Bircher Muesli (Swiss Oatmeal) Overnight Oats

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 breakfast that’s packed with fibre, nutrients and protein to keep you feeling satisfied all morning long. And there’s no cooking involved! This Muesli is filled with wholesome ingredients like rolled oats, fresh apples, nuts, and seeds. Made overnight, this Swiss oatmeal recipe is a healthy and easy breakfast that’s full of flavor and texture. Topping it is the fun part - choose from an array of toppings to stir through these creamy overnight oats that are gluten free and vegan friendly!

Bircher Muesli

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 
  • Just the right amount of sweet
  • Filling, hearty texture
  • Simple to make 
  • Totally Customizable 
  • It’s portable! Simply grab a container of your pre-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

Bircher Muesli

What are Overnight Oats?

Overnight oats are a breakfast dish made with oatmeal which have been soaked overnight (hence the name) in water, milk, yoghurt, juice, or a combination of these ingredients. Other ingredients, such as fruit and nuts, are also often added to the oatmeal for flavour and colour.

What is Bircher Muesli?

Bircher muesli is an uncooked mixture of oats, nuts, seeds, grains, fruit which is soaked in either milk, fruit juice or yogurt and eaten raw. Essentially you mix together a few simple ingredients and soak them overnight to create a soft, nutritious breakfast. Traditionally it’s rolled oats, dried fruit & nuts and grated apple with fruit juice or yoghurt. Overnight oats seem to be making the rounds quite a bit at the moment as an almost-new phenomenon. You might be wondering about Bircher muesli vs overnight oats. Are they the same? Are they different? Well, Bircher muesli is in fact the original overnight oat recipe. The idea has in fact been around for a good century or more (the late 1800s and early 1900s) thanks to a Swiss doctor/nutritionist Maximillian Bircher-Benner. He created it as a way to get his patients to eat more fruit. When you look at this recipe and hopefully try it, think of the beautiful mountains of Switzerland and all that goes with it.

What makes Bircher muesli different from regular Muesli?

You can think of muesli as uncooked granola. In its most basic form, it is a combination of oats nuts, seeds, and fresh or dried fruits. Classic bircher muesli has the same ingredients as traditional muesli, but is softened by soaking the oats in milk or juice overnight. In fact, the original Swiss recipe actually calls for sweetened condensed milk. There are so many variations to bircher muesli. Some recipes add in yogurt while others use lemon juice or cream. One of the reason I love this recipe is it’s versatility!

Bircher Muesli

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.
  • 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
  • Milk - Any will do. Dairy or non dairy
  • Cinnamon & pinch of salt - For flavour. Optional but just a pinch adds a nice hint of flavour
  • Maple syrup - Optional and only if you want a touch of sweetness in your Bircher Muesli.

How to make homemade overnight oats or Bircher Muesli:

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients together - oats, seeds, nuts, dried fruit, shredded coconut
  2. Mix in the wet ingredients into the dry - maple syrup, milk, yoghurt, grated apple
  3. Stir then cover and chill overnight
  4. Serve with a drizzle of extra milk or dollop of yoghurt for extra creaminess and top with toppings of choice and enjoy.
  5. Warm it up - Great if it’s a chilly morning! Simply place in the microwave for a minute or two. A pan on the stovetop would likely be ok too although if you aren’t careful it will thicken up a lot if the oats begin to cook. If it does get too thick just add a bit more milk when serving.

Success tips

  • 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 lots of tasty toppings!
  • If you forget to soak the night before, even soaking 20 minutes or so in the morning will soften the oats a bit. I’d recommend you just use less liquid.
  • The apples are best coarsely grated to leave a bit of crunch since the oats become soft.
  • For more flavourful overnight oats - try toasting your nuts shredded coconut and oats before hand.

Topping ideas

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.

Bircher Muesli

If you liked this recipe you will love these:


Servings: 4
Prep Time: 10 mins
Non active Time: 6-24 hours (for overnight oats)


  • 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
  • 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
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans or slivered almonds

Topping Options

  • Sliced or chopped apples
  • Nut butter dollops
  • Yoghurt dollops
  • Pomegranate arils
  • Sliced persimmon
  • Citrus slices


  1. In a medium bowl, toss the rolled oats, shredded coconut, chia, hemp, salt and cranberries
  2. Add the milk, yogurt, vanilla, maple syrup and grated apple to the oat mixture and stir well to combine.
  3. Cover bowl in plastic wrap or transfer to individual jars or containers. Refrigerate overnight.
  4. 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.
  5. Top with your favourite toppings and enjoy.

Recipe Notes

  • Bircher Muesli will keep covered and chilled for you 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.

Bircher Muesli