Bircher Muesli: The Original Overnight Oats

Jennifer Huddy, MS, RD

By Jennifer Huddy, MS, RD

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4.78 from 9 votes

This Bircher muesli recipe is packed with nutritious ingredients like oats, yogurt, dried fruit, and nuts. It’s soft, chewy, and creamy with crunchy toppings. Bircher muesli is one of the best recipes for a healthy and easy vegetarian breakfast. 

Bircher Muesli is the most convenient breakfast for whipping up the night before ready to have on the go in the morning!! It's wholesome, delicious and so easy!

Start your morning right with a bowl of Bircher muesli! This recipe is loaded with nutrition and health benefits. The rich fiber content of oats, nuts, and fruit help support regular digestion. Oats and nuts can help lower high cholesterol levels. 

This nutrient-dense breakfast will give you long-lasting energy and is excellent for on-the-go mornings. A naturally high-protein vegetarian breakfast option, you can also make this muesli recipe vegan with a few modifications. 

The oats are soaked overnight with milk and yogurt, which creates a chewy and creamy texture. Orange juice provides some zest, while honey adds a touch of sweetness. With lots of topping options, you’ll never get bored of this Bircher muesli recipe!

Bircher Muesli is the most convenient breakfast for whipping up the night before ready to have on the go in the morning!! It's wholesome, delicious and so easy!

What is Bircher Muesli? 

Bircher muesli is a recipe originally created by a Swiss doctor over 100 years ago. Dr. Bircher-Benner would give this muesli to patients with chronic health conditions since it was loaded with plant-based, nutrient-dense ingredients. 

The original recipe involved soaking oats, nuts, and fruit overnight with cream and lemon juice to create a delicious and healthy breakfast. There have been many variations to Bircher muesli over the years, but the basic concept remains the same. 

Key Ingredients 

Rolled Oats. A few different types of oats will work well for this recipe. Rolled, old-fashioned, and quick or instant oats soften overnight and create the right chewy texture. Steel-cut oats won’t work here because they won’t become soft enough. If you are gluten-free, be sure to select certified gluten-free oats

Oats are a high fiber, whole grain carbohydrate, great for helping you stay full and stabilizing blood sugar levels. Oats can also help lower high cholesterol levels when eaten regularly. 

Milk. You can use any type of milk you prefer in this recipe. This is the primary liquid ingredient in the recipe and serves the purpose of softening the oats overnight. The milk provides fat and protein, which helps keep you full longer, as well as calcium and vitamin D for bone health. 

If you select plant-based milk, be sure to choose one that includes these nutrients, like fortified soy milk

Yogurt. The yogurt in this recipe adds creaminess and substance and is a good source of protein and fat to balance out the carbohydrates in the oats. Greek yogurt will provide more protein than regular yogurt. Since there are other sources of sweetness in this recipe, plain Greek yogurt is best. Yogurt also contains probiotics which can help support gut health. 

Orange Juice. Just a touch of orange juice helps brighten up this recipe and adds some acidity to balance the sweetness of the fruit and honey. Orange juice also contains vitamin C, which can help you absorb plant sources of iron, which in this recipe will come from the nuts.

Honey. Honey and brown sugar are the primary sources of sweetness in this recipe. By choosing unsweetened Greek yogurt and no-sugar-added dried fruits, you’ll be able to control the sugar content of the muesli by adjusting the amount of honey and brown sugar. 

Grated Apple. Grated apple is one of the classic ingredients in Dr. Bircher’s traditional muesli recipe. You can use a cheese grater (larger holes work best) to grate the apple right into the bowl. It adds a nice texture and sweetness to the oats while providing extra fiber and vitamin C to the recipe. 

Raisins and Nuts. Don’t forget to include the raisins and nuts in this recipe for additional texture and nutrition. The dried fruit and nuts soften slightly overnight, turning into tasty treasures to find while eating the muesli. 

You can use any types of dried fruit you like, though unsweetened will be best to limit the added sugar content of the meal. Any variety of unsalted nuts and seeds will work in this recipe. Some exceptionally nutritious examples are almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and hemp seeds. 

How to Make Bircher Muesli

This Bircher muesli is a fantastic recipe for breakfast meal prep. It makes six servings and comes together in less than ten minutes the night before for a no-prep, no-heat breakfast the following day!

  1. Add all the ingredients to a large bowl and mix thoroughly with a spoon or spatula. 
  1. Transfer to a large food storage container. Try individual containers for easy meal prep.
  1. Store in the fridge overnight to let the oats absorb the liquid and soften. 
  1. The following day, give the muesli a stir, add your toppings, and enjoy cold! Toppings that work well for this recipe include fresh fruit, like berries or banana slices, toasted nuts, and a drizzle of honey. 
Vegan Bircher Muesli is a great, delicious and nutritious start to your day. Great for preparing in advance, this simple breakfast is great for those mornings you are on the go!

Recipe Tips

Make it vegan. You can easily make this recipe vegan and dairy-free with a few adjustments. Substitute any plant-based milk along with plant-based yogurt. Select a vegan yogurt that contains protein so the recipe will be satisfying enough for a breakfast meal. You’ll also want to swap the honey for maple syrup. 

Go nuts with toppings. Keep this recipe exciting week after week by experimenting with toppings. This is also an opportunity to boost the nutrition of this already healthy meal. Try changing up the nuts and seeds by using hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, or pecans. Add warming spices like cinnamon, pumpkin spice, and nutmeg. 

Drizzle honey, maple syrup, or nut butter over the top– the possibilities are endless! You can even add mini dark chocolate chips, which pair well with dried cherries and shredded coconut. 

Make it extra creamy. If you prefer more of a rich and creamy texture, you can achieve this by using a higher-fat milk option, like full-fat coconut milk, whole milk, condensed milk (unsweetened), or half and half. Choosing full-fat yogurt can help with creaminess as well. 

Storing Leftovers

This Bircher muesli keeps well in the fridge stored in an air-tight container for up to five days, making it a perfect breakfast for the work week. It works best to store without the toppings and add them fresh when you’re ready to enjoy the muesli. 

You can also freeze this recipe for up to three months. The trick is to let it sit overnight in the fridge first to let the liquid absorb into the oats. Then you can freeze it in individual portions in airtight containers, again with no toppings. 

If you know you’ll be freezing your muesli, it’s best to leave out the apple, nuts, and dried fruit as these can change in texture when frozen and defrosted. Thaw overnight in the fridge before enjoying or transfer the frozen oats to a microwave-safe bowl and defrost in the microwave.  

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can I use store-bought muesli?

Yes! You can speed up this recipe even more by using store-bought muesli. Most packaged muesli contains oats, dried fruit, and nuts, so it will replace those ingredients in this recipe. 

Can you eat muesli hot?

If the texture of cold oats isn’t your thing, you can enjoy Bircher muesli as a hot cereal! Simply follow the recipe instructions to let the oats soak overnight and heat in the microwave before eating the next morning. You’ll want to heat the portions one at a time if you plan to eat the recipe over a few days. 

What is the difference between Bircher muesli and overnight oats?

You can think of Bircher muesli as the original overnight oats! Developed in the early 1900s, Bircher muesli uses the same method as preparing overnight oats– soaking oats overnight in milk without cooking them. 

Try These Other Oat Recipes 

On an oat kick? Try these other oat recipes to keep the fun going.

Bircher Muesli is the most convenient breakfast for whipping up the night before ready to have on the go in the morning!! It's wholesome, delicious and so easy!
Print Recipe
4.78 from 9 votes

Bircher Muesli – The Original Overnight Oats

This Bircher muesli recipe is packed with nutritious ingredients like oats, yogurt, dried fruit, and nuts. It’s soft, chewy, and creamy with crunchy toppings. Bircher muesli is one of the best recipes for a healthy and easy vegetarian breakfast.
Prep Time10 minutes
Refrigeration Time8 hours
Total Time10 minutes
Course: Breakfast
Keyword: bircher muesli, overnight oats
Servings: 4
Calories: 315kcal


  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 apple grated
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 tbsp walnuts chopped
  • 2 tbsp almonds slivered
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp orange juice

Suggested Toppings

  • Fresh berries (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries)
  • Seeds (chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds)
  • Drizzle of maple syrup or honey
  • Banana slices
  • Cinnamon
  • Toasted nuts (hazelnuts, pecans, almonds, walnuts)
  • Nut butter
  • Chocolate chips
  • Shredded coconut


  • Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly.
  • Store in an airtight food storage container overnight to soften.
  • Enjoy cold the next morning and store in the fridge for up to five days.


Calories: 315kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 30mg | Potassium: 424mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 132IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 121mg | Iron: 2mg

Images by Lauren Caris Short.

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4 thoughts on “Bircher Muesli: The Original Overnight Oats”

  1. Can you make overnight oats with just milk/ or just yogurt?

    Would the recipe work without chia seeds, or do you need these to make it come together?


    • Hey Esther!! Yes you could just use milk or yoghurt, if you use just milk, just add a little more than the recipe suggests, it will be a little on the thinner side but the oats should soak up most of it :)

      Chia seeds not necessary, just a topping suggestion! You could put anything you like on top of them! I like fresh berries mostly but really anything you like is good!