Bircher Muesli – The Original Overnight Oats Recipe

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The Swiss Bircher Muesli is the original overnight oats. Make this quick and easy overnight oats recipe for a healthy and delicious breakfast. Recipe with step-by-step photos.

bowl of overnight oats or bircher muesli with fresh figs and honey

Bircher Muesli

One of the most popular recipes from Switzerland is bircher muesli, perhaps even more so than fondue or raclette.

But if you have never heard of bircher muesli, it is probably because it is better known as overnight oats in the rest of the world, especially in the US.

Overnight Oats

Bircher muesli is the original overnight oats, and it was developed by a Swiss doctor called Dr. Maximilian Bircher-Benner for his patients at his clinic in Zurich.

The Bircher-Benner Clinic is now occupied by a local insurance company and, in my previous life as a financial services lawyer, I got to work on the premises on many occasions. It is nestled atop a hillside on the Zurichberg with magnificent views of Lake Zurich and, in between chatter about financial planning and legal strategy, I used to marvel about how something so humble could have such resounding success worldwide.

bowl of overnight oats with fresh figs and gold teaspoon

Original Bircher Muesli Recipe

The original recipe for bircher muesli calls for different ingredients and instructions to that specified below.

First, the oatmeal is soaked overnight in plain water. Just before serving, condensed milk and honey are added, followed by ground hazelnuts or almonds with freshly grated apple and a squeeze of lemon juice.

What is nice about the original bircher muesli recipe is that the apple is served fresh so that you get more nutrients, and that the freshly grated apple also adds a bit of texture to the softened oatmeal.

Overnight Oats Recipe

The recipe for overnight oats has evolved a lot over the years, and my favourite version contains whipped cream and strawberries! In fact, it is quite common to find restaurants and cafés in Zurich serving bircher muesli with whipped cream to add air and lightness to the mixture. I’m not sure what Dr. Bircher-Benner would think of that but it certainly tastes good!

In the US, there are many delicious and decadent overnight oats recipes, with many tending towards dessert rather than breakfast.

Why Oatmeal is Good For You

One of the health benefits of eating oatmeal is that it slows down digestion, meaning that you will feel fuller for longer. So a good serving of bircher muesli or overnight oats in the morning will help prevent any mid-morning hunger pangs.

Oatmeal is especially recommended for children, especially when compared to most breakfast cereals which have a high sugar content and which can contribute to dips in blood sugar levels, thereby affecting concentration in the classroom.

I once read somewhere that it was a good idea to eat a bowl of oatmeal before, say, an important meeting or job interview; this is advice which I still follow to this day!

bowl of bircher muesli with fresh figs and knitted napkin

How to Make Overnight Oats

Making bircher muesli or overnight oats is so quick and easy that you will never buy it again.

The recipe below is a fairly basic overnight oats recipe. You should treat it as a blueprint and add other flavourings or ingredients that you like.

Once you start making your own bircher muesli or overnight oats, you will find that the variations are endless.

To start, grate the apples into a large bowl. I prefer to use a coarse grater so that the grated apple can add some texture to the overnight oats. However, a traditional bircher muesli calls for a fine grater like that pictured in the photo below, and which is sold throughout Switzerland for the purpose of making bircher muesli.

how to make overnight oats or bircher muesli, grate the apples into a bowl

To the grated apples, add the rolled oats, natural yoghurt and apple juice.

For a slightly thicker overnight oats, you could use plain Greek yoghurt in place of the natural yoghurt.

how to make overnight oats or bircher muesli, add the rolled oats, natural yoghurt and apple juice

Give everything a good mix until all of the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Wrap the bowl in clingfilm and place it in the fridge overnight.

During this time, the rolled oats will soften and the mixture will thicken considerably.

To serve, I like to add fresh fruit – usually anything which is in season – plus a good drizzle of honey for some added sweetness.

how to make overnight oats or bircher muesli, place the mixture in the fridge overnight

More Breakfast Recipes

If you are looking for breakfast recipes, you might also enjoy:

Crêpes

Easy Fluffy Pancakes

Easy Plain Scones

Raspberry Almond Scones

Shakshuka

Quick and Easy Waffles

Bircher Muesli – The Original Overnight Oats

5 from 5 reviews

The Swiss Bircher Muesli is the original overnight oats. Make this quick and easy overnight oats recipe for a healthy and delicious breakfast. Recipe with step-by-step photos.

  • Author: eatlittlebird.com
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 0 mins
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Makes about 5 cups
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Cuisine: Swiss

Ingredients

  • 2 small eating apples (such as Gala or Pink Lady), unpeeled
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 500 ml (2 cups) natural yoghurt (plain yoghurt)
  • 250 ml (1 cup) apple juice
  • seasonal berries or fresh fruit
  • honey, to taste

Instructions

  1. Coarsely grate the apples (including the skin) into a large bowl.
  2. Add the rolled oats, yoghurt, and apple juice.
  3. Stir until all of the ingredients are combined.
  4. Wrap the bowl with some clingfilm.
  5. Place the bowl in the fridge overnight.
  6. To serve, the bircher muesli can be eaten as is, or with the addition with any fruits of your choice.
  7. Drizzle with some honey before serving.

Kitchen Notes

Traditionally, the apple is grated quite finely, using a grater similar to that in the photos shown. However, I prefer to coarsely grate the apples so that there is more texture in the bircher muesli.

The bircher muesli keeps for about 3 days in the fridge.

VARIATIONS
* add 1-2 tablespoons of sultanas or mixed dried fruit
* add 1-2 tablespoons of chopped almonds or hazelnuts

SUGGESTIONS FOR TOPPINGS
* fresh berries such as raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, pitted cherries, redcurrants
* sliced bananas
* sliced strawberries
* fresh figs
* whipped cream

CONVERSIONS
To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 147
  • Sugar: 8.2g
  • Sodium: 23.4mg
  • Fat: 4.2g
  • Carbohydrates: 20.4g
  • Fiber: 2.4g
  • Protein: 7.7g
  • Cholesterol: 7.8mg

Did you make this recipe?

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13 comments on “Bircher Muesli – The Original Overnight Oats Recipe

  1. Adrianne 13 October 2018

    Hey Thanh! An Aussie living in Switzerland hey that is pretty cool!! This recipe makes me want to get the ingredients and make it right now. The photos are beautiful and the cut open fig looks delicious. The honey looks appealing too. Delicious!!

    Reply
  2. Adrianne 13 October 2018

    I am giving you 5 stars as this is beautiful!!

    Reply
  3. Mary 13 October 2018

    Your photos are gorgeous! And I love bircher muesli–the original overnight oats indeed!

    Reply
  4. Allison 14 October 2018

    I love the addition of grated apple! I’m pinning this and trying it next week.

    Reply
  5. Nicole Tingwall 14 October 2018

    Oatmeal is a breakfast staple at our house! Love this twist! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 15 October 2018

      You’re welcome! We eat oatmeal in so many forms in our home, but bircher muesli is definitely a favourite.

      Reply
  6. Sara Lehman 14 October 2018

    I love overnight oats. I usually just add a splash of vanilla and one spoon of brown sugar but those figs look so good!

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 15 October 2018

      Ooh I love the sound of vanilla! I also sprinkled mine (in the photo) with vanilla powder as I love the flavour too 🙂

      Reply
  7. Sherry Eicher 15 October 2018

    I am not sure why I haven’t attempted Bircher Muesli since moving back to the states. I loved getting the lovely little dishes from Globus at work on Fridays. Made this tonight and, fingers crossed, my girls will love it too. Planning to top with yummy berries as a snack tomorrow while at work. It will be perfect for a quick bite on a busy Monday at an elementary school clinic. Thanks for the lovely reminder of something I miss about living in Switzerland. Cannot wait to eat tomorrow. 😙

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 15 October 2018

      So lovely to hear from you, Sherry! I miss our time together in Zurich. I hope you enjoyed the recipe 🙂 I used to always buy my bircher muesli at the work canteen or from Sprüngli, until I realised how incredibly easy it was to make at home. The recipe is so easy to customise as well. Miss you guys! xx

      Reply

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