Bircher Muesli, sometimes known as Swiss muesli, is a wholesome and delicious overnight oats recipe made with apples, oats, milk, almonds, and raisins.
Our recipe is dairy-free and perfect for making ahead the night before and having it ready for breakfast.
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Bircher Muesli, Birchermüesli in swiss german, is a healthy meal made with rolled oats soaked overnight in milk, then mixed with grated apples and chopped almonds.
Maximilian Bircher-Benner, a Swiss doctor, developed this recipe in the early 1900 to serve as a healthy starter for people that consumed too many calories for dinner.
The muesli, being fulfilling and low calorie, would make people feel satiated, so they would eat less of the actual dinner, losing excess weight and improving their health.
But because the meal was so delicious, it quickly became popular around Europe. Eventually, it became one of the most popular breakfast foods in the world, known simply as muesli, although the original recipe is more like overnight oats.
In our version of Bircher Muesli, we replace condensed milk used in the original recipe (they used condensed milk back then because it was safer than regular milk) with non-dairy milk (like almond, oat, or soy milk).
We think bircher muesli is a great way to start the day. It’s tasty, makes you feel satiated until lunch without the need to snack mid-morning, and thanks to its high fiber content, it keeps your gut happy and healthy.
The recipe is naturally sweet, so if you are switching from Honey Nut Cheerios, drenched in added sugar with a whopping 12 grams per one 37-gram serving, you might need to add a drizzle of maple syrup to get used to Bircher’s muesli natural flavor.
Also known as old-fashioned oats, they are ideal for this recipe because they soak the milk and become soft overnight while keeping you satiated for a long time.
You can replace them with other types of oats. However, we tried quick oats, and while the recipe would work, we think they become too mushy when soaked overnight, and they don’t keep you as satiated.
For gluten-free Bircher Muesli, make sure your oats are labeled gluten-free.
For soaking the oats overnight. You can substitute soy milk, pea milk, or any other milk for almond milk. Coconut milk and cream work, too; however, it’ll increase the saturated fat content of the recipe. You can even use apple juice or applesauce to soak the oats overnight.
They are added as a natural sweetener. You can replace them with cranberries (less sweet), pieces of dates, or other dried fruits such as figs or apricots.
The original recipe calls for toasted almonds, chopped and added on top before serving to add protein and healthy fats. You can replace them with hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or any nuts of your liking.
You can also add ground flax seeds, hemp seeds, and ground chia seeds to increase the nutritional content of the muesli.
Apples are a key ingredient here. Use green apples for a less sweet taste or red apples for a sweeter flavor.
If you don’t like apples, you can replace them with any other raw fruit. For example, try bananas, peaches, apricots, figs, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries. You can also combine one or more fruits.
We put this as optional because it does make the muesli a little too sour for our taste, and we then have to balance the flavor with maple syrup.
Originally lemon juice was added to prevent the apple from browning, but if you add the apple last and eat it immediately, we find that there’s no need for lemon juice.
Also, lemon juice was added to increase the bio-availability of nutrients in the oats, although I’m not sure if that’s scientifically sound.
So basically, what I’m saying is that we eat our bircher muesli without lemon juice.
Optional, based on your taste, you can add a little maple syrup, agave syrup, cinnamon, a drizzle of honey, or any other sweetener of your choice.
This is especially true if your apples are not very sweet or if you add lemon juice.
To a large bowl, add rolled oats, milk, and raisins. Stir, then cover with a plate and let it rest in the fridge overnight.
The following day, stir the mixture with a spoon, then add a portion of the overnight oats to a breakfast bowl.
That’s about a third of the entire mixture if you follow our quantities.
Tip: If you’re not used to eating cold things from the fridge for breakfast, you can safely heat the oats in the microwave for 1 minute.
Grate a whole apple with the large holes of a box grater and add it to the oats.
Optionally, add lemon juice and maple syrup if you wish.
Note: the original recipe calls for one grated apple per serving of muesli, and we love it with these quantities. However, you can use half if one apple is too much for you.
Mix well with a spoon until the grated apple and oats are well combined, then top with chopped toasted almonds.
Although this Swiss oatmeal version is simple, it’s also tasty, fiber-rich, and satiating.
The sweetness and freshness of the grated apple perfectly match the creamy texture of the oats soaked in almond milk. An easy breakfast packed with fresh flavor and crunch.
Loaded Bircher Muesli
An indulgent variation is one with banana, peanut butter, flax seeds, chia seeds, toasted almonds, and a few pieces of dark chocolate (or dark chocolate chips).
This one is great if you want to boost your protein intake, for instance, before or after a workout. It’ll fill you up for several hours!
Bircher Muesli with Berries
This Swiss bircher muesli is delicious with berries as well. Use the basic recipe, and add fresh berries on top or fruit compote. Drizzle with hemp seeds or walnuts for added healthy fats and protein.
You can even add a dollop of greek yogurt to your muesli for extra creaminess; it pairs well with fruits and compote.
This is a great recipe to make in advance. You can either make the portions you need the night before or make more and keep them in the refrigerator (before adding the apple and the toppings) for 3 to 4 days.
You can keep the rolled oats soaking in the refrigerator (before adding the apple) for up to 3 – 4 days. Not suitable for freezing.
We would not recommend cooking bircher muesli. However, you can heat it up in the microwave for a couple of minutes before adding the fresh fruit.
Muesli and Bircher Muesli are the same thing; an overnight oats meal invented by Swiss Doctor Bircher in 1900.
Nowadays, the term muesli is used more broadly for a pack of dry oats mixed with berries, nuts, dried fruits, and sometimes chocolate chips. Bircher muesli, on the other hand, is still associated with the original recipe from Dr. Bircher.
Bircher muesli is made of rolled oats soaked overnight in milk, grated apple, lemon juice, almonds, and raisins.
Bircher muesli is a type of overnight oats and probably the first type of overnight oats ever made as it was first invented in 1900. It’s made with rolled oats, milk, grated apples, raisins, nuts, and lemon juice.
Nowadays there are many types of overnight oats made with all sorts of ingredients such as chocolate, nut butters, and exotic fruits.
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- Box grater
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1⅔ cups almond milk or other milk
- ¼ cup raisins
- ½ cup almonds toasted and chopped
- 3 apples 1 per serving – grated
- 6 tablespoons lemon juice 2 tbsps per serving (optional)
- 1½ tablespoon maple syrup ½ tbsp per serving (optional)
- To a large bowl, add rolled oats, milk, and raisins. Stir, then cover with a plate and let it rest in the fridge overnight.
- The following day, stir the mixture with a spoon, then add a portion of the overnight oats to a breakfast bowl.That's about a third of the entire mixture if you follow our quantities.Tip: you can keep the two leftover portions in the fridge for 3 days.
- Grate a whole apple with the large holes of a box grater and add it to the oats.Optionally, add lemon juice and maple syrup.
- Mix well with a spoon until the grated apple and oats are well combined, then top with chopped toasted almonds.
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