Bircher Muesli (Swiss Oatmeal) Overnight Oats
Updated 29th August 2023
This creamy Bircher Muesli also known as Swiss oatmeal, is a make-ahead breakfast aka overnights oats that is portable, easy, low-effort and a versatile and hearty breakfast that is packed with fiber, nutrients and protein to keep you feeling full and satisfied all morning long. There is no cooking involved and you can add just about anything you like to it. This Muesli is filled with wholesome ingredients like rolled oats, fresh apples, nuts, and seeds. Made overnight, this Swiss style oatmeal recipe is a healthy and easy breakfast that’s full of flavor and texture. It is great for meal prep! Topping it is the fun part - choose from a variety of toppings to stir through these creamy overnight oats that are gluten free and vegan friendly!
Why you will love Bircher muesli/overnight oats:
If you haven’t had bircher muesli before, there are so many reasons why I think you’re going to love it
- It’s nutty
- Not too sweet - just sweet enough
- Filling, and super hearty
- Easy to make
- Totally Customizable - always a good thing for any recipe
- It’s portable! Simply grab a container of your prepared Bircher when you’re on the run
- It’s convenient! A quick and easy breakfast or snack to take wherever you go
- It’s nutritious! Packed with a range of health and nutrition benefits from the oats to the fruit to the nuts and seeds
What are Overnight Oats?
Well the name says it all! Overnight oats is an ever popular breakfast meal that is made with oats which have been soaked overnight in water, milk, yoghurt, juice, or a combination of these ingredients. You can add other ingredients to the oats like crunchy nuts and seeds or fruit to sweeten it up. There are so many variations for overnigtht oats - some are more decadent than others this is my staple overnight oats recipe that I make all the time and hope you enjoy it.
What is Bircher Muesli?
Bircher muesli is an uncooked mixture of oats, nuts, seeds, grains, fruit that is soaked in either milk, fruit juice like apple juice with a touch of lemon juice or yogurt and eaten raw. Basically it is a mixture of simple ingredients that are then soaked overnight to create a soft, creamy oat nutritious breakfast since oats are loaded with fiber and other good stuff. Traditionally it’s rolled oats, dried fruit & nuts and grated apple with fruit juice or yoghurt. Overnight oats seemed to have always been around but have become super popular over the last few years. Are overnight oats the same as Bircher Muesli? Are they different? Well, Bircher muesli is in fact THE original overnight oats. In doing some research on this dish I learned that the idea of soaking oats overnight has in fact been around for a good century or more (early 1900s) thanks to a Swiss doctor/nutritionist Maximilian Bircher-Benner. He created it as a way to get his patients to eat more fruit. I chose to add loads of nutrient dense seeds to mine but of course my recipe is merely a guide - feel free to adjust amounts or omit and add according to your taste and what you might have on hand in your pantry at the time you make them
What makes Bircher muesli different from regular Muesli?
Museli is the dry unsoaked oats or combination of dry ingredients - sort of like granola. A combination of oats nuts seeds and dried or fresh fruit. Bircher muesli is really all of those same ingredients of muesli, but softened by soaking them in milk or juice overnight. Some original versions even soaked their muesli in sweetened condensed milk - too sweet for my liking but that is just me. There are loads of variations of bircher muesli out there from what you add to the muesli mixture to what you soak the mixture in. That is actually one of the many reasons I love this recipe - it’s versatility!
What ingredients do I need?
(For detailed measurements and instructions, see the printable recipe card). To make this recipe you will need:
- Oats - Rolled (old-fashioned) oats are best for just the right balance of texture and softness.
- Apple - Grated. If you want to waist it up try using grated pears
- Dried Fruit - Use your favourite dried fruits or just whatever you have available. I love mine with dried cranberries but dried cherries or raisins work too or even chopped dried figs, dates or prunes. The dried cocontu is a staple in mine or flavour and texture - i always use unsweetened
- Seeds or Nuts - I’ve used sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds and chia seeds, but any chopped nuts or seeds are good. I love mine loaded with them for texture and added nutrition.
- Yoghurt - To make a really creamy Bircher Muesli and for probiotic goodness. Plain or vanilla flavour is best. You can use regular, greek or Balkan style yoghurt or a diary free one like coconut yogurt or almond milk yogurt
- Milk - Any will do. Dairy or non dairy
- Cinnamon, Vaniila & pinch of Salt - For flavour. Optional but just a pinch adds a nice hint of flavour. You can play around with the spices if you would like and for extra flavour i like to add vanilla extract but that is optional
- Maple Syrup - Optional and only if you want a touch of sweetness in your Bircher Muesli. You can also add honey instead
How to make homemade overnight oats or Bircher Muesli:
- Mix all the dry ingredients together - oats, seeds, nuts, dried fruit, shredded coconut
- Mix in the wet ingredients into the dry - maple syrup, milk, yoghurt, grated apple
- Stir then cover and chill overnight
- Serve with a drizzle of extra milk or dollop of yoghurt for extra creaminess and top with toppings of choice and enjoy.
- Warm it up - Great idea on a chilly morning! Simply heat in the microwave or stovetop. Most likely you will need to add a little extra liqud to the mixture as it may thicken up more while you heat it up.
- Use rolled (old fashioned) oats. Don’t use steel-cut oats.
- Use a nice thick yoghurt for ultimate creaminess
- Although your own mix-ins are encouraged don’t change the oat/milk/yogurt ratio unless you want it to be thicker or thinner.
- Add loads of tasty toppings!
- If you forget to soak the night before, even soaking 20-30 minutes or so in the morning will help soften the oats. If that is the case make sure to use less liquid because the oats will have less time to soak it all in
- I prefer the fruti (apple or pear) be grated coarsley for some extra texture - but that is just my preference
- For more flavourful overnight oats - try toasting your nuts shredded coconut and oats before hand.
This creamy Bircher is at it’s best when topped with lots of tasty toppings. I love a dollop of nut butter and some sliced apples, or fresh berries or chopped banana. Whatever fruit is in season or that you have on hand really. Some other ideas are:
- Nut or seed butter
- Chopped nuts or seeds
- A swirl of jam or chia jam
- Grated chocolate
- A large dollop of yoghurt
- Fresh fruit - bananas, berries, any fruit you like
- Defrosted frozen fruit
- Lemon curd
- Fruit compote
- Chopped dates
- Poached fruit
Is Bircher Muesli gluten-free?
It is gluten-free if you use certified gluten-free oats to make it.
Is Bircher Muesli healthy?
Yes, it’s loaded with nutrients like fibre, protein, B vitamins, healthy fats and omega 3 fatty acids, among other things. It is a really healthy breakfast as long as you don’t go over the top with sweetener or unhealthy toppings.
If you liked this recipe you will love these:
- 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
- ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 tablespoon hemp seeds or flax seeds
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
- 3 tablespoons dried cranberries
- 1¼ cups almond milk or milk of choice
- 1 cup plain yogurt or coconut yoghurt
- ½-1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 Tablespoon maple syrup or more according to taste
- 1 large Granny Smith apple or apple of choice, cored and grated (peeling is optional)
- ¼ cup chopped pecans/walnuts or slivered almonds
- Sliced or chopped apples
- Nut butter dollops
- Yoghurt dollops
- Pomegranate arils
- Citrus slices
- In a medium bowl, toss the rolled oats, shredded coconut, chia, hemp, salt and cranberries
- Add the milk, yogurt, vanilla, maple syrup and grated apple to the oat mixture and stir well to combine.
- Cover bowl in plastic wrap or transfer to individual jars or containers. Refrigerate overnight.
- To serve: Enjoy right from the jar or spoon out 1-1½ cups of muesli into a bowl. Stir in a splash of milk or dollop of yoghurt to thin out mixture if needed or to get it to desired consistency.
- Top with your favourite toppings and enjoy.
- Bircher Muesli will keep covered and chilled for up to 3 days.
- Amounts of dried fruit, seeds & cinnamon are just a guide. Feel free to add more. Just be sure to keep the oat/milk/yogurt ratio the same.
- If you prefer your bircher muesli warmed up simply heat it up in the microwave or stove top adding more liquid as needed to get the consistency to your preference
- My preferred soak time is overnight for bircher muesli but some prefer a lot less time especially if you are using quick oats. Some prefer 1-2 hours - that is up to you and your prefernece for texture in your bircher muesli
- Some prefer to add the grated apple into the bircher muesli just before serving so that it stays crunchy and crisp that is optional - feel free to add it to soak with the rest of the ingredients or stir it in before serving