How to sweeten overnight oats without sugar? Try my pineapple overnight oats recipe! Take your tastebuds on a trip to Hawaii with these overnight oats with fresh pineapple and macadamia nuts. Meanwhile, ginger yogurt packs in the protein and provides an additional layer of flavor. Get this healthy overnight oats recipe for weight loss, learn more about added sugar versus natural sugar, and much more!
This recipe for overnight oats (no sugar added) is the very first recipe I featured on this website, back in 2019. I’ve updated it with new photos, a recipe video, and more in-depth nutrition information. The recipe itself remains untouched. Enjoy!
Overnight oats are an easy way to enjoy a grab-and-go breakfast on busy weekday mornings. Unfortunately, most recipes for overnight oats are loaded with added sugars.
Many oats recipes are so loaded with added sugars (from maple syrup, brown sugar, honey, etc.) that they’re pretty much dessert. Did you know that grain-based desserts are the top source of calories in the U.S. diet? I think it’s time to draw the line between breakfast and dessert, once and for all.
This recipe for overnight oats with pineapple is unique because it contains no added sugars. The pineapple and milk provide plenty of sweetness from natural sugars, so no added sugar is needed. (Of course, you’re welcome to use a non-nutritive sweetener or sweetened yogurt if you prefer things to be sweeter.)
I’ve encountered so much confusion over the years about what added sugars are. Keep reading to learn exactly when I mean when I say these are overnight oats, no sugar added.
We’ll also go over whether overnight oats are healthy, the best containers for overnight oats, and more. Get comfy- this is gonna be a good one!
- What are overnight oats?
- What are added sugars?
- Is juice added sugar?
- What size containers for overnight oats?
- How to Make Pineapple Overnight Oats
- More Pineapple Recipes
- Guide to the Recipe Levels
- Expert Tips from a Dietitian
- More No Sugar Overnight Oats Recipes
- The Disclaimer…
- 📖 Recipe
What are overnight oats?
In their simplest form, overnight oats are a recipe of dried oatmeal that is soaked in liquid(s) overnight in the refrigerator. The liquid used can be dairy milk, yogurt, water, or plant milk. Other ingredients are also typically added (e.g., fruits, nuts, and seeds) to add flavor and additional nutrients.
What are added sugars?
Before we head into the recipe for pineapple overnight oatmeal, let's talk about what added sugars are. Added sugars are NOT the natural sugars found in fruit and milk. Rather, they are the sugars added to foods during preparation or processing.
Added sugars go by many names on food labels. Here are some other names for added sugar:
- Agave syrup
- Anhydrous dextrose
- Brown rice syrup
- Brown sugar
- Cane juice
- Confectioner’s powdered sugar
- Corn syrup
- Corn syrup solids
- High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
- Invert sugar
- Lactose (when added to products, not the naturally occurring lactose in milk)
- Malt syrup
- Maple syrup
- Nectars (e.g., pear or peach nectar)
- Pancake syrup
- Raw sugar
- White granulated sugar
Whew! It’s a long list, and it’s not exhaustive! It is very easy to consume an excessive number of empty calories when you have a lot of added sugar in your diet. This may make it more difficult to maintain a healthy weight.
Unfortunately, manufacturers did not need to differentiate between added sugars and total sugars on food labels until very recently. This made it difficult to determine how much sugar in certain products was coming from natural sugars versus added sugar.
Oatmeal packets may contain natural sugars from dried fruit, plus additional added sugars. Total sugars on the food label are the sum of the natural sugars plus the added sugars. Now that labels are providing information on added sugar, we can easily determine how much sugar is added to instant oatmeal.
Is juice added sugar?
Fruits and vegetable juices made with 100% juice are not counted as added sugars. On the other hand, foods sweetened with fruits and vegetable concentrates are considered to have added sugars.
Something to keep in mind is that unsweetened juice is a concentrated source of calories, stripped of fiber. I do not recommend making juice drinking a regular part of your diet if your goal is healthy weight management. Water and milk are the best beverage choices.
That said, I may use minimal amounts of juice in my dressing, marinade, and overnight oat recipes. I try to stick to blending whole fruits when I make smoothies.
Are overnight oats unhealthy? In terms of general nutrition, I would say that overnight oatmeal is a healthy breakfast option. (Of course, that does not necessarily mean that breakfast oats are the healthiest option for you and your dietary needs.)
These pineapple overnight oats make a regular appearance on my breakfast menu. Here are some of the reasons why:
- High in fiber: The soluble fiber in oatmeal may help to lower your LDL cholesterol levels. This could possibly reduce your risk for heart disease.
- Protein: This overnight oats recipe with yogurt provides protein! If you tend to overeat oatmeal, adding protein to your meal may help breakfast feel more filling. It’s best to avoid meals of “naked carbs” alone- try to get some protein and fat into the mix too!
- No added sugar: As mentioned above, most overnight oatmeal recipes contain added sugar. Sometimes the recipes will have no refined sugar, but still use added sugar in the form of maple syrup or honey. This overnight oats recipe with no sugar added uses chopped fresh pineapple to give it plenty of sweetness.
- Customizable: Make your pineapple overnight oats gluten free by using certified gluten free oatmeal. This is a vegetarian breakfast recipe, get tips on making vegan overnight oats in the FAQs below! You’re also welcome to add and subtract fruits and nuts to this recipe as it suits your taste preferences.
- Meal prep: Overnight oatmeal is pretty much the quintessential healthy breakfast meal prep. You MUST make overnight oats ahead of time. They’ll be ready and waiting for you in the fridge when you need something to eat when you’re busy.
- Delicious: Think of oatmeal like a blank canvas- you can flavor it however you’d like! There’s no need to settle for bland plain oatmeal. Make it tasty!
You only need a handful of ingredients to make this recipe. Here they are:
- Plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
- 2% milk
- Dry oatmeal
- Fresh grated ginger
- Ginger powder
- Fresh chopped pineapple
- Chopped macadamia nuts
I recommend using old fashioned oats (AKA rolled oats) or quick oats for this recipe. Plain instant oats can work, but they produce oatmeal that’s a little mushier.
You could use canned pineapple instead of the fresh pineapple. If you make this substitution, get the canned pineapple canned in pineapple juice with no added sugar. It’s more nutritious and I think it tastes better than the canned pineapple in heavy syrup.
So that’s all you need, but there are a lot of twists you could take with this basic recipe. For example, how about making pineapple coconut overnight oats? Or add a little rum extract with coconut and make pina colada overnight oats. Yum!
You could also use fresh mango instead of the pineapple here, use sliced almonds and chia seeds instead of macadamia nuts, etc. Overnight oats are pretty flexible. You can change up a lot of things and still end up with something delicious.
What size containers for overnight oats?
I use pint-sized (2 cup) glass canning jars for most of the overnight oats recipes on this website. You can use wide-mouth mason jars, or jars with regular-sized openings. The benefit of using wide mouth jars is that they are easier to fill with the layered ingredients.
If you don’t have glass jars on hand, you can use whatever sort of food storage container you do have. Lidded Pyrex containers, Tupperware, or disposable plastic food-safe containers may all work.
Lidded containers are best to help prevent a mess if the oats accidentally get tipped over in the fridge. The lids also help prevent the oats from drying out. Additionally, they help to keep crumbs from other foods out of your oats.
How to Make Pineapple Overnight Oats
Let’s talk about how to make overnight oats without sugar! I promise this one is super easy.
Start by peeling, coring, and chopping up your pineapple. You should also grate the fresh ginger root and chop the macadamia nuts.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, milk, oats, fresh ginger, and dried ginger. Put half of this oat mixture into a two-cup canning jar. Top with half of the chopped pineapple.
Now put the last half of the oats into the jar, followed by the last half of the pineapple. Top with the chopped macadamia nuts.
Put the lid on the jar and refrigerate overnight. Your pineapple overnight oats will be ready to eat the next morning!
More Pineapple Recipes
You might have some leftover pineapple after making this recipe. Don’t let it go to waste! You could enjoy it as a snack, or try one of these other recipes using pineapple:
- Award-Winning Peach and Pineapple Salsa
- Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp with Pineapple Dipping Sauce
- Peach Pineapple Smoothie
- Watermelon Ice Lollies with Mango and Pineapple
- Hummingbird Cake Oatmeal
Guide to the Recipe Levels
You may notice in the expert tips section that I’ve divided all recipes, including this overnight oatmeal recipe, into three levels. You are, of course, welcome to enjoy recipes from any category that you wish (I certainly do).
However, choosing more level one recipes may be more supportive of a weight loss goal. When chosen consistently, level three recipes are better for weight maintenance (or weight gain) and those with active lifestyles. Here is how I have decided to categorize:
Level 1: May Help Support Fat Loss
These recipes will contain plenty of filling protein, fiber, and/or water to help with satiety for fewer calories. Per serving these recipes will usually contain:
≤ 500 calories for meals, ≤ 100 calories for snacks
Level 2: Transition or Weight Maintenance
The recipes at this level may help those who have met their weight goal and are transitioning to their maintenance calorie level. Maintenance for some smaller and/or less active individuals may be here. On the other hand, some larger-bodied individuals may succeed with weight loss here. Per serving these recipes will typically contain:
501-700 calories for meals, 101-200 calories for snacks
Level 3: Weight Maintenance and Active Lifestyles
Some of the food I eat currently fits this category. These nutrient-rich recipes contain adequate calories to help support my active lifestyle while still keeping me in healthy weight maintenance. Per serving these recipes will usually contain:
> 700 calories for meals, > 200 calories for snacks
I am putting most recipes containing flour or dried fruit in this category, regardless of the number of calories they contain. Bread and grain-based desserts are the top two sources of calories in American diets; this includes whole-grain varieties. It may be easier to create the calorie deficit needed for weight loss by limiting products made with flour.
Expert Tips from a Dietitian
This is a level 2 recipe (transition or weight maintenance). I’ve seen people complain that oatmeal isn’t very good for weight loss because it’s not very filling. I agree that the way most enjoy oatmeal (from those instant oatmeal packets loaded with added sugar and minimal protein) isn’t filling at all.
However, IMVHO skipping the added sugar and adding protein-packed yogurt to a small portion of oatmeal makes this grain much more filling. This nutrient-rich pineapple overnight oats recipe easily carries me through until lunchtime. Try it and see if it changes your opinion on oatmeal.
If you need a lower calorie recipe, lighten things up by using skim milk in place of the 2% milk. The amount of nuts can also be cut in half.
Add more energy density (i.e., more calories) to this recipe by substituting whole milk and whole milk yogurt. You may use a sweetened vanilla yogurt instead of the plain yogurt here if you prefer things sweeter, but that will add additional calories and added sugar.
Consider reduced sugar or low sugar varieties of yogurt if you want to cut back without completely eliminating the sugar. Reducing the added sugar in your diet is a great strategy that may help your taste buds adjust to foods without excessive sugar.
Want to make this recipe sweeter without sugar added (or additional calories)? Try stirring two pinches of stevia into the oat mixture before putting it in the jar. It’s a nice alternative to using brown sugar, maple syrup, or honey.
You can heat overnight oats if you’d prefer. However, heating may kill the probiotics in the yogurt used in this recipe.
You could make overnight oats with no yogurt, but you’d lose out on protein. (I made overnight oats with Greek yogurt here for MORE protein than regular yogurt!) If you won't be making overnight oats with yogurt, consider adding protein powder, skyr, or another protein source instead. Alternatively, you could enjoy some eggs or cottage cheese as a protein-packed side dish.
Resistant starch is a type of carb that resists digestion in the small intestine. Raw oats do contain resistant starch and the amount they contain is higher than in cooked oats. Overnight oats are a better choice than cooked oats if you are looking to increase the amount of resistant starch in your diet.
Steel cut oats don’t tend to soften to my liking in overnight oats recipes. If you want to use steel cut oats in overnight oats recipes, try quick cooking steel cut oats. These oats are chopped into tinier pieces than most steel cut oats, making it easier for moisture to penetrate.
Though these are overnight oats with no sugar added, this is not a low carb recipe. The oats, pineapple, and milk in this recipe are high carb ingredients. This recipe for pineapple overnight oats has 45.3 grams of net carbs per serving.
Make overnight oats non-dairy using unsweetened soy milk and soy yogurt. I have a list of recommended plant-based milks on my freebies page. (P.S. Almond milk typically doesn’t cut it for protein.)
More No Sugar Overnight Oats Recipes
Great news- all of my overnight oatmeal recipes contain no added sugar! After you make my no sugar pineapple overnight oats, you might want to try these:
- Peach Jam Overnight Oats with Pecans
- Carrot Cake Overnight Oatmeal
- Banana Cinnamon Overnight Oats
- Blueberry Lemon Poppy Seed Overnight Oats
- Applesauce Overnight Oats
- Overnight Oats with Frozen Fruit
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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.
Pineapple Overnight Oats (No Sugar, Gluten Free)
- 5.3 ounces Greek yogurt, non-fat (150 grams; plain, unsweetened)
- ¼ cup milk, 2%
- ⅓ cup rolled oatmeal, dry (can also use dry quick oats)
- 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
- ½ teaspoon dried ginger
- 1 cup fresh chopped pineapple
- ¼ cup macadamia nuts, chopped
- Peel, core, and chop your pineapple. Grate the fresh ginger root and chop the macadamia nuts.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, milk, oatmeal, and two types of ginger.
- Put half of the oat mixture into a pint jar.
- Top with half of the chopped pineapple.
- Layer the rest of the oat mixture on top of the pineapple.
- Add the rest of the pineapple to the jar and top with macadamia nuts.
- Cover the jar and refrigerate overnight. Enjoy a grab-and-go breakfast the next morning!