Overnight Chia Porridge {soaked for better digestion and nutrition; dairy-free; Paleo, GAPS, Keto}

I may receive a commission if you purchase through links in this post. I am not a doctor; please consult your practitioner before changing your supplement or healthcare regimen.

Most people don’t know that chia seeds are high in phytic acid (and lectins). This recipe provides an easy solution, that reaps a great reward! Overnight oats are currently popular because the work is done the night before and yields a ready-to-go breakfast. But if we’re already letting something sit out overnight, why not SOAK that porridge in the right medium to reduce phytic acid??Β  SO easy! This overnight chia porridge effortlessly soaks chia seeds in the very same creamy, dairy-free milk (with a little-something-special added) that you’ll enjoy come breakfast-time, for better digestion and nutrition! (Read more here about which seeds need to be soaked and why.) Overnight Chia Porridge is Paleo, GAPS and Keto friendly.

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The reason soaked nuts and seeds digest better is the same reason they’re more nutritious after being soaked: The dormant seeds or nuts have been awakened! The defense mechanisms (the phytic acid that protects a plant) convert; the plant sprouts. It was asleep, but now it’s a living thing with more nutrition! You don’t have to see the sprout. Enzymatically the seed or nut has changed. Your body can now break it down easily and utilize its nutrients.

I talk a lot more about soaking seeds here, but in short, we use an acidic or probiotic medium to soak seeds. This pH change lets the seeds know it’s time to begin the germination process. Many modern people soak their oats or chia seeds in plain liquids because they don’t yet know that by adding a small amount of acidic or probiotic liquid they render their food more edible. Many former cultures knew this rule of predigestion, and the same concept is why many native cultures fermented certain foods.

What is Phytic Acid?

What is phytic acid? Phytic acid is a naturally occurring plant compound that interferes with mineral absorption, so it makes our foods less nutritious. Soaking is a first stage of fermentation that reduces phytic acid. Phytic acid reduction is important for digestion, absorption of nutrients and thyroid function. (source)

Chia Seed Nutrition

Once soaked, chia seeds are more the super-food they’re touted to be: high in complex carbohydrates, fiber, protein, minerals and good fats. Chia seeds even contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory plant compounds.

(Chia seeds are not for everyone. If you have leaky gut or autoimmune issues, seeds and nuts may be inflammatory to your body.)

Fiber, Carbs and Keto, Prebiotics and Probiotics

If you just look at the carbs by grams in chia seeds, they seem high, which is fine and great for those who want their energy from complex carbs. But why are chia seeds a safe Keto seed? Chia seeds are actually 86% fiber. (source) Here’s the breakdown for 1 ounce of chia seeds:

  • 12.4 carb grams
  • 10.7 fiber grams
  • 1.7 net carbs

The fiber in chia seeds is mostly insoluble. Chia seeds help move the bowels, cause beneficial (prebiotic) fermentation in the gut and can contribute to the production of ketones. (source) In short, chia seeds can help to create a more diverse and robust gut microbiome.

This Overnight Chia Porridge capitalizes on the prebiotic nature of chia seeds by also adding probiotics. This breakfast or snack ends up being a wonderful source of both, with the potential for improved colon health.

How much to make … and what to add

You can double this recipe, which is what I’ve been doing! That way my always-hungry-family has a ready-to-go and easy snack that’s high in nutrition and low in sweetener. High in protein and complex carbs! I even add Paleo protein powder (here’s the vanilla I buy; here’s the chocolate I buy) or collagen (find it here) to mine! It’s encouraging to make this kind of a treat β€” everyone likes it, it’s basically a ferment (which equals FUN in my book) and it’s HEALTHY!! πŸ™‚

You can leave the porridge out overnight in jars or in one big ceramic bowl, covered. Once the porridge is soaked, you can simply garnish with berries, or stir in various options I list below.

Overnight Chia Porridge {soaked for better digestion and nutrition; dairy-free} #chiaporridge #overnightsoaked #overnightchia #overnightbreakfast #soakedporridge #dairyfreeporridge #paleobreakfast #gapsbreakfast #paleosnack #gapsdietsnack

5 from 1 vote
Overnight Chia Porridge {soaked for better digestion and nutrition!; dairy-free; probiotics}
Prep Time
10 mins
Servings: 2 servings
Calories: 275 kcal
Author: Megan
  • 2 cups homemade nut/seed milk see recipe below in Recipe Notes, or coconut milk; or use raw or cultured milk if you prefer/can have dairy (for Keto, use low carb nuts or seeds to make your milk, such as pecans, walnuts or macadamia nuts, or use heavy cream)
  • 2/3 cup chia seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon non-dairy whey* (see how below); or pickling brine (choose any liquid food source of probiotics with a mild flavor, sauerkraut juice will even work; but nothing spicy or with garlic, obviously)
  • optional add-ins up to 2 Tablespoons maple syrup or honey, berries or dates; protein powder, collagen
  1. In medium size ceramic or glass bowl combine 2 cups milk of choice with 2/3 cup chia seeds and whey (or kraut juice). Stir well.

  2. Allow to sit 15 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes in the beginning to keep seeds from sinking and clumping before they expand. If you want individual portions, transfer porridge to ball jars and cover with lids. Otherwise, loosely cover mixing bowl.

  3. Leave in warm location overnight, up to 24 hours.

  4. Flavor to serve: For Paleo, add up to 2 Tablespoons maple syrup or honey, if desired. For GAPS, use honey. For Keto, use stevia or monk fruit sweetener to sweeten. Add any other mix-ins desired (berries, chopped dates [not for Keto], protein powder, collagen powder). NOTE: If you add protein powder, it is often *already sweetened*, so you won't likely need any additional sweetener added to your porridge.

  5. Transfer to fridge, where seeds will continue to reduce in phytic acid (and probiotics will increase). Porridge keeps well 4-5 days.

Recipe Notes

Homemade nut or seed milk making-nut-milk-ellies-bag

Combine in a high-powered blender: 3 cups filtered water and 2/3 cup raw hemp seeds (or a soaked/sprouted wet nut or seed of your choice). Optionally, add 1/16 teaspoon powdered stevia (or 5 to 8 drops liquid stevia), to taste. Process on medium-high speed for 50 seconds. Straining is optional. I use Ellie's Nut Milk Bag when I strain. (Find it here.) The milk is now ready to use.


Non-dairy whey

This can be collected from any non-dairy yogurt. Simply place yogurt in cheesecloth or coffee filter-lined colander, over a bowl. Allow to sit out overnight. The liquid that drips into the bowl is whey. It's full of probiotics and will inoculate a ferment or predigest the chia seeds in this recipe. (What's left behind in your colander is dairy-free Greek yogurt or yogurt cheese, thick, creamy and delicious.)

Nutrition Facts
Overnight Chia Porridge {soaked for better digestion and nutrition!; dairy-free; probiotics}
Amount Per Serving
Calories 275 Calories from Fat 153
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17g 26%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Sodium 9mg 0%
Potassium 230mg 7%
Total Carbohydrates 4g 1%
Dietary Fiber 19g 76%
Protein 9g 18%
Vitamin A 0.6%
Vitamin C 1.1%
Calcium 35.8%
Iron 24.3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Will you make overnight Paleo soaked porridge?

Comments 49

  1. Yum, yum, yum!!! I would love some with berries on top just like that! We’re having beautiful spring weather here too …. Tiny love jumped out of the car today when we got home and said in the sweetest little voice, “I looooovvvvvveeeee spring because it’s pretty outside, the birds are chirping and flowers are starting to open.” My thoughts exactly. I love this time of the year!

    1. Yeeess!! Just when we need it most, even children! What joy, the seasons. And the fermentation in this porridge is similar, with the seeds becoming more alive, more digestible from the microbial activation that fermentation causes! πŸ™‚ Happy early spring, Emily! πŸ™‚

  2. I thought this was a helpful question from a reader via email: “I have been soaking and using chia seeds lately so really appreciate the recipe. I have been wondering though since chia seeds aren’t soaked and the water drained off, like in making “crispy nuts”, how is the phytic acid removed?”

    Answer: Great question. The transformation is different. With soaking in saltwater, we pour off the water (and some minerals) that contains antinutrients, thus reducing the phytic acid, AND the raw seed or nut converts to a living plant enzymatically (the germination process), which enhances native phytase activity. With probiotic fermentation, (as in the overnight chia seed porridge recipe here) phytic acid is reduced, but not into soaking water. Rather it is solely due to the microbial activation of already present phytase enzymes, reducing the number of phosphate groups in the plant. Fewer phosphate groups mean better absorption of zinc, calcium and iron. Also fermentation produces certain acids that actually boost the absorption of certain
    minerals! Soaking is great (with salt water), but probiotic soaking fermentation is the best; (included in this category is the sourdough process).

    1. Hi Amy, no. By nature, a ferment is happy at room temperature. If anything, it will increase in probiotics. It is not wasted. It becomes Greek yogurt or yogurt “cheese”, but non-dairy versions.

    1. Thanks, Lindsey. We really love berries, especially in winter to get us through the long, dark hours! πŸ˜‰

    1. Possibly, depending on how much you use and how strong the other flavors are. This recipe is slightly sweet, so it’s more of an issue and better to use non-dairy whey.

  3. We make this and love it! I’m wondering if it would freeze well post-fermenting? I’m wanting to prepare easy bkfsts for after baby arrives. Any idea?

    1. Hi Allie, so glad!! No, I don’t think it will freeze well. The probiotics may not survive, and there will be a watery-quality; the texture won’t do well…is my thought. πŸ˜‰ I think you may do better with high-protein baked goods in the freezer. πŸ™‚

  4. This looks so delicious and it’s so EASY. I need to get better with my breakfast routine, so perfect timing with this recipe πŸ˜€

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  5. Hi Megan,
    Thanks for sharing this. Quick question, if the soaked chia seeds cannot be drained, aren’t we consuming the phytic acid contained in the soaking liquid when we eat the porridge?

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      Hi Mariana, great question. Nope. The phytic acid is neutralized within the seed. It doesn’t go out into the soaking water. The seed transforms due to the acidic medium. πŸ™‚

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      Hi Sarah, what can’t you eat? Can you not have dairy or non-dairy whey? You need an acidic medium. Probiotics stirred into your milk would work if kept warm. A small amount of apple cider vinegar would work as well.

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      Hi Lisa, yes! You can use good quality probiotic Greek yogurt in place of the milk actually. You’ll need more than the amount of whey designated in the recipe because whey is more concentrated in probiotics than the yogurt. But you can sub 1 cup or more of the milk with your yogurt. πŸ™‚

  6. Thanks for your Lectin-free AND Low Histamine Food List! I see chia is not on there… and this recipe is made with forbidden fermented foods like yogurt and sourdough… can chia be added to the list if the seeds are soaked in just coconut or oat milk overnight instead? Or… any way ya slice it, chia is a no-go for me? Thx!!!

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      Hi Jennifer, I appreciate your comments and question, but I’m not sure I fully understand. Do I understand correctly that you can not have fermented foods, but you are looking for a way to pre-digest chia seeds so you can still enjoy chia porridge? If so, the way would be to soak overnight with a bit of apple cider vinegar or whey in your coconut milk, and then cook the porridge (gently simmer for a few minutes); this will kill the probiotics in the ACV or whey (so sad) but it will protect your gut if you’re suffering from SIBO or another similar condition that has you off probiotics for now. Thus the chia would be pre-digested. But still, do remember chia as a seed that your body may or may not like right now.

  7. Hi Megan,

    I have ground a whole lot of seeds (chia, flax and sesame) and keep it in my freezer to add to my oats every morning. None of it was soaked. Now that I see it’s important to soak it, could I add it to my organic yogurt for 24 hours or more before adding to my oats porridge?

    Lovely Website!!


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  8. I am new to your fabulous website and this was my first recipe. I made it the first time forgetting the sauerkraut juice – I was so disappointed. I remembered the second time! I even made my own hemp milk; my first time making a seed milk. So wonderful; I’m now addicted to making my own milks. I’ve been GFDF for several years and this is a wonderful addition to my list of favorite recipes. I have a few questions. What is the reason to add the sauerkraut juice? I assume it helps aid the seed to make it more digestible, but not sure you mentioned that specifically. I found a great raw organic sauerkraut that is so delicious. Second, the recipe seems to indicate you mix in the berries before you leave it over night. Hum. I was hoping you would clarify that. I didn’t add the berries until the morning when I made my bowl with granola, berries, and some nuts atop. I love the crunch over the porridge! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe.

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      Hi Crystal, thanks for your comments and questions and so happy to have you here! πŸ™‚ The sauerkraut juice is an easy, non-dairy way of inoculating the chia porridge with probiotics that reduce the antinutrients in chia seeds, yes: making them more digestible, gentle and nutritious. I clarified in the recipe above about the berries, so thank you for asking about that: Add the berries in the morning. You’re welcome, and I’m glad you’re enjoying the recipe and website! πŸ™‚

  9. Hi Megan, thank you for the advice on preparing chia seeds to get rid of phytic acid before consumption. I had no idea!
    I soak my chia seeds in water for an hour before eating breakfast so they are already expanded before they enter my gut. I also add coconut kefir yogurt and a tsp of organic apple cider vinegar to the soaked chia seeds.
    So I get this right, should I instead, add the un soaked chia seeds to my coconut kefir yogurt and apple cider vinegar (forget soaking in water) and leave at room temperature overnight before consuming? Will this cause them to expand’as well as get rid of the phytic acid?

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