What’s the difference between cold brew and iced coffee?
Despite its name, cold brew doesn’t have to be consumed cold. Instead, the word “cold” comes from the way it’s brewed.
Cold brew coffee is made by grinding beans (you want them coarsely ground) and then soaked in water. While some methods call for soaking it at room temperature, I’ve always made mine by placing the soaking beans in the fridge for 12-24 hours.
After the beans have soaked, you remove them from your cold brew maker. What results is a coffee concentrate that can be combined with water or milk for a cold or hot beverage, or used in recipes like these overnight oats.
In contrast, iced coffee is made by pouring hot water over ground coffee beans (using a coffee maker, french press, aeropress, etc.). Then, to make it cold, the coffee is poured over ice or refrigerated.
While cold brew requires far more coffee beans, you end up with a product that’s less acidic and stronger in flavor than iced.
Ways to make cold brew
As we drink quite a bit of cold brew during the summer, my husband and I splurged on a Kitchenaid cold brew maker. Not only is it super easy to use, but I also like the spout in the front for quick cold brew-access.
However, there are plenty of other options available.
If you’re a coffee snob (like me), I’d recommend going with an actual cold brew maker that has a mesh basket for the beans. I find the filter helps to keep the coffee a bit smoother and prevents any sediment from ending up in your cup.
Rolled oats: For a thicker consistency, use extra-thick rolled oats (I like Bob’s Red Mill). Otherwise any old fashioned-style oats will work. Quick cooking oats will result in a mushier consistency. Do not use instant oatmeal packets!
Chia seeds: Chia seeds are key for thickening the mixture. While you can leave them out, I highly recommend including them. I buy mine in bulk online.
Cinnamon: I like adding just a pinch of cinnamon, but if you’re not a fan of the cinnamon + coffee combo, then feel free to leave it out.
Cold brew: I make my own cold brew concentrate, but store-bought works too, just make sure it doesn’t have added sugars.
Oat milk: Any unsweetened milk will work. I prefer oat, but unsweetened vanilla almond milk would be really good too!
Vanilla extract: Just a splash will add some sweetness and a nice paring with the coffee flavor.
Maple syrup: Due to the bitterness of the cold brew, I found a little maple syrup was needed. You could also add half a mashed banana instead. Or leave it unsweetened.
Almond butter (optional): I love adding nut butters to my oats as they help thicken them even more. They also add a nice boost of protein and healthy fats. Almond, cashew, or hazelnut butters will work. I’d avoid peanut butter as it has too strong of a flavor.
Can you use iced coffee instead?
However, you may need to adjust the amount you use (and the overall ratio of liquid).
Cold brew is a concentrated form of coffee that’s combined with water or milk before drinking. As a result, you don’t need much of it to get that coffee flavor.
If you have leftover brewed coffee you can easily use it instead. I’d just refrigerate it during the day. Once cold, you can use it to make these overnight oats. Instead of adding 1-2 tablespoons, I’d use a full ¼ cup of iced coffee and reduce the milk to ¼ cup.
How to Make Cold Brew Coffee Overnight Oats
Combine all your ingredients in a 16-ounce mason jar or other small container. Stir well using a butter knife.
Seal with a lid and place oats in the fridge overnight or up to 5 days.
In the morning, enjoy your oats cold or reheat in the microwave for 1 minute.
Tips for making this recipe
Slowly increase the amount of cold brew used. Depending on how strong of a coffee flavor you want, I’d start with the recommended amount and then add more in the morning if preferred.
Increase the protein by adding ¼ cup of plain Greek yogurt or a scoop of vanilla (or chocolate) protein powder.
If your oats are too thick, you can thin them out with more milk or coffee in the morning.
More healthy coffee breakfast recipes to try
Looking for more caffeinated breakfast options? Here are some healthy recipes on the blog and from other food bloggers:
If you tried this cold brew coffee overnight oat recipe, or any other recipe on the blog, let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment below! Be sure to follow along on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook for even more deliciousness!
Place all ingredients in a mason jar and stir well to combine. I find a butter knife works best.
Seal with a lid and place in the fridge overnight, or up to 5 days.
In the morning, eat cold straight out of the fridge. Or, you can heat them up in the microwave for 1 minute.
Nutrition for recipe: 405 calories, 18 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 52 mg sodium, 50 g carbs, 11 g fiber, 10 g sugar, 13 g proteinOption to add ¼ cup of Greek yogurt or 1 scoop protein powder for more protein.
I’m Kelli MS, RD, and my mission is to prove that eating healthier doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. Follow along to learn more about food and cooking, with an emphasis on breakfast and sweet treats!
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