Swiss Bircher Muesli

The Original Overnight Oats, Swiss-Style

How to make Bircher Muesli, the traditional oatmeal breakfast from Switzerland, just oats soaked with cider or juice or milk, then embellished with Greek yogurt, nuts, seeds, dried fruit and winter spices. It's an easy, healthy make-ahead breakfast for weekend and holiday mornings.

Swiss Bircher Muesli, classic overnight oats ♥, a breakfast treat with dried fruit and nuts.

Whole Food, Simply Prepared. Real Food, Fresh & Flexible. An Easy, Healthy Breakfast. Hearty & Filling. A New Addition to The Homemade Pantry, a Kitchen Parade Specialty. Budget Friendly. Weekday Easy, Weekend Special. Perfect When Cooking for One or Two. Scales from Small Plates to Large Platters. Easy DIY. Already Vegetarian & Easily Converted to Vegan. Naturally Gluten Free. So Good!!

  • "It was great! Delicious! I will certainly do it again." ~ carladuc

Me in the Swiss Alps, hiking from one Bircher Muesli breakfast to the next.

Falling In Love with Muesli

Way back in 2000, I was lucky enough to spend ten days hiking in Switzerland.

We stayed in several small hotels, one in the largest city of Zurich, others in the countryside.

Each hotel served Bircher Muesli in their breakfast buffets. Each hotel's version was slightly different but each one was so good that day after day, I skipped past the beautiful cheeses and breads for one more tasty bowlful of this oat-yogurt-fruit-spice-nut mixture!

So I Brought Bircher Muesli Home

Once home, I learned how to make homemade Bircher Muesli. It's such a treat, a taste of the Alps and Heidi meadows, right here at home, no plane tickets required!

And it calls to me, especially during the winter.

On wintry holidays, mornings can start ever so slowly around here.

The first one up knows to start the coffee and fill the cats’ dishes. The dog does puppy cartwheels by the door when someone dons a coat and reaches for the leash.

The lazy ones gather in the sun-warmed family room, mugs in hand and legs tucked beneath still-PJ-clad bodies. My sister picks the morning’s music. My brother-in-law asks, “Are we ready for another pot?”

Slowly everyone emerges, sleepy and slow. “How was your sleep?” someone asks. “Good.”

It is good, these simple morning moments, these quiet exchanges, the stuff of family content far distant from the busy-ness and busi-ness the season somehow develops.

What, Exactly, Is Bircher Muesli?

And how does Bircher Muesli compare to, well, other muesli? And what about overnight oats? Is Bircher Muesli the same or different than overnight oats?

First, let's briefly describe Bircher Muesli.

Bircher Muesli starts with uncooked rolled oats (aka raw oatmeal) that're soaked overnight in a liquid (in my recipe, the liquid is apple cider, dairy milk or a plant-based milk) plus the fresh fruit (usually grated apple) and yogurt stirred in just before serving.

#1 IS MUESLI THE SAME AS GRANOLA? Well, it's a bit complicated.

It's tempting to just call store-bought muesli products "granola" because whatever the boxes read, the grocery store versions of muesli and granola are super similar.

For example, the Trader Joe's muesli is sold dry like granola and other breakfast cereals; the ingredient list includes whole grain oats, sunflower seeds, raisins, rice crisp, caramelized pear juice concentrate, pumpkin seeds, coconut, dried apples and sliced almonds.

Sounds like granola, right?

#2 IS HOMEMADE MUESLI THE SAME AS HOMEMADE GRANOLA? No. Homemade versions of muesli and granola are different, they are NOT the same.

There are other differences too.

  • Bircher Muesli includes fresh fruit, especially apple.
  • For granola, you might well throw some fresh fruit on top of granola. But it's not the same, it's an "extra" for granola, sort of like maple syrup tastes really good on pancakes but it's not pancakes.

#3 IS BIRCHER MUESLI THE SAME AS OVERNIGHT OATS? No. But Bircher Muesli is definitely more similar to overnight oats than muesli is to granola. But there are differences.

  • Bircher Muesli includes oats but also cider or milk, fresh and dried fruit, nuts and seeds, spices.
  • Overnight oats tend to lean heavily on the oats.

Some folks do add fruit, nuts, spices, etc to their overnight oats: LOL whether they know it or not, they've turned their overnight oats into Bircher Muesli.


  • #1 There's not much difference between a box of store-bought muesli and a box of grocery-store granola.
  • #2 There is a big difference between homemade muesli and homemade granola, starting with soaked oats for muesli and baked oats for granola.
  • #3 Bircher Muesli is more similar to (but not the same as) overnight oats than muesli is to granola.
Swiss Bircher Muesli, classic overnight oats ♥, a breakfast treat with dried fruit and nuts.

About This Recipe: Swiss Bircher Muesli (Swiss-Style Overnight Oats)

  • Swiss Bircher Muesli [also spelled Müesli, pronounced MYOOS-lee] is the original overnight oats that's taken the food blog world and TikTok by storm. In my kitchen, it's the perfect breakfast accommodation for early- and late-risers and big- and light-eaters, each to their own.
  • Distinctive Ingredients = Old-Fashioned Oats + Apple Cider (or another juice or milk) + Apple + Greek Yogurt
  • Short Ingredient List = all the above + lemon juice (omit if using milk) + a few nuts + a few seeds + a little honey or another sweetened + a little dried fruit + a sprinkle of spice
  • For Garnish = Pomegranate seeds are extra pretty!
  • It takes just 5 minutes to prep the Muesli the night before serving. In the morning, it may take another 10 minutes to prepare a few bowls for serving but in my house, we do self-serve, everyone choosing their own embellishments.
  • Bircher Muesli can look a bit brown and mushy, be sure to embellish with bits of pretty fruit and nuts.
  • Bircher Muesli is sooo adaptable, use what you like, add as much as you want. And each person can do the same, according to their own tastes!
  • This is pantry-friendly recipe, especially if you keep nuts, seeds and dried fruit on hand.
  • This is a calorie-friendly recipe, though nuts, seeds and dried fruit are calorie-dense so if you're watching calories, use these sparingly.
  • The recipe is written for one but is easily scaled up for a group or even a crowd.
  • This recipe works especially well for those Cooking for One or Two.
  • So good! I hope you love it!

  • Here's a vegetable version of Swiss Muesli, Carrot & Fruit Oatmeal Slump Any surprise that my then-young nephew selected the name?
  • Not quite what you're looking for? Check out my other breakfast & brunch recipes.

What's In Swiss Bircher Muesli? Pantry Ingredients!

In all my recipes and most well-written recipes, every ingredient serves a purpose. Each one matters. Each one contributes to the overall dish. It's not that an ingredient can't be substituted by something else but when choosing the substitute, it's important to understand why the original ingredient was present in the first place.

  • Uncooked Oats Choose old-fashioned rolled oats rather than quick oats or instant oats (which will turn mushy) or steel-cut oats (which are too dense to soften). My notes say that many years ago, I made Muesli with oat bran and wheat germ but today, those strike me as poor choices because they're so small and it seem like they could just turn to sludge.
  • Apple Cider is my favorite liquid for Muesli but orange juice works, so do both dairy and plant-based milks. You probably want to avoid a dark juice like cranberry or pomegranate, I think it would stain the oats in an unpalatable way.
  • Lemon Juice adds a bit of acidity to the sweet cider but should be skipped if using milk, it would like curdle the milk.
  • Grated Apple adds sweetness and freshness to the Muesli, leave the skins on for a little color too. No apple? Choose another firm, wet fruit.
  • Greek Yogurt adds creaminess plus a nice hit of protein. Other yogurts can work too, so could something like kefir.
  • Honey adds a smidgin of extra sweetness, maple syrup is a good substitute, so is a small sprinkle of brown sugar or raw sugar.
  • Toasted Nuts add much-need texture contrast, just use what you have on hand, just one kind or a mixture. Do be sure to toast the nuts, drawing out their natural nutty flavor. How to toast nuts? Here's how.
  • Seeds are a nice addition, think sesame seeds, sunflower seeds.
  • Dried Fruit adds color and another texture. Do cut the fruit up so it's small and can be stirred in, the exception is any fruit used for garnish.
  • Spices add a final bit of pretty oomph, use what you love, just a sprinkle.

How to Make Swiss Bircher Muesli

The detailed recipe is written in traditional recipe form below but here are the highlights in just three easy steps. You can definitely do this!

  • THE NIGHT BEFORE SERVING Just soak the oats, apple cider (or another liquid) overnight.
  • IN THE MORNING Grate some apple and stir it into the oats along with yogurt and a splash of a natural sweetener like honey or maple syrup.
  • PLATE! For individual servings, fill cereal bowls with the oat mixture. Then prepare to embellish to your heart's content with nuts, seeds, dried fruit and a sprinkle of spices., letting everyone add whatever appeals, whatever appetite demands, whenever spirit arises.

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Swiss Bircher Muesli, classic overnight oats ♥, a breakfast treat with dried fruit and nuts.

SWISS BIRCHER MUESLI (Swiss-Style Overnight Oats)

Hands-on time: 5 minutes the night before
Refrigerator time: Overnight
Then hands-on time: 10 minutes
Serves 1 – 10!
  • 1/4 cup uncooked old-fashioned oats
  • Apple cider to cover (apple cider is my favorite but milk, soymilk and orange juice work too)
  • Squeeze of lemon juice (omit if using milk)
  • 1/4 an apple, grated (or banana or orange sections)
  • Greek yogurt (or plain or fruit yogurt)
  • Splash honey (or maple syrup or brown sugar)
  • Toasted nuts: walnuts, almonds, pecans, cashews, hazelnuts
  • Seeds: sesame, sunflower
  • Dried fruit: currants, dates, figs, cranberries, sour cherries, apricots
  • Spice: cinnamon, nutmeg or cardamom

THE NIGHT BEFORE Stir together the oats, apple cider and lemon juice in a bowl and let soak in the refrigerator overnight.

JUST BEFORE EATING Stir the apple, yogurt and honey into the bowl, then divide the oats into individual serving bowls.

FOR SELF-SERVICE Place nuts, seeds, dried fruit and spices in small bowls on the table for sharing, a lazy susan at the center of the table works really well. A buffet line works for a larger group too. Don't forget spice jars with sprinkle lids.

FOR MAKE-IT-FOR-ALL Sprinkle each bowl with your choices for nuts, seeds, dried fruit and a sprinkle of spice.

ALANNA's TIPS While the oats are soaked overnight, once the nuts, seeds, fruit and spices are added, the muesli should be eaten right away. It just doesn't keep well ...

FOR MORE INFO If you "skipped straight to the recipe," please scroll back to the top of this page for ingredient information, ingredient substitutions, tips and more. If you print this recipe, you'll want to check the recipe online for even more tips and extra information about ingredient substitutions, best results and more. See .

More Breakfast Recipes for Weekends & Special Occasions

A collection of recipes perfect for breakfast and brunch ♥
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~ Easy Egg Recipes ~
Manna Café Oatcakes ♥ Famous oatmeal pancakes from the much-missed restaurant in Madison, Wisconsin.

Breakfast Casserole with Sausage, Apples & Caramelized Onions ♥, a make-ahead breakfast casserole, layers of sausage, apple and caramelized onion. Unusual and addictive!

Overnight Coffeecake ♥, easy, adaptable coffeecake recipe, mix it the night before, bake to serve hot and fresh in the morning.

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

~ oatmeal ~
~ apples ~
~ apple cider ~
~ yogurt ~

~ All Recipes, By Ingredient ~
~ How to Save Money on Groceries ~

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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2005 (print), 2007 (online), 2010 (repub) & 2023

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Anonymous7/22/2007

    Great! I'll pack some CDs to bring along . . . .


  2. Hi,

    This sounds delicious! :)

    I have never tried the Bircher Muesli and I am planning to prepare it for this weekend breakfast.

    I would like to ask you one question: If using banana instead of apple, would you use it mashed or sliced/diced?

    Thanks for sharing!

    Thank you!

  3. CarlaDuc ~ Why thank you! My instinct says to dice it, for texture contrast with the oats which get quite soft, so that you get distinct bits of 'banana' as you eat. But really, it's a matter of taste, your call. I hope you love the Muesli as much as I do!

  4. Thanks! I will try this weekend and let you know the results! :)

  5. I just had it for breakfast! It was great! Delicious! I will certainly do it again. I used sliced bananas and it worked perfectly! :)

    Thanks for sharing!

  6. Catherine12/20/2010

    I used to live in Switzerland. Love this stuff and make it a lot. There is no comparison to the stuff in a box. In summer I put blueberries or raspberries in mine. I also love to use hazelnuts which is very Swiss.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna