability – Durable materials like glass and hard plastic withstand frequent use.
- Weight – Glass jars are heavier than plastic or silicone.
- Shape – Tall, narrow openings make it easier to eat oats directly from the container.
- Visual appeal – Clear containers allow you to see the layers and ingredients.
- Budget – Mason jars and silicone lids offer an affordable option.
Think about your own priorities like portability, prep size and budget when selecting your container.
Based on factors like durability, sealing and ease of eating from the container, here are some top recommendations:
Best Overall – Wide Mouth Mason Jars
Wide mouth mason jars are one of the best choices for overnight oats. The wide opening makes it easy to eat oats right from the jar with a spoon. They seal tightly to avoid spills and allow mixing ingredients. Different sized jars accommodate various portion sizes. Glass doesn’t absorb odors or stains either. The heavier weight is the only downside.
Best for Portability – OXO Good Grips Snap Glass Round Container
This round single-serve OXO container has a glass body for durability with a tight sealing plastic BPA-free lid. The slim shape easily fits in bags. OXO is known for quality designs and this container has tabs that snap the lid on securely. The glass construction won’t retain odors or stains either.
Best Budget – Snapware Total Solution Plastic Containers
These plastic containers are affordable, Microwave and top-rack dishwasher safe. Lids seal tightly enough for overnight oats and feature vents for microwaving. The plastic won’t last as long as pricier options but gets the job done on a budget. A variety of sizes are available for single servings or meal prepping multiple days’ worth.
Best for Prep – Glass Meal Prep Containers by Meal Prep Haven
These glass meal prep containers come in sets of 5 divided compartments containers. You can easily prep and separate a week’s worth of overnight oats flavors and ingredients in one batch. The borosilicate glass is microwavable and won’t stain. The plastic lids create a decent seal and are BPA-free.
Tips for Choosing the Right Container
- Match the container size to your ideal portion of overnight oats.
- prioritize an airtight seal to avoid spills and leaks if shaking or traveling.
- Glass and hard plastic containers will be the most durable for frequent use.
- Silicone containers work well but require more gentle handling.
- Clear containers make your oats look appealing and show the ingredients.
- Wide mouths or narrow containers make it easier to eat from the jar.
- Shake glass containers to fully incorporate ingredients instead of stirring.
- Avoid vigorous shaking of soft plastic containers to prevent leaks.
The right overnight oats container keeps your oats fresh, portable and easy to eat on busy mornings. Consider your personal preferences for durability, weight, shape and budget. With so many options available, you should have no trouble finding the perfect overnight oats vessel.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use a protein shake container?
Protein shake containers can work well for overnight oats since they typically have a screw-on lid that seals tightly. Make sure to thoroughly wash the container if reusing it to prevent protein or supplement flavors from transferring to your oats. The plastic construction won’t be as durable as glass long-term. But protein containers offer a convenient overnight oats vessel you may already have on hand.
What about yogurt containers?
Empty yogurt tubs or cups can also double as overnight oats containers in a pinch. They are obviously the perfect size for a single serving of oats. However, their lids usually don’t seal as tightly as mason jars or designed storage containers. The seal tends to weaken after multiple uses too. Make sure to seal it thoroughly or transport it carefully upright to avoid spills. Overall, yogurt containers work but aren’t ideal for frequent overnight oats prep.
Can I use a bowl with plastic wrap?
Covering a bowl with plastic wrap can technically work for overnight oats. But it’s one of the least convenient and secure options. The plastic wrap won’t create an airtight seal like a lid. This means you need to be extra careful transporting the homemade “container” to avoid spills and leaks. You also can’t shake or mix up the oats easily. And eating directly from the bowl wrapped in plastic isn’t very workable. It’s better to invest in storage containers designed specifically for preserving food.
Are there containers designed just for overnight oats?
Yes, some companies actually make containers marketed specifically for overnight oats. Examples are the Prepdeck Overnight Oats jars and the BlenderBottles Overnight Oats containers. These usually include small jars or shaker bottles with lids made to securely seal ingredients. The containers also often have markings for portion measurements built in. Products designed expressly for overnight oats take the guesswork out of picking a container. But you still have cheaper options that work nearly as well.
Can I use a regular Ball mason jar?
Regular mason jars, like those made by Ball, certainly get the job done for overnight oats. They have one downside compared to wide mouth jars specifically. Since their openings are narrower, it can be trickier to eat the oats out of them. Make sure to use a long handled spoon that fits inside the narrow jar. Also be careful of “mason jar shoulders” splashing your oats as you try to spoon them out. Wide mouth jars eliminate these minor annoyances. But regular mason jars still seal up your oats for soaking and shaking.
When it comes to choosing an optimal overnight oats container, you have plenty of options. Durable glass mason jars allow you to vigorously shake oats to incorporate ingredients evenly and provide an airtight seal for transporting without leaks. Plastic storage containers offer a lightweight alternative better suited for grab and go eating. Just avoid excessive shaking which can cause plastic lids to leak. Silicone containers provide another lightweight and foldable choice if you want to easily tuck oats into a packed bag or purse.
Think about priorities like portion size, mixing method, eating from the container ease and budget when deciding what works best for your lifestyle. With so many affordable and readily available vessels, it’s easy to find the right container to unlock the convenience and deliciousness of overnight oats for your busy mornings.