Bircher Muesli (Chilled Swiss Oatmeal)
Published May 29, 2023
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This Bircher muesli (also called chilled Swiss oatmeal) is loaded with crunchy apples, dried fruit and nuts. Full of fiber and protein, plus easy to make ahead of time!
If you’re an overnight oats lover like me, you’re going to love this recipe for Bircher muesli (also known as chilled swiss oatmeal).
This recipe was inspired by a breakfast that I had at Corner Bakery in Northern Virginia years ago! I loved it so much that I decided to recreate the dish at home. And if I do say so myself, it turned out so good.
The Greek yogurt makes the oatmeal extra creamy and adds protein. All the fruity mix-in’s lend a nice sweetness and give the oats a bit of texture.
The best part about this recipe is that it’s super easy – just toss the ingredients together the night before and your breakfast will be ready to eat when you wake up (just like overnight oats!). It’s also portable so is a great make-ahead breakfast that you can take on the go in the morning.
What is Bircher Muesli?
Bircher muesli, also known as chilled swiss oatmeal is a dish that was originally created by Swiss doctor Maximilian Bircher-Benner back in the early 1900’s.
It’s said that he designed this recipe specifically for his patients as a healthy meal that’s rich in nutrients and easy to digest to help with chronic health conditions. His original recipe called for lots of fresh apples, oats, nuts, yogurt, lemon juice and honey.
Unlike traditional hot oatmeal, Bircher muesli is a cold oatmeal dish that’s soaked overnight (just like overnight oats!). The soaking process allows the oats to soften and absorb the flavors of the added ingredients. It’s typically served with a variety of fruits and nuts, providing a nutrient-dense breakfast option.
- old fashioned rolled oats – these oats are perfect for overnight soaking as they absorb the liquids and flavors while maintaining a nice texture. My fave brand is Bob’s Red Mill gluten free old fashioned rolled oats. Make sure to use certified gluten-free oats if needed.
- unsweetened almond milk – the main liquid in this recipe, which the oats soak up as the dish sits overnight. I like using unsweetened vanilla almond milk, which adds a nice vanilla flavor, but any type of milk will work!
- Greek yogurt – adds some creaminess and a boost of protein. I like using plain full-fat Greek yogurt to get the most amount of protein, but feel free to use your favorite type of yogurt.
- apple – adds a nice crunch factor to these oats. I typically use either a Pink Lady or Honeycrisp apple, but feel free to use your favorite variety of apple. I chopped the apples in this recipe, but grated apple would also be delicious.
- banana – adds some natural sweetness and as the oats sit the banana will melt into the oats for a creamier texture.
- dried cranberries – adds some tartness and a variety of texture to this dish. I recommend grabbing dried fruit that is fruit juice sweetened like these Made in Nature dried cranberries.
- vanilla & cinnamon – adds a depth of flavor to the oatmeal.
How to Make
This Bircher muesli recipe couldn’t get any easier to make!
Mix: Just place your oats, milk, yogurt, cranberries, apple, banana, vanilla and cinnamon in a medium-sized bowl, glass container or even a mason jar.
Soak overnight: Cover and place in the fridge to soak overnight.
Serve: In the morning, add a splash or two of almond milk and stir the mixture. Portion out a serving and sprinkle almonds, chia seeds and a drizzle of maple syrup over the top, or desired toppings. Enjoy!
Substitutions & Notes
One thing I love about Bircher muesli is how easily you can customize it based on what you have on hand. Here are some substitutions you can make to make this recipe your own:
- Milk: Feel free to substitute the almond milk with your desired milk of choice. Coconut milk, oat milk, cashew milk, soy milk, or regular dairy milk would all work!
- Yogurt: Feel free to use 2% or low-fat Greek yogurt or your favorite variety of yogurt. If you’re vegan or dairy-free, you can use a a dairy-free yogurt of choice.
- Fruits: You can use any type of dried or fresh fruits that you prefer or have on hand. Some other great options are blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, pears, raisins or dates. If you want some added nutrition you could even swap the chopped apples for some vegetables like grated carrots or zucchini.
You really can’t go wrong when it comes to the toppings for Bircher muesli. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Berries: A handful of fresh berries can add a burst of flavor and antioxidants.
- Seeds and nuts: Almonds, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds or sunflower seeds can add crunch and additional nutrients.
- Nut Butter: A drizzle of almond butter, cashew butter or peanut butter can add a creamy texture and additional protein. If you have a nut allergy use a seed butter like tahini or sunflower seed butter.
- Additional toppings: Shredded coconut, chocolate chips, granola, a drizzle of honey or a dash of cinnamon are all great topping ideas!
How to Meal Prep & Store
This Bircher muesli is perfect for meal prep, which makes it an excellent choice for busy mornings when you need something quick and nutritious for breakfast. I love prepping a big batch during my weekend meal prepping so I have breakfast ready to go all week long.
How to meal prep: Simply prepare the oatmeal as directed and divide it into individual serving containers. You can easily double or triple the recipe to make a bigger batch. I recommend adding your toppings right before serving.
More Oatmeal Recipes:
- How to Make Oatmeal
- Easy Baked Oatmeal
- Berry Baked Oatmeal Bars
- Blended Baked Oats
- Protein Overnight Oats
- Easy Basic Overnight Oats
- One Pan Baked Oatmeal
- Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal
- Baked Oatmeal Cups 4-Ways
- Cauliflower Oatmeal
- Low Calorie Overnight Oats
- 5 Ways to Make Protein Oatmeal
Bircher Muesli (Chilled Swiss Oatmeal)
- 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
- ½ cup unsweetened almond milk, or any non-dairy milk of choice
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt, or dairy-free yogurt if needed
- 2 Tablespoons dried cranberries
- ½ cored Pink Lady apple, chopped into small pieces
- ½ a ripe banana, chopped into small pieces
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- sprinkle of cinnamon
- 1 Tablespoon roasted almonds, chopped, for topping
- chia seeds, for topping
- maple syrup, for drizzling
- Add oats, milk, yogurt, cranberries, apple, banana, vanilla and cinnamon to a medium-sized bowl and stir to combine.
- Cover and place in the refrigerator to soak overnight.
- In the morning, add a splash or two of almond milk, if desired and stir the mixture. Portion out a serving and sprinkle almonds, chia seeds and a drizzle of maple syrup over the top. Enjoy!
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.