Made from wholesome oats, apple, yogurt, sultanas and almonds, this simple bircher muesli recipe can easily be made the night before, making it a perfect healthy breakfast for busy mornings that kids love too.
What is Bircher Muesli
Developed by a Swiss physician, Maximilian Bircher-Benner, for his patients to encourage them to eat more fruit, apple bircher is still a very popular healthy breakfast. It is the Swiss version of what many know as overnight oats. Soaking the oats overnight helps them to soften and therefore become easier to eat. My recipe is very similar to the traditional Swiss recipe, as it uses more fruit (grated apple) and less oats. For a nut free berry version, try this raspberry bircher muesli.
Why we love this recipe
- This traditional overnight oats recipe is quick and easy to prepare and is no-cook too – just mix and place in fridge overnight.
- Adaptable recipe – make the oatmeal thick or runny, easily adapt it to be vegan or gluten free (see notes below for how to do this).
- It is a sugar free muesli – this overnight muesli is sweetened with apple and dried fruit, meaning there is no need for any added sugar.
- Top with your favourite toppings – extra nuts, dried fruit, berry compote, even a spoonful of peanut butter or almond butter.
- Portable – you can make it in a container or jar and take it to work or for breakfast on the run.
Ingredients Notes and Substitutions
- Oats – rolled oats are great in this healthy bircher. I like the chewy texture they provide, although I also use quick oats, especially when serving these bircher oats to my toddler son as he prefers the softer texture.
- Milk – full fat cows milk is best for creamy oats, but you can use half fat milk or dairy free options such as almond milk or oat milk for a vegan bircher.
- Yogurt – no added sugar full fat Greek yogurt makes this muesli creamy, thick and delicious!
- Apple – I like to use Pink Lady apples, Gala, or Braeburn apples, but you can use your favourite sweet eating apple.
- Dried fruit – sultanas or raisins are delicious in this overnight muesli. You could add in dried apricots or a few dried cranberries too!
- Nuts – I love skin on almonds, but you can use blanched almonds, walnuts or hazelnuts – they would all go well! If you want a nut free muesli you could use sunflower or pumpkin seeds, or mix in a few chia seeds (you will need to add more liquid when adding chia seeds.)
How to make this recipe
- Place the oats, grated apple, roughly chopped almonds, sultanas, Greek yogurt, cinnamon and water or milk in a bowl.
- Mix well to combine and enjoy straight away or cover and leave in the fridge overnight. Add a splash more yogurt/water before serving if too thick.
Bircher contains fresh fruit, whereas dry muesli contains dry fruit. Regular muesli is meant to be eaten straight after adding milk, whereas bircher is meant to be left overnight so the oats can soften.
About 3 days – they are best eaten during the first 2 days though, as they will be soft but not too soft.
Bircher muesli vs Overnight Oats
Traditional bircher muesli is light on the oat ratio compared to added fruit (grated apple) whereas overnight oats are predominately oats mixed with many other ingredients that can range from peanut butter, chia seeds, chocolate, vanilla, banana etc. Swiss style overnight oats are lighter and more refreshing than overnight oats tend to be.
My Tips for Success
- Like the original bircher recipe, I like to include more apple than oats – but feel free to mix it up to suit your tastes! If you add more oats then add a little more milk/water and yogurt.
- Rolled oats are generally the best oats to use for bircher, however my toddler son prefers the less chewy quick cook oats.
- You don’t have to soak the muesli overnight. If you forget to make it the night before, make it with slightly less liquid and let it sit for 15-20 minutes before you eat it.
- I like to add coarsely grated apple for texture, but you can finely grate the apple or roughly chop it if you like.
- If you prefer a thick texture to your müsli: use slightly less liquid.
- This is a bircher muesli recipe for one – you can easily scale up the quantities to serve more.
- Toddler oats: I use quick cook oats that are softer and easier to eat, and omit the nuts.
- Vegan bircher: swap the yogurt and milk for almond of coconut milk and yogurt.
- Gluten free bircher muesli: make sure your oats are gluten free.
- Sweet overnight muesli: add a teaspoon of honey or maple syrup to sweeten your oats, or add a tablespoon of apple juice or orange juice instead of the water/milk which will provide an extra bit of sweetness.
More Easy Healthy Breakfast Recipes:
Easy Bircher Muesli
- 3 tablespoons rolled or quick cook oats
- 2 tablespoon water/milk
- 3 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
- Pinch mixed spice or ground cinnamon
- 1 apple grated (skin left on)
- ½ tablespoon sultanas
- 1 tablespoon almonds roughly chopped
- In a bowl, mix the oats with the water/milk, yogurt and mixed spice.
- Stir through the grated apple, sultanas and almonds then cover and place in fridge.
- When ready to serve, top with an extra spoonful of yogurt and extra fruit, such as blueberries or strawberries. Or leave as is.