Are overnight oats good for weight gain? Healthy overnight oatmeal can help support weight loss or weight gain, depending on the recipe. Learn how to make overnight oats for weight gain with this high calorie overnight oats recipe. This healthy breakfast tastes like dessert, helping you eat enough to meet your goals. Get tips on making gluten free, high protein, and vegan overnight oats for gaining weight!
There can be many reasons someone may have difficulty gaining weight. Your physician can help pinpoint what is going on if you struggle to gain weight.
If you’ve ruled out medical issues but are looking for a weight increase, make overnight oats with yogurt! This healthy overnight oats weight gain recipe may help you with your goal.
It’s easy to let nutrition slide when you want to gain more weight. Cakes, cookies, and other grain-based desserts might become a regular thing in the diet instead of a special treat. Unfortunately, these foods are mostly empty calories packed with white flour, white sugar, and added oils.
This carrot cake overnight oatmeal with cream cheese icing gives you all of the flavors of your favorite dessert. However, this healthy oatmeal breakfast has no refined grains, no added oil, and no refined sugars. Instead, you’re getting nutritious high-calorie ingredients like whole grain oats, dates, raisins, and whole milk dairy.
This overnight oats recipe will satisfy your sweet tooth but has enough protein to make it a meal. And if you don’t like carrot cake, no worries! Don’t miss the “Oatmeal Topping” section below for more info on how to make overnight oats high calorie.
- 📋 Calories, Net Carbs, Protein
- ⭐ Benefits
- 🥘 Ingredients
- 🍽 Equipment
- 🔪 How to Make Overnight Oats for Weight Gain
- ️️🌡️ Leftovers
- 🥣️ High Calorie Oatmeal Toppings and Mix-Ins
- 💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
- 🧇 Other High Calorie Breakfast Recipes
- 👩🏻🍳 More Overnight Oats Recipes
- The Disclaimer…
- 📖 Recipe
- 💬 Comments
📋 Calories, Net Carbs, Protein
One serving of this overnight oatmeal for weight gain has 732 calories, 80.5 grams net carbs, and 27.2 grams protein. (As you can see, overnight oats are not a great choice for low carb and keto diets!)
What are the benefits of overnight oatmeal for weight gain? Here are some reasons this easy recipe is a super way to start the day:
- Easy meal prep: In its simplest form, all you have to do to make overnight oats is soak oats in liquid and refrigerate. Make a few overnight oats jars at once, and you’ll have an easy breakfast ready for the next few days. These are no cook oats!
- Vitamins and minerals: One-third cup of rolled oats (the amount in this recipe) provides small amounts of certain B vitamins, such as thiamin. Per Cronometer, rolled oatmeal also provides minerals such as manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and selenium.
- Protein: Oatmeal is mostly a carbohydrate food, but when you make overnight oats with Greek yogurt, you get protein too. “Proats” (protein oats) are super for bodybuilding, a post workout meal, and others looking eat high protein.
- Fiber: Unlike many weight gain foods, this recipe for overnight oats is packed with fiber-rich whole grains and fruit. You’re getting almost 10 grams of fiber per serving.
- Added sugar free: Most recipes for overnight oatmeal contain added sugars like honey, maple syrup, white sugar, or brown sugar. It's true these energy-dense ingredients can help you gain weight. That said, dates and raisins give you fiber and phytonutrients that added sugars don't provide.
- Vegetables: Veggies are pretty low calorie, but that doesn’t mean you should stop eating them for weight gain! Breakfast is usually a meal where the veggies are lacking. You get ½ cup of carrots with each serving of these weight gainer oats.
- Delicious: This oatmeal that tastes like carrot cake, down to the creamy cream cheese frosting! It’s a tasty and healthy way to support weight gain.
Here’s what you need to make this recipe for overnight oats for weight gain:
- Dry oatmeal
- Pitted Medjool dates
- Hot water
- Grated carrot
- Plain Greek yogurt (use whole milk yogurt)
- Pumpkin pie spice
- Milk (use whole milk)
- Whipped cream cheese
- Toasted and chopped pecans
Quick oats or old fashioned rolled oats will give the best texture for this recipe. Steel cut oats don’t soften enough for most overnight oats recipes. Instant oats packets tend to make mushy overnight oatmeals, and they often contain added sugar.
There are “quick steel-cut oats” that cook in about 5 minutes. Those may work in overnight oatmeal recipes, but I have not tested them here.
Medjool dates are my secret ingredient for making oatmeal that tastes like dessert! They are typically 140 calories per 2 dates, a great choice for making high calorie oatmeal. Find them in the produce section of the grocery store, not the baking aisle.
Choosing full fat versus reduced fat or non-fat dairy can add around 100 calories to this weight gainer recipe. I highly recommend using Greek yogurt. It contains more protein than regular yogurt (and is the main protein source in this oat recipe).
Specific quantities for the ingredients are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post!
To make weight gain overnight oatmeal, you need the following:
- Overnight oats container
- Food processor
There are lots of things you can use for overnight oats containers. My favorite is a pint-sized wide-mouth mason jar with lid. I like the squat wide-mouth jars for this recipe, as I find they’re easiest to fill and eat out of.
Glass canning jars are great because they come with a lid to keep dust and other things out while the oats sit. If you don’t have glass jars however, no worries.
You can use just about any food-safe container (if it’s large enough) for overnight oats. Use your favorite Tupperware, other plastic containers, a large coffee mug or drinking glass, or a bowl. Cover the container with plastic wrap before letting the oats soak in the fridge.
We’re going to use the food processor to puree the dates. If your processor has a shredding disc, you can also use it to grate the carrots.
If your food processor is large, it can be tough to make a completely smooth puree of only 2 dates. I usually make a larger batch of date puree at once, and use the extra in other recipes. You can also use a mortar and pestle to smoosh dates, but this can be more time consuming.
🔪 How to Make Overnight Oats for Weight Gain
Let’s make high cal overnight oats! Start by soaking the pitted dates in hot water for 5 minutes.
Next, put the dates and water in a food processor and blend until smooth. If the dates stick to the sides of the processor, stop blending, scrape the sides with a spatula, and continue blending. As mentioned above, it may be easier to blend a larger quantity of soaked dates at once.
Let the dates cool to room temperature. If you didn’t buy carrot that was already grated, grate the carrot now.
In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the oats, carrots, half of the date paste, raisins, yogurt, pumpkin pie spice, and 6 tablespoons of milk. Put the mixture in a pint jar (or other similarly-sized food-safe container).
In a small bowl, use a butter knife to stir together the whipped cream cheese, other half of the date paste, and 2 teaspoons of milk. A whisk doesn’t do well here, the mixture likes to stick! Spread this cream cheese icing mixture in an even layer over the jar of overnight oats.
Sprinkle the chopped pecans on top and put a lid on the jar. Refrigerate the oats for 8 hours (or overnight). You can enjoy this grab-and-go breakfast straight from the fridge.
How do you store overnight oatmeal? You can keep this high calorie overnight oatmeal recipe in covered containers in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. I like to make several jars at a time for an easy meal prep option.
These are meant to be eaten chilled, so you aren’t heating the yogurt. If you’d rather enjoy them heated, leave the yogurt out until after heating.
Can overnight oats be frozen? The answer to this question really depends on the recipe!
This weight gainer overnight oatmeal can be frozen in individual portions for up to three months. Allow the oats to fully defrost in the fridge before eating. Keep in mind that the texture of the oatmeal will be mushier when it is frozen and thawed.
🥣️ High Calorie Oatmeal Toppings and Mix-Ins
If you don’t like the flavor of carrot cake, there are so many other ways to make high calorie overnight oats! You can mix and match your favorite ideas below to make something that appeals to you.
Here are some other high calorie mix-ins for overnight oats:
- Peanut butter and other nut butter (almond butter, cashew butter, hazelnut butter, etc.)
- Seed butter (sunflower seed butter, tahini)
- Added fats such as olive oil (by volume added fats are some of the highest calorie foods)
- Full-fat coconut milk
- Heavy cream
- Cottage cheese (look for 6%)
- Cooked egg yolks (for savory overnight oats)
- Protein powder (whey protein or dairy-free plant-based protein)
- Dry milk powder
- Peanut powder
- Mashed banana
- Dried fruits (e.g., dried apricots, dried apple, dried cranberries, dried mango)
If you use protein powder in overnight oats, make sure to pick one with a flavor you enjoy. You will be able to taste it!
Dried fruits are usually a better option than fresh fruits if you want to make oatmeal high calorie. Dried fruit has the water removed, shrinking it down in size (and concentrating the calories). You will get more calories from dried fruit compared to fresh for the same volume of food.
These mix-ins aren’t my top picks for making overnight oats high calorie, as they contain added sugar. However, in certain circumstances they can be a good option to help with weight gain:
- Maple syrup
- Fruit concentrates
- Juice concentrates
- Coconut sugar
- Brown sugar
- Chocolate milk (whole milk variety)
- Mini chocolate chips
Finally, don’t forget about these high calorie overnight oatmeal toppings:
- Nuts (walnuts, sliced almonds, macadamias)
- Seeds (flax seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, hemp hearts)
- Shredded coconut
- Whipped cream
💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
This is a level 3 recipe (weight maintenance and active lifestyles). In order to gain weight, your overall diet needs to be in a caloric surplus. That means that on average, you need to be eating more calories than your body is using. Composing your meals so you don’t get full too quickly can help with this goal.
Many ultra-processed foods and other “junk foods” are notorious for providing small, high-calorie portions that are easy to overeat. However, calories aren’t the only thing to pay attention to if you have a weight gain goal. Calories don’t tell you much about the health value of a food, like what essential vitamins and minerals it contains.
Dried fruit (such as raisins) contain a large number of calories in a small portion. The pecans and whole milk are also energy-dense. Unlike table sugar, though, these whole foods provide nourishing micronutrients you need to thrive.
It’s important to think about the macros when making overnight oats for weight gain. Most people find protein to be the most filling macronutrient, with combinations of carbs and fat less filling. You need some protein to make this a meal, but not so much that you get full early.
Also, if you’re looking to gain weight, I would not be afraid of higher fat options. Fat provides 9 calories per gram while carbs and protein only provide 4 calories per gram.
Adding whole milk yogurt, nuts, and other source of fat to overnight oats can quickly pack on the calories. While someone who is trying to lose weight should (usually) cut back portions of these foods, it’s different when you’re trying to gain. Healthful high-fat foods are an important component of most weight gain plans.
To make vegan overnight oats for weight gain, you need to make overnight oats without milk and yogurt. One option is to make high calorie vegan overnight oats with plant-based “milk” and “yogurt” instead. Choose high-calorie soymilk or protein-fortified almond milk or pea milk. Unsweetened almond milk is too low calorie for high calorie vegan recipes.
To make gluten free overnight oats, you need to use certified gluten free oats. Even though oatmeal is naturally gluten free, it is often cross-contaminated with gluten-containing grains. I also recommend making sure that the whipped cream cheese is gluten-free; gluten can be hiding in packaged foods.
Rolled oats and quick oats both provide 150 calories per dry ½ cup. Dry steel cut oats provide 150 calories per ¼ cup (but they are more compact before cooking). What you add to oats and portion size are more important to making a high calorie meal than the type of oats used.
You can lose weight eating overnight oats or gain weight with oats. It’s a calorie surplus or deficit that leads to weight changes, not specific “magical” foods. That said, you can make your breakfast oats meal in a way that helps support eating fewer or more calories.
While you don’t technically have to soak oatmeal for overnight oats overnight, the oats do need to soak for several hours. You can make overnight oats in the morning if you’re planning to have them for dinner instead of breakfast. Alternatively, you can enjoy oats for breakfast the next day.
🧇 Other High Calorie Breakfast Recipes
Need some other ideas for high calorie breakfast foods for weight gain? Check these out next:
- High Calorie Smoothie
- Air Fryer Granola
- Kodiak Cake Waffles
- Kodiak Blueberry Muffins
- Vegan Banana Cookies
- Frozen Waffles in Air Fryer
👩🏻🍳 More Overnight Oats Recipes
Looking for more overnight oatmeal recipes to try? I’ve got you:
- Blueberry Lemon Poppy Seed Overnight Oats
- Applesauce Overnight Oats
- Pumpkin Spice Latte Overnight Oats
- Banana Cinnamon Overnight Oats
- Overnight Oats with Frozen Fruit
All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The nutrition information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don't sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to my overnight oats no sugar post. Let's get cooking!
Overnight Oats for Weight Gain
- ⅓ cup rolled oats (dry, use quick oats or old fashioned oatmeal)
- 40 grams pitted Medjool dates (about 2 dates)
- 2 tablespoons hot water
- ½ cup grated carrot (about 1 medium carrot)
- 2 tablespoons raisins
- 5.3 ounces Greek yogurt, whole milk (150 grams; plain, unsweetened)
- ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 6⅔ tablespoons whole milk (divided; equals 6 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons)
- 2 tablespoons whipped cream cheese
- 2 tablespoons pecans, chopped and toasted
- Let the dates soak in 2 tablespoons of hot water for 5 minutes.
- Blend the water and dates into a paste in a food processor until smooth. You may have to turn off the processor and scrape down the sides a few times with a spatula to get a smooth puree. (Tip: It's easiest to make a big batch of date puree at once if your food processor is large.)
- Let the date paste cool to room temperature. Grate the carrot.
- In a medium mixing bowl, thoroughly combine the oats, half of the date paste, carrots, raisins, yogurt, pumpkin pie spice, and 6 tablespoons of milk.
- Put the oat mixture into a wide-mouth pint jar.
- Mix 2 teaspoons of milk and the other half of the date paste with the whipped cream cheese. (I found it easier to use a butter knife than a whisk to stir this.)
- Spread the cream cheese mixture in an even layer on top of the oats. Sprinkle the pecans on top and put the lid on the jar.
- Cover the jar and refrigerate overnight (8 hours). Enjoy a grab-and-go high calorie breakfast for weight gain the next morning!