These overnight oats have flavors reminiscent of German chocolate cake with toasted coconut and pecans, but with much less effort – and for breakfast! Only 5-10 minutes of prep before you let the fridge do the rest of the work for you overnight.
Does this taste exactly like German Chocolate Cake?
Nope! We'd need to add all sorts of not-so-healthy stuff to make that happen, and the goal was to give you a breakfast option that will strongly remind you of the flavors of that freaking delicious cake – not replace it.
I like to top mine with about a teaspoon of chopped German's Sweet Chocolate, but you could even add some to the oatmeal mixture itself. That will give it a stronger chocolate flavor!
You can usually find German's Sweet Chocolate baking bars in the baking aisle at your grocery store.
What’s the difference between oatmeal and overnight oats?
Oatmeal is generally intended to be eaten warm and made just before serving, whereas overnight oats are meant to be eaten cold and straight out of the fridge. No heat necessary!
With that said, this particular recipe for “German Chocolate Cake” overnight oats calls for an optional step of toasting shredded coconut and pecans in a pan on the stovetop for enhanced flavor. But if you're short on time, you can skip it!
Do I have to toast the coconut and pecans?
You don't, but I strongly encourage it! It only takes a few extra minutes, and the coconut in particular really does give you an absolutely wonderful nutty flavor that you don't want to miss out on.
I like to toast coconut a little bit longer than most, just because I like the little bit of added crunch!
How to make the best overnight oats
The great thing about overnight oats, in general, is that they're easy to customize. You can switch things up based on what you have available and your personal preference.
What is the best ratio for overnight oats?
The best ratio is equal parts oats and milk. If you prefer yours a little less thick, you can add a little more milk.
You could also add one part half as much yogurt for a creamier consistency and more tangy flavor. So for this recipe it would be 1 cup oats, 1 cup milk, and 1/4 cup yogurt.
Use old fashioned rolled oats
Avoid steel cut oats or quick oats for your overnight oats. Old fashioned oats soak up the right amount of liquid without being mushy, but steel cut will be too tough and quick oats will be too soft.
I'm also a big fan of Bob's Red Mill gluten free oats should you require gluten free for your own dietary needs.
Use whatever kind of milk you like
I like to use coconut milk for this recipe because it lends itself nicely to the overall flavor German Chocolate Cake profile, but you could use any dairy or non-dairy milk that you enjoy. Or even chocolate milk! OMG, totally using chocolate milk for mine next time.
Chia seeds are optional, but encouraged!
Chia seeds provide additional fiber, protein and omega-3s and give the oats a thicker consistency because they soak up the liquid and get all plump.
Some people have an aversion to the texture of chia seeds, so you can definitely leave them out if you fall into that camp.
What kind of sweetener should I use?
Maple syrup or honey will both work great as sweetener. If you're vegan, stick with maple syrup. You could also use the same amount of coconut sugar, brown sugar or granulated sugar if you are less concerned with your sugar consumption.
Keep in mind that if you decide to add chopped chocolate to yours, that will add a smidge of extra sweetness.
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted
- 2 tablespoons whole pecans, toasted and chopped
- 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats, for gluten free, I recommend Bob’s Red Mill
- 1 cup coconut milk, can substitute other plant-based or dairy milk, add more as needed
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 3 tablespoons cacao powder
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoon pure maple syrup, to taste (or honey if not vegan)
- Pinch sea salt
- German's Sweet Chocolate, chopped (optional)
Toasting pecans and coconut
- This step is totally optional, but encouraged: In a small saucepan, toast the coconut flakes over medium low heat for a couple minutes until they smell fragrant and start to turn golden in color. Remove from pan and set aside, then repeat with the pecans.2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut2 tablespoons whole pecans
Assemble and chill
- In a small jar, combine all ingredients except for pecans and coconut (set aside a pinch of each for topping when you're ready to serve it), and stir to combine. Stir in pecans and coconut. If it would be easier, you can combine everything in a small bowl and then transfer it to a jar.2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut1 cup old fashioned rolled oats1 cup coconut milk1 tablespoon chia seeds3 tablespoons cacao powder1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract2 teaspoon pure maple syrupPinch sea salt2 tablespoons whole pecans
- Cover with lid and refrigerate overnight. Serve as is, or warm it up in the microwave. Top with a few extra chopped pecans, shredded coconut flakes, and some chopped chocolate if desired, Enjoy!German's Sweet Chocolate
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