Bircher Muesli (Swiss Oatmeal) Overnight Oats • Olive & Mango (2024)

Updated 29th August 2023

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 and hearty breakfast that is packed with fiber, nutrients and protein to keep you feeling full and satisfied all morning long. There is no cooking involved and you can add just about anything you like to it. This Muesli is filled with wholesome ingredients like rolled oats, fresh apples, nuts, and seeds. Made overnight, this Swiss style oatmeal recipe is a healthy and easy breakfast that’s full of flavor and texture. It is great for meal prep! Topping it is the fun part - choose from a variety of toppings to stir through these creamy overnight oats that are gluten free and vegan friendly!

Bircher Muesli (Swiss Oatmeal) Overnight Oats •Olive & Mango (1)

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
  • Not too sweet - just sweet enough
  • Filling, and super hearty
  • Easy to make
  • Totally Customizable - always a good thing for any recipe
  • It’s portable! Simply grab a container of your 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 from the oats to the fruit to the nuts and seeds

Bircher Muesli (Swiss Oatmeal) Overnight Oats •Olive & Mango (2)

What are Overnight Oats?

Well the name says it all! Overnight oats is an ever popular breakfast meal that is made with oats which have been soaked overnight in water, milk, yoghurt, juice, or a combination of these ingredients. You can add other ingredients to the oats like crunchy nuts and seeds or fruit to sweeten it up. There are so many variations for overnigtht oats - some are more decadent than others this is my staple overnight oats recipe that I make all the time and hope you enjoy it.

What is Bircher Muesli?

Bircher muesli is an uncooked mixture of oats, nuts, seeds, grains, fruit that is soaked in either milk, fruit juice like apple juice with a touch of lemon juice or yogurt and eaten raw. Basically it is a mixture of simple ingredients that are then soaked overnight to create a soft, creamy oat nutritious breakfast since oats are loaded with fiber and other good stuff. Traditionally it’s rolled oats, dried fruit & nuts and grated apple with fruit juice or yoghurt. Overnight oats seemed to have always been around but have become super popular over the last few years. Are overnight oats the same as Bircher Muesli? Are they different? Well, Bircher muesli is in fact THE original overnight oats. In doing some research on this dish I learned that the idea of soaking oats overnight has in fact been around for a good century or more (early 1900s) thanks to a Swiss doctor/nutritionist Maximilian Bircher-Benner. He created it as a way to get his patients to eat more fruit. I chose to add loads of nutrient dense seeds to mine but of course my recipe is merely a guide - feel free to adjust amounts or omit and add according to your taste and what you might have on hand in your pantry at the time you make them

What makes Bircher muesli different from regular Muesli?

Museli is the dry unsoaked oats or combination of dry ingredients - sort of like granola. A combination of oats nuts seeds and dried or fresh fruit. Bircher muesli is really all of those same ingredients of muesli, but softened by soaking them in milk or juice overnight. Some original versions even soaked their muesli in sweetened condensed milk - too sweet for my liking but that is just me. There are loads of variations of bircher muesli out there from what you add to the muesli mixture to what you soak the mixture in. That is actually one of the many reasons I love this recipe - it’s versatility!

Bircher Muesli (Swiss Oatmeal) Overnight Oats •Olive & Mango (3)

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. The dried cocontu is a staple in mine or flavour and texture - i always use unsweetened
  • 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 like coconut yogurt or almond milk yogurt
  • Milk - Any will do. Dairy or non dairy
  • Cinnamon, Vaniila & pinch of Salt - For flavour. Optional but just a pinch adds a nice hint of flavour. You can play around with the spices if you would like and for extra flavour i like to add vanilla extract but that is optional
  • Maple Syrup - Optional and only if you want a touch of sweetness in your Bircher Muesli. You can also add honey instead

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 idea on a chilly morning! Simply heat in the microwave or stovetop. Most likely you will need to add a little extra liqud to the mixture as it may thicken up more while you heat it up.

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 loads of tasty toppings!
  • If you forget to soak the night before, even soaking 20-30 minutes or so in the morning will help soften the oats. If that is the case make sure to use less liquid because the oats will have less time to soak it all in
  • I prefer the fruti (apple or pear) be grated coarsley for some extra texture - but that is just my preference
  • 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 (Swiss Oatmeal) Overnight Oats •Olive & Mango (4)

If you liked this recipe you will love these:

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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 of choice
  • 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 (peeling is optional)
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans/walnuts or slivered almonds

Topping Options

  • Sliced or chopped apples
  • Nut butter dollops
  • Yoghurt dollops
  • Pomegranate arils
  • 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 up 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.
  • If you prefer your bircher muesli warmed up simply heat it up in the microwave or stove top adding more liquid as needed to get the consistency to your preference
  • My preferred soak time is overnight for bircher muesli but some prefer a lot less time especially if you are using quick oats. Some prefer 1-2 hours - that is up to you and your prefernece for texture in your bircher muesli
  • Some prefer to add the grated apple into the bircher muesli just before serving so that it stays crunchy and crisp that is optional - feel free to add it to soak with the rest of the ingredients or stir it in before serving

Bircher Muesli (Swiss Oatmeal) Overnight Oats •Olive & Mango (5)

Bircher Muesli (Swiss Oatmeal) Overnight Oats • Olive & Mango (2024)


What is the difference between overnight oats and Bircher? ›

While the preparation is essentially the same, Bircher muesli contains a lot more apples than oats. Overnight oats contain mostly oats with some additional ingredients. What is Bircher muesli made of? The original Bircher muesli recipe contains apples, oats, milk, chopped nuts, and some lemon juice.

Why is it called bircher muesli? ›

Originally known in Swiss German as Birchermüesli after its creator Bircher-Benner or simply Müesli, the word is an Alemannic diminutive of Mues (non-Swiss Standard German: Mus) meaning "mush" or "purée".

Is bircher muesli good for you? ›

Why is Bircher so good for me? Bircher Muesli really 'packs a punch' when it comes to all the nutrition it provides in each and every serve; Slow-digesting oats which are low GI. With the addition of yoghurt or milk, it slows digestion even further, keeping you fuller for longer.

How many days can you keep bircher muesli? ›

This is where Bircher muesli comes into its own as it is prepared the night (or several nights) before. It has the bonus of being delicious and nutritious, easily transported, eaten on the go, and (if you have not added fresh fruit other than the apple) can be kept in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Which is healthier oatmeal or overnight oats? ›

Overnight oats are the more nutritious option, but that doesn't mean that this meal is for everyone.

Is Swiss muesli healthy? ›

Swiss Muesli has no added sugar, and it is an amazing source of whole grains and fibre, as well as natural protein that provides energy to keep you going. Try it the Swiss way and soak it like overnight oats and add some fresh fruit & yogurt.

Do you eat Birchermüesli hot or cold? ›

While Bircher muesli is traditionally served chilled (a wonderful idea in hot weather), you can easily heat it up as well. If you prefer, just heat it in the microwave before topping with fresh apple.

What is Swiss muesli called? ›

Known to all as just Bircher Muesli, it's a staple at every breakfast buffet we've seen in Switzerland. In America you can find a version call “overnight oats” that is similar, but it's not quite the same as a true Bircher Muesli. Bircher-Benner Muesli was named after Dr. Maximillian Bircher-Benner, a Swiss physician.

Is Birchermüesli good for high cholesterol? ›

Bircher muesli is a traditional Swiss recipe developed around 1900 by Dr Max Bircher-Benner. It is a moist muesli based on rolled oats soaked usually overnight with fruit and nuts added. Oats contain 'soluble' fibre which helps lower the blood cholesterol level.

Is it OK to eat overnight oats every day? ›

It is recommended eating around 50 grams of healthy oats every day as they can lower the risk of a lot of diseases. Protein packed: Oats are one of the best plant-based sources of protein, they contain around 14 grams of protein per 100 grams. You can still build muscles if you're into muscle building.

Which country made bircher muesli? ›

The creation of muesli cereal is credited to this Swiss physician and nutritional pioneer Dr. Maximilian Bircher-Benner who developed it around 1900 for his patients.

What are the side effects of muesli? ›

Although Musli is considered safe when taken in the proper prescribed dosage, an excessive amount without a doctor's consultation can cause weight gain, difficulty in digestion, depreciated digestive functions, loss of appetite and constipation.

Can you eat Bircher muesli raw? ›

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.

Who invented bircher muesli? ›

Developed around 1900 by Swiss physician Maximilian Bircher-Benner for patients in his hospital, it is now eaten as a standard breakfast dish, and also in Switzerland as a supper called Birchermüesli complet: muesli with Café complet (milk coffee, accompanied with bread, butter, and jam. (Butterbrot)).

What is bircher muesli in english? ›

Meaning of Bircher muesli in English

a type of muesli (= a mixture of grains, dried fruit, and nuts, usually eaten with milk for breakfast) in which oats are left in milk or fruit juice for a time before being eaten: This is an easy version of the original overnight-soaked muesli: Bircher muesli.

What is Bircher made of? ›

Essentially oats soaked in fruit juice, or milk, with nuts and fruit, Bircher muesli has a long history, and enough versions floating around to prove it. The original was created in the early 1900s by Maximilian Bircher-Benner, a Swiss doctor.

What's so special about overnight oats? ›

Overnight oats contain increased resistant starch. Resistant starch is a natural carb which is resistant to digestion and acts as soluble fiber. It is found in all starchy foods and is present at higher levels in cooled starchy foods instead of cooked ones.

What kind of oats are best for overnight? ›

The Best Oats for Overnight Oats: Old-fashioned oats, also known as rolled oats, become tender and creamy when soaked. Quick-cooking oats, which are smaller, can end up pasty and steel-cut oats, which are sturdier, stay quite firm even after soaking.

Are overnight oats just rolled oats? ›

Overnight oats are an easy, make-ahead breakfast that combines rolled oats with some sort of liquid, usually milk (it can be dairy based or non-dairy like almond milk, oat milk or coconut milk). They're usually sweetened and additional flavors are typically added as well.


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